Country Traditions

October 26, 2010

Petunias Seeds to Save – iVillage

Filed under: farming, gardening, weather — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 7:46 am
A container garden of petunias, daisies, marig...

Image via Wikipedia

Petunias Seeds to Save – iVillage.

via Petunias Seeds to Save – iVillage. Click link for list of 10

Petunias

“Be careful not to cull from common petunia hybrids,” warns Milliken. (Hybrid offspring are either sterile or will not resemble the parent.) “But otherwise gathering the seed is very straightforward.”

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October 18, 2010

Home Accessories: Dish Towels as Curtains

Filed under: decorating, family, wisdom — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 2:31 pm
A country farmyard of chickens, decorative tea...

Image by Decorative Towels by Cath. via Flickr

Home Accessories: Dish Towels as Curtains

Always a good idea: linen tea towels serving as curtains. They look natural and airy, and we love decorating with things we already own. Here’s a roundup of some recently admired tea towel installations.

Above: Photo via the kitchn.

Above: Photo via Verhext.

Above: Here’s a clever idea for creating a casual window covering: tea towels stitched together to make an airy kitchen curtain (especially if you stick to like-colored towels). Photo by Polly Wreford.

Above: For the less motivated among us; an instant curtain idea (via photographer Simon Brown) involving an impromptu curtain rod, a square of linen (doesn’t even need to be hemmed), and a pack of wooden clothespins

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/home-accessories-dish-towels-as-curtains.html

October 11, 2010

Predicting Weather Using a Persimmon Seed!

Filed under: animals, farming, gardening, home remedies, weather, wisdom — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 11:21 am
A fuyu persimmon fruit

Image via Wikipedia

According to folklore, you can predict the weather with apersimmon seed. Here’s how to do it:

Cut open a persimmon seed. (Find persimmon fruit in your local supermarket.)

Look at the shape of the kernel inside.

  • If the kernel is spoon-shaped, lots of heavy, wet snow will fall. Spoon = shovel!
  • If it is fork-shaped, you can expect powdery, light snow and a mild winter.
  • If the kernel is knife-shaped, expect to be “cut” by icy, cutting winds.

It’s best to use ripe seeds.

That’s it! Now, what did you see?                http://www.almanac.com/content/predicting-weather-using-persimmon-seed

 

September 28, 2010

Aromatic Crafts

Filed under: candles, herbs, wisdom — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 8:22 am
Spice at Spice market in Istanbul

Image via Wikipedia

http://www.ivillage.com/all-natural-autumn-crafts-2/7-b-225924?nlcid=gr|09-28-2010|#225941        Look no further then your spice cupboard to create decorative and aromatic arrangements for a sideboard or occasional table. Add candles, and the gentle warmth will spread the scent of the spices throughout the room.

You will need:

  • Small tins, bowls or votive holders
  • Assorted spices
  • Candles

How-to:

  1. Fill each tin or bowl with a different spice from your spice cabinet, or mix the spices to create a pleasing aroma.
  2. Place near candles.

Add a distinctive flourish to the table or buffet with ribbon and natural elements.

You will need:

  • Decanter
  • Ribbon
  • Acorns
  • Berries
  • Leaves
  • Glue gun

How-to:

  1. Tie a ribbon around the neck of the decanter.
  2. Tuck leaves and berries under the ribbon, using a little glue to hold them in place.
  3. Glue an acorn or two to the berries and leaves.

September 16, 2010

Housework in Late 19th Century America

Filed under: farming, furniture, gardening, outhouse, sewing — Tags: , , — dmacc502 @ 12:44 pm
All My Cast Iron

Image by cybrgrl via Flickr

Housework in Late 19th Century America
By Steven Mintz

Housework in nineteenth century America was harsh physical labor. Preparing even a simple meal was a time and energy consuming chore. Prior to the twentieth century, cooking was performed on a coal or wood burning stove. Unlike an electric or a gas range, which can be turned on with the flick of a single switch, cast iron and steel stoves were exceptionally difficult to use.

Ashes from an old fire had to be removed. Then, paper and kindling had to be set inside the stove, dampers and flues had to be carefully adjusted, and a fire lit. Since there were no thermostats to regulate the stove’s temperature, a woman had to keep an eye on the contraption all day long. Any time the fire slackened, she had to adjust a flue or add more fuel.

Throughout the day, the stove had to be continually fed with new supplies of coal or wood – an average of fifty pounds a day. At least twice a day, the ash box had to be emptied, a task which required a woman to gather ashes and cinders in a grate and then dump them into a pan below. Altogether, a housewife spent four hours every day sifting ashes, adjusting dampers, lighting fires, carrying coal or wood, and rubbing the stove with thick black wax to keep it from rusting.

