A farm woman from Illinois responds to the request put out by The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women in March of 1923 for letters regarding the Two Pictures I Would Like Best To Own. Her first choice depicts the Bible story of young Jesus teaching in the temple in Jerusalem. For her second picture, Mrs. W.G.F. chose a painting that was featured previously in this series–Dance of the Nymphs by Jean-Baptist Camille Corot.
What would you hang above your mantle?
Silent Influence on Children
“The subject of appropriate pictures for our home has been of importance to me for some time and the selection of the two named here are the result of much thought and study. Christ in the Temple by Heinrich Hofmann, like most of the pictures by that famous painter, is an illustration of a familiar passage in the Bible.
One notes the simple robe and the exceptionally beautiful hands of the child but attention centers on the face, a face that is noble, true, just, kind, and firm, a face that inspires, that emanates purity, that gives strength, and confidence. His large eyes are filled with wonder at what he is learning and with the knowledge that he is imparting. Around him are grouped the learned men, one face expressing grace, attentive interest; another showing eagerness to protest; another is full of marvel at the young boy’s learning; and fourth has a stern look, while the last bears an expression of curiosity and perhaps contempt. My hope is that such a picture on our wall will have a tremendous, silent influence in molding the lives of our children—and not theirs alone for it is a picture with a wonderful spirit we all can catch.
Dance of the Nymphs by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot is the second picture I chose. What cheer and how full of joyous spirit of a beautiful morning in the spring is the Dance of the Nymphs.
One can almost hear the birds sing and the leaves rustle, can almost see the sparkling dewdrops, the trees so exquisitely beautiful in their foliage, and the flowers blooming by the wayside. The nymphs, gayly dancing, seem to be ushering the beautiful dawn. To me, The Dance of the Nymphs is a gloriously beautiful morning in the country—nothing more, nothing less. It is a picture that is a “good friend to live with.” It is cheerful, wholesome, and human.” –Mrs. W.G.F., Illinois
The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 359; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.
In March of 1923, The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women published a letter from Mrs. Haring who enthusiastically shares her tips on how to teach children to work and to enjoy doing it. She starts when the children are young and always adds an “element of fun” to the tasks assigned. Her home sounds like a happy one in contrast with the home of her friend.
Combining Work With Play
“Dishwashing is usually one of the first tasks delegated to the young daughter of the family and this common duty often is done by her with reluctance and under protest. In our family we have helped to solve this difficulty, however, for Jane, my little eight-year-old daughter and I, combine our work with play.
Eleanor Smith’s Music Primer furnishes us with a variety of simple childlike songs. We select songs that Jane will probably sing at school and then proceed to learn them together. With the book propped up on a shelf over the kitchen sink, Jane and I can easily refer to it while the silver is finding its way into the rinsing pan or while the glassware is being polished. The rhythm of the music unconsciously produces an activity that Jane enjoys as well as I and which helps to convert an otherwise tedious task into a joyful half hour.
When we have memorized the words and music, we have a game. Jane and I are both to sing the song. If one of us makes a mistake, a forfeit must be paid to the other. What joy Jane experiences when Mother fails to strike the right note or forgets a word and has to pay her a penny.
Bed making, too, has its charms. Sometimes we imagine the coverings to be Indian blankets of wonderous colorings; at other times we are building a nest for a tree swallow and lining his home of grass with downy feathers. This performance leads to all sorts of questions and enables me to arouse Jane’s interest in the work which she will have at school at the same time as we are accomplishing a necessary task.
Jane has had her own room for over a year. The whole responsibility of the care of it is left to her and each morning finds her conscientiously putting it in order before she leaves for school. We worked out together the furnishings for her room and their arrangement. Her interest is kept keen in it by the constant addition of new and simple things and her ideas are always respected in regard to any changes which she may wish to make. She is unconsciously learning color schemes and household arrangements at this early age and her sense of responsibility, order, and neatness is being cultivated through her sense of ownership.
