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,



Sage Kaplan said...

OMG, I love your blog so much, every day, on every month I wait to see when you have posted cause you're photos are beautiful and I love to see what you do as well as what your family does, I love the photo with your cat attacking the laundry, haha

Anonymous said...

So glad you're back!

Hijabi Homemaker said...

Your blog is so beautiful! I love your hair!!!! I'm inspired to go get a camera (I broke my last one lol).

Amy Jo said...

Hi Mia,

I was so glad to see your post! It always seems so peaceful. I loved your petticoat idea. I am starting a new skirt myself. (linen) I hope you have a blessed week.

Amy Jo

Cyndi Lewis said...

Please do post pictures of your skirt with all the petticoats. As always your posts are a blessing to me. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting!!!

Shelley said...

Your post are worth waiting for :) I am always inspired by visiting your sweet cottage and family...thanks for sharing all and God bless dear Mia.

Stephanie said...

Thank you so much for your inspiring posts, Mia! We just moved to the country, and are hoping to get back to a simpler life. Please visit my new blog


Olga said...

I was so anxious for your post. I love everything about it. Especially the gardening and christian perspective. I hope you never stop. I am so inspired by you and your family. I bought a simple sewing machine because of your influence and am crocheting again, thanks to your sister. Your gardening and recipes, I devour every picture. Keep up the good work! You have truly inspired me to grow in my homemaking skills. Thanks again, God Bless You!

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I am amazed at how much your can grow down there! We are in Oregon and we are covered in snow and ice. I so look forward to springtime when I can plant my garden and watch it grow. Right now it is covered in a leaf mulch.

Your bread looks beautiful! We make all of our own bread as well. Something I do with stale bread is make bread pudding for breakfast, french toast, and croutons. My six kiddos love it!

I just love your beautiful, vintage heart. thank you for sharing it with us!

Mrs.Rabe said...

Love your posts Mia!

Thanks for sharing your days with us...


Grace said...

This is lovely, Mia! I do so love reading your blog and having an insight to your sweet very much inspire me. :)

In Christ's love,
come stop for tea @

Stephanie Ann said...

I also put my antique books to good use. Objects were meant to be used and think of how many years of use that cookbook has had! :D I agree with being careful with them, though.

Me said...

I am a 37 year old stay at home mom, who is also homeschooling my daughter. I don't even remember how I found your blog, but if I could I would just hug you. My sister and I have always been "old fashioned" and loved the simple things in life. You are living the life that my sister and I dreamed about. I still hint to my husband about leaving the suburbs and moving to a small farm or something of that sort back home in southern NJ. (I'm still praying about that lol)

I admire you and your family so very much. I pray that God continues to bless you all as you have most certainly blessed me.

Jeanette said...

Love your posts and love how simple yet elegant your life is!

Blackberry brambles said...

I love your post I just found it, wonderful thank you for sharing.

Becky said...

Good to hear what's going on with your family.
I wouldn't think it was too late to plant more garlic. You're far enough south that you should be able to put it in anytime during the winter. The resulting bulbs won't get as large as those you planted earlier, but they will probably still do fine. We live in NC and we can't still plant out in January.

Becky said...

Sorry for the typo:
I meant to say we CAN still plant out in January.

Cathy said...

I just love visiting your blog. You know we would love to see pictures of your finished dress and petticoats. So envious of your bread making skills.

Rhonda said...

Hello MIss Mia!
as always your blog is lovely!
please do a blog about your winter clothing!
Do you think I could buy about 4 of those pumkin seeds from you next year? I would so love to try growing them! Well you think about it! Have you ever tried hubbard squash? it's so yummy!
Many blessings to you and your lovely family!
Oh I almost forgot, your brother is so creative...I see it runs in the family! :)
Oh one more thing, you might want to take a look at my blog I blogged about some tips living in a small cottage..there might be something your family would like to try!

Lydia said...

Hello Mia!

I sure adore your blog! I would appreciate your recipe for the collard greens/cabbage, and ham stew! :)If you have time...
Thank you again for sharing your life with the blogger world!

Love in Christ,
Mrs Lydia Hoppman

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Hi Mia,
That's a great deal on all those books for only $1. I found a 1962 edition of "The Joy of Cooking Natural Foods - an organic cookbook" by Agnes Toms for just $1.
Your garden looks lovely and your sweet kitty is super cute...hopefully your laundry survived okay with kitty's help :) :)

Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

p.s. Have you thought of making photos of those recipes you use regularly from your vintage cookbooks? It would be nice to have a copy in case something ever happened to the book.

Linda said...

