Sunday, December 17, 2017

Home Made

pt 2 Frugal Housewives

And we housewives back in the 1960s wud save all of our tin cans and
jars.. You can bake a whole loaf of bread in a tall juice can.. Then if you
are in a hurry to get supper on after a full day of can just
throw away all of your bread pans {cans} and not worry about it..i have
wanted to try putting pumpkin bread in a wide mouth canning jar and bake it
like that..Then when the jar is cooled but still warmish you can screw a
canning lid on the top and store it away like this..i spose you wud use the
pint jars with the wide mouth..i can imagine that wud make some moist
bread..i used to make a peanut butter bread,,It was a quick bread,,made
with baking powder not yeast..The family liked it..i will see if i can find
a recipe for that..i wud love to make it again,,Well Ladies i will go for
now..Have a Happy Housewifery Day.. love connie

Housewifery and Punk Rockers

Dear Mothers,

Good Morning. I have enjoyed Mz Violet’s writings. I know you all do, too. She writes so nice and quiet. And me … oh, Lord Jesus, come quickly! It’s all too much for even me and I write it. Yesterday, when I wrote all of that, I was playing with Olivia, 4 years old, and taking care of 6-week-old Olivia Rose. But I am sure the way it read, you probably thought I was chopping meat or something. I vowed today that I am going to write nice and quiet. That’s a tall order for a lion tamer.

Last night in the night, I suffered like a dog, but the Lord delivered me and I am just fine now. If it were not for Jesus Christ, I would be as dead as a doornail. And most people who write don’t write out that they were almost as dead as a doornail the night before. But with me, it is what you see is what you get. In my day, nice ladies never told all like I do. But I just figure with all the falderal out there, I didn’t want to add to it. And, heck, I figure I will only be on the earth about 20 more years, at the most, and then I will leave this earth behind and never look back.

I told the Lord this morning, “Ya know, Lord, I should have never had kids. What was I thinking?” With Jim’s and my genes the way they were and I had 6 children? What a gambler! Most of ’em are halfway alright, anyway. Well, it depends on what you think is alright.

Dan is in this rock band? Well, he is in NYC right now, but is ready to go to Oregon to be with his band. Those punk rockers are a scream. A few days ago, they send me a postcard. I thought, “I get a postcard from the band?” This boggles my mind. Casey, the head of the band, tells me the news. And that Dan will be coming to Oregon and they will all be home for Christmas. Then that evening, Christian Joy calls and Jason got a new accordion over Ebay. Chrissy wanted him to play me a song over the phone. It sounded like he was playin’ the polka all the way from NYC. If I was writing fiction I couldn’t make up a funnier life then this one I live.

And Christian Joy is trying to get into this deal for her clothing designs that she could make a million bucks. Some kids go to NYC to make it big and then they don’t and they come home. My Christian Joy went to NYC and really did make it big. Of course, why not? And on her website is a link to Happy Housewifery? Hello? Don’t ask me — I just live here. And, anyway, Christian Joy says, “Mom, if I get this big deal I am after, then you won’t have to babysit anymore and I will buy you a real computer.” (I have an email machine.) I told her I would babysit, no matter how much money I have. I love children about me.

But ya know the way the punk rockers love me, I just wonder if I will go on the road with ’em? I used to tease them and play the piano and ask them if I could be in their band. They would seriously, with no smile and spiked hair, tattoos, and earrings say, “No way — absolutely no way.” Really, I can’t figure out why punk rockers love me. I think my kids tell them tall tales about Jim and me. Well, maybe some of those tall tales are true?

Well, I have to laugh this morning! For some of you new ladies coming on, “Welcome to my world. Sorry, what you see is what you get.” And I wanna tell you all, too. Aunty Tootie came over the other night to minister to me. I value her friendships so much. I don’t think I could make it without her. Please pray blessings on her today and all of the friends who came to pray with me just lately.


I just love Mz Violet’s writings because they are so soothing. They are a nice balance to my firewater.

One thing I wanted to write about is this. Mz Violet was talking about clothes and ironing and all. In the winter, I like to wear the long skirts with long underwear under them. Well, when it gets really cold, I wear cut off jogging pants under my skirts. I love to go to the Salvation Army and get big sweaters. But on the days I bake, I like to wear sweatshirts with my skirts. An apron fits a lot better over a sweatshirt. But I don’t like the shirt at the bottom to bunch my skirt up. I like for them to lay flat and loose. So I take my scissors and cut the ribbing off the bottom of the sweatshirt. Also I like to wear the shirt sleeves rolled up? So I cut the ribbing off the sleeves, too. Then I roll them up. It makes the shirt look a lot more feminine and it’s more comfortable with an apron. Usually, you can find cute sweatshirts at the second hand store.

