Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving Corn Cake

Thanksgiving Corn Cake

Self-Rising Corn Meal - 2 cups
Self-Rising White Flour - 2 cups
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Buttermilk - 1 cup
Sour Cream - 3/4 cup
Eggs - 4
Butter, melted - 1/3 cup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 11 x 7 rectangular pan or 8 inch square pan.  Sift together cornmeal, flour, and sugar.  Add milk, sour cream, eggs and melted butter, gradually stirring until well mixed.Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Memories

This time of year can be difficult. The stress of making the perfect Thanksgiving dinner falls on new and experienced cooks. Some of these dishes are only made once a year, so that really increases the pressure. While Thanksgiving is definitely about enjoying some delicious food, it's mostly about making some great memories.
I can remember Mom buying each piece of this set of china. The sets were being sold in the local grocery store. With each grocery purchase, you could purchase a piece of china at a discounted price. Mom and I worked very hard to get just enough pieces to debut the set at our Thanksgiving table that year. While we didn't have every piece, there was enough for the dinner table.
That dinner table had been used for years. While it was wooden, it had the most indestructible finished top. I think you could pour a gallon of water on it and it would never penetrate the wood. I remember laying my head on the cool surface when I was a child and crying with an ear ache. We played cards and Scrabble at that table. Decades of breakfasts and suppers sat upon it. At Thanksgiving, an extra leaf was added and it was covered with one of Grandma's white tablecloths. 
This particular year, later referred to as the year of the china, Mom and I worked really hard to make sure the table was set 'just right'. I'll blame Mom, but it was probably my idea to take a picture of the 'set' table with the turkey in the center. After our photo shoot, we needed to move the table a little more to the center of the kitchen. Mom was on one end and I on the other when we picked up the table. That moment still plays like slow motion in my memories. Our beloved table, after decades of service, picked that moment to break in half. Mom and I gazed in horror as our brand new china began sliding toward the turkey in the center. We couldn't let go of the table and we couldn't grab the china. I'm not sure who screamed first, but the menfolk came running. Being men, they grabbed the turkey first. Mom and I screamed in unison 'the dishes, get the dishes!'. The only thing keeping everything from sliding to the floor was the tablecloth wrapped around the ends of the table we were still holding. It seemed like it took forever for those dishes to be moved. Mom and I just knew that they'd be chipped an broken before we had a chance to use them.
Well, not a chip or scratch could be found on any plate. I guess that is the mark of really good china! Mom cried over the broken table, but we borrowed one from Grandma for Thanksgiving dinner. After all the usual chaos of Thanksgiving, the food was wonderful. All of us together, eating on new china and a borrowed table, made for a perfect Thanksgiving. In the end though, it's the memory of us holding that broken table, laughing and crying, that still stands out after all these years.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, August 15, 2016


I found these recipes in an old teacher's manual on Household Science from 1918.  Enjoy ;o)

