Sunday, January 29, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - Lentil Soup

Lentils are very small legumes, like beans, but you don't have to pre-soak them as with beans.  They may be small, but, WOW, they pack a nutritional punch!  They are a very good source of cholesterol-lowing fiber.  They are also beneficial in keeping blood sugar levels from spiking after a meal.  They provide your body with 6 minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein - all with virtually no fat.  It was a lentil porriage that Jacob traded to Esau! (Must have been pretty tasty!)  So they have been around for a long time!  But one word of warning: if you are susceptible to "gout", you'll probably not want to eat too many - they could produce a chemical which would cause an excess of uric acid.   But if you're not troubled by gout, don't pass up the opportunity to partake of this great tasting soup!
Farmer Boy Lentil Soup
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 carrots (diced)
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 3 ribs of celery (diced)
  • 4 slices of bacon (diced)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 8 Cups of water
  • 2 Cups of lentils (any color)
  • 1 can of tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 large potato (peeled & diced)
  • 2 Cups of fresh greens (rough chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
Directions: Add the oil to a large pot.  Place the carrots, onion, celery, bacon and garlic in the pot and heat over medium heat to soften up the vegetables and cook the bacon.  Put the lentils, tomatoes, potato, and thyme into the pot and cover with the water.  Bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Add the greens and the vinegar.  Cook for another 10 minutes, or till the greens are limp.  You're ready to go!

The lentils pick up all the great flavors of whatever they are cooked in - so experiment & have fun making lentils in you other dishes!
If you try this soup, please get back here an leave a comment on how it came out.  Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls
L'chei-im! (a toast, to life!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012, the "End" is near!

Here we are in the year, 2012 and find a number of people predicting the end of the world . . . again!  Each new year we find someone informing us that the end is coming upon us this year.  This time the loudest voices have sited the ancient Mayan calendar as the source for their predictions.  Not even the Mayan scholars can agree on that!

And how will this come about?  Ask that question and you'll get a long list of possibilities! (None of which can be unequivocally proven!)

So I got to thinking, and I remembered an old fable that I heard when I was growing up.  This is how I remember it going:
The Story of Chicken Little
Chicken Little was a little white hen who lived on a farm along with the other farm animals. The farmer who owned the farm always took good care of all his animals.  One day Chicken Little was out scratching in the barnyard when an acorn fell on her head.  It scared her so much that she shook all over.  She shook so hard, half of her feathers fell out!
"Help! Help!", she cried, "The sky is falling!  I must go warn everyone!"
So she ran into the hen house to tell the other chickens.  Inside the hen house she met Henny Penny.
Henny Penny asked, "What's wrong, where are you going, Chicken Little?"
Chicken Little cried, "Oh, help! The sky is falling!"
"How do you know?" asked Henny Penny.
"I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!" Chicken Little replied.
"This is terrible, just terrible!  We'd better hurry and tell all the other farm animals!", Henny Penny said.
So they both ran away as fast as they could. Soon they met Ducky Lucky.
Ducky Lucky asked, "Where are you going, Chicken Little and Henny Penny?"
Chicken Little and Henny Penny cried, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling! We're going to tell all the other animals!"
"How do you know?" asked Ducky Lucky.
"I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!" Chicken Little replied.
"Oh, dear, oh dear!  We'd better run!" said Ducky Lucky.
So they all ran out of the barnyard and down the path toward the farmhouse as fast as they could.  Soon they met Goosey Loosey walking along the path.
Goosely Loosey said, "Hello there. Where are you all going in such a hurry?"
"We're running for our lives!" they replied.
"The sky is falling!" Henny Penny cried.
"And we're running to tell all the other animals!" said Ducky Lucky.
"How do you know the sky is falling?" asked Goosey Loosey.
Chicken Little said, "I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!"
"Goodness!" Goosely Loosey said, "Then I'd better run with you."
And they all ran in great fright across a field.  Before long they met Turkey Lurkey strutting back and forth.
Turkey Lurkey stopped them and said, "Hello there, Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, and Goosey Loosey.  Where are you all going in such a hurry?"
"Help! Help!" cried Chicken Little.
Henny Penny cried, "We're running for our lives!"
Ducky Lucky cried, "The sky is falling!"
Goosey Loosey cried, "And we're running to tell all the other animals!"
Turkey Lurkey asked, "How do you know the sky is falling?"
Chicken Little said, "I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!"
Turkey Lurkey said, "Oh, dear! I always suspected the sky would fall someday.  I'd better run with you."
So they ran with all their might, until they met Foxy Loxy.
Foxy Loxy stopped them and said, "Well, well.  Where are you all rushing on such a fine day?"
Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey (together cried), "Help! Help! It's not a fine day at all!  The sky is falling, and we're running to tell all the other animals!"
Foxy Loxy asked them, "How do you know the sky is falling?"
Chicken Little said, "I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!"
Foxy Loxy thought for a moment, stoked his chin, and said, "I see.  Well then, the one you'll want to tell about this is the farmer.  Follow me, and I'll show you the way to the farmer."
So Foxy Loxy led Chicken Little, Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurkey across a field and through the woods.  He led them straight to his den, and they never saw the farmer to tell him that the sky is falling.  Foxy Loxy ate them all!