HI Mia,
lovely to see a new post from you. Iw as excited reading about your heirloom pumpkin, and such an interesting shape. A recipe I often use when Pumpkins are plentifull, if to cut a little lit from the top of the pumpkin. Then I scoop out all the seeds and place inside the cavity, 1 clove of crushed garlic, 2 Tablespoons of soft butter (spread around the insides and 2 Tablespoons fo soft brown sugar. Replace the lid back on. Poke a few slits around the upper past of the pumkin. Wrap in foil. Place on a dish and bake about 1 hour in a moderate oven. Smaller pumpkins would take less time. God Bless you Mia and family. Linda - NZ

Kate said...

It is so nice to see a garden producing! Mine is buried under ice and snow right now. I'd be interested in a few of those pumpkin seeds, if you could part with some, or let me know the name of the variety, please. My 5 year old wants to tend his own pumpkin patch again this year.

I love antique and vintage cookbooks, too. A friend of mine is a fellow 17th and 18th century living historian who is also a hearth cooking teacher. She finds the most delicious recipes (or receipts as she calls them). One of my favorites was a rabbit, salat (greens) and currant dish cooked in a stoneware pot. Another living history friend of mine has an old house with two hearths in it he can cook in. He found and bought an original 18th century clockwork rotisserie! He makes THE BEST roasts on that thing right in his hearth!

Here's a video on youtube you might find interesting:

It is about a woman who lives in a 12x12 cabin in the mountains of northern California with no electricity. Their only source of heat and cooking is a fireplace. She is a very elegant and feminine woman. I think you might find the video interesting.

Daisy said...

Hello Mia,

I just found your blog last week and I've been enjoying it. It is so inspiring...your way of life.

...and please do share your petticoats. It is so exhilarating to find treasures at such a deal. Smart shopping :-)

Plum said...

I'm always excited when I see you have a new post! They are so wonderful! God bless!

kitty25 said...

I always find myself so eagerly awaiting your newest post....I can't describe the tranquilty, and inspiration that your writing gives to me! Thank you and God bless you for sharing your little corner of the world with us! By the way, is there any way to share some of those wonderful heirloom pumpkin seeds? I would love to plant some in my own garden....
Have a lovely evening. Take care.

Ashleigh said...

Hello Mia!
Thanks for another lovely post! I look forward to each one you write...I also love second~hand shopping. In my area there are many GoodWills and I am forever finding small treasures like the books and cloth you found for $1! :)
I hope you have a day full of blessings......
Ashleigh from VA

Civil Folks said...

Always enjoy your posts. Tell your family, "Thank you so much for the wonderful family picture. You all are looking great!"

We have been very ill and praying God will work things out for us.

Will be singing at Lucy Chapel the last Sunday night of this month, God willing. Y'all come on down!

gail said...

Hello Mia, Over here on the south east coast of Australia we are having a very mild summer. Actually we really haven't had any hot days to speak of. We are harvesting lots of tomatoes and salad greens at the moment and it's so nice to be able to share our produce with neighbours and friends. Much of my time is spent preserving and bottling our produce at this time of the year. It's a lot of work but very satisfying and very nice in winter when I can go to my store cupboard and have plenty of good food to prepare for our meals. Like you I enjoy my home, my sewing, knitting and crochet. We also are truely blessed to live in the country but only 5minutes from the sea and a beautiful lake. Thank you for a lovely post.
Blessings Gail

Jennifer said...

Thanks for posting! I am so inspired by your lovely simple life and your photographs are wonderful!
I love the wool petticoat, and would defintiely want to see pics of finished outfit. I like to hear about your reenactment experiences. Sound so fun.
I like shopping Goodwills, and was excited to see your treasures for only a dollar! Makes me want to go out treasure hunting today.
Your garden is really amazing at this time of year. I am sure you all must work hard at it. But what a blessing to have homegrown veggies on the table for dinner!
Mia, I really appreciate your willingness to share with all of us out here. I hope you know what a true ministry you have. Your sweet heart points me towards God. Thank you!!!
Blessings to you precious family!

creativelifeandtimes said...

Your blog is beautiful. I envy (in a nice way) your lovely rural surroundings that you have photographed so skillfully! My daughter, homeschooled also, has been a blessing to her family these past several years as a stay at home daughter. I think she is much more prepared for marriage as a result. She has had various part-time jobs but never the desire for a career or independence.

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

Dear Mia,
I have also come to appreciate boots and baskets! Boots are needed at the moment because it is a wet summer and my garden is so muddy - plus we have leeches which attach to toes if you wear sandals. They are also a good idea because we do have venomous snakes on our property, my son came across one just the other day and thankfully he was wearing his gumboots. I am filling up baskets with cherry tomatoes which I'm turning into tomato chutney.
Thank you once again for giving us a glimpse into your simple but lovely life. Time to go and make some sourdough bread but seeing that roasted pumpkin is making me want to have soup to go with it, even though it is summer!