Mz Violet, I know you would hem the bottom of the shirt and the sleeves. But you don’t have to, as the material doesn’t unravel. But to hem the bottom would be good practice for some of you ladies to learn how to hem. Just take a needle and thread and sew the bottom edge up. Turn it under twice. If you don’t know how, just ask someone around 40 years old. A package of needles and thread is only about a buck at the Dollar Store. Now see, Mz Violet, I taught my girls and boys to sew and embroider, etc. But a lot of women were never taught this. And some have no idea even how to iron a pillowslip. They have never held an iron in their hands. If a button falls off, they throw the shirt away. So I try to encourage them to do some simple sewing projects. And keep writing on the art of ironing, as we love it.

Another way to make an apron is this. Just go to the Salvation Army and get a cute prairie skirt that you like and cut the back out of it. Cut it on the seams so the seams are already there. And get a cute tie to tie it with and you have an apron.

In the 70s, the housewives used to make jeans skirts. You had one Jill, remember? But you would take an over-sized pair of jeans — maybe some of your husband’s old jeans — anyway, you cut the seams out of the inside part, so it all lays flat. So there isn’t any legs. Anyway, you can sew a panel in there and you have a skirt. Also if you have bib overalls that the top is good but the bottom is full of holes? Just cut the bib part off the jeans and sew a skirt at the bottom. I have a dress like that and I love it.

And you can make a lot of cute things with bandannas. Just hand sew them together and make a tablecloth and use the bandannas for cloth napkins to go with it. Practice sewing buttons on by sewing some cute ones on the napkins.

The 70s Hippy Housewives

Well, the children will soon be here so I should wrap this writing up.

But I learned most of my housewifery in the 70s and, oh, that was a bang up good time. We were sorta rebelling against the stuffy 50s uptight materialism goin’ on in that era. So we became free spirits of the Hippy 70s. It was the Jesus revolution and some of us were Jesus Freaks. Flower children who were nothing if they were not free thinkers. And all of these ideas came into our homemaking.

My own mother could have killed me for the way I did my curtains. Well, come to think of it, she still could kill me for not measuring my curtains. “If I buy you new curtains, will you put ’em up right?” she told me just about a week ago. Well, heck, the Hippies just put anything up for curtains. A dish towel or a flowered old fashioned tablecloth. They were back to the landers who decorated with canning jars. I hated Tupperware then and I still do and I put everything in glass jars.

Tony, Jill’s son, is 32 and loved his childhood days when his mom was a Hippy Housewife. He remembers her hanging clothes on the line and she wore her long flowered skirts. He says he won’t marry a girl until he finds a girl like his mom was. Tony would pray for his mom in later years to get her long hair back and be like a hippy again.

There was a real godliness about those housewives in that era. Many wore the long skirts and the bandannas on their heads. Actually, they are in style now, too. Christian Joy tells me the 70s style is in! In NYC, you can’t hardly find any 70s things in the second hand stores, as they are all taken. When Chrissy was here, she bought up a lot of Hippy things here to take back to friends. Chrissy loved the Hippy way I dressed, too, when she was growing up. We always go to the Salvation Army when she comes to town. The daughter in laws, too, will go with us. And Chrissy said the last time we went, “Mom, I love you in the long skirts and boots and shawl around your shoulders.”

Of course, about anything goes, as far as style, now days. So you may as well wear what ya like. Folks who need a certain label on their clothes to feel important, I think, are pretty shallow in their thinking. Some of my kids have to have a label but they get good and laughed at by Dan and Chrissy.

Well, I better hit the road — the children are coming.


Sewing Doll Clothes

When I was a little girl, I loved my dolls. And this is where the homemaking spirit was first established in my life. I even told my mother once that I thought my one doll could breath. I had many baby dolls and, also, I had many what we called Story Book Dolls. These were little lady dolls and were not to play with. These dolls were just to look at. And my Aunt Lilly would crochet beautiful long dresses and smart hats for these dolls and matching purses, crocheted around a penny for the bottom of the purse.

Most women back in the 50’s who were housewives had an ongoing sewing project. Some of the women liked to do hand sewing the best. And some did more with their sewing machines. We little girls made a lot of hot pads for our mothers with the little square weaving looms? The stores still have them today. They are a fun craft for children. And you can make a lot of them and sew them together and make, like, a throw rag rug or place mats. But the women back then made a lot of knick-knacky stuff just for the sake of making something pretty.

