Sunday, February 28, 2010

Did I mention I'm old-fashioned...


About to leave on a cloudy day...
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A random thought.
Usually if you come over to the Cottage, I'll be quick to put on my favorite Big Band records from the 1930's-50's. I enjoy sharing my quirky interests and such with those who visit..you get to know someone so much better that way! I feel at home listening to Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey etc. and, of course, old radio shows of that era :)
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My brother has made it a habit to build a small fire and cook breakfast in the morning!
In the above photo, he's warming up a pancake and grits, lol

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My sister assisting me with the meal...
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A few days ago, I planted almost 80 red onions!
they've already sent out roots, so I hope they do well!!
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My Mother and I have been scoping out an area to make into a "cottage" walkway...we found the perfect place, and my brother came by to help
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I did the first few stones, then my Mom and brother took over the rest!
We've been getting quite a bit of yard work done lately, as well.
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Ol' Yeller is such a great dog! In the photo, my Mother is enjoying giving our 'gentle watchdog'
loads of attention!
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I went inside and fixed up a homemade greek pizza...
We love pizza, and like most of my everyday cooking, I don't go by a recipe, so it's different everytime!
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Ladies Winter Luncheon

My sister and I were invited to a luncheon, and it was so beautiful! We had a delightful time, met new friends, and were encouraged by the sweet hosts & ladies who attended!

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Decorating the table w/ fresh picked flowers...
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Beginning the meal w/ a light salad topped with
strawberries and raspberry vinaigrette.
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Bright flowers for a lovely table setting...
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Young ladies (in the background) in fellowship after the delicious meal!

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A few of the younger girls...they're darling :)
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There was a wonderful turnout of around 50 ladies, what a blessing!

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Parfaits for dessert...

Surrounded by a lovely open landscape, a few of the girls spent time outside w/ the horses

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Fellowship

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There were quite a few baby blessings that were present!

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Before we departed, we all gathered around as a group and discussed different topics regarding how we can practically apply the teachings of Titus 2...hearing advice from the older women was lovely.

"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. " Titus 2:4




Monday, February 22, 2010

Inspired



Yesterday we spent the day with a homesteading family, who has a remarkable story of voluntarily going Electricity-free for a year! This was so inspiring and we conversed about farm animals & transitioning to simple living! 0o0h, have I got some ideas! hehe

They're almost completely self-sufficient, and this is where we hope to be someday. Goodness, we have so many projects we're working on right now, but apparently, that's the story of Homesteading--the projects never stop!! lol

*rolls up sleeves* I'm ready! :)
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Work day at the Cottage


We had friends over for a work day--the fellowship was great and it turned out to be a lovely day, so we got quite a bit done!!
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Since the weather was nice, I got out my washtub and soap, and started heating water on the stove to wash my 1860s dresses. (They smelled of campfire smoke from the re-enactment!) Well the younger girls were so interested that they insisted on helping, so we had alot of fun!

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Starting on the first dress...
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Scrubbing on the washboard....
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Working hands
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I thought they'd only do one dress, but they washed two more, plus an apron! lol
It was sweet watching them all work together. Afterwards, I helped them rinse and wring out the dresses, and hang them on the clothes-line.
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My favorite Homemade Honey Wheat Bread!
^The above loaf is braided^ :)

*2 pkgs active dry yeast (or 5 tsp), *1 cup warm milk (or milk substitute) *2 eggs, *2 tsp sea salt, *1 cup warm water, *1/3 cup honey (or brown sugar, *5.5 cups flour, *1/4 cup shortening, butter or oil

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In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. To the dissolved yeast, add the warm milk, honey, eggs and 3 cups of the flour. Mix, cover and allow to rest for 30 mins. Stir in salt and pour the dough on top of the remaining flour. Carefully work in the flour..this may be sticky!! Add in your oil/shortening. Knead dough..try not to add in too much flour, it's ok if it's somewhat oily and sticky :) Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, turn over so the dough is coated. Cover and place in a warm (70-80 degree) environment until doubled in size (I wait exactly 1 hour.) Punch down, cover and let rest another hour (or until double in size) Punch down, remove from bowl and divide dough in half. Cover, let rise for 10 mins. I then braided mine to rise on a cookie pan, but here's the traditional way: Roll each half into a rectangle (14x7). Starting from the shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll. Pinch edges and ends to seal. Place in a greased loaf pan, cover w/ cloth and let rise an hour.

