This is a continuation of Agnes Sligh Turnbull's short story When Queens Ride By, first published in 1888. You are reading the diary of Jennie Musgrave and her journey back to the heart of her home. Jennie is a farm wife living in the 1940's in rural Massachusetts. Her diary chronicles her account of returning to the role God made especially for her, that of helpmeet to her husband and loving mother. It is my sincere wish this diary bless you. ~Suzanne

Sunday, June 30, 2013

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

June Day Picnic

What a lovely June day we had! After a glorious mornin' of worship the family headed home for our lunch. There was a slight breeze on this warm day, so I thought, why not spread a cloth and have us a picnic. My dear friend Rosealee and her family joined us too! What a delight to have our new and dear friends over to share an afternoon of relaxin' and fun.

I spread a nice red checked gingham over the old table out back and cut a few apple blossoms and decorated the table with a jar full of those. I am glad I had the foresight to fry up a bit of extra chicken last night. Lately, I always make more than a couple of pies on the weekends, just in case we have the opportunity to share a meal. Boy, now that would not have been me a short year or so ago! Haven't I changed some!

We lunched on fine fried chicken from last night's supper, stewed tomatoes, chilled pickles , a pepper chutney from Rosealee I have never had the likes of, simply the tastiest chutney ever. Roselaee's homemade cheese and crackers couldn't be beat either! Fresh watermelon and rhubarb and strawberry pie rounded out the dessert. The children went through two bottles of my homemade lemonade too.

John hooked up the sprinkler and the children all enjoyed a good soak from it. What a little water will do to keep children amused always amazed me. The babies dozed quite dreamily in the shade of the willow tree and John and Dominic had a nice stroll through the orchards. Rosalee and I had a chat near the babies and talked of what the summer would bring. Yes, I think this is hitchin' to be a fine summer indeed.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Decoration Day Festivities!

Well now hasn't it been too long since I wrote a bit in my diary! Life is just rollin' on by faster than a filly in a derby, my John would say. My Granny Nettie loved Decoration Day, she told us stories of all the parades in her day. My they were grand! Granny Nettie made the most delicious 4 layer cakes you ever did taste and every Decoration Day she made a lot of them for the church table. Everyone wanted a slice of Nettie's cake. Her husband Sam, my Grandpa used to tell us stories of folks fightin' in line to get a slice. Granny always shushed him, but he kept on. He always had a good laugh which Granny weren't none too happy about. I most remember the vanilla ice cream done in the old crank ice cream maker. Was it delicious! I do hope there will be a bit of ice cream there! I am gonna ask John to get our ice cream maker down from the attic. Seems there was never time to do things like that--now it is so different. Won't the children love some homemade ice cream!

This Monday we honor all those who gave their precious lives for freedom. I don't think there is a family in the county who can't say they have a loved one or two that has served.

The past several holidays John and I just kept pluggin' along farmin' as usual. This year we are going to take the children to the parade. See the town brass band and the volunteer fire brigade ring their large brass bells. Guess we'll listen to the local politicians give a bit of speech concerning the day and those in town that have served, God bless them all. It is really exciting to be a part of it all.

Yesterday the children and I helped put flags on all the veterans in the church cemetery graveyard. There were 56 in all. Mrs. Gretchen Dillon has been in charge of coordinating all this for years-she does a fine job. 

After church service and the parade our church ladies are organizing a picnic on the town common. I have to bring two huge bowls of my potato salad which everyone seems to love and my homemade pickles. I am guessing 6 or 7 jars may be a good number. Good thing the garden is gettin' put in again as all my canning is runnin' pretty low. But that is common for this time of year. I also got some pretty little tussie mussies made for decorations on the tables. Oh they will look fine and the ladies can take them home after. I had red, white, and blue ribbon in my box to add a touch of patriotism to them too.

I do believe this will be a fine day! All the children are so excited and even John is lookin' forward to the festivities. He even helped construct the bandstand where the speeches are given with Deacon Henry from church.

This Mama is off to bed after a tiring day taking care of my home. I am ever so grateful for this home, my husband and my children---thank you for the second chance Lord!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A new little girl!

