The Order of Patrons of Husbandry a/k/a The Grange

You may have heard of The Grange.  You may even be a member or your family was active in their local Grange many years ago.  It doesn’t seem to be an active organization where I live anymore but they still do exist.

As a youth I had heard of the Grange but wasn’t really aware of all that they did in our country’s history and more importantly I didn’t know that they were such an important organization for the many rural families of our country.  I think that they were such an important agricultural type organization where the rural farm families could gather at their local building to support one another, find others with the same interests as their own as well as share food and fellowship with one another.  I seem to remember reading that many rural families during World War 2 would gather there to home-can foods together and share equipment.  That must have been such a fun and wonderful time; don’t you think?

What really peaked my interest in knowing about them is this recipe book.

This book had been my Grandmother’s.

It is evident as I look through that all recipes are from Grange members.

It lost its covers and some pages are missing as well.  As you can see my brother was hired by my Grandmother to make a new cover for it. 🙂

As I was on my journey to bake through all of the Pumpkin Pie recipes in my possession to find the one which I fell in love with first, my Grandmother’s, I had looked at the ones in this book.  You can read all about my Pumpkin Pie adventures in this post: Eating Our Way Through Autumn; One Pumpkin Pie at a Time.

But as I was reading all of the members’ organization names and county names I began to realize that this particular cookbook wasn’t from the Pennsylvania Grange.  So I began my journey through the world wide web to determine where it could be from.  Lo and behold, somewhere I found a photo of a page of recipes in a Grange cookbook which was being sold on the internet (possibly Amazon) and I compared that page to my book.  Fortunately the page on the internet was in existence in my Grange cookbook.  I finally found the one which my Grandmother used so much and it is the one titled Ohio State Grange Cook Book which is from 1970 (with red spiral bound plastic).

As you can see in the top photo there are a lot of stains and I believe the book became wet somewhere along the way because of the big stains on the top of most of the pages.  Pies were something which my Grandmother often made; she was a great baker and loved to bake all of the time.  The photo above has the Pumpkin Pie recipes on the right page.  I made one of them but I still can’t seem to find the right mixture of ingredients for the pie which she always made unless I’m not remembering the taste correctly.

But onto the cookbooks again…

After determining which Grange this book is from I began to wonder why she had this particular one since we live in Pennsylvania (although Ohio is our neighbor) and, of course, how did she get an Ohio Grange Book??  From what I recall, her one brother (my Great-Uncle) would visit family in Ohio.  I don’t remember if they were my Grandmother’s family too or if they were my Great-Uncle’s wife’s family in Ohio.  But I have seen photos of him visiting a cemetery of family members in Ohio.  So I guess it’s possible that the Grange cookbook found its way from their through that route.  I just don’t know.  I was just so happy to finally learn which Grange this book had come from.  And apparently it was well-loved by my Grandmother.

About two summers ago I had been at a flea market and came across a woman who was selling her late mother-in-law’s things.  They were going to move into the home but there was just so much stuff.  She was telling me information since I was interested in her cookbooks which she was selling.  I bought 3 of them.  Two were vintage Better Homes and Garden cookbooks which I discussed in the post about my collection and one of them was this Grange cookbook.

After reading through this amazing collection of vintage recipes I was so excited to have found such a treasure for what I seem to remember to be only 25 or 75 cents!!!  This book contains so many rare and old recipes which you are not going to find in too many other places.

There is a section containing recipes from various noted individuals in Washington, D.C. of the time (1976) including…..

There are various recipes in the book which claim to have been served to President George Washington in the White House too!
There is even a section titled Special Diabetic Recipes.  I find that unusual for a cookbook published in 1976 and yet so fascinating, especially for a Grange cookbook.  Those Grange members were sure concerned for their members’ health and well being and made sure to include those types of recipes in their Bicentennial Cookbook.  The only recipe which we’ve made so far was the Pennsylvania Dutch Mustard recipe which it says is over 100 years old.  It was a disaster and my husband and I proclaim to never eat any others then French’s!  It smelled horrible and the taste was horrific!  Needless to say it was dumped out.  At least we can say we tried; can’t we?!

