Thursday, September 22, 2016

NO STRUGGLE--NO FUN; Perfectly-Farm-Crazy in Wisconsin; 1929

Dear Folks:

Don't we young folks nowadays want a bit too much? Most of us have a car. We want a beautiful home, telephone, radio, electricity, a new hat every season, silk stockings, and what not? Our parents weren't brought up in silk underwear. Are we better than they?

We bought our farm a year ago. Although it hasn't been easy sledding I don't regret our step. If there were no struggle, there'd be no fun.

Times of discouragement come to all humans. When I wish for modern improvements I think of my Mother, who came from a city in Germany, and whose first home in this country, after marriage, was a sod shanty in Nebraska. I have many more advantages than she had. Why grumble?

God said to Adam:  "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." He knows what is best for us. He has decreed that struggle and attainment shall go hand in hand.

I've often heard the remark:  "Farming is the worst job on earth." Let him who thinks so, spend a day in the mines, a week in the stone quarry, a year in the factory. Perhaps even the so-called "white-collar-jobs" aren't as easy as they look. Farming is the job where head and hand may work together.

Before closing, I wish to say that The Farmer's Wife is not a mere magazine, but an honest-to-goodness friend.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

PREVIEW OF THE BIBLE SAMPLER QUILT

As you can see from my last post, the editors of The Farmer's Wife magazine didn't shy away from printing letters that spoke of the love of God. I find this so refreshing, especially in our present day. If you appreciate the stories and wisdom found in the Bible, I hope that you will enjoy my upcoming book, The Bible Sampler Quilt. The book features 96 Bible passage paired with 96, six-inch Bible-themed quilt blocks. For the following verses, I chose the quilt block, "Love Knot."
"Love Knot"

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "For Your sake we are being put to death all day, we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord...Romans 8:35-39

The Bible Sampler Quilt includes a CD with templates, full-size block line drawings, foundation patterns and rotary cutting measurements when applicable. It is expected to be released sometime in the next four to six weeks. If you are interested in purchasing an autographed copy, please write to Laurie at thefarmerswifequilt@yahoo.com. Another option is to preorder the book directly from Amazon (link to the left.) If the second option is chosen, you are eligible to download a free "bonus block" from http://www.fonsandporter.com/pre-order-bible-sampler-quilt

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever...Isaiah 40:8






Tuesday, September 13, 2016

GOD IS LOVE; Nebraska; 1929

Dear Farmer's Wife:

Guess I'll just write you a line and give you a peep into the life of another busy farmer's wife. Married at fifteen, I became the mother of five rosy, chubby babies in less than eight years. When the third babe arrived we decided town was no place for a "poor man," so we rented a farm.


Well, the first year our hogs died with cholera; the second, all the kiddies, including Daddy, were very sick with scarlet fever; and the third, our four work horses broke the gate and got into the seed wheat and died. Such has been our luck, but have we given up? Not much!

It's true I've shed a good many tears, and it isn't so funny to wear a winter coat ten years. Yet a person can't afford to think of these trivial matters where others are concerned. And when at meal time our baby Ken bows his curly head and says "God is Love," I can truly say I'm not sorry for the sacrifice.--Anna.








Tuesday, September 6, 2016

WE'VE GOT EACH OTHER; Illinois; 1929

Dear Farmer's Wives:

Two years ago I suffered severely with a stroke of--no, not paralysis--discontent. I suffered as much as if I had had a much more serious ailment, to say nothing of what my family bore.

Yes, I was blue and discontented. I lamented my lot as a farmer's wife, a servant, a drudge, a "stick in the mud." Same old housework day after day! Nothing to strive for, nothing to win!

I railed at my good, farmer-lad husband until he--well, he won't quarrel, so he just stayed out of my way as much as he could. Finally, as much for his benefit as my own, he urged me to take a vacation. My work had been heavy all summer, he said, and I needed a change. Of course selfish pig that I was, I never stopped to think that his had been just as heavy and that he needed a rest as well as I. But after threshing I shoved the extra burden of cooking and housekeeping over on him, packed, and with the kiddies left for Cousin Maud's in the city.

I wanted to try city life. It was so alluring in books and stories. I wanted to see it--hear it,--live it.

