Monday, April 20, 2009

Mary at the Farm

Dear Reader,

Thank you for stopping by today; we hope you had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying this new day. The sun is shining here and the birds are singing. If we had not been caring for Frankie and Evangeline while they both had fevers last night, we would have missed the birds' pre-dawn welcoming songs; so ethereal!

We have been reading a book lately that we have enjoyed very much. We downloaded and printed it from Project Gutenberg, but may end up being a "real" copy, too. It is titled "Mary at the Farm", by Edith M. Thomas, and was written in 1915. It is a "domestic manual" disguised as a novel, which is always an interesting format. The storyline follows Mary, the Great Niece, coming to visit the farm and learn from her Aunt Sarah how to set up housekeeping before her upcoming marriage.

Here are some tidbits you may enjoy (With photography by Audrey):

"The Housekeeper's Symphony"

To do the best I can, from morn till night.
And pray for added strength with coming light;
To make the family income reach alway,
With some left over for a rainy day;
To do distasteful things with happy face,
To try and keep the odds and ends in place.
To smile instead of frown at Fate,
Which placed me in a family always late
For meals; to do the sewing, mending and
The thousand small things always near at hand,
And do them always with a cheerful heart,
Because in life they seem to be my part;
To know the place of everything and keep
It there, to think, to plan, to cook, to sweep,
To brew, to bake, to answer questions,
To be the mainspring of the family clock
(Or that effect) and see that no tick, tock
Is out of time or tune, or soon or late,
This is the only symphony which I
Can ever hope to operate.

~Marion Wiley

John Landis was a successful farmer because he loved his work, and found joy in it. While not unmindful of the advantages possessed by the educated farmer of the present day, he said, "Tis not college lore our boys need so much as practical education to develop their efficiency. While much that we eat and wear comes out of the ground, we should have more farmers, the only way to lower the present high cost of living, which is such a perplexing problem to the housewife. There is almost no limit to what might be accomplished by some of our bright boys should they make agriculture a study. Luther Burbank says, "To add but one kernel of corn to each ear grown in this country in a single year would increase the supply five million bushels."

Sarah Landis loved the wholesome, earthy odors of growing plants and delighted in her flowers, particularly the perennials, which were planted promiscuously all over the yard. I have frequently heard her quote: "One is nearer God's heart in a garden than any place else on earth." And she would say, "I love the out-of-door life, in touch with the earth; the natural life of man or woman." Inside the fence of the kitchen garden were planted straight rows of both red and yellow currants, and several gooseberry bushes. In one corner of the garden, near the summer kitchen, stood a large bush of black currants, from the yellow, sweet-scented blossoms of which Aunt Sarah's bees, those "Heaven instructed mathematicians," sucked honey. Think of Aunt Sarah's buckwheat cakes, eaten with honey made from currant, clover, buckwheat, and dandelion blossoms!

"Tis not good deeds alone for which we receive our reward, but for the performance of duty well done, in however humble circumstance our lot is cast."

"Mary, sometimes small beginnings amke great endings; if you make the best of your small belongings, some day your homely surroundings will be metamorphosed into what, in your present circumstances, would seem like extravagant luxuries. An economical young couple, beginning life with a homely, home-made rag carpet, have achieved in middle-age, by their own energy and industry, carpets of tapestry and rich velvet, and costly furniture in keeping; but, never--never, dear, are they so valued, I assure you, as those inexpensive articles, conceived by our inventive brain and manufactured by our own deft fingers during our happy Springtime of life when, with our young lover husband, we built our home nest on the foundation of pure, unselfish, self-sacrificing love."

We're off to prick out our tomato seedlings now, who are sadly wanting attention (Our human babies must come before our green ones, after all!), and to see if we can beat the quack grass at its attempt at all-out invasion.

May you have a Marvellous Monday!




  1. Dear Mama,
    i like the post!!!!!!!!!
    i love you and i like you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. That was lovely! Thank you very much for sharing. Hope the children feel well soon.

  3. Dear Marqueta,

    What a great post! Thank you so much for sharing.

    I especifically liked the part where the farmer says that we don't need more college educated young men, but more farmers.

    Amen to that.


    Lady M

  4. Marqueta, lovely post. I love the part about humble beginnings being so much more precious than the luxuries that are eventually won from hard work and persistence. They both are fine stages of life to be in, but I think back to when we had little furniture, but an armful of babies, and those are the best memories EVER!


    PS - I hope your babies are feeling better.



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