Old Time Homemaking

Part of the Grounds at Mrs. White's home in Vermont.

Last week, in the early hours of the morning, we had to drive through a nearby town.  The roads were quiet and peaceful without much traffic.  As we were enjoying the scenery, an unusual sight appeared. It was a beautiful horse and buggy coming down the road.  An Amish family were sitting comfortably in four of the seats, heading home from an early morning drive.  This is a rare vision, for us, because a few Amish families only moved here a few years ago.  I am always inspired by their quiet, old fashioned way of living.  It was like watching a living museum as we passed by them.  I wanted some of their peace, knowing they never watch the news or hear it on the radio.  They continue on each day living their daily, precious ways that many of us have lost sight of. It is a way of being in the world, but not of it.  It is great trust and faith in the Lord for all things.

This has encouraged me in my homemaking.  The last few weeks, I have been home a great deal. I am avoiding the stores as much as possible. I have plenty of time to pace myself throughout the day. I clean and cook and rest. It is a blessing to be productive at home, doing the old time work that housewives have always done throughout the generations.

 We have had to set up a garden this year.  The seeds were ordered in the beginning of April.  Our last frost, in our region, is in late May.  We have been enjoying wonderful, homegrown food.  Even though we do not have much money, I have been able to go outside, each day, and gather a modest harvest to have a simple lunch.

Fresh peas and lettuce from Mrs. White's garden.

 It is easier to live on a small income when one must rely on Yankee ingenuity to get by with limited resources. Even though we have a great deal to learn about growing our own food, and getting the energy to do the work, we have been able to enjoy fresh food from our own property.

Yankee - style garden with homemade posts at Mrs. White's Vermont home.

My husband has been gathering whatever scrap supplies he could find, from our garage, to build a humble garden this season. (His disability causes him to work much slower than he would like. He has to take many breaks.)  We are growing peas, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, strawberries, and blueberries.  We hope to add more next year.

I love to take a break from my housework to go outside and walk the grounds.  We found some wild blackberries at the perimeter of the property.  It was such a sweet treat on a hot summer day.  As we walk, we check the plants, our flowers, linger at the river behind our humble Estate, and then stop to do some necessary weeding of the garden.  We walk and work together so the burden does not rest too heavily on one person.

Sometimes, in the late afternoon, I go into one of the front rooms.  I have rearranged furniture and set up a card table in this room.  I like to listen to an old record of gospel music, sit at the table, enjoying the view, and do a little writing.  Some days I will simply sit by the french doors and do some hand-sewing.  This is an incredible room to just think on that which is lovely and feel the blessing of peace and joy, knowing the Lord will take care of us.

A Room for Writing and Sewing at Mrs. White's Vermont Home. (An old gospel record is on the table.)

I have been listening to The Isom Lee Trio.  This was a church singing group of a father and his two adult daughters.  Mr. Lee was a preacher who encouraged and inspired whoever was blessed to hear his sermons.  Many years ago, my father gave me a tape of Reverend's Lee's last sermon. It is incredible and such a blessing.  Now I have a record of their old time gospel singing. The songs and piano are something like you would hear in old southern churches.  It is from another time, a precious time, of faith and godly living that we dearly need in these modern days.

Dad had a record player here, when he and mother used to live with us.  They lived here with us for 9 years. At one point we had four generations living together in this old house.  I now keep his record player in our front room.  While I sit and hand sew cloth napkins, or do some mending, I can listen to the hymns of Tennessee Ernie Ford or the Isom Lee Trio on the old record player.

The Record Player in Mrs. White's cedar cabinet in the front room, here in Vermont.

Listening to the gospel songs, from the old days, encourages me in living the old ways. This was a time when family was the center of home life rather than materialism or the constant pursuit of entertainment.  It was a time when money was used for practical purposes and frivolity was rare.

Here at our Vermont Estate, we live simply and on my husband's income. We are a one - income family. I am a housewife and am grateful for the privilege of staying home. But there is a cost.  There is a great deal of old time work to live within one's humble means.  We must think of duty and practicality.  There is plenty of work we must do, each day, even if we struggle with our health.  We are very careful with the funds we are provided with. We have to find ways to save money for emergencies, annual bills, and repairs.  One of my children called it a "Walton's Budget," referring to "The Waltons" television program.  The family saved up to meet the needs of problems and necessities. They always expected many rainy days and had to save all they could. I love that thought of calling it a "Walton's Budget."  These modern days, people save for vacations, to buy a new boat, or to go on a shopping spree.   Many have no idea how to live on a limited income.  It is old time family homemaking. It is a way of life that brings great peace and rest in simple living with a great faith in God.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Wisdom from Colonial Days - To Earn and Not to Spend.

Good Management - The Housekeeper's Budget.

Old Time Ways - Standard of Living.

Find Home-keeping Inspiration, and little visits from our home, 
 in Mrs.White's book - For The Love of Christian Homemaking.  
Paperback, 274 pages.

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