Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Winter Break

Homemade Muffins in the Parlour at Mrs. White's Vermont Estate

Here in the mountains of rural New England, it is quiet and peaceful.  Each day, this past week, there has been a steady amount of snow throughout the days and nights. It is not a blizzard, but a pretty, gentle accumulation of glistening, white to brighten the landscape.  It is lovely to see.

The boys have been shoveling out the cars and keeping the parking area, and walkways, in good order.  They are often doing this just before the sun sets as they wait for dinner to be served in the evenings. 

It is better to stay off the roads during these snowy days.  Errands and appointments are rare, or cancelled, as we wait for warmer weather. 

This afternoon's view from the front porch at Mrs. White's home.

I have been catching up on some organizing and heavy cleaning.  I have also been doing a lot of reading.  It is warm and cozy indoors with our wood pellet stove. 

Often, in the early afternoon, I welcome grandbabies to the table. I serve lunch or some homemade treat.  It is lovely to have company, especially when it is family!

Our pantry and refrigerator are full of the basics for cooking and baking.  I have no need to go to the market, for which I am grateful.   The other morning, my daughter wanted to bake a cake.  She didn't have a mix, so I got out my cookbook and showed her some easy recipes using what we had on hand.  You can make just about anything, on a whim, if you keep a steady supply of basic groceries, such as cocoa, powdered sugar, flour, and shortening.  All we have to do, is put on an apron and get to work.

In Pioneer days, settlers did well in the cold season if they stocked up on coal or wood, for their heat, to last through the winter.  They also stored the summer's harvest in a cellar, or on pantry shelves, since they knew it would not be easy to get supplies during the coldest months of the year.  How nice it would be if we were able to plan our lives around yearly expenses, rather than weekly ones.

This does not mean we can afford luxuries (like hot chocolate, steak, or "name brand cookies").  Just simple basic ingredients so we can make things from scratch. These might include flour and such for muffins, pancakes, and quick breads.   We can even make our own pizzas if we have cans of plain tomato sauce and some inexpensive hand-grated cheese.  Getting good prices on meat, here and there, so we can stock the freezer over time will also help keep us safe and cozy at home during the difficult weeks and months of winter.  Even if we could put up enough food to last a few weeks, it would be ideal in these modern days.

This is such a lovely time to stay home, putter around the house, do projects and enjoy the hearth and family. There is no rush or worry to go anywhere.  As many appointments and errands as possible are put off until spring.  This is the quiet time of year where we can just rest and take a winter break.


From the Archives -

Good advice from Colonial Days - To Earn and Not to Spend.

The Way it is for Many - Retirement Planning for the Poor.

How Nice it is to Be - Just a Housewife.

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. 



Tammy said...

Lovely post, and pics.
Like you, I wish we could manage seasonally, or even yearly rather than weekly. However, I am grateful we are blessed as we are. Stay warm!

Jane said...

You've painted a nice homey picture of life in the winter. I agree that with some basic pantry staples, anything a person could want is a few steps away. Have a lovely week!


Deborah Montgomery said...

I love to "hibernate" as much as possible, so stocking up really helps. I was making some stuffed pasta shells the other day that called for marinara sauce. I thought I had some, or spaghetti sauce, but didn't. But I had all the fixings for making it from scratch so I did. Then I wondered why I bother to buy the ready-made at all. My homemade sauce was easy, so good, and less expensive.
It is especially nice to be able to stay off the roads when they are icy and dangerous, and enjoy a cozy fire and a homemade treat! xo Deborah

Jamie Jeffers said...

We've been reading Little House in the Big Woods, and my 7 year old is fascinated by the way Laura lived. I'm always amazed by their resourcefulness. I'd like to have a better stockpile myself!

becky said...

So satisfying when we cook from scratch. I believe it is a lost art & we feel "put upon" when their is cooking from scratch to be done. It definitely is a money saver.
Stay warm!! Glad you are reading more again!

Anonymous said...

Your post reminds me of this winter for me. I like to stock up and if the weather turns to wintery than I can just stay home. We only have one car, but I can borrow my son's car if need be. I am trying to stay home more this winter because I wanted to declutter and get my house in order before the nice days of Spring come.

What a sweet post of a warm and cozy home.

Jennifer said...

I love the quiet of the winter when the snow covers the ground and we cuddle inside next to the stove. We have a wood stove in our home. I love to have the basics in my pantry and then one can make so many different meals depending on what the family is interested in that day. I do plan meals, but many times it's spontaneous.
For us, hot chocolate is a staple. :) and we make our mix from scratch.
This week we've been enjoying some wonderful reading my girls and I. My husband so sweetly ordered me four of your books that I mentioned I'd love to read. Thank you so much for all the encouragement they are to us!

Southern Ladye said...

I love the mismatched chairs in the background of the picture! It reminds me that everything doesn't have to perfectly match to be comfortable and cozy. I am very adamant about stockpiling basics year round when they are on sale. Another advantage to doing this is that I am always able to help someone in need! We recently had a situation where someone we knew was on the verge of becoming homeless and was scraping everything they could to pay the rent. There was no money for food. We were able to give them basic staples that they could use to make multiple meals. I was so thankful that we were able to bless someone else through stockpiling. It definitely renewed my determination to continue buying food in this manner.

Mrs.O said...

I love your tablecloth. I am hoping to find a wipeable one in that color. Green and white is the one the Waltons had. (Smiles)

Patty B said...

Things are like this up here in northern Minnesota, too! I do all my cooking from scratch and lots of canning during our short summers. We HAVE to prepare! Our winters can sometimes last 7 months!

Mrs. B, a very peculiar person said...

Good Afternoon, Mrs. White,

Winters, and spring time, on the rural Montana prairie can be long and hard. During the spring of 2011 a severe blizzard knocked out the power and because the roads were impassable repair crews could not repair the lines nor could anyone get out for nearly two weeks.
Because of these occasional winter/spring inconveniences, I maintain a well stocked pantry of flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, oil, dry milk and first aid supplies. I also maintain a 150 gallon emergency water supply because no electricity equals no power to pump the water well. We also grow and preserve enough garden produce each summer to last one year. In addition, I grow lettuce greens, spinach and herbs in our bright and sunny mud room throughout the winter. Each autumn we slaughter some of our stock and harvest wild game - again, putting by a one year supply. Needless to say, weekly trips to the market in town are not a necessity for our home any time of year. We also maintain non-electric heat and cooking sources.
During winter, when the weather is bitterly cold and frightful, I am so very glad our "grocery shopping" is done on a seasonal or annual basis. When others are trying to figure out how to get into town, we are safely tucked away in our home.


Stephanie said...

Oh, what a charming post. I, too, love to "hibernate" and tend to enjoy the comforts of home during the winter season. Ah, there is no place like home :)

Wishing you a most beautiful and blessed Sunday! Hugs!

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