Sunday, December 28, 2014

Winter Housekeeping

"There are various ways of keeping eggs; all of those given below are good.

Greased Eggs.  -- Warm some fat of almost any kind, put the eggs in; cover them quite, take them out and lay them in an old tin or earthen vessel; paste them up, or better, cement with the tin, as named elsewhere, and they will be found good all winter.

Eggs in Lime. -- Pour 2 gallons hot water of 1 pint lime, and 1/2 pint salt; when cold put some eggs in a jar, and pour it over them; be sure there are no cracked ones. - R.H.

Keeping Eggs. -- Having tried many ways of preserving eggs, I have found the following to be th easiest, cheapest, surest, and best.  Take your crock, keg, or barrel, according to the quantity you have, cover the bottom with half an inch salt, and set your eggs close together on the small end; be very particular to put the small end down; for it put in any other position, they will not keep as well, and the yelk will adhere to the shell; sprinkle them over with salt, so as to fill the interstices, and then put in another layer of eggs, and cover with salt, and so on, till your vessel is filled.  Cover it tight, and put it where it will not freeze, and the eggs will keep perfectly fresh and good any desirable length of time."

What I know; or, Hints on the daily duties of a housekeeper, comprising nearly five hundred receipts, for cooking, preserving, pickling, washing, ironing, gardening, plain and fancy needlework, putting up of winter stores, and numerous other receipts, useful and needful in every well-regulated household, by Elizabeth Nicholson, 1856.  Three hints on coping with the refusal of hens to lay eggs in winter in the days before electric lights.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Thursday, December 25, 2014

December 25th

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the Kingdom of Heaven.

(U.A. Fanthorpe, BC:AD)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Vintage Magazines - "Western Story," 1941

I can't help but hope that the gift-wrapped package is a train for the boy, and the little girl is getting the pony.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Friday, December 19, 2014

Quote Of The Day

You say to your soldier, 'Do this' and he does it.  But I am obliged to say to the American, 'This is why you ought to do this' and then he does it. ~ Baron von Steuben

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Yeah, I know Caturday's not for two days, but still...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Knitting - A Vintage Cardigan in Larger Sizes

I think I copied this from one of my late 40's/early 50's yarn company Coats and Clarks pattern books.  Obviously, it was before I learned to insert a footer to track the provenance of the things I was copying.

It's a Word document, no less, and I can't get the columns to line up. If the description tempts you, email me and I'll send you a copy.  

"An elegant cardigan with patterned panels and a V-neck especially designed to flatter a fuller figure."

COATS & CLARK'S "RED HEART" KNITTING WORSTED, 4 Ply, Art E 230-B (2 oz "Tangle-Proof" Pull-Out Skeins):

Sizes 18  20 42 44 46
Skeins No 789 Bittersweet 10 11 11 12 12
Knitting needles No 5 
6 buttons
Double Seed st — 5 sts = 1 inch; 15 rows = 2 inches
Stockinette st — 10½ sts = 2 inches; 15 rows = 2 inches
Sizes 18 20 42 44 46
Body Bust Size (In Inches) 38 40 42 44 46

Monday, December 15, 2014

"It Was Supposed To Be Dead" And Other Fairy Fables

You know, normal women worry about their husbands coming home covered with perfume.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

An Often-Overlooked Advantage To Being A Grown-up

I can have cinnamon toast for breakfast whenever I want.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Friday, December 12, 2014

Quote Of The Day

There is nothing that gives a greater sense of comfort than the purring of a cat.  It is the most flattering music in nature.  One feels, as one listens, like a humble lover in a bad novel who says, “You do, then, like me a little – after all?”  The fact that a cat is not utterly miserable in our presence always comes with the freshness and delight of a surprise. ~ Robert Lynd

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Knitting - a Scottie Toy from 1950

If you're a fast knitter you could probably whip up two or three of these before Christmas!  From the Australian Home Journal.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Staff of Life


1 cup shortening
½ cup lukewarm water
9 cups sifted flour, about
2 cups milk, scalded
6 eggs, beaten
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups currants
1 cup sugar

Soften yeast in lukewarm water.  Add milk to salt, sugar and shortening.  When lukewarm add yeast.  Add half the flour 2 cakes yeast and beat well.  Let rise until very light.  Add eggs, currants and remaining flour.  Knead lightly, let rise and when light place in greased bread pans.  Let rise and when light bake as for white bread.*  When bread is 2 days old,  cut into thick slices and toast.  Makes 3 loaves.