Dear Readers, I'm glad I went. Did I have a good time?

Well, the first day, I stayed in bed all day with a sick headache because the noise from the street kept me awake most of the night after our arrival.

The second day, a darling little boy was run over by an automobile, directly in front of Cousin Maud's house. He was on his way to school--and was carried home, dying.

The third day, while Cousin Maud was away on an errand, the pale, little neighbor-woman, who had come out for a breath of air, wandered over to the porch, where I was sitting and told me her story.

An ex-school teacher, she was, who had to give up her work because she faced possible blindness. The stalwart young man, who loved her, took her to a tiny cottage in the suburbs where they were married and were so happy until a ghastly siege of inflammatory rheumatism left him helpless, a cripple, unable to use either limb. She struggled on, eking out a living for the two as long as she could and when their baby arrived, one little foot was a club foot--

"Oh," she said, "it has been hard, but we're so happy. You see, we've got each other--and we've got the baby."

The fourth day--I went home! And after the surprise was over, for we surely did surprise Daddy, and I had placed a hot beefsteak-supper on the table, I stood watching my big, healthy, ruddy-faced husband who looked so happy and so good to me, and my two little boys, with their fat, perfect legs dangling from the chairs, that were a trifle too high.

"Fool!" I said to myself. "Oh, worse than fool! 'Count your many blessings.' You didn't dream how many you had!"



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

SUMMER SUGGESTIONS; 1906

Live out of doors as much as possible.

Time spent puttering among plants and flowers is not wasted, but most widely needed.

The majority of women need a change of occupation, and this should be sought out-of-doors in summer.

Cultivate an out-door fad--flowers, vegetables, chickens, bees, berries, beans--anything that will furnish a pleasant change of work, accompanied also, if possible, with the prospect of gain, which will make it the more enjoyable.

Or simply go out to rest, and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature with the children, rambling through the fields and woods, and when tired spreading a lunch upon the grass.

The days are long on farms in summer--the day's work, that is. Plan for a rest some time during the day of at least a half hour or an hour, and take it lying down, on the most comfortable bed or couch in the house, in the coolest most quiet spot, sleeping if possible. The utter relaxation of the body and brain that occurs when sleeping is in the highest degree restful, even if the condition lasts but a few minutes. Acquire the habit, if possible, of thus relaxing daily. A business woman who had formed the habit of lying down and dropping asleep for only ten or fifteen minutes at the noon hour declared that she felt as much rested and invigorated by it as by a night's sleep. This is a most health giving, strength sustaining habit.

Ride across the country whenever opportunity offers--every time the team goes to town--to call on friends along the way, or to attend personally to the family shopping and marketing. This simple contact with others at times "doeth good like a medicine."

If the good man feels that he is a better Christian to stay at home and rest on Sunday after the week's work afield, give him that privilege free from criticism, but it may be unwise for you to do the same. It may be for the highest good of the family for you to drive alone with the children to church and Sunday School. You need the spiritual uplift you should receive from the sermon and the singing, and the lesson and discussion in the Bible class, and the children will for the habit of starting the week aright in obedience to Divine command.

Try to attend the mid-week evening meetings, too. The quiet gathering at the close of a busy day is most restful, and the recital of the experiences of others and the "drawing near to Divine aid" will bring a renewed sense of power and peace.

Don't miss the woman's gatherings. However humble the attempt, the pervading spirit of helpfulness towards humanity makes the work worth while and every little helps along any cause. And there is satisfaction in the thought that however limited the opportunity may be "she hath done what she could."

Thursday, June 9, 2016

OUR HOME CLUB: February 1906

                                               COUNTRY VERSES CITY HOMES

Since receiving a holiday visit from a sister who lives in the city, I am not at all inclined to envy city housekeepers. Here are some of the things, as I recall them, from which she suffers:

"Milk that tastes of the barn."

"Stale eggs, even at 25 and 30 cents a dozen."

"Surrounded by houses on every side so that one can't step out for a breath of fresh air without dressing for the street."

"No playgrounds for the children but a narrow lawn and the sidewalk."

"The nuisance of smoke that gets into the house nobody knows how, and casts a dark shade over everything."

