Friday, December 28, 2018

Victory Menus for Christmas Week, 1918

I have fully participated in the modern food trends of the holiday season. I’ve read the cookbooks, watched the baking shows and the Christmas menu videos, and have eaten my share of it all.
It’s as if we take all the richest, sweetest, most decadent foods we’ve ever experienced and cram them into the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, with nary a memory our first round of decadence at Thanksgiving time. Then we wake out of our stupor on January 2nd, stock up on vegetables, and wonder how we possibly survived on sugar and butter for so long. It’s a wonderful cycle.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

An Amish Schoolhouse Christmas; part 2

...I divided up the chores, with some of them clapping erasers, washing off desks, and emptying trash, while the older boys moved all the desks to one side of the room then back to the other side while the older girls and I swept the floor. A few girls drew pictures on the blackboard and a welcome message for our guests. During the weekly art time in December, the scholars had colored Christmas pictures, made stars from old Christmas cards, glued construction paper chains, and hung paper snowflakes from the ceiling.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Sunday, December 23, 2018

An Amish Schoolhouse Christmas, part 1

Once upon a time, I was a teacher in a most unusual setting. I taught in a little one room schoolhouse without electricity or running water. (Nope, I’m not 120 years old, either.) While not a member of the community, I was the schoolteacher in an Old Order Amish settlement.

The settlement was a new one and very small at the time. It was made up of young, growing families with no one free to take over the school responsibilities. So in an unprecedented move, they looked outside their community, asked around, and offered the job to me, an English (i.e., non-Amish) 20-something. Who could turn down an opportunity like that? Well, apparently, a lot of people could. Not everyone would enjoy spending 8 hours a day in a different culture, teaching children in 8 different grades, and all without modern technology or conveniences. But I couldn’t pass up the chance and that was lucky for me.

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Monday, December 17, 2018

Spending Money to Save Money

I can’t resist reading all the “how to save money at Christmas” articles online during the holidays. Frugal gifts, inexpensive meals and treats, DIY decorations--all the suggestions are interesting. Keeping things simple seem to be the overall theme.

But I’d like to suggest that spending less and taking a minimal approach during the Christmas season isn’t always the best long range strategy. Instead of saving money during the holidays, I often spend more than I usually do. Way more, actually. I’m flinging money around at a madcap pace.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 10

Oh, joy! the man--a white man, too--had seen her and was waving back at her!

All this the little tot told the older sister who was vainly trying to hide in the short buffalo grass, but the sister would not believe that help was really at hand, but lay there face downward, overcome with fear.

The brave, blue-capped soldier swooped down upon them and leaping from his horse gathered the little tot who had stood up so bravely that he might see her in his arms, at the same time catching sight of the frightened child lying on the ground.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, December 10, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 9

After quenching their thirst and resting awhile, they again started on their ceaseless search for "home." The second night they slept under a lone tree. In the night a hoot owl began his hoarse cry in the branches above and the little wanderers, wakened out a sound slumber, crouched close together in fear, till the coming of day, expecting every minute that an Indian would jump down from the tree and scalp them!

However, when day began to break and a huge bird stretched his neck and flopped his wings and soared out of the tree and away, away, the little girls forgetting for a time their sorry plight, laughed heartily at their being "scared all night at a bird!"

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 8

Mr. Bell, the uncle, and some neighbors started immediately for Fort Hays, where some soldiers were barricaded, for help, not knowing what direction the Indians had gone. The men knew too that they were not able to cope with the Indians, and recapture the children should they find them alive.

All possible haste was made in reaching the fort, and soldiers were soon racing over the prairie in every direction, looking for any sign that might tell them Indians had been near.

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 7

Living in Beloit was a family by the name of Bell. They were among the very earliest to settle here, and knew much of the depredations of the Indians.

A year or so before my acquaintance with this family began, two of the children, girls aged seven and five years, were visiting for a time with an aunt who lived on a homestead about fifteen miles southeast of town.

