Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Autumn Revealed at the Pond



He had always loved the autumn months with peculiar intensity, feeling within them a sense of fulfillment and well-being, as though life were pouring rich distillation into his cup.

Agnes Sligh Turnbull in

The Golden Journey


RH does love autumn but he also loves tractors. And we both love seeing the pond in every season. 

But I hinted about how nice it would be when the gravel pile was gone so I would be able to see the whole pond again. And then I mentioned it a few more times. Quite a few, actually. 


[My first time to insert a video in new Blogger...does it work? Maybe I won't be able to see until I hit publish.]

And then on a beautiful October day the tractor came and the gravel pile that our granddaughter loved to climb on was gone leaving us a beautiful view to the pond once more. Yay!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Pickling's Done


This is my last jar of pickling for the season. I've felt pickled out but wanted to finish up the banana peppers our neighbor brought and decided to make sweet banana peppers this time. 

I found the basic recipe here but decided to spice it up a little extra. 

Basic recipe: 2 cups white vinegar, 2/3 cup white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed. I doubled that and added: 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon tumeric, 1/2 teaspoon celery salt, 1/2 teaspoon Trader Joe's Onion Salt. Heated to a boil and poured over sliced peppers. I refrigerate all my pickled peppers in our extra fridge since I don't make a lot of jars.

There's no way of knowing if these are any good until we try them, around Christmas time. But here's a recipe that I can guarantee is delicious.


I tore this picture out of the British Ideal Home, November 2015 issue. The only problem is, I forgot to tear out the recipe! But with finding a basic recipe on Epicurious and then fiddling around with it myself I came up with a dish we love.

Butternut Squash:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and split squash and scoop out seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, spread with softened butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and grate a little fresh nutmeg on top. Squeeze lime juice on and 1/2 teaspoon coriander and 1 teaspoon garam masala. 

Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.

While squash is cooking:

Saute one small red onion, thinly sliced and one clove garlic, minced. Add a little fresh spinach chiffonade and 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs, cook 3-4 minutes.

Stir in 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, salt & pepper. You can add 2 tablespoons pine nuts but I didn't. I don't use them unless I can get ones from Italy. 

Fill hollow of squash when out of oven, sprinkle with some feta cheese, crumbled and return to oven and cook 15 minutes more.!

Garnish with basil leaves and top with sauteed salted pecans. 

It is incredible! I do admit to avoiding the feta pieces, just cannot learn to like it. I even bought the best I found at the store but still just do not like feta.


 Here's mine the second time I made it. I keep trying to get it to look as pretty as the picture without much success but I doubt it tasted any better than mine. 

I'm getting excited about all the fall cooking that lies ahead between now and Decembe when the really fun cooking begins. So enough pickling, that is unless it's pickled peaches for the Thanksgiving table like my mother always had. Come to think about it, she bought hers and I will too. We've already sampled one jar from a Texas company and they were wonderful. I'll post a picture of them soon.

Pickling's done and thoughts turn to mincemeat.

                      Hal Borland


Oh, yes, I'm one of those people who love mincemeat! 




Sunday, October 18, 2020

Seattle, Washington Fall Fashions, 1955


Mrs. Hoge Sullivan wears a Ben Reig suit of salt and pepper tweed while she rides the miniature railroad at the Woodland Park Zoo with her daughter Mary Lou. 

This was about all that Town & Country wrote about this beautiful woman in their 1955 August issue but the internet yielded much more. 

1) The fashion designer Ben Reig was called dean of the New York Couture Group. 

2) Her husband served in Africa and Italy during WW II. And he was the first manager of Seattle's Space Needle! 

3) I found an earlier picture on eBay that was no longer for sale of Mrs. J. Hoge Sullivan and her daughter Mary Lou! 

I love her swimsuit!


Mrs. Gordon Ingham wears a B. H. Wragg jumper ensemble of Shamokin wool at the Seattle Yacht Club. 

