Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Winter Walk in Rural Vermont

A Winter Morning at Mrs. White's Vermont Estate.

Vermont is very cold this time of year. The temperature has often lingered well below zero. I have been staying home, much like "a shut-in," throughout this snowy month.  It has been 20 days since I went out.  My last outing was to church, almost three weeks ago.  I have been cozy indoors and waiting out the cold winter. 

The other morning, I wanted to take a little walk around the property.  It was bitterly cold, but so pretty and quiet outside.  I bundled up and took my camera with me. 

In the first picture, above, the sun had barely risen.    You can also see what looks like fog among the trees.   It is actually snow blowing up from the ground, dancing in the sunlight. It looks amazing!

I could not bear more than a few minutes of this cold and had to rush back in the house for tea and cake.  I needed to sit by our wood pellet stove and get warm!

On a recent afternoon, my husband took a few pictures.  He let me share a couple of them with you. 

Snow piled up beside the garage at Mrs. White's Vermont home. (Photo by Mr. White.)

The snowplow comes regularly here to keep our driveway clear.  The picture above shows a large snow-pile.   Our snow season often begins in October and is frequent throughout the winter months.  It tends to pile up, and usually stays (to some degree) on the ground all winter long.

Front Walkway at Mrs. White's Estate. (Photo by Mr. White.)

A recent storm has left us with over 2 feet of snow out front.  This has been sitting here for several days.  It looks beautiful!  Sometimes, we see heavy snow falling slowly and steadily throughout the day.  It reminds me of watching a snow-globe as I gaze out the window.

[Edited to update with more photographs on February 1, 2019]

My husband took some pictures of the river, which borders the back of our Estate.  I have three of those pictures to share here:

River bordering Mrs. White's property. (Photo by Mr. White.)

We have a bit of a cliff on our land where the river borders the property. It is a great protection which separates our Estate from the water.

Rushing River in Winter bordering Mrs.White's Estate. (Photo by Mr. White.)

The sound of this river is so relaxing.  It is such a peaceful sight to see.

Waterfall section of the River bordering Mrs. White's Estate. (Photo by Mr. White.)

Honestly, I could just stare at this river for hours. It is so pretty. The snowy background, on the trees and ground beside the river, is stunning. 

Thank you for taking a little winter walk with me on our property. I enjoyed visiting with you.

I hope you are staying warm and enjoying the beauty of winter!

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

What many of us crave - An Ordinary Life at Home.

Remembering the old days - Building our Homes with Little Money.

What kind of home life are you creating?  - The Cultured Society of Home.

Read Mrs. White's book on Saving Money and Inspiring Charity -Economy for the Christian Home.  Paperback, 110 pages.

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


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Waiting out the Cold Winter Months in Vermont

Library of Congress: Winter Afternoon in Vermont, 1940.

Early this morning it was 12 below zero outside.  During the months of January and February, in northern Vermont, it is bitterly cold.  The ice stays all season long, making it a danger to walk and drive on.  We have to be cautious on our outings.

 This is the time of year when I tend to stay inside. I rarely go out,  other than to church. But this Sunday morning, when I went outside to check the temperature, it was so bitterly cold, I felt numb and clumsy.   I thought I'd better stay near the hearth at home.

There are many in our area who still venture out.  They dress warmly and are used to this kind of weather. There are also tourists who delight in visiting for the skiing season.  But for me, perhaps since I am from Massachusetts, I find it difficult to function in this biting cold.  So I stay inside.

I used to think the bitter, winter - winds off the ocean of Massachusetts, of my childhood, were unbearable.  I remember them especially starting in November.  They were brutal.  But they did not last. Not all days were windy or dreadfully freezing.  When comparing those ocean winds with a common winter day in Vermont, I would say they are equal.  But Winter in Vermont lasts far longer! My endurance tends to waver.  I stay home a great deal.

Sometimes I like to think of this season as a storm, when we hide under a covering and patiently wait out the trouble.  I keep indoors, while the frozen season slowly passes along.  I bide my time.

I often think of the Pioneers and how they weathered many storms in winter.  Perhaps they read by the fire, did their mending, baked and cooked, and did projects which cannot be done during the busy summer months.  It must have been very quiet in those homes, which did not have radio, television, or computers.  When it was impossible to venture out, they had church time at home with their own family as the congregation.   I am sure they were always surprised and welcoming when a sudden guest appeared to visit them. 