Shell said...

I always enjoy reading about your home grown adventure of you,Mia, and your family. Please do show your dress when finished. As someone who loves skirts, it will be a treat to see.

Doris High said...

I love reading your refreshing posts. The photos are beautiful and the words are beautiful and uplifting.

Blessings upon blessings,

Hana - Marmota said...

I would definitely be interested in your re-enacting clothes!
And I find it so inconceivable that you grow greens in January... ah well, you live so much further south from me! (Not to mention on a different continent, but that does not play such a big role here.)
And - I see one of the books you've purchased in In His Steps. That's one of the books I always devoured every time I read it. (Another one is, for example, Quo Vadis.)

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back! Would love to see more of what you've been up to!

Cynthia Berenger said...

Dear Mia,

Your posts always gladden my heart. Thank you.

Agape always,

Sarah Belle said...

Howdy Mia, So happy to see this post. I love that beautiful pumpkin, it is simply lovely!! Wonderful thrift finds, yummy fresh greens, learning, precious family so many wonderful things. Miss ya'll, Lord Bless you!! miss t

Jennifer said...

Hi, I was so glad to see your post. I've checked in often to see if you have written. I'm enjoying our mild winter also, but we know living in Georgia that could change. It's the earliest my daffodils have ever bloomed! I love your pictures, please post recipes when you have time; everything looks delicious.
Until next time,

JKaye said...

Simply stunning blog. So glad that I found it. It's such a peaceful and serene experience that I certainly will visit again.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing we live in the same state but it's still not warm enough up here to plant. Your garden looks wonderful and makes me ready to get going in my own. Hurry up Spring!
Thanks for your beautiful post. Hope to see you again sometime.


The Homestead Maiden said...

Dear Mia,

Your blog is adorable! I love it, and the way you dress. Its so modest,feminine and beautiful. What bread recipe was that? I would be interested in trying it.

janice15 said...

Patience is well worth it for reading of your updated post. I can't wait to read the next of each one that appears. Your so talented Mia and I enjoy every bit of you...I only got to plant collard greens and some sick and couldn't be in the garden. Wishing you a lovely weekend and yes I want to see your dress with all three petticoats...see you soon with love Janice...

Lauren Brittany said...

Hi Mia!

It's been a while while since I commented, but I wanted to pop over and say "hello". :)

I was wondering... Would you consider posting a recipe for your stew with collards? We can never seem to get collard greens to taste as good as we'd like them to!

I look forward to each of your posts; keep up the wonderful work!

Many blessings,

Julianne said...

Blessings Mia,
I would so much love to see your sewing and how you make things etc. I'm really trying to learn and would love to make feminine modest clothing. Thank you so much for your inspiration. Your posts really encourage me. May god bless you richly.

The Care Giving Woman said...

I enjoy your blog so very much. I would love to see your reenactment clothing--please do share your outfits and events you participate in. I am a Janeite :) and do Jane Austen themed events, but am now also adding Regency era events to my list, and I since I love the 19th century it seemed natural to do so. i so love sewing my regency attire and would love to see yours.


Lisa said...

What beautiful photos, Mia! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

April said...

Thank you for sharing! I adore your blog and its such an inspiration to me! I live far away in Germany and every post is a blessing to me! You are a rolemodel to every young lady!

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

I admire your way of life so much and for a young lady to be so full of passion for a art no longer popular is a breath of fresh air!! I'd love to know the name of the heirloom pumpkin?

Shan said...

Dearest Mia,

What a lovely post...sigh!

Yours so kindredly,
Honey Hill Farm

Esther said...

I love your photos, and your garden, and your clothes, and your house, and everything!! And I love the way your cat pops up everywhere :) Sooo cute!!

What is 'fruit leather'? My brother was asking... :D


bbs said...

Hello Mia,

I was very excited to see your new post. I love your blog and I am happy to see that you are well. I loved the photo of your cat attacking the laundry! Thank you for writing and being such an inspiration.

Warm regards,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful blog with us. Your photos and way of life are beautiful. please visitme on God bless.

AJ said...

I simply adore your laid-back, old-fashioned style of livin'. :)

Do you have any problems with deer or rabbits getting in your garden beds?

Looks like we will have any early spring this year (down in south Texas). I enjoy working in the garden, hearing the birds, getting some fresh air, and having our four-legged critters help too. ;)

May God Bless You!

Kennesa said...

Dearest Mia

My first thought when I saw your most recent post today was: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
Love your beautiful photos. Thank you for inspiring me so much!
And yes, you know that we would LOVE to see your dress and petticoats and things!


