RELIEF

It’s finally cooled down and the humidity is gone. Yipppeee…. What a relief, now we are back to our regularly scheduled dry heat.

There is something amiss with the garden this year, can’t quite put a fingeron it. Is it the weather or something else? But the cucumbers are late in producing and avocados continue to drop fruit. Something we haven’t seen in all the year’s we’ve garden. The neighbor’s peach tree, which we take care of since most of it hangs over our yard, fruit has still to ripen – normally we’d have peaches now. There are subtle little inconsistency that one is picking up – it’s very odd.

The bababerries are ripe! They are a type of raspberry that tolerate heat well and does pretty well in our growing zone. Figs are ready and so are the peach on the dwarf trees – mid and eva prides.    The blueberries, strawberries and apples are still producing; however, the blackberries are almost done for the year.

GIVE ME SOME OF THAT OLD TIME TRADITION(S)

I was sent this link (below) by a reader in New Zealand (thanks Charley) It’s an online book titled…

THE AMERICAN FRUGAL HOUSEWIFE.
DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO ARE NOT ASHAMED OF ECONOMY.

Yet so it is, through all classes of society. All of us covet some neighbor’s possession, and think our lot would have been happier, had it been different from what it is. Yet most of us could obtain worldly distinctions, if our habits and inclinations allowed us to pay the immense price at which they must be purchased. True wisdom lies in finding out all the advantages of a situation in which we are placed, instead of imagining the enjoyments of one in which we are not placed.
Scanning over the chapters I was drawn to two in particular:

REASONS FOR HARD TIMES

‘Everything is so cheap,’ say the ladies, ‘that it is inexcusable not to dress well.’ But do they reflect why things are so cheap? Do they know how much wealth has been sacrificed, how many families ruined, to produce this boasted result? Do they not know enough of the machinery of society, to suppose that the stunning effect of crash after crash, may eventually be felt by those on whom they depend for support?
Luxuries are cheaper now than necessaries were a few years since; yet it is a lamentable fact, that it costs more to live now than it did formerly. When silk was nine shillings per yard, seven or eight yards sufficed for a dress; {109} now it is four or five shillings, sixteen or twenty yards will hardly satisfy the mantuamaker.
If this extravagance were confined to the wealthiest classes, it would be productive of more good than evil. But if the rich have a new dress every fortnight, people of moderate fortune will have one every month. In this way, finery becomes the standard of respectability; and a man’s cloth is of more consequence than his character.

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EDUCATION OF DAUGHTERS

One great cause of the vanity, extravagance and idleness that are so fast growing upon our young ladies, is the absence of domestic education. By domestic education, I do not mean the sending daughters into the kitchen some half dozen times, to weary the patience of the cook, and to boast of it the next day in the parlor. I mean two or three years spent with a mother, assisting her in her duties, instructing brothers and sisters, and taking care of their own clothes. This is the way to make them happy, as well as good wives; for, being early accustomed to the duties of life, they will sit lightly as well as gracefully upon them.
….But what time do modern girls have for the formation of quiet, domestic habits? Until sixteen they go to school; {93} sometimes these years are judiciously spent, and sometimes they are half wasted; too often they are spent in acquiring the elements of a thousand sciences, without being thoroughly acquainted with any; or in a variety of accomplishments of very doubtful value to people of moderate fortune. As soon as they leave school, (and sometimes before,) they begin a round of balls and parties, and staying with gay young friends. Dress and flattery take up all their thoughts. What time have they to learn to be useful? What time have they to cultivate the still and gentle affections, which must, in every situation of life, have such an important effect on a woman’s character and happiness?
As far as parents can judge what will be a daughter’s station, education should be adapted to it; but it is well to remember that it is always easy to know how to spend riches, and always safe to know how to bear poverty.

….The fact is, our girls have no home education. When quite young, they are sent to schools where no feminine employments, no domestic habits, can be learned; and there they continue till they ‘come out’ into the world. After this, few find any time to arrange, and make use of, the mass of elementary knowledge they have acquired; and fewer still have either leisure or taste for the inelegant, every-day duties of life. Thus prepared, they enter upon matrimony. Those early habits, which would have made domestic care a light and easy task, have never been taught, for fear it would interrupt their happiness; and the result is, that when cares come, as come they must, they find them misery.
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Skimming over this, I had to go back up and look at when this book was written as it could have well been likely written today. Turns out that this book was published over 174 years ago (1832)

Another “old-fashion” book that has recently come into our lives, dropped off last week by neighbor’s of ours (thank you David & Karen), is HOUSEHOLD DISCOVERIES AND MRS CURTIS’S COOKBOOK (published 1908) Of course many of the cleaning and such methods are a bit of out date, but otherwise it’s a very interesting read. This book is jammed packed with diy information – from making ink, to tempering iron and steel, tanning leather, preserving, pickling, canning, to homemade beauty treatments, how to collect rainwater and filter by using a simple barrel filled with charcoal and sand — and so much more.   Countless hours of reading are in this 800 page book.

We knew and read that before the modern refrigeration and to keep eggs from spoiling folks would apply mineral oil coating the entire egg and sealing in the thousands of microscopic holes. On receiving another poultry catalog the other day, Jordanne pointed out another old fashion egg preserver. It’s called Ke-Peg Egg Preserve and the catalog’s description reads: Ke-Peg was first developed in Australia during the Great Depression when refrigeration was not in wide use. KePeg contains no harmful chemicals and is completely natural. Eggs can be stored for a recommended ONE YEAR (emphasis mine) without refrigeration – amazing!

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  1. Risa Smith says:

    Another good refrigeration substitute is the “pot in pot” system. It’s basically two terra cotta pots, one bigger than the other. Plug the holes, set the smaller one inside the big one, fill the space between the outside of the small pot and the inside of the big pot with sand. Keep the sand filled with water and you have an “evaporative fridge” They only work well in dry climates.
    But they work great for eggs and veggies. Things that prefer the moist climate.

  2. Charley says:

    I remember reading a long time ago about eggs being packed into barrels and then having warm fat poured over them and left to set. This would both preserve the eggs and make it easier to transport them by horse and cart over long distances and rough roads to mining settlements without breaking them. And the added bonus was that you could use the fat for cooking/soap/etc.

  3. dragonfly183 says:

    i have noticed the ame problem in my garden and inother peoples gardens as wel as in the woods urrounding my home. This year my may aplles lay in the gully shriveled and brown. It was time for them to do just that, but the fruits never ripened. They remain green and crispy on the shriveled plants.

  4. Wildside says:

    “True wisdom lies in finding out all the advantages of a situation in which we are placed, instead of imagining the enjoyments of one in which we are not placed.”

    So true, in many more ways than one.
    Always seems to be my ongoing internal (& external) struggle!

  5. Wendy says:

    I love the information that you posted from the American Frugal Housewife, especially with regard to the “education of our daughters.” It’s true. Our daughters (me included) have lost so much that our grandmothers knew about basic “housekeeping” skills, and I don’t mean washing the floors and vacuuming carpets. I mean things like quilting and knitting and canning. Those things are becoming lost arts. My grandmothers were both well versed in those “home” arts, but I never took the time to learn them. Now, as a thirty-something, I’m just learning to knit so that I can teach this skill to my daughters, and we’re also learning to can and preserve our food.

    It’s unfortunate that at some point it became uncouth to know how to take care of one’s self on a very basic level, like making one’s own clothes or growing one’s own food.

    I’d just like to thank you all for forging the path (as it were :)for the rest of us to relearn those skills that should have been taught when we were little.

    Hopefully, my daughters will have both – an academic worldly view AND strong lessons in the “home” arts ;).