Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Fun Cleaning Song

Dear Reader,

So wonderful to have you by again! Mr. Graham had his last performance of "The Pirates of Penzance" on Monday, but Frankie insists that we not forget it!

Nothing comforts when you're sick like watching the "Pirate Ting"!

The songs of Gilbert and Sullivan are highly habit-forming, even creeping into our minds during our devotional time. So we thought we would take advantage of this, and wrote some new lyrics for the song "When the Foeman Bares His Steel", to make cleaning time fun (I know you're thinking, "But I thought cleaning time WAS fun!). We share the words with you, and a link to a performance on YouTube , in case you don't have a copy of the music at your home. The singing of the song works best when there are at least two people involved, so someone can "echo." The actual song is actually very complicated toward the end, so we just kind of ad-lib that part.


We Will Get the House Cleaned Up

(To the tune of “When the Foeman Bares His Steel”)

We will get the house cleaned up

(Clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up)

We will wash up evr’y cup

(Clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up)

All the laundry we will fold

(Clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up)

Ere the day is very old.

(Clean up, clean up.)

As we’re cleaning, we will sing.

(Clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up)

We will think of happy things;

(Clean up, clean up.)

Though we haven’t made a dent,

And our strength is nearly spent.

And our strength is nearly spent.

(Clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up, etc.)

Grab your duster, and your broom stick,

Don’t forget your mop and bucket!

Get the corners and the door knobs;

And wipe down the cupboard doors!

There’s a cobweb and a bread crumb,

And a spot upon the mirror!

Spray on vinegar and water.

Clean until the whole house shines!

(Clean until the whole house shines!

Clean until the whole house shines!)

Though we’d like to run and hide,

(Clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up.)

We’ll just keep that thought inside.

(Clean up, clean up.)

So we’ll put our aprons on,

(Clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up.)

And our rubber gauntlets don.

(Clean up, clean up.)

And we’ll clean with all our might,

Till the day turns into night.

(Clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up.)

Till the house is spic and span;

Yes, the house is spic and span.

(Clean up, clean up, clean up, clean up.)

Go and do your best endeavor

All will think you’re very clever.

Sparkling clean the house had better

Be before the day is thru!

(Be before the day is thru!)

For the floors are yuck and dirty,

Germs are everywhere and hurty;

Mice have nests in backs of cupboards

And spiders are spinning filthy webs!

Though this cleaning can be dull;

On our nerves it sure can pull.

And we’ll have to clean again,

For this place is a pig pen.

Still we’ll clean with all our might.

We will give the dirt a fright;

For we know it must be done.

Then we’ll rest out in the sun;

(Yes, we’ll give the dirt a fright,

For we know it must done.

For we know it must be done,

Then we’ll rest out in the sun.

Must be done,

In the sun

Must be done,

In the sun.)

Grab your duster, and your broom stick,

Don’t forget your mop and bucket!

Get the corners and the door knobs;

And wipe down the cupboard doors!

There’s a cobweb and a bread crumb,

And a spot upon the mirror!

Spray on vinegar and water.

Clean until the whole house shines!

Don’t forget the toilet bowl!

Use a little pumice stone!

Yes, we go to clean!

Away, away! Go clean!

Yes, we go clean now!

All right, we go

Yes, we go

Yes, yes, we’re going to go

We’re going to go

We’re going to go

We’re going to go

We’re going to scrub up that toilet!

Then get going!

WE GO!!!

WE GO!!!!!



Friday, April 24, 2009

Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

~Christina G. Rossetti

Dear Reader,

A happy Friday to you! Thank you so much for coming by, and for your precious comments. We are happy today to have Mr. Graham back from Wyoming, where he away on business for the last two days. Somehow life does not seem to flow the same, when all of the family are not at home.

Do not you love the dress in the above painting by Waterhouse? Of course, you and I would have put on a practical apron before stuffing its skirt with windflowers, wouldn't we? And the sleeves would get in the way of flower-picking, as well; but such a lovely combination of pink and white, with such voluminous folds that one could hide twins inside and none would be the wiser!

Here is a better picture of the hummingbird teapot we used for Thursday's Tea, for Lady M~

And here is our cottonwood bud oil (We were able to gather a few more buds last week), sharing the windowsill with our pink geranium. We think it is about done, and that we will make it into an ointment when it is~

The weather is a little chilly to enjoy much yard work, but we can still walk about and check on the progress of the good things growing about the place.

We were excited yesterday to notice a few of the peas we planted peeking up at us, as well as this one, that re-seeded from a pod we failed to harvest last year!

The comfrey is coming up nicely, and we have four nice-sized plants now (This is their third year of growth), so we'll have plenty of greens for blender drinks, and for snacking on (This, believe it or not, was one of my favorite snacks from childhood: Comfrey leaves rolled up so the prickly side was on the inside!)~

We love the Johnny-Jump-Ups that volunteer here, there, and everywhere. They are also called violas, hearts-ease, or Marguerites. They are high in vitamin C, and the flowers are a lovely addition to salads and punch bowls~

We planted some red orach seeds from Baker Creek Seeds last year, and let some plants go to seed. We thought we harvested them all, but were surprised to find large bunches of little red sprouts coming up this spring! Red orach is a lambs-quarter relative, which grows very high and is a very decorative, edible green. Let me know if you want me to save you some seeds from this year's crop!