1) B. H. Wragg was famous at that time for its separates to be mixed and matched, the fabrics often designed by famous artists.

2) Upon the passing of our model above at the age of 77, The Seattle Times wrote about how she (then Annette Ingham Lobb) and Gordon Ingham met. Her father took her abroad "to discourage an undesirable suitor." 

The plot twisted: Young Gordon Ingham, a fellow passenger, proposed on Dal Lake in the Vale of Kashmir. She accepted. They stayed married until his death in 1988.

Gordon and Annette raised four sons and were active in many charitable causes. But what really intrigued me was that she was a prolific although unpublished poet. I love what Annette said:

I would like to have been a really good writer, but I know I am not. But I like to write, and so I's good therapy.

And amen!


 Mrs. Thomas A. Davies is the great-granddaughter of one of Seattle's founders and is program director of the Seattle Art Museum Guild.  She's wearing a dressmaker suit of Lesur wool (one of the best quality fabrics of the 1960s).

I couldn't find anything else out about Mrs. Davies but there is plenty about her great-grandfather, David Thomas Denny, a member of the Denny Party that traveled by covered wagon to Oregon, and then by ship to Seattle, landing September 25, 1851.



Mrs. William L. Green is shown at the Seattle Flower Mart wearing a box-pleated suit of red wool by Henry Frechtel. I came to a dead end with Mrs. Green but Oh, how I would love to go to the Seattle Flower Mart! And Pinterest is full of models wearing beautiful Henry Frechtel designs.


I love the photo above! First of all that automobile. Look at all the leg room! Next, that suit!

Mrs. Lawrence H. Arnold arrives at Canlis Charcoal Broiler with her husband in a Packard Patrician. She wears British worsted by Irene. 

1) There was hardly a leading lady in Hollywood in the 1930s who was not dressed by Irene! And in the early 1960s Doris Day film Midnight Lace, that gorgeous black lace outfit was designed by Irene.

2) Canlis is Seattle's landmark fine dining destination, the most upscale dining experience there. It is still owned by the same family, in a midcentury-modern house. The "old-school posh" restaurant is temporarily closed of course but I got hungry just looking at pictures of the food plates on their website. 

3) Mr. Arnold died in 1962 of cancer and a library was donated in his memory, and that of his mother, to the Hutch, world known institute for cancer research. 


Mrs. Charles Callahan is at the Seattle Tennis Club wearing a casual tweed dress by Mollie Parnis. Parnis dressed two presidents' wives, Mamie Eisenhower and Lady Bird Johnson. 



Mrs. Walter P. Shiel, Jr., the former Barbara Jean Harlow, is watching the Kalakala Ferry at Coleman Dock. She is wearing a coat of Anglo tweed by Frank Gallant who designed coats and suits for Saks, Lord and Taylor, etc. I found Barbara Jean as a 12 year old in the 1940 census. 


Not a very good picture but I love the neckline of Mrs. Peter Barrett's cocktail dress of silk and rayon satin by Ceil Chapman that she is wearing at the Seattle Yacht Club. 

Ceil Chapman designed glamorous cocktail and party dresses in the 1940s to 1960s. She was Marilyn Monroe's favorite designer. She designed Elizabeth Taylor's trousseau in 1950 for her wedding to Conrad Hilton.


I'll end my three 1955 fashion posts from Town & Country with a dress for the young. Miss Sally Jensen and Mr. George Philip Koon are at the Olympic Hotel. Her ballgown is white lace over ombré shades of tulle by Howard Greer who designed for Katharine Hepburn. I found plenty of Koon family members in Seattle but nothing specifically for George. I did find a Sally Jensen in the 1940 census, which would have made her 18 in 1955. That sounds about right.

The magazine said this about Seattle in 1955:

It is a sleeves-up city which enjoys meeting new challenges and takes a fierce pride in solving its own problems without government assistance.

 I didn't make that up, folks. I promise. 