Dusting was an arduous task and many times had to be done over because Jane so disliked doing it. Choice victrola records are now being kept for this particular piece of work and are played at no other time. Since they are ones which Jane loves, she forgets the fact that she is having to work and hums the tune to the music of the record, while the dust disappears from tables, chair rounds, and window ledges.
Cake making, table setting, and the preparation of meals have been accomplished by her through the thought of pride in doing work that “grownups” can do.
My little son, an active youngster of five, is also learning how to work joyously. When Mother needs wood, she calls on the wood fairy who alone knows the secret places in the woodshed where the best pieces are kept. He has already learned the names of the trees from which the wood comes and knows that the kinds which will make the hottest fires will furnish heat to bake a tiny pie, animal cookies, or a gingerbread man. These may be made with little trouble when larger pies, cakes, and cookies are being baked and reward the fairy in a way that interests him to bring more wood.
He brings vegetables and fruits from the cellar and garden with an interest and enthusiasm that indicated to me that he is already realizing his responsibility in the development of our family life.
A playroom equipped with a table, cupboard, blackboard, desk, and small chairs always suggests work. Through this channel is an opportunity for teaching many lessons in arrangement and order and also in providing entertainment for them for an hour or so at a time. The finding of some old toy gives a new interest bringing with it happiness which seems only to come through activity.
The country store is but a few rods from our house and occasionally there is a need for some article to be procured quickly. The children are, of course, the natural ones to do the errand. As with all children a fat ice cream cone, a lollipop or a stick of gum is their first thought and a request is made to use some of their money for the purchase of one of these articles. Of course, they may if they like but they must consider that once in a while we have a shopping trip or go to see some interesting moving picture and if no money is saved, these wonderful trips cannot be. They finally decide to spend one penny each and as they have been taught not to linger along the way and to bring their purchases home to enjoy them, the errand is soon joyfully finished.
My children are enthusiastic egg hunters. Not many are missed because one egg from each dozen belongs to them—not one-twelfth of the egg income—oh no! Those particular eggs are put in a separate basket and counted about six times each night. Jane puts her fourth-grade arithmetic into practice and knows the exact amount of egg money coming to them each week.
A few days ago, a friend remarked at the happy way in which the children were doing a piece of work. She said, “I don’t see how you do it! I can’t get Martha to do a single thing without grumbling. She is actually lazy.”
Well, if I thought my children were lazy, I should not admit it. I should simply get to work to correct the fault and be sure it was my fault too. I do not believe that a happy, normal child is ever lazy. Perhaps the work has been made so unattractive, that interest has been lost. Anyway, I am sure that loving tact and a sympathetic understanding of the child is sufficient to win out, whatever the problem along this line may be.
Sometimes when there is a murmur over a task which they are asked to do, I simply look at them in wonder and they shamefacedly go quickly about it. Sometimes Son asks, “Mother, are you mad to me?” and I say, “No, Son, I am only surprised.” I am not a superior elder with a threatening attitude but a pal who is ever interested in their work and their play.
Each child has his daily work to do and enjoys it as a privilege because there is always something of interest connected with it. There are many ways of solving this problem; I have outlined the way that has seemed best in my experience. Perhaps because children are naturally observing, the best example we can set them is through our own right living. If we complain over difficult pieces of work, we must expect the same expression from our children over the things which seem difficult to them. It might, then, be the reasonable thing for us to learn to enjoy all sorts of work which we need to do before we can intelligently teach the same to our children.
Through the realization of what service is, these little folks are learning to combine their work with play and are happy while they are learning lessons which are fundamental principles on which the larger lessons of life are built.
I realize, too that I am doing more for my children than it appears when I instill the principle of enjoyment in work. All success in life depends upon whether the light of joy—zest—enthusiasm—permeates the mind of the worker. The old saying about “all work and no play” covers a deep truth. The more one’s work is play, the happier one will be.”–Laura T. Haring
The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 379′; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.
