Sunday, 28 June 2009

Grandmother's Household Hints

This is the title of a wonderful American book by Helen Lyon Adamson from 1963. It's a wonderful book, full of very useful knowledge, wrought from experience, on all aspects of domestic life. REading ti goes to who just hwo hard a lot of women have had things over the years, and makes me look like a bit of a slacker..........
This is one of my favourite passages:

"Among the extracurricular activities our grandmothers of that era could be expected to do were such oddly assorted subjects as sudden emergencies due to accidents; the making of wine; oreparing diets of invalids; knowing how to concoct medicines for many minor and some major ills; wage war agains rodents, insects and other vermin; bake bread twice a week; turn out the Monday wash, the Tuesday folding, and the Wednesday ironing; prepare and serve three meals a day; keep the well pure, make its water soft and run a vegetable patch; keep the house sparkling clean, paint a bedrolom, whitewasht he kitchen and extinguish chimney fires; make her own soap, mix her own paint, compound her own cosmetics; grow her own medicinal and kitchen herbs or collect them int he woods or fields; bottle a barrel of cider, put up preserves and bring up a family; care for a milch cow, make butter and cheese; dye wool and cotton, mix furniture,shoe, floor and razor-strop polish - also to find time to rest and recharge her rundown batteries lest she be called upon to deal with someone's attack of delirium tremens"

HHmm. I'm off for a cup of coffee and a sit down before I make a start !

I'll post some more bits and pieces as it's a fascinating insight into domestic life mostly now gone.

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