I am grateful to have company on a regular basis. My grown children are not deterred by the cold season.  They go out, work, do errands, and visit me as normal.  I also love to see my grandchildren coming inside with their snowsuits, mittens, hats, and warm coats. They are rosy - cheeked and smiling!

Just a little while ago, I went out on the back grounds of our Estate to just walk.  I know fresh air, even cold air, is essential to good health.  I saw the beauty of sunlight as it touched the snowy ground.  The clear blue sky and the pretty trees are lovely in winter.  The walk was pleasant, even if it was only 7 degrees.  I soon was back inside and grateful for a cozy house, a warm fire, and the luxury of hot chocolate.

I rarely spend any money in winter.  The heating bills consume all we have.  This is a blessing because it makes me careful. It takes away a consumer mind-set.  I have to make-do, make-it-last, and do-without. This is a good discipline in frugality.

I will spend much of these winter hours waiting out the cold as I read piles of good books, do my housekeeping, and take care of my family.

The truth is, I love this time of year.  It is a quiet respite from the seasons.  It is a time to stop and rest and just enjoy being home. It is a good time to focus on prayer and to be grateful to the Lord for all things.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

I Want to Be - The Mother Who Isn't Busy.

What Many of Us Crave - An Ordinary Life at Home.

What Would Happen? - If I Visit You At the Dinner Hour.

Find Home-keeping Inspiration, in Mrs. White's book - For The Love of Christian Homemaking.  Paperback, 274 pages.

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


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Diary of a Clean House

Flowers and Dishes at Mrs. White's home.

I have been cleaning so much the last few days, it has been fun! I wanted to share some ideas with you on how to keep a beautifully, clean house even in a humble environment.  This work of cleaning has an incredible side benefit.  It provides you with good health.  I will share a diary of the work I have been doing, along with some suggestions for your own home:

Sweeping and Washing Floors

1.  Last week, I started a new habit of sweeping and washing the bathroom and kitchen floors each Monday morning. I do this before anyone else wakes up. The house is quiet and the work goes quickly. 

Since I have been doing it at about the same time each week, I have become more efficient and the work goes fast.  It takes me about 20 minutes, including moving things out of the way (such as small carpets, kitchen stools, trash barrels, toy baskets, etc.).

I thought that would be enough exercise for me for the day, so I planned to skip my normal workout. But after I finished the floors, I thought it would be relaxing to go walk on the treadmill while the floors dried.

I listen to the Old Fashioned Revival Hour program (you can find a link to this on the sidebar of my blog) while I walk.  It includes singing from the congregation, choir, and a quartet.  It also has a brief sermon.  I find it refreshing to hear the program while I exercise.

By the time I was finished, the floors were all dried and looked wonderful. I put everything back in its place. The little plum - colored carpet went back on the floor in front of the kitchen sink.  The stools were back by the counter. The grandchildren's toy baskets were placed back under the sideboard table, and all was neat again.

The second week I did this, everything was much easier.  I had a routine in place.  I knew what it would cost me, in strength and time, to do all the work.  I also became more efficient because, as we all know, the more you do something, the more skilled you become.


2.  It was time to rest and have some refreshment.  I had tea and a homemade muffin.  After doing all that exercising and work, it was important to take a break.  I also read a book for a little while.

When we start feeling better, it is time to get back up and do some more work.  The labor of housekeeping keeps us productive, makes our home look nice, and keeps us active.

Kitchen Work

3.  I made a batch of homemade pizza.  Company arrived and I had to feed them a nice lunch.  While I did the work, I made several little pizzas for the freezer.  I cleaned the kitchen while we all visited.  I had four of my little grandchildren here and there were plenty of dishes to do.  They enjoyed apple juice, pizza, and some muffins while they were here.  They also colored and used play-dough at the table.

I have to tell you that I was surprised that I had any energy left after such a busy morning!  But truthfully, all this work (combined with good nutrition and necessary rest) keeps us healthy. 

Another Break and Thoughts on Health

4.  It was time to stop and rest again.  This is a good time for me to explain the amazing health benefit of cleaning and exercising.  My mother had diabetes.  She was not an active person because she had a very social personality. Everywhere she went, she would stop to talk to everyone. She would stand in grocery store lines and visit with the other customers. She would sit at Ladies Bible study meetings and just talk and visit. At home, she was often sitting and talking to us, or talking on the phone. Everyone loved her, but this did not provide her much opportunity to be physically active.  She would have to force herself to stop everything and just walk.  This helped regulate her blood sugar levels.  Mom was also an excellent housekeeper. She often cleaned throughout the day.  This was another way to regulate her blood sugar levels.  She never thought about this, it was just a benefit of her keeping busy.

