A Glimpse of a Rural Life – Bindering the Wheat

 

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God is talking to me but my husband’s not listening

I said those words to my husband the other day; he laughed.

I went to the local library to pick up a few things including a book titled Back to Basics.  As I reached to grab the book from the shelf another book fell onto the floor right at my feet.

I had a really bad day at the office and the desire to quit my job was so strong.  For several years now I’ve really wanted to stay at home and not have a job other then tending to things at home.  This book is so very appropriate for that and I felt that God was trying to tell me to follow the yearnings of my old soul (because I’ve really been praying for some help in recent months).  My husband just doesn’t understand and most others don’t either.  It is a feeling that you have deep down in your soul for the desire to be at home.  To tend to things there and to find fulfillment for yourself.

I grew up in a rural community on a farm and spent summers at home and going to town on my bicycle.  I really wanted to see the world and to have a fulfilling job.  Now as an adult I just want to go back to the simplistic domestic life.  It is difficult, even without children, to have a full time office job in a city 35 miles from home and to balance home life with that.  I never in my life wanted to take care of my home as I do now.  And I know it also means that I really need to take care of myself because I’m really burned out.  There is no fulfillment for me in a job outside of the home anymore.  I know that the daily commute and anxiety and stress of that commute as well as the job has really taken its toll on me.

I’ve decided to take a little vacation this week and get away from the job and be at home to recharge myself and find some happy.  Last evening I began reading this book and it screams to me to follow my soul’s desires.  Selling that to my husband just doesn’t seem to be working though (and I’ve been trying for several years).  I’ve even thought of ways to make money to sustain us a bit.  I thought of selling photography, knitted and crocheted items on Etsy but after reading books about those ventures I’m not sure.  And if you look on the world wide web it seems like everyone is doing it and competition is fierce.  So since those things don’t seem to be working in my favor maybe it’s a sign to just stay at home, be me and find some happy.

Even the photo on the front reminds me of me.  I love to knit and cook and bake and I wear my glasses when I’m at home.  It was meant to be for me to read.  As I read through this book I will know a bit more about whether it is what I truly should be doing for myself to survive.

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!

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}

Enjoying Summer

I’ve been busy just relaxing this summer and haven’t been writing or even taking many photos.  Staying in the air-conditioning is the perfect rx for this time of the year and I am looking forward to Autumn with all its colors and cooler temps.  Our garden is keeping us busy with a bounty of food and beautiful sunflowers for the birds to eat.

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I’ve also been baking goodies and knitting.  I have a shawl on knitting needles which I work on from time to time and I’ve begun a blaze-orange knitted hat for my husband (finished one for myself) and yesterday I just had to begin knitting a simplistic but beautiful blanket using the garter stitch and i-cord edge and it is going to be a yarn-eater so that I can reduce my rather large yarn stash.

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I found this very popular “Garter Squish” blanket pattern on Ravelry.com and here is the information I have composed so far, which will explain it to you:

Name: “Delorable” Garter Squshy

I chose this name because I think this is going to be both ‘delicious’ and ‘adorable.’😉

After days of viewing all of the beautiful ones that other Ravelers have made (and constantly thinking about this project-even while working!), I just had to stop working on my other knitted items to at least get this started. I have so very much yarn (majority is acrylic) and I want to reduce my stash. Everyone says that this project will do just that and it is a simplistic but beautiful project with the garter stitch (some days I just want something simple to knit). I can’t wait for this to be complete! Will add photos as I go along on this and hope to have it complete by the time ‘old man winter’ sets in here in the Mid-Atlantic (sounds like it may be another cold and snowy winter for us!).

Game Plan:

  • Organize/group my yarns by color family
  • Knit with two strands help together
  • Use a yarn from each color family which is an ombre/gradient along side of a solid in that same color family
  • Use Russian Join method for attaching yarns to each other
  • The width of each color segment will be determined by the yarn as I go along in this project. I think with various widths of color segments the blanket will look much better than having each segment the same width. We shall see what pattern emerges from the yarn!:)

Specs:

  • CO 146 with the Knitted Cast On Method; began 07/30/2016

Observations:

  • Though I am knitting with 100% acrylic yarns, which can be rough and unforgiving, I’ve noticed that the blanket seems to be softer and squshy due to the thickness of two strands being knitted together versus a single strand. Many of the yarns which I have, and want to use up, are older acrylics which are quite rough and seem to only be good enough for blankets or bags. I believe this is just the perfect project for those types of yarns which keep laying around in stashes all around the globe and are begging to be used. Before disposing of them, please consider this project.

Color Order:

  • Grays-07/30/2016
  • Blues-07/30/2016
  • (I will continue to update this section as I add each color family to the blanket)

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As you can see from this closer image, the i-cord edge is just adorable, isn’t it?!

“Canning season” has begun

This weekend, we began our “canning season.”  The local strawberries are now fully ripe and ready for jellies and jams.  We took four quarts of delicious and very ripe, wonderfully aromatic strawberries and turned them into this….

2016 jam

We don’t mess around with those half-pint jelly jars; we go all the way and fill up those pints!