One year for Christmas, my mother and my aunt bought a set of twin dolls for me and my cousin Diane. The Mothers just bought two dolls the same and called them twins. So I had two dolls the same and Diane two dolls the same. They were baby dolls so one didn’t have long hair like a girl — they were exactly alike. Anyway, Mom and Lilly got out Mom’s treadle sewing machine and spent the afternoon at our home sewing doll clothes for the two sets of twins. Boy and girl clothes for each set of twins. They also made pillows and mattresses and dolls’ blankets. Mother would cut out her material for a while and get ready to sew as Lilly used the machine. Then Lilly would be done and Mom would use the machine. They went back and forth like this all afternoon. Diane and I played in the floor with our dolls. Mom and Lilly just used old sewing scraps to make our doll clothes and accessories. Later on, Dad got home from work and everything had to be put away to start supper. But the few hours Mom and Lilly had to sew made a lot of doll clothes for Diane and me.

Now, to make simple doll clothes is not hard. Just get out some paper and draw a pattern. Just draw a dress and make it the same front and back. Sew the 2 pieces of cloth together and then hem it up. In the back by the neck, just cut a slit to get the dress on over dolly’s head. Then cut a hole on the slit for a button hole and sew a button on the opposite side. Then just hem the sleeves and the cut in the back. Mother always made her own button holes. Just cut a hole with your scissors. Then sorta hem the button hole? Mom would do the loop stitches around the button hole. I don’t remember Mom ever doing anything but that when she made button holes. With doll clothes, you don’t have to have them fit just right or make tucks and so on. Although my mother always did make tucks and gathers to fit the doll. But when I have made my girls doll clothes, I just did it very simply.

And it is a good idea if you are trying to think of a Christmas present for your daughter? Maybe you could buy two dolls just alike and call them twin babies.

Also, when I was a child, we would make cradles out of the round oatmeal boxes. We laid the box on its side and cut the middle part out for the baby to lay down. Then the box would rock, as you rocked it on its side, for baby doll. You could get real fancy with this and paste pretty cloth on it, and lace. I did this for Mary one year for her little Christmas doll. Well, I guess I have made many of these oatmeal box cradles, as I made them for Christian Joy, too, when she was little. We used to paste buttons on toys, too, with homemade paste.You could paste the buttons on the head of the cradle to fancy it up. We would just make household glue with water and white flour. Just make a paste out of it, stirring it up.

Mother’s Sewing Basket

Ya know, in the old days, the Mothers sewed all their families’ clothes. And when a garment would get a hole in it, the holes were patched.

I raised my first 3 children in the 1970’s. And, ya know, back then the boys just had about 2 pairs of jeans “for good” that they wore each week. Little boys love to play in the floor and the knees to the jeans often wore out long before the rest of the jeans did. So I had to patch their jeans. Then, if it was a big patch, the jeans would just be for play, not for school. Then the stores came out with the iron on patches, and they were nice, and the boys could wear these patched jeans to school. But most of the mothers sewed back then and we all had to do mending. There wasn’t the garage sales, etc. like they have now, or the second hand stores. I mean, there were a few. But once you bought your children’s clothes, you took really good care of them. And we always mended socks and underwear.

Soap for the Winter Home

I am up early this morning. It’s not quite so cold today here in Iowa. I have the kerosene burner on to take the chill off the house.

Mary and Brandon were here last evening. Mary said “Oh, Mom, this house was my first home and I miss the way you decorate for fall. I miss seeing the pumpkins and the orange candles.” I hope my home inspires her to go home and decorate her home for Fall. On my table, I have a plastic tablecloth with the farm animals on it. In the middle, I have a narrow cloth runner with bright pumpkins on it. The runner goes the length of the table. And on the runner, I have my kerosene lamp and a pumpkin. Also a big yellow squash and a dark orange one. Then my salt and pepper shakers and red enamel sugar bowl. Also orange scented pumpkin candles. I pray that our home did inspire Mary to decorate for Fall.

I used to start decorating for Thanksgiving in October. It’s a time to harvest the blessings of the Lord.

Also yesterday afternoon, I made soap. I wanted to make it, then write about it. I haven’t made it in a while so wanted to make sure I still could. It all turned out nice. I make it very simply with just lye, lard and water. The recipe is 4 pounds of lard, a can of lye, and 3 quarts of water. I made laundry soap and hand soap. For the laundry soap, I added a few cups of the dry soap powder from the store, and for the hand soap, I added spices and herbs.

