Sunday, December 17, 2017

Archive for June, 2002

Old Summer Kitchens

Back in the old days, many country mothers would have the old summer kitchens. They would move the woodburning stove outside to an out building. Here, she did her cooking and canning, and it kept the heat out of the house. She would boil water on the woodstove and do her washing outside. And then, of course, she watered her garden with leftover wash water and gave the front porch a good wash, too. And then to the pungent odors of her canning and cooking, she added the scent of freshly scraped laundry soap.

The children helped, of course. Children love to play in water, anyway. Can’t you just see the wee ones running about barefoot for the summer? Mother givng them buckets of used wash water, telling them not to spill it and to water the tomatoes with it?

When my children were little and I used my wringer washer, I would save my water, too, and the children would run back and forth for buckets of water, to water the garden. Often, they missed the plant all together and watered only the dirt. Those are cherished memories with my little ones. I couldn’t grow zuchini one year because I kept thinking the children were watering it, but they were missing it by about a foot. Finally I checked it but, by that time, it was dead. But I really don’t like zuchini, anyway, do you? (And I cant spell it either.)

Well, duty calls.

Happy Fathers Day

We are waiting for Jimmy and his lovely wife Alecks to pull in the driveway at any moment now. Dan is here, and David will be here pretty soon. Mary has been helping me with last minute chores. Christiane Joy just called from NYC to wish Papa a Happy Fathers Day. Hopefully, we will get a call from Johnny in Missouri, too.

I fried chicken this afternoon, about eight pounds of it. We fixed potatoes in a huge pan, probably five pounds at least. I will have Papa mash them. Then, I made gravy and we will have corn. I made two pies, strawberry rhubarb. Then, we got some vanilla ice cream to go with it.

We are anxious to see Jimmy. We haven’t seen him for a year.

Well, the bad kids are getting into the pie I had better go whack ’em. We will eat at about 4, I think.

Everybody give your husband a kiss for Fathers Day, even the bad ones.

A Pioneer Spirit

I think we would really like to think that pioneer mothers were used to all the hardship. But many of these women that came west with their men were from established cities and families.

And during the Depression, these women were not used to being poor, any more than we would be. The stock market crashed in 1929. But before that, our country was enjoying a lot of prosperity. Don’t kid yourselves. When you read of these women during the Depression, praying in what they needed, they weren’t any different than you or I. But they were called upon to have courage, and they came front and center and showed the world what they were made of. They kept encouraging their men and kept on singin’ as they made their bread. And they kept the peace in their homes. And with their faith, they kept their families safe and sound.

I read about one young married couple. They had to move from their home and they moved into this shack, and the wife made a home out of it. And, lo and behold, the mother found a secret garden in the backwoods nearby. Someone had to move after making the garden, and it had been overcome with weeds. The corn was all dried out, but this mother took it and she cut it off the cobs and she cooked it in water. And someone gave her some canning jars, and she canned it. Also, she found some tomatoes and she made things with these. And, of course, she dug potatoes. But the Lord kept her and her husband, and they made it through the winter. The husband worked and was paid with fresh meat, a hog, and his young wife preserved this, too. They just lived from week to week, looking for the Lord to provide for them. They rode out the hard times and didn’t give up.

I read of a mother that didn’t have a hoe to garden with, and she used her broom. After her husband had plowed her garden up, she made holes in the soil with her broom handle, and then swept the dirt over the hole with the other end of her broom.

During the Depression, there was also a drought in the midwest. Dust storms made gardening impossible. But, of course, the weeds grew. And one mother canned lambs quarters for her family to eat in the winter. Well, ya can’t keep a good woman tied down for long.

So many of the mothers would forage in the woods for food, and some would glean the gardens after the farmers had gotten what they wanted out of it. These mothers kept going when many women today would just roll over and play dead. But none of we women would even be standing here right now if we hadn’t come from some pretty strong grandparents and great grandparents. These old time mothers kept the home, and everything they did pivoted from home. The children helped, too.

Jim’s mom raised 11 children right through the Depression and never lost a one of them. Papa was born in 1940 and he was the 12th, and then she had Don, and he made 13 children. She just stayed home and sewed and cooked and baked and kept house … never went out to work. She just kept them all afloat. Of course, all the children had to help. Jim remembers helping his mother can outside in big pots. He had to dig a hole and build a fire for her pots. He would put a grate on the top of the hole to hold the pot on. She would can in big washtubs. She would make a washtub of pickles, beans and peas. She would can her corn on the cobs in big jars. She saved the jars, from year to year, in her root cellar.

Well, duty calls.

Our Home Making

Last evening, I got to worrying about our finances. Yes, Praise the Lord, Jim has a job now, but he won’t even start orientation until this coming Monday. I sat with Papa for a while, and I worried and worried. And pretty soon, the Lord just came into my thoughts. He said, “Now, Connie, you will make it. Just walk with wisdom and let the Lord guide you.”

And I said, “Oh Lord, but these are such troubled waters, and they are so dark. I have never been here before. The waters seem so dangerous and dark, and I dont see a path to walk over them. The rocks for me to step on look so small, and they look like they will surely take me under.” But the Lord assured me that as I put my foot upon each rock, it will indeed hold me up.

I guess I don’t doubt the fact that the Lord will do His part. It’s me I am worried about. Will I fail Him in this journey of faith, in this life’s arena that He has called me to walk in? I don’t want to sort of just make it. I want to smack the devil right in the face — dead center — and kick him in the rear on the way out.

But who am I but a speck of dust? I must never lead you to myself but to Christ who can do all things. I long to be a jewel on the Lord’s hand, even in my adversity. And I pray that I will not shame Him, in my fears, but that I would always lead the saints to courage and wisdom. And that my example would always broaden your tents of faith. For we are Sarah’s daughters if we are not afraid or amazed.

My joy must be in my garden that Papa laid out with a shovel, and in my pretty roses, and herbs and wild flowers that grow up my walk. Papa’s and my flesh have been waned that our spirits would grow. And, as our son Jimmy and his wife will come for Father’s Day this Sunday (from California), and also Dan and David and Mary, we will have the fruits of our labor on the table. But I have a feeling our works won’t be as beautiful as the Holy Spirit as it shines in our home.

I plan to make rhubarb pies and homemade bread. And Mary gave us some meat and I will fix that, and we will buy some potatoes, and I will make gravy and jello. But I am going to make things, and welcome my dear children to a bountiful table. As they gather to honor their Daddy, I will honor him, too. Not with my fear, but with my faith and joy.

My roses are in full bloom, and I will take them and hang them over the chandelier above the family table. They are not the big roses; they are like branches of tiny roses. I will put a bouguet of roses on the table, too, mixed in with bachelor buttons and yellow Colombine, and weave the herbs into my bouquet … the lemon balm and garden mint. The rose hips are in bloom, and I will make a bouquet of this, too.

And, hopefully, the stage will be set to honor the Lord Jesus and the lord Papa.

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