All the recipes given have been used with success in preparing rural school lunches. The number that the recipe will serve is generally stated and, where this number does not coincide with the number of pupils in any particular school, the quantities required may be obtained by division or multiplication. The recipes given in the lessons on cooking may also be used in preparing the school lunch, as each recipe states the number it will serve.
White Sauce
1 c. milk
½ tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. white pepper
Reserve one quarter of the milk and scald the remainder in a double boiler. Mix the flour to a smooth paste with an equal quantity of the cold milk and thin it with the remainder. Stir this gradually into the hot milk and keep stirring until it thickens. Add the butter, salt, and pepper, and cover closely until required, stirring occasionally. This recipe makes a sauce of medium consistency. To make a thick white sauce, use 3 or 4 tablespoonfuls of flour to one cup of milk.
6 tbsp. (18 tsp.) cocoa
6 c. milk
6 tbsp. (18 tsp.) sugar
6 c. boiling water
½ tsp. salt
Scald the milk in a double boiler. Mix the cocoa, sugar, and salt, then stir in the boiling water and boil for 3 minutes. Add this mixture to the scalded milk. If a scum forms, beat with a Dover egg-beater for one minute. The preparation should begin at half-past eleven, to have the cocoa ready at twelve o'clock. (Will serve eighteen.)
192Potato Soup
1 qt. peeled potatoes cut in thin slices
4 tbsp. flour
3 qt. milk
⅛ tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 small onion
4 tsp. butter
½ tsp. celery seed or a stock of celery
Before the opening of school, the potatoes should be pared and put into cold water; and the butter, flour, salt, and pepper should be thoroughly mixed. At eleven o'clock, the potatoes, onion, and celery should be put on to boil gently and the milk put into a double boiler to heat. When the vegetables are tender, they should be strained with the cooking liquid into the hot milk and the mixture bound with the flour. The soup should be closely covered until required. (Will serve ten.)
Cream of Pea Soup
1 can peas or 1 qt. fresh peas
2 tbsp. flour
1 pt. milk
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
¼ tsp. pepper
Heat the peas in their own water, or cook them in boiling salted water until tender. Put the milk to heat in a double boiler. When the peas are tender, rub them, with the cooking liquid, through a strainer into the scalded milk. Add the butter and flour rubbed to a smooth paste and stir until thickened. Season and cover until required. (Will serve six pupils generously.)
Cream of Tomato Soup
1 pt. or 1 can tomatoes
1 qt. milk
2 tbsp. butter
Sprig of parsley
3 tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. sugar
½  tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
Cook the tomatoes slowly with the seasonings for ten minutes and rub through a strainer. Scald the milk, thicken with the flour and butter rubbed to a paste, re-heat the tomatoes, and add the soda, mix with the milk, and serve at once. (Will serve six pupils generously.)
193Cream of Corn Soup
2 pt. cans corn
2 slices onion
1 pt. cold water
2 qt. of thin white sauce
The process is that used in making Cream of Pea Soup. When making the thin white sauce, place the onion in the milk and leave it until the milk is scalded. Then remove the onion to the other mixture and make the sauce. This gives sufficient onion flavour. (Will serve eighteen.)
Lima-bean Soup
1 c. Lima beans
3 tbsp. butter
2 qt. water
2 tbsp. flour
2 whole cloves
3 tbsp. minced onion
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp.     "      carrot
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp.     "      celery
¼ tsp. pepper
Soak the beans overnight in soft water or in hard water which has been boiled and cooled. If cold, hard water is used, add ¼ tsp. baking-soda to 1 qt. of water. In the morning, drain and put on to cook in 2 qt. of water. Simmer until tender. It takes 2 hours. Cook the minced vegetables in the butter for 20 minutes, being careful not to brown them. Drain out the vegetables and put them into the soup. Put the flour and butter into a pan and stir until smooth. Add this mixture to the soup. Add the cloves, bay leaf, and seasonings, and simmer for 1 hour. Rub through a sieve. One cup of milk may be added. Bring to the simmering point and serve. (Will serve eighteen.)

