Introduction – My Basis for Basic Homemaking Skills

RigrishAddition_HomeIntroduction – My Beginning

When I think of homemaking I think of when I was young.  This is the time I learned the most about homemaking.  My mother always liked to have everything in the home clean.  “If it isn’t clean, then it isn’t home.” My brothers and sister and I helped Mommy clean the house which was the first chores of the day in the summer time.

My paternal grandmother was a farmer’s wife and a school teacher for many years.  When I knew her, she was retired.  She was the best cook in the world and could make any food you could name.  (This is what I thought.)

She was very intelligent too.  She won an award for some of her writing and even wrote the local town’s slogan.  I will have to look that up and put it on this site when I find it.  She taught me and my brother how to read by the time I was 3.  Her favorite book was the Holy Bible.

She passed away and went to heaven when I was 4 years of age, so my impressions of her were quite secure but quite limited as well.  When you entered the front door of their little home, the first scent was that of a sweet cherry pipe tobacco that wafted toward the door as we came in.  My Grandad, sitting in his cozy chair in the living room, smoked a pipe, after all, and it was a comforting aroma because he was a great man whom we all loved.

Proceeding into the home we had to run and hug and kiss Grandma, who was in the kitchen.  The smell of apple and peach pies baking in the oven overtook the pipe aroma as soon as we passed Grandad’s knees as he was sitting just inside the front door.

This whole house was filled with memories of both grandparents and all my uncles, aunts and cousins who came to visit.  We usually gathered every Sunday but since my Daddy and Mommy lived just down the road, my Mommy would walk to Grandma’s house several days a week where she learned to cook and tried to learn to sew.

The interesting thing about this whole image of my Grandma has a funny secret to it that I will tell everyone now.  My Grandad is the one who taught my Grandma how to cook!

This means the things that my mother learned in cooking were also continued and reinforced even after my Grandma died because my Grandad continued to teach my Mommy cooking secrets throughout our years together.

When my Grandma passed away, Grandad could not bear to continue living in the house that he built for her so he sold the house to my Daddy and bought an Airstream Motor Home and parked it in a little field in back of the house beyond our back yard.  He lived there until he passed away when I was 13 years of age.BasicHomemakingSkills-GrandadHughesWhittling

My parents had 4 children.  I have a brother one year older than I am, a sister who is 2 1/2 years younger than I and a baby brother who is 7 years younger than I.  I was the big sister and felt responsible to care for my younger siblings.

We all had a very close relationship with Grandad.  He took each of us on walks every day.  He loved nature and we would go into the woods and learn about bugs, worms, snakes, frogs, minnows, fish, bark, nuts, the weather and all the country animals who tread our path.  There were lizards, rabbits, squirrels, opossum, raccoon, dogs, cats and sometimes even a bear here and there.

The Lay of the Land for our little Farm

Our house (Hughes) at Rigrish Addition 1960

Part of the Rose Gardens at Home

Back at the little home we lived in, we had a little over 5 acres of land.  We helped garden and had a full list of foods we grew: Potatoes, Peas, Kale, Bib Lettuce, Radishes (red and White), Green Onions, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Green Beans, Wax Beans, Green Peppers, Red Peppers, two kinds of corn, one with large yellow kernels and then the delicate Silver Queen Corn too.  We also grew Strawberries, Cantaloupe (we called it sugar melon), Watermelon, Pumpkins, and Feed Corn.

The house was finished with green and white siding and the yard around the house had a white picket fence with an arched red rose laden trellis at the front gate in the middle which led up a sidewalk to a large porch that ran the length of the front of the house.  There were springy metal lawn chairs and a matching glider on one side and a porch swing on the other side.

In the yard we had flowers of every kind that I could imagine and some I did not know their names but I know we had several Lilac bushes, a rose garden with roses of every color, Marigolds around the foot of the house, Snowball bushes, Irises and Tulips along the front flower beds, Sweet Pea growing up the columns of the porch and deep purple and fuchsia wisteria vining up the columns as well.

We had lots of trees in the yard with a Weeping Willow, several Mimosa trees, a Rose of Sharon tree, a Flowering Ash and a Red Crab-apple tree.  On each side of the front walk in front of the porch there were fir shrubs that were stickily so you never want to fall on those!  In the back yard the elevation sloped in a downward hill so we would lie down and roll down the hill playing sometimes.  There were three sections of the backyard and each had a large maple climbing tree in the center.  At the bottom of the hill was a border of small trees, some German plum trees, and flower bushes and in the bottom left corner was a little old outhouse.  Up the side of the outhouse grew a very plentiful and healthy dark purple grapevine.from which we made grape jelly, jam and tried to make some wine also.

There were tame raspberries and blackberries, as well as wild blackberries back by the barn.  On the right side of the house, we had a driveway which led all the way back past the back yard down the hill and then back up another hill to the barn.  Along the way to the barn on the left we had a smokehouse where we smoked all of the pork meat that was butchered on the farm.  We also had a Corn Crib on the right side in the barnyard where we gathered the feed corn when it was dry enough so as to store it until we took it to the feed store to grind up into cornmeal (for food for the horses and steers we raised).

