Sunday, December 21, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Courtesy of Gramma, the 6 youngest children had presents to open at ---. Tabitha and Rebekah received the penny wooden dolls on the left and Katie made the rolled cloth dolls on the right for Elisabethe and Abigail. We brought along blocks and cloth scraps and the girls made their dolls a house with beds and put a pine branch in an empty wooden spool for a Christmas tree in miniature. Levi and Micah enjoyed entertaining us with the flapjack on the bottom left and quickly learned how to use the top on the bottom right and competed with who could spin it the longest which eventually became "see who can knock the top over as it spins so your brother doesn't win". Pretty much everybody tried their hand (er, mouth) at the Jew's harp in the center. We also got a book about making paper dolls since the girls are forever-and-a-day wanting me to cut dolls for them. All these toys were purchased from the Ragged Soldier, a wonderful on-line store run by the Mescher's, selling all kinds of nifty old-fashioned toys for reenacting children!
We went today to try on the coat that I ordered for Aleks. A pair of Amish sisters sew coats for a living so I'm having wool coats made for the three boys. Aleks' coat fit great and the woman did an excellent job, which is a relief to me. I have several people who have helped me with sewing at various times and some are certainly more skilled than others. The shirt to the right is one of nine shirts that my friend Anna made for the boys. It is a "squares and rectangles" shirt, excellently sewn complete with beautiful handmade buttonholes. Truly, a well made shirt is a thing of beauty!
The picture below is called "Watchers in the Night", I used to have a very small version of it hanging up when we lived in North Carolina, but it apparently got mislaid in the many moves since then. I absolutely love the angel depicted in it, so manly and protective! Did you know that every Biblical angel whose gender is known is male? I think it's just another example of every good thing being corrupted into something different than the Lord intended, I can't think of too many pictures I've ever seen with manly angels. Either they are completely effeminate (which is an abomination) or they're female (which I suppose would also be an abomination since God didn't create them thus). Every child has an angel who always beholds the face of the Father, I take comfort in that. But, supper is almost ready, we're having ham steaks, mashed potatoes with cream and cream cheese, and peas! Good night.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Elisabethe and Abigail got out of the bath and after they were freshly braided they decided to have "Church". They got down their song books and proceeded to go through their repetoire which consists of: Jesus Loves Me, God's Love Is Like A Circle, Come And Dine, and snippets of other tunes. It's so sweet to hear their singing!
I love Thanksgiving, it is good to reflect on all of our mercies and give thanks afresh!
Monday, November 10, 2008
We have actually come to believe today that we must either progress or retrogress. Each season of existence should be an entirely new one, according to twentieth-century thinking, and there is no such thing as intelligently remaining stationary. Next year’s things, we assume, must necessarily be improvement on this year’s, and to want anything but the newest, brands us as quaint.
Contentment too is considered a bogey in this century. Eugene O’Neill voices this modern opinion, saying, ”One should be either sad or joyful. Contentment is a warm sty for eaters and sleepers.” How different was America two centuries ago when Benjamin Franklin declared that “Contentment is the philosopher’s stone that turns all it touches into gold!”
We often observe that great-grandfather had a knack of enjoying himself that we seem to have lost. It might be that his “seasons for fun” were more independent from his “seasons for work” than ours are today. It might be, too, that he devoted himself more completely to the moment.
That great American privilege and aim, the “pursuit of happiness,” originally involved a now almost obsolete use of the word “happiness.” Then, it meant “blessedness,” or “a state of satisfaction or contentment,” but now it suggests fun. The "pursuit of happiness” which we accept as an American heritage is, it seems too often mistaken for a pursuit of fun. I am alarmed as I agree with Carl Sanburg that “Never was a generation.... told by a more elaborate system of the printed word, billboards, newspapers, magazines, radio, television—to eat more, play more, have more fun.” This, we are led to believe, is an American way, and a recipe for contentment. Yet the time for fun and the time for contentment were two very different seasons in great-grandfather’s mind; and he fared fabulously well with both.
