Thursday, December 29, 2011

A MEAL SUGGESTION FOR UNEXPECTED COMPANY; JANUARY 1918

Let me tell you of a meal I served to six persons who came one Sunday evening with profuse apologies for their unheralded arrival and for their appetites. Here is the menu:
Tomato soup
Salmon with border of peas
Pineapple salad with pimento cheese
Hot biscuit Grape conserve
Coffee Small cakes

First, I set the table. I then put a large can of salmon and can of peas in a kettle of water and placed on the stove to heat. I opened two cans of tomato soup, put in a saucepan to heat and put a cup of milk in another saucepan to heat.

Next I made the biscuit, using prepared flour as they can be made more quickly by its use and if directions are followed, they are delicious.

While the biscuit were baking, I prepared the salad. This was quickly done. I opened the can of pineapple, placed a slice of the fruit on each salad plate and in the center of the pineapple slice I placed a ball of pimento cheese and a spoonful of “ready made” salad dressing.

Everything was ready so I added the hot milk to the soup with just a pinch of soda, and served it in cups with wafers.

I removed the cups to the kitchen, quickly opened the can of salmon, placed it in the center of the platter and garnished it with slices of lemon. Then I opened and seasoned the peas and poured them around the salmon.

While the man of the house served the salmon and peas, I brought in the biscuit, butter and salad. Last came the coffee and cakes.

It was not an elaborate meal but it was good and satisfying. Our friends were loud in their praises and appreciation.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Why it is called Christ-mas

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. The Holy Bible--Luke 2: 1-20

Sunday, December 18, 2011

COUNTRY GIRL STORIES; part 4; 1915

This girl is from a big ranch in the Northwest:

This morning I was wakened by the sun as it first shone in at my window. As it was only a quarter to five I covered my eyes for one more nap. We have cool nights, but yesterday it was 104 in the shade. Soon I heard Papa get up, so I did likewise. I built a fire in the kitchen range and cooked my own breakfast. “Cookie Sis” was not up and Papa does not eat breakfast.

I thought the rest had slept long enough, so I turned on the water near the house and began to carry wash water. That got them up. While my water was heating, I gathered the clothes, swept four rooms, irrigated a little on the garden, and picked up chips. Then I washed—they call me the “family laundry.” I must be somewhat Irish, too, for I must have everything in the house and on me washed clean.

At noon I was still washing. While waiting for dinner, one of the hired men struck a bargain with me. He is to bring down his spring and summer collection of seventeen dirty shirts; I am to show him how to wash them and then I may iron them. I promised because I believe in helping my neighbor, because this fellow sometimes takes my sister riding in his new buggy, and because he and I have red hair.

Dinner was good even though served on our decrepit ranch dishes. We are running three kitchens. We have good meals always. We eat well and work hard for what we get here in the West.

In the afternoon I finished the washing, helped clean the house, and mended. After three o'clock I sat here in a cool room by an open window watching Papa mow alfalfa and the men stack grain. The children were in swimming. By and by one of my chums drove by on her way home from town. We visit thus mostly.

Supper at six. I ironed before and after as long as the irons were hot. Now at sunset my work is done. But Papa is irrigating—that takes twenty-four hours a day.

This was a typical working day; but it would have been as natural for me to have described one of the six days last week when I spent ten hours a day hoeing corn. To-morrow we girls will put on overalls and shock hay! Don't let it shock you—we live in the West!

The trouble with farming is that the days are not long enough for work or the nights long enough for sleep.


















Tuesday, December 13, 2011

IN QUEST OF THE SUNSET; by F. Roney Weir; part 4 of 4; June 1915

He looked at her and laughed and slapped his knee. “You're the same old tease you always were, aren't you, Alvira? Want me to tell you? I haven't got the price of a good fiddle and never shall have in this world. When I git up above, I s'pose I shall have to content myself with a harp but I'd darn sight rather have a fiddle.”

They laughed together like children, shutting their eyes tight and gasping in their glee. He sobered to explain.

“I've got my pension but that goes to pay a big debt that I've always had on my hands—a debt my boy incurred--”

“Don't think about it,” she soothed, recognizing the agony in his face. “Don't try to tell me anything about it. It is past and gone now---”

“And the debt is about paid,” he announced. “I'll be scott free in another year, and---”

“How would you like to go back and live on the old place?” she asked suddenly.

“How would I like it? How would I like to go to heaven?”

“How would you like to go back and run the farm? It's my farm yet. I've never been able to bring myself to sell it. I'm homesick to go back, but—I can't go alone---”

“Alvira Dole!” He was staring at her excitedly. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, let us take hold of hands and run—away—home!”

“Why—Alvira! I haven't a cent in the world!”

“I'm almost a rich woman, Rob—as riches go back there in the country. If I stay out here with Vesta and the girls many years longer, though, I won't have a cent to bless myself with. I don't know why it wouldn't be about as commendable to spend my money buying a fiddle for you as paying for bridge whist parties and dinners. I like you better than I do Vesta's family.”

It was getting dusk; the afterglow even, was at an end. He drew her to him and kissed her.

“Fifty years behind time,” he said, “but a blessed kiss after all!”

“If I buy the fiddle you must practice,” she warned.

“Oh, I'll saw away,” he promised. “Why, you know, Alvira Dole, it seems like one of these here fooling dreams that leave you lonesomer than ever when you wake up!”

“We'll give a series of sunset parties,” said Alvira, “where there will be very little good form but lots of good things to eat and much good neighborly feeling of the old-fashioned kind.

“Vesta won't favor this arrangement any to speak of,” she added. “Vesta is my own child but her family and her interests are alien to me. They want to live always in the morning of life. When you really begin to get old is restful to settle into middle-aged ways, to accept the quiet and comfort of afternoon. I shall be very glad, Rob, very glad indeed, to go back home with you and rest.








Thursday, December 8, 2011

IN QUEST OF THE SUNSET; by F. Roney Weir; part 3 of 4; June 1915

“I've always been kind of glad my troubles all happened so far away from the old neighborhood. I've always been in the habit of beating back there in memory and sort of restin' up. I wonder if that old well is there yet?”

“It was the last I heard,” said Mrs. Herron. “I went up there the week before I came West to live with Vesta.”

“Any of the folks left there that we used to know?”

“Yes, Dan Costigan lives on the old place yet and his Uncle Trib—oh there's quite a number of the folks we used to know left. Old, of course--”

“Of course. So are we! But how I would love to see them and talk over old times! Do you remember that piece of road between your place and town—right after you passed the schoolhouse? That was the blamedest piece of road in America, I believe.”

“Yes, I remember. But I presume that's all changed now? They say the country is full of automobiles. Dan Costigan has one, I hear.”

“Is that so? Well, good for Dan. He always got the best of everything, Dan did. The nicest team and the shiniest top buggy—got the girl he wanted, too. Some folks seem to get exactly what they want, no matter how big their wants are and others never get even the littlest, weeniest wants; wants so small that it almost seems as if the good God could have spared 'em that much and never missed 'em. For instance, 'way back, when I worked for your father, there were three things I wanted might bad. One was so big it was entirely out of my class. I realize that now—realized it a good many years ago, of course. But the other—you know every boy in those days wanted a girl, a gun and a fiddle. I got the gun.”

“You wanted a fiddle?”

“Always. Always intended to buy a fiddle and learn to play it, but never did. Never saw the time when I had the spare money to buy the instrument nor the chance to practice on it. You have to be more or less alone when you practice the fiddle. Lily never could have stood it and of course I wouldn't have blamed her.”

“Why don't you learn now?”




Saturday, December 3, 2011

IN QUEST OF THE SUNSET; by F. Roney Weir; part 2 of 4; June 1915

She stood up. From the dim past, racing the years, came the memory, fleeting and imperfect at first but gaining strength steadily—the memory of the boy-man who had worked beside her father in the green marches of long ago. She seemed to see his gleaming eyes above the tin dipper of water which she had brought from the home well.

“It—can't be—Rob Fay?” she faltered.

He threw back his head and laughed and it was Rob Fay's laugh.

“Why of course it is!”

They clasped hands and stood a moment laughing delightedly.

“To think,” she said, “that you should have known me after all these years.”

“It is funny, isn't it? But there was something about the way your arm lay along the top of the seat of your hat and the tilt of your head, that took me back and aback, slam bang to the old bench out there by your father's pump house on the farm. You remember that old bench, don't you?”

She made a little deprecatory gesture. “Yes-s-s, of course! For years and years she had not remembered but she remembered now that Rob Fay had asked her to marry him there on that same old bench and had trembled forth his boyish despair at her refusal. “Well, well!” he repeated, gazing at her delightedly with his round, boyish blue eyes. “To think that here we sit talking after more than forty years! Ain't it forty years, Alvira, since I've seen you?”

“I guess it is. Let me se-e-e- I was married in--

“Never mind when you are married, Alvira. I was off to the war before that so that I needn't hear about it then and I don't want to hear now. I did hear all about it, though, down there that last year when things were getting ready to be settled up. I was mad to think the old war was over. There was nothing for me to come back to, you see.”

She laughed shamefacedly. “Oh dear, what fools boys do make of themselves! And didn't I hear you married down south?”

“Yes, I married down south, but not for ten years after that.”

He grew suddenly sober. He had pushed his hat back and a wisp of thick white hair showed matted against his brow.

