Quilting, Farming, Variety

Monday, January 30, 2012

Farm Wife ~~ Hand Signals

Image taken from the Sept/Oct, 1995 issue of Country Woman magazine

Hand signals can be confusing for a farm wife; sometimes I feel like I'm supposed to read Popa's mind. It's the worst whenever I'm the one in the tractor; what do all the circling motions mean? Turn the steering wheel right or left? Move forward or stop? The wave, back and forth, are we finished? The one signal I do know is the disgruntled frown; I just don't know, but I can't read minds.

Friday, January 27, 2012

January ~~ Little Quilt

Pattern: Road to California

Size: 20" x 24"

Fabrics: Cotton/cotton, polyester; many are reproduction fabrics designed by Judi Rothermel for Marcus Brothers. Muslin lining.

Block sizes: four-patch blocks, one inch squares; half square triangle blocks, two inches

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Do You Remember These?

A repost:

Now I'm sure most of you have never used a rub board or flat irons, but you may remember your grandmother having them. Washday was a time of hard labor for women in days gone by, and it had to be done whether the weather was hot or cold. This is how washday was for my mother in the 40's:

First of all, water had to be carried up the hill from the well, and the big black iron wash pot was filled. Daddy built a fire under the pot to heat the water and then went back down the hill to carry more water to fill the galvanized wash tub; it took several trips to fill the tub. Sometimes, while he was at the well, the horses came and drank part of the water; that's when his temper might flare. With his part of the washday work finished, he went off to the field to plow. Mama brought out the white clothes first and put them into the hot water with some slivers of lye soap. She let the clothes stay in the hot water and simmer for a while before she began taking things out, one piece at a time, and rubbing them on the rub board. When the piece looked clean enough to suit her, she dropped it into the tub of clean water and rinsed it. With all the pieces washed, and the water rung out of them, she made up a batch of Faultless starch; dresses and the Sunday shirt were dipped into the starch and then squeezed out. No matter if the wind was blowing cold, or the sun was blazing, she hung each piece of clothing on the clothesline to dry.

The clothing, sheets, towels, etc. were brought inside after they had dried. Mama took the dresses and Sunday shirt and sprinkled water from her fingers over them, rolled them up into a ball, and let them sit a while before she ironed them the next day. The heavy irons were heated on the stove; to test them, to see when they were hot enough, she dampened her finger and quickly tapped the bottom of the iron. A sizzle from the moisture meant the iron was ready to use. She had learned through the years not to use an iron that was too hot; a scorched iron print on a Sunday shirt was not a good thing!

As the years passed, laundromats came into town, and occasionally Daddy would take us there to do the laundry. It was much easier on Mama. All the machines with their rollers for pressing the water out of the clothes were a wonder to me. But I was afraid to put an article through the rollers; maybe my fingers would get caught and pull me through! We always took the clothes home to dry them on the line.

We should never complain about doing the laundry; the water is as close as a faucet on the wall, it's already hot or cold, detergents are in a box and we don't have to touch them to chafe our hands. The dryer is sitting right next to the washing machine; if there's rain we can still wash things, and most fabrics come out of the dryer not needing to be ironed much at all, and if they do, the iron reaches a perfect temperature and shuts down. But, it would be nice if the clothes went to the closet and drawers by themselves.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Farm Wife ~~ Chore Coat

My precious chore coat is a burgundy, plaid flannel with a quilted lining. It's served me well for about three years now; the cuffs are frayed and the buttonholes have become too large for the buttons, so most of them won't stay fastened. But, I think I can make it last the rest of this winter. Let's see ~~ what's in my pockets today:

from left to right ~~

Two pairs of gloves ~ one pair for dirty work and a pair of brown jersey gloves for warmth

An Old Timer pocket knife for cutting hay twine

A yellow tag button for fastening an ear tag in a calf's ear

A little blue light to guide me past cow patties in the barn on the way to the overhead light switch, when chores come late

Nylon cord ~ one never knows when a gate might need to be tied

Tissues in a sandwich bag ~ cold air can give a gal the sniffles

A Sonic peppermint candy to fend off the weak trembles

My chore coat serves me well.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Beyond Saving

A blogging friend from http://patchofzinnias.blogspot.com/2012/01 , has started the new year with a 366 Challenge (leap year gives us 366 days you know). She intends to donate, gift, or toss out one item from her home for each day of the year. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?