The moral of the story is that things aren't always as bad as they first seem.  But, when you think something is wrong, don't just get upset and run off, upsetting everyone else!  You should use common sense, and tell the one in charge.  It is far better to respond to a situation with a well thought out solution, than to just react without a plan of action.  You should always seek the truth and use wisdom and knowledge first.

When I seek for wisdom, I go to the greatest source of wisdom, the Holy Bible.  If you are concerned about the end coming upon you, just take a look at the book of Matthew, the 24th chapter to begin with.  I trust the Bible because it is God's Word and it shows the many predictions of future events that have proven to be 100% accurate every time!  As far as any of these present day, "Doom's Day" prophets are concerned - it looks to me like an acorn has fallen on their head!

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - "A Chicken in Every Pot"

President Herbert Hoover was supposed to have made this declaration as part of his 1928 Presidential Campaign - but - he never made that promise!  He was optimistic about the nation's future and looked for a time of prosperity - but he never made that quote. 
I got this information off the web site for the Hoover Presidential Library -
"Many people believe that President Hoover did little or nothing in response to the Great Depression. In fact, beginning immediately after the stock market crash in October, 1929, Hoover implemented many ideas to lessen the effect of the Depression and to hasten the recovery.  He directed all Federal Departments to speed up public works and other projects, in order to create more jobs.  He directed the Federal Farm Board to support commodities prices and asked Congress to decrease non-essential government spending and use the money to start new public works. President Hoover called many conferences with industry and finance leaders to encourage voluntary cooperation among businesses to relieve the Depression.  Hoover also created the President's Organization on Unemployment Relief to stimulate and coordinate employment and relief efforts.
After the collapse of the European economy in April of 1931 caused the Depression to become worse, President Hoover called for a temporary suspension of international debt payments, which saved the international banking system from complete collapse. With foreign trade at a standstill, prices for U.S. manufactured goods and farm products fell, and American industries began laying off even more workers. President Hoover asked Congress to appropriate more money for farm loans and to create the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which would be used to help financially endangered building and loan associations, agricultural cooperatives, banks and railways. He proposed federally funded Home Loan Discount Banks to help protect people from losing their homes.  He asked Congress to loan $300,000,000 to the states to aid their relief programs, and to transfer agricultural surpluses from the Farm Board to the Red Cross for distribution to relief agencies.
By July, 1932 the Depression had begun to show signs of improvement.  But many people in the United States were unhappy with the rate of recovery, and blamed Hoover for all the problems and suffering that had occurred.  With the Presidential election approaching, the Democratic candidate, Franklin D. Roosevelt, promised the people a "New Deal." In November, Roosevelt was elected President."

"Mr. Hoover's personal policy throughout his public career was to accept no compensation for any public service, though when he worked for the Government as Secretary of Commerce and President, he was required by law to accept a salary.
In an interview with Charles Scott, editor of the Iola (Kansas) Daily Register in January, 1937, Hoover explained: "I made up my mind when I entered public life that I would not make it possible for anyone to say that I had sought public office for the money there was in it.  I therefore kept the money that came to me as salary in a separate account and distributed it where I thought it would do the most good. Part of it went to supplement the salaries of men who worked under me and whom the government paid less than I thought they were worth. Part of it went to charities." "