But, OK, to make the big batch, I used a big enamel turkey roaster, big enough for a 25 pound turkey. Ya gotta use enamel or a big huge glass or crock bowl. Because if ya use aluminum or cast iron, the lye will eat a hole in the pan. So I had my big pan out and I put in the room temperature lard and the can of lye and the 3 quarts of water — cold water. Ya want the lard and the water at about the same temperature. But I just guess at it. I don’t even dissolve the lye in the water first and then add the lard. I just throw it all in and stir. Ya can’t go wrong with it.

I laugh at all the hard instructions I read on making soap. Like, they tell ya to wear rubber gloves and wear goggles. I ain’t gonna fly a plane — I just wanna make soap. Anyway, I don’t do any of that nonsense. But don’t make soap, either, when the kids think they can help ya. You would be mighty sorry if the baby got into it or got it in her eyes or mouth. So do all of this when the children are out of the way, asleep or outside. I make soap when I have plenty of time, a lot of work space, and no interruptions. If the lye gets on your hands, it will burn a little, but it won’t kill ya. Just rinse it off. But, no, don’t get careless with the lye. I got lots of lye on my hands yesterday. But just rinsed it off, no big deal.

Anyway, after you put the mixture of 4 pounds of lard, 3 quarts of water and the can of lye in the pan, then just carefully stir it up. Use like a wooden spoon or a plastic one. I used an enamel spoon. Just stir this mixture until it is the consistency of honey. Stir in one direction and don’t, like, beat it or it will curdle. Just stir it carefully. I am real patient at this point. I stir for about 10 minutes and, if it isn’t thickening, I will let it rest a while. Then I will go back to stirring it.

For the spice soap, I just put some of the soap mix in a square glass casserole dish. Then I added the spices. I put an orange peel in the blender and ground this up and put this in the soap. Then I put in ground cloves, about 3 Tbs. And about the same of cinnamon and ginger. I just stirred this up and let it sit now in the glass pan. Never beat it — just gently stir it.

I also took a pie plate and made a lavender soap. I just put dried lavender and ginger in this. If you use herbs, they have to be dried first. So I just left this all in the pie plate to dry.

In a few hours, the soap will begin to dry, and then just cut it like you want it and forget it for a few weeks. Now it has to rest and ripen.


OK, so I have the biggest share of the soap mixture still in my turkey roaster. With this, I will make the laundry soap. To this soap mixture, I added 2 cups of the powdered laundry soap from the store. I used Trend. Just stir it in.

Now, last night, I cut this soap up in the roaster and will just let this ripen now. But this will give me about enough soap to do 24 wash loads. And this will last me a long time. Because this soap I will just use for cotton white underwear or any wash load to use hot or warm water. Like for towels and bed sheets and blankets. Then I just use a cheaper soap for dark clothes or permanent press.

To use your homemade laundry soap, you just take out a square and put it in the blender with water and make sure it is ground up good. Then just add this mixture to the wash cycle. But note that you can’t use this soap for about 2 or 3 weeks after you make it. It has to set. So be sure to cut it when it firms up, and then put it all up away from the pets and the children, and let it ripen. Then, in a few weeks, you can use it. And if you can’t get the soap to thicken, don’t worry about it. Just throw it all in a 5 gallon plastic bucket and use it as a liquid wash soap.

Mine has always thickened. But I don’t cut my soap like I would like it. It all just takes practice.

Pickles, Soap, and Blender Ketchup

Wow, it is actually cold this morning. We were in that horrid heat spell for so long and nearly roasted. And now, as I stand here, I am in some warm sweat pants and a long sleeved sweater. I am actually cold. I bet it got to almost 40 last night and, before that, it was days in over 90 degree heat. What a change in the weather!


Well, anyway, I must write about pickles. This year, I bought cucumber plants instead of seeds? And I shouldn’t have, as I wasn’t being careful or watching what I was buying. Anyway, I have ended up with those long skinny cukes in my garden? These are good to eat, as they have fewer seeds. But I made the bread and butter pickles with them last year and they ended up mushy. For pickling, you need the old fashioned cukes. Anyway, I will just change my recipe a bit, and I will be ok with the cukes I have. I usually bring my cukes to a boil in the syrup on the stove. But with these new cukes, you can’t get them that hot. So I will just put my sliced cukes in jars and then pour the syrup over them, and this will be fine. I have already made dill pickles this year and they were good and not mushy. So my pickles I will make today will be fine.

I am just getting a few cukes at a time and, today, I will make a few jars of bread and butter pickles. I will just take a big bowl and slice up the cukes. Also, you put in onions and green peppers. You cover these with salt water and let set for a few hours. Then I will rinse them off and drain them. Then I will take some jars and fill them with the cukes, onions, and peppers … then I will pour the syrup over them and then and put a ring and lid on. They will seal from the heated syrup. I won’t water bath can them as the pickles would go to mush. The old fashioned cukes wouldn’t, but the kind I have would.