(BTW, the recipe, if you’re interested in making your own, is the Ball recipe for ‘Strawberry Jam’)

That old wonderful vinyl collection

I love John Denver’s music and I am currently listening to an album with so many of his greatest songs which really bring on the Nostalgia.  As a child, I became exposed to his music when listening to so many of his vinyl records; I think my Father still has those albums too.  I really was exposed to so much great music through that vast vinyl collection. 🙂  I remember playing those records and 8-track tapes constantly and my love of music just grew and grew (as well as the scratches on those records from playing so much).  I would listen to 45’s and 33 1/3’s and found such joy in all of that “vintage” music (including Elvis, Ricky Nelson, Juice Newton, etc.); many albums which my Father grew up on too.

Denver’s ‘Annie’s Song’ is one of his hits which I adore.  And I really love this video which I’ve seen on television which uses his song in the background.

It will make you cry.

And it will show you many things that this Wonderful World has to offer us each and every day; things which we should respect and appreciate more.

I’m not buying into all the upgrades

I’m not the first person to jump at the newest gadget on the market.  I still love older, simpler and high quality items which will endure for many years even through hard use.  I’m “old school” in many ways and proud to be!  I am fortunate to have lived with the Greatest Generation and exposed to so many wonderful things.  It can be difficult though to find something so simple now.  I see the upsurge in people who want good quality handmade items and older items which can be found at Estate sales.  There is always that affirmation of long endurance from something vintage.

At times though we must replace a much needed item in our home/life and I get worried.  Not worried about the cost of the item because we do keep a rainy-day fund but I worry about choosing because there just seems to be too many options out there and yet it is difficult to find the one which I am looking for among the sea of plenty.

Recently we had to purchase a new washer.  Our previous one was the perfect simple washer for us but the drum rusted and pieces were flying around inside so there really wasn’t a way for my husband to fix it.  It was so difficult to find the one which we truly wanted.  We wanted another which was exactly like the one we had.  I was so disgusted with the reviews I read about the ones available in the home improvement stores and I told my husband that we should just ‘belt-up’ one of his International engines to a ringer-washer because that would do the job and it was so simple and yet so perfect in washing clothes.

“No, I don’t want a front loading leaking washer.”

“No, I don’t want one with all electronic buttons like a smart phone.”

“No, I don’t want one that locks when it starts the wash cycle because I know of someone who had one that wouldn’t unlock after the wash cycle.”

“No, I don’t want one that rinses with the same temperature water as the wash cycle (namely warm & hot).  I want only cold rinse for all wash cycles even if I used hot water to wash my husband’s greasy clothes.”

“No, I don’t want one without an agitator in the middle.  That is an essential mechanism to cleaning clothes; you do know that, right?”

“I want one with simple push and pull type knobs which I can open at anytime and insert clothes during any part of the washing cycle.”

There was only one option for us to buy among the sea of plenty and we had searched several stores.  My husband said that maybe we should’ve bought an extra one to keep on stand-by. 🙂  I live with a man who runs the tool room in a machine shop and plays with tractors, farm machinery and grease in his free-time.  I need a work-horse of a washing machine that agitates clothes to clean really well (in collaboration with detergent, of course).

Last year we had to replace our toilet.  It was in our home when we bought it 15 years ago and it was old and not flushing well anymore.  And yes, at some point toilets just don’t flush anymore to push everything down the pipes like they should.  We dreaded replacing it because in the sea of plenty we would be limited by the toilets which are now all about conserving water usage.  Isn’t the point of a commode to move things along down the pipes into the septic system?  What better substance to move along poo than water?  Don’t you agree?  More home owners are having problems with clogged pipes these days due to these water-conserving toilets because only a little water goes down the pipes and sometimes there is very little pressure behind that surge of water.  We did research online, read reviews of other buyers and watched videos of various toilets and the ‘sales-pitches’ they had and finally chose one which appeared to be the one we were searching for.  It uses the highest amount of water allowable in toilets these days and so far, so good.

When we began the search for our third vehicle a few years ago we were able to shop around.  Our two other vehicles which we both use to get to-and-from work were still running but the car was nearing 200,000 miles by that point (still running today at 211,000 + miles as I type!).  We decided on a vehicle and began looking around at various dealerships and had an idea of what we did and didn’t want.  We got to do a few test-drives which was nice too.  But at this one dealership, they were really pushy.  There was one there which we test drove and the two salesmen were trying to convince us that we had to have this one.  It has all the electronic extras in the package including blue-tooth (is that how it’s spelled?!) and something with programming the garage door opener to the vehicle along with so many other things that we don’t need or even want!  It hiked the price on the new vehicle up even higher and we didn’t want any of it.  Eventually we got out of there and we won’t be going back there again.  We did get one eventually which is just perfect for us and from another dealership (without all the extra add-ons which we don’t want).  What ever happened to a simple vehicle without all that electronic stuff?!  As my husband always says, the more electronic gizmos on a vehicle, the more that can and will fail and need to be repaired.  It’s not as easy to repair a newer vehicle as older ones due to all the electronic extras added on them these days.  I agree.  I can say the same about all of those fancy washers and dryers for sale too!

I’m glad we found a simple washer and a commode that has great flushing power as well as a third vehicle that isn’t all hopped-up on electronics!

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)!

 

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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….