I know some folks would find it hard to believe that soup didn't originate in a can!  In fact, before cans were invented, people actually made everything that they ate, from something called, "Scratch".  They actually gathered all the ingredients and put them together and cooked them - in their own kitchen!  Perhaps this never occured to you!  Or maybe you thought it would be too difficult for you to do something like that!  But, please allow me to introduce you to "HOME COOKING".  Soup is probably one of the easiest meals that you could make.  This recipe is one example.  I challenge you to just try making this and tell me if you could accomplish it.  This may be the first time you made a meal, but if you can do this, it won't be the last time!
Farmer Boy Country Chicken Soup
  • 3 Tablespoons - bacon drippings & 2 Tablespoons - olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless, diced into 1/2")
  • 2 Tablespoons - all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon - poultry seasoning
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 small turnip, diced
  • 1/2 parsnip, diced
  • 4 Cups - mixed vegetables (frozen are just fine) & 1 Cup of broccoli pieces
  • 2 Cups - Kluski noodles (or homemade)
  • 1/4 Cup - pearl Barley
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons - Lemon Juice
  • 8 Cups - water
  • 1 teaspoon - What's this here sauce (Worchestershire sauce:)
  • 1/2 Cup spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons - parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon of chicken bouillion or stock or broth (be careful - bouillion can be salty!)
Directions: In a large pot, heat the bacon drippings and oil over medium high heat.  Coat the chicken with the four and poultry seasoning and add it to brown up.  Add in the carrots, onions, parsnip, turnip and celery.  Add the water and stir to unstick everything from the bottom.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half.  
That's it - easy!                                                                                        
If you want to "Turn the Tables" and can your soup after it is prepared, just follow these directions: Ladle the soup into quart processing jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.  Secure the 2-piece lids. Place in a steam canner and process at 10 lbs. for 90 minutes.  Remove the jars to cool and store. (If canning "meatless" soup, decrease the processing time by about 15 minutes.)
Please leave a comment here, to let us all know how it goes.  Thanks. The Old Man in the Bib Overalls
If you want to know more about President Hoover, read the biography that was written by Rose Wilder Lane

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Super Bowl Snack - (Large Crowd Sized)

This recipe is an old, old recipe.
  • 1 Dinosaur (6-7 tons), cut into bite-size pieces
* Note: T-Rex must be marinated 48 hrs. with 1,000 lbs. citrus fruit & herbs in about 700 gallons of ocean water - (cover the pot and refrigerate)
  • Potatoes, cubed (500 lbs.)
  • Carrots, sliced (500 lbs.)
  • All-purpose Flour (200 lbs.)
  • Water (808 gallons)
  • 2 rabbits, skinned and deboned (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions: In a very large pot, bring water to boil.  Add the marinated dinosaur, simmer for 7 days, (covered). On the 7th day - add potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper.  Simmer till vegetables are tender.  Slowly add the flour to thicken.  Cook additional day and a half, stirring occasionally.

This recipe feeds approximately 5,240 people.  If more are expected, add the 2 rabbits.  But check first, some won't eat it if they find a hare in their stew. :)

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - Beef Stew

Here's another one of those multi-generational recipes from my family collection. 
Come a cold winter's day, it's time to pull this out!   Nothing seems to warm you the way homemade stew can do!  And it's so easy to make it!
Farmer Boy Beef Stew
  • 2 lbs. beef stew meat (cut into 1 inch cubes)
  • 1 large onion (sliced on an angle, to make wedges)
  • 1 green pepper (cut into 1 inch strips)
  • 1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons - bacon drippings
  • 2 Tablespoons - butter
  • a dash of "What's-this-here-sauce" (Worcestershire sauce:)
  •  1 dozen new potatoes (quartered - pare, if you like)
  • 6 carrots (sliced into 1/4 inch coins)
  • 1 medium turnip (diced)
  • 1 parsnip (sliced into 1/4 inch coins)
  • 4 ribs - celery (sliced into 1/2 inch slices)
  • 1 Cup beef stock or broth (you can make with bouillon cubes - but it gets salty!)
Directions: In a large stew pot (enough to hold 5 -6 qts.) *(Or you could use a crockpot.) , braise the meat and saute the onions, peppers and celery in the bacon drippings and butter.  When the onions and peppers are softened, mix in the flour.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cover with water.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then turn it down to simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.                  
It practically makes itself - producing a nice thick sauce - but if you want a thicker sauce; you can mix a couple Tablespoons of corn starch or flour with 1/2 cup of water and stir it into the pot, bringing it to boiling at the end.