 I have the opposite problem. I have hypoglycemia. I have always had this. I would need to eat frequent, small meals to regulate my sugar levels.  However, I notice that when I am cleaning or exercising, or just going out on errands and keeping busy in the physical sense, I do not need to eat all the time.  I feel fine!

So when we are resting too much, or watching television too much, or reading too long, we often want to keep having snacks or meals!  We eat far more food, and much more often, when we are not physically busy. 

Keeping busy will maintain your weight and your good health.  Cleaning the house is going to provide you with more energy than you ever imagined! 

Have you ever felt like you were too sick or too tired to do anything?  Try cleaning for 15 minutes and you will notice a great improvement!  You will feel better.

Doing the Laundry

5.  I recently got so tired (and lazy) that I did not bother to fold or put away the laundry after the dryer stopped. I just piled it all in the basket.  All of a sudden I had to iron our clothes for church on Sunday. I had to iron many things over the next few days. All this because of one day when I did not bother to take the time to put away our laundry.

This week, I listened for the dryer and got right up and took care of it all.   It saved me a great deal of time and worry by just doing it right away instead of putting it off.

Dusting and Vacuuming

6. It took me 15 minutes to dust and vacuum the upstairs rooms.  I used a pink feather duster for some of the furniture.  Then I used furniture polish with a rag for the end-table and hutch. I loved taking down some family photographs, and pretty things, to dust and take care of them.

I have some very old, worn -out furniture.  There are scuffs and chips and scrapes over some of it. But with a good dusting, our humble belongings looked fresh, bright, shiny, and neat!

It is amazing how powerful modern vacuum cleaners are. If you have a good one, it doesn't take long to simply go over the carpets and make the rooms look nice.

Washing Windows and Mirrors

7.  It is hard to keep windows clean in winter. I can wash them from the inside only. But someone will need to get on a ladder to do the glass on the other side for most of the house.  Regardless of the trouble, it is still important to get a glass cleaner and wipe down those windows.  This does not take long at all.  I quickly cleaned all the mirrors. I just use a store brand glass cleaner and a cleaning rag. Everything looked fresh and smelled clean.

More Company

8.  Before the day was over, I had some company drop by.  I did a little crocheting as we visited.  This was a wonderful opportunity for me to take some time for a little bit of rest.  It is refreshing to visit and just be happy in the fellowship of others.

Cleaning the Stairs

9.  After the company left, I had a brownie and some ginger-ale.  I wasn't hungry so I thought I had better do another chore to work off that treat!  I gathered together a scrub brush and a bucket of hot, soapy water and went to clean the wooden staircase, which goes to our third floor.  I cleaned each step and the sides of the wall, all the way up. I did this slowly and used an old towel to dry each one as I finished. This was hard and time consuming work.  When I was halfway finished, I felt very tired. But I kept going. I had a goal to do this work, and I wanted to finish the job. But by the last two steps I felt weary. There is a big difference between feeling tired and being genuinely weary. We will always be tired. That is life. But when you are weary, it is time to stop. That was the last chore I did for the day. My work was done.

Little Jobs of Housekeeping

10.  Throughout the day, I will dust light fixtures, wipe down light switches, or sweep the entryway.  These little jobs of cleaning the house are often done at odd times, in the middle of simply living life.

Have you ever noticed your front entry and thought it would be good to just sweep and wash it real quick? Or maybe you notice a bit of dust accumulating on picture frames.  These tiny jobs take mere minutes and can be done whenever you feel discouraged by sitting still for too long. 

We can live our lives, doing projects, taking care of the family, and doing all the basics of home-keeping.  In the midst of all this, it is wonderful to just get up and do some little bit of cleaning to brighten the home.  You will find your strength and energy soar as your house becomes neat and pretty!

More Rest Than Work

11.  I have to add one more note to this.  We are all going to have our good and bad days. We may be in pain, or terribly ill. We may be stressed or have things come up that interfere with our ability to clean.  That is normal life.  I am not trying to run a marathon here. None of us need to try to win or be the best at housekeeping.  We need peace. We need contentment. We need to enjoy our days.  Mothers need to have more periods of rest, and refreshment, than labor.  This is important to keep us gentle and sweet.

