Monday, September 27, 2010

THERE IS NO MORE HONORABLE PROFESSION THAN FARMING; Annette C. Dimock; Orange Co., Vermont

Second Prize Letter from the "Do You Want Your Daughter to Marry a Farmer" booklet.

Dear Mary: Your letter saying that there is nothing that you "want so much as a chance at farm life with David," makes us very happy.

We have had some quiet amusement over Aunt Florence's objections. From her standpoint, they are natural enough. One is born "rural-minded" or one is not. Her views have been distorted by newspaper, magazine, stage and Government statistics proving (?) the drudgery of farm life. Happily you realize its beauty and value.

Life's values are not measured by such standards as ease of living, fashionable clothes and carefully tended hands. Service makes living beautiful. There is no reason why a farm woman should neglect her personal appearance. Your splendid health and David's, with
your fine ideals for home and community life, would make you shine anywhere.

Both of you love to work and are especially adapted to country living. Your tastes are domestic. Your love for animals and gardening will make you in sympathy with David's ventures in crops and cows. You delight to see the sun rise!

Both of you understand that it is the discipline of the farm, the insistence of its duties, the certainties of its penalties and the great fact that you are working with Nature in the things that make the world go, that make the farmer a broad, self-reliant, forceful individual. Strength is refreshed daily because he is dealing with the elemental facts of life.

David's social instincts match yours. Denied the finest lectures, concerts, dramas, your opportunities will be great for helping to secure worthwhile recreation for a large, scattered, needy group. School and church need your help. I believe with Bailey, that "a man cannot be a good farmer unless he is a religious man."

"The Fellowship of the Productive Life," says Carver, "does not offer the insult of a life of ease, or aesthetic enjoyment or emotional ecstasy. It offers instead, the joy of productive achievement of participation in the Kingdom of God." Read it with David.

Do not be disturbed because you cannot start with all of the labor-savers. Things were shabby when we began. Half the fun of having "things" is in working intelligently for them. You will have a fairly convenient house, running water and a good woodpile! Father jokes about my measuring a man by water and wood but there is more in it than appears.

Your small musical talent enriches your life. Rosalie has real talent. I feel as certain that she should not marry a farmer as that you should--since it is to be David. When she considers marriage, I hope that she may find her husband among one of the other honorable professions. Note the "other." There is no more honorable profession than farming--but each for the niche for which he is best fitted to play his part in the world.

Here comes David. I will let him read this. Blessings on you both.--Your loving mother.

Friday, September 24, 2010

THE STRENGTH OF THE NATION COMES FROM THE SOIL; Mrs. Fannie L. Brundage; Fairfield County, Connecticut

FIRST PLACE LETTER FROM THE "DO YOU WANT YOUR DAUGHTER TO MARRY A FARMER?" CONTEST.

When I compiled The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt, I did not use the first, second or third place winning letters. Today I will post the first place letter in its entirety.

Yes, even in the light of the hard years I have spent upon the farm, I would be willing for my daughter to marry a farmer because I believe in a constructive policy for farm homes and that true happiness is found in well-rendered service. In something so vitally necessary to the growth and progress of our nation as is agriculture, it is wisest for us farmers not to decry our occupation, nor to make mountains of our difficulties and molehills of our pleasures.

The strength of our nation lies in the youth of our land, and, with intelligent care, nowhere can boys and girls be reared to a sturdier manhood and womanhood than on our farms.

If our men are to till our farms to feed the multitudes, side by side with them must be women to help carry on. Who are better fitted than our daughters who can bring to their task understanding hearts?

"Oh," but I hear some one say, "It is such a hard life?" Have you ever known any great work, of brawn or brain wrought by one seeking the "easy job?" The making of happy farm homes is a great work.

Our government is awaking to the fact that the farmer is to be reckoned with in our national policies. Our home demonstration agents are showing us farm women how to make becoming and inexpensive clothing; the automobile is making it possible to do and see many interesting things--and get home for "chores." On many a lonely farm, our club workers are touching the lives of boys and girls, inspiring them with a keen interest in their work and surroundings.