It can be served over a slice of bread or biscuits.  Since I'm cooking just for myself, I freeze the left-overs to bring out on another winter day - it heats up good in the microwave!

Old Spanish Proverb - "Eating and reading should both be done slowly."

If you make this meal, please let us all know, by leaving a comment here.  Thanks.  The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Charles Ingalls' Special Birthday Gift

On January 10, 1865, when Charles Ingalls celebrated his twenty-ninth birthday; he received a very special gift from his wife, Caroline.  She presented him with his first daughter, Mary.  Yes, they both shared that birthday!

I'm sure that he treasured that gift.  Mary, of course, was followed by her sister, Laura, about a couple years later.  And it was Laura who was to spend more time with her Pa, than Mary.  Mary spent more time doing those "Girly" things with Ma.  And Ma cherished her first born.

As Mary grew, her parents had high hopes for her success in life.  They wanted the best for her, as most parents would for any and all of their children.  But at age 14 years, Mary was struck with what was called, "Brain Fever".  As a result of the illness, she began to lose her eyesight.  This was, no doubt, quite a traumatic event in the family.  Laura took on the assistance of Mary, becoming her eyes.  She would help Mary with her school studies and read aloud to Mary, as well as describe what she saw around her.  Mary seemed to take it all in stride.

Wanting the best care for Mary, and still hoping to see her succeed in life, her parents had discovered a school for the blind.  If they could get enough money together, they could send her to that school.  Laura helped by doing work outside of the home.  And by the time Mary was 16 years old, she was off to board at the Iowa College for the Blind.

She was to be in school from 1881 to 1889, when she graduated.  There she had all the regular schooling that she would have received had she stayed at home. But she actually had it better!  While her family was struggling to make ends meet, and put food on the table; Mary was living in a comforable dormitory, with 3 balanced meals a day.  She was able to learn how to care for herself and had classes teaching her how to read and write in Braille. She also learned crafts, music and other lessons which would not have been readily available at home.

On graduation day she recited Robert Burns', "Bide a Wee and Dinna Weary".  She had received excellant grades in most all her studies; excelling in what was termed, "Deportment".  So she ended up as her parents had hoped - with a well-rounded education, making for a successful or fulfilling life.  Her parents may have silently hoped that Mary would find love and get married; but that was not what she had intended to do, so she never married.

Upon returning home from school, she found a pump organ awaiting her use.  Mary had learned to play music in school.  Once home, she became very active in their church; even teaching Sunday School classes.  She did her own housework; pieced quilts, made clothes, netted hair nets and hammocks, and did bead work.  She also wrote poems on her Braille slate.

In July of 1892 she was suffering so badly with neuralgia, that her parents made arrangements for her to travel from their home in South Dakota, to Chicago for an operation.  Again, Mary showed that pioneer spirit and made the long train ride back and forth.  There is no indication that the operation was a success or not.  But Mary made the best of it and continued on with life as it was dealt her.

In 1894 Laura and her husband, Almanzo, moved away from the family to reside in Mansfield, Missouri.  She would no longer be Mary's eyes.  In 1901 her sister, Grace, got married and moved out of the family home.  And in 1902 Charles Ingalls died, at the young age of 67 years.  Now, all that was left in the family home was Ma, Carrie and Mary.  Ma took in borders to help pay for living expenses.  Carrie was working outside the home and soon left to marry.  Mary picked up some slack in helping pay for things by netting and selling Horse Fly Nets, (used to keep horse flies off of horses).

When Ma died in 1924, Mary was left all alone.  Her sisters, living nearby, took care of her and the family home, sometimes living with her.  Mary still had some health issues which had persisted since her "Brain Fever", which might have been complicated by a stroke.  And while visiting with Carrie and her husband, in 1928, she suffered another stroke.  She developed pneumonia and died.  She was buried in the family cemetary in De Smet.

So, Mary died at age 64, having lived the life of a pioneer, as did the rest of her family.  The Ingalls family was a close-knit family.  I'm sure Laura regretted, to some extent, not being able to live near them all in their later years.  I'm sure she took each one of their losses very hard.  Her youngest sister, Grace, died in 1941.  Carried died in 1946.  Laura had outlived them all.  It wasn't until most of her immediate family had died that she began writing about them in her "Little House" book series.  So, her parents never knew the success she had achieved in her life.  Nor did they ever imagine that they would be immortalized by her writings.  Since the first publishing of those books, generations of readers have come to think of the Ingalls family as members of their own family.