One day while the aunt was busy in the house and the children were playing in the yard, a band of Indians suddenly surrounded the house. The children ran in, screaming with fright, clinging to the terrified aunt for protection. The husband and uncle were away at a neighbor’s at work, and the poor, helpless woman knew not what to do!

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 6

After the morning tide of annihilation had in its westward course, driven the buffalo to the extreme
western portion of the state, there still remained, even in the parts most thickly settled at this time,
thousands of acres of good grazing lands.



As the homesteader rarely kept more than a team or two and only a few acres, this land was,
for the most part unused.

The Texas cattle ranch men, hearing of this fine grazing land, began to send in great droves
of their native cattle to this section. Gaunt, slim-looking animals they were, with great, big
heads and enormous long horns!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Things That Make the Housewife Thankful, 1930s

This is an actual list from the early 1900s of some of the inventions that readers of Today’s Magazine, a magazine dedicated to housewives, made them the most thankful.

Baby's own bathtub-- a miniature bathtub that was much more manageable for frequent bathing and saved mothers from having to haul water to the full-sized household bathtub.
Dustpan with a long handle--to avoid frequent bending and to reduce back strain from daily (or more!) sweeping.

To continue the list please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, November 19, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 5

From the earliest knowledge that the whites had of the state of affairs west of the Missouri River we learn that the "Sahara of America," as Kansas was then sometimes called, was inhabited by buffalo and Indians. Long before Missouri was settled to its western border, white men, traders and trappers, camped along the eastern shore of the river and traded for furs which the Indians would bring across the river by canoe loads. Among the furs traded by the Indians would sometimes be buffalo robes, tanned as only an Indian could tan them at that time.

The Indians looked upon the buffalo as belonging to themselves and when the white settlers began to kill and slay they objected. They told the whites that the buffalo was their "cattle" and wanted them to be let alone.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 4

After a short time there were so many claims taken around Beloit that the homesteaders began to think they must make some provision for the education of their children, so the men in the various districts began to agitate the schoolhouse question. Before many years went by every few miles of the settlers' territory boasted some kind of a schoolhouse; sometimes it was a dugout; sometimes sod or stone; rarely was it a frame building. In most cases a lot of the work was donated and at first the wages of the more or less (often less), competent school teacher would be paid by the patrons of the school.

As times were hard and money very scarce we could only have in those days, three or four months school in the year but somehow we managed to pick up some knowledge in books and oh, we learned so many things by experience!

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, November 12, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 3

In the late fall of 1873, my father, my two brothers and some neighbors went about sixty miles west of where we lived, where buffalo were plenty and killed enough buffalo to make as much beef as could be hauled home in three wagons. I tell you, there was feasting when they got home! Many of us had not tasted meat for several months.

This meat was salted down in barrels and boxes, after the bone had been taken out, and the weather turning cold soon after, it was all frozen together in one solid mass. The cold spell continued till late in February and the only way we could get a buffalo roast or steak was to chop it out with an ax!

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 2

In 1873, we had what the old-timers call a “grasshopper” year. One day there came in sight, away to the southwest, a queer greyish-looking cloud. As it came nearer and got between us and the sun, it looked more curious still, and my mother made the remark to a neighbor who happened to be at our house, that
this was the queerest looking rain-cloud she had ever seen. The neighbor looked up and exclaimed: “Why, that isn’t a rain cloud, that’s grasshoppers!” And grasshoppers they were, as we found out to our sorrow, for what little vegetation and crops were left after the excessive dry weather were completely “gobbled up” in the day and night our winged visitors remained with us!

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, November 5, 2018

Pioneer Life in Kansas, by Mary Barrett, 1912, Part 1

In the spring of 1871, my parents with their family consisting of my two brothers, a nephew, and
myself, moved from our former home in Iowa and settled in Kansas on a homestead two and one-half
miles south of the Solomon River, at the point where the beautiful city of Beloit now stands. My mother
was said to be the first white woman ever seen in that locality.