“My wife was a widow with three girls of her own. We had one child—a boy--”

He paused and looking into the woman's face saw the interest, the sympathy there, and the masculine element of eternal childhood reached out for it.

I've had lots of trouble, Alvira—trouble and bad luck!”

“Oh!” she said sympathetically and waited for him to go on.

“Lily and I thought sickness, poverty and death were the greatest trials that could happen to a family but—that's where we got fooled. A dead trouble or a poor trouble ain't anything to a livin' wicked trouble. Our boy went wrong. I don't know but it was our fault. We pampered him a good deal---”

His voice trailed into silence and Alvira had the tact to be silent too.

“Yes,” he resumed after a moment as if in answer to an audible question, “they're all gone now—Lily and the girls. Lily didn't live a week after he was—after he died.




Monday, November 28, 2011

IN QUEST OF THE SUNSET; by F. Roney Weir; part 1 of 4; June 1915

A woman of sixty-six does not like to be “grandma-ed” indiscriminately. Back in the country where Mrs. Herron came from, it would have been different. There were grandpas as well as grandmas there and great aunts and uncles. Here, on Tolby Street, there were men—just men—girls and imitation young women.

Ah, how different from the days on the farm where life went leisurely and was not one long breathless effort to keep up; when people met together for friendship's sake and there were grandfathers as well as grandmothers!

As Mrs. Herron thought it all over she was strengthened in her determination to run away that evening from Vesta's dinner party. Vesta would be provoked and the girls would be angry but it would all blow over when at the end of the month grandma, as usual, helped out with the bills.

Tolby Street was supposed to be very neat and beautiful, but the bank of towering buildings at its foot shut it in at the west. Mrs. Herron longed to see the red flame of the sun low on the horizon. She would run away and go hunting the sunset!

The electric car seemed fairly to bore its way into the brightness of the afterglow. The evening wind, dead ahead, smote Alvira's cheeks pleasantly. It seemed to blow away the years and leave her young again. She was Alvira Herron now, not “Grandma Herron.”

Ahead loomed a great building set in a pleasant ring of shrubbery.

“Hospital?” Alvira Herron inquired of the woman who shared the car-seat with her.

“No, Soldiers' Home.”

“End of the line!” sang out the conductor and Alvira left the car with the other passengers.

Inviting benches line the broad walks under the trees. Alvira saw a woman with two little girls wander off among the greenery. If outsiders were allowed in the grounds, she would squander an hour here watching the yellow sky.

Her mind was filled with the mellow peace of the place. Up near the buildings a veteran in a wheel chair was being pushed by an attendant. Another mowed the lawn. His machine made a cheerful clatter suggesting hominess and content. The car which had brought Mrs. Herron went back to the city and presently another arrived. Two or three people descended, among them a veteran with a springy, youthful gait unusual in an old soldier. His cheeks were age-withered but rusty-red with health. A stubby, snowy beard concealed the contour of his chin but his sharp blue eyes were clear, alert and kindly.

He was about to pass on with a respectful glance of interest at the lonely figure on the bench when Mrs. Herron glanced up and their eyes met. He stopped in front of her suddenly when advanced with outstretched hand.

“Alvira Dole, or I'm dreaming again!”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Do You Want Your Daughter to Marry a Farmer? Extra Letter; by Mrs. N. M. M.; Westchester Co., N. Y.; 1922

I can think of no other sphere into which, with less hesitation, I would wish my daughter to enter. I would take exception however, to her marrying a farmer still employing old methods. A man, well versed in agriculture, willing to keep abreast of the times and to take advantage of the resources at his command, is bound to make a success of farming. Selecting a particular branch of farming to be chosen with due consideration of the section of the country and of his own abilities, and concentrating his efforts in a systematic way, he will evolve maximum results with minimum hardship.

We farmers' wives of today have few of the problems of a century ago to contend with. Modern conveniences such as sanitary plumbing, the telephone, lighting and heating systems have made her home as comfortable as any of those in or near cities.

The problem of a child's education was, in the past, always a trying one. Where farms were situated far from towns and well-organized schools, a child's training was apt to be desultory. If a rural school were near, it was probably more or less inefficient. It was a difficult question to decide whether the advantages a child gained from a healthy out-door farm life with its opportunities of learning the innermost workings of nature, outweighed the handicaps of being deprived of a regulation education. Today the question has been practically obliterated by a better supervision of schools and the greater possibilities of keeping in communication with towns due to the ever-increasing use of automobiles.

To the lot of an enterprising farmer's wife no longer falls the task of assisting with milking cows, harvesting and other outside work, added to her already sufficient task of housekeeping if she has her definite duties, such as attending to the creamery or to the poultry, the labor thereof is minimized by the proper utensils and proper places in which to work.

I would not under any circumstances consider the marriage of my daughter with any but a progressive farmer, a man aware of the fact that he has a three-fold duty to preform to make life pleasant and profitable for his family, to keep in touch with the affairs of his community and to avail himself of all advantages being introduced into his special branch of farming.

From my own experience I know of no happier life than that of a well-organized, well-equipped farm, where a girl is certain of getting out of life all that she puts into it. The freshness about her keeps her young. She can give to her children their righteous heritage. She soon becomes her husband's unfailing helper and companion. She finds a combination unequaled in any city, the joys of nature coupled with the available pleasures of the world. She is not far enough away to be isolated, nor near enough to be contaminated.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 13; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

When I was married I said that at forty I would be ready to die. "By forty," thought twenty, "the thrills of life will be gone. One settles down to a humdrum existence. One's husband decides by that time, no doubt, not to love that old frump any more." Now, looking through the doorway of forty I have no fear of entering. Never has life looked so alluring. Never, I believe, have I meant so much, as partner and comrade, to my husband.

Scoffers there are no doubt, who may say that I have written in effervescence of spirit, that my joy is ephemeral. I know there will be hot, discouraging days this summer at whose end, after hours in the garden, or over a hot cook stove, canning vegetables I picked, I will fall into bed exhausted. Yet deep within me is the conviction--of which, perhaps, I can convince no one--that though my body die, my joy in this farm will go on forever.

By those to whom soil, sunlight and fresh air are but names, by those who love city joys, no enjoyment will be found in these lines, for the source of my thrills can be to them but incomprehensible incidents.

I ask only the disgruntled farmer--who is a farmer at heart--to count his blessings before giving all power to the dollar sign and bowing down to the town man's salary. For that salary, before town demands, is but paper fed to an ever hungry fire, while the average town man, like the average farmer, gets no more than a living, and not so much of a living at that.

In much that I have said, or all, I may be wrong. Too often I have been so to lay any claim to infallibility. This I know:  That every moment I lived in town I was hungry for country sights and smells and sounds; and once more I am content, now that I have my family back in overalls.

The end.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 12; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

As to fresh food! I have always said that, no matter how small my income, (and heaven knows it has been small enough) a good share of it must be spent for milk and butter that my children could have all they wanted of these commodities. But no one knows how hard it has been many times in town when I have seen them, undaunted by any market price, consuming great quantities of both, not to cry out, "Oh, go easy.  Go easy."

Now, when I go into my pantry where there are pans of milk covered with thick yellow cream, though I know that milk is costing both time and money, I am filled with gratitude.

Then there is peace. In town often I went into my garden early, so fresh after the sprinkling my husband had given it the night before, to try and imbibe some of the peace there, to store up a little equilibrium against the day's irritations. I never got there early enough. Invariably somebody's automobile would begin chortling and choking, frightening away the song birds. Its gas would taint the fresh morning breeze. Cars would tear madly down the highway, or an early milk wagon would pass. So now when I stand on my back porch, soon after dawn has lifted, and look over the plowed field--a velvet brown oasis in a green desert--and hear only the birds singing, or a rooster crowing; inhale only the fresh mountain air, heavy with perfume of wild azaleas, well--I could more truly worship God there than in any church I ever entered.

So much for our joys and blessings. So many of them still remain unlisted. Especially these two:  fresh air and sunlight. Whenever I go into a building where there are ventilators, or read an advertisement for a product that is better than sunshine--those gifts with which God is so lavish--I wonder what God is thinking. I think of a certain Bible verse:  God has created man honest and upright, but man has sought out many inventions. While I may recognize the need of such inventions, a sense of defeat comes to me. God arranges it so that man must work for his bread ( or has man arranged that, too?) but to even the laziest and most undeserving He would give air and sunlight. Yet how few have its full benefit!

And I believe that we are meant to be creatures of free air, free soil and free sunlight; that the sun must seep deep into our bodies, the soil must send its magic up through our limbs, that the freshest of air must reach every part of our lungs if we would be the whole creatures God intended. Whatever we do to confine ourselves hampers our powers rather than enlarges them.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 11; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

Meanwhile I am not idle. Cooking, washing, ironing and feeding a family of six--to say nothing of the mending--is no snap. Right now I am enjoying it.  I go around with a tiny thrill in my heart as I make my house tidy, and I never did that in town.

I am an advocate, then, that a woman's place is in the home? Yes, if she has work there that can be done better by herself than another. Duties neglected there can not be made up by good done outside. And in no place should a woman's work be more in the home than on a farm.