I want to be rested enough to sit on the couch and read stories to grandbabies. I cannot wear myself out so much, from hard work, that I am useless.  The point of encouraging each other to clean our houses is to make the most of our time. It is to find all those spare moments to do the little jobs which will make our homes pleasant, while strengthening our health at the same time.  This is something we can all do, even if we only begin with a few minutes of effort.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Start Fresh - The First Housekeeping Day of the Year.

Training Children - Nobody Wants to Clean a Messy House.

A Welcome for the Family - The Kitchen is Ready.

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking." Paperback, 200 pages. 

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


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Mottoes in a Humble Home

The Lord's Prayer - Cross stitch by a family member of Mrs. White's

It was common for families to have a "Motto" to decorate the walls of their homes.  This might be a painting, some hand-printed letters, or something homemade in cross stitch.  Mottoes are considered "words to live by."  These can be Bible verses, comforting phrases, or common wisdom.

Girls in Colonial days would practice their handiwork by creating mottoes out of cross stitch. I have a replica of one such piece in my home. 

A Replica of an 1800's cross stitch in Mrs. White's home

The artist would stitch her name and the date.  Here is what is stitched in the above photograph:

"My Mother taught me
how to sew
And at the time
I did not know
That with every stitch
I now complete
with every row
I do so neat
My Mother's heart
is there with me
Guiding my hand for all to see

In an old episode of Father Knows Best there was a visiting salesman who asked Mrs. Anderson if she wanted to buy a "motto for her home."  This was something that he had made and framed himself and it was inexpensive.    These days, the term "motto" is not as common. But we do decorate our homes in this way, even if we just call it wall art or some other modern term.

I used to hand write out Bible verses and do a bit of humble artwork along with the writing. This was  like a homemade motto to decorate the home.

Hand-written Bible Verse by Mrs. White

I would just use a plain white index card to write out the verse, such as Psalm 37:3 in the photograph above.  Then I would tape it to construction paper to create a sort of frame for the card.  This one was placed on the wall in a child's bedroom.

We have also picked up little paintings from yard sales.  These may cost as little as ten cents or as much as a dollar.

"The Difference" obtained from a yard sale. This is on the parlour wall in Mrs. White's home.

Reading these sayings is so comforting!  They cheer one along the road of life!

When you enter our house, there is a door knocker that the grand-children love to use when they visit. I can hear the loud rapping on the door and I run to let them in.  Just below this door knocker is an old, beat up "Wall - Plate" inscribed with the main motto of our home, directly from Scripture.

Door Knocker and Scripture motto at Mrs. White's home.

The verse is from Joshua 24:15,  ". . . as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."  {The wall - plate, for those who are long -time readers, was something I bought early in my marriage at a tiny Christian store. It has been with us for nearly three decades, and has been in every apartment or home we have lived in.  It had been lost for a few years, but was recently found and restored to its rightful place.}

There are both humble mottoes and newer ones in our home.  One of my favorites contains the hymn, "Amazing Grace" with a beautiful painting above it.

Amazing Grace Wall art in Mrs. White's Day room.

I originally saw the Amazing Grace painting in a flower shop of a funeral home in rural Alabama.  It was a sad time, but I was so cheered by this painting.  In every funeral of my family, the service closes with everyone singing "Amazing Grace."  Shortly after seeing this, I came across this smaller version in a gallery's bankruptcy sale in the lobby of a rural mall. I was so happy to buy it at a fraction of its cost.  It inspires my faith and comforts me every time I look at it.

We also have magnets that cheer us along. This one has a beautiful lighthouse and is paired with a comforting Scripture verse.

Magnet in Mrs. White's home.

We keep this on the front of the refrigerator. I love the ocean scene, the light from the lighthouse, and the precious words from Psalm 27:1.

On the wall of my bedroom is a beautiful painting that brings me great peace. 

Painting in Mrs. White's Home.

I had originally bought this for my mother right after she became a widow.  Dad was her cowboy, her protector.  The verse from Isaiah 46:4, along with the beautiful picture, brought her great comfort and peace.  Now that Mother has gone home to Heaven to be with Dad, this painting is in my room to remind me of the precious promise of our Lord.