Last, but not least, the farmer is aroused as he never has been and is speaking for himself. When he shall have spoken wisely enough, I hope the great lack in the life of our farm woman today--ready money--will be filled and she will have machinery to relieve the drudgery of her work and opportunity to enjoy some of the niceties of life. It is her due. To such a life I would gladly give my daughter.

I love the country; take a keen interest in farmer folk; admire their sincerity, quick sympathies, and sane and clean thinking. I find true enjoyment in the changing seasons; the spot where the children find the first hepatica; the bird songs; the beautiful colorings of the skies, the refreshing spring water; the feeling of nearness to the Creator of all things good and beautiful.

Because of this and because I am an American Patriot, I should like to pass this legacy on to my daughter's children.

Monday, September 6, 2010

MODERN QUILTING SURVEY; Quilting in America 2010

For the first time on my blog, I will be departing from my usual vintage letters and stories. A lovely quilting friend of mine, Barbara J. from Illinois, sent this survey to me. It is from Creative Craft Groups "Quilting in America 2010." It is a rather extensive survey, so I will just include the highlights.

1. 14% of U.S. households (16.38 million) are home to at least one active quilter.

2. Estimated total dollar value of the quilting industry is 3.58 billion.

3. "Dedicated Quilters" are defined as those households that spend more than $600
per year on quilting-related purchases.

4. The dedicated quilter is:
Female
62 years of age
Well educated (72% attended college)
Affluent ($91,602 household income)
Quilting for an average of 16 years
44% prefer traditional quilts...50% enjoy both traditional and contemporary
styles

5. 85% have a room dedicated to sewing/quilting activities
On average, she has $8,542 of quilting tools & supplies
On average, she owns $3,677 worth of fabric

6. She owns 2.7 sewing machine; 25% own more than 4 machines

7. In the past 12 months, each purchased an average of 93.6 yards of fabric.

8. In the past 12 months, each spent an average of $144.10 on thread.

9. Bought an average of 4.4 quilting books for last 12 months.

10. She subscribes to or reads an average of 4.4 quilting magazines.

11. 91% own a personal computer
73% regularly access the internet
Average 2 hours per week on quilting websites
28% belong to facebook

12. Key Findings:
16.38 million quilting households in the U.S. (down 14% from 2006)
Total number of quilters in the U.S. is 21.3 million (down 23% from 2006)
Average quilting household annual expenditure is up 27% to $216

Really interesting and I thank Barbara for sending it to me.
I will continue "I Glory in my Job," after my new book announcement on September 9th. Bye for now...

Friday, September 3, 2010

I GLORY IN MY JOB!; "Happy in Texas;" part 4; 1932

Lusty appetites must be fed, and the converting of wholesome food into sound minds and sturdy bodies is no child's play. It demands time and thought and energy and imagination. In addition to food, there must be flowers and fresh linen and the wedding silver on my table for I want them to be an integral part of my sons' education. Farm folk need to live as beautifully as any others, and doesn't cost a bit more. It is wholly up to the homemaker.

With the help of my partner I have taken entire care of my babies. I have suffered when they cried, and laughed when they smiled; I have known the discovery of a first tooth, and the pride of a first step. It is to me they bring each baby joy or sorrow, and all the freedom in the world could not mean what their confidence means. Perhaps I shall some day do a lot of my lost adventuring through the eyes of my boys, but have quelled my own wanderlust in order to make the little valley a home that will always bring them back from their wanderings. I am sure that I could not have shared their babyhood with another no matter how efficient or well trained. It has been too precious.

It has not been all roses. There has been thousands of small annoyances like water fights on clean white linen suits and mud pies down the front of rompers that I had worked half an hour to iron. There have been brief spankings and the attendant howls of rage, and the breaking of bits of glass that I particulary loved, like the soft rose beige vase of Brookfield ware. There was one week of zero weather when I took bricks and broke the tiny frozen garments off the clothesline, and there were sleepless nights when both children had whooping cough, and I was sure that they were choking to death before my very eyes. However, there have been plenty of compensations, and I would go through it all again to hear those baby voices saying their "Now I lay me," and to get those good-night kisses. Did you ever hold a baby, all fat and bathed and sleepy and warm, and feel it go limp with the touch of the Sandman? Drudgery? That is Heaven! the heaven of your own creation.

Note: I will continue with parts 5 & 6, in a few weeks.