I mean:  If a woman does all the work for a sizable family--which includes gardening and canning--she has done enough and should not be asked to do more. There are times of need when a good farm wife will want to help out. I have worked in a hay field, driven the horse for the hay fork, and many other things when need was urgent and I had no sons to do that for me. But a farm woman should have no regular outside work. She is no more proof against weariness than other women, and all work and no play makes her as dull as it does Jack. She should have time to read and to relax. No family gains whose mother comes to the table too tired to give them mental as well as material nourishment. Many farm women try to do a man's and a woman's work, but I do believe that they can not do both, without one or the other suffering, and too often it is the home that does. Just the other day I read this: It takes such a small amount of effort for the country woman, with her wide serene vistas, her delicious fresh food, to be the healthiest, happiest woman in the world, and at the same time the least tired. So truly I believe that.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 10; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

There have been times, too, when, driving home in my horse and buggy to work and a late supper, I have envied the town woman sitting on her cool veranda, her day's work done. That feeling always disappeared, however, the moment I felt the country breeze on my face; and again recent days have taught me that most town women work in one way or another, as hard as farm women, though perhaps, they call it social life.

There is that other kind of work that town women do, I mean in Women's Clubs, P.T.A.'s and all uplift movements. I speak of them with highest respect. They do much good and those who work in them, according to their intent, gain much from them.

As for me! I prefer down right labor. I feel as though I never want to go to a bridge party again and stretch my face to a polite smile. Nor wear a dance slipper, nor shop for a fancy dress. (Yet, oh! how I revel in a new supply of house dresses!)

It is not that I do not like fun, nor people. I love an evening at cards with friends. I dote on picnics and good theatres. I love to take people riding in my car. I have always been passionately eager for friends; so much so that I go almost to any length to have them, even to changing, or trying to, my personality.

But, now, somehow, I want my friends to please me, to measure up to my requirements. I do not want to say, "Yes, I love to read poetry," when I don't, just because the person inquiring does. I want friends who can enjoy this farm with me.

Lately I read that every one should have an island--such as had Robinson Crusoe--to which she could retire occasionally. I want to make this farm that island. For a little while I want to live away from the worrying, hurrying world and to forget it. I do not even want to read the newspapers. I know that Hoover is still president, that Lindy is still having a hard life with reporters, and I'm glad that I'm just a common person.

Perhaps this deterioration. Perhaps I have lost ambition or am shunting duties. I cannot think so. Right now it seems that I am getting more from the soil than the world can give me. And who knows but that, in time--like things that grow from the soil--from my sojourn here I can give four worthy citizens to the world; and what I can give to the world is always of more importance than what I get from it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 9; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

Just a while ago, on my way to the garden to help with the resetting of some plants, I paused on the porch again, to look over the valley. A recent rain had intensified every color. Grey clouds, too, darkened the land with their shadows. Against the reds, the browns and the greens, the wet rocks stood out like mounds of dark velvet. Over all, broken only by song of birds or brook, was that hallowed stillness that comes after a rain, as though every inanimate object paused to breathe a prayer of gratitude for the drink. It was all so clean, so fresh! I found myself wishing I could say this beauty, as one sings a rhapsody. There came a feeling, too, in that moment on my porch, that no matter how hard one must work, could she, in raising her head from her labors see such beauty, that were enough. I felt pity for all who, pausing in their work, must gaze upon city walls.

Which brings me to the clean, cool fact that I do not believe that any one can live entirely away from soil and live fully. No story of mythology so appeals to me as that of the giant who lost his strength when held away from his mother, Earth. Only so did his enemy conquer him.

Some believe that the nearer one lives to the soil the more he degenerates. That which lies upon soil often decays, true. But the tree, whose roots go deep into the soil, the grass, does not. Nor does anything when there is an upward reach.

I, myself, never work with soil without a quickening heart beat. I seem to feel the pulse there that needs--as the air, the radio--only right forces to bring beautiful things into being. One gives into its care flower seeds and their beauty delights the eyes, their bloom fills one's home with fragrance. One plants vegetable seeds and the increase feeds his family. One gives it labor and diligence and patience and the harvest nourishes the soul.

The color of soil in New England is different from Iowa's.

"That looks like dirt," I exclaimed, as my husband mixed with the soil he was putting around the plant I held for him, a black substance he called mulching."

For Iowa soil is black and rich and beautiful. Yet the changing browns in the soil here are beautiful, too, and must be as full of good for those who put their faith and work into it.

Now don't form the opinion that I live in some kind of Utopia if your idea of Utopia is a place where there is no work to do, no problems, a place of self gratification , for this is just the opposite. On any farm there is work and trouble. (Nor do I know of any place where there is not.) I admit that the trouble with farm life is too much work and too little money.  That  condition, too, exists in town.

There has been the time when even I, loving farm life as I do, thought spring, for the farmer, signified hope; summer, work; fall, hopes blasted; and winter a time to be existed through to meet and begin again the perplexing circle. While I admit the need of money and the right of the want of it, I could meet a meagre harvest now with clearer vision, conscious of my spiritual harvest. Then, too, recent days have taught me that plenty of town people are poorly paid for their labor.

Monday, October 10, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 8; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

The sound of the hammer and saw came to my ear the other day when I drove into the yard from town. Walking down through the wet grass, following the sound I came to the hog house. Even before I got there I heard them laughing and talking. Putting my head through the small window I found them, father and son, making a pen for a sow and her new babies. They immediately became eager that I should know how the room was to be apportioned, and began explaining. I hardly heard them for I could not help thinking, as I watched them, that they were having as much fun, or more, than if they were playing golf together.

And how I enjoy our only daughter! Singing as she makes cookies, swearing me to secrecy as she concocts some delicacy with which to surprise the boys, asking me riddles as we make the beds! "I never knew," once she looked up from her dusting to exclaim, "how much work there was just keeping a house clean." I am glad that she has this opportunity to learn. That opportunity was available in town, I know, but there it was such a tug to keep her with me against the enticements that her friends offered.

As to our neighbors! We have been invited places. "And we really must go and get acquainted," we keep insisting. Yet when evening comes--no, not because we are too tired, but because we are too deliciously content to stay at home--we resolve to go next time. So we sink into deep chairs around our own fireside. While I read Heidi, or one of the Alcott books, to the whole family, my youngest son and daughter, squatted before the fire, sew on the family buttons. Only the crackle of hemlock breaks into the story, or the sudden excitement caused by the rescue of a spark that has jumped over the fire screen.

Perhaps this is selfish. I only know I'm jealously eager for an opportunity, for a little while, to get acquainted with my family. The pity is to me that so many parents are unaware of the fun they can have with--or give to--their children just in companionship.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 7; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

Helping Dad feed the calves in the warm coziness of the barn, helping mother take a biddy off the nest with her new chicks, their eyes eager, their tongues busy with questions; pitching down hay for the cows all by their "lonesome"; learning the worth of expert workmanship in no matter how small a task; to me such lessons in kindness, in care of something beside themselves that are available every hour of every day on a farm are invaluable.

When they will play there is the most helpful play. Picking wild flowers, playing school on the grey rocks, building dams in the brook, making maple syrup and trying to sell it! They made a raft, too, from which Bud slipped into the pond. He can not swim, but he caught hold of the edge of the raft and pulled himself to safety.

Then the bag swing! I stood watching my oldest boy fasten it to the highest peak in the barn. He stood on a ladder that stood on a plank supported by his father's shoulder and a six by six, the top of it braced against a rafter. It looked so precarious.

"Mercy!" I protested. "What if it should slip!"

"Then it's good-bye me, he laughed, yanking a knot in the rope.

Yet somehow it's not scars to their bodies I have ever feared, if only I can keep their minds clear!

As I finished up the kitchen work that night I could see them, through the wide door of the lighted barn, swinging. Their happy voices came to me through the warm night. They swept me back to the days when I myself had leaped from the leafy branches of a tree to such a swing. Stuffing the dishpan out of sight I went out to them.

"Let me try once."

They looked quite shocked for a moment; then quickly grew eager.

"Yes, let mother swing. Get off and let mother try. F'r gosh sakes, Bud, get off the swing, I said."

I stood on the ladder a long time, bag in hand.

"Go on mother, go on."

And, finally--

Friday, September 30, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 6; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

The other day, looking out of my upstairs window, I saw my second son and his friend over by the shop, both working most diligently. So intent were they upon their work that they jumped when I asked, "What now, boys?" and held out the gingerbread.

That gingerbread got scant attention for a few moments, as the boys eagerly told me that they were doing; making an "A" coop to be ready for a new hatching of chickens. They explained every inch of that coop to me, their eyes agleam as if they were telling me of the most exciting movie.

"But I thought you had gone to a scout meeting," I said.

"We did. But we hurried home--"

Hurried home from scout meeting to work on a chicken coop! When I left them they went back to saw and hammer, letting the dog gobble up their gingerbread. (It was good bread, too.) But I carried a thrill in my heart. Don't you see? Just the thing I wanted! Making play of their work, using their surplus energy constructively.

On the way to the house I saw my oldest son,--or could he be mine, this brawny blond, as tall as I--astride a load of dirt, driving a lovely team. In undershirt, he wore a most disreputable looking hat, and there were big patches on his trousers. But the gleam in his face as he managed those horses put another thrill in my heart, and when he saw me he let out a wild whoop and flung his hat into the air. Just moving a pile of dirt from one place to another, but don't you see? More than our cows and our pigs we were growing manhood.

I paused on the porch before going in. Far across the pond, on the opposite hillside, I saw my husband, running the tractor. Behind it were fastened the disk and the harrow. Over and over the plowing he went, changing, as he went, the color of the ground behind him--as when one rubs for hand over velvet--from a dry brown to a wet darkness; circling the green oasis that is the bottomless well, trying to free the land of what, in Iowa, we call quack grass.

