Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Greetings Everyone,
For the past year, I have been busy working on my fourth book (and not posting on my blog!) I departed from The Farmer's Wife theme this time and instead used the Bible in the letter portion of the book. There are ninety-six Bible passages and when taken in their entirety, give a surprisingly complete overview of the Bible with most of the major events and people represented. Each of the ninety-six passages is paired with a "Bible themed" six-inch classic quilt block.

Genesis 1-1:4                           Quilt Block: Heavenly Puzzle (the center blue and pink block)
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the water. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Luke 2:1-7                               Quilt Block: City Streets (the top right pink, red and green block)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

I have completed all of the paperwork and the quilt is done, so I am in the proofreading stage now. The book is due to be released in the fall of 2016 with its formal title to be decided in the not-too-distant future. It's been a blessing to work on this book and I'm really looking forward to seeing it in print!

Thursday, October 29, 2015


We borrowed  money at eight per cent for our wedding trip, and have never regretted it. The money has been paid back long since, and we still have the trip!

The year before we were married, my husband in partnership with another man, bought a small farm, borrowing heavily, and putting a mortgage on the place. When we decided to be married, we felt that the few dollars extra that it took for a trip would make little difference in the total.

How well I remember that hot August day! The short run to the county seat, the embarrassment we both suffered at the hands of the good-natured clerk at the courthouse, the kindly old minister, and his motherly-looking wife, the laughing good-byes, and then, at last, together on the trail going south. What a wonderful week it was that we spent in the beautiful Ozark mountains, made even more wonderful by the fact that a few miles south of Garnett, we struck the "Sweetheart Trail." We thought is symbolical; still do.

"Let's take this same trip every year for our vacation," my husband said. I agreed, and we made our plans. Have we done it? Not once, but we still plan to!

The first year was so busy, that there was no time for a vacation. The second, when prices were falling in that awful post-war depression, our partner dropped his share of the farm leaving us the whole burden. Rather than lose all the money we had put into the place, we tried to shoulder it, but the third year, we simply had to give it up. Our farm was sold to satisfy the mortgage, and we found ourselves still owning over eleven hundred dollars on a farm we no longer owned! It's a great life, isn't it?

Well, the next two years were pretty full, paying back that money. The sixth, our first baby was born, and the years that had passed seemed quite peaceful in comparison to those that followed. Two years ago we made our first payment on the farm we now occupy, (please note, I don't say "own"), and last year our little daughter was born. So here we are, up to the present, and still no vacation in sight.

Discouraging? Yes, rather. But I can wait for that vacation for another ten years, yes twenty! Anyway, I'll never take the Sweetheart Trail alone.

Monday, October 12, 2015


John was a neighbor's boy--sixteen, clean-minded, obedient, capable, industrious. He had a good home and he loved it, and he loved his mother and father.
But John used to say, "If only they wouldn't treat me as though I was still a little kid!"

In his sixteenth summer he "worked out" for ten weeks for an uncle down the road a mile. The money he earned was to be his own to buy himself some new clothes for high school. Through the summer, some argument arose as to whether John should do his own buying, or let Mother do it for him as she had always done.

Then came a day when Mother said, "Tomorrow we'll go into town and buy John his new suit and shirts and ties."

Imagine the family's astonishment when John said, "No use, they're bought."

Sure enough, they had been bought, and not a bad choice as John saw it. However, the edict was that John must take them back to the store.

But he never did. He left home that night. It was six months before they heard from him--a post card saying that he had been working on a California ranch and was just about to sail with a merchant ship for foreign ports. "All's well. I miss you and the farm. Best love."

Why do we tell this little true story?

Because we get a good many letters from young folks who protest that parents--mothers particularly--insist on managing them after they think that they are old enough to do a good deal of managing for themselves. Here is one of such letters:

Dear Editor: I wish you would print something that would help mothers to realize that when children are grown up they ought to be allowed to work out their own ideas. I've got a much-beloved mother, but she is so devoted to her grown children that I wish some one would tell her she ought to let her reasonably intelligent sons and daughters do their own originating. There isn't anything she wouldn't do for her beloved children, and the poor little adult urchins would rather do some of the doing without her managing and hindering. We want to work out our own salvation.

Most mothers, fortunately, do not need the preachment that lies between the lines of story and letter, and to those who do, we'll leave the task of finding it for themselves.

P.S. What ever became of John? Oh, he came home again after a year, still a good boy, and both he and his family were better off for the experience.

Monday, September 28, 2015

OUR PRINCE CHARMING; by Jean Hathaway; January 1925; part 2 of 2

LIKE FATHER (Second Prize Winner)

Dear Miss Hathaway:
An unknown future Prince
Charming--He would be
about 99 years old if
alive today

What must my Prince Charming be? He must be a man like my father: kind, honest and willing to earn a good living for his family.

Must he be a farmer? Yes, I think he must. What place is better than the farm? There is none. If operated properly, there is a good living in farming.