We had two horses and a pony, several steers, at least 30 chickens every year with one big red rooster.  The chicken coop was on the left back corner of the barn.  We also had a pig pen with two sides.  One side kept the boar penned in and the other side had the sows and their babies.  The pigs were able to be released into an area to roam and root for food in the orchard where we had several kinds of apples, pears, and plum trees.  We also had peach trees up a the end of the garden.  The farm had two walnut trees, a hickory nut tree, and several hazelnut bushes down in the bottoms near the creek.  Grandad even built a pond to hold water for the large animals.  We had ducks and frogs in the pond.

This was where I grew up out in the country taking care of all of the gardening and farm animals.  My mother purchased few things at the store such as milk, sugar, oatmeal, butter, and canning supplies.

I will write more about how we put food up on future pages of this site.

Please feel free to leave a comment below about this site.  I would enjoy hearing your experience or feelings about the above information.

15 comments

  1. Caroline Schlup says:

    Paula, This is one of the best sites I have seen for a long time. From recipes to what children to be doing at certain age. I also love your story because it brings back memories of my youth. Can’t wait to see what else you have to share.

    • admin says:

      Caroline,
      Thank you so much for visiting and I am so happy that you are enjoying my content. Please continue visiting since I have several recipes to add soon and other stories to write about my experiences.
      Welcome to my world!
      Paula

  2. Lucius says:

    Hi Paula,
    I think this is a very useful field, because personally I had much trouble with thinking of my house as a home. Decorations, personal touch, etc. are very lacking, and I merely consider my house a place to sleep and stock my stuff. Perhaps it’s because I’m single and work most of the time.
    I look forward to more articles from you!

    Heart to Heart

    • admin says:

      Thank you Lucius! I would be happy to give you pointers on some decorating ideas. I really love doing that sort of thing. I will try doing some research on the latest accessories in rooms and let you know the colors that are fashionable this year if you like. I will check out your website and see if I find some of your interests that I can find decor ideas to emulate. What style of furniture do you have?

      I would love to help!
      Paula

  3. Eiress says:

    I enjoyed your site. Brought back many memories. We worked hard, but learned a lot about a wide variety of things. You write about the tame blackberries and raspberries. My mother had raspberries growing in our back yard at the back of the property. They were called black caps. She made the best raspberry jelly. I look forward to browsing in the future!

    • admin says:

      Blackberry jam is my favorite and my mom made this sumptuous blackberry jam cake that I wish I had the recipe for but cannot find it anywhere! It was like a loaf pound cake and a little dash of butter on a slice of that would make me soooo happy! Thanks for the comment.

  4. Sarah says:

    This list is excellent! My boy is two and I can get him to help regularly with sweeping and loading the utensils in the dishwasher, and cleaning up his toys. If we don’t teach our children to work then they won’t be able to grow for themselves. Thanks for this post!

    • admin says:

      Yes, so much of this is from when I grew up many years ago. I tend to choose to remember the happy things and lose the negative stuff… not that I forget it but the happy moments are the best and a lot of those memories are wrapped around the chores and work I did with my sister and brothers. My youngest brother was 7 years and 10 months younger so I was his mentor. He loved me so much that he would do anything I asked him to do but I rarely asked him much… (he still loves me! LOL) Thank you for reading my site and commenting. Best wishes for your success!

  5. Linda says:

    Hello Paula,

    What a lovely and nostalgic reminiscence of your your youth. I so enjoyed taking this walk with you into both your upbringing and your love for your family, parents and grandparents.

    I look forward to your future posts. I found the one you created on chores a great reminder for the fact that as I am raising my grand kids I am doing them a disservice but not engaging them in chores. ‘-) Been hard to keep up with it all and they were never taught to contribute by their mom so its a constant struggle.

    Nevertheless, good lessons in what you have written here. Thanks.
    Linda

    • admin says:

      Linda, Thank you for reading my posts and providing comments.

      I know as a grandparent it is more difficult to model a grandchild to learn responsibilities when the primary guidance must come from the parents.

      I have certain rules in our house for our grandchild to help out and to clean up each toy mess before she can get something else out for new play. She is now 4. We are in a mutual admiration society with our grand-daughter and I hope and pray it never ends. She is so adorable and a joy in my life. She would not be so delightful if she objected to cleaning up her own messes, I would have to say, but I would still love her.

      Enjoy!
      Paula

  6. Loide says:

    I grow up in the village where we have our own field and gardens to cultivate, so I have enjoyed reading your post.

    Looking forward to more posts,

    Thank you very much Paula

    • admin says:

      Loide,

      Thanks for the comment! I have enjoyed reading yours as well.
      I know when I was young I hated weeding the garden but I certainly loved to see the fruit of our labors.
      Nowadays it is all good!

      Paula

  7. shirley says:

    Very interesting, when I was young we had a garden, grapevines and a strawberry patch. Mom canned and we helped pick.

    • admin says:

      That is so cool to hear! Did you enjoy growing things? At the time we kids thought we were slaves to the farm but now I look back and feel like we lived a blessed life. We always planted whatever my Grand-dad instructed us to plant which was the foods he liked. He was at one time a watermelon farmer as well so we had those too. Strawberries were his very favorite treat though so we planted half an acre of strawberries and had plenty of strawberry jam for every meal! We had the dark purple grapes, white grapes and red grapes each grown in a separate section on the property. We also had a set of bee hives to pollenate the plants.

      Thanks for reading my site!
      Paula

    • admin says:

      Shirley,

      Thank you for reading my post and for giving comments. I can imagine that picking the fruit and vegetables was fun. Did you enjoy it? That was the easy part for us so it was always exciting and fun for us to glean the harvest of our efforts.

      Paula

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