"See the man working," one might have exclaimed. I, smiling in my heart, thought, "See the man playing." For I knew he felt exactly as my children felt on Christmas morning as they went round and round the dining room table and under it, pulling a train of "choo-choo" cars by a string, with the added joy of accomplishment.

Sitting behind him on the harrow I knew were our youngest son and daughter. They were helping, too, holding the harrow teeth in the ground with their weight--but, my! That fun they were having!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 5; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

We never dreamed of Massachusetts. Yet here we are, I on my mountain top--one that is broad enough, however, that our cows are in no danger of being part of a landslide--and he, rebuilding a run down farm. Not his own, but he's planning buildings, studying fertilizers, going cautiously, challenging both brawn and wits, that these New England hills give back their best to us.

It seems like something I've always been waiting for, this country. From the moment I wound up the mountain to my home, the far awayness of everything, the sleepiness, made me wonder if this might not have been the original habitat of Old Rip, instead of the Catskills. If these New Englanders could go to Iowa, they might return and see their land with new eyes. Not that Iowa is not beautiful, with her broad black acres criss-crossed with baby corn as pie crust used to stripe my mother's cranberry pies; with young oats covering the earth like a velvet green carpet.

Yet the broad stern acres seem to challenge one. Here the land--not the people, for no people could be kindlier than Iowans--seem friendlier. Beauty is so riotous. It lures one away from work. It seems to say, "Relax, we will take care of you--"

Still, how a living can be wrung from these rocks I have yet to learn. As I coast down the mountain these homes that crowd close to the pavement mystify me. I want to go inside, know the people. In Iowa I did not feel so about the homes I passed. There, I knew the spirit. Here I have yet to learn it.

Skeptics may wonder if the realization of my dream equals the dream itself. I only repeat:  Life is one thrill after another. My youngest son leaping down the garden path, arms and legs at all angles, as he goes each early morning, to feed his baby chicks; my husband and sons surveying in the pasture, or the sound of their voices coming to my opened window  as they work in the garden below me; the whole family gathered around "Dad" by the stove as he tries to feed warm milk, with a spoon, to a chilled baby pig, each child jealously eager to do his bit, hold a spoon, a cup--! Farming is such a family affair, and as such, it is the source of my thrills.

Monday, September 19, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 4; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

We began talking--if we'd ever stopped it--of getting back on a farm. He hunted for farms that were for rent. Once he took me to see "a good opportunity." It meant our oldest boy driving twenty miles to high school every day, or boarding in town and I was not moving to a farm to leave the boys behind me. I wanted them where they could be under the wing of real fathership. I vetoed that.

Nor was he sure that he wanted to make the break. Were he alone he would have been carried back to a farm as surely as drift wood is carried to shore. But he hated to plunge us into uncertainty. Farm conditions--well, you've heard of them. And we did have an income--which might as well have been called an outgo.

As for myself, I felt this way:  Were I set down in the middle of a great city with him, where he must earn his living with his head, I fear our living would be of the meagerest. Were we shipwrecked on a desert island it would not be long, I am sure, until we were living in ease, and such luxury as the island afforded, so great is his resourcefulness when put up against difficulties of the soil.

Yet we let that spring pass, and the summer--

But in the fall--he'd been secretary for our county fair for many years--when I saw how that fair gripped him! He worked with farm people again, grappled with farm problems. Overnight he became different. He worked sixteen hours of every day, or more, without in the least wearying. His elasticity returned. And happy!

"That settles it," I insisted, watching him "cease to live" after the fair. "Next spring we go on a farm. We've got to manage it."

He wrote letters while I prayed that some way would be found for him to do the work he loved to do. Which did the work? Both, perhaps, for God helps them that help themselves.

It has always been a dream of his to rebuild a run down farm, even when we lived on one of Iowa's most modern farms. For a long time he looked away from Iowa's high priced farms to the deserted farms of the East. Grazing beef in New York, or raising hogs in the South. As for me, of all farming countries, Norway or Sweden--where they tie their cows to a tree to keep them from falling out of their pastures--has appealed to me. Farming in the mountains!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 3; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

My husband was not happy in town. He took an insurance adjustor—a dandyfied looking personage who winced at the sight of a hog lot—into the country one day to settle a lightning loss.

“Lord!” ejaculated the immaculate one, trying, unsuccessfully, to pick his way through mush to the busy farmer. “If there's one thing I hate about the insurance business it's wading through manure.”

I can imagine my better half as he laughed at that. “That's what I like about my job. If it weren't for this occasional wading through manure I'd quit the insurance business tomorrow.

Inelegant as that remark may be, I like it. It revealed so plainly that his contact with farmers, while he sold insurance, was his only freedom. “That man ought to be back on the farm,” I assured myself for about the millionth time, as he repeated the story.

I have never known so perfect an example of resistlessness as my husband is. He takes each day as it comes and does the very best he can with it. He never gets angry, nor too discouraged to smile. After twenty years of living with him I marvel more and more at his sane, clear way of looking at life.

But he was different in town than he ever had been in the country. His vibrancy seemed to have gone out of him. He had to hound himself to his work. He was always coming home from his business trips into the country with “Saw a dandy farm today a fellow could fix up with a little money.” The only time he seemed his real self was when he fussed with the chickens he insisted on keeping, or worked in the garden.

“Funny,” he'd say, as he packed down the dirt—oh, so tenderly—around the tomato plants as I handed them to him, “how so many fellows want white collar jobs while I've got to work with my hands.”

Never could any one make a vegetable garden a spot of beauty as he did; smooth black ground, long even rows of growing green, all closed in with vines and rose trellises. How our gardens flourished!

The more I thought about it the less I could bear to have this uncommon man, the roots of whose heart went deep into the soil, so what common men were doing—struggling for a mere living—while I grew more and more certain that by doing the thing he loved to do the living would come.




Wednesday, August 31, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 2; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

"Mother, where can I go, where can I play, what can I do?" Such questions pommeled us continually in town. Small wonder. We lived bang up against a dusty highway, packed tight between two houses, one containing an old couple, the other a lonely old man. Luckily, the old man was deaf. The couple were not. They had raised one family of boys on a farm and were entitled to quiet. But how could I keep it so? Our sandpile, where the children of the neighborhood gathered, was under their dining room window. One day the children were having a hilarious time--in the hammock. Mrs. G--- complained. I did not blame her. Mercy, I wanted quiet myself. But what could I do about it with--well, about twenty children. I sent them to the other side of the house--the deaf side--but there was nothing to do there. A neighbor farther on had an apple tree, though. Soon she called me on the telephone, most righteously indignant: "You're children are in my apple tree, eating all my apples."

So that's where the gang had gone. I called them home. I did not scold. Children have to do something ; the blame is to grownups who don't provide the right something. I simply explained; I was always having to explain. Perhaps I took all the children into the house to make cookies; in times of stress I often did that.

But I did some hard thinking, too; perhaps praying.

"Dear God, put us back on the farm where the children can make all the noise that they want to, and eat all the green apples."

Better a stomach ache than a bruised mind.

If the children were not under my feet I worried about whom they might be annoying. I tried to keep them busy. I hunted paper jobs, and helped them deliver the papers. I pestered my friends: "Haven't you a lawn for a good boy to mow?" So few wanted to bother with boys; they wanted men to do their mowing.

Reading of the wildness of present day youth I knew it would floor me if my children did likewise. That all young people were wild I did not believe, nor would I let mine be--if possible.

I have never wanted my children to "have it easy." The hardening process of life is as necessary to a child's soul as work is to his body. I wanted to teach my children to do what they did not like to do, cheerfully. (A thing, alas, it took their mother long to learn.) I wanted to teach them the dignity of labor and the great truth--so scorned by this age--that they can never be truly happy outside of their work. In no place, that I knew of, could I better teach these things than on a farm.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

BACK ON THE FARM; part 1; By A Farm Woman Who Went Back; 1930

Yes, after five years in town we are back on the farm. And how glad to get back! What thrills we are getting. Those minute particles of happiness that all the world is seeking elsewhere we are finding at our farm home, one after another.

If that is the way we feel about a farm one might wonder why we ever left in the first place. The only reason seems to be that necessity demanded it. Like many other farmers, we bought too much land when the war boosted farm prices dropped below normal. Yet I value those five hard years in town. In no other way could I have acquired so true a sense of values; could I have seen how much better off than the average town family is the average farm family.

Why did we move back? You've heard this: "The farmer gets his living, and that's about all." Well, that is why we moved back. We wanted that living, rather than the one that was ours in town.

We were "getting no place" in town. Studying the situations of friends who were blessed with more material possessions, with larger salaries than we were, we decided that they were getting no place either. To be sure, they should have arrived somewhere for they were going, going, going, all the time; dances, parties, conventions, motor trips. (People on a farm are so tied down; you've heard that, too.) No doubt they considered that they got a better living than the average farmer, but what a price they paid of it! Letting the things that they wanted to do pass them by; making contracts they did not care for; worrying, hurrying, gathering to them nothing worthwhile, though they thought they were living. They saved no money, either; instead debts madly pursued them.