I really try to keep the clutter cleared out; actually the most cluttered room in this house is Popa's office, and I don't dare clear anything out of there. lol

The challenge encouraged me to look through some closets where things had been shoved back. I found two old feather pillows with quills sticking out here and there and the ticking seams coming open, a little pink baby blanket with frayed binding, and two old pillow shams. On the bottom of the shelf was an old quilt stored inside a plastic bag. I remember putting it in the bag because it smelled like old crayons and I didn't want it touching anything else. When I got it out and smelled it, the odor was gone! Maybe a good wash and it could be used again, so into the machine it went. Now my washing machine doesn't know the difference between the delicate cycle and the regular cycle; it swishes just as fast no matter the setting. Imagine my surprise when I opened the washer and attempted to lift it out, and balls of cotton went everywhere! Parts of the quilt had simply disintegrated and its innards had spilled out!

Now this made me sad, because many of the little 1 1/2 inch squares were made of scraps from clothing I had worn as a child, and I even recognized some from Mama's dresses.

I cut off a section that was still intact; perhaps a little stuffed bear could be made out of it. But that would just be another clutter in the closet! I'll think about it ~~~

Can you believe this post? I must be desperate to write about a tattered quilt!

Smiles, Charlotte

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bringing Out Memories of My First Dishes

These were the first dishes I had as a new bride in 1960; Fire King Jadite restaurant ware. They were a shower gift from my Aunt Hazel, and I'm pretty sure she took these from her own kitchen.

This line of dinnerware was produced by the Anchor Hocking Company and was used sometimes as a promotional item at gas stations, grocery stores, and small pieces were included in boxes of oatmeal, etc. They carry the mark of Oven Ware on the back.

The pieces were also used in schools and restaurants because of their durability. My plates are called grill plates because of the division in them. They measure 9 1/2 inches across, small in comparison to most plates today (used back in the day before food had to be served in super-sized portions). The mugs are short and heavy; I have all six of them, in perfect condition. The plates have some crazing in the large area. Three were broken, since these were used every day for some years, but I found two in a flea market and paid $2.00 for each since they weren't in perfect condition either.

So, I'll leave out a couple of place settings just for their beauty to be enjoyed, and to remember that they held the first ever-so-humble meals I prepared as a new bride.

Do you have pieces of Fire King dinnerware? Or maybe you might have other dinnerware you had as a new bride? Please share it with us.

I wanted to provide more information on this line of glassware, but Wikipedia is blacked out today. If you're interested perhaps you can find something else on Google.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Farm Wife ~~ Twins

We had another set of twin calves last week; Angus heifers. This time the cow took both, but we brought them home to the barn to make sure they kept up with her the first days of their lives and she can be fed grain to help her give more milk. The picture makes one look larger than the other, but actually they are about the same.
A few days from now I plan to start making grain available to them. It's sweet how close they stay together.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

An Attention-Grabbing Expression

We had a good Christmas dinner and everyone sat back, full and content, visiting with one another. Then, one by one, the cell phones came out for everyone except Lily and me; I don't have one and the one she has is old and used. She calls it a dinosaur. I have a cordless phone. The grandchildren text one another, even though they're sitting right next to each other, and maybe send a message to someone having dinner with their own family. One son-in-law brags, "My phone has over 600 songs in itunes!" Another holds his phone in the air and says, "My phone has these pictures we took!" Even Popa has his cell phone out, and looking through his bifocals he looks intense as he scrolls and drags his finger across the screen. Not wanting to be left out completely I try to join the conversation, and amid all the discussion I interrupt with, "My phone has a new battery; now I can take it to the bathroom with me!"

All this took me back to a story I have heard since I was a child. I suppose it is true and it went something like this:

A group of women were sitting around a quilt, and as they stitched, their conversation turned to a discussion of their geese. "My goose got really big this year and..." Another chimed in with her boasting, "My goose got in the garden and..." A shy young woman sitting at the end of the quilt thought she would tell about her goose, "My goose..." She was interrupted as another woman said, "My goose raised four goslings this summer..." Each time the young woman tried to tell about her goose, someone else would tell about hers. Finally, in desperation the young woman said loudly, "MY GOOSE!" All the ladies stopped talking and stared at her as she meekly said, "My goose has soft feathers."