My Prince Charming must be educated, not necessarily in Greek and Latin but must be able to think intelligently and manage his business in an intelligent way. He need not be handsome, for "handsome is as handsome does," but must be neat in appearance, mannerly and self-confident. He must have religion, the kind that is with him seven days in the week.--B. M. L., Minnesota.

HE IS ATHLETIC (Third Prize Winner)

Dear Miss Hathaway:

My Prince Charming is not a dream person but a real live man. I can not call him a "red-blooded American" for his native land is far away across the sea but he is one hundred per cent American if there ever was one. His hopes of studying medicine were dispelled when the American college he was to have attended had to be taken over for war purposes.

He can speak several foreign languages and is now devoting his time to the study of English and at the same time endeavoring to obtain a business education. Between times he works saving what he can for his future home.

He is kind and generous, always has a happy smile for everyone and is ever ready to speak an encouraging word or lend a helping hand.

He is polite and courteous at all times and to all people but is especially devoted and respectful to his parents and the aged.

He is a member of a Church and the "Y."

He is entirely at home on the athletic field having won many prizes there in competition with men from Yale, Harvard and Columbia Universities.

I have visited in his home and discovered that he is a Prince Charming there also. He is his father's right hand man--his mother's pride and joy and the adviser of his younger brother and sisters.--L. B., Massachusetts.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

OUR PRINCE CHARMING, by Jean Hathaway, January 1925; part 1 of 2

Miss Jean Hathaway directed a column devoted to young women. She writes:

Sometime ago I asked the girls of The Farmer's Wife to write us about their Prince Charming, believing that their letters would give an interesting word picture of the young man who ranks high in their esteem.
A rare color picture in the January 1925 issue

The tall, dark--no, not handsome, but athletic--man received decidedly the vote of approval as to looks and yet, when it came to a final choice, many agree that other qualities rank above looks.

His occupation, our girls decided, is not of prime importance if it is the occupation at which he is happy and the one for which he is best fitted. All admire the man who is ambitious, thrifty and willing to work; they say that wealth does not count.

No "sissies" if you please! This does not mean that a man should lack culture and refinement. No indeed! The way to most girls' hearts is a courteous way. Most of the girls emphasize good manners and an appreciation of the finer things: beauty, music, good books, and poetry.

Religious? Yes, he goes to church and practices the Golden Rule seven days a week. "If you could see him when he brings his mother to church, how he helps her out of the car and up the steps, you would think him a Prince Charming indeed." The girls all agree in their admiration for the boy who is thoughtful of his mother. I like very much the true story in one of our letters of a lad who quickens his steps as he nears home, "for Mother is usually on the porch waiting for him and when he turns the corner in the road he has a wave and smile for her."

Is this ideal man impossible? Not at all!

The following is the first of three prize winning letters about their ideal "Prince Charming:"

Dear Miss Hathaway:

He should have been tall and dark with wonderful brown eyes. But, Miss Hathaway, he has come and our little home is being built. Just after the New Year, the most wonderful honeymoon that ever happened (to us) will be in progress. My real Prince is as little like my dreams as anything could be. His light hair and blue eyes (which are always shining with kindness and merriment) are more wonderful to me than I ever dreamed anything could be. I dreamed of a rich man who could furnish me with a magnificent home. My merry farmer lad is giving me a tiny bungalow with everything modern and convenient, if you please, which no one would call magnificent, but every one would say is adorable; they couldn't help it. And in it with Christ's help and blessing, we shall be happy, forever and ever, because I know I am getting the world's truest and best.---Alice Robinson, Ohio.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

CONTEMPLATION CORNER--GRATITUDE!; Part 2 of 2; by Ada Melville Shaw, November 1916

I can best answer by telling you an incident that came to my notice while living on my homestead...

By reason of illness, change of location and storms, John H--had had no crop for three years and the family's cash resources were at low ebb. This year the wheat was growing well, the vegetable garden would "help out" and there would be hay. Frost had spoiled the corn and the potatoes were a failure.

In one night, in an hour, hail threshed out all the tender wheat and ground the beautiful bluestem grass into pulp. A summer's work and a year's provision gone!

I saw John and his wife early the morning after the disaster. They were smiling when they met me and their bright calmness made me weep. What they said to me, out of honest hearts, they had said to each other while the storm thundered on the roof and they guessed what was doing in their fields, "We are so thankful it was no worse. We have each other and the children, unharmed. The stock is not injured. The land is there. There is so much to be thankful for!" Then the dear farmer-wife and mother, turning to me, the older woman, said tremulously, "Don't you think we ought to be thankful of all of it? Surely there must be a good reason or it could not have happened? I'd be afraid to feel too badly!"

I looked thru tears over the stricken fields and the sun was smiling on them. I watched John carefully after this to see if the spirit of thankfulness was born of the hour's emotion or was deep-rooted. What I saw was a deepening of the accustomed reverence toward the Power that is above ours, even more tender watchfulness over wife and babies, an increase of industry and economy, a tightening of bonds between himself and neighbors who had suffered common loss. In short, by the exercise of humble gratitude in the face of the storm, he was a greater, finer man and every quality in him necessary to worthy success in life was made to develop faster and more fully by the presence within him of the fruitful spirit of thanksgiving.