But due to these two Grange cookbooks I  began to look at other various used Pennsylvania (PA) Grange cookbooks on the internet; Amazon mostly.  That’s where I tend to visit for used cookbooks, by the way.

I started reading reviews about what appears to be the most-loved of all PA Grange cookbooks.  The one originally published in 1972.  You can buy reprints of this book but I seem to remember to have read some reviews somewhere that stated some recipes are missing from the reprints.  That is one of the main reasons I don’t like buying a reprint.  Too often they are missing items/recipes from the original publication.  So off I began my search for a used one on Amazon for a descent price.  I received an Amazon gift card last year from someone who told me to ‘treat myself’ so I decided to use it towards the purchase of two PA used State Grange Cookbooks.

Here is the 1972 book which claims to be the best loved version of all of the ones which the PA Grange has sold.

And this one is from 1950 even though there is no date on the inside.

I am satisfied with my PA Grange collection of cookbooks.  But most importantly, I have finally determined which one my Grandmother loved the most.

Now if I only could go back in time and watch her make the best Pumpkin Pie ever (and get the recipe)!!!!!

I hope that when I get to Heaven she’ll have one waiting for me as well as a big bowl of her delicious Rivel Soup!

A Glimpse of a Rural Life – in images – take two

Photography has been a hobby passion of mine since I was a young girl.  I had dreamed of working and traveling the world for National Geographic.  That hasn’t come to fruition but I still enjoy documenting things in my life through the lens.  For the past few years I’ve set the camera aside to take up some new hobbies: knitting and crochet.  You can read all about it here: Hook and Needle Story.  I had decided that it was time to stop pressuring myself for the best images and just enjoy the moments.  So that is what I live by now.

Last year I had a short-lived photography series titled A Glimpse of a Rural Life.  Below is my explanation of what my expectations were for that series of images.

Life in Rural America is a very special kind of living.  There’s more open space to enjoy, the air is cleaner and the sounds are so much better than city life (at least in my opinion).

Beginning May 4th, I will share a weekly image from what I am calling “A Glimpse of a Rural Life Series.”  I will share images from my rural property and the rural areas which surround me.  Views which I see everyday and are a very important part of my life.  I hope to preserve those glimpses in a way that allows you to better understand the importance of rural areas throughout our country.

There will be images showing you many things which may seem insignificant but truly are critical to the rural way of life.  There are many things people take for granted and may soon disappear if Rural America is abandoned and developed by ‘big business.’  Many of the rural family-owned farms, small businesses and factories have already shuttered due to big corporations and companies which have taken over America.

I am appalled and saddened when farmland is inherited by a generation of children who don’t see and appreciate its true value and sell it for developmental purposes.  So much of America’s farmland is lost this way.  So much of America’s heritage is disappearing.  There is a program with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture dedicated to Farmland Preservation  and their mission is very important.  And I hope through viewing my images of life in the country that you will better understand the importance of preserving this way of life and advocate for preservation of Rural Areas where you live so that it may be saved for future generations before it is something only found in history books.

Because not only do farmers feed their families, they also help to feed the world.  It is critical that their land and rich soil are preserved and saved from future home and business development so that they can continue their vital contributions.

I really would like to bring this back to my readers and try to show you more of my environment.

I won’t put pressure on myself though and say that I will definitely have images each week.

What I will do though is tag them with my category titled Glimpse of Rural Life so that you will know those images represent what I have explained above and to bring awareness to the rapid loss of rural areas throughout our country.

Things which comfort my ‘old soul’

My old-soul feels comforted while “wrapped up…”

…in made-from-scratch comfort foods which I made in my kitchen

…in the months from October through February

…in vintage Christmas songs

…while watching The Waltons & Charlie Brown Holiday Specials on television

…in my house watching the snow fall and wearing cozy socks

…day-dreaming of my childhood life on the old homesteads

…thinking of the youthful days of walking/riding my bicycle all over town with no cell phones and no adult worries or responsibilities

…in thoughts of my family members who have passed on into the next life


Do you often feel like the world around you is just going crazy and out of control?