The Bradford M. Field Memorial Library in Leverett, Massachusetts was established in 1916 by his daughter Elizabeth Judson Field to honor his legacy. Mr. Field had been postmaster and a prominentfarmer in the area. The building served as the town’s library until 2003 when a new library was built. The original building still stands and is now The Leverett Family Museum maintained by the Leverett Historical Society. It is open to the public and features local artifacts, photographs, and documents. Other than the article below, I could find no other information regarding the financial support for the library derived from the “dog tax”. To read more about the Leverett Family Museum follow the link.
Turning Barks into Books
“Massachusetts is perhaps the only state in the Union that has a public library in every township or “town” as this political division is still called in New England. A portion of the dog tax (annual dog license fee) goes to the support of these libraries. One of the most charming of these libraries is at Leverett, erected in memory of a revered citizen, Bradford Field.
The library is housed in a beautiful little building of the colonial type of architecture. Opposite the main entrance is a fireplace with colonial settles (high-backed wooden benches) on either side. Above the shelves of books that line the walls are high windows with antique panes. Upstairs is a large room used for meetings, for a reading room, for storytelling to groups of children, and so forth. This upstairs room has a cabinet on one side in which are placed pieces of old china and other historic relics which have been donated to the library.
The library is open two afternoons and evenings of every week. It serves the whole “town” and as many as seventy books have been given out in one afternoon in this rural community. It would seem as though it might pay every state to levy a dog tax and turn “barks” into “books.”
The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 367; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.
In 1923 The Farmer’s Wife—A Magazine For Farm Women invited farm women to write in regarding what pictures they admire and why. Hundreds of women responded to the prompt describing some of the most famous works of art in the world. Ten of the best letters were published. Over the course of the next several months, my Sunday posts will be some of these letters along with images of the artwork they describe so that we too might be enriched.
What would you hang above your mantle?
Beauty and Joy
Instead of buying each other Christmas gifts this year, my husband and I used the money to buy what we have long wanted for our home—Raphael’s Madonna of the Chair. I think the most important picture in a home should be a Madonna. As the mother is the center of the home, one of the great ideals of motherhood should hold first place.
How can anyone look at Raphael’s Madonna and not feel the majesty, love, and tenderness it portrays? It helps me to be a better mother. It is the emblem of peace and happiness that are found only in a true home. Our picture is in sepia with a perfectly plain black oak frame. It is truly “a thing of beauty and a joy forever.”
Another picture which I want for our home is a landscape, Dance Under the Trees at the Edge of the Lake by Corot.
I should like this picture to be a reproduction of the dainty colors in which the original was painted and with a narrow gold frame. As a lover of beauty in nature, this picture impressed itself upon me the very first time I saw it. The word that comes to my mind when I think of it is “joyful.” Youth and joyousness fairly radiate from the wonderful landscape. Even if the youthful figures were not dancing around the tree, one would still feel this happiness, I think.
These two pictures I want for my living room. One the emblem of peace and happiness, the other of joy—pictures which have long pleased the world and made it better. –Mrs. J.A.R., Minnesota
The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 359; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.
Finding time is as good or better than finding a dollar. It is the busy people who generally acquire both.
Hello, again History Lovers,
In today’s world, Mrs. Elizabeth Wright might have posted her cleaning and organizing hacks on TikTok. However, in order to share household tips in her day, she wrote to The Farmer’s Wife—A Magazine For Farm Women where her letter was published in the March 1923 issue–just as homemakers were beginning to think about spring cleaning. The personal reward for her hard work was to have more time to do the things she loved outdoors.
“When I first began doing my own work, I realized that I must be saving minutes if I would have any time left from my manifold household duties for things outside. May I tell you of some of the time savers I then attached to myself?
One of them was learning to dust with two dust rags instead of one. It was a little awkward at first but I soon found that I could manipulate a dust rag in each hand. I would make my left and right slide from opposite directions along bookshelves, door casings, table legs, arms and backs of chairs, and presto! My dusting was done in half the time. After two years of practice, I am almost expert enough to dust the picture molding with one hand and polish the floor with the other! This specialty in the line of timesavers caused much amusement among my friends, some doubting Thomas’s requiring a demonstration, after which they adopted the method for their own daily schedule.
