Discovery while writing Hidden Legacy
edited: Monday, July 05, 2010
By margaret hodapp
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Friday, February 17, 2006
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I enjoyed writing Hidden Legacy but was also interested in the life of those times for women . . .
A housewife did not run to the store for the items that she needed for daily life. Cream was skimmed from the top of the milk and collected until there was enough to churn for butter. Soap had to be made before the laundry could be done. No washing machines or vacuum cleaners sat waiting idly for the lady of the house to use them. Their daily bread was made from scratch; not purchased already sliced, packaged and ready to eat. Gardening was different in the past, too. It was not recreational or enjoyed idly as a hobby like in modern times. Food had to be grown and processed for the winter or the family went hungry. Vegetable gardens were a necessity and tended carefully. Wild plants and plump fruits, such as blackberries and strawberries were collected when in season to add variety to the diet of the day. Occasionally, smoked or dried meat was purchased at general stores or from neighbors, but more often meat was processed at home after being raised by hand for that purpose by the family. Wild game, including rabbits, deer, squirrel and at times even raccoon and groundhogs were baked or fried for a variety in their meals. Vegetables were not the only plants cultivated for use in their gardens by these women Thyme and the fennel were planted in the herb beds and once the fennel had gone to seed, the seeds made a wonderful sauce for fresh caught fish. Herb beds of the time routinely included horseradish, sage, parsley, marjoram, chives, mint, dill, and summer savory. Some were cut fresh for use in the summer while others were dried for later when the growing season was over. The habit of planting hops in the garden to make a yeast culture for baking was common. Medicinal herbs and plants were tended and bottled as the medical knowledge of the women of this time was often the only type of medical care available. Columbine was stored to be mixed with fresh milk and used for coughs. Many women of the villages planted poppy, dwale, or borage. These were advanced medicinal herbs for the period. The first two were used for sleep inducing and the last for proper knitting of bones after surgery. Women worked hard in all kinds of temperatures. Their layers of clothing kept them warmer in the winter months but it must have been a chore even for these ladies to dress in the morning. I admire the strength and energy of the women of our past. However, I believe that I prefer to live in my modern times. I can throw on a pair of jeans, jump in the car and run to town whenever I want . . or order a pizza and not have to cook.