The multiplier onions we thought we'd killed off have resurrected~

And this appears to be lovage, although we don't remember planting any (Especially so close to the blue hyssop!)~

The girls had the opportunity of doing a little Family History research with their grandma last Sunday, while Frankie and Evangeline were sick. We have a little Pioneer cemetery in the nearby town of Goshen, where our Hess ancestors are buried (Hmm, did Audrey include the spruce cone for size comparison?).

This gravestone was not of an ancestor, but it DID give AnnaMarie an "ominous presentiment"!
Graveyards always give us a sense of profound peace, that when life's trials are over, we will find rest in the Lord, if we are faithful to him.

May you have a wonderful (Even if windy) day wherever you are, and may the Lord's blessings shine down upon you and your loved ones.



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday Tea-Time

Dear Reader,

A pleasant morning to you! We've been meaning for weeks to have a tea party and catch it on film, so as to participate in Emily's "Thursday Tea-Time", and yesterday we finally did it! It was a rather last-minute affair, since we wanted to invite Grandma (My mum) after planting all those raspberries.

The lilies from my birthday are still gracing the table

The first wildflowers of the season!

We had apples, carrots, and toast to eat, and peppermint/hibiscus tea to drink. We like to add hibiscus to whatever infusion we're making, as we agree with Anne of Green Gables that red drinks taste better!

We used our hummingbird teapot and vintage Hostess snack set, both thrifted treasures.

Thanks, Emily, for the great idea!

May your day be blessed and happy,




Happily the hyacinths are blooming!

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,

and from thy slender store

Two loaves alone to thee are left,

Sell one, and with the dole

Buy Hyacinths to feed thy Soul.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mud-Pies and Raspberries

Dear Reader,

How nice of you to stop by today! We have been busy (On top of nursing the two littlest through their recuperations) the last few days planting all the trees, flowers, and raspberries my mum has brought out from her yard.

Her yard is the opposite of our yard, with too many trees and flowers (We're still not sure how that's possible, but we're glad to take the "volunteers'' off of her hands!).

What is happening in this picture? Perhaps Grandma is singing an aria from "Madame Butterfly"!

The weather has been nice enough to make mud pies, when we aren't busy working, and for going to the river and playing Little House on the Prairie, wading and catching frogs.

Looks almost good enough to eat!

Do you recognize this species of frog? We think it's a chorus frog, but we're not sure.

Thankfully, the weather forecast predicts colder temperatures and rain, so that we might have a chance to recover from our spring frolicking for a while!

We hope you have been enjoying a bit of gardening and fresh air, as well.



from the book "Family Fun", written in 1931:

"Our increasing leisure time holds for family recreation both a promise and a challenge. This promise is that the time will come when no father or mother will have an excuse to say, "I can't play with you now, I'm tired. Run along, please!" Already mothers are freed from much of the drudgery of yesteryear's housework through labor-saving inventions. Homemakers should gain more and more time to play. And, as production in industry is speeded, the working day must grow shorter. In not so many years we should have fathers coming home from work, not to an armchair and dozing over the newspaper, but early in the afternoon for outdoor play with their families and friends....

Fun in the home is as important as food."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tip-sharing Tuesday: Creative Treats for Children

Dear Reader,

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to come visit with us for a while! We appreciate so much the friendships that we have made, all over the world.

This morning, as we were wondering how we were going to function with sleep-deprived and feverish little ones, when we heard Mozart drifting in from the kitchen, and dishes being washed. Dear AnnaMarie, who will be 12 next month, took it upon herself to make breakfast for everyone, including a take-along breakfast and lunch for her father. She set the table with daylilies and silk roses, and had toast cut into triangles, along with oatmeal and strawberries for everyone. What a blessing to have such children, who by little things greatly enrich their mother's life! Thank you, sweet AnnaMarie.

We'd like to share some healthful things we give our children to chew or suck on, in place of candies or other sweets. Believe or not, most children readily enjoy natural sweets, if trained early! Ours love chewing on cinnamon sticks, licorice root sticks, and cardamom and fennel seeds; they also like sucking on whole cloves, but we don't recommend chewing them, as they are a little strong! All these things are good for the teeth, and promote a healthy digestive system. When we remember, we like to give them cloves to suck on before bed, to help strengthen their teeth and gums. Cloves also numb tooth and gum pain, when chewed on and the juice held in the mouth for as long as possible. Having a nice little mint patch outside is a blessing for children, too, as they can "graze" on it whenever they are out playing. Mint is a wonderful general tonic, and aids in relieving tummy aches.

Thank you again, dear friends, for your support and sweet comments.

May your day be a blessed one,



p.s. Dad writes about the rangy Moose he's known in A Natural History of My Father


More wisdom from "Mary at the Farm"~

"I never saw any one else have so much poetry in a book of cooking recipes."