Well, my syrup is like this. Put in a pan on the stove 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of white vinegar. The spices are a tablespoon or 2 of mustard seed, a fourth teaspoon of turmeric. Just bring this to a boil and put this over the cukes you have in your jars. Push the pickles down so that the syrup covers the pickles. Seal them while they are hot and the lid will seal. Be sure to put a few glass canning jars and rings and lids on the stove in water to boil, to make sure they are sterile. And use these while they are hot to make sure your lids seal.

Also, I have made a lot of corn cob syrup in my day. If you are freezing corn on the cob, and you have a bunch of cobs left from cutting the corn off, just take all the naked cobs and put them in a big pan and boil them for a few hours. Then take the corn out of the pan and throw the cobs on your garden compost pile. Then measure your water you have left in the pan. If you have a quart of water, then throw in that much sugar … a quart. Then just stir it and boil it until it makes a syrup. We used this syrup on pancakes.

Any of this that I write is off the wall, I know, and I don’t use many recipes. So just ask questions about this stuff if ya wanna know something.

Also with this corn cob syrup, you could make jelly if you are rich enough to buy Sure Jell. It’s about the same recipe, but it’s like 3 cups of sugar and 3 pints of corn water and Sure Jell. Oh boy, me and my recipes! Sorrry!!! Well, whatever I used to make it like jelly, if it didn’t thicken up, I just told the kids it was pancake syrup. Whatever works. And if my jelly didn’t thicken at all and was watery? I used it to make bread. Well, it was plenty sugary and fruity, and the kids just ate it and went on about their business.

I wanted to also put down my soap recipe. Ok. Well, you know me and recipes.

Ya know, the old time mothers made soap in the fall, as that was hog butchering time. They used the lard from the hog to make soap. Back in my old days, someone had butchered a hog and gave me 5 pounds of lard. And usually, I made soap when someone gave me lard.


Ok, so for soap, I was such a rascal makin’ soap. You are supposed to dissolve the lye in the water and then carefully add the lard. But just to be funny, I added the dry lye to the lard just to see what would happen. And it didn’t make a smack of difference. So I decided to be less a rebel and add the lye to the water as I was supposed to. So here is my recipe.

It’s just 4 pounds of lard, 1 can of lye, and 3 quarts of water. Make sure the lard is at room temperature. Dissolve the lye in the water in an enamel water bath canner. Then carefully add the lard to the liquid. DON’T DO THIS WITH CHILDREN ABOUT. Just stir the soap, going in one direction … don’t beat it, Annie, or it will curdle. Don’t splash it all over the place … just be careful with it. Stir it until it gets to the consistency of honey. Then have some flat cardboard boxes lined with wax paper ready — or even some glass baking pans would work — to let the soap set up in.

Now, after the soap starts to get thick, then sort of score it. Just start to cut it in bars … just cut half way. You do this so it will be easier to cut once it dries up and gets hard. Let it all set for about a month before using it … it needs to season.

I used an aluminum pan once to make soap, and the lye started to eat a hole in my pan? So you have to use like an enamel pan to make the soap in. And my recipe makes a lot of soap. So the big enamel canners would do good for this. The enamel canners are the ones that are usually black or dark blue with the white speckles? And stir your soap with the fanny paddle? A wooden spoon … a long one? If you splash the soap on yourself, it’s ok … just wipe it off with a wet rag. I mean right away.

Once, I made this soap and made some of it into face soap. I added oatmeal to about half of it and used the other half for laundry soap. But, anyway, I put the oatmeal soap in a glass baking pan to harden up and, had I not caught Dan, he would have eaten a piece. He thought it was oatmeal bars. So make sure you keep this stuff up from the kids and the cats and dogs. My dog would never eat this, but my cat may.

After you make this soap, put it away in a cool safe place to dry and season. One time, I made this recipe and couldn’t get it to set up. I made it probably on the wrong side of the moon. (Aunt Toot shakes her head and rolls her eyes when I talk about making things by the moon.) But, anyway, I had a big cheap box of laundry detergent, and I threw that in until my soap thickened. Wow, that made the best laundry detergent one could imagine! And it lasted a long time … it was great. I would just take a bar and run it threw my blender to make sure it was good and dissolved in hot water. Then I would put it in the wringer washer.