I found this same two-handed principle worked in many things. In polishing silver, I use flannel mittens instead of rags and rub them with each hand. It also works magic in washing windows, scouring, and any other occupation in which one’s left hand has been accustomed to soldiering.
The next time saver I got hold of was avoiding the accumulation of mail, papers, and so forth. By forming a habit of looking over and disposing immediately of all not to be kept for reference or passing on, I eliminated the trouble of a second inspection, which would have been necessary if the things had been laid away and forgotten. Especially do I clean up empty envelopes, circulars, and other printed drift that the mail brings but no one needs.
Then I started the habit of keeping in the living room a work-basket, so as to have some pick-up sewing always handy. Putting in a few stitches now and then, when chatting with friends, will develop many embryo garments into finished ones. If the machine work is completed on undergarments, the hand-finishing goes quickly, done in this way. Then I always keep a magazine handy to read during moments snatched, here and there, while waiting for someone or something.
When setting or clearing a table I always use a large tray to carry the dishes. [A wheeled tray of course is ideal.] When the dishes are washed, I replace on the tray those that are to be used at the next meal; this saves putting them back and forth into the China closet. I scrape and stack the dishes before washing them, separating the glass and silver and by rinsing all of them in hot water the burden of drying is minimized. Polishing the glass and silver will be about all that is necessary. I fasten a small piece of rubber tubing to the bottom of each faucet and this lessens accidental chipping of dishes that might strike them.
White oilcloth on all my shelves and tables saves much labor. It is easily wiped and always looks fresh. When doing work that necessitates making any trash or stains, I protect my work table or the floor with old newspapers and gather up the debris in them. I keep all scraps of soap in a small tin can with a top well perforated. Boiling water poured over or run through this gives a nice suds and soap wastage is lessened.
It is a great convenience to have in the kitchen a bag for clean wrapping paper and string; also, a bill file, a pad of paper and pencil, a box containing some pins and needles, coarse thread for basting, a small pile of muslin and a pair of scissors. I keep fat drippings in a glass jar, also mayonnaise and cracker crumbs. I always have on a shelf in the kitchen a row of big and little jars and dishes for such uses.
I find it also of the greatest convenience to have a number of bags handy of different thicknesses of material. A canvas bag for crushing ice. Flannel for broom bags; small paper bags for parsley, mint, lettuce, or celery, into which they can be put when washed and then kept crisp on the ice. Also bags for straining things, for cottage cheese, and so forth. I keep a supply of these bags on hand made from scraps or sugar sacks as there is no limit to their usefulness. There is a large bag hanging in my pantry for soiled table and kitchen linen.
On a shelf in my linen closet there is also a row of clean (boiled) bottles and jars, culled from the periodical cleaning out of the medicine closet, and wonderfully convenient they are, when an empty jar or bottle is needed in a hurry.
I found out that in making beds one can save a lot of steps and time by finishing entirely the spreading of covers on one side of the bed, before going to the other side.
In the bathroom closet, I keep an extra broom, dustpan, and small ironing board. This has saved me many steps back and forth when they might be at different ends of the house when needed. If one has not a closet to hold them, keep them behind a curtain hung on a rod a foot or two from the wall, where a shelf can also be placed to hold bathroom conveniences and include in these a small jar to hold bits of soap, that can be made into liquid soap for shampooing or laundry work and bottles of disinfectant and cleaning powders.
There are so many more conveniences that I have discovered and ways of utilizing, what I call the discard, that I cannot tell it all at one time”. –Elizabeth M. Wright
In 1923 The Farmer’s Wife—A Magazine For Farm Women invited farm women to write in regarding the pictures they admire and why. Hundreds of women responded describing some of the most famous works of art in the world. Ten of the best letters were published. Over the course of the next several months, my Sunday posts will be some of these letters along with images of the artwork they describe so that we too might be enriched.
What would you hang above your mantle?
Their Beautiful Influence
“Whistler’s wonder Portrait of Artist’s Mother hangs over my living room mantel and is my daily companion. To me, she typifies the highest ideals of womanhood and the sacred privilege of being a mother. Her character is exalted but she remains to me a very human, very lovable, very understanding woman.