"I thank you!" The simple, gracious words are like a prayer. Shall they not stand for a prayer-habit of our minds, sung gaily in the sunshine, whispered in the storms, heard always by the One who, the heart of the storm and sunshine, understands? The prayer will bring reply!

Monday, September 14, 2015

CONTEMPLATION CORNER--GRATITUDE!; Part 1 of 2; by Ada Melville Shaw; November 1916

I have come to greatly admire the author of this article, Ada Maud Melville Shaw. She was a Canadian immigrant to America; a widow at a young age; a writer of prose, poetry and at least one hymn; a homesteader in her middle years and the editor of The Farmer's Wife magazine from 1919-1928. There is no record that Ada had children or remarried after the death of her Christian evangelist husband. She died in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1937, at the age of 74.

Wisdom from Mrs. Shaw:

I had been telling a friend the story of my venture in pioneering and when she had heard me thru she asked, "Can you tell me what has been your leading thought or feeling thru this whole experience?"

I answered quickly in one word, for my unique experience had left me with a clear-cut impression:


"For what?" pursued my friend.

"Everything! For the privilege of entering upon so difficult  an undertaking; for strength to carry it thru; for the sense of being protected by a Higher Power when, for reasons of solitariness and remoteness from neighbors, I was unable to protect myself; for the whole wonderful experience and what it has taught me of self-reliance, courage, patience."

She looked at me earnestly and then said, "That very quality of gratitude on your part made it possible for you to have those things for which to be grateful."

When I was a little girl I fell into the habit of saying briefly in response to courtesies of friends and playmates, "Thanks!" A saving reprimand came from an elderly woman who said to me, "If a thing is worth receiving at your hands it is worth three words from you. Cannot you take time to say, 'I thank you'?"

Perhaps if I had not been given the first simple lesson to ponder and practice, I might not have been ready for the greater suggestion offered later, to wit, that a grateful spirit invites and even brings to pass further causes for gratitude!

When a farmer's wife hurries thru the morning's work, bathes and dresses two babies, hitches up the team and drives several miles on a hot day, opening three gates en route, that I, her neighbor, may not be lonely, my answering gratitude is in proportion to my understanding of what she has done and my own unselfish desire not to be a burden to her.

When I meet her and her babies at the door, if I have this understanding of what she has had to do in order to be generous to me and if I have truly desired that my burden of loneliness should not be a burden to her, my answering gratitude for what she has done will be the genuine article and have a wholesome reaction upon my own heart. I will not be able to hide my appreciation of her kindness; I will resolve to try more than ever to meet my condition of loneliness so cheerily that it will not be a burden to this little mother; I will find my heart and thought seeking for ways in which to give kindness for her kindness; and as I try to be a better neighbor to her I cannot but be a better neighbor in the community and so a better woman in every way.

The law of continuance of influence sees to it that the good begun by my visitor, who generously gave of her time and strength for me, continues to spread, to act and react until the farther waves of influence have passed beyond our ken [one's range of knowledge or sight.]

Shall we look at the reverse of the shield? Let us suppose these conditions to exist: I was lonely indeed and in my loneliness turned my thoughts inward in self-pity. I looked out toward my neighbor's distant home with the feeling that "Surely she might come to see me! It is a shame I am left alone this way! It is little enough for any one to do. She has horses, she can hitch up. She might!

Either I do not know or do not care that this neighbor has limited strength, more work than she can well do and that it is no small undertaking to manage two babies and two horses and three heavy gates.
The view from our local post office and bank
One day she comes. Do you suppose for a moment that I can receive her with an honest heart of truly sweet and humble gratitude? The very attitude I have been holding of self-consideration, self-pity and criticism, kills gratitude in me as surely as the touch of flame shrivels the petals of a rose. My outward pretense of appreciation might deceive my caller and even myself--for a time--but the end of genuine unthankfulness is the loss of genuine reasons for thanksgiving. People may continue their kindly acts to me for one reason or another but the bond between our spirits is not a living, loving bond and must naturally in time cease to operate. When people are friendless in this friendly world there is a reason not far to seek.

This is the Thanksgiving season of the year. It follows upon the harvest time. Not so few and far between as we wish are those homes that, in the golden autumn lull between summer's work and winter's cold, are looking upon a harvest of disappointment instead of the prayed-for fullness. Can they be grateful? Should they be grateful? What will genuine gratitude in the face of bitter disappointment do for them?

I can best answer by telling you an incident that came to my notice while living on my homestead...

Saturday, September 5, 2015


From Maude Stella--When Great Grandmother was a girl they had no telephones, electric lights, automobiles, victrolas, aeroplanes or radio. I was telling her about the aeroplane I saw at the State Fair and I heard her whisper to Father, "What in the world is the dear child talking about?" Then something wonderful happened. 

