Sunday, May 15, 2016

Laundry Trouble

A House in Louisiana, 1930, with clothesline on porch. (Library of Congress)

My old clothesline has not been set up for the season.  Normally, at the end of winter, one of the gentlemen of this house would tighten up the pulley system and get it ready for the spring and summer months. The clothesline is attached to the outside wall, next to my second story laundry room window. I have always loved going over to the window, enjoying the beautiful fresh air, and hanging towels, sheets, and most of our laundry out in the Vermont sunshine. It would dry very quickly, within a few hours, and have a wonderful outdoor scent.  However, since my husband is not well, he is unable to fix my clothesline this year.

One day last week our electric dryer broke.  (One has to laugh when faced with such happenings!)  At first I had a moment of panic. (shudder)  Then I realized this was nothing new.   I had to remember the way things used to be, and start being creative.

In my childhood home, we had an enclosed side porch on the second story of our Massachusetts home.  All during the non-winter months, we would air dry our laundry on the clothesline.  This was a traditional pulley system attached next to our second story window on one end, and then attached to a large tree on the other end.

Most days in the morning my mother would say, "Get the clothes out of the washer and hang them on the line."  I did this for her, not even really thinking about it.  I would just pile the wet clothes into a basket and carry them to our porch.  We had a small basket of clothespins set up by the window. I would carefully hang each item on the line while listening to the chirping of birds, glancing at the ships going by in the ocean (off in the distance), and enjoying the warmth of the sunshine. It took a little muscle to guide the line along after each item was pinned to the rope. There was also a small sound of a squeak as it moved along.

Many times, before the supper hour, Mother would call me to bring the dry clothes back indoors.  I would carefully remove the pins, place them in the small basket, shake out each item of laundry, and then fold it into the clothes basket.   I could often hear Mother working in the kitchen starting the evening meal.  The sun would soon be down and the work of the day was nearing its end.

These were wonderful memories I have been thinking of the last few days.  Now I am without a dryer and without a clothesline and I must be inventive.

The other afternoon I did a load of laundry in the washer.  Then I carefully placed each sock, each facecloth, each nightgown, each towel, and all the other items onto the backs of parlour chairs, on chair ledges, and draped over rocking chairs.   I managed to set out all the socks onto the many boards on the lower sections of my grandchildren's wooden highchairs.  As I worked, I loved the clean scent of the laundry.  I opened the windows to let it the cool spring air.  It took two days for all the clothes to finally dry. It would have been much quicker in the winter when the wood stove would be roaring and heating the clothes and the room. But the spring air dried the clothes just fine.  I will learn to be patient again. I will have to remember that dry clothes will not be here in less than an hour (as the dryer would have done), but nature will do its work in its own time.

This slower pace of having to hang every piece of clothing, for every single wash, and waiting for it all to dry is nothing new.  But it has awakened a sweet calmness in me that I have very much enjoyed.

At some point, one of the grown children will come by and help me set up a make-shift clothesline somewhere on the grounds of our Estate.  And sometime soon, Lord willing, we will have a new dryer.  In the meantime, I am making the most of old fashioned laundry methods that force one to slow down and make one contemplate the simple joy of domestic duties.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Our Neglected Estate these days - The Shabby Garden.

Financial Difficulties - Living in Reduced Circumstances.

Training Children - Nobody wants to Clean a Messy House.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Spring days at The Estate

Window on Stucco Wall Surrounded by Red Roses with Petunia Flower Box

Some of the grandbabies have visited me every day this week. I tell them the birds are singing outdoors. We pause to listen.  Little grandgirl (2) sees a bicycle by the back barn. She always runs to it.  There is a bell on the handlebar and I show her how to use it.  She is delighted.

My humble strawberry garden, by the back river, needs to be cleaned up.  The plants are already very pretty and we expect strawberries in a few weeks. But it is full of leaves from last fall, which must be removed.  I will take one of the children over there to help me with the work.  Then, when it all looks nice, I can take little walks with any number of the grandchildren for "visits" to the garden.

 I need to sweep the front porches. I love to sit out there on sunny days and enjoy the beautiful landscape around me.  It is especially nice when children are running and laughing in the front yard.

Despite the warm days, we always have many chilly ones where we need to use our wood pellet stove. Northern Vermont weather is sometimes hot, but often cool in our rural mountain.

I don't know what our summer will be like this year as there are so many uncertainties with Mister's disability and our financial situation. But we will live as simply and happily as we can. We will continue with our Bible times and our prayers. This is the most joyful thing we do in our lives. Our trust and faith in our Heavenly Father is what will guide us peacefully though the years.

In the meantime we have been blessed with five (now grown) children and seven grandchildren who are the delight of our lives. They keep us busy and smiling. They don't mind our humble ways. We find great fun in wandering our old 1800's home and the 2 acre grounds of our Estate. There is plenty of "free" things to do here just being together. We are so grateful!

Mrs. White

Never a Regret of Staying Home - A Humble Parlour as a School of Theology.

Happy to be - Blue Collar - Working Class Housewife.

Financial Truth! - Why the High Cost of Food?

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Saturday, May 7, 2016

For Mother

Spring Patio II

Some encouragement for this Mother's Day weekend:

F.W. Farrar (1831 - 1903), Dean of Canterbury said this about his own dear mother:

"My mother's habit was, every day, immediately after breakfast to withdraw for an hour in reading her Bible, in meditation and in prayer.  From that hour, as from a pure fountain, she drew the strength and sweetness which enabled her to fulfill all her duties and to remain unruffled by all the worries and pettiness which are so often the intolerable trial of narrow neighborhoods."

