When I was a child I enjoyed reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. For some unknown reason, I recently had the urge to re-read Little House on the Prairie, and once again I thoroughly enjoyed it, but from a very different perspective as an adult. It's generally acknowledged that rather than being purely autobiographical, the books are autobiographial fiction, and that she changed certain elements to tell a good story. Nevertheless, the books are based on real experiences, and they provide a wonderful, if romanticised insight into the lives of American pioneers.
Those were the days when men were men :) Pa could almost singlehandedly build an entire log cabin from scratch by chopping down trees for logs and hauling stones from the creek to build the chimney. He could dig a well, hunt animals for food, keep livestock, plant and grow produce, make all of his own furniture - and sing and play the fiddle. It's hard to believe that nowadays a lot of men can't even change a plug or a light bulb.
As for Ma, well, she quilted, and sewed all their clothes and soft furnishings from scratch by hand, often by lamp and candlelight, she did all the heavy laundry in a tub, and could even use a manually heated iron on the back of a wagon. She plucked prairie hens, did the cooking and baking, most of the cleaning, saw to the family's health, comfort and well-being, all this while minding and educating two little girls and a baby.