Bake loaves in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown to your satisfaction! Makes 2 loaves, and easily doubled :)

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This morning's breakfast--Toast & jam complete w/ hot tea...
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It's a tradition here to buy roses at the end of February...this gives the root system enough time to get established before the spring comes! So I took a day and planted quite a few...
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Our vintage well (pump) house...
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Rain soaked blossoms...


This is the dewberry patch area, and the center is somewhat of a marsh right now :) That's ok, because I think being able to retain extra rainwater will help during those upcoming dry spells! The dormant canes are showing signs of new leaves coming soon. I love going to the back of the property on rainy, cloudy days like this..more bird's singing, the air seems refreshingly more clear.


"Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle ... a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream."

-Barbara Winkler

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A request...


I've been asked whether my family would host another Old Fashioned picnic, and honestly, I really wasn't sure whether it should be annual or just wait until next year (2011).
But if there is enough real interest, maybe it could happen this year :) I'd like to hear from you now because I'd need all summer to plan! lol
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"Old fashioned" attire would be **much** appreciated as this does make it more fun :)
I'll be individually answering any questions/thoughts you may have in the comment section, (or by email).
Please vote in the poll on the sidebar!!

Hope to hear from you,
Mia

Monday, February 15, 2010

A step back in time...


The above portrait is of myself. I finally got a wet plate tintype!
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I usually participate at living history events, but this was my first 3 day re-enactment. I came as a companion to my friends..they were civilian "refugees" in the camp :)
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Sutlers followed the camp to sell provisions to the men, so there were many tents set up selling many different types of 19th century style supplies.
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A beautiful table setting...
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I met this woman (on the right) after she gave a presentation on life as a servant during the civil war..it was an excellent portrayal!
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Both my friend and I bought new period-correct boots for the event, but the weather was so rainy/muddy/frosty that I'm not sure they're quite so new anymore! In this photo we're de-frosting our boots by the campfire...
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We camped authentically, so that was an amazing experience. I enjoyed being in camp with everyone, gathering around the fire, and hearing the soldiers share stories...
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One of the ladies purchased an antique hand-cranked sewing machine (!!) Although it's post war (1870's) it's in excellent condition. When there was extra time to spare, the ladies all gathered around to sew!

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I was so delighted to see many mothers come with their babies in antique carriages, and dressed the part as well!

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My thoughts...

I learned so much this weekend, especially what I can do without. Having limited clothing choices, zero cosmetics, cooking over an open fire, sleeping in canvas tents...
It took an extra step to living simply, and I'm inspired to incorporate a few basic things to my own everyday life.

Although I'm thankful for the freedoms and conveniences of the 21st century, I still feel like I can and should glean old-fashioned skills, manners, morals and principles from those who have gone before me.

Especially during the most oppressing times where mothers truly learned how to "get by" with the little they had; I want to know those 5 ingredient recipes, herbal remedies, the food preservation knowledge, and memorize scripture with as much zeal and conviction as many did in the toughest of times.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Encouragement for a Mother and her daughter...




I've had many SAHM's email me regarding advice on training their daughters up to desire to be homemakers. Naturally, I direct these questions to my Mother, and we both thought it would be nice to share a bit of what she has learned over the years.
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Question:
"I am a stay at home mom having to learn as I go and don't want my daughter to have to go through the same. She is very young for it right now....but I wanted to be able to try start her training as early as possible. I also want to see if there is anything that will help me in learning to be a better homemaker as I want her to see me doing these things and not just telling her this is how it is to be done. Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated." Mrs. W.
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My Mother's Advice:

Dear Mrs. W,
The most important aspect is having conviction about your role as wife and mother, and sharing that with your daughter, and it certainly sounds like you do! I believe doing household chores such as cooking, baking, and cleaning along with establishing a routine provides good training in homemaking skills.

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Make your home a place where you love to be and fill your home with things that are spiritually/physically nurturing, such as Beautiful artwork, books, poetry, healthy foods.
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Serving Together

Make meals special, serving when a family member is sick, visiting neighbors for encouragement, practicing hospitality, sending pretty cards.

Inviting Spontaneity


Lay under the stars, dance to beautiful music, paint/draw outside, picnic in the front yard, enjoy all around your home.

Start a small plot of vegetables....
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The way you can start to implement this is to find joy, peace and contentment...where you are.

No matter what your home circumstances; try finding a quiet spot-- sit down and read to your child. Find a beautiful, inspiring picture book, and enjoy that time with her. Listen to her, play with her, and encourage her.

I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty and joy to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. ~Helen Keller