It was not enough for a housewife to know how to use a cast iron stove. She also had to know how to prepare unprocessed foods for consumption. Prior to the 1890s, there were few factory prepared foods. Shoppers bought poultry that was still alive and then had to kill and pluck the birds. Fish had to have scales removed. Green coffee had to be roasted and ground. Loaves of sugar had to pounded, flour sifted, nuts shelled, and raisins seeded.

Cleaning was an even more arduous task than cooking. The soot and smoke from coal and wood burning stoves blackened walls and dirtied drapes and carpets. Gas and kerosene lamps left smelly deposits of black soot on furniture and curtains. Each day, the lamp’s glass chimneys had to be wiped and wicks trimmed or replaced. Floors had to scrubbed, rugs beaten, and windows washed. While a small minority of well-to-do families could afford to hire a cook at $5 a week, a waitress at $3.50 a week, a laundress at $3.50 a week, and a cleaning woman and a choreman for $1.50 a day, in the overwhelming majority of homes, all household tasks had to be performed by a housewife and her daughters.

Housework in nineteenth century America was a full-time job. Gro Svendsen, a Norwegian immigrant, was astonished by how hard the typical American housewife had to work. As she wrote her parents in l862:

We are told that the women of America have much leisure time but I haven’t yet met any woman who thought so! Here the mistress of the house must do all the work that the cook, the maid and the housekeeper would do in an upper class family at home. Moreover, she must do her work as well as these three together do it in Norway.

Before the end of the nineteenth century, when indoor plumbing became common, chores that involved the use of water were particularly demanding. Well?to?do urban families had piped water or a private cistern, but the overwhelming majority of American families got their water from a hydrant, a pump, a well, or a stream located some distance from their house. The mere job of bringing water into the house was exhausting. According to calculations made in 1886, a typical North Carolina housewife had to carry water from a pump or a well or a spring eight to ten times each day. Washing, boiling and rinsing a single load of laundry used about 50 gallons of water. Over the course of a year she walked 148 miles toting water and carried over 36 tons of water.

Homes without running water also lacked the simplest way to dispose garbage: sinks with drains. This meant that women had to remove dirty dishwater, kitchen slops, and, worst of all, the contents of chamberpots from their house by hand.

Laundry was the household chore that nineteenth century housewives detested most. Rachel Haskell, a Nevada housewife, called it “the Herculean task which women all dread” and “the great domestic dread of the household.”

On Sunday evenings, a housewife soaked clothing in tubs of warm water. When she woke up the next morning, she had to scrub the laundry on a rough washboard and rub it with soap made from lye, which severely irritated her hands. Next, she placed the laundry in big vats of boiling water and stirred the clothes about with a long pole to prevent the clothes from developing yellow spots. Then she lifted the clothes out of the vats with a washstick, rinsed the clothes twice, once in plain water and once with bluing, wrung the clothes out and hung them out to dry. At this point, clothes would be pressed with heavy flatirons and collars would be stiffened with starch.

The last years of the nineteenth century witnessed a revolution in the nature of housework. Beginning in the 1880s, with the invention of the carpet sweeper, a host of new “labor? saving” appliances were introduced. These included the electric iron (1903), the electric vacuum cleaner (1907), and the electric toaster (1912). At the same time, the first processed and canned foods appeared. In the 1870s, H.J. Heinz introduced canned pickles and sauerkraut; in the 1880s, Frano-American Co. introduced the first canned meals; and in the 1890s, Campbell’s sold the first condensed soups. By the 1920s, the urban middle class enjoyed a myriad of new household conveniences, including hot and cold running water, gas stoves, automatic washing machines, refrigerators, and vacuum cleaners.

Yet despite the introduction of electricity, running water, and “labor-saving” household appliances, time spent on housework did not decline. Indeed, the typical full-time housewife today spends just as much time on housework as her grandmother or great-grandmother. In 1924, a typical housewife spent about 52 hours a week in housework. Half a century later, the average full-time housewife devoted 55 hours to housework. A housewife today spends less time cooking and cleaning up after meals, but she spends just as much time as her ancestors on housecleaning and even more time on shopping, household management, laundry, and childcare.

How can this be? The answer lies in a dramatic rise in the standards of cleanliness and childcare expected of a housewife. As early as the 1930s, this change was apparent to a writer in the Ladies Home Journal:

Because we housewives of today have the tools to reach it, we dig every day after the dust that grandmother left to spring cataclysm. If few of us have nine children for a weekly bath, we have two or three for a daily immersion. If our consciences don’t prick us over vacant pie shelves or empty cookie jars, they do over meals in which a vitamin may be omitted or a calorie lacking.

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/housework.cfm

September 12, 2010

How to Set Up an Outdoor Fish Pond

Filed under: ponds — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 6:24 pm

How to Set Up an Outdoor Fish Pond — powered by eHow.com

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