"Awakened early in the morning by clanging street cars, rumbling wagons, newsboys and bells and whistles of every description," etc. etc.

Too offset, I reminded her of the many advantages she enjoyed, social, church, educational and recreative, but so much of all this comes to us in our good daily, weekly and monthly periodicals, that felt I would not for the world exchange our comfortable home in the pure air of the free wide country for hers in the city, though much more luxurious. And most she envied me my good health, which, with the children's help, enables me to enjoy doing my own housework. In poor health she is entirely dependent upon hired help, generally incompetent and not to be depended upon from one day to another, so that with frequent changes and lack of skill in her helpers, simply to superintend her work is a heavy burden and wearing nerve strain. O, the country home for me!---Happy Housewife

                                                       ATTENTION TO THE SICK

How many people living in the country think of, perhaps I ought not to say duty--but I don't know what other word to use--toward those who are sick in the neighborhood?

Until I had a long sickness myself I did not realize how greatly sick people really need and are helped to bear their affliction by the visits and little attentions of friendly neighbors. Even when one is too sick to see the callers it is a pleasure to know that they are interested and have been in to ask after the ailing one, and perhaps have left a glass of jelly, a frame of honey or maybe a potted plant in bloom. We should call upon or send to inquire after sick neighbors often, but not make too long a stay in the sick room. From five to twenty minutes is as long a visit as anyone who is really sick abed should receive. To stay longer only wearies one. But it cheers and helps the sick one greatly to know that neighbors are interested enough to run in or send in often to inquire after her welfare. Sometimes assistance is really needed, if not the care of the sick, then in baking of bread or a helping hand about the house for a day now and then will be greatly appreciated.---One Who Has Suffered





Tuesday, May 31, 2016

NEW YEAR SUGGESTIONS FOR GIRLS (AND PEOPLE!); 1906

Make happiness a habit.

Keep within your means.

It is not pleasant to hear disagreeable speeches, do not make them.

Loyalty of friends does not include criticism of others.

Failure is blessed, if it corrects mistakes and strengthens endeavor.

It is a graceful thing to apologize for a mistake or wrong doing.

The whole world will run more smoothly, if our work is well done.

Girls grow old and nervous, crotchety and disagreeable if they continually "fuss." Stop it.

Practice makes perfect is as good a rule for cheerfulness and happiness, as for sewing and cooking.

Make a heaven of your home, and your family and friends will believe in a Heavenly Home.

Do first the thing that must be done. If the lessons are difficult master them; if you have done wrong, confess it; you will enjoy the rest of the day better.

The habitual observance of courtesy prevents many a tempest that makes ship-wreck of homes and families.

A selfish spirit is like a bushel of nettles in the home.

Graciousness of manner and goodness of heart make an attractive personality and a noble life.

True love does not always live in the sunshine, sparkling with jewels and gay with silks and laces, more often you will find her in the shadows, foot-sore and weary, bearing the burden of others on her shoulders, but with a glory on her face.




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SEWING CLASS; 1919; by J. W. M.

Dear Friends:

On a hot June afternoon, a few mothers and daughters came to the ranch at my invitation, to consult about a sewing class which I had offered to carry on for the girls of the community. The two youngest who wished to join, were five and seven years old and had never held a needle or used a thimble. The two oldest had sewed quite a bit on their mother's machine but almost none by hand.

The sewing bulletins given us at the county adviser's office say quite emphatically, "have the meetings short." These girls came a mile or more through rain or shine so we could not afford to have too short sessions. We met at three o'clock, sewed an hour, then stopped for a recess of fun.

The first day, the girls dropped their sewing any where and any how. When they returned later, to the table under the trees to sew, I said pleasantly, "Girls! What's the matter here? What's wrong?" They looked around and one face after another began to look sheepish. The sewing was either in little mussy heaps or sprawled over the chairs or on the ground. The lesson went home with no further words from me. Also at the end of that first lesson, I asked how many would come next time with clean finger nails. These little lessons on the side I consider among the most important.

To return to the recess time, after an hour's lesson the girls ran and played. That first day they took turns riding the Shetland pony whose pasture field is the big yard.

