Wednesday, October 18, 2017
 

Archive for July, 2002

Good Housekeeping

When I was a young Mother and raising the children, I would get so bogged down with keeping the house up and the home running smoothly.

One late afternoon, after a particularly trying day, our son Jimmy called unexpectedly from the airport to have his Dad come pick him up for a surprise leave from the Navy. Of course, all Jimmy’s brothers and sisters got so excited and wanted to go with Papa to pick Jimmy up.

I was left with all the messes of the day and baby Mary. I didn’t know where to start. I called Mary L., one of the older women in my life. She gave me such valuable information. She said, “Well, Connie just get a meal started because Jimmy will be hungry. Make something simple, like a casserole. Then clean off the table and make it look nice for company. If you have time, clean the living room. But always make sure you have food on the stove and a nice place to welcome the family.” And this was such good advice, and I have always remembered that.

Our girl Mary always says, “Mom, why do you start lunch at 9:00 in the morning?” Well, ya know, I always feel that to have a meal on the stove is like home insurance. You are prepared for the unexpected.

With little ones, they need a set time to eat lunch and then a quiet few hours for naps. But often, when the children are young, you have to do a lot of thinking ahead to make up for the natural interruptions of the day.

Jim has a lot of different hours now with this new job. So, sometimes our family meal is at noon, and sometmes in the evening. Like today, Mary will be gone all day helping her grandma, so I will just eat a sandwich for lunch. But later, I will fix a big meal for Jim for supper. But to have a meal on the stove makes you feel so peaceful. Then you are free to do the cleaning and won’t be interrupted to have to switch gears.

And, ya know, Jello was always such a handy thing for me to make for the kids in the summer. It’s easy to get out and have with a meal. Also, apple sauce kept cold to have with a a meal is so easy to have. So you may have a simple casserole on the stove and maybe homemade muffins and then some jello — that makes a nice meal.

I used to make a lot of casseroles. One I made was this. You just pat ground beef in the bottom of a pan and bake it most of the way and drain it. Then put a can of green beans, drained, over this. Then a can of mushroom soup, and then mashed potatoes on top. Then just bake it at 350

Just a Visit

I am helping my aunt who is 83 move out of her house. She gave me a bunch of old cooking utensils and some old spices, some never opened. One bottle was full of the candy sprinkles. It was real old and it still had the price printed on it, 10

Homemaking

Have we come back home to be homemakers, or to keep the house clean so we can watch tv? And, if we are going to be keepers at home, then we need to feel free to be that. I mean, if I go to a sale that has canning jars? Oh, mercy! Jim knows I am going to buy them. I use jars for everything. I have collections of blue jars. But you know, canning jars are easy to come by around here in the summertime. I have a really nice collection of jelly jars that I used lately to make jelly. But — ya know what — we need to enjoy our places in our homes.

I live in the city and I have a medium sized yard. But I use every inch of it for something. To me, it is my little farm, a small homestead. We should refer to our homes with sweet names, like I call mine the Hultquist Homestead. It’s my little farm. I am thankful for what the Lord has given me, and I want to make it workable. But if I lived in an apartment, I would still call it my homestead. I would just go back to the land as far as I could with what I had. You can still can and dry your food even in an apartment.

But I guess my point is this. Don’t let the devil push you around in your own kitchen, for cryin’ out loud. I mean, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Don’t make your husband mad at any cost … live in harmony with him. But, see, as the instincts within you come out in your womanhood, you bring out the manhood in your husband. As you walk in the old home wisdom, you walk as an example to your husband. Not by preaching at your husband … NO … but by your good works. If he is slack in being the head of the home, then as you become more womanly, you will turn his instincts up, too.

I loved it that Luanne asked her husband for a kneading table. Boy, I bet her husband felt like a king when she told him that. Our men have been so beat down by feminism, too. We need to let our gifts of homemaking complement them as men. And some men have a lot of layers to go through. But the only way you can cut through to his heart is by prayers and faith, and walking out your homemaking. He will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

We must have servants’ hearts, like Christ. He is our example. Like in 1 Peter 2, it tells how Christ died for the ungodly.

1 Peter 3 says, “Likewise, ye wives, submit to your own husbands, that if any obey not the word, they will be won without the word by the actions of the wife.” And these actions, let me tell ya, aren’t going out to get a job.

