Saturday, January 21, 2012

Keeping busy at home

The past few weeks have passed by quietly indeed. Similar to last year, we've continued to keep things simple and homespun. We recently traveled up to Ohio a couple weeks ago, and had a memorable time spent with dear friends. However, it's so nice to be home and fall back into our normal routine.

~Gathering collard greens for a quick stew for lunch.


(A stew of Potatoes, ham, cabbage & collard greens)

"The home: Where troubled souls find peace, weary hearts find rest, hungry bodies find refreshment, lonely pilgrims find communion, and wounded spirits find compassion.” -J. Ortlund

~ A friend recently gave me this heirloom pumpkin--it's a type that dates back to the 1860's. Of course I couldn't keep it as decoration for long ;) I'm eager to save the seeds for planting this year.

~After carving the pumpkin in half, I removed the seeds and set them aside in a small bowl.
~On a greased cookie sheet, I laid the halves down and covered with foil. Placing it in a 350 degree oven, I baked the pumpkin until it was soft (about an hour). Then you simply scoop out the inside and cut into chunks.

~In "The Young Housekeepers Friend" published by Mrs. Cornelius in 1859, I looked up a recipe for the pumpkin. It's the original book, so I have to be ever so careful with the pages!

Although I collect antique & vintage books, I definitely believe in putting them to good use! I'd rather my cookbooks be used often with care, rather than just sit on the shelf. Studying old recipes has been such a benefit to helping me develop my own recipes.

For a smoother puree, I blended up the chunks. All together it was about 10 cups of fresh pumpkin. So far we've used it for pie, and even muffins. Also, it freezes extremely well. The flavor of the puree is fantastic, but I had to be honest...
This is just glorified baby food! heh ;)
That reminds me..
When I was a little one, my parents would buy organic produce, blend it up, then freeze little portions as 'baby food'. I think it's a great idea..Much more economical than buying pre-packaged.
~After rinsing the seeds a few times, I dried them on a cotton cloth overnight. Then I stored them in a basic paper envelope. There's about 300 seeds--I look forward to seeing how they do this summer!
~ Simple decor--vintage jars and baskets.


As I went into the garden to harvest some lettuce, my cat accompanied me of course...
So far, the garden beds are doing well. It's been so very rainy lately.

Recently at a second-hand shop, I came across these treasures: 2-3 yards of brown wool, a piece of burlap and 3 vintage books. When I brought it to the counter, the saleswoman asked me if I had a dollar bill. Puzzled, I said yes, and handed her one. Then she asked someone to wrap up my items and told me, "Have a nice day." I was shocked..all these for $1.00!? That's the way I like to shop! heh.
~{The school-room}
As I walk down the hallway, I often hear the voices of my Mother and brother in the parlour--writing fractions on the chalkboard, the table filled with books and maps. Sometimes I drop in to explain a math equation...insisting I'm the substitute teacher! ;)
Between school lessons, my brother has been working on many various projects--building birdhouses, science experiments, making fruit leather, baking bread, building water filters and so on. Everyday is different :) it's fun to see what he will come up with next!


Here are a few school-books my brother is using (there are many more!)
*Encyclopedia of the Bible by John Drane

*Family Math by Jean Kerr Stenmark

*Adam to Abraham unit study by Robin Sampson

*Mastering essential math skills by Richard W. Fisher

My sister brings in fresh picked salad leaves...
~As you can probably tell by now, collard/turnip/mustard greens are our winter crop! lol

They grow extremely well here, so like many cottagers before us, we just eat what's in season. I find that lettuce and collard greens seem to make their way to the supper table daily...


Out in the back field, the garlic is doing well. I wonder if it's too late to plant more...?

~Boots n' baskets are used daily at our home. I didn't realize their value until we moved out to the country! I've found that there's no use trying to walk across the property without either one. Trust me...
~January is such a quiet month.
So far we've had a mild winter, but Georgia has a peculiar way of dropping temperatures just when we start to get comfy. Pleasant evenings are spent shelling pecans and talking together in the parlour--now that our sewing machine is fixed, new projects are beginning as well.

~{Fresh bread dough rising, and ready to be baked!}

A remedy for stale bread: If you're like us and enjoy baking several loaves of bread at a time, sometimes the situation arises where a loaf gets old or stale if not eaten soon enough. What we do is freeze our stale loaves, then take them out to use only for french toast. Oh dear, its delicious!
Please excuse my cat. Apparently she enjoys attacking the laundry.
~Nestled between its large leaves, the broccoli has grown twice its size due to this rainy season we've had lately. They're certainly ready to be harvested-- Homegrown broccoli has so much flavor, and even the stalks are tender.
~Oh, and I can't forget the spinach ;)
I had bought a pack of organic seeds and just sowed them right on top of the ground, not sure how they'd manage. Spinach is a slow grower..In fact, it took 'em so long to come up that I almost planted something else in their place! So now we're enjoying adding the young leaves to our salads.

What I've been sewing today... A Wool Petticoat

Today I finally finished sewing my wool petticoat, using the brown wool I purchased second-hand, and cut up an old skirt as a yoke. So it didn't cost me anything, really. I didn't use a pattern--Here's what I did: I cut the wool into 2 pieces, then gathered it at the top to fit my lower waist. Then I cut the top of my cotton skirt, and attached the gathered material to the skirt hem. Sewed up the side seam and That's it!

So for my winter living history events, I'll stay much warmer in wool! Because my role/portrayal is rural lower class, this rugged petticoat is appropriate for the 19th century era. If you're interested, in a future post I can show what my dress looks like with all three petticoats, and other attire. I have lots of sewing ideas, but not enough time!
Y'all are so patient, I know it's taken me a while to update :)

I'll talk to you soon,