Every family has a story to tell; but seldom are those stories ever written.  Aren't we all glad that Laura told the story of her family?  If she hadn't written that story, we wouldn't have such a great record of pioneer life and the hardships endured.  I hope you'll join with me today, remembering the celebration of the birthdays of Pa & Mary.  Happy Birthday!

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Farmer Boy Recipe - Comfort Bread

When winter comes upon us here, in the Ozarks, a loaf of bread can ease the pain of a cold wind and an ice storm - especially if it is bread made from this recipe!  * This recipe is for use in a bread machine.

  • 2/3 Cup of water (80 degrees F.)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 Cup of Honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups of bread flour
  • 1 banana, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (ripe; but not over ripe)  (= 3/4 to 1 Cup)
  • scant pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
Directions: Place all ingredients into the pan in the order given and set the machine according to the manufacture's directions for a 2 lb. loaf & let 'er fly!

This bread makes a great "Elvis" sandwich!  (Cut 2 slices, smear both with peanut butter. Fry up 3 - 4 slices of bacon.  Throw those over the peanut butter.  Drain the grease from the skillet, leaving about 2 Tablespoons.  Place the sandwich in the skillet & brown on both sides.) Wow, I'm all shook up!
(grape jam is optional)  This is a good snack to make to celebrate Elvis' birthday, January 8th.

Satisfaction During an Ice Storm
When the Oak Leaves is on the mountain
And the roads is glazed with ice,
I might taste the air is bitter
But hunger for somethin' nice.
My hands at work get weary so,
I drop my tools behind me
It's on my way home I go.
Make sure first the animals is fed,
Then to the house I give a smell,
There awaits my fresh backed bread.
Mom says, "Pull up a chair; set a spell."
We say our grace and eat till full,
I feel like in Heaven then,
God gives all that's good
To us hard workin' men!

The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

If you like this recipe, please leave a comment here for us all.  Thanks

The Costs of Living, 2012

There is a price to be paid for everything.  If you live, the ultimate price to be paid is your life!  But before you die, you can expect to pay other costs.  These days most Americans are thinking about the prices they have to pay for everyday items; like food.  It seems that every time you go to the grocery store, they have raised the prices!  I'm not saying that all the grocery stores are gouging us and fleecing the poor sheep; but it seems out of place to raise the prices so often.  The excuse is made that the costs have gone up for the farmers to produce the food, or the fuel costs have gone up to bring the food to the market.  But it really goes beyond that.  The cause is at least two-fold.

We have become too dependant upon our economic system for one thing.  We have become too apathetic to just allow our government to gain full control and make too many decisions for us.  And secondly, we have put our trust in man to provide us what we should be trusting God to provide.  In the United States, the economic system was created by a bureaucratic governmental mandate which allowed, "The Federal Reserve Banking System" to detirmine the value of our currency.  It is neither, "Federal" (implying that it is part of the Federal Government) nor is it a "Reserve" (they aren't holding our money for us - they are taking it from us!).  Basically, it is actually illegal, but the scam was swallowed by the ignorance of the citizens.

When I first made my way into the work force, the "so-called" minimum wage was somewhere around $2 per hour.  And I had to work pretty hard to earn that!  But now, the minimum wage is so high that almost nobody can afford to hire workers!  Add in all the governmental regulations and you've got a system that is broken!

But, as I said, the problem is two-fold.  If you would understand that you should be looking to God to provide your needs in the first place, then whatever the government decides wouldn't matter quite so much!  Go read your Bible, in the 6th chapter of the book of Matthew!  We should be "God Dependant", not "man" dependant!  (see also: Proverbs 3: 5,6)

What are we going to do if our economic system goes bust altogether?  Should we all just roll over and die?  The Bible suggests that we should be prepared for trouble, when we see it coming.  And I'm not just talking about having a stockpile of goods on hand!  We should be prepared for a collapse of the whole world's economic system.  It's coming, whether we like it or not - the prophetic Word of God has told us!  But God has a way to escape the collapse and not be harmed.  It is a simple plan - just trust completely in Him!  He promised to provide our every need!