Friday, October 16, 2020

Going to Princeton, 1955


I can't even imagine this era.

If my son was going to Princeton in 1955, I would send him off in a Cadillac Eldorado? Perhaps a prop, perhaps not. And he and his fellow classmates would wear a tie with shirt and sports coat? And of course there were no women matriculating with them, not until fourteen years later. 

This time I'm not going to give the name of the young man on the left with his face turned away from the camera because my research into him ended on a sad note. Just eight years later in 1963 he died. His mother helped an art museum's acquisition fund in memorial of her son. I couldn't help wondering if he lost his life in the Vietnam War.

But he certainly looks handsome in his Jackman & Sons all-wool bouclé sports coat, $90. 

His friend on the right is George Sumter Schreyer, wearing a hound's-tooth-check sports coat of fine cashmere, $135, also by Jackman & Sons. His hat is a Jaguar by Knox, $15. I remember that Knox label inside my father's hats. You would think that a name like Mr. Schreyer's would have brought some results on the internet but there was nothing I could connect with him.

The young man on the left above is Thomas C. Murray wearing an oxford-gray cheviot Chesterfield with velvet collar, $89. There were far too many Thomas C. Murrays on the internet to discover what this Thomas did after college.

But I think I can safely guess that the Princeton student in the center, Daniel C. Rebhun, Jr., may be the man of the same name who wed a Miss Carruthers on December 30, 1956. He "wears a British warm in classic woolen, $125.

I didn't even attempt trying to research the remaining young man, not with a name like Charles E. Moore. He wears a Shetland tweed sports coat, $65. All of the above men's fashions were from Rogers Peet, New York. Rogers Peet was bought by Arrow in 1962. 


 These three young men above are wearing Shetland jackets by Grieco, $75 and up. The first one is Thomas W. Pettus, Jr. in a deep gray flannel with Lovat stripe. I think he possibly was married to Miss Diana Brewster, of Barnard, in May of 1961 at St. Bartholomews but the marriage must not have lasted as she seems to have remarried later.

The man in the center is C. Carter Walker, Jr. wearing a gray herringbone worsted suit. I found his obituary online and he seemed to have lived a long and worthwhile life. Member of Class of 1956 of Princeton, serving three years in the Navy, an athlete all his life. 

I loved this sentence in his obituary: "Carter and Julia took New York by storm." He and Julia were married 50 years until she died nearly a decade earlier than him, philanthropists all their marriage. And then this nice tribute: "Carter was a charitable, charming southern gentleman, who always put his family first." 

What a nice man!

Maybe it was just as well I couldn't find anything definite on the Princeton student on the right in the picture. I mean, who could top what I found for Carter! But James C. Crimmins is wearing a brown-black herringbone cheviot. I'm not sure what a cheviot is other than the fabric is from Cheviot sheep? 

All of these photographs are from the August 1955 issue of Town & Country, as were those from the previous post. 

I have one more fashion post from this issue that I'll share next. I'll go back to the women of 1955...the women of Seattle, Washington. And I've just begun researching them, already finding fascinating information on the internet about the real life models of the article.

I don't know if these 1955 fashion posts are of real interest to anyone else but it has made for some happy moments for me.

What an era! 



wrote about here...

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

New York Fall Fashions, 1955

 Some of my favorite magazines from my collection of vintage women's magazines are the fashion mags...Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Town & Country. 

And now that I can only fantasize about dressing up and going somewhere, I love paging through the old magazines that showed the fashions of my mother and grandmother's past. 

When I looked through my 1955 Town & Country I was reminded of the wool suits my mother made, beautifully tailored.

These two young women are posed on the George Washington Bridge. Mrs. Serge Sarasin, on the left,  wears a tunic suit in City Tweed by Davidow. I found there are still beautiful vintage Davidow suits for sale online.

I have to admit to snooping on the internet when I find the names of the models in my old magazines. Partly because I love researching for its own sake and partly because I'm nosy curious. 