Note.—If desired, the vegetables may be used without browning and the cloves and bay leaf omitted.
Milk and Cheese Soup
4 c. milk
1⅓ c. grated cheese
2 tbsp. flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Thicken the milk with flour, cooking thoroughly. This is best done in a double boiler, stirring occasionally. When ready to serve, add cheese and seasoning. (Will serve six.)
194Cream of Rice Soup
4 tbsp. rice
½ small onion
4 c. milk
4 stalks celery
3  tbsp. butter
½ bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Scald the milk, add the well-washed rice, and cook for 30 minutes in a closely covered double boiler. Melt the butter and cook the sliced onion and celery in it until tender, but not brown. Add these, with the bay leaf, to the contents of the double boiler, cover, and let it stand on the back of the stove for 15 minutes. Strain, season with salt and pepper, re-heat, and serve. Note that the bay leaf is added and allowed to stand, to increase the flavour, and may be omitted if desired. (Will serve six.)
Rice Pudding
3 c. rice
2 c. sugar
6 c. water
4 eggs
6 c. milk
2 tsp. salt
3 c. fruit (chopped raisins) if desired
Wash the rice in a strainer placed over a bowl of cold water, by rubbing the rice between the fingers. Lift the strainer from the bowl and change the water. Repeat until the water is clear. Put the water in the upper part of a double boiler directly over the fire, and when it boils rapidly, gradually add the rice to it. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes, then add the milk, to which has been added the sugar, salt, and eggs slightly beaten. Cover, place in the lower part of the double boiler, and cook until kernels are tender—from 45 minutes to 1 hour. If raisins are used, add them before putting the rice in the double boiler. Serve with milk and sugar as desired. (Will serve eighteen.)
Rice Pudding
2 c. rice
4 qt. milk
1 c. raisins
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
Prepare the rice and raisins and put them, with the other ingredients, in a buttered pan. Bake all forenoon, stirring 195occasionally during the first hour. Serve with milk or cream. (Will serve ten.)
Cream of Wheat
1½ c. cream of wheat
1½ tsp. salt
10 c. boiling water
1½ c. dates (chopped)
Put the boiling water and salt in the upper part of the double boiler directly over the heat. When boiling, add the cereal slowly. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens. Add the dates and cook for 5 minutes. Place in the lower part of the double boiler and cook at least 1 hour. Serve with milk and sugar. (Will serve eighteen.)
Scrambled Eggs
9 eggs
2 tbsp. butter
1 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
Beat the eggs until the yolks and whites are well mixed. Add the seasonings and milk. Heat the frying-pan, melt the butter in it, and turn in the egg mixture. Cook slowly, scraping the mixture from the bottom of the pan as it cooks. As soon as a jelly-like consistency is formed, remove at once to a hot dish or serve on toast. (Will serve nine.)
Creamed Eggs
6 hard-cooked eggs
2 c. milk
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
Salt and pepper
Melt the butter, add the flour, and stir in the milk gradually. Cook well and season with salt and pepper. Cut hard-cooked eggs in small pieces and add them to the white sauce. It may be served on toast. (Will serve six.)
Egg Broth
6 eggs
1 c. hot milk
6 tbsp. sugar
Few grains salt
Vanilla or nutmeg
196Beat the eggs and add the sugar and salt. Stir in the hot milk gradually, so that the eggs will cook smoothly. Flavour as desired. (Will serve six.)
Soft-cooked Eggs
Wash the eggs and put in a sauce-pan, cover with boiling water, remove to the back of the stove or where the water will keep hot, but not boil. Let them stand, covered, from 7 to 10 minutes, according to the consistency desired.
Baked Shirred Eggs
Butter small earthen cups. Break an egg in each and sprinkle with a few grains of salt and pepper and bits of butter. Bake in a moderate oven until the white is set. For Shirred Eggs proceed as above, but to cook, place in a pan of hot water on the back of the stove, until the white is set.
Creamed Potatoes
White sauce (medium consistency)
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1½ c. milk
Salt and pepper
Make a white sauce of the butter, flour, milk, and seasonings. Cut cold potatoes (about eight) into cubes or slices and heat in the sauce. Serve hot. (Will serve nine.)
Mashed Potatoes
Boil the potatoes, drain, and mash in the kettle in which they were boiled. When free from lumps, add to each cup of mashed potatoes:
1 tsp. butter
1 or more tbsp. hot milk
¼ tsp. salt
Beat all together until light and creamy. Re-heat, and pile lightly, without smoothing, in a hot dish.
Baked Potatoes
Use potatoes of medium size.
197Scrub thoroughly in water with a brush. Place in a pan in a hot oven. Bake from 45 to 60 minutes. When done, roll in a clean napkin and twist until the skin is broken. Serve immediately. (If no oven is available, place a wire rack on the top of the stove. Put the potatoes on this rack and cover them with a large pan. When half cooked, turn.)
Macaroni and Cheese
3 c. macaroni (2 pieces)
3 qt. boiling water
3 tsp. salt
6 c. white sauce (medium)
Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water until tender. Drain, pour cold water over it, and drain it once more. Put the macaroni into a baking dish, sprinkling a layer of grated cheese upon each layer of macaroni. Pour in the sauce and sprinkle the top with cheese. Cook until the sauce bubbles up through the cheese and the top is brown. To give variety, finely-minced ham, boiled codfish, or any cold meat may be used instead of the cheese. (Will serve ten.)
Cornstarch Pudding
1 qt. milk
½ tsp. salt
¾ c. cornstarch
¾ c. sugar
Scald the milk in a double boiler. Mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together. Gradually add to the hot milk and stir constantly until it thickens. Cover, cook for 30 minutes, add vanilla, and pour into cold, wet moulds. When set, turn out, and serve with milk and sugar. (Will serve nine.)
Apple Sauce
9 tart apples
6 whole cloves (if desired)
¾ c. water
¾ c. sugar
Piece of lemon rind (if desired)
Wipe, pare, quarter, and core the apples. Put the water, apples, lemon rind, and cloves into a sauce-pan. Cook covered until the apples are tender, but not broken. Remove the lemon 198peel and cloves. Add the sugar a few minutes before taking from the fire. The apples may be mashed or put through a strainer. (Will serve nine.)

