This is a continuation of Agnes Sligh Turnbull's short story When Queens Ride By, first published in 1932. 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 help-meet to her husband and loving mother. It is my sincere wish this diary bless you. ~Suzanne

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Year's Eve Bonfire!

Tonight I will be hostess to a New Year's eve party. I am hopin' I can pull this one off. All John's idea and a right surprise too. After church  on Sunday he told me that he offered our place to hold a New Year's eve bonfire for fellowship. Before I knew it I had so many ladies asking me what they could bring! I was so taken back I told them whatever they please for their family and some to share. What that is gonna look like I haven't got a clue.


I put up some large crocks of my grape juice on the back porch to chill and I have ten pies baked, apple, blueberry and peach, all from my summer canning. John has a large smoked shoulder warming and I have about twenty taters cooking in the stove. John told me to keep it real simple and not to overwork myself, so I am takin' his advice.

He has hay bales all outside the bonfire pit for folks to sit on and I do hope they remember quilts to cover them with. I got extra, but it is chilly so they may need them for warmin' up. Pastor is takin' extra chairs from the fellowship hall with a few long tables too so spreadin' the food and having a place to sit and eat is taken care of I reckon. I am  glad we still got the tree up cause it looks pretty in the parlor.

The children are so excited they are runnin' around here like jack rabbits asking me the time every few minutes. Thank goodness Harriette showed up to help and offer her hostessin' skills. I am just havin' a sit down with a cup of tea writin' this all down. Please Lord, let this all turn out good and let me hostess a good party here for my husband. I ain't seen him smiling like this in a long time. The boys even have the pond all shoveled for some skatin'. This old place hasn't seen such happiness in a good long while!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry & Bright

(For Laura-Merry Christmas to you and yours!)

Oh what a Christmas! It's been a lovely season for sure. The children enjoyed their gifts so. John made a beautiful set of wooden building blocks for Virginia. Sanded them smooth as silk to the touch.

 Ruth Ann got a big dollhouse, just a plain kind of house made of maple. The kind of dollhouse a child needs to use their imagination a bit. There is a tiny staircase and a few twig beds with little quilts I made. She has been playing with it nonstop! The boys got themselves new slingshots and some coon skin hats. They reckon they are Davey Crockett.  John made me a beautiful new cutting board for the kitchen and surprised me with a pair of leather shoes from the Sears & Roebuck catalog.

I had the page bookmarked and was saving for them. John said he got stumped about a present for me and wanted something pretty when he grabbed the catalog and saw my notation on the page. They are a perfect fit and just right pretty to look at. I ain't never had a shoe so fancy before! They are a soft brown calfskin with what they call a military heel and they have a smart design across the top. I just kept putting them on and walking in front of the full mirror half the day!

Christmas eve service was beautiful, it just felt holy. That's the only way I can explain it. Like the Lord himself had come on down from heaven and was singing with us. This year Mrs. Dunmire had a children's choir and they sang five darlin' songs for us. Boys were real good too, didn't fidget once. They had smiles wide as town and sang their hearts out, a bit off key at times which made us adults smile and laugh softly , but they were putting forth their best effort indeed.  Christmas eve was quiet here after service which was kinda nice. Harriet was tired out so we dropped her off and came home and had some hot cocoa and sugar cookies then the kids tucked in for the night.

 John and I got the gifts spread under the tree and had an early night of it too.

Today was just wonderful, but I am plumb tired out. My sister and her family arrived around noon and I had a root vegetable soup simmering with my biscuits just waiting for them. The menfolk headed to the barn to talk about whatever men talk about in barns and my sister and I got the big meal ready. John had traded a smoked shoulder for a nice rib roast and we had that with creamy mashed potatoes and roasted carrots, beets, and parsnips. What a delicious meal we had!

After dinner we opened gifts and Emma gifted me the prettiest apron I ever did own. The fabric has little mauve rosebuds on a celery colored background. She added a nice ruffle and embroidered my initials on the bib.  She made a matching one for Ruth Ann. The boys got new marbles and John got a whole jar of his favorite black licorice!

After gifts Rosealee came over with her family and brought a delicious cake made with lemon and ricotta cheese, my I ain't had cake so tasty in a long while. I had made quite a lot of different cookies and put those out on a platter with coffee for the adults and cocoa for the children. John read the Christmas story from the Bible and we sang a few carols then Rosealee and her family headed home.  Emma and I cleaned up and we are all in bed tired out from a full, but very wonderful day. Time to put the pen down and blow out the light. Emma's husband wants to get on the road early and I want to send them off with a hearty breakfast.

But I must write down a verse from my favorite Christmas hymn here to always remember that this Christmas, this touched my heart.

God rest you merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ our Saviour
Was born upon this Day.
To save poor souls from Satan's power,
Which long time had gone astray.
Which brings tidings of comfort and joy.

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.