How I have missed my quiet times writing in my diary! My Grandma used to tell me never to waste time as it slips through your fingers like sand. I never understood what she meant, but now I sure do! John and I had a darling baby girl July 10.. Her name is Virginia Rose. I named her after my Mum and my new friend Rosealee. She is a petite little thing only weighin  6lbs at birth. It was a tough pregnancy boy! Right after Thanksgiving I got sick with my blood pressure. The midwife wanted me in hospital, but with a family at home and my responsibilities I told her that won't work.  John got right fussy with me and took me in to hospital and they gave me some new fangled medication that was supposed to help and told me to stay in bed. Now, I have never stayed in bed unless I am really sick. Course the doctor who was pretty no nonsense told me and John if I didn't stay in bed I would lose the baby and maybe die! That did it-John insisted I be in bed. My lands all the thoughts racin' through my head.  But God was so good to me and the family. He brought all the ladies at church together to help us. Why John had to hardly cook a dinner for us, and clean--why the ladies kept my house spotless. I have never been so humbled in all my days.  My older neighbor Harriet came during the day,everyday to help with the children. I will never be able to pay that dear woman back as long as I live.  She was such a blessin' to us.  Little Virginia is almost 4 months old now and just a sweet and quiet girl. Ruth Ann is a big help and we are getting back into a routine. I couldn't do  a lot of canning and I am a bit worried about the winter months, but John assures me we will be fine. The root cellar is full of veggies and apples. 

I spent so much time in bed I nearly knit myself to death! So many little sweater sets were made for our little Virginia. I even made a couple for my friend Rosealee who had a baby boy and a big one, 10 whole pounds!  His name is Salvatore but we all call him Sal.  

John keeps makin' sure I get my rest. He is acting like a honeymooner for cryin' out loud. I try to tell him I am not made out of China, but the Lord spoke to me and said Jennie hush and let your husband take good care of you. 

I am plannin' on having Thanksgiving here at the farmhouse. My sister Emma can't join us, but she is hopin' to come for Christmas. Our new friends and of course Harriet will come and maybe more too. The church ladies are makin' baskets for the less fortunate and I am going to make a few pies to send along. John is butchering our turkeys soon and we are going to donate 5 fresh ones to a needy family. The Lord has blessed us so much that we want to give back. I hope to be back to these pages soon!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another glorious holiday!

Well now if the days aren't just buzzin' by as fast as can be! The autumn harvest was a success, praise the Lord! We had lots of help with the orchard. Church family came to help us, what a true blessing that was. Then one morn' a colored man showed up with a wagonload of folk and asked us if we needed help with the orchard. Seems they call these folks migrant workers.John said years ago his grandad would employ these kind of workers.  John explained to them we couldn't pay much and they were fine with what we could offer. The two abandoned shacks on the back acre where the orchard ends is where they stayed, guess this is where these kind of workers stayed years back when John's grandad had the orchard buzzin'.  Why I was right mortified and ran out there to try and clean those places up a bit, but their women folk already had it under control.

 One thing I was able to do was share the food we had, I am so thankful I put up such a bountiful harvest.  John even slaughtered another pig and they ate pretty good for the two weeks they was here. John smoked a couple shoulders in the old farm smokehouse and even sent them off with those. Those folks worked hard!  The women was the nicest ladies and did alot of picking too. My little brood had lots of fun playing with the children. Why I never made so many oatmeal cookies! Those children were always at the back door for a treat.

Thanksgiving is in two days and I am baking up a storm here in the old kitchen.  I am a bit sad my sister Emma can't make it this Thanksgiving, but she said they were planning on spending Christmas with us so that is a blessin'.  We're gonna have our new neighbors Dominic and Rosealee for dinner though and that is excitin to me!

Boy, just a bit over a year ago I was in such a state. I can't believe how far the Lord has brought me and John.  I love keepin' my home and being a wife and mother. All those wasted years I was worn and haggard tryin' to do a mans job. Well, I won't dwell on the past , but look to the future. God is good and while times are still pretty tough, they have gotten better.That apple harvest and the sale of the apples helped put a bit of money aside. We are still left with alot of apples , but I am making alot of apple dishes and blessin' others with our harvest. Times are tough for lots of folk.

Well now I am not sure if I should announce my surprise at Thanksgiving or Christmas. John has no idea I am expectin'. I am so excited about this baby! I am a bit tired out more though and he was concerned I was doin' too much---but I just ain't ready to let him know. Maybe Christmas when my sister is here, yes , that will do.