I do.

And it seems to be getting worse for me.

I feel like my old-soul has really grown weary of late by being bombarded with all of this technology and the ‘noise’ it provides.  I get disgusted while standing at the gas pumps when a television screen is filled with more noise.  I just want peace and quiet.

I want to get away from people and technology and all of the noise and distractions which they produce.

I don’t feel guilty or sorry about it either.

I’m just tired.

My old-soul has aged quite considerably in the last 6 years.

I feel lost in this world and am willing to fall into my rabbit hole into the mid 20th century away from all of this and live on Walton’s Mountain.

Do you feel like falling with me?

I Miss You and Who I Once Was With You

Maybe it is because I miss who I was when I was there

Or because of the innocence and carefree life it held for me

Maybe for what it stood for and for who was there

For all the good that happened; for all the memories it holds of my life as it stands for someone else

Maybe for what it has done to me to shape me into the woman I am today

But I feel…mostly for the fact that it is a capsule of time which I want to live in forever because I miss everything about you and who I once was with you

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{my first home}

Broken

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While driving along a rural highway last Autumn I found this abandoned home.

These types of places always peak my interest and yet they break my heart.

I think of all the good times which happened within the walls of this home with children and holidays and family gatherings.

And I wonder how a place could come to this point.  Why would anyone ever desert a place to allow Mother Nature and all the elements to claim it?

So sad.

So alone.

So broken.

So many things about the local family-owned grocery store attracts me to it

Even though we live in a rural area, we are not immune to Walmart.  Walmart has pretty much taken over this country’s landscape by being everywhere.  I remember the time when it wasn’t anywhere in Pennsylvania (and only seen in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) and now there is a store as close as ten minutes from my home.  When my husband and I were dating, Walmart built the first store close to us and we would go there occasionally.  When we married, we’d go about once a month to buy all the things we needed that we couldn’t buy at the local grocery stores and it didn’t bother us to only visit it once a month (probably saved us a lot of money that way!).  After a big chain store named ‘Ames’ closed the local store which had been around for many years this rural area no longer had a retailer to frequent.  We’d now have to drive 35 miles minimum for purchasing items other than groceries.  After an ad was placed in the local newspaper asking residents to call Walmart’s corporate office and request a store to be built in our area to replace the now-closed ‘Ames’ retailer, it came to fruition and in 2007 it opened its doors.  The prices are good for most things compared to many other retailers and that unfortunately has helped to close many of the local and family-owned businesses.  Eventually we began to shop weekly for everything including groceries and it was convenient and saved money for us.

But a lot has changed due to Walmart and their business practices and we dislike going there now (we only go for a few things on occasion).  We’ve gone back to patronizing the local PA family-owned grocery store named Weis Markets and we love it.

So many things about shopping at Weis attracts me more than ever before.  The local store is close to my husband’s job location which makes it quite convenient for him to shop at in the early afternoons when he is finished working.  It saves me a trip on most Saturdays and has saved my precious weekend time to do other things (because I can stand in line at Walmart for 30-45 minutes just to pay for my groceries).  When he, or I even, go to Weis there usually isn’t a crowd of people and it is nice and quiet to shop there with relatively short check-out lines.  The employees are very personable too (you won’t get much of that at Walmart).  Walmart is a nightmare and they only have a few registers open at any given time with very long lines out into the other sections of the store.  I’ve even begun buying health and beauty items at my local Weis store.  The difference in the higher prices versus Walmart prices is worth it by saving me all the aggravation of going to Walmart (and Weis doubles coupons too!!).  And the best thing of all is that the money doesn’t leave the state; Weis Markets is family-owned and here in Pennsylvania.  PA also has another rather large chain grocery store called Giant Food Stores and we do go there occasionally.  But I’m still drawn back to Weis.  Maybe its due to my ever present longing for nostalgia from my youth.  When I was young we stayed home and in our local area mostly; shopped at the only local family-owned grocery store (where everyone shopped at) which began in their home!  Leaving our area for any type of shopping was very rare in those days.    Everyone patronized their neighbors and didn’t think of leaving the valley for anything else.  Going to even a Weis store was rare but I do remember visiting them.  I also like the Weis near us due to its appearance inside.  Someone once told me that she doesn’t care for them much because she thinks they look “old fashioned” (or she used some other term similar in meaning).  They are updating many stores and building some new ones to be more energy efficient and to have more variety and larger selections to choose from.  I still enjoy our local one; it hasn’t been upgraded recently but that is all good by me.