"As I think of her life and of all it had to bear, I see the absolute triumph of Christian grace in the lovely ideal of a Christian lady.  I never saw her temper disturbed;  I never heard her speak one word of anger or of calumny [slander] or of idle gossip.  I never observed in her any sign of a single sentiment unbecoming to a soul which had drunk of the river of the water of life and which had fed upon manna in the barren wilderness."

D. L. Moody said of his mother:

"It is a great honor to be the son of such a mother.  I could not praise her enough."

Theodore Roosevelt said this:

"The woman's task is never easy - no task worth doing is easy - but in doing it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest and holiest joy known to mankind; and having done it, she shall have the reward prophesied  in Scripture; for her husband and her children, yes, and all people who realize that her work lies at the very fountain of all national happiness and greatness, shall rise up and call her blessed."

(These quotes are from the book, "Great Preaching on Mothers" compiled by Dr. Curtis Hutson, published in 1988.)

Each year, as Mother's Day approaches, I like to study inspiring works that encourage mothers to do their best.

This is a time to reflect and to seek heavenly ideals.

It is a time to be grateful to have the privilege and honor of being a mother.

It is a great work!

Happy Mother's Day!

Mrs. White

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Encouraging Literature for Homemakers

Golden Hours

One of the things I love to do is read good, wholesome literature which inspires me.  As a Housewife, I am mostly encouraged by old stories of home life for mothers and wives.  Elizabeth Prentiss is one of my favorite authors. Her book, "Aunt Jane's Hero" shows the beauty of a humble, simple Christian marriage. It is her best book!

Another author I like is someone I only recently discovered, even though she wrote her books in the early 1900's.  These are Christian fiction and are written by Grace Livingston Hill.

It is easier to find affordable, inspiring books when they are discounted, or when you can get them used for a very low price.

The most important theme in the books I like is that they lead me to heavenly ideals and inspire a noble virtue in daily living.  They lead one to the Lord and to His precious ways!

In thinking about literature that is currently available, I have been searching Amazon.  They used to discount the books for sale.  My own books are offered there and used to be reduced to a more affordable price. It surprised me to realize they are no longer cutting prices.   I was able to put in a request on each book to get them drastically reduced in price.  The only book I can't seem to get low enough is "For The Love of Christian Homemaking." But I will keep trying!

If you have been wanting one of these books, such as "Living on His Income" (which is now listed at $4.29), or one of the other books, I hope you will find them much more affordable.

For a direct link to all my books listed at Amazon, here is the link:

Mrs. White's Books on Amazon. 

As Mother's Day is soon approaching, I hope you are able to find some special literature to cheer you on in your mothering!

For those who have been wondering how I am doing, I am feeling much better. Nice weather has come to us here in rural Vermont.  Mister and I sat on the front porch early one evening and enjoyed a rest while looking over the landscape.  It is a beautiful time of year!  

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Are You a Member? - Mother's Benevolent Society.

Is This True? - Only Rich People Have Clean Houses .

Old Time Advice for Homemakers - To Earn and Not To Spend .

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Home Without Clutter

Nature's Glory I

In my childhood home, I don't recall seeing piles of paperwork, junk mail, or even any bills. My mother kept things organized and out of our daily vision.  The living room, kitchen, and bedrooms were neat and relaxing. We would deep clean things on a weekly basis (dusting, washing floors, etc). We also had daily work to keep things looking neat. 

Sometimes I would see my father at the kitchen table with his checkbook and paperwork.  He would also have a cup of coffee, and some coffee cake when he was finished.  After that, we children had no idea where he kept his files, or even his bank papers. All those things were out of our sight. They had a place, but not sitting out in a pile of clutter. There was order.

In later years, as my parents lived here with us for 9 years, I was able to see more of how Mother kept the clutter away.  Every few months she would have the card table set up in her dining room. Here is where she would put stacks of papers, files, and old bills.  Over the next few days, as she had time, she would work on sorting and tossing whatever was no longer needed.  The card table was in an out - of - the way corner of the room, and did not take away from the beauty of the rest of their home.  Things were still kept neat while she continued to keep house around this little "project" of sorting out the old clutter. Mother worked slowly and walked with a cane, but after a couple of days, all was finished and the card table was put away.

This is what I have been working on, in my own home, the last few days.  Each day, I sort some files and papers and toss what is now clutter.  Yesterday, I even took three bags of unwanted books and movies to the library as a donation.  I want to clear out many more things to make room for only what is most important. 

It is a very slow work right now, as I have only recently recovered from a difficult illness. I get tired so easily.  But I love doing things that make my home look nice, even if I am only able to work a little each day.

I have a card table set up in one of the rooms, and will work on organizing those papers this coming week.  We are told we only need to save files and papers that go back 3 years.  Anything over that, in most cases, it is okay to discard.  I also have children's schoolwork in folders that I will always keep. There are cards and letters that are special and will be filed away. 

This necessary part of housekeeping - keeping the clutter away - is something that ought to happen on a daily basis to a small degree. Then, as the example of my mother, there will be times we need to spend a few days in deep clutter removal, to eliminate "things" that may have accumulated that we really don't need.

A Home without clutter can be such a peaceful place.  It is a nice goal that can be accomplished with just a little bit of daily effort.

Mrs. White

From The Archives -

Wouldn't You Like to Know? - The Secret to a Clean House.

Happy Days at Home - Confined to The Nursery.

Financial Troubles - Living in Reduced Circumstances.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


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