Peggy and Bill–Be A Kind Neighbor; 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.

A few more visits from well-meaning neighbors and the young husband will come in some evening to find his wife in tears. And if neighbor Number One should happen to see the trace of tears, how the news will fly that Peggy and Bill are finding that married life isn’t all it’s “cracked up” to be!

About this time another neighbor makes her first call. It matters not to her whether Peggy’s kitchen is done in blue and white, or in henna; whether she does fancy work or patch overalls; whether she uses rouge, or doesn’t. She admires everything about the new home and leaves with the admonition, “Don’t be afraid to call if you need help any time.”

Just think back to your own “bride days” or your “first baby days.” Don’t you remember how that wealth of advice overwhelmed you? Your head was in a mad whirl. You were longing for friends but you had to fight the impulse to say, “Won’t you please just attend to your own fish-frying?”

So let’s quit wondering if Peggy is satisfied with Bill, and with life in general, and resolve that Peggy and Bill shall not be disappointed in their neighbors.

 

 

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.

I had my own little “declaration of independence” day this week. Every morning in the summer I do a daily tour through the garden. I assess the progress of the produce to determine how much time I’ll be spending in the kitchen in the afternoon. If I’ve brought a container with me, I’ll gather any produce that’s ready, which inevitably includes Our Daily Okra.

I’d been planning on making Butter Chicken for dinner that day–one of my favorites. But when I looked at what I’d picked, I knew I needed to re-think my menu. It only made sense to eat what I’d just harvested, instead of processing it all for the winter before pulling dinner ingredients out of the cupboard.

So, Butter Chicken became Pesto Chicken, grilled okra, pickles, and bowls of raspberries with whipped cream, using our own basil, okra, cucumbers, and raspberries.

Dinner, in a theme of green

From backyard to grill to table in a matter of hours. And it tastes even better when I’ve done “all by myself.”

Reading For Pleasure & Knowledge; 1937 &1903

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)
  4. Light fiction (which may include anything at all even to detective stories if I am so inclined! This is dessert!)

I choose from these four types in order, then start all over again.

I can’t tell you what this plan has meant to me. I think I’m becoming better educated than I was, I know I’m becoming happier and more interesting and you know, there’s nothing like interest and happiness to erase lines from one’s face!

From 1903–Of  course, the quotes below would apply to women as well as men.

“What shall I read?” This is an important question to all, and especially to those living in country homes, for those having few associates are influenced much more by what they read, where books become real companions, either to elevate or degrade. Let us be very careful in the selection of our books, not selecting a book that is simply harmless, but choose those that will broaden and ennoble our lives.

It can be truly said, “Show me what a person reads and I can tell what sort of man he is.” How many times we read of boys leaving all that is good and pure, leading dissolute lives, often guilty of grave crimes, who were led to such lives by reading pernicious books. And again how many times the reading of a good book has turned the scale in persons’ lives and they have become noble, helpful men, whose lives are an inspiration to all.

Watch a child, that has few young companions, during the time he is reading such a book as “Little Men.” See how he lives with the characters of the book; he enjoys all their sports, feels all their sorrows; in fact, his imaginative life becomes as real to him as his real life is. Knowing all this one begins to realize the great influence of books.

For older readers in the field of fiction we find too many good authors to mention their names; but we would say in selecting a book, remember to accept nothing that is unreal or sensational, which gives a young person a too romantic or sentimental view of life.

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.”

But do you not mind the deep changeless silence in those distant solitary places? “But there is no silence here,” she answers, “except on the high places of the mountain tops. Here there is always the roar of the river at the bottom of the canyon and the wind in the cedars all about me.”

But the Indians? Do you not fear that war-whoop? “It used to alarm me to meet an Indian out on the big flats, but I soon discovered that they will not even look at you as they pass.”

But how about rattlesnakes? In answer came this: “I never had any rattlesnakes in my bed, though I fancied I had one night. I got up, carefully lifted off the sheets, and found–the comfortable (an old-fashioned word for quilt) under me wrinkled up! There are not many rattlesnakes now–you see, we kill them.”

But are you not afraid to stay in your cabin alone on your lofty butte? “No, I do not believe that I am afraid. When I first came here the bigness of the hills frightened me, but now some of the best times I have are when I am walking over the hills and through the trees at night. I have a bull terrier and a collie that are always with me so I am not so much alone as it might seem. I have also a beautiful big Morgan saddle horse; I ride over the country alone and I have never been frightened.”