A Glimpse of a Rural Life – Pumping Water

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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!

Re-purposing vintage household items in my kitchen

I love to re-purpose items which I already own; in other words “make do with what I already have.”  I have made a more conscientious effort to cease bringing things into my home which I certainly do not need because to me “less is more.”

I already have quite an accumulation of many different items but I have begun to donate to a local “Good Will” store to benefit others.  I also dislike clutter in the home which truly affects your life.

In my kitchen I have re-purposed some vintage items which I already own and want to share these tips with you.

For many years now already I have used crocks to hold my kitchen cooking utensils.

I have a large crock to hold the larger ones and a smaller one to hold the smaller items in the corner of my cupboard near my stove.  We love them!

I always keeps napkins available somewhere on either the counter or table and recently I debated on what to place them in.  I had them on my table for awhile but I didn’t want that anymore and I wanted something for the counter but nothing too large or out of place.  I have many different crocks throughout the house so I took one of the smallest ones which I have, removed all of the pine cones which it was holding as decor, and washed it out.

This is quite a close-up of it and I keep this on the counter versus the table.

I also have one of my Grandmother’s vintage molds (a small one).  I honestly can’t remember if she used it for anything when she was living but I had received it.  I wanted to display it on my counter and thought what a wonderful candy dish this would be.

The kitty perched on the “tower” is actually for the side of a flower pot and I re-purposed her too!  She tends to fall off quite a bit though and land in the candy (I guess she’s hungry for some!).

When someone wants a nibble on something they can help themselves.

Before you go out and spend money on something you really don’t need to own just look through all of the stuff that you have already.  It’s all waiting to be used again!

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.

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}

Eating our way through Autumn; One Pumpkin Pie at a time.

I have always enjoyed Autumn here in Pennsylvania.

It is a beautiful time of year with colorful leaves, crisp cool air, sweatshirts to wear and festivals all around.

I also love getting back to making comfort foods and baking more in my kitchen.

For the last few years I’ve been baking through many different Pumpkin Pie recipes in my search to find the perfect one:

The first Pumpkin Pie I fell in love with.

My Grandmother’s.

I do have many of her recipes including the few cookbooks which she owned but like many of her generation, The Greatest Generation, the recipes to daily eating were kept hidden well in their memory and not written down.  I have tried many of the Pumpkin Pie recipes among her collection but I can’t seem to find the exact one which she made.  She may have used one of the written recipes which I’ve found but tweaked it a bit by adding or omitting something which I can’t seem to figure out.  I even asked my Aunt (my Grandmother’s daughter-in-law) if she had my Grandmother’s recipe.  She doesn’t but she did share the one which she has always made and it is very good as well.

One thing is certain.

My husband isn’t debating with me over all of the taste-testing which he’s been enduring through my many attempts at finding the ‘one!’ 😉

I recently purchased a blue used cookbook titled The Victory Binding of the American Woman’s Cookbook Wartime Edition.

It is a book full of recipes which use common household items found during the War time.  Nothing fancy is needed and there is a lot to be found within the covers among the nearly 1000 pages.

I have found a Pumpkin Pie recipe in there which has gotten me to the closest I think I can get to my Grandmother’s pie.  It seemed to have the appearance, taste and consistency of her Pumpkin Pie; from what I can remember anyway.

To usher in the Season and to share with you, here is the one from that book and I hope you will enjoy it this Holiday Season.

Happy Autumn!!

Ingredients

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 2/3 cups milk

1 1/2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin

1 Pie Crust

Directions

Sift dry ingredients together and stir into eggs.  Add milk and pumpkin.  Line pie pan with crust and pour in filling.  Bake in preheated oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes; reduce to 325 degrees and bake 35 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.   Cool.

Variation

Use 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp ginger instead of pumpkin pie spice

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.

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.