I still enjoy the local owned businesses too.  They support local communities and its people and remind us what truly helped to build our small rural areas in the first place.

Even during the holiday season it seems so much more fun for me to go to the local grocery store.  It reminds me of all my excitement as a child of going there and getting all the seasonal goodies and baking items needed.  There is nothing too commercialized about a grocery store, it is all about the food, and I enjoy that aspect the most.  🙂  Food brings fond memories, doesn’t it?!

I will continue to shop at my local Weis Markets to help keep it here where it has been for many years.

A Glimpse of a Rural Life

Life in Rural America is a very special kind of living.  There’s more open space to enjoy, the air is cleaner and the sounds are so much better than city life (at least in my opinion).

Beginning May 4th, I will share a weekly image from what I am calling “A Glimpse of a Rural Life Series.”  I will share images from my rural property and the rural areas which surround me.  Views which I see everyday and are a very important part of my life.  I hope to preserve those glimpses in a way that allows you to better understand the importance of rural areas throughout our country.

There will be images showing you many things which may seem insignificant but truly are critical to the rural way of life.  There are many things people take for granted and may soon disappear if Rural America is abandoned and developed by ‘big business.’  Many of the rural family-owned farms, small businesses and factories have already shuttered due to big corporations and companies which have taken over America.

I am appalled and saddened when farmland is inherited by a generation of children who don’t see and appreciate its true value and sell it for developmental purposes.  So much of America’s farmland is lost this way.  So much of America’s heritage is disappearing.  There is a program with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture dedicated to Farmland Preservation  and their mission is very important.  And I hope through viewing my images of life in the country that you will better understand the importance of preserving this way of life and advocate for preservation of Rural Areas where you live so that it may be saved for future generations before it is something only found in history books.

Because not only do farmers feed their families, they also help to feed the world.  It is critical that their land and rich soil are preserved and saved from future home and business development so that they can continue their vital contributions.

 

Reaching Back In Time

Is it so taboo to want to live the simple life?

In this time period, where just about everyone is “plugged-in” to something electronic or a social media site, it seems like we are evolving at such a rapid pace and no one wants to slow down.

To each generation, the term ‘good ol’ days’ has a different meaning.  As a baby born in the 1970’s, I think often of the 1980’s, of my childhood and what I deem to be my ‘good ol’ days.’  I miss the people most, who are no longer a part of my life now.  And, as strange as it may seem to some, I also miss the life I was living.  It certainly wasn’t easy and there are some bad memories mixed in there, but as a child I didn’t have all the worries and responsibilities as I do now.  And, I had lots more fun!!

For a very long time, I’ve always felt I have an ‘old soul.’  I haven’t had memories, dreams, flashbacks or recollections of a former life, but I just feel older in my soul, than my actual years and get deja’ vu quite often.

My grandparents’ generation lived through the Great Depression and endured and fought World War II.  My maternal grandmother was in Europe at that time and probably had the harshest life imaginable during all of the fighting.  I’m so drawn to that time period and I seek to learn all I can of the 1920’s through the 1940’s; especially the War itself.  I imagine what life would’ve been like on the home front (USA) or abroad in Europe during all of that time.  I wish I could ask my Grandparents.  As a child I didn’t have interest in “the War”, but I do now.  If I could go back in time to live through a time period, I would choose the early 1930’s and live forward.  Would I join the War effort as a Nurse in the WAC or choose to keep the home fires burning here for a man?  I don’t know.  But it is a part of history which I feel so much more at ease with.  I enjoy vintage items and recipes which kept company during all of that.  I’ve been canning food for many years and have been expanding my repertoire in the last few.  I will keep my Victory Garden going the best way that I can (with lots of help from my hubby!).