Note.—The lemon and the cloves may be used when the apples have lost their flavour.
Stewed Prunes or Other Dried Fruit—Apricots, Apples, Pears
¾ lb. fruit (about)
⅓ c. sugar
1½ pt. of water
1 or 2 slices lemon or
a few cloves and a piece of cinnamon stick
Wash the fruit thoroughly and soak overnight. Cook in the water in which it was soaked. Cover, and simmer until tender. When nearly cooked, add sugar and lemon juice. The cloves and cinnamon should cook with the fruit. All flavourings may be omitted, if desired. (Will serve nine.)
Soft Custard
2 c. milk
2 eggs
6 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
A few grains of salt
Scald the milk in a double boiler. Add the sugar and salt to the eggs and beat until well mixed. Stir the hot milk slowly into the egg mixture and return to the double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly, until the spoon, when lifted from the mixture, is coated. Remove immediately from the heat, add vanilla, and pour into a cold bowl. To avoid too rapid cooking, lift the upper from the lower portion of the boiler occasionally. (Will serve six.)
Tapioca Custard Pudding
3 c. scalded milk
4 tbsp. pearl, or minute, tapioca
2 eggs slightly beaten
6 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. butter
A few grains of salt
Minute tapioca requires no soaking. Soak the pearl tapioca one hour in enough cold water to cover it. Drain, add to the milk, and cook in a double boiler for 30 minutes. Add to remaining ingredients, pour into buttered baking-dish, and bake for about 25 minutes in a slow oven. (Will serve eight.)
199Rice and Tomato
2 c. cooked rice
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
2 c. unstrained or 1 c. strained tomato
1 slice of onion minced
Salt and pepper
Cook the onion with the tomato until soft. Melt the butter, and add the flour, salt, and pepper. Strain the tomato, stir the liquid into the butter and flour mixture, and cook until thick and smooth. Add the rice, heat, and serve. (Will serve six.)
Cracker Pudding
6 soda crackers
3 eggs
3 c. milk
6 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
Roll the crackers and soak them in milk. Beat the yolks and sugar well together and add to the first mixture, with some salt. Make a meringue with white of eggs, pile lightly on top, and put in the oven till it is a golden brown. Serve hot. (Will serve six.)
Note.—Dried bread crumbs may be used in place of the crackers.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

One Fancy Chicken Coop...

You say Poultry-House.  I say Chicken Coop...but it sure is fancy - too fancy for the Hollow!  This is from the same Rural Architecture book from 1852.



As poultry is an indispensable appendage to the farm, in all cases, the poultry-house is equally indispensable, for their accommodation, and for the most profitable management of the fowls themselves, and most convenient for the production of their eggs and young. Indeed, without well-arranged quarters for the fowls of the farm, they are exceedingly troublesome, and of doubtful profit; but with the proper buildings devoted to them exclusively, they become one of the most interesting and agreeable objects with which either the farm or the country house is associated.