There are difficult days when we all get very anxious and worried. This is especially true when we are worried about the trials and troubles of teenagers and grown children.  A very dear lady made this gift for me:

Cross stitch of Philippians 4:6-7 in Mrs. White's Home

She did the cross stitch and her husband made the frame. This is a precious gift that really brings me a great deal of peace. When I start to worry, I just read this and I give all my burdens and worries to the Lord.

We have a lovely painting right in our parlour, above the coat rack. We found it at a yard sale, many years ago.   It is so pretty and contains The Lord's Prayer.

The Lord's Prayer painting on Mrs. White's parlour wall.

It is lovely to have pretty things to look at throughout the home.  The sayings bring us comfort, remind us of our focus, and encourage us.  Anyone who enters our home knows what our motto is!

I came across a photograph from the Library of Congress.  A Photographer from the U.S. Farm Administration visited a family and took some pictures. Here is one of a boy sitting next to a Motto in his home:

Library of Congress: "George Ray Campbell and the motto by which his family lives, Washington, D.C., 1943"
The Motto says, "Jesus Never Fails."

There is another picture to go with this one, of this young boy with his mother in their kitchen. It is an old time Christian family like many of us, even today.

Library of Congress: 1943 "Washington, D.C. The Campbell family at home after church."

A humble home is a place where materialism is not the focus.   It is a place of rest and old time values.  It is where the simple life originates. Filling our surroundings with old time mottoes of comfort and encouragement is a precious way to build our courage and faith. It will bring a smile of cheer, and a nod of contented peace.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

We Must Always Remember - The House Comes First.

Getting Through Hard Times - A New England Winter on a Small Income.

Create Happiness in - Poor and Pretty Living.

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking." Paperback, 200 pages. 

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


Friday, December 21, 2018

A Christmas Break

Library of Congress:  American Homestead Winter, 1868, Currier and Ives.

In my childhood days, at Christmas time, school was out for the remainder of the year.  We children were so happy to get to stay home for several days.  We would go sledding in our large hilly yard.  We would make snow-men and snow-houses. We would take walks to the corner store for treats.  The snowy neighborhood would be full of children playing and families walking.  Then we would go indoors to play games and read by the heater.

My mother was home with us, as most mothers were in those days.  She did her usual routine of cooking, cleaning, and just puttering around the house doing projects or visiting on the telephone.  She helped us with our coats, mittens, boots, and hats. She served us hot soup, and grilled cheese sandwiches, to warm us up after being out in the cold air. 

We were always inventing fun things to do around the house and yard.  My mother did not have to entertain us or worry about our being bored. Often, we had just received new clothes, pajamas, and some fun toys for Christmas.  We were delighted to be able to spend days playing with everything.

Our house was all decorated in traditional, humble ways.  There would be a Christmas song book on the piano, opened up to carols we could sing.  We loved those old traditional songs!  This was our favorite thing to do each afternoon. Mom would be in the kitchen, working on the laundry, or sweeping the floor, and she would suddenly hear the sound her children playing the piano in the other room.  I can imagine her smiling face, even now. 

We had art supplies, pencils, paper, and paint.  We would go from one project to another, and then do some chores, cleaning up, and then have our meals at the large kitchen table. The days always went by so quickly and then Dad would be home from work.  This was the time for rest and a winding down of the day.

Our evening routine was always the same, whether we were on Christmas vacation, or enjoying a summer weekend.  Dad would visit with Mother at the kitchen table and have coffee and some treat.  Then mother would get our supper started, while Dad rested in the recliner.  We would go from room to room talking to Mom or Dad or just playing throughout the house until we got that wonderful call from the kitchen saying that "supper is ready!"

On these winter nights, after we children helped clean the kitchen, Dad would start a fire in the fireplace.  We would watch a television program with our parents and enjoy a quiet evening with the family. 

These special times during the Christmas season are common in many families throughout history.  This winter break at home is just like how it ought to be all year round. It is a happy, peaceful time. It is a time of resting from materialism and consumerism.  It is a time to be with family and to have a happy home.

 How wonderful it would be if we could continue this with the coming generation of children and grandchildren - showing them, by the way we live, how precious it is to create a haven of rest for the family in an old fashioned home.

Merry Christmas from the White House!

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

It means Everything to be - Just a Housewife.

The Comfort of Home - The Light in the Window.

In Financial Trials We Need - Mothers With Christmas Courage.

Mrs. White's special book for homemakers:"Introduction to Home Economics:  Gentle Instruction to Find Joy in Christian Homemaking." Paperback, 200 pages. 

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


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