As I get older, I keep wanting to reach back to a much simpler life and time.  I feel technology is exploding at a very rapid pace and I just feel so lost in all of it.  I don’t use social media mega giant Facebook and don’t feel the need or desire to.  And to be extremely honest with you, the Internet is growing too rapidly that I often sit in front of the computer and feel overwhelmed by it all.  I enjoy the “task” of writing a good old-fashioned letter and putting a stamp on it and mailing it (stickers on the envelope are fun to add too!).  At least I feel that I’m doing my part to help the United States Postal Service stay open-lol!!  I think that old fashioned writing of letters is a lost art and quickly becoming forgotten.  And, I saw too much fraud when I was a bank employee so I still enjoy writing out a check and paying my bills by mail!

I love the process of making and creating by hand versus buying something which was mass produced or made by someone else.  Knitting, crocheting, cooking and baking are things which I enjoy immensely.  I recently purchased a vintage cook book through Amazon titled ‘Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book’, copywrite 1950.  I bought a used one because I wanted an original from the time period with character.  And I got it!!  (I read some posts from others who purchased a new reprint of the book and recipes are missing)!

 

Cookbook

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I love making the old family recipes which I have and cooking from vintage cook books.  It certainly transports me back to a better place and time.  I decided to make the recipe for White Bread (yeast) from this cook book and I used the yeast which I have which is Rapid Rise.  Using that replaces the first rise in a bread recipe and shortens the time to get it ready for the 30-minute baking.  I used that yeast because it is what I have in my fridge and I’m all about using up what I got (see previous post).  It turned out to be the BEST loaf of white yeast bread which I’ve ever made and it was PERFECT!  Instead of using milk, as I’ve done in the past with previous recipes, I used water.  It was a tasty bread loaf; better then the ones you buy at the local bakery.  Many bakeries and family-owned restaurants tend to use their cherished old family recipes and those foods are the BEST!  I keep looking at all the new recipe books from my library and the same recipes just keep revolving around with a few differences (just compare several books of the same type of cuisine and you’ll see each author’s ‘spin’ on classic recipes).  I think the older recipes are best.  They keep things simple and use items which are stocked year-round in my home but the taste is fantastic.  When the Greatest Generation was growing up and living life in their early years, the best thing they enjoyed was putting a great meal on the table for their families and friends and everyone who visited was considered family.  They didn’t go out to eat at restaurants or order take-away food to eat at home.  Why would they?  Their recipes are the best ever!

There’s no way known, yet, to turn back time and most people wouldn’t want that anyway.  But, I can still daydream of a life that is simpler and of what I lived as a child.  I grew up, and still live, in the country.  My family was farming crops and animals with big gardens.  My mother and paternal grandmother canned lots of food each summer to help us endure those harsh winters which we once had and my family hunted to put meat in the freezer as well.  I had a good childhood in many ways; but, at the time, I didn’t think it was.  I do now.  I was fortunate compared to many others.  I’d get on my bicycle and ride to town (up a very steep hill) and visit with my best friend.  We’d spend the day together and sometimes ride all over town, or to the local library where her mother worked.  I’d return before dark and no one worried (too much!).  No cell phones, computers or electronic toys.  We’d go outside and play all day and it truly was fun!  We’d write snail-mail letters to each other and call and talk on the rotary wall phone for hours (with no call waiting).  Boy!  I sure miss all of that!  I certainly would embrace the simple life; however, others around me wouldn’t.  They are evolving, along with the rest of the world, using all electronics and social media, which has gripped the world quickly.

I think that as humans age and look to their final years on Earth, they become more nostalgic and wish for their youth.  It appears to just be a part of the cycle of life.

And, as a final thought, I will say that I really love Miranda Lambert’s song ‘Automatic.’  Here’s a link to the video on YouTube.  Listen closely to the lyrics; I think you’ll feel what I feel.  Let me know….