When my body is weary from the many tasks which a farmer’s wife always finds to do; when my babies are more than usual fretful and noisy; when my spirit suffers from the overwhelming disappointments of life, then I look at this “Mother” for help and she never fails me. I see the old hands tired and worn with the round of domestic duties which she cheerfully performed, the arms that folded baby heads to her breast, and the sweet old wrinkled face which looked out upon the world with a smile of contentment and a song of joy. As I look at her, I gain new courage to attack the problems of my little world and new faith in the One who gave me these tender baby bodies to care for. I am ashamed of my selfish, discontented attitude and I am comforted for she seems to say to me: “Have courage, child. I have been over the path before you. Yours is the greatest privilege in the world—to be a homemaker and a mother. Remember that each homely duty, no matter how trivial, may be glorified if done with a heart full of love. And it is all a part of the Master’s great plan for your life.”
“Corot’s great Dance of the Nymphs is another favorite. I love to imagine them dancing playfully in and out among the trees. They call my spirit away from work and open up new vistas of a fairy country and fairy folk where there is rest for the weary body and recreation for the weary mind. The slender trees, the lovely foliage, the soft grass all beckon me, saying: “We will show you a land of beauty and sunshine, where hopes are realized and dreams come true.” So, I close my eyes and seem to be lifted bodily and carried across mountain and plain and sea to distant lands filled with wonderful sights!
I am prone to forget the spiritual values of life, so engrossed am I with the work-a-day world. Why let the activities of a busy day shut out the higher, better things? These two pictures have exerted a beautiful influence over my life and for that reason, I love them dearly and would not give them up.” –Mrs. J.J.Q., South Carolina
The above article was published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 359; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.
In 1923 The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women began a series regarding the healthcare of rural babies and children written by Dr. Walter R. Ramsey a leading pediatrician of his time. The Editors encouraged mothers to read the articles, cut them out and paste them in a scrapbook, and to tell their neighbors about the information.Keep in mind this was well before the availability of penicillin when childhood illnesses could be debilitating or fatal. Our two-year stint with Covid-19 has been an immersive experience in the anxiousness and vulnerability that mothers of yesteryear had to have feltduring outbreaks of serious childhood illnesses.
Today I’m feeling particularly grateful for the availability of antibiotics while raising my children.
Regard Every Case, However Mild, As Most Serious
“Scarlet Fever is perhaps the most treacherous of all the diseased which affect children. You never know just what it is going to do next. I may be so severe from the onset as to end fatally within a few days, or it may be so mild that it is almost impossible to say that it is scarlet fever at all. Even in the mild cases of so-called Scarlatina, serious complications may arise.
It is, therefore, imperative that all cases of scarlet fever of whatever degree of severity be regarded as serious.
The time from exposure until the child comes down with the disease, varies from two days to a week. The onset is usually sudden with vomiting, sore throat, and rapidly rising fever. The throat is inflamed and frequently covered with a grayish-white membrane, not unlike that found in diphtheria.
The two diseases may be present at the same time, and it is only by a culture from the throat and a microscopic examination that the proper diagnosis can be made.
After twenty-four or forty-eight hours the tongue usually presents the strawberry appearance. The rash begins usually on the neck and chest and rapidly spreads over the body; is not blotchy like measles but rather of a mustard plaster character and in typical cases is scarlet in color.
The glands in the neck frequently become swollen and very tender and later may form an abscess and have to be opened by the physician.
Abscess of the middle ear is common and requires skilled attention, as frequently the drum must be opened to evacuate the pus. By early opening through the canal, mastoid involvement i.e., infection of bone cells behind the ear, may be prevented.
Another frequent and serious complication is inflammation of the kidneys. This often occurs in mild cases, even after they are thought to be well and are permitted to run about and have the usual things to eat. In these cases, it will be noticed that the face is puffy, especially under the eyes, and the ankles and feet are swollen, so that the ridges of the stockings and shoes can be readily seen in the skin. The urine is scant in quantity and often highly colored.
