Walden is not a good example of life in general.
Your average rural life in the 'olden days' was filled with the things that made for survival: Canning, cooking, cleaning, hunting, cleaning the game, cooking or otherwise processing the game, making soap, feeding animals, slaughtering and processing some of those animals, cutting trees, chopping firewood, stacking the firewood (hopefully early enough in the year for it to dry well), haying, growing grain, making clothing (including boots/shoes and bedding [quilting, etc.]), mending, knitting, darning, milking the cow(s), churning butter, making cheese, collecting eggs, planting gardens, weeding, harvesting, canning, trimming lamps, ... ... ...
If you didn't do it yourself it you didn't have it. If you didn't have some of these things you'd freeze or starve.
Making soap was a three day process. Candles - from keeping bees to making good wicks.
Try reading A Midwifes Tale - it's based on the diary of a woman on the Maine coast between 1785 and 1812.