This soap of mine can’t be used for laundry in cold water. You have to just use this for a hot wash. Like if you are using cloth diapers, this would work great. Make sure you get all the soap out of the diapers. If I wanted to get my whites really white? I would put bleach in my blender, dissolve the laundry soap in the bleach, and throw this in the washer. I am tellin’ ya, I got my white socks and underwear so white, we had to wear sunglasses to look at it. (Kidding)

I tried to use this soap on my dog when she had fleas, but it didn’t work. But the Kumbacha tea worked. You all should make that — it’s great! My dog is dead now but lived to be 15. My dog never lacked for tea, let me tell ya, and that dog was very clean, indeed.

Ok, to make goat milk soap, I just substitute a quart of goat milk for a quart of the water. So it was 1 quart of milk and 2 quarts of water, instead of 3 quarts of water. You can make herb soap out of this recipe. But be sure to dry the herbs first.

Now, you can buy lard at the store for cheap. I think around here, it isn’t even a buck a pound for fresh lard. You could make it with the white shortening, too. I knew a woman once who made her soap this way.


Well, I used to make this at the end of the garden season in the fall. I would can all my other tomatoes or freeze them. Then with the end of the garden tomatoes, I made ketchup. Actually, I would say it’s more like a relish? Jim eats it on everything, from fried potatoes to scrambled eggs to hot dogs to hamburgers … he loves this stuff.

Ok, ya just wash and core about 8 pounds of tomatoes. This would be about 16 regular sized tomatoes, more or less … it doesn’t matter. Also, cut up some onions (just a few) and green peppers. Just cut them up and make sure they are clean. You don’t have to peel tomatoes. Then blend them up using the white vinegar for the liquid. Just blend it all up. I keep part of the vinegar in the blender as I work, and so I have plenty of the liquid to keep on blending the tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

Once this is done, I put it on the stove to boil. Now, this will foam up. So scoop the foam off and throw this out to the garden. So after you have boiled this a bit and scooped most of the foam off, then add 3 cups of sugar, 3 tablespoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of mustard seed, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. You could add some ground cloves and allspice, but I don’t. I add some garlic and black pepper, and celery seed if I have it.

Anyway, I make all of this in a big turkey roaster. I make it, at the beginning, on top of the stove, then I bake it in the oven on a low temp all day until it thickens. Boy, does the house smell good with this stuff in the oven. I then can this ketchup and it makes about 5 pints. You could freeze it in plastic margarine containers.

Our tomatoes are just now turning red. So I will have a lot of them pretty soon. So I think I will make my ketchup early, as wild man will eat a lot more this way then any other way. I don’t make salsa, as Jim wont eat it.

I will make tomato sauce, too. I just blend the tomatoes with onions, peppers, and spices … garlic, etc. … salt, and a bit of sugar. I don’t put the liquid in my blender. I just squeeze some tomatoes in it, and then blend up the peppers and onions and the rest of the tomatoes in the liquid. I don’t add water. Well, then I just bake all of this for the day to make a sauce. If the tomatoes don’t thicken, just add a big can of tomato paste from the store. You can freeze all of this in freezer bags. You can make spaghetti sauce out of it, or BBQ sauce, or whatever you need. I use a lot of this for winter soups and stews. It’s handy to have for about anything we eat. And if you don’t have time to make the sauce now, just freeze the tomatoes and make the sauce later in the fall.

I have also pickled some of my green tomatoes with a dill pickle syrup. I always use all of my tomatoes for something. I feel rich if I have plenty of tomatoes.

Papa just brought in a big Hubbard squash out of my garden this morning. It came up as a volunteer, as I had thrown some out to the compost pile last fall. I got stuff out there that I am not even sure of myself. I thought I had pumpkin out there, but I dunno. Something is taking over on Papa’s lawn and I told him to let it grow, whatever it is. It has a lot of orange blossoms on it. No tellin’ what it is.

Pumpkin Craft

I have had a craft idea I dreamed up and I want to try here soon. Ya know, right now the pumpkins in our area are dirt cheap. Jim got me two the other day for a buck apiece. So I just want to have fun with them and let my imagination run wild. I love the smell of pumpkin and I haven’t been able to buy any reasonably priced pumpkin scented candles, so this is what I may do today or at least I will, for sure, tomorrow.

Just slice the side off the pumpkin so that it looks like a boat. Clean it out of the seeds and stuff. Then I want to dig a few holes in the rind with a knife and put the little candles in it. Like maybe three holes and just put the little scented candles in it. I have some left over from other holidays. But, anyway, red candles or green would be fall-like colors.

Then around the candles, I want to put some cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and maybe some bay leaves, and a few pinecones and branches of rose hips. Then, when you light your candles, you would smell a spicey pumpkin smell.

This fall array would last you a few days. It would be nice to make this on a day you will be home all day. And then make a bean soup with ham hock for the family to come home to. Maybe make some homemade bread to go with it or pumpkin spice muffins.