Another serious complication of scarlet fever is heart involvement. It may produce serious symptoms from the beginning or be found later in life. Many of the boys rejected from the army in the late war, were suffering from some heart affection, many instances of which have their origin in scarlet fever during childhood.
Inflammation of the joints is also common in scarlet fever and may result in serious and permanent disability.
From what I have already said it will be apparent that scarlet fever is a disease that should be under the supervision of a skilled physician from the very onset.
All cases of scarlet fever should be kept in bed for a much longer period than is usually thought necessary.
The disease is usually contracted from some other person who has it. The infection comes from the discharges from the throat or nose and not from the scalings, as is generally supposed.
A very common carrier is the milk that may readily be infected from someone, such as a milker who has the disease in a mild form, but who does not know it. One of the worst local epidemics I have ever seen of scarlet fever and malignant sore throat resulted from the infection of the milk supply by the milker.
If all milk for children were properly pasteurized or boiled for two minutes, many of them would miss such diseases as scarlet fever, diphtheria, typhoid, and tuberculosis from which many of them now suffer.”
Public restrooms for women were virtually nonexistent in the 1920s. Even office buildings had onlymen’s rooms making it thereby“impossible” to hire women. Recognizing a need, organizations in some cities would create a much-needed women’s oasis for travelers, shoppers, and businesswomen. Sadly though in most towns women had to get along without any public facilities at all. To add to the injustice, it was illegal for women to use a men’s room.
Farm Bureau Rest Room
“More than 11,391 farm women and children took advantage of the restroom in the Farm Bureau office, Davies County, Kentucky, in one year.
The large, airy room is located at the rear of the Farm Bureau office. It has been comfortably furnished by the Woman’s Club, the Farm Bureau, and by individual donations. It is provided with a rug, dainty scrim curtains, easy chairs, couch, library table, phonograph, baby beds, and lavatory. The library table holds all the late magazines and a few books by good authors.
Molly Wells, an old southern “Mammy,” croons lullabies to the curly-haired babies left in her charge. She says, “I jes’ naturally love babies and I find it no trouble at all to care fo’ ‘em [sic].” Molly often has eight or ten children from tiny babies to those of school age to look after while the mothers go shopping or attend a meeting or gathering in town.
Besides caring for the children and keeping the room in apple-pie order, Molly posts on the Farm Bureau bulletin board all the “for-sale” and want advertisements which are in the morning paper so those farm women who have brought from the farm fresh eggs, butter, cream, poultry and so forth, for sale, may look up desirable buyers while they rest. They can check their parcels and packages at the restroom. Many of the patrons drive forty to fifty miles for a day’s shopping and appreciate the restroom accordingly.
The room also is patronized by business girls of Owensboro, who come in at noon to eat their lunch, rest or read.
The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 364; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.
The first of the Great Twelve discussed by Doctor Holland was Love. In February he showed us the value of Struggle. This month he shows us the two faces of Money–its good face and its bad, its smile and its frown.
The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women
Hello, again History Lovers!
Today’s post is the third installment of The Twelve Greatest Things Series published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women1926.Through Reverend Hollands’ essay, we are reminded of the ability Money has to ennoble a man’scharacter, as well as the power to expose a man’s ignoble soul.
“I AM the most popular of man’s earthly treasures. Throughout the world, I am called by a thousand names.
Since I was discovered, I have had more power than any other thing or idea.
Americans are positively crazy over me. So restless are they to possess me that they have no peace night or day. Their two leading occupations seem to be to get and spend me. I am the god in whom they trust.
One of my greatest names is Power. At times I have seemed almost Omnipotent. I have put sniveling weaklings upon golden thrones and bought crowns for their worthless heads. Priests and ministers have sold their souls for me. Whole governments have I held in my powerful hand. When fools make war, I sit behind the scenes and pull the wires of human destiny.
I am a magic wand. I erect hospitals where cripples are cured. I build houses of God where men find forgiveness and peace. I buy the jewel which the lover places upon the hand of his beloved. I accompany the pair throughout their journey of life and at last, buy them a winding sheet (shroud).