I am indeed grateful for the good things of this age, yet I feel there were certain things of the past which were good and unimprovable, many of which have become lost. It is both my lot and pleasure to look backward, to search the yesterdays for such carelessly discarded wealth. I am forever thankful for living at this time when many of the marks of early America still exist, before that fast-approaching time when they will all have disappeared into a far different landscape.
America, the richest nation in the work, has managed to be the most wasteful. We will be the first to admit this, and there is even pride in our voice. We spend our way into prosperity and out of recessions so that thrift is regarded a way of the past. Across our nation at present is written a record of land wastefulness never equaled in the history of the world. Land is “improved” by destroying it and building over the waste. We always forgive ourselves with the ready excuse that we can afford wastefulness. But there is always a reckoning, and even now we begin to wonder. We might wonder what other wasteful ways of everyday life have also become Americanisms.
The lost seasons of early America may sound like vanished trifles, but in a confused age when the most patriotic American must sometimes grope for words to explain his heritage, or to define “ Americana,” any material which contributes to a better understanding of our past is invaluable, and it is often the apparently small detail which contributes most.
The American heritage, as I see it, is grounded in the freedom and expression of the individual, and individual freedom, I maintain, was a fresher spirit a century or two ago. Individual expression was likewise richer. I believe that freedom becomes stale and expression becomes poor without constant appraisal.
In this age of “arms races” and “ space conquest” the simple, basic philosophy of our past is too often ignored; and when the study of the past is mistaken for nostalgia, beware!
This is from the Author's note in The Seasons of America Past by Eric Sloane, an excellent book as is everything I've read from this author so far. I've had this ready to go in a post for quite a while, but decided to put it in today after a conversation with Tasha Tudor's granddaughter-in-law, Amy Tudor. I'm writing a piece about self sufficiency for Farming magazine and interviewed her about her famous relative. I have a regular column there called The Backyard Herbalist and the editor asked me to write the other self sufficiency piece for the Winter issue. I still have to select the photo to put with the article, but I wanted to write this post up first.
On the sewing front, I completed Abigail's quilted petticoat today. It is brick red on the outside and mustard on the inside. I machine quilted it, which was a first for me, to see if it was feasible to do one for me on the machine. I don't have a walking foot so I don't think I'll do mine that way. My sewing list is shrinking slowly but surely! I want to speak with a certain reader about a fan front gown she made recently, I have some linen that would look well made up thus. ;-)
Monday, November 3, 2008
Mr. G's supervisor provided the catering and her mother made the cake!
And so we lived happily ever after!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
~Tabitha’s yoked red print dress with sleeve caps
~Tabitha’s short sleeve light green print dress
~Tabitha’s blue pinafore
~Tabitha’s maroon pinafore
~Rebekah’s green print fan front dress
~Rebekah’s light green dotted print summer dress
~Rebekah’s red homespun dress
~Rebekah’s short sleeve blue print dress with shirred sleeves and soutache braid
~Rebekah’s tan pinafore
~Elisabethe’s brown print yoked dress
~Elisabethe’s blue homespun dress
~Elisabethe’s maroon print dress
~Elisabethe’s red pinafore
~Abigail’s brown print dress
~Abigail’s yoked mint green print dress
~Abigail’s double pink fleur-de-lis dress
~Abigail’s blue pinafore
We had Tabitha's birthday supper this evening and here is her dessert. I have saved this recipe for months in anticipation of this day!The recipe is:
Pecan Pies in Pumpkin Shells
Hollow out 8 mini pumpkins and divide roughly 1 1/2 cup of pecans among them. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a cookie sheet. On the stove combine: 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup maple syrup, 4 large eggs, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon vanilla or rum. When combined pour over pecans in shells about 2/3 full. Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Bake the tops too. Very good!
A while ago Mrs. R did a "I've come to realize" post and I wanted to post mine.