When the homestead was first taken there was not another dwelling place in sight, but during the first summer so many had settled on our side of the river that by fall we could stand in our door yard and count something like a hundred dugouts and shacks that in those days comprised the homesteader’s dwelling place.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Friday, October 12, 2018

Hello folks!

Amelia and I have had some discussions lately and both felt that we need to prioritize some projects we have going on. Because of that, we will not be adding any new posts for the next few weeks. Never fear, however, we will return on Nov 5 with more housewife-y stories and inspiration!


Monday, October 8, 2018

I Glory in My Job; 1932; part 1

When the census-taking man called at our home, I parked the babies in the sandpile and sat for half an hour answering his questions. When he came to my occupation, he looked from under his brows in all solemnity and asked, "You don't do anything, do you?" Without even awaiting a reply, he wrote, "Occupation--Housewife."

I protest! I refuse to be draply set aside. I demand the title of Homemaker (LOL-I like both titles but prefer "Housewife." To each his own!) and defy the world to say that homemaking is doing nothing. It is a profession, and those of us so listed labor at it. It is a labor of love. There is no monthly salary. The pay is merely the little sweetnesses of everyday family life, and I must sift them out of their attendant pains and sacrifices. The business of making a home--an honest-to-goodness home, with cookies and pillow fights and firelit hours and books and beds and joys and tears--that is a job--a great, grand task.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com




Monday, October 1, 2018

Happy Homes, 1913

May I say a word to the wife whose husband prefers some place else besides home. See if you are the cause...


Nothing will send a man away quicker than a quarrelsome woman. Be kind to those around you and you will be thought more of; try to keep your clothes and the children's clean and tidy, and he will be glad to come home finding you looking nice. When my better half is away for a day... To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Special One Among Your Flock, 1914

Very often in a family of several children, there is one who is not as quick to learn as his brothers and sisters. He is usually a very nervous and sensitive child and his feelings are often cruelly hurt by being taunted as being a "dummy" or in other cruel ways being reminded of this weakness, which he surely cannot help.

Dear mothers, if you have one of these among your little flock, be infinitely loving and patient, helping him all within your power by kind words and deeds, for your more fortunate children do not need you so badly as this little innocent.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Fireless Cooker, 1909

The fireless cooker. It was invented in the 1800s but reached the height of its popularity in the early 1900s. I came across the concept awhile ago and it had me curious. Basically, it’s the original slow cooker, a non-electric way to cook meals while conserving fuel.

To continue this post, please go to:http://ahousewifewrites.com


Monday, September 17, 2018

Good Luck to Cora Belle!, by Elinore Rupert Stewart

Cora Belle, a half child, half grown woman was so unconsciously brave, so pathetically buoyant, asking little of Life and receiving so little. She lived with her grandparents, two useless old people who drank up each other's quack medicines and frightfully neglected their poor little granddaughter. She was stout, square-built little figure with long flaxen braids, a pair of beautiful brown eyes, and the longest and whitest lashes you ever saw...


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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Blackberry Jam Pie, 1931

Old cookbooks are just packed with pie recipes! I found this particular recipe in my old Searchlight, a Depression-era cookbook. I'll be working my way through all the interesting recipes for the rest of my life.

Mastering the pie crust skill isn't easy. But once you can turn them out reliably, they're a quick, cheap dessert. And they make an even better breakfast.

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Monday, September 10, 2018

An Enjoyable Vacation at Home; by Miss Gladys Harpold; 1914

Miss Gladys Harpold of Assumption, Illinois, won first prize for her story on the subject, "My Most Profitable and Enjoyable Vacation." She was about fifteen years old when she wrote her story and married the following year. Gladys became the mother five children and died at the age of 90 while residing in California. 



School was over, and now I was to learn something not learned at school, and that was to cook. I was going to learn under whom I thought the best cook in the world, my mother....