It is hardly worth while to eulogize poultry. Their merits and virtues are written in the hearts of all provident housekeepers; and their beauty and goodness are familiar to every son and daughter of the rural homestead. We shall, then, proceed at once to discuss their proper accommodation, in the cheapest and most familiar method with which we are acquainted.
The hen-house—for hens (barn-door fowls, we mean) are the first and chief stock, of the kind, to be provided for, and with them most of the other varieties 268can be associated—should be located in a warm, sheltered, and sunny place, with abundant grounds about it, where they can graze—hens eat grass—and scratch, and enjoy themselves to their heart's content, in all seasons, when the ground is open and they can scratch into, or range over its surface. Some people—indeed, a good many people—picket in their gardens, to keep hens out; but we prefer an enclosure to keep the hens in, at all seasons when they are troublesome, which, after all, is only during short seasons of the year, when seeds are planted, or sown, and grain and vegetables are ripening. Otherwise, they may range at will, on the farm, doing good in their destruction of insects, and deriving much enjoyment to themselves; for hens, on the whole, are happy things.
We here present the elevation of a poultry-house in perspective, to show the principle which we would adopt in its construction, and which may be extended to any required length, and to which may be added any given area of ground, or yard-room, which the circumstances of the proprietor may devote to it. It is, as will be seen, of a most rustic appearance, and built as cheaply, yet thoroughly, as the subject may require. Its length, we will say, is 20 feet, its breadth 16, and its height 10 feet, made of posts set into the ground—for we do not like sills, and floors of wood, because rats are apt to burrow under them, which are their worst enemies—and boarded up, either inside or outside, as in the case of the ice-house previously described, though not double. Plates are laid on these posts, to connect them firmly together; and the rafters 

rest on the plates, as usual. The chamber floor is
9 feet high, above the ground, and may be used either for laying purposes by the fowls, or reserved as a storage-room for their feed. The roof is broadly drawn over the body of the building, to shelter it, and through the point of the roof, in the center, is a ventilator, with a covered top, and a vane significant of its purpose. It is also sufficiently lighted, with glass windows, into which our draughtsman has put the diamond-paned glass, contrary to our notions; but, as he had, no doubt, an eye to the "picturesque," we let it pass, only remarking, that if we were building the house on our own account, there should be no such nonsense about it. The front windows are large, to attract the warmth of the winter's sun. A section of picket fence is also attached, and trees in the rear—both of which are necessary to a complete establishment; the first, to secure the poultry in the contiguous yards, and the trees to give them shade, and even roosting-places, if they prefer such lodgings in warm weather—for which we consider them eminently wholesome.
The wooden floor is dispensed with, as was remarked, to keep rid of the vermin. If the ground be gravelly, or sandy, it will be sufficiently dry. If a heavy or damp soil be used, it should be under-drained, which will effectually dry it, and be better for the fowls than a floor of either wood, brick, or stone. Doors of sufficient size can be made on the yard sides of the house, near the ground, for the poultry to enter either the living or roosting apartments, at pleasure, and hung with butts on the upper side, to be closed when necessary.

The front door opens into the main living room. At each end, and in the rear, are tiers of boxes, one foot wide, one and a half feet long, and one and a half feet high—the lowest tier elevated two feet above the ground—and built one tier above the other, and snugly partitioned between, with a hole at one corner of each, ten inches high, and eight inches wide, for passing in to them; and a shelf, or passage-board, nine inches wide, in front. These are the nesting boxes, and should be kept supplied with short, soft straw, or hay orts, for that purpose. Hens love secrecy in their domestic economy, and are wonderfully pleased with the opportunity to hide away, and conceal themselves while laying. Indeed, such concealment, or the supposition of it, we have no doubt promotes fecundity, as it is well known that a hen can stop laying, almost at pleasure, when disturbed in her regular habits and settled plans of life. Burns says—
"The best laid schemes of mice and men
Gang aft agley;"
and why not hen's? We think so. If turkeys be kept in the premises, the females can also be accommodated in these boxes, as they are fond of laying in company with the hens, and frequently in the same nests, only that they require larger entrances into them; or, a tier of boxes may be made on the ground, for their convenience.

A door leads from the rear of this room into the roosting apartment, through which is a passage to
 the back side of the building, and a door opposite, leading out into the yard. On each side of this passage are roosts, rising, each behind and above the other, 18 inches apart. The lowest roosts may be three feet from the ground, and the highest six feet, that they may easily fly from one to the other; and in this way they may all be approached, to catch the fowls, when required. For the roosts, slender poles, two to three inches in diameter—small trees, cut from the woods, with the bark on, are the best—may be used; and they should be secured through augur holes in board slats suspended from the floor joists overhead. This apartment should be cleaned out as often as once a fortnight, both for cleanliness and health—for fowls like to be clean, and to have pure air. A flight of stairs may be made in one corner of the front room, to go into the chamber, if preferred; but a swing ladder, hung by one end, with hinges, to the joists above, is, for such purpose, a more cleanly mode of access; which, when not in use, may be hooked up to the under side of the floor above; and a trap door, shutting into the chamber floor, and also hung on hinges, will accommodate the entrance.
For feeding troughs, we have seen many ingenious contrivances, and among them, possibly, a Yankee patent, or two; but all these we put aside, as of little account. A common segar box, or any other cast-off thing, that will hold their food, is just as good as the most complicated invention; and, in common feeding, 