"Perhaps not, but you know, Mary, I believe in combining pleasure with my work, and our lives are made up of poetry and prose, and some lives are so very prosy. Many times when too tired to look up a favorite volume of poems, it has rested me to turn the pages of my recipe book and find some helpful thought, and a good housewife will always keep her book of recipes where it may be readily found for reference. . . .I know it appears odd to see so many of my favorite poems sandwiched in between old, valued cooking recipes, but, Mary, the happiness of the home life depends so largely on the food we consume. On the preparation and selection of the food we eat depends our health, and on our health is largely dependent our happiness and prosperity."

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!



Friday, April 17, 2009

A Very Merry Day

Dear Reader,

Just when we thought we couldn't take another rainy/snowy day,

When the old pickup was losing its appeal as a getaway spot. . . .
When even our beloved books all but lost their charm . . .

When there weren't any more new species of half-cat/half-chair to discover,

Things warmed up and we could play outside!

It was even warm enough for the first outdoor bath of the year (And also necessary, since some of us were mud-encrusted!). . .

Although one at a time DOES fit better in the tub!

And before we knew it, the day was over, and we fell asleep sunburned but happily dreaming of our day in the sun!

We hope your day was as wonderful, too! Thank you for the sweet birthday comments, one and all.



p.s. Did you know that sunshine is necessary for good digestion? And, according to Dr. Christopher, the sun does not actually CAUSE cancer, it only draws cancer to the surface. But, like the good Dr. says, moderation in all things! Sunburns still hurt!


No Rainbow

By Christina G. Rossetti

If all were rain and never sun,
No bow would span the hill;
If all were sun and never rain
There'd be no rainbow still!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another Trip Around the Sun

Dear Reader,

We welcome you to Merry Rose Cottage today, and hope that you are having as a wonderful day as we. Besides being Tax Day, and the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, it also brings the anniversary of my birth, a whole 36 years ago (Funny, I still feel like I'm 10!).

Everyone asks what special thing I'm going to do for my birthday, but I really can't think of anything I'd rather do than spend the day all cozy at home with my little family. Of course, since it's supposed to rain and snow today, a trip to the Bahamas MIGHT entice me out of my home!

My husband bought me a locally-made "Hand-warmer" mug for tea.

I love the little happy remembrances of my children, who have given me lots of hugs and kisses, and a plateful of strawberries and Perrier (from AnnaMarie). Perrier and the garden seeds I ordered from France will have to count as my birthday trip to Paris I keep threatening to take every year. The drizzling outside is just like being in the City of Lights, anyway! Minus the Eiffel Tower, of course.

A few token from my Mother-in-Love;

Audrey Hepburn videos (We admire HER more than her movies!),

And a beautiful print of an Amish girl holding a chicken (Someone must know of our dream of moving to a farm with Amish neighbors!)

My husband bought me the 1970s version of Little Women, which Frankie is actually allowing us to watch instead of Pirates of Penzance. I hadn't known there WAS such a version until this morning. Aside from the inevitable 70s costuming and twisting of a few plot details, it's an enjoyable show. Since I don't remember many details from the book (I was in labor with Tasha when I read it first), I'll have to re-read the novel (Good thing I just finished Anne of Green Gables!).

May your day be full of sunshine and happiness.



p.s. Speaking of Paris, this was in my email today; you might enjoy it (Excuse the "h" word!).
My Heart is Like a Singing Bird
Christina G. Rosseti

My heart is like a singing bird

Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a purple sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleur-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love, is come to me.

"She is too fond of books, and it has turned her head." ~Louisa May Alcott

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter to Our Dear Friends!


Sing, soul of mine, this day of days.
The Lord is risen.
Toward the sunrising set thy face.
The Lord is risen.
Behold He giveth strength and grace;
For darkness, light; for mourning, praise;
For sin, his holiness; for conflict, peace.

Arise, O soul, this Easter Day!
Forget the tomb of yesterday,
For thou from bondage art set free;
Thou sharest in His victory
And life eternal is for thee,
Because the Lord is risen.

~Author Unknown

Dear Reader,

Welcome today to Merry Hearts Cottage; we're so glad to have you here, and hope you are having a blessed day.

We barely finished the girls' Easter bonnets (AnnaMarie shows great potential in the millinery field, as well as decorating!) before bedtime last night. We wish we'd had time for dresses too, but fortunately their last year's Easter dresses still fit, so we made hats to match.

My sister and her family were visiting from Utah, which we greatly enjoyed. We did the second egg hunt of the day with her little adopted China doll, Skye.

This morning was cloudy and breezy, creating a gorgeous golden/pink sunrise, but now the sun is shining in a beautiful, blue sky with puffs of cumulus confection. No wonder we love blue and white! They are Heaven's hope-filled colors of the day. Of course, we love all the colors of the rainbow, each being our favorite whenever it fills the sky!

Each day should be a reminder of us of the Eternal Sunrise which will occur upon the Savior's return to earth. The night of death and sin shall be over forever, and we shall be forever embraced in the arms of His love. May we all draw closer to Him, day after beautiful day, though we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Love and blessings,