It’s walking out your place as an example of womanhood in your homes. The servant’s spirit is a powerful virtuous spirit, and this is why the devil wants to own us and push us around in our kitchens. But don’t let him. You are powerful mothers for good, and wives with a purpose. Don’t let the devil cut your stride or interrupt your creativity at any cost.

All of my children are very creative. We were always poor, but no one ever kept us from dreaming.

And especially the homemakers of this century need to be free to recreate the home. The devil cannot bind you.

Throw off this idea of a spotless house and no home cooked meals.

Fight for the life of God within you. Feed the soul of your home and give it purpose.

Live out of your homes, not the grocery stores.

Live from the inner courts of your temples. Touch God with your hearts of womanhood. Build temples for Him that His will would be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

About Compost

I never throw my potato peelings in my garbage. I always take them to my garden. I will spread them around the bottom of my tomato plants. I have a lot of peelings in the summer. Like lately, we had corn and I put all the corn shucks around my pepper plants. This way, it keeps the weeds down and the moisture in.

But, no, I don’t make compost the way you should. I guess I never have gotten around to it. I have a compost pile in the middle of my garden. It is made of 4 poles that stick in the ground with chicken wire around it. In it, I throw old weeds and stuff and some peelings. But you are supposed to stir it and I don’t. But I won’t put any of my weeds out to the trash because eventually they will decompose. We have so many limits on how much garbage we can get rid of, so I never throw anything out that will decompose on its own.

This spring, planting time really caught me this year a day late and a dollar short. Normally, I would have bought some hay to put around all of my tomato plants. And then I stick all kinds of peelings under the hay. It works as a green manure. I do cut down my horseradish leaves and use them as a mulch to lay around my plants. Also, I use the big comfrey leaves as a mulch.

Right about now, some of my herbs are looking spindly. I will go out and cut off the top few inches to dry them for tea. But the bottom part, I will cut off to the ground and I will throw this around my vegetable garden plants. Then the herbs will grow back up again before fall and I will cut them again to dry. Well, it depends on which herb. Some won’t grow back; some will. But, like, my mint in the front yard is about 3 feet high. I will cut that down to about a foot high and it will grow back up.

But I need the mulch. Around here, we always get a drought in about August. So I want to get all my plants well tucked in with mulch before that. We have had alot of rain lately, so when I put all the cut mint and peelings around my plants, it will keep the moisture in the ground and I won’t have to water during August. See, ya want deep root systems for your vegetable plants.

I take, like, watermelon rinds after we have had a watermelon, and I turn the rinds upside down so that the peeling is up, and then I tuck these around my plants. If you don’t have the backside of the rind up, then you just get a bunch of flies in your garden and a big mess. Also, if you have a lawn mower that catches your grass, well, you are the most fortunate of all. All of that nice cut grass can be put in your garden as a mulch. If I see the neighbors haul their grass clippings to the front for garbage pick up day, then I ask if I can have it and I put it on my garden. Because you have to keep this up all summer with the mulch around your plants. But by the end of July, your garden will look like it has a brown carpet on it … no weeds just plants. And, of course, your soil will become so rich and good after years of gardening this way.

We used to raise rabbits. Oh, mercy! Rabbit manure is pure gold to a garden. You can even use it fresh; it won’t burn the plants.Now, cows’ manure, etc … you have to let that age before putting it on your gardens. But I put anything on my garden that will decompose. Even old rugs that I am sick of, I will use them to make a garden path. Eventually, they decompose.

When our kitty was little, we used cat litter for a while. Now he goes outside. But I would put the old cat litter in my compost pile. Well, it’s not a real compost pile, but it serves its purpose for now. But, ya know, after you do that, be sure to pull weeds and put that on the top. Otherwise, you would have flies and all kinds of bugs. But you should see the red raspberry plants that have grown where my compost pile used to be. Well, they are only about 3 years old, and I pruned them down last fall (cut them back to encourage growth.) Well, they are bearing beautiful red raspberries now and the branches (canes) are about 6 feet high. I know it was the cat litter that helped them to grow. Later, we moved the compost pile and now, the dirt under it is really rich and fertile.

I made red raspberry jam yesterday. I may make some more today. Actually, I planted the red raspberries in the first place mainly for the leaves. I dry them for the winter tea. This tea is a good remedy for any female problems.