(*Bake in hot oven - 400°F - 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 375°F and bake 35 to 40 minutes longer)


½ cake yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup lukewarm water
2 T sugar
½ c. corn meal
1 T. shortening
1 ¾ c. boiling water
2 ¾ to 3 c. sifted flour

Soften yeast in lukewarm water.  Cook corn meal in water 10 minutes; add salt, sugar and shortening.  Coll until lukewarm, stirring occasionally to prevent a film. When cool add softened yeast and beat well.  Add flour and mix well.  Knead, using as little flour on board as possible.  Put into a greased bowl and let rise until almost doubled in bulk.  Knead down and let rise again.  Shape into loaves, place in pan and let rise until it has almost doubled.  Bake as for standard white bread.  Makes 2 loaves.


1 cake yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
½ c. boiling water
1 ½ t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 T. shortening
2 c. mashed potatoes
4 c. sifted flour (enough to make medium dough)

Combine in order given, following general directions for straight dough method.  Makes two loaves.

The American Woman's Cook Book, ed. by Ruth Berolzheimer, 1950.

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Friday, December 5, 2014

Quote Of The Day

It's so beautifully arranged on the plate -- you know someone's fingers have been all over it. ~ Julia Child

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Remains of the Day

As it turns out, we have no leftover turkey.  But if we did, I'd be tempted to make this.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Quote Of The Day

I sometimes wonder what people are thinking.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sewing - A Hood and Capelet, 1949

Just in time for the festive season, a hood and capelet to sew from the Australian Home Journal, 1949.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Vintage Ephemera - An Audubon Turkey

And a couple of bob-whites.  Copyright-free, from Dover.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Confined to Quarters

Brian saw one of these on the back fence this afternoon.  Reserve Cat is so not going outside.

Alea Jacta Est

He registered for this today.  My one consolation is that he is competing in the "light" category -- full 26.2 miles, but without the 35-lb pack.

(He told me that his surgeon would kill him if he competed in the "heavy" category).

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Sunday, November 16, 2014

They Don't Write Cookbooks The Way They Used To

Heirloom Pumpkin from Burpee's

"PUMPKIN SOUP.  Sometimes I feel that I am very old.  When I consider all the changes which have occurred over the long years since I was a child I feel like a stranger even in the Paris where I was born.

The din of the traffic has put the street songs to flight.  One is no longer woken  by the cry of the groundsel sellers.  The raucous song of the oyster  man no longer reminds one that it is Sunday, which must be celebrated round the family table with a feast of oysters.

The shops have changed too.  Only the windows of the butter, egg and cheese shops have kept their character, and on the pavement just beside the door one can still admire the giant pumpkin with gaping sides squatting on its wooden stool and seeming to say to passers-by, "Why not make some pumpkin soup?  And you will need some milk for it too.  Come inside and buy some."

Certainly in my young days there was no wooden stool.  The pumpkin was balanced on top of two other uncut pumpkins which were the rendes-vous of all the dogs in the neighborhood who stopped there...for a moment or two.  The stool is a triumph of modern hygiene.

If you are making pumpkin soup, buy a slice weighting about 1 lb.  You will need 1 1/2 pint of milk and 2 oz of rice as well.

Peel the pumpkin and cut the flesh into small pieces.  Put them into a saucepan with a tumblerfuil of water.  Boil for about 15 minutes, then mash the pumpkin to a purée.  Add the milk and bring it to the boil.  Now pour in the rice and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for 25 minutes.

At this moment the rice should be just cooked.  Adjust the seasoning to your taste adding, if you like it, a pinch of caster sugar.  I prefer a sprinkling of freshly-milled black pepper."

Cooking with Pomiane, by Edouard de Pomiane (sometime in the 1930's and translated/reprinted 1975).

Saturday, November 15, 2014


The World Is Full of Idiots

Some assclown posted a faked news story on Facebook that there were three people being monitored for Ebola symptoms at our local hospital.  I got texts, emails, and even a phone call (at home, at 2230).

Not a jury in the world would convict me....

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Monday, November 10, 2014

Yankee Snark

We were at a meeting this afternoon at the Chamber of Commerce.  Note: our Public Information Officer recently relocated to Dallas with her husband.