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Sunday Dinners; by Rose Abnett; 1913

The following is one woman's solution to simplifying Sunday dinners. Do you have a plan that works for you and your family?

We need to learn to prepare this meal before hand so far as possible. With a little fore thought this can be easily done, so that the Sunday dinner can be ready in fifteen or twenty minutes after you return from church.

Most housekeepers prepare only two meals on Sunday, with a lunch in the evening, so they have an extra good dinner, but do not want to stay at home from church to prepare it. When the family have to wait an hour or more for dinner they are very apt to eat too hurriedly and too much and consequently have a headache the remainder of the day.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.co

Thursday, August 30, 2018

I Can See the World, 1907

From my farm I can see most of the world; and if I wait here long enough all people pass this way. -1907


This is one of my most favorite quotes. While it wasn't specifically written from a housewife's perspective, I think it's especially fitting.
I haven’t always been a housewife. I spent many years working different jobs and going to school before I got married and settled into a career running our home. Back before my life was centered around the home, I always felt a restlessness on the rare day that I spent at home. even when I had a lot to do. I felt like I could go stir-crazy looking at the same four walls. I know I haven’t been the only one. I’ve heard it from mothers on maternity leave….”What do you DO all day?  I’d go crazy staying at home; I have to be out and around.”

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Dream of a Tired Woman; by Mary E. Gardner; 1913

It had been a hard day.

I looked at my cross, tired face in the glass and noted bitterly, almost savagely, its lines of care; its drooping lips of dissatisfaction; its worldly eyes, and aging, yes, its unpleasantly aging, expression.

It was a depressed, discontented face that stared moodily back at me, and I did not like it.

"What's the good of it all?" I muttered, sitting down on the edge of the bed and addressing, vindictively, no one or no thing in particular.

"What's the use, tell me that," I growled, banging my shoes, aggressively on the floor...

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Teaching Young Women; 1913 & 1938

Some women think their whole duty to their children consists in drudging for them.

An eighteen-year-old girl boasts that she could work if she had to, but “my mother wants me to have a good time, she says I’ll have to work after I get married.”

If she marries a poor man, I shudder at the life he will lead--yes--and she also...

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, August 20, 2018

Strength for To-day; 1921


Strength for to-day is all that we need,
As there never will be a to-morrow;
For to-morrow will prove but another to-day,
With its measures of joy and of sorrow...

Isn't that a fine poem, sisters? It means a great deal--do you not think so? I used to get so blue and discouraged...

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Frugal Garden

I recently watched a YouTube video on frugal living. In the video, someone asked if gardening and canning was a good money-saving option. The woman recommended that people have a garden only if they enjoyed maintaining one as a hobby, because it wouldn’t necessarily save any money.


I was surprised. Isn’t having a garden classic frugal advice? Isn’t that why gardens were so common during the Great Depression? This woman went on to say that if you factor in the cost of canning jars, lids, seeds, fertilizer, tiller, plus your time, you might as well buy a few cans of vegetables and save yourself a lot of hassle and hours and hours of work.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, August 13, 2018

Peggy and Bill; 1935

May I say a word to the readers about the little bride who lives in the house down the road? Have you called on her yet? And did you tell her how to regulate her life and household so that it will be an exact replica of your own? Perhaps the next day the neighbor from over the hill visited her and gave her a similar line of advice, but not in line with yours.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Garden--A Declaration of Independence 1870

...the garden does begin to yield...It is kind of a declaration of independence. I have never read of any Roman supper that seemed to me equal to a dinner of my own vegetables, when everything on the table is the product of my own labor. -1870
I agree and know the feeling of that same independence when I raise, harvest, and store my own food.
It’s a game I play often. When we sit down to eat a meal, I often point out the ingredients and where they came from. Of course, I do this most often when a majority of the meal’s components are homegrown, but it’s fun when I’m able to identify even minor ingredients that come from our own hands and property.