1. I've come to realize that my family (husband and children) and I...... are best friends!
2. I've come to realize that I talk..... a lot
3. I've come to realize that I love...... my life!
4. I've come to realize that I have..... a lot to be thankful for
5. I've come to realize that I've lost..... my desire to go with the flow
6. I've come to realize that I hate..... being ashamed of myself
7. I've come to realize that marriage is...... hard work
8. I've come to realize that somewhere, someone is thinking..... I wish I could be happy
9. I've come to realize that I'll always have.....a reward for the services I do, nothing is unseen
10. I've come to realize that I don't...... have time to be in a funk!
11. I've come to realize that when I wake up in the morning..... I'm pretty cold ;-)
12. I've come to realize that before I go to sleep at night.....I need to pray for my family
13. I've come to realize that babies..... keep you young!
14. I've come to realize that today..... can never be retrieved
15. I've come to realize that I really want...... Mr. G to get a better job
16. I've come to realize that my true friends.....are very few but much loved
17. I've come to realize that my husband.....has been the perfect one to help me be more Christlike
18. I've come to realize that I need.......to get Mr G's trowsers cut out!
Monday, October 20, 2008
We will have her birthday dinner and cake on the 22nd, so more pictures to come!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Here are our apples dumped in the hopper and ready to be ground up. Abby "helping".
The ground up apples get dumped in layers on slatted trays which are covered in cloth. The cloth gets folded over the apples before the next tray is added.
The last picture would be on the right hand side of the picture below. After all of our apples are ground then the stacked up trays are pushed into the middle. Can you see the slatted trays? Then, the whole tray area goes up and gets pressed which is what makes the cider. It goes into a holding tank and we put it in jugs ourself.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Then, on the wood cutting front......... Aleks has wanted a crosscut saw for a long time, we've made do with what we had up until now. Today Mr. G went to the flea market and found a great 1 man crosscut saw for $20! It can have a second handle put on thus converting it to a 2 man if need be. As soon as Aleks saw it he pulled it out of the trunk, got out his file and began sharpening it. While he was doing that we checked the bees; the "A" hive is doing fine but the "C" hive will need to be fed this winter to survive. I'm not thrilled about feeding them, but the choice is either that or they'll starve to death.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I have also been using my own soap to do laundry with, so far so good. I like washing the littlest girls' things by hand, it is such a pleasant chore. I also wash the church socks by hand with my glass washboard. To stand at the sink and rub the clothes, smell the pleasant homemade soap smell, to think of each child as I do the work I've been blessed to have been given....... It makes me thankful.
Below is a picture of our entire toy collection. Almost. We do have some Schleich animals that are made in CHINA! But we no longer buy anything made in China and we don't buy plastic toys either. The children don't seem to tire of this meager selection, but then again they don't spend much time in the house these days either. They use the blocks to make houses and barns for the animals to live in, use the wooden fruits and vegetables as tables and chairs in addition to their intended use, play "hide-the-button" with them, make a store and sell their merchandise, cut out paper dolls to live in the houses, sew toys for each other and the list goes on! I actually think that having too much stuff is the worst thing you can do to encourage creativity and thankfulness. None of the children have very many wants; they don't see the advertising that encourages consumerism, so they are grateful for every plaything that they get. We instituted the rule when our oldest was young that when we are out, "if you ask for it then you don't get it", this very effectively stops nagging and whining in public. They are, of course, encouraged to tell us what they would like to have, but not in stores! This picture doesn't include the outside toys like the wagon (best purchase we ever made!), picnic table and a mini teeter totter. For a while the teeter totter was strung up in a tree and the children used it as a bull to ride! They like to put up swings and climb trees, go berry picking and leaf hunting..... all the things that children will be drawn to if they are allowed to be children.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
is great to get these pressed, but later apples make better cider. We'll see.
I really love the Autumn. How it smells and how it looks. It makes me happy.