It was at circus time. I bought Great Grandmother two balloons to remind her of when she was little like me. That evening we were out admiring a rainbow when we heard a noise in the sky and there was a big aeroplane flying like a bird right over our farm. Father carried Great Grandmother out to the edge of the pasture so she could get a good view. She had the strings of her balloons in her hand and she was so excited she let them go and up they flew. 

Next thing we knew, the 'plane was landing in our pasture! We all ran like the wind and Father carried Great Grandmother and what do you imagine? There, caught on the edge of one of the wings, was her red balloon bobbing about as jolly as you please! Great Grandmother was going to be ninety years old the next day and she said it was worth living so long to see so wonderful a thing as a "sky ship!" The only thing that went up when she was little was a balloon. Some difference, eh?

From Hazel Summers--Once when I was visiting Overton Park, I went to see the beasts. I saw a mother lion and her babies. How she roared at me! I saw the bear, tiger, elephant, camel, zebra and some monkeys. I also saw the fowls, rabbits and the snakes. After seeing all those things, I bought some pop corn, candy and ice cream. Then I went out to the playgrounds and had a splendid time. Then I went home and dreamed of my pleasant trip.

From Ella E. Lapoint--I live in Maine. One day last fall, two families and our family went clamming. We went in automobiles. We had to inquire the way to Searsport. The people said it was two miles. It was about twelve more! Papa got out of gas. The gasoline tank did not hold the amount we were told it did. We got to Searsport about one o'clock. We dug some clams and steamed them and had some for dinner. We ate in an old station because it was raining.

From Steena Shaw--In our county we are all working for a library. We live so far from town we cannot get books to read and no one can get the books at the Sunday School unless they belong. So an old lady who lives on the way to town said we could have our library in her front room. We gave two book socials and to get in you had to bring a whole year of a good magazine or a book. Now we have seven shelves of books in Mrs. Grafton's parlor and she is librarian for us. I have read Robinson Crusoe and Little Women and Bob, Son of Battle, and my baby sister had a Brownie Book to read. We just love our library.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

SCHOOL DAYS GONE BY, 1925 & 1926

From Anna Reinken--One bright February morning I started across the prairie with my dinner pail and my books under my arm. Mother told me not to come home if it should storm but wait at the schoolhouse for my father. When I reached the school which was about two miles away, I was very cold.

Shortly after recess a black cloud rose in the east which kept spreading over the sky until the sun was quite shut out. The wind began to blow and the snow came down as if it were rain. In less than an hour the wind was so strong that it shook the schoolhouse and the air was so full of snow that one could hardly see through it. At four o'clock the storm was still raging and the teacher told us that we must stay where we were and not try to go home.

As night came on we were all frightened. The coal was nearly all burned up. The teacher was about to use the desks as fuel but just then a man came with the coal. He said it had taken him four hours to come over the last four miles. He was nearly frozen. After he had gotten warm, he said we must all go home with him to his house for the night. I was very glad for I was beginning to get hungry.

The storm kept raging for three days but the next afternoon Father came to take me home. There had been some very deep snow drifts but I held to my father's hand and reached home safely. I was very glad to get home again to see my little sisters and brothers.

From Hazel Summers--I go to school and am in the sixth grade. Our school is one story high. It has eight teachers and six class rooms. Then it has a kitchen, a long hall and a cloak room for the boys and one for the girls. We have twelve grades. There is a little "Red House" on the back of the school ground where hot lunches are cooked. The community thought it was mighty nice, indeed, of Miss Elizabeth Word, our principal, to have hot lunches for all the hungry students after studying so hard.

Dorothy Brandt--At school we are having a contest. We call it the "aint contest." If anyone says aint (instead of "is not" or "has not" or "have not"), he gets one mark. Some of the children have over fifty or sixty marks. To the one that has the least marks, our teacher gives a prize. My sister has the least marks, she only said it once.

Monday, August 24, 2015

MATILD's ROSES, by Cola L. Fountain, July 1926

Once upon a time, in the fast-dimming long ago, a woman, called Matild' Waters, lived "by the side of the road" in a low ramshackle house. She had poverty to deal with, and drunkenness and shame to endure from her husband and his people, who came and caroused within her lowly door.
July 1926 Cover
Matild' had children and they did not all "turn out well." The example of their father and the legacy of his unstable character told on them and they were not strong enough to conquer their inheritance. Matild' lived to know the bitterness of the hand of the law against her sons and to see her daughters sicken in poverty and die for lack of medical aid.

Matild' was a woman with a soul starved for beauty. No matter how hard her burdens pressed upon her, she would stand in the cottage door for a brief moment just to contemplate the spring green stealing over the mountains, to catch the flicker of a bluebird's wing or to glimpse the flames of the western sun reflected on the lofty ledge of rock behind the house.

There was no material beauty inside her home. Matild' had braided a rug one winter from odds and ends of woolen cloth, with red flannel worked in here and there. She had made it in the long midnight hours while waiting for the man of the house to come home. When finished she had placed it on the floor in the "other room" and used to go in now and then just to feast her eyes upon it. One day it disappeared and she never found it. The saloonkeeper's wife over at Hooker Mountain had one just like it shortly after but Matild' never knew.