To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, August 6, 2018

Reading for Pleasure & Knowledge

From 1937--

I try to read one book every two weeks--and 25 books a year can do much to brighten and make interesting a practical, overworked housewife.

I try to vary my reading diet, for I believe the menu for our minds should be as well balanced as the menu for our tummies. So I include four types of mental food from which I choose:
  1. Non-fiction (biography, travel, etc.)
  2. Poetry (or plays)
  3. Worth-while fiction (perhaps something old and tried, or perhaps something new)...
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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Life on a Wyoming Ranch, 1915

A young woman in Wyoming writes: “This country is so different, so big, that the horizon alone seems to set the limit. I visited on one ranch that is fourteen miles from one end to the other. There are no green wooded hills here, but great rocky slopes and rushing water and great sandy flats with wonderful changing colors. . . . I do not think we miss the outside world as there is something about this country that, after a time, fills one’s whole thoughts and it is hard to remember that there is any other world than this.”...

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Five Reasons I Love Being a Housewife

It takes a genius to be a first-rate housekeeper. -1884
Well, that explains a lot. Mystery solved…now I know why I still haven’t figured this whole housewifery thing out.


In spite of the fact that I haven’t mastered this career in the least and that many people see it as an inferior (or not even a legitimate) occupation, I really, really love my job. So why do I like being a housewife? Why is it the best career for me?

Hours Yes, I’m on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and even on a family vacation, I’m not really off duty. But, that doesn’t mean I’m working all the time...

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, July 26, 2018

It's That Time of Year...

...mid-summer, that is. For me and countless gardeners in the Midwest, this time of year means that produce is starting to roll in. And that means I have to start doing something with it all. So what does this time of year mean for me? It means--

  • Checking for zucchini and cucumbers twice a day because I always, always overlook at least one, and usually more.

  • I don’t wash the kitchen floor until I start sticking to it. It’s a pointless job during canning season.

  • The refrigerator is always jammed full to bursting. Adding any more produce becomes a game of tetris. (Note the lack of photographic proof...I didn’t think is was necessary to share that mess.)

  • Produce all over the kitchen. Cucumbers sliced and salted, calendula petals drying for salves, mint leaves drying for tea, dilly beans fermenting, summer squash accumulating in piles, jars needing to be labeled, bowls of misc. produce I'm trying to ignore...
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Monday, July 23, 2018

Kimono Carelessness; 1920

The title of this article intrigued me. I could not imagine what American farm women could know about Japanese kimonos! So I did a search for "1920s kimonos" and I found this picture. Kimono means "robe." Now I get it!

No matter how many children you may have or how much housework you may have to do, do not let yourself fall into the kimono habit. It may sound exaggerated but it is nevertheless true that this one habit alone has broken up happy homes. Once let it get its clutch on a woman and she loses all proper pride in her appearance. It is difficult sometimes to look neat and trim and it is perilously easy to slip on a kimono....

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Soapmaking--Still a Useful Skill

Lately I keep running into people who want to learn how to make their own soap.  Soapmaking can be an art form, most definitely, but it should also be a basic skill.  After all, up until the last hundred years or so, nearly all housewives knew how to make the soap for their families' needs.  Even though I make soap regularly and sell it here and there, I would like to see more people making their own.  There's nothing quite as nice as making your own anything.  So, R, I, and T--this tutorial is for you!  (And for you, too.)

This is my version of a fruit/veggie wash soap, using just olive and coconut oils, based on this recipe from the Soap Queen blog.  It's a mild, unscented soap, and very simple to make.  Although the original intention was to wash produce, these days I use it as a hand soap. It makes my hands so smooth and soft!