Even could we have afforded it, that was not the kind of living we wanted. We wanted soil that would bloom at our touch, an outdoors where our children could make all the noise that they wanted to, a home where the evenings would not find us scattered: Father in his office , Mother at Women's Club, the children at the movies. And farming is such a together job! Don't you think so?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

THE GARDEN OF LIFE; by Dr. John W. Holland; part 2 of 2; 1930

Do you want the red apple? Knowledge is the first step in the ladder of life. By knowledge men can make nature's forces do their bidding. They can unsheathe the hidden secrets that help them to create a new world, and better living conditions in it. To possess knowledge has been considered the greatest gift. And yet, can the understanding of the head make over the heart of man? It cannot. Nowhere has it been found that knowledge alone has made the earth better. There is something more than knowledge!

The white apple is the apple of the heart. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Since character is determined by what we care for, then our hearts are the important things.

Some have had gold and knowledge, but have plowed the earth with war and sowed it with hate. I have often been impressed with the great character in "Pilgrim's Progress." It is "Mr. Greatheart." People with wrong heads and false ideals came to him, and he shed light upon their pathway.

Jesus came as a teacher, not of the speculations that men could not understand, but of the simple truths of the heart, that "he who runs may read."

Women may be tempted to think that their work in the training of children is not so showy as the gay cavalcades of society folk, but it is far more lasting. The mother who teaches a child the meaning of truth-telling has done more good than any glib-tongued doubter, even through he knows the lore of many books.

When you feel discouraged with your lot, wondering whether or not you have chosen well, turn to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews and read it again. If you doubt that the possession of good character is the one supreme attainment in life, look over the front page of any daily paper, and see the wrecks caused by people who want wealth or knowledge apart from good character.

There was another provision in the ancient fable concerning the white apple. "No lack or want should long come to those who chose this apple."

A Bible writer said, "I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." In another place read, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."

Which apple do you propose to take?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

THE GARDEN OF LIFE; by Dr. John W. Holland; part 1 of 2; 1930

I want to tell you a story. Once upon a time, when the world was young, there was a great garden in a valley. It signified the entrance into life. An old man, who represented the wisdom of the world, sat at the gateway, through which each young person, arriving at adulthood, had to pass. The old gatesman pointed out to them the way through the garden.

Near the entrance stood a tree the like of which none had ever seen. Upon its branches hung three kinds of apples, yellow, red, and white. Each young person who came was allowed to pluck but one of these apples. He must choose.

The yellow apple gave the youth power to turn his ventures into gold. He would be made successful, and attain the power that gold gives to men.

If the entrant should choose the red apple, he would gain knowledge. The book of the world gain knowledge. The book of the world would lay open before him and its mysteries be unraveled. He would be enabled to accomplish everything that he desired in life through the power of knowledge.

The white apple conferred a different power. Whoever chose it would attain the power of becoming personally agreeable, pure in character, and "become patient, even with cranky old women." Through the white apple he would have power to make the world happier and better.

Only one apple might be chosen. That rule was passed to prevent an envious person from choosing all three, and thus becoming a pest in the world.

Whoever you are that reads this: You are as the youth in life's garden.

Do you want the yellow apple? Who does not desire gold? We live in a world of things. Since money is the chief thing-getter, therefore to get money seems to be the chief thing.

Gold has great power. It can aid in every great undertaking. It can be turned into books, food, shelter, and medicine. On the other hand it can engender jealousies that curse the earth with wars. It can create artificial distinctions among people that are almost impossible to eradicate. Gold is not the greatest thing!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

THORN APPLES AND SWEET ACORNS; by Elizabeth Wilson; 1915

I love the taste of thorn apples and sweet acorns and sumac and choke-cherries and all the wild things we used to find on the road to school.

And I love the feel of pussy willows and the inside of chestnut burrs.

I love to walk on a country road where only a few double teams have left a strip of turf in the middle of the track.


And I love the creaking of the sleigh runners and the snapping of nail-heads in the clapboards on a bitter cold January night.

In the first cool nights I love the sound of the first hard rainfall on the roof of the gable room.


And I love the smell of the dead leaves in the woods in the fall.

I love the odor of those red apples that grew on the trees that died before I went back to grandpa's again.

I love the fragrance of the first pink and blue hepaticas which have hardly any scent at all.

I love the smell of the big summer raindrops on the dusty dry steps of the school house.

I love the breath of the great corn fields when you ride past them on an August evening in the dark.


And I love to see the wind blowing over tall grass.

I love the yellow afternoon light that turns all the trees and shrubs to gold.

I love to see the shadow of a cloud moving over the valley, especially where the different fields have different colors like a great checkerboard.

I love the little ford over Turtle Creek where they didn't build the bridge after the freshet.

I love the sunset on the hill in Winnebago County, where I used to sit and pray about my mental arithmetic lesson the spring I taught school!

Monday, August 1, 2011

VACATION TIME; by Alta Booth Dunn; 1930

Oh, all the care-free world is gypsying
While I, home-bound, must do the hearth-tending!
But Summer's at my cottage door
With blithesome visitors galore;
With birds and bees, and little winds that bring
Perfume from many a lovely blooming thing;
With fleecy clouds that run like lambs at play,
And thunder storms in splendid pageantry...

So all the day I work and sing
And go a-traveling
On fancy's wing!

Friday, July 29, 2011

GOING TO COLLEGE; Ima Farmer; part 2; 1930

Some boys have taken time off to work on public works, or in the western wheat harvest, starting in the southwest and working north with the crew and the season, until the last of the northern wheat is threshed. I know you will say that such work is dirty and hard, and sometimes degrading. It is--all but the last. A man can be degraded only by the weakness in his own character. My own husband worked during summer vacations for a man who was terribly coarse and obscene. But when my husband told me about it, he said, "Strange as it may seem, it simply steeled me against such things."

Some girls may be able to use the knowledge gained in sewing club to do dressmaking for the girls at school. I accumulated a little money by doing housework in the city. When hunting a job, go to the Y.W.C.A.; it will help you.

There are always a limited number of jobs around a college for the girl who wishes to work her way. When I was a student I waited tables, worked in the office, stayed of evenings with a professor's children, helped a woman in town with the Saturday housecleaning, and during my last semester, I made sandwiches and sold them to the girls in the dormitory. I have seen girls--orphans, with no one in the world to help them,--working their way and making high honors in scholarship.

To the boy or girl who wants higher training, I say,--go right after it. And keep after it. You may not be able to progress as rapidly as you would like, but the only thing that can actually stop you is you yourself.

Friday, July 22, 2011

GOING TO COLLEGE; Ima Farmer; part 1; 1930

I wish I might talk to your sons and daughters, and tell them what I want to say about going to college. Won't you give them this message for me? If they want a college education enough, they can go.
You mothers should not worry or fret if you do not have money to send them. Many boys and girls have been ruined because they were sent to college with too many nice clothes and too much spending money. But the boys or girls who have the courage and the grit to work their way through, receive a training that is more valuable than an inheritance, and no one can take it away from them. When they finish their education, they will be far better equipped to face life on the farm or elsewhere than the petted and pampered ones, and they can go farther and climb higher, if they have had the courage and the vision to get all the training they need, instead of stopping half way.

And how, are you asking, can our boys and girls go about it?

There are dozens of ways, but they can be summed up in one word. Work!

Some boys and girls have made the farm yield the extra money. Some of them have taken the information that they gained from the calf or pig club and turned it into cash. Some have grown and marketed strawberries.




Friday, July 15, 2011

IT'S FUN TO RAISE CHICKENS; part 1; by Clara M. Sutter; Nebraska; circa 1935




"It's fun to raise chickens when you do it right and make some money doing it. It's fun to watch your settings of eggs bring forth fluffy young chicks; it's fun to help those chicks grow. And then when they bring the family some hundreds of dollars extra each year, they make possible a lot of comfort and satisfaction.

This is the way Mrs. W. J. Joyce, who has one of the best record flocks in her state, doesn't think about it that way. She finds in her poultry yard a change from household routine, a pleasure in dealing with live things, and a satisfaction in mastering the problems of poultry growing and of making some money. Besides, her family is enjoying a more modern, more comfortable home which was made possible largely by the flock earnings. "We haven't always had a furnace, electric lights, running water and a telephone," she says, "but the chickens helped us to get them.

"The chickens add many hundreds of dollars to our farm income each year, besides furnishing all the chickens and eggs we care to eat. There is no other way I could add so much to the family income. Although poultry growing is a sideline, it is one of the most reliable sources of income on our farm and it gives pleasure as well as profit."

Mrs. Joyce's poultry business had very humble beginnings about thirty years ago, when she and her husband set up homemaking on their Clay County farm as bride and groom. She brought with her a few hens that were a wedding present. A high shed was the only place for them to roost, and they had to hop painfully up a ladder to the roosts that rested on the plates of the 10x16 foot shed. "It makes me laugh even now when I think of them perched way up under the roof," Mrs. Joyce says. "When I went in after roosting time, the hens looked down on me and made a great fuss.

"That first year those wedding gift hens didn't lay an egg from fall to winter, but winter laying wasn't the fashion among Nebraska hens then.

Monday, July 11, 2011

FUN FOR THE BOYS; New York; circa 1935

How shall we entertain our young people during vacation? This question came to us a year ago as we had two grown boys who needed a change and amusement during vacation, also we had two younger kiddies.

We decided to take a small unused building and move it to a quiet spot in a remote corner of the farm by the side of a stream. There surrounded by trees and flowering bushes, not far from a spring, we made our haven. Picnic tables, benches and a fireplace were built and soon our little cabin had a large, partly-sided porch from willows, cut by the men-folks. Boards from an old fence served as roof, covered with tar paper which was the only expense.