A stranger driving by the cottage one afternoon, with his carriage full of rosebush slips and plants which he was delivering far up in the mountains, stopped for a drink of water. Moved by the heart-hungry look in the eyes of Matild' he handed her a little bush and drove away.

She planted the slip behind the house but when people were about paid no attention to it. It grew and throve. She mentioned it in her husband's presence only as a "pesky nuisance," so he left it alone.

Years passed. The house became more tumbledown, the family more reduced. The roses alone flourished. Today Matild' and her husband sleep in the sandy little cemetery in the shadow of the mountain. Their children are scattered and gone, some dead, some far away. The house has fallen into decay. The ramshackle barn burned down

years ago. As you walk along the road in June a fragrance sweet and lovely envelops you and the wind wafts away. You turn the bend of the road and a marvel of pink and glowing beauty meets your eye. The yard of the old cottage is full of roses. They have spilled over the broken fence, they have crossed the road and are marching down the ravine like an army with banners. Though the woman who planted the first little bush has long been dust and few who live in that section even remember her face, yet these flowers are known everywhere by the name of "Matild's Roses."

They are gathered by the whole neighborhood for weddings and for funerals; children carry them up the dusty country road for the "last day" at school; lovers wear them in their buttonholes; tourists passing through this as yet uncharted road on their way to a better highway stop to gather and bear away Matild's roses to far-distant points.

To some it is given to live long enough to receive the applause of the throng for their deeds done on earth. Others suffer depths of shame and humiliation and never know the extent of their influence or the joy of work successfully accomplished. How many of us can leave behind such real beauty and sweetness that ever growing will blot out the remembrance of our suffering and failure, fill the hands of strangers with fragrance and loveliness and teach once more the old, old lesson that however narrow and shadowed our pathway may be, however small may seem our opportunity to brighten it, if we but do our best with what we have, there is no end nor limit to its influence and power and so, verily, our "works do follow us."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

ARE YOU HAPPY? By E.H.C., North Dakota, June 1925

Dear Farmer's Wife:

Our happiness depends on ourselves and not our surroundings, our circumstances or our associates. It is not having what we want but making the most of what we have.

My desire has always been to have a home full of my own children, not three or four but a dozen or so with at least one pair of twins! Instead I find myself "an old maid," my sisters and brothers all away from home and my nieces and nephews so far away they seldom even come for a visit. But his old world is just full of children--I have some under foot most of the time--and there is a world of joy to be had from these children that are not our own. Then there may be a father, grandmother, grandfather, uncle or aunt in the home or near us who is hungry for the love that we could give them. Do not think their life is overfull of pleasure because they do not complain.

Have you lost one very dear to you? Do not waste your life pining and regretting. They are just a few steps ahead of us and waiting for us. Do what you cannot do for them for someone else. There are other children who need love; someone else's mother to whom you may be considerate and gentle; some young person away from home who could appreciate your help in any way. Do for them what you would wish done for one of your loved ones if among strangers. At the same time enrich your days and make a glow in your heart. All of us have happiness within us if we only cultivate it. Above all, never sour your heart with a grudge. Grudges are poison. What has happened to you is only "bad" in the degree you make it--forget it and be happy, if not because of your trouble, but in spite of it.

Friday, July 3, 2015

LIFE HAS LOVELINESS TO SELL; The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt; Pages 88-89

Dear Friends:

I want to express my thanks to those of you who have taken the time to leave a comment about one of the letters. Forgive me for not always responding, but please know that your input is much appreciated. Thank you for your kindness!

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed rinsing and cutting up strawberries yesterday. The window was open and the wind was blowing and I was standing at my kitchen sink! When we bought our property sixteen years ago, it had two homes on it; a large, old farmhouse, and a small, equally old, little house. We have been slowly fixing up the little house and I hope someday (I am 59 years old) to retire there (at least as much as a housewife ever retires!) The big house kitchen sink faces an inside wall, but from the little house sink, I can see the clothesline, a cornfield, the garden, and best of all, the sky.

From "Wealthy" Minnesota; September 1935; Quilt Block: Sara

Years ago I remember Mother asking Dad to cut a window above the kitchen sink. He finally did, after some coaxing, and I helped him with hammer and nails. I doubt if either of us understood just why she wanted a window there when all she saw from it was the road going out to the highway, and the spirea hedge and the pansy beds. Then it came my turn to have a kitchen sink, with a window above it, and I remember my mother's insistence.
Several hours a day I stand or sit by my sink and watch the parade of beauty pass my window: Spring, with its new buds and clouds of plum blossoms, its rain-drenched lilacs and flash of returning birds. Summer, with its blue skies and blooming flower beds, its afternoon picnics in the shade of the big oak, with sunlight filtering through the leaves to fall on tousled yellow heads. Fall, and sturdy young bodies marching off to school, turning for a last wave and smile.