Here are the very basic supplies you'll need--

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Monday, July 16, 2018

How I Spent My Dollar, part 2; by Lelia Printz; 1925

Not very long ago, my aunt gave me a dollar to spend anyway I wished. I went to the city to spend the afternoon and I also spent my dollar. I paid a quarter to see a movie, a quarter for a new magazine and because my best girl friend had one and because I wanted one like her, I bought a harmonica for fifty-five cents. Then I bought a nickel’s worth of...
Party Dresses from 1925


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Thursday, July 12, 2018

"Doing Just Nothing at All," 1879-1898

from 1898-- Our life is so active, so filled with excitement, that we are much too little given in these days to quiet thought...there are very few of us who would not be the better for sitting down every day for a half-hour, with folded hands, simply for the purpose of thinking, or of letting the mind lie fallow without much effort at consecutive meditation.

I know how many women will smile when they read this, and will say, “This writer does not know what she is talking about” but indeed I do. I have led for many years an intensely occupied life myself, and I never the world would you have gotten through one-half or one-quarter of the necessary things if I had not made a point of quite often sitting down, folding my hands, and doing just nothing at all.


To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, July 9, 2018

My Summer Garden, 1870--Week 7

I am more and more impressed, as the summer goes on, with the inequality of man’s fight with Nature; especially in a civilized state.
“Impressed” isn’t the word that springs to mind when I consider the battle I’m fighting and quite possibly losing, but it is rather remarkable. It’s not even a fair fight. What was a tame little patch of lamb’s quarter that rounded out our salads, is now 5 feet tall and blocking the raspberry patch. The growth is staggering; I’m not sure when it happened...

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Wild Grapes for Jelly, 1907

Recently I discovered an essay written in 1907 entitled “Wild Grapes for Jelly.” The author writes of the summertime treasure that wild fruit can be to the select few who are willing to claim it. She says this about wild fruits, specifically grapes:

They yield their riches to those who know them best and who most desire them. If you have found them, then it is you only for whom they have ripened, a free gift of nature’s bounty.
It sounds romantic--a warm summer afternoon trot to the countryside, filling a basket with wild fruits, which then becomes a shelf of jam to enjoy all winter.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, July 2, 2018

How I Spent My Dollar; part 1; by Irene Tibbetts; 1925

I am going to tell you about a dollar I spent.

It is very seldom I go to the city to trade, so when I do I always have a list of things I must have and a list I would like to have if I have enough money left. The last time I was in trading I had bought all my necessary things and was wondering what I would like best to get for Mother as it was near her birthday....

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Trying Out a Simpler Life

This past month we took our summer vacation. We spent a week on a lake in northern Wisconsin. We rented a teeny 1930s-era cabin at an old-fashioned "resort."  The cabin had electricity, a kitchen sink, and a toilet. (The shower house was a short walk away.)

Throughout the week, I kept noticing ways in which life in our Northwoods cabin differed from our everyday life. Here are a few of things that I noticed the most:

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Don't Save Your Pretty Things For Wife #2; 1937

Whenever I am tempted to put pretty things away and not use them I think of a neighbor I had. She was fine to visit with over the garden fence or in my home, but it was no joy to go into her home. It was beautiful--but the polished floors were covered first with new rugs and then with old rugs and where there wasn’t any “rug” there were heavy papers, so you couldn’t possibly mark the floor. The chairs were all covered so they wouldn’t get dusty or scratched....

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Vic and Sade, 1930s & 1940s

A fun way to get a glimpse of home life “way back when" is to listen to an old radio show called Vic and Sade. Vic and Sade was a daily 15 minute show so popular at the time that each episode aired several times a day. Most of the episodes have been lost or destroyed but the ones that remain are available online. You can find some of them...

To continue this post and get the link to the Vic and Sade show, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, June 18, 2018

Juneberry (Saskatoon, Serviceberry) Jam, 1924

I recently read an article in a 1924 issue of the Farmer’s Wife magazine on using wild fruits. At first glance, I didn’t think I had access to any of the wild fruits mentioned, like red haws, pin cherries, and chokecherries. But then I had a chance conversation with a fellow camper over the Memorial Day weekend...