Community College PIO:  Sara* was really the person who got the county public information network project going.

Local Business Type: Is she going to be here this afternoon?

My Sweet, Lovely Boss:  Sara's no longer with the Health Department.

CCPIO:  She decided to move someplace warmer.

Me (by way of explanation):  She didn't go to Hell, she went to Texas.

Local Cop:  There's a difference?

November 10th

Some things never change.  Happy Birthday, Marines.

(and a hat-tip to America's Sergeant Major).

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Thursday, November 6, 2014


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I Should Have Planned This Just A Tad Better

I had a 6pm meeting tonight with a potential grant partner that got me home at 8pm.  I am the lead planner for a conference that starts at 8am tomorrow.  I have a $15k award proposal due by close of business Friday and I'm the closing speaker at said conference.  Friday night I am on the departmental trivia team for a Y fundraiser (conference ends at 5pm, fundraiser starts at 6).  Sunday I'm staffing the first aid booth at a fun run for four hours.

As a kindness to my co-workers, I decided that I needed to take a half day off on Monday so of course someone scheduled a meeting for that day at 9am and another one at 2pm.  No wuckin' furries, says I, I'll take a half day off next Friday and get a jump start on the weekend.

Just checked my calendar.  Yup -- meetings on Friday at 8:30, 10:30 and 2:30.  It's a good thing there's nothing scheduled, either personal or professional, this Saturday, because I will be suffering from anal glaucoma.

(anal glaucoma = I don't see my ass getting out of bed).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Can I Pick 'Em, Or What?

Sean*, the new Americorps guy (Fernanda having gone on to bigger and better things), came to us by way of four years at U-M and two tours in Afghanistan.  We are driving the rest of the staff crazy with our milspeak and I let some slip during a conference call Friday that included some members of the local National Guard unit.  Nothing profane, merely obscure.

This morning I got a teasing email from their training chief that included a popular emoticon.  I sent it to Sean* (note:  he got out as a buck sergeant).

Me:  Sgt 1st Class Williams* has called me out on my terminology.

He:   I really have a hard time comprehending the fact that a staff NCO is using smiley faces.

Vintage Advertising - Kantleek Hot-water Bottles

From Good Housekeeping, October 1919.  Very useful, if you live with a man who refuses to turn on the furnace.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"A Foretaste of Winter"

Cosy fire a-burning bright, ----
Cosy tables robed in white, ----
Dainty dishes smoking hot, ----
Home! and cold and snow forgot!

"Say, but it's cold today!" called Bob at the door.  "Frost tonight all right!  I was glad I took my overcoat this morning.  Have you had a fire all day?"

"Yes, indeed," said Bettina, "And I've spent most of the afternoon cleaning my furs with cornmeal, and fixing those new comforters for the sleeping porch, and putting away some of the summer clothing."

"I believe we will need those new comforters tonight.  How are you fixing them?"

"I was basting a white cheese-cloth edge, about twelve inches wide, along the width that goes at the head of the bed, you know.  It's so easy to rip off and wash, and I like to have all my comforters fixed that way.  I was cleaning my old furs, too, to cut them up.  I'm planning to have a fur edge on my suit this winter.  I don't believe you'll know the furs, the suit, or Bettina when you see the combination we will make together!  Fur is the thing this year, you know."

"Couldn't you spare me a little to transform my overcoat?  I'd like to look different, too!"

"Silly!  Come along to the kitchen!  There's beefsteak tonight (won't it taste good?) and I want you to cook it, while I'm getting the other things on the table.  I didn't expect you quite so soon."

That night for dinner they had:

Beefsteak       Creamed Potatoes
Devilled Tomatoes
Rolls               Butter
Plum Sauce
Bettina's Drop Cookies

Bettina's Recipes
(All measurements are level)

Creamed Potatoes  (Two portions)

1 c. diced cooked potatoes
1 T green pepper, chopped fine
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1/2 c. milk
1/4 t. salt

Melt the butter, add the flour and salt, mix well, and add the milk slowly.  Cook until creamy, and add the potatoes and the chopped green pepper.  Serve very hot.