Frost laying a mantle of white over the green grass, giving a thousand colors to elm and oak and maple. Winter, with snow piled high against the hedges, casting blue shadows for snowbirds to bathe in. Sunshine on ice-coated evergreens and spruce; a snow fort and snowmen.
Dishwashing and canning make the kitchen sink a busy place. But with my window to let in beauty of sound and line and color, it ceases to be merely a busy place and becomes a marketplace, for, according to Sara Teasdale, "Life has loveliness to sell." And we may buy it at the kitchen sink. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Dear Mothers: 
As the mother of four small children ranging from eight to one and one-half years, it seems to me that there is nothing I can do for them that will benefit them more, socially, than to teach them good table manners.

Good table manners are not acquired in a moment; children must grow up with them. And the time to begin teaching them is when they start to eat alone. When baby starts throwing his oatmeal on the floor, he should be gently but firmly corrected. If we laugh at him and say, "Oh, he is little," our task soon becomes difficult for he grows older a day at a time. 

I have seen little children come to the breakfast table unwashed and in their night clothes. Nothing encourages a child (or grown-up) to act his best, more than a neat, clean, nicely-arranged table. 

 Children should be taught the use of table napkins so they become a habit of their everyday life. A napkin is a necessary.
We should teach our boys and girls that mealtime is a time not only to satisfy our hunger but should be a time for cheerful, pleasant conversation between parents and their children. Quarreling and "telling on" each other at this time should never be allowed. 

Where there are several small children, accidents are sure to happen but little mishaps should not be enlarged upon too greatly. Some small punishment, as being sent away from the table for a few minutes is far more effective than too much scolding. 

The little ones should be be encouraged to take a moderate and respectful part in the conversation. They can relate what they did in school that day, tell some story they have read or heard or tell something they have observed in Nature. Each child should be taught to listen attentively to the one speaking. We should see that they chew quietly and slowly, impressing upon their minds the value of thorough mastication. 
Thus it seems to me that children properly instructed will grow up and go out into the world with an ease of manner and consideration for others that will do a great deal for them. 

Friday, June 26, 2015


This blog was created not to share my own thoughts and as much as possible, I will try to keep to that same purpose for this post. Today I am disappointed but not surprised. I will try to remember God's promise, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear..."

One of my favorite hymns is "Faith of Our Fathers" by Frederick W. Faber who lived from 1814-1863. Although I have seen at least one modern hymnal change a few words to make it more "cheerful," here is the original:

"Our fathers, chained in prisons dark, were still in heart and conscience free;
 How sweet would be their children's fate, if they, like them, could die for Thee!"

Selections from the Biblical book of Hebrews, Chapter 11

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible...By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants "as the stars of heaven in number and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore."All these died in faith, without receiving the promises but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He has prepared a city for them...And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

And from the last few verses of the Bible, Revelation 22:17-21

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book and if anyone takes away from the words of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

And lastly, just eleven days ago, the Lord took His faithful servant, Elisabeth Elliot, home to be with Him. You can hear her broadcast "Gateway to Joy" at the following link:

May God bless you all...

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Last week I was asked to complete a written interview for an upcoming quilt magazine article. A few of the questions revolved around The Farmer's Wife magazine and it got me to thinking that although I talk about the magazine when I speak at quilt guilds, etc., I rarely mention it on my blog. So for this and a few more blog posts, I will be writing about an issue that is hundred and one years old this month.

Yes, the condition of the magazine is rough, (the cover is detached, too) but I dare say none of us would look much better after 101 years!

Although I will call it a magazine, as you can see the complete title is just, The Farmer's Wife. It is never referred to as a magazine, but rather a paper. That makes sense because not only is it made of newsprint, but it is as large as a folded newspaper measuring 11" wide and 17" from top to bottom. The interior is written in black ink; the only color being on the front cover.

The number of pages in each issue varied greatly throughout the years. In this issue there are only 24  but since the type is so very small (readers must have had excellent eyesight!) it would take several hours to read it thoroughly.

Photographs were frequently used, but I imagine even when the magazine was brand new the images weren't very sharp. More often than photographs they printed pencil or ink drawings of the best quality as illustrations.

The following two pictures were included to illustrate two different fiction stories. The stories must have been extremely popular since they always held prominent positions in the magazine. Although some of the stories were complete in one issue, some continued for six months. An excellent way to sell magazines, I think!

The following two letters were printed in the magazine under a column entitled, "Our Home Club." The Home Club was a catch-all of letters to the editor, recipes, requests for advice and handy hints.

KEEPING HAPPY AT HOME; J. K. from Missouri

I think there is no kind of life more happy in average than the good farm life. When we came to this place eight years ago there was nothing but a house and barn in the middle of a field. We went to work with zeal and worked hard. Now we have the most attractive place in the neighborhood. First we planted fruit and shade trees. Now we have fruit in abundance and our shade trees are the envy of our neighbors. We also have small fruits galore. Our garden is a joy to all. We have many conveniences for making our work lighter. We put up ice every winter, then we can make splendid butter, as well as keep our food-stuffs sweet and fresh during the summer months. For the social side of country life, we have all sorts of affairs,--box socials, spelling bees--attended one last week and spelled down the entire class! I find much enjoyment in such things. Then I have my piano and I like to ride horseback and find entertainment in books. I always find plenty of time to do these things though I make all my own clothes and sometimes sew for others too.