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Are Wives Loyal? 1937 & 1938

Letter 1--

It seems I am never with some of my married friends--girls my own age as well as those of the older generation--but they are complaining about their husbands, or criticizing them, one way or another.

Perhaps you would not call that a lack of loyalty, but I feel that it is.

I have been with these same husbands a lot, and have been more or less in their confidence. It is seldom, if ever, that they say one word in criticism of their wives.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Balancing Our Lives--Two Perspectives; April & July 1938

The following letters appeared in The Farmer’s Wife magazine and illustrate the age-long struggle women face in achieving a balanced life. Although I cannot say that I completely agree with either woman, I do lean more toward one of their positions. What do you think?

Dear Editor:
After looking around at some of my friends who are in a rut, I have resolved not to allow myself to become one of them. I will not stay home day after day doing the same old things,--washing, ironing, cleaning, baking, and endless other chores; I will not spend all of my evenings mending. I will see that all these things are done for my husband and two small children, but they shall not take up all of my time, for my family’s sake as well as my own; everyone likes a happy, contented wife and mother...

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Minimalism and the Housewife, 1907

It is not easy to determine, in detail, just which things are really necessary to refined and beautiful living, and which are the evidence of...ostentatious waste. -1907
The lifestyle of all the cool people nowadays--minimalism. Like most extremes, it’s the reaction to the opposite way of life of the last several decades known as materialism.

Have you ever looked at pictures of a minimalist home tour? To generalize my observations, they’re usually condo/apartment type homes consisting of one or just a few people. A twin bed, a nightstand that doubles as a dresser, and a small table with an uncomfortable looking, modern chair. Is it my imagination that most minimalists seem to be bloggers and writers? I’ve yet to see a homesteading, DIY minimalist. Yes, there isn’t a smidge of clutter or disorder anywhere. But I don’t see the personality, either. Where is the cupboard of favorite teas? The photo albums? The boxes of craft supplies? And most importantly, where is the stash of mason jars?

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Monday, June 4, 2018

My Summer in the Garden, 1870--Week 2

This summer I’m comparing each week of Charles Dudley Warner’s gardening journal, My Summer in a Garden, to my own garden. I’m finding that I can relate to many of his perspectives, and this week, his thoughts are centered on weeds.
Hardly is the garden planted, when he must begin to hoe it. The weeds have sprung up all over it in a night.
 Ain’t that the truth. Warner continues...
The most humiliating thing to me about a garden is the lesson it teaches of the inferiority of man. Nature is prompt, decided, inexhaustible. She thrusts up her plants with a vigor and freedom that I admire; and the more worthless the plant, the more rapid and splendid its growth. She is at it early and late, and all night; never tiring, nor showing the least sign of exhaustion.
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Friday, June 1, 2018

Take a Weekly Vacation, 1927

Last year we took a vacation that lasted all summer and well into the autumn, and yet the actual “vacationing” took place on only one day each week. John and I both believe in the re-creating powers of an occasional outing, and since we could not leave our little farm for more than a day at a time, we hit upon this plan.


Every Sunday morning last summer we were up before dawn and while I packed a well-planned lunch, John took care of the chores. When everything was in order for the day, our little car slid down the shadowy driveway and out into the open road. And with what joy we went out to meet adventure!

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Monday, May 28, 2018

My Summer in a Garden, 1870

A few months ago, I discovered a book called My Summer in a Garden. It was written in 1870 and unlike many books from that period, it was funny. The author had me laughing over his frustrations and perspectives regarding a vegetable garden, which 150 years later, still resonates with modern gardeners. Here is how he introduces the subject of gardening:

 “The principal value of a private garden is not understood.  It is not to give the possessor vegetables or fruit (that can be better and cheaper done by the market gardeners), but to teach him patience and philosophy and the higher virtues, hope deferred and expectations blighted, leading directly to resignation and sometimes to alienation. The garden thus becomes a moral agent, a test of character, as it was in the beginning.”

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