Cots were added and the boys spent their nights and leisure hours there during the hot weather. The fishing was good, with a boat anchored at the dock for convenience. Also there was a diving board and swimming place near by.

Our city relatives and friends drive for miles to come to this restful place with their well-filled picnic baskets. Even Fourth-of-July fireworks in the city were of no interest to them.

Friday, July 1, 2011

THE AMERICAN FLAG, July 1931

I found this on the “Children's Page” of the July 1931 issue of The Farmer's Wife.
Memorize these rules about Our Flag:

Our Flag must not be used as a tablecloth. Nothing but a Bible may rest upon it.

Never place Our Flag below the seats on a platform or stand, or twist it in any fancy shapes whatever. Use bunting for decoration instead.

Never let Our Flag touch the ground or floor or trail in the water.

When hanging against the wall, Our Flag's stripes may be vertical or horizontal but the stars must always be in the upper left-hand corner as you stand facing it.

When in parade with other flags Our Flag must always be at the right or in front.

When Our Flag is hung over the middle of a street it should be hung vertically with the stars to the north in an east and west street or to the east in the north and south street.

When a flag is worn out and can no longer be used, it is burned with reverence and respect.

Monday, June 27, 2011

HEROES OF THE NORTHLAND; part 4 of 4; by Carroll P. Streeter; 1929

Yet not one of the 379 mothers died who had their babies at the Outpost last year. No doubt this was partly due to the regular visits which each nurse finds time to make to all of her prospective mothers. She can not neglect this phase of her work for she dare not risk having a needlessly complicated case on her hands later. Often she can prevent such trouble but if it is apparent that she can not, she may at least be able to get the mother in advance to a more distant hospital, where there are doctors.

Keeping in touch with each case intimately the nurse knows when to expect the mother at the Outpost. And woe to the husband if he neglects to bring her in time! Sometimes, of course, the patient arrives only to find the little place full. Then there is nothing for the nurse to do but give up her own bed.

Although the nurse is sometimes on duty twenty-four hours a day caring for the sick, she manages, somehow, to hold an occasional clinic for physical inspection of all the babies in the community or to teach a class of mothers how to keep themselves and their families well.

As population becomes denser some of these nursing homes have developed into small general hospitals themselves. At Bengough, just fifteen miles above the United States boundary, a little one-room cottage with three beds, established as an Outpost in 1922, has been replaced by a small hospital with thirteen beds and a staff of three nurses. Most of these enlarged stations are in the prairie wheat belt, however. Several of the Outposts are in the southern part of the Province.

On the other hand, there is Carragana, in the untamed, unconquered bush land of the north. Carragana is twenty miles from Prairie River and the railroad, and sixty-five miles from the nearest doctor. A handful of ex-soldiers of the World War are there, trying to scratch a living from the soil despite a short growing season. Their wives are as true pioneers as any women who ventured west in prairie schooners three-fourths of a century ago.

Imagine what the Outpost means to them.

"I am certain that you saved my life when my baby was born," a Carragana mother recently wrote the Red Cross nurse. "You took me in when I had no one to help me. I would have written to thank you before but didn't have a cent for postage.

"I went harvesting last fall for seventy-five cents a day but it ruined my health and I can't do very much now. I spend all I can earn to buy food for my five children, for I can't bear to see them go hungry. They scarcely had bedding of any kind until we got the flannelette you sent us.

"The clamor from my little family now is all 'how soon will Santa Claus come?" But I am afraid he won't come at all as crops are frozen down here and times are so very hard."

This is reality is a cry in the wilderness. It is one of many. And it explains why, if you were to push through the bush land to Carragana today you would see a Red Cross flag flying above a little log cabin.

Friday, June 24, 2011

HEROES OF THE NORTHLAND; part 3 of 4; by Carroll P. Streeter; 1929

These things happen. And when they do, who meets the emergency? Who takes care of the mother in childbirth, when not even a midwife is available? And who takes care of the accident victim who will die within the next hour or two unless he can get expert care?

The answer is, the Red Cross Outpst--Saskatchewan's own invention, since duplicated in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Australia, Poland and Germany. There are now forty-four in Canada, fourteen of them in Saskatchewan. You find them in such places as Cut Knife, Lucky Lake, Wood Mountain, Nipawin, Rabbit Lake and Carragana. In each instance the local community furnishes the building and pays part of the annual deficient, each year taking over more of the burden if possible. The Red Cross furnishes a well-trained nurse, the equipment, supervision and the rest of the deficit. Patients are charged $3 a day and pay as much of the bill as they can.

The Outpost hospital may be a neat little cottage, built according to plans furnished by the Red Cross, or it may be nothing more than a log cabin or the bare little shack which once served as a makeshift community hall. In one instance it was a railroad caboose, which followed miners in a gold rush.

The Outposts average seven beds but often have eight to ten patients. They are primarily for maternity and emergency cases. Each little hospital is in charge of a Red Cross nurse who is midwife, first-aid expert, community authority on how to bring up babies, public health worker and sympathetic friend in time of trouble. Stationed all the way from thirty to one hundred sixty-five miles from the nearest doctor, as in most of the Outposts, she must be able to deal with any emergency.

"Today," one of them recently wrote a friend, "we had a christening, a death, an operation, admitted three new patients, discharged two old ones, treated six in all and turned one away from lack of room."

Comforting a mother whose baby lies dead in the next room, rejoicing with another over the arrival of a fine new son, convincing a farmer with acute heart trouble that he simply must not pitch hay today, telling an expectant mother what she should eat and bandaging a boy's leg which had been cut in a mowing machine--all these are everyday tasks for the Red Cross nurse.

No comfortable ambulances with their patients roll up to the hospital door here. The "ambulance" is apt to be a dog sled, a canoe or a farm wagon. In one instance an expectant mother came to the Outpost on a railroad "speeder" car, which, incidentally, proved none too speedy. The first baby born at one of the Saskatchewan Outposts rode home behind a yoke of Herefords and another had his first ride behind a dog team.

Monday, June 20, 2011

HEROES OF THE NORTHLAND; part 2 of 4; by Carroll P. Streeter; 1929

Many another story like this might be found in the experiences of the frontier people of Saskatchewan, but little by little civilization is pushing medical service nearer to the distant outposts. The Saskatchewan government has built a modern little hospital up in the wilderness at Ile La Crosse, 300 miles still farther north, to serve some two thousand prospectors, hunters, traders, fishers and Indians, who are scattered through a wide area of scrub timber and lake country. It is the northernmost hospital in this great province of Saskatchewan. Dr. F. G. Amyot, has had his adventures, too. One night not so long ago a messenger hurried to Ile La Crosse by canoe to report that the plane of Flying Officer A. F. MacDonald, of the government air service, had crashed near Dillon Village, seventy-five miles away. The pilot was reported near death. Twenty minutes later Dr. Amyot was in a canoe heading out into one of the north's most treacherous large lakes in absolute darkness. A high wind was whipping the water until those who saw him start were certain he could never get across. But Dr. Amyot had been one of the best canoeman in Canada during his college days.

His companion baled continually throughout the night, and when morning came the water was still so rough that the spray of the canoe hid the shore for minutes at a time, but they landed safely.

Crossing another large lake the doctor finally arrived at the scene of the accident. He found the aviator with broken ribs, a broken ankle, deep cuts, many missing teeth and severe burns from the fire of the wrecked plane. Although Dr. Amyot had been without sleep for twenty-eight hours he immediately set about making, temporary splints,  dressing wounds, and feeding his patient. Four days later the doctor returned to his little hospital, frost bitten and sick himself.

These adventures are only two of many which doctors of this wild northland could relate. Others, just as exciting and often more tragic, could be told by the wives of the pioneers who are pushing across these new frontiers. To farm folks in the United States such dangers may sound like fiction, but they are grim fact to the stout hearts who are out there trying to subdue the wilderness.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

HEROES OF THE NORTHLAND; part 1 of 4; by Carroll P. Streeter; 1929

A blizzard was on the way in northern Saskatchewan.

And because he felt that it would be no mere flurry, Verner Johnson drove his dog team up to the cabin of John Littlewood near Foam Lake, 120 miles from civilization with the intent of putting up there until the storm was over.

But just as Johnson arrived, Littlewood hurried out to meet him with disturbing news.

His daughter, Rose, had acute appendicitis, it seemed certain, and must be rushed to a hospital at once.

Hospital? There wasn't even a doctor for two hundred miles, not until you reached Prince Albert. And besides, the only way you could get over the first hundred and twenty of those miles was with dogs. Racing that far against time was a man-sized job at any time, and with a storm rising it seemed impossible, even though the driver was an experienced frontiersman and though his leader, Prince, was known as one of the best dogs in north Saskatchewan.

Nevertheless, a few minutes later Johnson was on his way with a heavily-bundled, frightened girl on his sled, praying that Providence would grant her time enough to reach that distant hospital.

They were bound for Big River, a little settlement at the end of steel on the most northerly branch of the Canadian National Railways. Half way there the storm caught up with them. A heavy fall of fine snow, driven by a gale which seemed suddenly to come out of nowhere,hid the few landmarks there were. Soon Johnson could scarcely see beyond his team, then the stinging flakes made it impossible for him even to keep his eyes open. He was lost, yet he must keep on going somewhere. Fortunately, Big River was home for the driver and his dogs, and maybe Prince could find it. In that hope Johnson, depending on the trail sense of his dogs, stumbled along, head down, as best he could.