I have always lived on a farm and consider it the best place in the world. I have six boys and one girl. My oldest boy is fifteen and my youngest boy two and I am a widow. My children and I carry on the farming with but little hired help. We live on a ranch of 720 acres, milk cows and take our sweet cream six miles to a separator every day in the summer. We have pigs, calves and chickens and some guinea fowl. My three youngest boys older than my two babies go to school most of the time. I did not see a woman from Thanksgiving till in March. Do not have time to get lonesome. I have made fancy work, pieced three quilts (crazy work on a machine), hooked a rug, besides all the regular work for a family of eight.

More about the June 1914 issue next time.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Today I am printing two pages from my new book The Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Dear Farmer' Wife:

As I am reading other women's letters, I wonder if I might encourage some other mother to enjoy such a vacation as I have taken. I, like Sally Sod, have been tied with little ones, having five, the oldest 10 years old and the youngster 5 months. Also I know what hard times are, as I believe that if ever anyone has seen and felt them, we have. Therefore, I have stayed at home and worked and saved until even my husband seemed to be the ugliest man I ever saw, although I knew he was the best one.

I had not visited my parents for three years, although they lived only a day's drive away. They had never seen the baby. So I decided to leave my 300 chicks, goslings, setting hens and the dairy for my husband to care for and take the children and go home.

We just couldn't all leave, as we bottle and deliver our milk to town people twice daily. Our car is a 1923 model, arm-strong starter, and anything but good looking. My husband worked the engine over and had it in as good running order as he could make it.  We loaded it and started.

I put the baby in a wooden box with plenty of pillows in the back seat, with a youngster on each side of him, and two in the front with me. We left home at 7 o'clock in the morning and "pulled" into the nearest town to my parents' home at 5:30 in the afternoon. I sent a telegram to my husband and then went on the other three miles. What a happy bunch we were!

We stayed two weeks and every minute was full. We came back across the flint hills with all their rocks so much happier and just as anxious to get home as we were to leave.

We drove between 180 and 200 miles each way, over 400 miles altogether, and came back with the same air in the tires we had when we left (they weren't all new either.) Everyone says that I had lots of courage and nerve to start such a trip with so many little ones, but just the same we made it, and when we came home, it was to find the best looking man in the world and a house as clean as a pin with everything in tip-top shape.

Nobody know what that trip meant to me and the cost was little. I left with ten dollars and brought back over three dollars. Out of this little, trinkets were bought for the children as well as expenses paid.

I prepared plenty of sandwiches, fruit and cake for the children. Also a jug of water and a bottle of milk for the baby (yes, he
is a bottle baby), and with a can of heat it was warmed and he was fed and was so happy all day long that I was very much surprised.

Now I wonder how many mothers there are who would like to take a trip if only someone could go along, or they could leave the home with all its work. Just go with your little ones and enjoy yourself, because you don't know what a wonderful husband you have or just what he can do until you give him a chance to show you.

What I am trying to plan now is a vacation for him, and I think I can manage it, too. Here's hoping this will encourage some tired mother to try what I have accomplished.

I have lots of other problems just as other mothers of so many little ones, but try to carry on. Perhaps I will write again some other time.

Monday, February 16, 2015


It seems to me that a great many of us women when we come to old age, could look back with more pleasure on our lives, had we tried harder to attain true Christian courtesy which means "thoughtful kindness." Tactlessness can become almost a crime. We have all been more or less guilty of it. But while there is life, there is hope and most of us may frankly say of ourselves, "There is room for improvement."

"What! You spent ten dollars on that hat? I call that extravagance!" virtuously pronounces Mrs. Tactless. Poor Mrs. Timid blushes nervously. Her John told her to buy a really good hat this time as she was the best little wife in the world, but Mrs. Tactless makes her feel quite guilty.

"You don't mean to say you have four cats? What nonsense! One cat is enough in any house," says Mrs. Plain-Spoken. "Drown three of them." In vain Mrs. Lonely Woman tries to explain that their home is so quiet that the cats and kittens, with their playful ways, amuse her. "Drown them, shoot them, poison them!" is Mrs. Plain-Spoken's final command.

"My, but you're looking yellow and your cheeks are all fallen in," says old Mrs. Pessimist, who is kind in her way, not in the least realizing that a woman in her forties still desires to "look nice" and may be rather upset by the depressing greeting.

"Oh, thank you, but I guess I've got heaps of handkerchiefs already," is the ungracious way in which Mrs. Selfish receives a Christmas present.

