Monday, January 28, 2013
Friday, January 25, 2013
Frugal, to borrow the well-loved Victorian attribute, and Green, as we would say in the 21st century.
For a while now, I've been intrigued by the safe cleaning solutions so in vogue today. Applied liberally with elbow grease, they're much tried by those wanting to save money, save the planet, and save their health from nasty allergies.
The mixture I settled on, (and there's loads on the internet you can experiment with) takes a minute to put together. Here's mine...
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 tsp oil
That's it. Mix together, dunk your cloth in, squeeze, and alternate damp flannels with lemon rind in a deep glass jar. Leave overnight and do as I did today, when I took down all the Christmas decorations - give the place a deep dusting.
My verdict? Not bad. The vinegary smell doesn't linger, and the lemon makes up for that anyway. There's just enough oil to leave a light shine on furniture, and enough dampness to pick up dust without pushing it around the way a dry cloth does. Very downstairs maid of me, if I may say so myself.
But there were corners I couldn't reach, where the vacuum cleaner extension arm did the trick. I wondered what my Victorian counterpart would have done. Feather duster, I imagine.
Mrs Beeton's book of all things household management
recommends a long handled brush of feathers or a goose wing.
A goose wing!! But don't worry. I won't be leaving for any wild goose chases in a hurry.
No, sufficient for me is the knowledge God covers me with His wing. Nothing limp and lifeless as a poor goose's lost appendage. But lavish, and generous in its reach. Vast, with enough to cover, tuck and keep me safe. Fierce, like an eagle. Proud, like a mother.
I've mulled over God's way of making all things good again, as I've wiped away the Christmas tinsel and the dust of summer. And I've pondered the way oil, vinegar, and especially wings, are symbols of how God gathers and restores.
What a blessing I've had today, even as I've gone about the mundane of this world, to remember the unfathomable love of God who always draws me to a safe place.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Friday, January 18, 2013
|Late 19th century jam pan - Ratty and Moles Riverbank Antiques, Warrandyte|
Crabapple House is a big home on a tiny block of land. Somehow, we've managed to squeeze in as many fruit bearing trees, as well as a raspberry patch and a veggie garden. All to satisfy my longing to live on a farm. (Still don't have that goat though.)
What I do have is the bounty of summer, all lined up like soldiers in my hallway cupboard. My personal treasure trove of home-made goodies, preserved to last all year long.
And my favourite is apricot jam. Each summer we fight the rosellas for fruit and this year is no different. Thankfully, it's a win-win. They come to pick the trees clean - we hear and run out to frighten them away. To mock us, they peck as much fruit as they can before flying away - and we snatch it back to cover the kitchen table.
|Before and After - Summer at Crabapple House|
In the Victorian era, when apricots were no longer in season, carrots were substituted as a fair imitation. I don't think I'll ever go that far. I'll stick to my summer tradition of real apricots for apricot jam. Luscious and sweet, I love to see my ripe fruit, some sun-bleminshed, others casualties of bird attack, saved and turned into something with a purpose.
And here's what I've learned from summer jam making.
This time next week, I should be back to my everyday routine. And ready to share the next in my 52 Steps to Yesteryear. Inspired by what I know needs doing at home, my prompt is - homemade furniture polish. Yes, you read that right. You'll see why next week...
Friday, January 11, 2013
and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup. Wendell Berry.
|Fresh Raspberries - Crabapple House|
I guess with Berry for a name, Wendell Berry knew a thing or two about fruit. Here at Crabapple House, we too are learning the deliciousness of the raspberry patch. We've only had ours for three years, but in that time we've held it back by thinning out the plants and giving away as many as we can throw at people.
During the Victorian era, malnourished Irish children tempted by blackberry bushes often met with overcharged stomachs. Full to overflowing with wild berries from hedgerows, some cases of gorging on unripe fruit even led to deaths.
|Some for today - Some for tomorrow|
At Crabapple House our crop delights us for a short time. This year, we even had enough to freeze some for later in the year. But the fun of foraging through a hedge remains the same as in days gone by, when berry hunts fuelled competition as well as happy bellies.
Better still, those dawn moments Wendell Berry knew so well, when the competition is low and the fruit count high. Enough to fill, and spill, over the best raspberry cup.
Do you grow berries? Drive into the country to pick your own?
Many thanks to those who shared a lemonade story last Friday, for out first week of 52 Weeks to Yesteryear. For her sweet story, Di Riley will be receiving a packet of paper star straws to use when she's next serving a jug of something cool. Congratulations, Di.
Next week's prompt... Jam Making.
Friday, January 04, 2013
|Yes, this really is our beach at Phillip Island.|
|Cute paper straws and mint for my raspberry lemonade.|