Off to a good night's sleep. More baking and fussin' to do tomorrow for Thanksgiving.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I have met so many nice folks the last months. Why the ladies at church are wonderful! And my dear friend Harriet up the road has been an angel sent from heaven. But, what I have been hoping for is a lady friend. One with a husband and children like me that I can have a cup of coffee or tea with here and there. Kind of share the troubles of the day with and know she'll have a sympathetic ear. Well, I found that friend a month ago! Or maybe she found me. Her name is Rosealee and she is a sweet lady for sure. Her and her husband Dominic have five children, three girls and two boys. They came here from Italy two years ago and have been living in the city with relatives. With enough money saved from her husband working in the family meat packing business they decided to buy the little abandoned farm up the road from us. It's a bit run down and needs lots of love to bring it back , but they ain't afraid of hard work and I think the Lord will bless them mightily. Dominic had vineyards and orchards back in Italy and he is planning on doing the same, says the soil is good for it. John is skeptical, but hopes the best for 'em. 
Rosealee and I met one day when I was pickin' some of the tomatoes I planted. I saw a lady way down by the back gate near the chicken fencing and I walked back to see who it was. Well, I offered her my basket of tomatoes and a more grateful soul you couldn't come across in a hundred years! Her English is a bit broken so I got to listen real good, but I am getting used to it.
So far we have canned peaches and blueberries and lots of raspberry and blackberry jam.  We pick the fruit with all the children early in the morn and then get at the canning. She wants to pay me for the fruit, but I just tell her that she can let me pick grapes when their vines start producing. I have learned to rely on the Lord more and know with my sharing He will surely bless us. 
We share a few stories and talk about the children and all the funny and silly things they do over iced tea on these hot summer days. They have a swimmin' hole and more fun has been had by the children on the hottest of days. Rosealee and I just dangle our feet in the cool water and my husband says we look like a couple of gigglin' school girls.
Dominic helped John with hayin' a week ago, what a blessin'! Our farm is shapin' up real nice. All the shutters are fixed and painted and the old wagon in the field has been repaired and now holds some of my surplus produce for anyone who stops by. I have a very pretty sign that Roselee painted at the end of the road with big sunflowers blooming near it and folks seem to be attracted to the country charm of it. Bringin' in a bit of pocket change John laughs. That's okay, I am happy here at home, doing my daily chores and makin' the old farm a real home. Oh yes, and I am expectin' a baby, number four for John an me! I didn't think we'd have anymore. I really didn't want anymore truth be told. Seems like all they were was more work on top of all the work I had to already do. The Lord has changed my heart there. As I am obedient to His callin' on my life it seems he has given me a change of heart. I love taking care of the home and children. I don't try to do a mans work anymore and I feel a whole lot better. And my husband is getting more done around here too! It's all the Lord and lookin' at it the way He does. My church lady friends have been so encouraging , teaching me how to be a good keeper at home and encourage my husband.
Well, off to sleep, will share more later.

Psalm 127:3

Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A spring in my step

My poor, poor journal! How I have neglected writing my days down here.  Let's see, where should I start. Well, me and Ruth Ann got over the sickness , but then the menfolk here got it. Made for a very interesting few weeks. I never in all my born days boiled so many chicken carcasses for broth as I did when those three were layed low. 

Old Mac McCarthy from up the road came and helped with the milkin' and I can never repay his help and kindness. Of course, I fed him real good and sent him home with plenty of my canning, but all that help, I just feel like we should do more. I keep prayin' for the Lord to show me how to bless him so I will just wait for the sign.

I planned my kitchen garden during the eves while the men were sick.  Got all the seeds too! I am not overextending myself. I remember all too clearly the toll all my ideas and back breaking labor took on my household and I don't ever want to go back to that.  No, my place is right here in the home, making sure my family is taken care of.  John and I decided we'll plant us a nice patch on the side of the kitchen for all the needs of the family and any leftovers we'll share or try to sell here and there. It will be just enough to keep me plenty busy.  We're gonna have us some peas, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, cabbages and lots of cucumbers to make pickles. There will be a nice assortment of herbs and flowers too.  I hope to bring a nice bouquet of fresh cut flowers to church each Sunday for the pastor's table he uses to preach from.

The ladies from church have been so nice to me. An older woman named Josephine has been coming to my home every Thursday afternoon to do a Bible study with me. I am learning so much about Jesus and my role in the home. She's a right smart lady, been married 43 years with 6 children all growned up. We talk alot about being a wife and mum and she encourages me when I feel I am not measuring up.

Last month I went to my first ladies quilting bee. Oh what fun! My Mum used to make some beautiful quilts and I am always thankful she and my grandma insisted I learn how to handle needle and thread. Every Saturday afternoon from 1-4, the first Saturday of the month the ladies meet at the church to work on this quilt. A lovely young gal named Grace is getting married in October and this is to be her gift from the church ladies.  It is a lovely wedding ring design with blues and tans and mauves. Gonna look mighty fine on her new bed! We bring our little girls with us and there are always some real good homemade treats to snack on too!

Well now, I am off to bed, plumb tired, but I am resolving to write more. Lord willin'.