1955 was a time when women were introduced by their husband's name with a Mrs. in the front. I learned that Mrs. Sarasin was Sue C. Nelms before her marriage in 1952. I love her tunic suit and her pretty red purse and gloves.

I have a thing about gloves, wrote about them in a post here in "The Shorter the Sleeves, the Longer the Gloves."  

The woman on the right in the bridge photo is Mrs. John S. Radway, wearing a beautiful blue suit of British Linton tweed, carrying a matching coat. I wasn't able to find out more about her but Linton tweeds are still being produced in England.

The next two models are posed at The Cloisters in New York, home of Medieval art and the famous Unicorn tapestry. The Cloisters have been used for backdrop in many movies, including my friend Tammy's favorite, Portrait of Jennie.

Jane B. Gillespie, above, wears a three-quarters length coat and matching skirt of Anglo tweed by William Devitz. I wish more of these fashion shots were in color because when I googled both Anglo fabrics and the designer William Devitz I found the most beautiful colors and vintage clothing for sale online. Alas, I could not find further news of Miss Gillespie online.


 I love the fitted look of this suit above of Pinehurst hand-woven fabric by Bellciano that Cynthia Brooks Towell wears. I couldn't trace Cynthia any further but I'm guessing she was petite as Bellciano was known for their Bellciette line for women under 5 foot, 5 inches.

Town & Country described this suit as a taileur, meaning a suit meant for town wear. I love that word!


Let me introduce you to Mrs. Charles A. Dana, Jr., shown at her New Canaan, CT home. She's wearing a John Barr tissue tweed suit. I couldn't find out what tissue tweed is but it sounds as if it would be very soft and comfortable. 

I drew a blank at the fashion designer but discovered that Mrs. Dana was the former Eleanor Waters Langhorne and she and Charles were married in 1951 at Park Avenue Methodist Church. And Mr. Dana was head of the Dana Foundation that contributed to many worthy causes including a cancer institute.

I wish the magazine had given the name of her beautiful dog!


Our last model is my favorite, look at that smile! 

She was described as being Mrs. Thomas Morgan Schriber, the former Holly Seelbach, chair of the New Canaan, Connecticut Junior Red Cross. 

She is wearing a coat of O'llegro by Claire McCardell. I found out that fashion designer Claire McCardell is credited with first creating American sportswear for women. She inspired many of today's top designers and believed that women's clothing should "be practical and sturdy as well as feminine."

I found Holly's obituary and her picture shows that beautiful smile.

 Evidently Hilde (Holly) Seelbach Henderson Schriber Rohde graduated from Wellesley, married a Mr. Henderson and had two children and then was widowed during WW II. In 1947 she married Thomas Morgan Schriber and they had two children, the youngest who must be the small son shown with her in the picture.

I was fascinated reading that Hilde (Holly) Rohde (her second husband had also passed away and she remarried a third time) co-owned The Yarn Tree in New Canaan "where she sold yarns, and designed and knit sweaters and needlepoint."

This lovely woman with the radiant smile passed away this past May 27, 2020, "quietly at her home in New Canaan."

Her story and her smile touched my heart.

There are two more main fall fashion stories in this 1955 issue of Town & Country that I want to post about this month, one about what young men wore to college then--oh, how the times have changed--and one about the women of a city that has been much in the news lately. 

Vintage Fall fashions are my favorite, that is until Christmas fashions come along. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Still Picklin'

Peppers, that is.


I no longer can do all the canning and preserving that I did when I was younger but pickling peppers, I can manage.


I happen to love all kinds of peppers and in May our son-in-law gave me two large jalapeño plants that have grown into fat bushes. 



I've made at least six jars of hot pepper sauce this summer for the pinto beans and cornbread suppers RH and I have once a week. I use a simple hot brine of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt on top of the clean jalapeños, a slit cut in them, and a couple of garlic cloves and a few black peppercorns.


