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

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'.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The comfort of old quilts

Well here I lay covered in my grandmum's old quilt. Grandma could handle needle and thread better than anyone I have ever come across. I believe she made this quilt for her hope chest. Each time I visited her and Pop's home I would go to her bedroom and run  my hands over the little stitches and squares of pretty calico colors. Whenever I slept over there Grandma would cover me in her handmade quilt.  Grandma told me one time that everytime she worked on her quilt she prayed to God that it would bless whoever was under it. I think she prayed comfort and healin' into it. 

Ruth Ann is laying right next to me. We're both sick. Terrible flu that is hitting the county hard. Even had to have Doc Layton out here twice. Poor John is trying his best to hold down the fort here. He has been seeing little Jim off to school and getting meals for him and the boys. I have smelt a few things burning on the stove, but John always yells up that it's alright, it's alright. 

I have to write this here so I remember. The ladies at church got wind from neighbor Harriet we were ill and they have brought us three meals. What a blessing to us and to John. Homemade chicken soups and lemon jellies have made us feel a bit better.  Harriet has been an angel coming over in the early afternoon to watch Bobby so John can get some chores done. She checks on me and Ruth Ann and is like a mother hen. Makes me miss my own Mum so much, but I am glad to have her and her kind ways ministering to us. She keeps makin' me drink her "healin' teas".  Some taste good , but there were a few bad ones in there!

Both our fevers broke yesterday, but the doc says at least three more days of bedrest before he wants us up and around. Ruth Ann has had a horrible cough so she is propped up and for the first time in almost two weeks she is sleeping comfortably. She is so frail right now I am worried.  I have gotten alot of reading in my Bible done. Been reading alot in the book of Psalms and being comforted from those words. 

Perhaps tomorrow if I feel up to it I will write about our Christmas. It was certainly a lovely time, but I did a bit too much and that is how I think I got run down and got this sickness.