Many hours later a weary team and driver plodded up the main street of the little village to the depot.

A spare engine was hooked to a caboose and the little "special train" rushed the girl to the Prince Albert hospital in time for an operation that saved her life. The heroic incident was officially recognized when the Right Honorable W. L. Mackenzie King, Premier of Canada, publicly awarded Johnson a certificate of the Royal Humane Society of Canada, and put a silver collar around Prince's neck.

Friday, June 10, 2011

NOON-TIME MELODY; part 5; by Myar Hansen; 1937

“Now don't get excited, Susie,” Paul tried to sooth her. “There's no chance in a hundred that they'll be out your way. I just thought I'd give you a little free advertising.”

“Oh!” Susie drew out the exclamation faintly. “But isn't there some kind of a reward?”

“A big one,” Paul said hurriedly. “The Banker's Association will--”

“I'm so glad!” Susie cut in.

And while Paul's mouth dropped open in astonishment, she went on to explain.

Paul whistled finally. “Gee, that's great! I'm going to put it over the air!” He started to hang up the receiver and then called again: “Susie! The next record I play is for you. Listen for it.”

Mr. Reynolds tried to ask him what it was all about. “Listen in,” Paul said hurriedly and opened and closed the glass studio door.

He put his mouth to the microphone.

Here's a rare treat for you radio listeners. Here's news so hot the police don't know it yet. Are you listening, police?

The two masked men who help up the County Trust Company this noon turned their sedan off the main road at the Corners, ten miles above here on U.S. 7. They took the road that leads past Aunt Carey's place.

Aunt Carey, previously warned by this station that they were coming, kept out of sight as we advised. But first she took a bagful of large-headed roof nails and sprinkled them all over the place. Uncle Carey got out his double-barreled shotgun and loaded it, just in case.

The black sedan came thundering past just about as soon as they were finished. Aunt Carey says she heard distinct reports like shots as tires blew out. Then there was a crash. She says Uncle Carey didn't need his shotgun because both of the men were unconscious under their car upside down in the ditch.

Are you listening, police?

The two men who held up the County Trust Company this noon are now locked in the Carey's root cellar. Better go get them, but look out for nails in the road.

Complete details will be found in this afternoon's edition of the News.

The next recording on this noon-time melody program is by the Casa Loma orchestra: “Name the date, Sweetheart”...

Monday, June 6, 2011

NOON-TIME MELODY; part 4; by Myar Hansen; 1937

He put the music back on.

Gosh, if only he were not tied down here with his broadcast, he'd go out and chase around looking for those holdup men himself. Probably everyone with cars in the twenty mile area reached by this station, were already out cluttering up the roads. That ought to show the state police authorities that they should come alive and put in a radio car system for their troopers.

Just about then another bright idea hit Paul. Mr. Reynolds might get sore—but Aunt Carey's would come in for a lot of free publicity. Besides, he'd be keeping interest up in Station WACX. Too, he'd be doing a good deed by getting some of the curious off the main road and leave it free for the police.

He spoke into the microphone again.

Here's more news of the holdup. The two robbers are believed to be the same pair who held up the Lamoille Bank last week.

I have a special message for Aunt Carey, up past the Corners. Everybody knows Aunt Carey who cooks those wonderful chicken dinners. Gosh, I'm getting hungry just thinking of them.

Are you listening, Aunt Carey?

The holdup men are supposed to have turned off the main road in your direction. Keep out of sight, as these robbers are desperate and would think nothing of shooting to kill if they thought you recognized them and would warn the people. Keep out of sight!

It was scarcely five minutes later that Paul saw Mr. Reynolds motioning to him again. “Quick. A phone call! Party says it's a matter of life or death!” cried Mr. Reynolds.

Paul recognized Susie's voice immediately. She sounded strangely agitated.

“Paul, it's about those holdup men,” she began.

Friday, June 3, 2011

NOON-TIME MELODY; part 3; by Myar Hansen; 1937

The tourist business for them had dwindled to nothing; nobody was going out of the way to look for a tourist home, or a chicken dinner either. About ten meals on a Sunday to people who had been there before, was the best they could do. It wasn't enough to pay the interest on the mortgage, let alone pay off the principal.

It was enough to make anybody sick, Paul kept thinking, as he sat at his desk. Especially when he now had charge of the radio station and was getting twenty-eight dollars a week—enough, as he'd pointed out time and again, for two people to get married on. But Susie still insisted that they'd have to wait until the mortgage was paid. Which, to Paul, seemed like forever.

“Well,” he said out loud and then started another record.

If there were only some way of getting people to go out that way, getting them to stop at the farm again. Paul had racked his brain without result. There didn't seem any way at all.

Suddenly an unusual noise broke the studio quiet. Paul turned and saw his boss, Mr. Reynolds himself, waving his arms at him from outside the glass door, and holding up a slip of paper. It must be pretty important, Paul thought, to get Mr. Reynolds so aroused. He went over and got the message. He read it, and he too began to feel the excitement.

He stopped the music abruptly, spoke into the microphone.

Here's a special news flash. The County Trust Company has just been held up by two masked men. Mr. Rollins, the cashier, was slugged over the head with the butt of a revolver when he tried to put up a fight. The teller, the only other person in the bank, was forced to hand over more than five thousand dollars in currency. The two men escaped in a black sedan.

Look for further details in this afternoon's edition of the Daily News.

He put the music back on.

Monday, May 30, 2011

NOON-TIME MELODY; part 2; by Myar Hansen; 1937

The Carey's farm was located about ten miles from Hoskins, a small, thriving industrial city. It wasn't a very large farm; Mr. Carey kept six cows and about a hundred hens; raised vegetables which he sold in the city in season along with milk and eggs to earn a comfortable income without too much effort.

One Sunday, a year ago, after a dinner at the Carey's Paul had had a bright idea. It was a chicken dinner, prepared as only Mrs. Carey and Susie knew how; deliciously roasted spring pullet, thick rich gravy, soup as clear as liquid gold. Apple pie thick and juicy, with a crust that left his mouth watering.

“Gee,” he'd exclaimed, “what people wouldn't give for a dinner like this! You ought to hang up a sign, 'Tourists,' you're on the main highway and business would be great.”

The Careys had been thinking of that very thing for a long time and Paul's remark hastened their decision.

The upshot of it was that they put a thousand dollar mortgage on the farm so that necessary alternations could be made on their old-fashioned home,--a huge new screened-in porch where meals could be served; a new bathroom; rooms made over upstairs for guests; painting inside and out. By the middle of that summer “Aunt Carey's” was doing a rushing business, not only with tourists, but from entire families who came out from the near-by city for Sunday dinner.

And then the blow had fallen.

There had been agitation for paving on this main trunk line that ran past the Carey place and finally the State had decided to build a concrete boulevard with the aid of government funds. Paul and Susie had been jubilant, thinking that it meant bringing still more trade to “Aunt Carey's.” And then, without any warning whatsoever, engineers had rerouted the new road to avoid two steep hills and a bridge over a brook. The new strips of concrete now lay a quarter of a mile from the Carey's front door.

Friday, May 27, 2011

NOON-TIME MELODY; part 1; by Myar Hansen; 1937

Tall young Paul Keith finished broadcasting the few brief news items he uses as "teasers" to start each noontime program over the Hoskins Daily News local station, WACX.

John Bilger was instantly killed when the automobile he was driving caromed off a tree near Sunderland Hollow.

No traces of the two masked men who held up the Lamoille Valley Bank last week have yet been found.

Three hundred employees of the marble quarry here are out on strike today...

You have just heard the latest news dispatches brought to you through the courtesy of the Daily News through arrangement with the Associated Press. Look for further details in this afternoon's edition of the Daily News.

The first recording on today's program of noontime melodies is "Isn't It a Lovely Day" by Don Bestor and his orchestra.

Music flooded out over the air waves. Paul Keith ran a smoothing hand over dark hair and settled back to wait until the end of the record, when he would read an advertisement and then play another recording.

Susie Carey would know that he would be out tonight at about six. His playing one of Don Bestor's recordings first on the program meant just that in their own secret understanding. If he started the program with one of Bing Crosby's, Susie would expect him at about eight. One of Rudy Vallee's records played at the beginning meant that he could get away right after the program was over at one-thirty.

The music stopped and he read the coal company's ad about how clean and efficient their coal was. Paul's speaking voice was soft and pleasant, and he had a natural gift of knowing how to modulate his tones, how to put feeling and depth even into announcements.

Mr. Reynolds, the crusty old owner of the Daily News, had placed Paul in direct charge of the small station when he had first installed it about a year ago, once he had heard Paul's voice over the air. Paul had been a cub reporter on the paper then; he was still a reporter, but with the handling of the radio station added to his duties.

Paul set the phonograph needle on another record of Don Bestor's orchestra. And while the music played and the crooner sang in his husky, throbbing voice, Paul kept thinking of Susie. Susie had honey-colored hair, a dimple in each smooth cheek. Susie was softly rounded all over and could cuddle up close, but say with a firmness that belied her rounded chin: "We'll have to wait, Paul, dear. Soon as the mortgage is paid and Mom and Pop'll have nothing to worry them, we'll be married. It won't be long."

To Paul it seemed as if that mortgage would never be paid. And the mortgage was his own fault, too. That's what got his goat.