While I am neither good nor bad in myself, I bless or burn those who use or abuse my power. If any man will love me enough, I absolutely rule him.
If you would see me at my worst, behold the shriveled heart of a miser.
My best use is to make possible the bloom of health upon a baby’s cheek.
Poor fools will lie for me but they always regret their bargain. Often have I been in the pockets of robbers but I never have enriched one thief. I have an eternal quarrel with all who use me dishonestly.
If men were only wise, they would see how cheap I really am compared with the great things of life. True love I never once have purchased, nor have I ever made one home happy where love was not there before I came.
Health is worth many times more than wealth, yet countless men have traded their health for me. All such desire to trade back. Nature does not allow that, for she has put no reverse gears in the human-machine. Though men know this, still I have but to “jingle my guineas” in their ears, and they rush off like hounds after a hare.
Honor is above the price of rubies, yet, here and there, I find men whose honor is purchasable. Even some women sell their virtue for dollars and men have sacrificed lovely daughters on the altar of mammon.
Foolish men! Do they not know that the soul is worth more than all material worlds? I have never saved one soul in all time, nor ever. I can not buy a prayer, nor am I to be compared to one tear of repentance.
What am I? I am a tool, a prop, a temporary comfort. My blessing and my cursing stop at the grave. From there men’s souls go on without me. I have sent many souls to judgment but have accompanied none.
I am only for Time. Men are created for Eternity.”
The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1926, page 141; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.
In my post from a week ago “Cooking With Ida” we were guided through the process of making homemade yeast bread–an essential task for rural farm women in the 1920s. My husband’s mother, born in 1925, was an avid bread baker as well while raising her family of seven children from the 1950s through the 1970s. My husband recalls her baking four loaves of bread twice a week. She even ground her own wheat. Happily, for her, it was an electric grinder. She made homemade bread sandwiches every school day for the kids’ lunches. My husband’s favorite snack was an inch thick slice of bread spread generously with butter and honey.
My mother on the other hand was a recreational bread baker. For her, it was a creative and therapeutic experience not done on a regular basis. We loved it when the mood would strike and we would come home from school to the smell of freshly baked bread. We would thickly spread each slice with home-canned apricot jam.
Although baking bread has been a creative outlet for me as well, I did it with some regularity. When my six children were at home I would bake four large loaves a week or two loaves and a batch of cinnamon rolls. Posted below is my tried and true recipe of thirty-five years.
There are several differences between my bread recipe and the recipes of my mother and mother-in-law with the most noticeable being that I baked my bread in rustic round or oval loaves as opposed to baking it in traditional bread pans (that was the creative part). The other difference was the type of wheat flour that I used. A friend introduced me to hard white wheat (as opposed to hard red wheat that is most commonly used). At that time a home baker would have to search for a mailorder source for the white wheat which would then need to be ground into flour. It was worth the effort though as it produced a milder tasting lighter loaf of bread with nutrition equal to that of hard red wheat. Luckily for home bakers of today, King Arthur Flour offers white wheat flour on their website HERE. They also offer SAF Instant Yeast HERE which is recommended for homemade yeast bread not made in a bread machine.Recipe and photos below:
In a large mixing bowl combine water, oil, brown sugar, powdered milk, and salt; blend with an electric mixer or whisk. Add 2 cups of white wheat flour and the yeast; stir for three minutes. Add two cups of all-purpose or bread flour and mix an additional three minutes or knead by hand. Add the final cup or two of all-purpose or bread flour a little at a time and mix for three minutes or knead for ten minutes.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise in a warm place until double in bulk (about 1-1/2 hours). Gently punch down and shape into two round/oval loaves and place on a half sheet baking pan or divide into three loaf pans. Allow bread to rise an additional 30 to 45 minutes in a warm place.
Bake bread in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. (Baked bread will sound hollow when tapped on top). For a tender crust, brush the top with butter if desired. Cool bread for 15 minutes, remove from pan, and place directly on a wire rack until completely cool.