For bean soup, I just take an array of beans and rinse them off, cook them until they boil, then let them set for an hour or so. Then I rinse this water off in about an hour, and then I get fresh water and cook the beans in a pot until they are soft, for atleast a few hours. Then I put in a ham hock or some bacon, and some onion and black pepper and salt. And then I usually throw in tomatoes or a tomato sauce. I use black beans and all kinds of the dried beans … the different colors make it pretty. Then I will put in a slice of green pepper (or yellow) and slices of onion. My bean soup always looks festive and colorful. Also, I will add some cubes of pumpkin. Not a lot — Papa would croak — and he said no black beans this time. So the black beans are out for today.

Now, if ya like black beans like I do, you could cook them in a separate little pot on the stove and put them in your own soup when you serve yourself … maybe the children like them, too. But I will add parsley and garlic and I dunno which other spices yet. I will just look through the cupboard and get creative.

We should be home this morning so I think I will got ahead and make my pumpkin craft.

Also, I always save my seeds and put them in a jar of salt water and let them sit a day. Then I drain them good and roast them in the oven with butter and salt and pepper, and a bit of garlic but … shhhh don’t tell Papa. Our family loves roasted pumpkin seeds.

But I love to use up my pumpkins and the more I use, the more Papa will happily buy me.

Rose Water

Papa just went to work and I am left here to my own devices. We have had so much rain… much more than we have needed. Anyway, all the rain makes the flowers bloom and the grass to grow like crazy.

My Seven Sister Roses are lovely. They have a fragrance like they have never had. I went out and cut long brances of them. I have hung them above the doors in my dining room. They are tiny tea roses on long branches and they are just lovely. But they will dry on the branches. I also hung them around my chandelier light on the ceiling. It’s an old fashioned country light fixture made of wood. See, then the roses will just dry there.

Also, I made baskets of them; they will dry in the baskets. I added, also, my rose hips to the baskets. They will dry there, also. Just use the weaved baskets and set your flowers in there lightly, so they will dry, and then you will have a basket of potpourri. As the summer goes on, I will add other flowers to the baskets, and they will dry there, and are fun to have for the fall and winter. I will put in a few pine cones, too. But you can dry any of the flowers this way. Just stick them lightly in baskets and make sure they have the air circulation that they need.

A few yrs ago, I sent Christian Joy a postcard with red tulip petals taped on the card with the clear contact paper covering it. She loved it and, I think, still has it. But you can use about any of the petals of flowers.

I don’t keep my flower arrangements for more than a year. Yesterday, I cleaned my baskets out and put the old herbs and flowers in the dog house.

My cat loves hiding in there and loves all the dried herbs. He has taken many a lazy summer afternoon nap in those old dried herbs and flowers. My other cat used to hide dead rabbits in there. Wow, did that stink!!! I had to clean it out a lot. But this cat — we call him “Mister” — doesn’t put his dead things in this dog house.

But anyway, yesterday, I made rose water. I had bought an old 1950s crock bean pot at a sale yesterday. It has a little silver like thing that you plug in and it heats up. Then you set the bean pot on the top … it’s smaller than a crock pot. But, anyway, I thought this would be perfect to make the rose water. You could make this in a crock pot, too, but I wanted something separate that I would just use to make potpourri in.

You just fill the pot with roses and pour water over this. Then you simmer it until the water goes down to about half. This should take about all day? I turned it off last night and let it set. Then, this morning, I strained it and put the rose water in a jar.

I will use it for a hair rinse. Or you could use it to cook with. I put cinnamon sticks in mine and made it too dark. This is why I will use it for a rinse. But if you get a light clear rose water you could use it to make cakes or cookies or a rose jam, or drink it like a rose tea.

Don’t use roses that have been sprayed, of course. I don’t use the weed killers in my yard because I have a lot of wild herbs, and I don’t like tea with arsenic in it. Sometimes, if I have the ladies for tea, I will drop a few rose buds in the tea cups … it looks pretty … they are just tiny roses.

After making the baskets of roses and the rose water, my hands smelled so fragrant.

Last night, it rained again. Jim was up in the night checking the ceiling in the kitchen for leaks. As I lay in my bed, I could smell the roses from my rose pot. Later, Papa stood out on the porch and watched the rain. I could smell the tobacco from his cigarette. This smell, mixed with the scent of roses, is the smell of home to me.