"You're always writing letters when I come. What a lot of money you must spend on stamps and look at the time you waste. I don't write a dozen letters in a year," proclaims Mrs. Gadabout, who is always grumbling because the mail man never brings her any letters. Mrs. Letter-Writer thinks lovingly of her old parents, her aunts, her brothers and sisters and friends in distant places and of the happy bond that has never been broken yet owing to her own "extravagance" in stamps and time.

"Time you put up new wallpaper in your parlor," cries Mrs. Thoughtless. "It doesn't cost much and makes such a difference." Mrs. Poverty does not feel like telling Mrs. Thoughtless that it is all she can do to get money for real necessities.

"Now, you mustn't give way. It is selfish, you know. Your dear child is better dead. She was never very strong and she will be far happier in Heaven," is the only consolation Mrs. "All-For-The-Best" has for a heartbroken mother who never again will hear dancing footsteps, never again feel two loving little arms, never again look into a pair of sweet candid eyes.

"What, you're never getting married surely! I think at your time of life you should be above such nonsense. The folks will just laugh at you." In this kindly way does Mrs. Cold Heart welcomed the shy announcement of elderly Miss Lonesome.

"Well, I've heard you preach a heap better than you did today," is the unsympathetic verdict of Mrs. Fault Finder on a sermon by her hardworking, anxious minister.

"Oh, what weeds! You must come and see our garden," says Mrs. Boastful to poor Mrs. Drudge who has to combine the duties of housekeeper and hired man.

Such are a few glaring examples of the tactless speeches we have all had the misfortune to hear in greater or less degree. Let us try to avoid not only the substance but even the shadow of this particularly unlovely failing.

Monday, February 2, 2015

THE LAND OF PROMISE, A Foreigner, Michigan, 1928

Dear Farmers' Wives:

I am writing to let you all know how much I appreciate American country life. To begin with: Six years ago we emigrated from Europe, my husband, one daughter and myself. We came from a small lively town in Czechoslovakia, my husband's native town. By birth I am a German.

We all looked upon America as "the Land of Promise." So we came in 1921 to try our luck in the much praised country.

We came straight to a large city. Imagine how dismayed I was! Nothing turned out the way we expected. I had to go to work, too, and we could barely make a living, the three of us. I cried so much then! I don't believe I ever cried so much before. I wanted to go back to my native land as I was happier there. Everything was so strange to me. I had severe headaches and I was a nervous wreck.

One day my husband came home with good news. He showed me an advertisement in a paper. It was about a farm for rent.

A week later we were on the farm. We never went back to the city again and don't expect to.

It's five years now that we have been in the country. And I enjoy it. I've never been sick since I left the dingy atmosphere of the city.

Want to go back to Europe? Oh! no, of course not! Never. 

My daughter, Helene, who was 11 years old when we emigrated, had to start school in the first grade. She is seventeen years old now and goes to high school and the professors say that she is one of the smartest pupils in a school of nearly 300 children. Helene loves school work and she expects to be a teacher after she graduates.

We are all pleased with country life and we're saving enough money so that we can have a farm of our very own.

I believe that there is something in the phrase, "The Land of Promise."

Saturday, January 3, 2015

1930's BOOK PREVIEW "AND THE TEAKETTLE KEPT ON SINGING;" Comfort from Pennsylvania; March 1935

The following letter is one that I often read aloud at speaking engagements. This letter will be included in my third book, The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt-Inspiring Letters From Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them, due to be released in spring 2015. The block that accompanies this letter is called, "Mrs. Smith."

"Mrs. Smith"
The mercury was hovering around zero. The children started off to school in woolen clothes and fleece-lined overshoes and husband was in the barn with the sheep. In the house, fires were holding winter at bay. Mother was beating an egg for noodles for the beef broth simmering on the back of the range. The room was filled with the steamy aroma. A squeaking came from the snow outside. The door opened and in stepped Mrs. Smith.

“Oh! How warm it is in here!” she exclaimed. “What are you cooking? It has me hoping that dinner isn’t far off.”

“Just some scraps of beef and noodles for the broth,” Mother answered. “George told you I have a quilt in, and I’m glad you’ve come to help in the quilting.

It was only ten o’clock when they sat down together at the quilt. How their needles and tongues did fly! Laughter too, rippled along merrily. At eleven Mother fixed the fires, put the potatoes in the oven, stirred up some cup cakes, brought a relish and a jar of red raspberries from the cellar, spread a clean cloth, and set the table for three.

Mrs. Smith, quilting on, listened to Mother’s flying steps. Tabby, stretched by the fire, was the picture of comfort. There was a new smell of baking potatoes and cake. Brewing tea added its fragrance. The cold scurried over the floor as Father entered.

“I stopped in at the henhouse,” he said. “Eight eggs. Not so bad for this cold day. Hello? Got company?”

“Sure! Mable came over to help with the quilt.”

“Hello, George,” came from the sitting room. “No, I didn’t come to quilt. I came to escape a little of this dreadful winter. Some way, it’s never winter in Bess Worth’s house.”

“Now, don’t brag on my wife,” Father said banteringly. “It’s all I can do to live with her without that.”

March 1935