Other afternoons the recreation quarter-hour was spent climbing the low-branched birch trees or dressing the dollies. Always they returned rosy-cheeked and cheerful for another hour's work.

On that first day, I told the mothers and girls in simple story form of early ways of weaving, of the time when people had no needles and no machines; of looms and warp and woof; of Indian rugs, and so forth, and brought it all down to the present time. It was not hard to hold the attention of the girls who sat open-mouthed but many of the mothers would whisper to each other, "Have you weaned the baby yet?" or "Isn't this weather awful to sour milk?" Their minds had been so long running in the rut of cooking and children only, that they could scarcely concentrate on outside subjects of interest.

One afternoon I showed the girls samples of different weaves, goods, textures and dyes.

The simple garments made by the girls, of course, did not amount to much as garments but their coming together was a character-forming influence.

During July, I, their leader, was away. In spite of hot days and busy hours, these girls came together at the call of their girl President. They had each bought muslin and with some help from a mother, each one had made a nightgown. The gown and the making of it were of less importance than their other training. For example: I asked each one to rip off the neck facing and let me show them the correct way to put it on. With no exception they cheerfully complied, although it took more than one long hot afternoon for some to complete the job. To undo the work they had done was a test of patience and good nature and trust in their leader.

These garments went to the County Fair. They received no blue ribbons nor honorable mention. The premiums will be realized in characters of the future.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

OUR HOT NOON LUNCHES; 1919; Putnam County, Ohio

Seventh grader, Odelia Konst, explains the simplicity of her school lunch program.

We have had hot lunches in our school for over two years. I think it is very good for the children. It helps the children to study their lessons. Many children do not eat much for breakfast and if they do not eat much for breakfast and if they do not get a hot dinner, they will get sick. Some children will not eat their cold lunch at school. The farmers will have warm feed for their chickens, pigs and cows. If the farmer takes good care of the animals, why should he not take good care of his boys and girls? Children should have something warm to eat at school.


In some rural schools there is hardly room enough to serve hot lunches but it does not take as much room as some teachers think. The only room needed is for the stove and cupboard. The parents of school children should help the teacher get the things together. We have had three chief cooks: They are the following: Emma P., Loretta W., and myself. We also have some waiters that bring the food to the pupil's desk. We have many things in our school. We have an oil stove, kitchen cabinet and another small cupboard. Our oil stove has three burners. We like it very well. We have a baker with our oil stove. Our kitchen cabinet is very pretty. The upper part is taken off and we use it as a table. In one drawer we keep the spoons, forks and knives, and in the other part we keep the dishes. We have three dozen dishes, large cups and small spoons, knives and forks. We also have pans, a dish pan, a water pail, a large and a small stew pan. All the things in school are bought with the money we received as premiums at the county fair.
Children of the New Cleveland School

The children take turns about bringing the soup meat. Every child brings a potato for the soup then one of the children brings beans, noodles, or whatever we put in the soup. When the soup is done the chief cook takes it from the fire and divides it into cupfuls for the children. The one who brought the meat divides it among his friends. By this way the children bring more and nicer meat. When we have mashed potatoes one of the children brings the milk. When we have baked potatoes or boiled eggs the number of the child is put on it so that each child gets its own egg back. The parents like it very well. We have no trouble in getting the soup meat. Almost every week we had soup three to four times. We have one hot dish every day. It does not take much time away from our studies to tend to the cooking.

In the morning when we come to school we peel the potatoes and put them in pans till recess. The teacher starts the oil stove and the chief cook puts the soup meat on the fire. At recess we put the potatoes in with the soup meat. At half past eleven we eat our dinner. Then we put some water on the fire so that it will get hot to wash the dishes.

Each child has a napkin which he puts on his desk. Then we take the soup from the fire and put it in cups. Each child gets a cup of soup. When we have mashed potatoes each child gets a place of potatoes with white sauce on them. When we have mashed potatoes each child comes to the table and gets his potatoes. We all go to our desks and eat our dinner. The children have to stay in school for twenty minutes while they eat their dinner. After they are through eating their dinner they have to bring the dishes to the table where they will get washed. Some times there are many dishes to be washed.

Oh, how inexpensive and simple! I wonder what Odelia would think of our present day school lunch program?!