Another thing I have done in the midsummer is put newspaper around my plants, especailly cabbage plants. I just tuck it around really good so it won’t blow away. I think the newsprint helps to keep the bugs away. And cabbage, if ya dont watch it, will get eaten up with bugs and worms before you catch it. Also, I put the hot red pepper flakes on the cabbage plants to keep the bugs away. I won’t use any bug poisons on my garden or anywhere in my yard.

Also, Kitty eats rabbits if they try to come into my garden. Kitty should earn his keep and he does it proudly.

Papa’s Gravy

I always ask Papa things like “Why do you love me?” and “What would you miss that I make for you if I were to pass on before you?” Well, Papa cooks, too, and he can probably outcook me in a lot of areas. But Papa always says if anything ever happened to me, he would sure miss my gravy, because he can’t make gravy and he loves it. And I love stirrin’ Papa’s gravy in the evenings for supper.

Most household chores are full of running from room to room, picking up this and that and rushing back to check supper in the oven. But stirrin’ gravy is different. You have to stay there and stir. It’s always been a peaceful time for me. If Papa were to go on before me, I would be too heartsick to ever make gravy again.

If it has been a few days and we have had things like soup or stews, Papa will start to hint about gravy. I make all kinds. Whatever meat we have, I make gravy with it. For suasage gravy, I just fry sausage and then take the meat out of the pan. I leave in a few tablespoons of the grease.

Stop the press — I forgot to say something!!!!!!

I wouldn’t make Papa gravy in a Teflon skillet for all the tea in China, or aluminum or whatever. No. I have an old cast iron skillet that was my grandmother’s, and that is part of the ritual. If ya want good gravy, go to a sale and buy an old cast iron skillet.

So back to the story. I leave in the skillet about 2 tablespoons of the grease. And then I mix in about 4 tablespoons of flour … mix that in the grease. It should look doughy, sort of dry, not greasy. Then you mix in about 3 cups of milk and start stirrin’. As you stir, loosen the sausage from the bottom of the pan with your spoon. Stir it all up until it bubbles and becomes thick. If it’s too thick, add more water or milk — whatever. And then, I season the gravy with salt and coarsely ground pepper. Then, of course, put the sausage back in the gravy. Make some biscuits and there ya have it.

But I don’t go by a recipe to make gravy. Asking me for a recipe for gravy is like asking someone how they play the piano by ear. It just comes to them. And making gravy just comes to me. I make it with love and Papa always loves it. Well, the children do, too. Red eye gravy is just ham gravy, made just like sausage gravy, with a squirt of ketchup in the middle after it is done. The ketchup looks like a red eye starin’ at ya. Eeeek.

Well, duty calls.

Back to Basics

Dear Mothers,

Jim just went to work and Mary and I are getting our day started. I am making homemade macaroni and cheese for us for lunch, and then Jim will eat some when he gets home from work. I just simply boil the macaroni and when its done, I drain and rinse it, and then put it back in the pot. Then I just throw in some velveeta cheese and about a half stick of margarine, a bit of milk, then I heat it up until the cheese is melted and mixed in and the margarine. No big deal.

Before I started to write, I made a glass of iced tea. I just boil some water and then put some tea bags in it. When it’s the right color, I just take the tea bags out and put the tea in my glass and add ice. Also, I add some lemon balm from my garden, just fresh. No big deal. If I am around the lemon balm, I use that, but if I am letting the cat out the front, I would grab the mint and use that in my tea. I love any of the mints in my ice tea. I just use it fresh, just wad it up in my hands to get the tea oil to flow and then I wash it over the kitchen faucet and just throw it in my glass. It’s delicious.

I do splurge when I buy tea. I love the Lipton, as opposed to the cheaper brands, and it’s cheap at the Dolllar Store … I think just two bucks for a box of 100 tea bags. Usually, I will use the generic brand of most things. But not tea. I could make sun tea but don’t want to wait all day for it to get done. It’s fun, though, and I love to walk by a house in the summertime with sun tea sitting outside on the step. I may make some today. But in the day to day, I just make it a glass at a time.

Most of my back to the land ideas are very simple and don’t take a lot of time. I guess I blend in homemade with store bought. But I try to do most things from scratch.