Esther said...


I just wanted to quickly say thank you for your comment - it made my day! I've been following your blog for 3+ years - actually, you were one of the people that inspired me to start blogging - and so when I saw your comment I was like: *gasp* "I GOT A COMMENT FROM A CELEBRITY!!!!!" :D Thank you!


Ngo Family Farm said...

Very exciting about your pumpkin seeds! I love trying "new" very old things :) We never go out without boots and baskets either. Thanks for sharing scenes from your beautiful, quiet days.

Niki said...

Came across your blog today and was warmed by how peaceful and serene it is here. I love getting to "know" you and your family through your delightful pictures. You make it all seem so inviting. I will definitely be back for a visit!



Anonymous said...

I love your blog. You're a woman after my own heart. Please keep up the good writing.

Elise said...

I am glad to see a new post! I love reading your blog, a friend suggested it to me. Your family is living my dream. :) We have forty acres but, unfortunatly havent done much on it yet. Our house burned down and with it many of our homesteading tools, books and things. We are trying to get started back up but it's hard work! I love reading your blog, you can take a look at mine if you like, but keep in mind I am planning on changing some things on there.
I am not quite satisfied with some of my earlier posts but I will be changing in the future. Anyways... I like the music in the background I recognise much of it because I love playing and listening to classical music. :) Your family is an insparation to me so thought I would say thanks and keep it up!

verderame said...

Hello, I love to read your blog and look the beautiful photo, ciao Marina

bnevers said...

Mia, love your blog! It always encourages me when I come across a like minded sister in Christ :) Thanks for sharing in your journey to biblical womanhood!

Lyric said...

Ms. Mia,

Girrrl, you are too much! IN A GOOD WAY. Yes, like the other ladies I have been "fiending" for an update. You have started a revolution you know. Well, as for myself, let's just say you've rekindled what I've known in my heart, what I've spoken of half-heartedly in past years, what my new family and I are living day to day. We took possession of our small family farm in November. Not too many months ago a cyber colleague wrote to me and said I reminded her of someone (you) no doubt as she read of my family seeking self-sufficiency and a simple, Jehovah God-fearing life.

Knowing time is a valuable commodity I implore you to embellish on clothing and textiles. After being introduced to your blog I have been on a search for vintage, historical, 50's, 40's, 19th century or whatever you want to call it sewing patterns and clothing.

I am not so much interested in being historically correct as I am interested in adopting skirts (sometimes dresses) for daily wear. For me it will not be "costuming" but what I will be wearing everyday. I like your style, young lady.

I've got the late 1800's treadle sewing machine ready and fired up. I'm awaiting a manual to show me how to use it properly. Meanwhile, I helped my husband's daughter make her first skirt on a 1936 singer hand crank machine. I am burning up to get started on my own project and can't wait to donate these capris and tight pants to charity.

Oh, I've recently acquired some 100% cotton materials to get me started and some muslin for pantaloons.

Thank you Ms. Mia for being a positive force on the WWW.


Farmer's Wife, grandmother, yes, child of Jehovah God.

Lyric said...

Ms. Mia:

Are you able to give some direction on petticoats? I've been Googling corded petticoats (thanks to you; I have never heard of one). I'd like instructions on how to make one. Also, you have on a "cotton" dress in the February blog. Can you direct me to a pattern for such a dress?

I know you've suggested places where we can add such attire; i.e., eBay, Thrift Shops, etc.; however, I am a big girl and such finds are rare (from my experience). I'd just as soon make my own.


elle.mental said...

Dear Mia,
I found your blog through the Story of a Seamstress blog. I have really enjoyed reading your posts. It reminds me of the delightful time in my life when I home schooled my boys. We, like you, preferred the simple quiet life. We tended our little homestead and built, cooked, baked, raised animals, hunted and fished as part of school. As well as exploring and marveling at the wonderous world of the Creator.
My boys have grown up and gone on to live their own lives. But in the life of their choosing I see the influence of those intensive years together in their choices and what they still hold dear. My only regret is that I never had a little girl to bring up by my side, to enjoy the softer more feminine side of life. Thank you for sharing your life so that I can enjoy through your eyes, what that might have been like. Enjoy this time and hold on to it tight, so it doesn't slip away. Regards, Elle

Andrine said...

Love love your blog! Bless your home and choice of lifestyle!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful find you are! I loved each photograph.

An At Home Daughter said...

For those that are still interested in what kind of a pumpkin that is. I'm pretty sure its a Seminole pumpkin/winter squash. They aren't all exactly the same shape or size, but basically look like the one Mia is holding and date back at least that far.