Sunday, May 29, 2011


Housework is something we have to do, unless we have Merry Maids come in each week.
Mom cleaned the rug with a Bissell carpet sweeper. Much later, when we had electricity she had a vaccum cleaner.
Last winter just before Christmas I was in Lowes and spotted small Bissell carpet sweepers and purchased one. It is great for cleaning up little messes. But the vaccum cleaner comes out for heavy stuff. Apparently either nostalgia or the idea of how handy the Bissell would be enticed a lot of people to buy one. I went back a couple days later and they were all gone.
Think of those women hanging their carpets on the clothesline and using a carpet beater on them.
Saturdays were dusting days for Dody and me. Mom had rags to dust with and furniture polish. "Don't forget the legs on the chairs" Mom would tell us. Or the windowsills, bottom shelves on stands, lift up stuff and dust underneath.
I should be an excellent housekeeper as I had good training but I'm like the girl in the picture at the top saying "My idea of housework is sweeping the room with a glance."
Laundry was another hard job. In those pre electricity days Mom had a wringer washer with a gas motor. Clothes were hung outside to dry. In winter they came in frozen stiff and we could have stood them in a corner if allowed.
Mom got a wooden drying rack when Dody was tiny. I can remember that rack near the cookstove drying diapers and other clothing.
Later, after they bought the farm, the rack straddled the register between the dining and living room.
Before the electric lines came up Sap Bush Road, the Brewers had a Delco generator in the cellar to provide them with electricity.
The cows were milked by machine that operated on another gas motor.
The school bus picked me up to take me to Chenango Forks. Bill Boughton was the bus driver. I missed going to the one room schools by about two years.
There was a one room school down near Cloverdale Road and another on Foster Hill by the creek. That building burned many years ago when it was being used as a home.
More another day. I have a lot of notes about the good old days.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Dress

The dress I was wearing in the picture in the previous post was made by Mom. It was one of my favorites. The dress was red voile with white polka dots. She trimmed it around the neckline and on the skirt with white bias tape and red rickrack.
As I have told people many times she was an excellent seamstress. She didn't quilt but she sure could sew.
Grandpa Gaylord bought her a very used New Home treadle machine when she and Dad were first married. She used it from 1933 or 1934 until I bought the Featherweight in 1956. The bobbin case wore out on the New Home. I learned to sew on the New Home.
Mom sewed clothing for Dody and I, herself, mended for all of us and made curtains and diapers on that machine.
I also remember her buying a toweling material that was a coarse beige with colored borders and hemming the ends for hand towels. Those towels were scratchy until they had been washed many times.
All this sewing was in addition to keeping an immaculate house and cooking delicious meals for her family. She canned, preserved and made pickles.
When Dad butchered a pig she made sausage which was put down in a crock and kept in the cool cellar.
Salt pork was also brined in a crock and kept in the cellar.
Dad put carrots and beets in a metal tray filled with sawdust. The tray hung from the ceiling.
We never were hungry. We had the resources to provide foot for ourselves.

Life on the Farm

In May 1945 Mom and Dad bought the farm and moved up the road to the big house where the Brewers had lived for so long I remember saying "Oh boy, I can take a bath now." Mom was horrified because we were always clean.
We had a phone too. It was on a ten party line. Our phone number was 97F21. The F designated a long ring first so our ring was 2 long and a short. Of course the neighbors listened in. One lady with a large family had a habit of leaving her phone off the hook or maybe her children took it off. If you couldn't make a call you could listen to the neighbor's call.
The picture is of Bruce, Dolores (Dody) and myself taken August 11, 1948. I was 10, Dody was 4 and Bruce was 2.
We had a woodshed out behind the house with a second floor that had been a cobbler's shop. Mrs. Brewer's father Eugene Potter was the cobbler. There were cobbler's benches, tools and shoe pegs up there.
In the back of the woodshed was an outhouse. This was handy with five of us in the house.
Although there was running water in the house, there was a pump on the front lawn. The water was cold and the highway employees would stop for a cup of water when they were working on Sap Bush Road.
Do you know what a sap bush is? It's a grove of maples that are tapped for sap to make maple syrup. Dad made a fire pit and shelter and boiled maple syrup out there. Later Bruce made maple syrup out there.
There were many maple groves on this road.
We lived one mile from the Four Corners which was Cloverdale Road going east and west between Rt. 12 and Rt. 79 and Bear Swamp Road going south with Sap Bush Road going north.
On September 1, 1948 while we were away at a fair our dairy barn burned. Several calves and heifers got out. A bull died in the blaze. We lost the dairy barn, horsebar and sheds and the milk house. The Chenango Forks Fire Company sprayed water on the house to keep it cool. Several young maples in the front lawn had scars from the fire.
Dad sold the dairy and started cutting timber to rebuild. He worked in the woods for Art Bowman and also worked at the auction barn in Greene. In the spring he started rebuilding, moving the new barn south the length of the old barn and back from the road the width of the old barn.
Eventually Dad started working as a carpenter to support his family. He got the barn rebuilt and gradually built up a new dairy. In 1977 at age 69 he sold the dairy.
More about life on the farm in future posts.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When I Was a Little Girl