Devilled Tomatoes (Two portions)

2 tomatoes
2 T. flour
1 T. lard
1/8 t. salt
1 T. butter
1 T. sugar
1/2 t. mustard
1/8 t. salt
A pinch of paprika
1 hard-cooked egg
1/2 t. flour
2 T. vinegar
1 T. water

Peel the tomatoes, cut in half and sprinkle with flour.  Place the lard in the frying-pan, and when hot, add the tomatoes.  Brown nicely on both sides, and sprinkle with salt.  When brown, place on a hot platter and pour over them the following sauce:  Sauce -- place the butter in a pan, add the sugar, mustard, salt and paprika, the egg cut fine, and the flour.  Mix well, add the vinegar and water.  Heat, allow to boil one minute, and then pour over the tomatoes.  (If the sauce seems too thick when it has boiled one minute, add a little more water).

Drop Cookies (Twenty-four cookies)

1/3 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 c. sour milk
1/2 t. soda
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. chopped raisins
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t.  baking powder

Cream the butter, add the sugar, then the whole egg.  Mix well. Add the sour milk and the vanilla.  Mix the baking powder, soda and flour well, add the raisins and add to the first mixture.  Beat well.  Drop from a spoon onto a buttered and floured pan, leaving three inches between the cookies.  Bake fifteen minutes in a moderate oven.

Thrifty Bettina!  She's not only found a way to recycle last year's furs and keep from having to wash heavy comforters in cold weather, she's also using up the last of the leftover spuds and some milk that has gone off. 

That sauce ought to perk up limp. tasteless late fall tomatoes, too (although if she were really thrifty she'd make a scallop using stale bread-crumbs and the canned tomatoes she put up in August).

From A Thousand Ways To Please A Husband; the Romance of Cookery and Housekeeping, by Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles leCron, 1917.

This Is Sparta!

Me:  It's the second of November.  Can we turn the furnace on?

He:  Why?

(Image courtesy of the US Army Signal Corps Regimental History site).

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sans espoir de retour

Since Her Majesty went away, Reserve Cat (I suppose I should promote him to Primary Cat now, but I can’t) has become very demonstrative.  He wasn’t much of a lap sitter or a cuddler after he outgrew kittenhood, but if I’m in the recliner he’s on my knees or my chest every night now.  And when I sit in the computer chair, he’s curled up beside me.

He stands next to the bed in the morning and talks to me as I get up, follows me to the shower to watch (no skeeving – he’s a cat).  If I’m upstairs and he’s downstairs, he comes looking for me.  If I’m downstairs and he’s upstairs, samey-samey.

I don’t know if this is a recent development because he’s lonely, or if this affection has always been waiting to manifest itself and the Drama Queen and I just never gave him a chance. 

He got in bed with me this morning after the alarm went off and snuggled up under my arm.

Catur -- um. Day.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Day Late

I was pooped when I got home from the NAACP event yesterday and didn't get the usual Caturday post up.  So, better late than never...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Quote of the Day

Oh, all the comrades that e'er I had
They're sorry for my going away.
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had
Would wish me one more day to stay.
But since it fell unto my lot
That I should go and you should not;
I will gently rise and softly call --
Good night and peace be with you all.  Trad. Irish.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Take Me Now, Lord

Email from sweet, lovely boss:  Can you speak at an NAACP event this weekend about Ebola?

Me:  I can think of things I'd rather do.

Turns out that this "event" is the 2014 State Convention. There are a number of reasons why I don't want to do this, and the least of them is that it's only four days away.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dromedary Macaroons


1 1/4 cups Dromedary Cocoanut
1 egg-white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup condensed milk

"Mix cocoanut, condensed milk and vanilla thoroughly.  Beat egg white until stiff, combine mixtures, shake into cakes.  Bake in moderate oven 15 minutes."  Good Housekeeping, October 1919.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


There is no money in my program's budget for overtime, but guess who spent six hours at work today.

As the Emergency Manager for the university said, unless we're over-reacting the public thinks we're not doing anything.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Social Media Is Vastly Over-rated

Some jack-fool idiot posted a rumor today that there was an active Ebola case in our jurisdiction.  I can't believe I made it through the entire morning without ripping someone's head off.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Her Majesty

Last Wednesday night, she decided that she had to go out and she has not returned.  At this time we do not expect to ever see her again.  There are two fox dens in our end of town, and lots of hungry owls.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Online Bookshelf - A Woman At Bay

Or, A Fiend In Skirts.  Just the sort of book you would hide from your mother.