And when my brother-in-law gave us three bags of fresh purple hull peas from his garden, RH and I spent a Sunday afternoon shelling them, taking me back to summer days helping shell them for my father.

My largest colander was overflowing by the time we finished, ready to be blanched and shocked in ice water for the freezer with one pot cooked for supper. Fresh purple hulls are my favorite and were especially good with garlicky hot pepper sauce, last summer's jar shown here. Refilled with more brine, still good but maybe not as much flavor after having been refilled throughout the year. And exactly why I was determined to make plenty this year.

 Last week I made pickled jalapeños, hoping they'd turn out crisper than store-bought ones.


I opened the small jar after a few days and they were crisp! Recipe here.    

I hope the link works, it's from "Homemade Hot Pepper Sauce."



By the way, I used empty jars from Trader Joe's giant Chalkidiki Greek olives for this, my favorite olive, even the brine is tasty. I love these so much that RH just bought me six jars for our anniversary this week!

We've been so blessed this summer with fresh vegetables from our gardening neighbors. I saved enough Hungarian wax peppers to make a jar of pickled slices that are so good.


 Then this weekend our neighbor brought us another basket of peppers, knowing how much I love them. I'll try these banana peppers with a sweet pickled recipe.


 Those tiny peppers are super hot so I made up a small jar of hot sauce with them. [That Cup O' Joe candle from Milkhouse Candle Co. is amazing! They don't sponsor me, I just like to share my favorite candle company.]

We've also been eating these mild peppers in salads all summer, the plant a gift from our daughter.


 Here's a bag of just-dug sweet potatoes our neighbor brought us.


 I never knew that sweet potatoes could be so good! Eating them reminded me of my father's stories of taking his sweet potatoes to Saturday market in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee when he was a boy. 

Blog friend Carla emailed me after my last post about family farms, telling me that she grew up on a family farm that still is in the family and saw what happened to the community when farms were foreclosed on. It affected the whole community and businesses closed in town as a result. She said she was also glad to see many of the old ways coming back among young families during this time of pandemic. 

My own pickling is small potatoes to what my favorite homestead bloggers do but it does give me a sense of satisfaction to be putting away for winter one of my favorite vegetables--peppers.

Garth Brooks' lines keep running through my mind when I see a neighbor coming with more pickles for me:

I'm a pepper he's a pepper she's a pepper wouldn't you like to be a pepper too?


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Family Farm















 "Corn Harvest" by Leslie Randall was reproduced full page in the September 1944 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. 

I love this painting so much that I was tempted to cut it out of the magazine and frame it except that I am wholeheartedly opposed to harvesting pages from the really old magazines in my collection.  When I see pages for sale on eBay from them I want to steal the seller's scissors and remind them that once these old magazines are gone they're gone forever.

This painting was on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1942. It speaks to my heart, probably because my father was raised in a farming family and my sisters and I were raised hearing the stories of farming.

To me, there is something almost sacred about a family farm and it hurts to see so many disappearing in our country. I guess it's why I follow so many of the homesteading bloggers and hope that one good thing to come out of this pandemic time is that more people are turning to growing their own food.

I remember one hot summer afternoon twenty years ago when my father and I sat on the front porch and talked about the book I was writing about two families of farmers. I took page after page of notes as he reminisced, giving me authentic details I had questions about. 

Then we started talking about so many farms being foreclosed on that year.  Daddy got almost emotional, telling me that it could only hurt our country when small farmers were losing their farms to the big industrial conglomerates. It really bothered him. And our conversation stuck with me.

I know he would be proud of the young adults today who are trying to raise as much of the food for their family as they can. His father would be, too. 


The hay appeareth, and the tender grass showeth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. [Proverbs 27:25] The Book was made for those who live on the land.

David Grayson in The Countryman's Year, 1936


[I don't know why there's such a gap between the picture and the following paragraphs. It's not that way on my draft.]