My friend Charlotte stopped in last evening for a visit and I served some homeade banana cake. “I suppose you have REAL bannanas in this cake.” I said “Oh sure.” I mean, the cake was fun to make. It was from the Hillbilly cookbook that Sybil sent me from the hillbilly site. But the cake wasn’t hard to make, and I made a big 9 by 13 pan. I won’t make a cake that is small in a 9 inch pan. I mean, why do all that work for so little? Mine was almost all eaten last night. Jim came home from work and ate some, and then Mary and I. I sent some home to Char’s family. What is left will be eaten today.

The old time mothers used to make a dessert every day. I think this does keep the junk food out of our homes if we have desserts made. And it’s nice to have something special to serve company.

Last evening, it was cooler, so I made coffee for Papa to come home to. But Mrs Charlotte always has hot green tea with her cake. She is so much fun and, oh, we laugh so hard when we get together.

This morning for breakfast, I fried sausage for Papa and then I made gravy from the drippings. Then I had some homemade baking powder biscuits from the day before. I heated them up and served those with the gravy on the top.

Another item I never use the generic brand of is coarsely ground pepper. Papa loves black pepper and I do, too. But I love the looks of the black flecks in the sausage gravy. Also, the black pepper is pretty on the garden fresh tomato plates with the basil leaves laid between the layers of red tomatoes. Another item I have been putting in the milk gravies I make for Papa is a squirt of ketchup. With ham gravy, it’s called red eye gravy.

Storing Knowledge

If I were you, and you aren’t really turned on by back to the land cooking? I would start with something that you are interested in, like making soap. Is that what really flips your trigger? Well, start there, then the rest will come eventually. The Carla Emery book talks about that, too. Now, its very easy. And I just make my soap simply, but since you have more money to spend, you could buy the different fragrant oils to put in your soaps.

You were saying that it’s hard for you to grow anything. Well, maybe you could start an herb garden in your home with pots. Maybe start them outside now and get them going. Are you interested in home remedies? Maybe you could get some books on this and learn to use your herbs for healing. Now see, cooking triggers me to get on the stick with the rest of my house work. But maybe cooking doesn’t trigger you. Maybe planting herbs does, and it will help you to get into your cooking.

Basil is so easy to grow. I use it a lot when I can it in with our tomatoes. I also use it all summer to put on plates of sliced tomatoes. We love a meal of fresh corn on the cob and sliced ripe garden tomatoes and, of course, whatever else is available in the garden. Like cucumbers, and I love onions. But just plant big pots of basil to keep for cooking. Then later, learn to dry some and use it in your cooking.

I mean, do what back to the land things you like in order to encourage the wisdom within you. One thing will lead to the other, and it’s not work; it’s fun. Wisdom is always a sport, not work. You will see how fun it is. It will tickle funny bones in you that you didn’t know you had. Awaken the woman within you and encourage her to get back up.

Ya know, Mothers … Wisdom is not always knowledge. Wisdom is how you think. All of us are different and have different economic backgrounds, different husbands, and children to deal with. But we need to think through the word of wisdom. We need to put on spiritual wise glasses and see our lives. We need to think with discernment and watch the signs and the times.

We need to be grave and temperate, frugal and knowledgeable in the things that matter in our families. That may mean buying mixes when first bringing a baby home from the hospital. That is just common sense. I mean, the show must go on. The husband is hungry and needs something to eat when he gets home from work. I mean, baby or not, hu? A man is a man, and if he likes mixes, hey, give him one, by all means. But as you are fixing those mixes, try on the side, when you can, to learn to fix something from scratch. But feed the man in the mean time. Don’t sit there and read a book during supper on how to cook from scratch.

Well, duty calls …gotta go.

Love,
Connie H

Back to Basics

The word homestead is a word like bedstead. It just means your home. Bedstead just means your bed. So we all homestead. A lot of times, we refer to this word in the context of the Homestead Act, where you got free land and lived on it and made a home out of it, and then you got to keep it. It was in the 1800’s. All of us do that, to one degree or the other, but our homes aren’t free.

We do need to learn how to live from our homes and not from the grocery store. The Bible women didn’t go to Egypt for their handmade things; they made them themselves. We may need to go to the world to buy the flour and eggs to bake our bread but, really, we should make it at home. We need to make our own things for our own families.

