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...

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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....

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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.


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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...

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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.

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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....

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