The economic system that the world wants us to join in on, is doomed!  Oh, there will come someone who will come up with a solution.  But his solution will be that we give him all authority to do as he pleases.  Then he will demand total obedience and worship.  If you trust in God, you'll find that He doesn't demand our obedience, He just leaves it up to us.  And He doesn't have some ulterior motive - He just gives His love and hopes that we will return it to Him.  In the end, His love and our trust will win out and we will all live in harmony, with no concerns of the costs of living.  But until then, we'll have to make proper decisions, based on direction given in His Word.

I thought it would be interesting to see some of the progression of the cost of living; especially for those who didn't live through those times.  So here are some newspaper advertisements for food stores - one from the 1940's, another from the 1950's and lastly from the 1970's.  You can compare them with what we see today.  I just wonder how long people will put up with all these raises in the cost of living.  Maybe they will never make any change to it!  There are consequences!  Do you think, maybe we're living too high on the hog?  What is really important?  Things are pretty bad when they have us at each other's throats, fighting some supposed class warfare!

I realized that people needed a break and they have a basic need to be a little self-indulgent when all the weight of the economy is bringing them down; so I opened up my little shop, providing inexpensive souvenirs and candies.  While some large stores make their customers buy a big bag of candy, (probably more than they wanted in the first place) I provide individual servings, thus saving them the high costs.   (And I won't be raising my prices all year!) If you are in the area when my shop is open, please stop in and see for yourself! *(Check my web site for business hours - spring through fall)  Here's the deal: if I provide something that you want to purchase, I'll serve it to you personally - not just take your money!  I'm in business to make folks happy, not rob them blind!  And all my merchandise is made in America!  Let's work together to keep America, "The Land of Opportunity" & return it to its glory!

"We are too much like the woman who boycotted eggs because they were too high and then, without a protest, paid $36 for a pair of low shoes... It is so easy to throw away with one hand what we save with the other."  Laura Inalls Wilder
(Wow, $36 for a pair of shoes - those were "The Good Old Days"!) The Old Man in the Bib Overalls

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Homage to my Great-Grandmother & Marshall Field & Co.

Time marches on!  Yes, and some of the things and people who were once held in high esteem are no longer, and memory of them or their accomplishments is gone or fading fast!  But, through this writing, I am hoping to keep some of a particular memory alive.

My great-grandmother was not famous, reknown or recorded in any annals of the history of Chicago.   She lived there most of her life.  She led the life of an average housewife. (And content to do so!)  Yet her contribution to American society should not go unsung or swept away with the progression of time.  Her link to history is in the tremenous volume of fine crocheting and handwork she did and by whom she had been commissioned to produce it. 

Somewhere during the first few decades of the 20th Century, she had been commissioned to design and manufacture handwork by Marshall Field & Co.  She made crocheted, tatted, and embroidered items.  Field's was, by that time, known for its exqusite, high-end merchandise.  And being asked to contribute your own personal work by "The World's Largest Department Store" was quite a feather in her cap!  Her modesty kept her from shouting it from the housetop.  But if it wasn't for her contribution, there probably wouldn't have been much of a "housetop" for her to shout out anything!  Her work kept the family fed and in their home during the "Great Depression".

So now, after almost a century has past, I proudly display her work in my little shop. 
I thought you might like to see some of many designs she made for Field's. (Pictured here, are only a small portion of them!) 

Most of these pieces are a one-of-a-kind sample model, which were saved, while multiples of each were sold to countless numbers of Field's customers.  I wonder how many of those production pieces still exist out there somewhere!  These are "Original, Alma Klinkhamer Thielke" handmade doillies, runners, tablecloths, etc. (My pictures don't do them total justice!)  She was born in 1875 and only lived till 1951.  (I guess you could call her a contemporary of Laura Ingalls Wilder.)

Here she is working on a piece, in her back yard, probably around 1906.  (I think she was pregnant at the time with my great-aunt.)
Thanks for your attention.  I hope you enjoyed seeing these and taking a walk down memory lane with me.  If you want to see these and more examples of her work, you'll have to visit my shop.  I hope you do! - In the meantime, I hope you'll sign on to follow my blog, leaving some comments and tell others to do the same. Thanks.
The Old Man in the Bib Overalls