When I was a little girl, in 1939, we moved to a farm on Sap Bush Road near Chenango Forks. Dad and Mom rented the farm on shares (splitting the profits with the owner).
We lived in a house down the road from the Brewer's home, in a house without electricity. We had a pitcher pump in the pantry and kerosene lamps. When I was 6 and had just gone into second grade we got electricity. I came home from school that day and Mom showed me how the lights turned on.
She was especially glad to have an end to the lamps as I had overturned one when I was younger and set the tablecloth on fire. She saw the flames and tossed the lamp and tablecloth out the front door.
Until the advent of electricity in our house she used sad irons to iron our clothing. They were heated on the kitchen stove which was woodburning, of course. She got an electric iron and the sad irons became door stops.
We had an ice box and went to Cutler's Ice Company to get ice if the ice house was empty.
Dad and neighbors would cut ice from a wide spot in the creek and fill their ice houses. Sawdust insulated the ice. The ice house adjoined the milk house near the barn. Ice was used in a milk cooler to keep the cans of milk cool until the milkman picked up the cans each morning.
When I was seven Mom & Dad bought the farm from the Brewers. Then we moved up to the big house that had been the home of the Potters and Brewers for many years.
We had a phone, bathtub and lots of rooms in that lovely old house.
More in my next post about living in that house.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Looking Back

Today I was looking at these pictures of my parents. Dorcie Huntington Gaylord born 1914 and died 1986. Dad James Homer Gaylord born 1908 and died 1981.

I pieced a scrappy version of the Jelly Roll Challenge, using pieces of 2 1/2" strips, not many of which were 40" long. Martha O'Keefe said "You have an interesting collection of fabrics there."

Someone else said "Fine for you to say, Martha." Martha uses the brightest fabrics in her quilts. But this is scrappy, real scrappy. I had a 32" x approximate 70" quilt top so I frog stitched the center seam and now have 2 small quilts. I added a border to each and am about to layer one and practice my machine quilting. Pictures later.

The rain has stopped temporarily. Hope it holds off on Saturday as we will be going to 5 year old Natalia's birthday party.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Another Busy Week

This past week has been busy. I started the 1600 Jelly Roll Challenge last weekend. I got the strips joined end to end.
On Tuesday morning I was sewing the first strips together when the phone rang. The car salesman said "Bob's car is ready." I shut off the machine and took him to Vestal where we picked up his new car. Finally on Wednesday I sat down and sewed the quilt together and pressed it. The above picture is not a great one as I don't have a spot to hang quilts for photos. But the colors are beautiful

Here's Bob with his new car. He's so proud of it.

The greenhouse has tomatoes, basil, parsley and sunflowers growing inside it. Mesculan is growing in a pot. Fresh lettuce soon for my sandwiches and salads.

Today I went thru my 2 1/2" strips and picked out a number that are not 40" long. I'm going to experiment and make a small top of scraps. It's definitely going to be scrappy. I've been sewing the strips end to end. Now I wonder how big this one will be. When it's done I'll post a picture.

We were watching the Nationwide Race at Dover, DE this afternoon. They had a bit of rain and the race stopped a short time. While the cars were covered waiting for the rain to stop I came up and sewed more strips together. Maybe tomorrow I can finish this top.

The 2 1/2" bin is still very full.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Roll on, Jelly Roll

Here's a way to use those large prints you have and hate to cut up. These mornng glories spell SUMMER. The quilt was on display at the Common Threads Show.

Working today, if allowed, on my 1600 Jelly Roll Challenge. I am sewing the first seam and it's a long one. 1600 refers to the 1600 inches of the 40 strips 2 1/2" wide that are used.

Yesterday I got down the seam aways and the phone rang. After I took the call I shut off machine and we went to Vestal to pick up Bob's new car.

Wonder if we'll ever find all the bells and whistles on this car. I drove it home and to his doctors' appointments at the VA. Nice ride.

Will have to get a picture with the proud owner next to it or in the driver's seat.

I have so many sewing projects that I will never complete them. But that is what keeps us quilters going, isn't it.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's a Miracle

Marilyn Belford's Medea Escaping as shown at the Common Threads show last weekend. Beautiful art quilt. The colors are amazing. When you see it, you can feel the heat of the flames.

The miracle is that I was able to bend body to paint my toenails yesterday.

On Friday Ella Mae, Jeanie and myself drove over to Harford to have lunch at a little bakery and visit briefly with our friend June. We ran into JoAnne outside the shop.

After we ate lunch we purchased some baked goods to take home. Jeanie had a loaf of bread that had us salivating every time we got back in the car. There is nothing to equal a loaf of freshly baked bread, is there?

Then it was up the road and over the hills to JoAnn's in Ithaca. Found a little timer that I have now in the sewing room. Only $2.50. When it bings I know it's time to stop sewing and go on to something else.

Next stop was Quilters' Corner on West State Street. This was my first visit since they moved downtown. What beautiful fabrics they have. I'd recommenbd it highly if you are in Ithaca. I got a pack of 2 1/2" strips to do the Jelly Roll Challenge. I have 2/3s of them joined together so I can start sewing.

On our way home we stopped to see our friend Leona at Jo-Le Fabrics. She's over 90 now and still going strong. We always enjoy talking with her. Got some nice fabric too.

It was nearly 5 p.m. when I got home.

Before I met Ella Mae I drove in the other direction to Quilted Crow to leave my Jacob's Ladder quilt with Peg to be quilted. Now I'm on the final lap with this one.


Monday, May 2, 2011

A Bit of Progress

Here's a bit of the Merry Go Round hexagon quilt I started ages ago. It is scrappy. The pieces are finally all cut out. Now it is a matter of sitting down and sewing the triangle into half hexs, strips and finally onto the quilt. It's going to be a long haul, I feel it in my bones.
I worked on it at retreat, getting all the strips cut.
Now to use the triangles as leaders and enders. I have to think of it that way so I can sew while I am working on another project.

Today's my two "L" day, laundry and library. The laundry's in the dryers now.
At the library I volunteer on Monday afternoons at the Local History and Genealogy Center, second floor, Broome County Public Library. The demand for microfiche of NYS Vital Records Index is steadily increasing. Several Mondays I've given 70 in a three hour period to patrons. People are so happy that they don't have to drive to Syracuse or Elmira to read the fiches.

Time to go fold clothes.