Where to start? Well, I wouldn’t start with soap. I would lay a foundation first and do soap later. I would start out with some paper and a pen, and write down some bread recipes that you want to try and some other back to the basics recipes. And try to start cooking from scratch. This way, you aren’t grabbing stuff out of the air to do, but you are beginning to build a foundation.

Make an oldtime grocery list and then, try to live off of what you wrote down. Like, the old fashioned mothers would have a list that looked like this. Flour, sugar, coffee, tea, baking powder and baking soda. Because you don’t have a garden yet, then you don’t have vegetables in the root cellar, so you would have to buy your vegetables until next year when you can start a garden and can your vegetables and fruits. Also, I live in town, too, and I don’t have a place for chickens, so I have to buy eggs and frozen chicken. Also, other kinds of meat. So I have to add meat and eggs to my list, too. And, of course, the milk products until we find a source of supply for raw milk.

But, basically, we need to get some good recipes for bread and some other back to the land recipes, then make out a list of staples to buy at the store. In other words, don’t worry about canning until next year in the spring. Just think about building a foundation first, like learning to cook from scratch. Once you are cooking from scratch, then the soap making will fit right in. Also, the sewing and quilting.

One book that really helped me was Carla Emery’s book called The Old Fashioned Recipe Book. When the children were little, I made bread out of anything I could get my hands on. I learned this from Carla’s book. I am sure that she has a website. Now, she was a Christian when she wrote her recipe book, but I guess she is into New Age and all that now. And I think all of this is on her website. But skip that; just get her book of recipes if you can. It’s a big book and pretty expensive. I got mine back in the 1970’s. Then, it was paperback.

But, ya know, now is good time to get some books from the library on back to the basics cooking, and make some plans to live from home. Fall is coming up. Find some good recipes for homemade soups and stews that you want to try. But just plan for Fall and Winter for now.

In the fall, the old time mothers, of course, were very busy storing their fruits and vegetables away for the winter. But then in the winter, after chores, they read and dreamed of their new spring vegetable gardens and fruit trees. They would send away for garden catalogs and then order their seeds.

The winter was a time to rest and dream and get ready for spring planting. So just wait until this winter to plan a garden … don’t worry about that right now. Also in the winter, the country mothers did a lot of sewing and crafts. They made many Christmas gifts for loved ones. And after Christmas, like Peggy says in her writings, she just stays home and does her sewing and crafts, until winter is over.

Don’t try to think of all of this at once. The old time mothers just did things in their seasons. It is the season now for some of you to clean out your pantries and get ready to live an old fashioned lifestyle. To build a foundation for good works. To get rid of all of these worldly mixes and junk that keeps you from creating things with your hands. Give it to someone that needs food, maybe at your local church. I mean, the street people need packaged things as they don’t have a place to cook.

But private wives should be cooking happily in the kitchen their husbands have provided for them. A woman who cooks at home is so sexy to her man. Can’t ya just see her coming in, laden with vegetables from her garden, barefoot and hopefully pregnant, long skirt, with hair tied back with hairpins and flowers tucked in the sides. I used to always wear flowers in my hair … I need to do that again. Even with a head covering, you can tuck flowers in the side. A mother at home, cooking and baking in her long cotton skirt, is such a sight to behold.

We mothers are not meant to blend in with the world. We are private wives, and our homes should be private. We need safe places to dream and create, and to learn in silence and submission to our husbands. We shouldn’t be intimidated by other women or anyone outside of the realm of what our husbands have needed.

And, ya know, that includes me too? I don’t expect you to go along with me on all things. If my teaching fits, then wear it. See, the feminists hate what I write. They want to get the woman out of her husband’s grasp. They have always wanted neighborhood kitchens and daycare. They want to own you. This is the difference. I don’t want to own you. I want to deliver you to your husband and back to your children. I want to be a midwife to you who helps you to birth in the spirit what you need to do to get back home. I am a helper and not an end in myself. I want no glory. I just want to help you to glorify your Lord and your lord. I do fall at times and I worry that my teachings are not being received. But that is my problem, and I need to buck up and get over it, and just write what the Lord says WRITE. Right?

I guess this place of Titus woman teacher is a bit hard for me to swallow at times. I can’t seem to fill her shoes, because I wear no shoes at all most of the time. I know at times I cause the older Titus women who have gone before me to twirl in their graves. God help us all. But I do think that some of these worldly things that we have in our kitchens are cursing us. The feminist movement is the ones who love all the convenience foods and packaged mixes.

