In the Sunroom with Sandy
Old Fashioned Homemaking
You know how I *adore* old homemaking wisdom and such and I
found a book at the library just filled with old fashioned home keeping
delights! I am going to share some of the neat ideas, thoughts, and skills
with you. Just something to spur some ideas in your own homes, show you how
EASY we have it these days in comparison to work loads, and perhaps just
help you feel connected from the women of days gone by who walked the way
"Among the extracurricular activities our grandmothers of that era could be
expected to face up to were such oddly assorted subjects as sudden
emergencies due to accidents; the making of wine; preparing diets for
invalids; knowing how to concoct medicines for many minor and some major
ills; wage war against rodents, insects and other vermin; bake bread twice a
week; turn out the Monday wash, the Tuesday folding, and the Wednesday
ironing; prepare and serve three meals a day; keep the well pure, make its
water soft, and run a vegetable patch; keep the house sparkling clean, paint
a bedroom, whitewash the kitchen, and extinguish chimney fires; make her own
soap, mix her own paint, compound her own cosmetics; grow her own medicinal
and kitchen herbs or collect them in woods and fields; bottle a barrel of
cider, put up preserves, and bring up a family; care for a milch cow, make
butter and cheese; dye wool and cotton, mix furniture, shoe, floor, and
razor-strop polish --- also, to find time to rest and recharge her run-down
batteries lest she be called upon to deal with someone's attack of delirium
Most of us have read here and there about the work duties of
women living in these and other eras. What we usually think is just that the
women were "used to it" bec/ they all had to live that way.
What we might want to consider is just how hard it might have been to be the
one *DOING* these things day in and day out. Imagine, if you will, getting
up early in the morning and doing even 1/2 of what these women did... making
up a bottle of medicine or checking those already started for someone in the
home in need of it, noticing a problem with rats and brainstorming to figure
how to rid your home of them, getting the dough for bread started and
preparing the fire in the stove in which to bake it, and this list goes on
until the dear homemakers finally lie down on beds hand stuffed with hay,
feathers, and what not on sheets they scrubbed on wash boards, boiled in
soapy water with soap they made themselves, rinsed and rinsed until clean of
the soap and hung out on the line or placed upon the grass... and restful
sleep finally finds them.
Here are some memories from the author:
"Saturday was always baking day and, even to this very hour, I can conjure
up the rich, aromatic smells of brown bread, beans, apples, and ginger
cookies baking in the brick oven. It was an old-fashioned Boston Saturday
supper, baked in an old-fashioned way by an old-fashioned cook. Bread was
always baked Saturday mornings and the highlight of my arrival was the end
crust of a fragrant, newly baked loaf of wheat bread, spread thick with
butter and topped by a mound of brown sugar. Yum-yum --- and you can say
I have been making home made bread for some time now and have gradually
moved up from one form to another. I started out making white bread
completely by hand and moved on to making it in bread machines also to
generate more bread being prepared. From there I began making 1 to 2 loaves
at a time using my Kitchen Aid mixer and now can mix up to 14 lbs. of dough
at one time using a mixer made for this type of use.
Now, I grind the wheat using a grain mill and make the breads, rolls, cakes,
and so on using this freshly milled flour. I mill the flour, put the
ingredients into a Bosch dough mixer, and when it mixes and kneads the
required amount of time I follow the instructions all the way to the oiled
table, in the bread pans, in the oven, and finally into our mouths:)
All of this doesn't take TOO long and the more I make it the easier it gets.
I make anywhere from 3 to 12 loaves at a time (sometimes I form the loaves
into rolls, buns, and so on) and it is done before I know it.
I share this because reading about the baking of bread before any of these
kitchen helpers were present in domestic kitchens the work must have been
tremendous. There were so many steps! The busy baker must gather ingredients
and prepare each one for using, prepare the fires/ovens, and much, much
When I wonder how in the world they ever managed it I think of how the
repetition of doing something over and over will aid in building a routine.
After we do something enough... it becomes easier to do. This is true in all
Today... we often find ourselves wondering how in the world to get it all
done and some chores/jobs/tasks seem insurmountable. It is when we learn
WHAT our priorities are that we can structure the hours of our days to fit
them all in.
There IS time for each and every priority God has placed in front of us. We
just need to make sure GOD placed what we spend time on there and that we
aren't pouring energy into priorities not even needful in our lives.
When we go by what God tells us to do... there *IS* time to accomplish all
that must be done.
Happy homemaking, kitchen baking, and all in between!
[Words in quotations are taken from: Grandmother's Household Hints --- As
good today as yesterday by Helen Lyon Adamson]