People I grew up with used the expression, "My goose". Usually it would be used between friends, privately, who found themselves among several people in a room, who were talking loudly or all at the same time. So, whenever I tried to tell about my cordless phone, I looked over at my daughter and said, "My goose!..." She knew what I meant!

You're probably thinking, "How stupid!" But we were a close-knit community and had ways of bringing a little humor into a life filled with hard work; laughter brought us together.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Farm Wife ---

"A farmer needs two wives, in my opinion. One to keep house and one to work on the farm. I'd have to take the latter. You're not going to get paid for either job anyway.
I have only two requests when I die. Number one is when my obituary is written, I want to be known as a farm wife instead of a frowzy old housewife. Number two is that I be buried with my jeans, t-shirt and boots on. I might have to do a few chores when I get to that big farm in the sky!"
_Judy Horton, Arkansas farm wife

FARM JOURNAL/ February1985

Friday, January 6, 2012

Puzzled !!!

Two new puzzles were given to me at Christmas. Putting puzzles together is one of my favorite things to do; howbeit, they do make me feel guilty for wasting time. For instance, I've more or less neglected my quilting this week, the clothes that need to be ironed are still waiting in the basket, but I have keep up with the housework and cooking, and my farm chores.
This puzzle has 1000 pieces, many which look exactly the same in shape and color, and there have been times I've thought about dumping it all back into the box; however, when I look at it I realize quite a bit has been done in five days (and nights). Is it true keeping the mind busy is a good thing? Maybe so, if I don't go insane first!

Do you like to work puzzles?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Year's Surprise Gift

There is an eighty five year old man who attends church with us. When we first started going to church there, his wife was with him. She was a little woman and wore red lipstick, her cheeks were colored brightly, and her hair was always hidden beneath a turban-type cover; traits which gave her character without words. Mr. T always opened the truck door for her and people often saw them in Wendy's, where he would seat her and then go order their meal. They had no children.

The last time I saw her was in the hospital; I didn't know she was there until I heard him talking to her, so I peeked in to see if it was a good time to visit with her. He asked me to come in and told her I was there. She gave no response and had he not been in the room, I wouldn't have known her; the turban wasn't covering her thinning white hair and her face was pale. She passed away a few days later.

Time seems to have helped heal his loneliness; he still comes to church and every Sunday he says the prayer before the sermon, always, always, praying for our country, our leaders, our military men and women, and that we will all grow to be "more like the gentle Jesus."

There were times when I saw him give a piece of jewelry to some of the women, and a week ago he told me, "I don't mean to leave you out; I just didn't know if you wear rings." So I was totally honest and told him since arthritis has made my knuckles large I don't wear rings; even my wedding ring has been put away. Last Sunday, he was waiting for me at the door with this:

Now when you get as old as I am, any little gesture of kindness means so much. I told him, "This is one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me," to which he replied, "I bet your husband gets you things nicer than this." I laughed and said, "He buys me farm things, like tractors, not jewels."

Somehow, his kindness comes straight from the Bible: "Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year's Surprise Visit

So, here we are, into the new year. I've been reading your blog posts and it seems everyone had a good Christmas. Ours was fairly quiet with all the family for the noon meal except two grandchildren and a daughter and son-in-law. One of the grandsons called from CO so we had a "visit" of sorts with him.

Popa gifted me with two new jigsaw puzzles and I waited until yesterday to work on one. Last night, after supper, I was working on it, and the phone rang. I heard Popa say, "Yes, we'll be here, come on over." And then he gave the person directions to our house. I asked who had called and he said, "The Mennonite group wants to come to our house and sing for us." I scurried around, making the room ready for visitors, but he said they'd probably stay outside; then, car after car came up to the house, and when we opened the door, a large group, mostly teenagers came inside out of the cold. There were two adult couples with them. And then they sang; oh my, what beautiful music! The voices of those girls were like voices of angels, and behind them the boys filled in with bass notes and one man sang tenor. They allowed me to sing with them and I was so happy to blend my voice with theirs.

After the young people left, the adults stayed and talked for a while. When the women found out that I have a quilt in the frames, one woman asked, "Can we see it?" And then, in spite of the fact that I was wearing jeans and they were wearing little bonnets, we just became three women, loving music and quilting.

This new year's visit was one of the most wonderful things anyone could have ever done for us and I'm thankful they came, bearing gifts of praise to God.