Ya know what? Feminism is such a demon spirit. It’s such an insult to women. It kills her womanly desires. It makes her feel stupid and numb. Packaged mixes … now how hard are they to figure out and put on the table? Do they touch you deep in your spirit? And move you to good works?

I mean, the modern woman grieves a grief she can’t understand, because her gifts that have been cultivated in her for centuries are supposedly no longer needed. She feels lost. The most horrid bottom line is the lie that is told to her that her breasts and womb are not important. I mean that’s like telling a man his penis is not of any value. Hey now. Can you imagine what that would do to a man? That would weaken him as a man, because most family men have strong sex drives, and this is what makes them do the good works that they do. Of course, they too have been mighty oppressed by the feminist movement, but nothing close to the woman’s oppression.

The woman has been told that nothing she has or does is important. Only as she acts and becomes like a man is she of any importance. And this is killing many women’s spirits. Many just decide its too hard, and they take on the spirit of a man. And yet, underneath it all, they are grieving beyond what we can imagine. They have a hurt that they can’t name. Well, I can name it for ya …it’s feminism.

I have dealt with this and know in the spirit what I am writing about. You really can’t get rid of that demon by a set of rules of doing this and that. I mean, it takes association with a true Titus mother. Or, if you can get ahold of the wisdom I write about, you would be home free. But feminism is a spirit, and a set of rules and recipes won’t get rid of it.

I am a poor example of the Titus mother. I say that in truth. But I am learning too. I don’t have all the answers. I have some of the truth. And I do know that feminism is a demon spirit. I mean, when Dixie got set free of it, she was unreal. You could stand next to her and you would want to go back home and cook until you couldn’t see straight. She would often rebuke feminism from me that I didn’t even know I had. I sure felt better afterwards. I would get insulted at first, because I hated feminism. But it is a spirit that is out there, like a disease. It’s a plague in the land.

Happiness comes as we take our places as women in our kitchens and gardens. Many of you say that you long for the old ways. Well, that is the Lord’s spirit calling you. Don’t you love it … the feelings of wisdom? That is the Holy Spirit calling you to wisdom.

Now hold on to that and let Him call you further and further into His heart. This is a path of miracles. This is what opens your heart of motherhood. It opens your spiritual wombs to receive the power of virtue, and you receive strength to conceive a seed like Sarah. You begin to give birth in the spirit and in the flesh. But you must retain this spirit of womanhood to bring any fruit forth. You protect your seeds until they bring forth miracles.

Luanne, you were saying that most of the back-to-landers were not Christians. Oh, I know what you mean. But it’s just that Christianity hasn’t had the older woman teachings. I think that many of the Eastern religions recognize the female side of the spirit. Modern Christianity has thrown women out all together. The Catholic sisters on this group probably have no problem understanding my teachings on wisdom.

Country Mothers

Back in the old days, in the summer time, well, ya know, it was the Mothers who made the house look pretty, especially in the front yard.

The foundation on the front of our house has looked a bit tattered for the past few years. Papa has to fix it. But I have tiger lillies planted all across the front bottom of the house to hide the foundation. I have many old fashioned flowers in my yard. I especially love the tall holly hocks. I have pink ones that grow all over my side yard, next to the dark purple yarrow. I have yarrow growing in the front, too.

But the old time country mothers always delighted their families in the summertime with flowers.

When the children were little, we would go for a walk after supper and before bedtime. We would admire the neighbors’ vegetable gardens as we would walk by. But we especially noticed and enjoyed the flowers. We always noticed that the poorer folks had the prettiest flowers. It seemed that this was their joy in the summertime … their flowers. And the flowers would look like proud children with smiles on their pretty faces, all standing in a row dressed for a party.

My Mary, when she was … oh … about 5 yrs old, went for a walk with her Aunt Kriss through her flower gardens. “Mary knew the names of all of my flowers. I was so surprised,” Kriss told me later. Mary always loved flowers and still plants flowers every spring.

Usually about this time of the year, early July, I would plant more flowers for the Fall. Zinniahs and marigolds will last well into the fall in Iowa. Sometimes, I would cut the purple irises down to the ground after they had bloomed and then put new dirt over the top, then I would plant the Zinniahs.

The children always got a kick out of those 10

 
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