Monday, May 23, 2011

NO MORE COLD LUNCHES; M. E. S., Missouri; 1926

When I was a child attending district school many years ago, the most disagreeable part of the entire day was the cold lunch. Sometimes my appetite would lag and nothing tasted good when the cold food had to be eaten in a room that was none too warm.

When my own little folks started to carry school lunches I regretted the inability to provide them with warm food for their noonday meal.

I have observed that children who have not appeared to have any digestive troubles in their pre-school days have developed them soon after starting to school where the lunch had to be carried and eaten cold.

In our school we now serve one hot food to each child every day during the cold weather, and there is a noticeable decrease in sickness among the pupils.

It is managed this way: The school is divided into two sides. Each side takes its turn in providing for, and in preparing the hot food.

Often, hot soup is served, of which potato, tomato, bean and vegetable soups are the favorites. Sometimes potatoes are boiled in their skins, macaroni is served, or, maybe boiled rice with sugar and milk, or, hot cocoa is liked for a change. The menu is varied that the children may not tire of one thing.

Each child carries his own bowl and spoon which are washed when the meal is over. A large kettle is provided in which to cook the soup, and other foods. A large spoon, fork, soup ladle, dishpan and cloth and towels which the children bring from home complete the equipment. The food is cooked on the regular heating stove, the children bring the towels home to be laundered, and everything is kept clean.

This hot lunch I think is the best thing accomplished in our school, not only for the past year, but in the entire history of our district school.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A TWENTY-YEAR GARDEN STORY; C.S.L., New Jersey; 1926

Two weeks before we were married we were driving through a woodland road and we dug some ferns and a magnolia and dogwood tree from Father's woods. They were placed in the back yard of the home in preparation for further garden work. For twenty years they have been early-spring cheerfuls, adding to our joy and helping us pass it on to others in the early blooming dogwood and the fragrant magnolias through a long season. Hundreds of people have had the flowers from our largest magnolia tree. We always have some in the home and when anyone admires them, we share them.

We seldom take a trip in the car or otherwise that we do not pick a bunch and take them with us. There is always an abundance and enough are left on the trees to form red berries or seed and make feasts for the birds. We added a new magnolia tree each year until we had a dozen or more. We dug them from the upland and placed them north of the house for they need partial shade. Every summer is a magnolia summer for us and our friends. They are so woven into our lives that we sometimes leave them for calling cards and our friends know who has been there, if they are away.

Twenty years ago, after the June wedding, we found a bunch of daffodils the size of a dinner plate in the hardy border. They had been planted by my grandmother when the house was new. We dug them up and put them into the dark woodhouse until fall and then the trouble began! "The man" said, "there is enough to plant the place!" He planted and planted and we gave bulbs away.

The next spring and for nineteen years our yard has looked better than a gold mine to me. We pick and give the lovely things away to friends, sick and well, to hospitals, churches, golden weddings. And there are always enough left to make passers-by exclaim.

Before the old year is out, my husband digs some of the bulbs which are starting under ground and we place them in bowls of water, held up by stones, put them in a sunny window and they bloom in a short time. These make delightful winter gifts. He digs the bulbs periodically and we have them blooming in the home all the time in cold weather.

I wish I could tell of our memory garden, its joy to us and its joy to other, though only a small part could be put on paper.

Shakespeare counsels, "No day without a deed to crown it," and if giving away flowers, bulbs and roots can be classed as a "deed" then we have scarcely a day without one.

Monday, May 16, 2011

MY EXPERIENCE IN DRESSMAKING; Mrs. H.G.S., Tenn.; 1926

I am on the shady side of fifty and have lived on a farm forty years of that time--most of the time near a small village. In my young days, ready-to-wear garments for women were unknown to the stores of this village, so my mother taught me to make my own clothes. I began by making clothes for my dolls and soon learned to cut the garments by patterns of my own cutting. Mother encouraged me in this by giving me old garments to cut up into patterns. They could be measured to a doll more easily than a paper pattern and if they did not fit there was no particular loss. I soon learned to tell just what was wrong with my pattern so that a second or a third cutting would be exactly right. This idea has saved me both time and money, for in dressing two girls through high school many dresses in many different styles are needed. There are no patterns sold in our village so when the design for a dress has been decided on I save cost of pattern and time it would take to order it by resorting to the idea taught me by my mother.

When our oldest girl went to college last fall, she wore to travel in, a brown-and-tan plaid wool dress made from a circular cape she had worn the year before. The only cost of the dress was one dollar for a brown kid collar and cuff set that exactly matched and gave it the precise tailored look a college girl would wish.

In buying piece goods or ready-made garments, I find it economical to buy good materials for they hold color and shape better and I am sure to use a second and sometimes a third time by remaking. I plan the made over garment by studying the fashions and comparing the old garment with them. Sometimes the changes in styles are so radical that the old garment cannot be used. In that case I store it away with a few mothballs till the next season and pretty soon a design comes out by which it can be used either alone or in combination with something else.

What is worth as much to me as the money I save by my sewing, is the fact that our girls have developed habits of economy in dress for they know that one season's wear for a garment is not the end of its usefulness, and they can design and make their own clothes and remodel the old ones.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I LIKE TO LIVE ON A FARM; Lena Martin-Smith

Where there is work and more work,
All of it worth while and essential;

Where the air is pure and sweet all day,
Not blanketed with smoke from factories;

Where we may see without obstruction
The pinks and lavenders of the dawn;

Where the golds and reds and silvers
Are clear and open above the fields, at sunset;

Where one may see the full canopy of stars
And moonlight does not have to rival street lights;

Where the sounds of living and growing
Mingle with the breath of pines and maples,
Not marred by rushing traffic, honking horns,
Cut-outs and street cars;

Where labor is of one's own choosing,
Of great variety and based upon ambition
For accomplishment and not "eight hours;"

Where women and men are real business partners,
The women an economic aid and not parasitic;

Where the standard of housekeeping
Is the pleasure and comfort of the family;

Where social gatherings are few enough
To promote real joy in the company of others--
Fun, laughter and story-telling
Rather than boresome toleration or keen competition
For favors from the other sex;

Where we may dare to eat real butter
And cream, fresh eggs and smoked ham,
Through we may not possess a single pair
Of cobweb silk hose!

And these are only the beginning of
Reasons why I like to live on the farm!

Monday, May 9, 2011

WHEN WE VISIT THE SICK; Virginia Carter Lee; 1918

To know just when to call, how long to stay and just what to do and say when visiting the sick, requires tact, judgment and common sense.

The first thing to consider is the selection of a seasonable hour. The patient needs regular and periodic care and the visit should be timed with reference to this and not merely to the caller's personal convenience.

Most invalids are better able to enjoy seeing their friends during the middle of the day than at other times. Few invalids care to receive their friends until the room has been freshly aired and set in order for the day, the daily bath and toilet completed and the doctor's morning visit over. Neither early morning nor late evening are favorable visiting hours.

Some visitors never know when to go. As a rule, from fifteen minutes to half an hour is a sufficiently long period, for it is far better to go while the welcome lasts. If the visitor is wise, she will not allow herself to be entreated to remain longer or to prolong her call by the invalid's plea that she is "not a bit tired."

She is probably more or less excited tho not able to realize her real feeling until after her guest's departure.

But more important than all else in visiting the sick, is the atmosphere the caller consciously or unconsciously carries with her. Conversation, manner, even the tones of the voice have their effect on the invalid.

Too much sympathy with the patient is a mistaken kindness and often positively harmful. After a few kindly inquiries, the visitor should tactfully lead the conversation away from the patient's ailments into other channels. Diversion of the right kind is really as valuable to a sick person as a dose of medicine.

The visitor should carry cheerful news and avoid all that my be depressing. One's own personal worries and trials should be left outside. Entertaining news items, descriptions of the latest book read and letters from absent friends will all be of interest to the lonely shut-in.

The caller should dress attractively. Only those who have experienced much illness, realize what a positive refreshment a caller's charming toilet may be nor with what delight the tired eyes take in every bright detail. You must remember that what is merely an episode to the caller is an event to the patient.

Just what to take to a sick friend may be a problem. Flowers, fruits and jellies are customary gifts. If your friend is supplied with these dainties, a new book or magazine, will be even more appreciated as bringing a fresh element into the sick room.

Any little novelty that helps to break the daily monotony will prove attractive.

Friday, May 6, 2011

DAYS WORTH WHILE; part 2 of 2; Mrs. D. W. E., Kansas; 1924

After returning home, I did not feel in the mood to tackle that pile of sewing so I wrote a dear friend and then prepared lunch for the babies and myself and afterwards we all lay down to rest.

In the meantime the mail carrier had left a new magazine and when I arose I could not resist taking just a peep. The girls came home from school and found me still reading. Immediately the cry went up, "Oh, Mamma, can't we have a little picnic? You said you would take us to the woods some day. You're not very busy. Can't we? We're awful hungry." I laughed. No, I was not very busy! So I gathered together some eats and we all started for a walk. We ate our lunch in a sheltered place. The children hunted pretty stones and exclaimed over the beauty of the woods and we returned home just in time to do our evening work and prepare supper.

The pile of sewing was still waiting for me to find time to do it but still I did not feel that the day had been wasted. I had done so many things that I had planned to do when I had time.

Why not take a few of these rare days when we are left alone to do the things we always mean to do "some day," the pleasant things, the things our children will remember us for instead of always the big piece of work that we want to get out of the way.

I mean to have another such a day when the opportunity comes