Home Made Candles

I had this big, dark green candle. I didn’t really like it, so I melted it down for the wax, making sure I kept the candle part with the wick in the center whole. So it went from a fat candle to a skinny one. I made one candle by putting it in a quart jar. The other half, I put in a little round enamel pan red and white … it is a really old pan … chipped … I had gotten it at a garage sale. It’s probably 1930s? So, while the candle was soft and in the pan, I put pine cones around it, and over the pine cones, I sprinkled whole rosemary and whole cloves. I had dried some of the tiny red hot peppers this summer, and I put those around the pine cones for color. It made the sweetest old fashioned winter candle and it really smells good, too. When Papa got home from work, he saw it and really liked it. It looks very woodsy and back to the land.

Also last evening, before Jim got home from work and had supper, I changed my big table. We have two leaves in our table because of all the family being here. But I will leave it large for Christmas, too. Anyway, I took the Thanksgiving plastic cloth off and put on a pretty old-fashioned Christmas tablecloth, plastic and pretty. It looks a little like the Mary Ingelbert designs. My table now would seat ten, so it’s a long tablecloth.

I get my tablecloths for a song. I only pay about three bucks for them. I get them at the Dollar Stores or wherever. I have to cover my big table in plastic because I use it to work on. My kitchen doesn’t have the counter space, or much space of any kind, so I use my big table to roll out pies and noodles and cookie dough. I use it to do my crafts on and canning, etc. I would be lost without my big table. But I do keep it well covered in at least a couple layers of tablecloths.

Last night, I decorated my table. I put my old fashioned candles on it that I had just made. Then a basket of napkins and, also, a rooster cookie jar that I use for crackers. He is sitting there all proud of himself. But his dark red comb was needed to add a Christmas red to my table. Papa had bought some oranges and bananas and I put them in an old red and white bowl and set them on the table. (Always, the old fashioned families had oranges at Christmas.)

For my paper Christmas napkins, this is what I do. I buy cheap white paper napkins and then some pretty Christmas napkins. I put out just a few of the Christmas napkins and use mostly the white ones. It’s too expensive to use the Christmas napkins all through the season. For Papa’s meals, I give him a nice napkin, and for company. But my kids come in and see napkins on the table and use them for everything. But I can make a nice package of Christmas napkins last for the whole season. Also, I bought the plain red napkins at a sale some place … can’t remember now … but I will use them, too, if I need to — if I run out.

I like to have things out on the table in case Papa wants a snack or whatever. I always have a tall cup of spoons on the table, too. One item I always have on my table is my little sugar bowl. It is an enamel blue and white speckled little pot with a lid and bale handle. It looks really old-fashioned and woodsy.

My son John really drew me out when he was home. He admires the old time ways within me and seems to call me out. Both he and his wife Christine do this to me. John remembers me this way as he was growing up. John’s drawing this out of me is such a gift given to Mother from her children. He held an old treasure in his heart and drew it out and said, “Mom, remember?”

John went into my pantry before he left and started drawing out of there my old pans and jars. “Why don’t ya have this out, Mom? It’s neat”

“Oh, Johnny … Dad doesn’t think I should use stuff like that anymore.”

A Flower Child Apron

I was kind of a flower child in the 1970s and yesterday, I found the neatest hippy dress at a garage sale. It was way too small for me now — it’s like a size 8 or 9 — but I bought it, anyway. I love it. I am going to make a flower child hippy long granny apron out of it. I cant wait! I will just cut it up the back and open it up and cut the sleeves off. I will make a full apron with a bib out of it.

The material is like a brown print with pansys of blue, like a brown calico. It’s cool — oh, so hippy-ish! With the sleeves, I can make the ties for the neck or a head covering to match. The sleeves are wide and long. I may have to sew pieces together for the head covering but thats ok. The skirt part is very long; I think I will have to cut some off the bottom, too. I love the material. I hope to maybe make a dish towel, too, out of the material. Or just take a white dish towel and sew patches of material on it, or like a frame around it of hippy material.

When we go to garage sales, I look especially for buttons. Wow, I would love to find a stash of buttons! I mean the old time ones. I have a few that I have used for hot pads, and for that pad I put on my table to put the cookie sheet on.

When I bought the dress for a buck, Papa told the lady there, “Oh, she will love making something out of that.” Well, this material is so neat, I will use every piece of it for something. It would make a cute material lid with a canning jar ring around it.

Papa is definitely no hippy or flower child. He grew up when Elvis was King, so there is a generation gap between us, even though he is only seven years older than me. I was in high school in the 60s but wasn’t much impressed with the 60s. The 70s were my years to howl.

The 70s is when the Jesus Freaks were really in their glory. Godly submission to your husband was even taught in the churches back then. The Christian women I knew were full of homemaking. Oh, some of those women were so wonderful! I wish they had stayed that way.

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