there is no better mode than to scatter abroad their corn, and let them pick it up at their pleasure—when spread on a clean surface. We think, also, that, except for fattening poultry, stated hours of feeding are best for the birds themselves, and that they be fed only such quantity as they will pick up clean. Water should, if possible, be kept constantly by them; and if a small running stream could pass through the yard, all the better.
If it be desirable to have fresh eggs during winter—and that is certainly a convenience—a box stove may be set in the living room, and properly protected by a grating around it, for warming the living apartment. It may be remarked, however, that this winter-laying of hens is usually a forcing business. A hen will lay but about a given number of eggs in a year; say a hundred—we believe this is about the number which the most observant of poultry-keepers allow them—and what she lays in winter must be subtracted from the number she would otherwise lay in the spring, summer, or autumn. Yet a warm house will, laying, aside, keep the fowls with less food, and in greater comfort, than if cold, and left to their own natural warmth.
There is usually little difficulty in keeping hens, turkies, ducks, and geese together, in the same inclosure, during winter and early spring, before the grass grows. But geese and turkies require greater range during the warm season than the others, and should have it, both for convenience to themselves and profit to their owners. For winter quarters, low shelters may be made for the water-fowls in the yards, and the turkies will 

frequently prefer to share the shelter of the hens, on the roosts in the house. Guinea-hens—cruel, vindictive things, as they are—should never be allowed within a common poultry yard. Always quarrelsome, and never quiet, they should take to the farmyard, with the cattle, where they may range at will, and take their amusement in fisticuffs with each other, at pleasure. Neither should peacocks be allowed to come into the poultry inclosures, during the breeding season; they are anything but amiable in their manners to other birds.
With the care and management of the poultry department, after thus providing for their accommodation, it is not our province to interfere; that is a subject too generally understood, to require further remark. Nor need we discuss the many varieties of poultry which, at the present time, so arrest the attention of many of our good country people; and we will leave so important a subject to the meditations of the "New England Poultry Society," who have taken the gallinaceous, and other tribes under their special cognizance, and will, doubtless, in due time, illumine the world with various knowledge in this department of rural economy, not yet "dreamt of in our philosophy." The recently published poultry books, too, with an amplitude and particularity in the discussion of the different breeds and varieties, which shuts all suspicions of self-interest into the corner, have given such a fund of information on the subject, that any further inquiry may, with entire good will, be turned over to their pages.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Want to Build an Ice-House?

This is from the same Rural Architecture book from 1852.  I love that it estimates the cost at $50 to $100 - quite expensive back then....



Among the useful and convenient appendages to the farm and country family establishment, is the ice-house. Different from the general opinion which prevailed in our country before ice became so important an article of commerce, and of home consumption, the building which contains it should stand above-ground, instead of below it. And the plainer and more simple it can be constructed, the better.
The position of the ice-house may be that which is most convenient to the dwelling, or to the wants of those who use it. If it can be placed beneath the shade of trees, it will so far be relieved from the influence of the sun; but it should be so constructed that sunshine will not affect the ice within it, even if it stand unsheltered; and as it has, by the ice-merchants of our eastern cities, who put up large quantities for exportation abroad, and others in the interior, who furnish ice in quantity for home consumption, been proved to be altogether the better plan to build the ice-house entirely above ground, we shall present no other mode of construction than this. It may be added, that five years' experience with one of our own building, has confirmed our opinion of the superiority of this
 over any other plan which may be adopted.
The design here presented is of the most economical kind, yet sufficiently ornamental to make it an agreeable appendage to any family establishment. The size may be 12 feet square—less than that would be too small for keeping ice well—and from that up to any required extent. The idea here given is simply the principle of construction. The posts should be full eight feet high above the ground, to where the plate of the roof is attached, and built thus:
Mark out your ground the size you require for the house; then, commencing at one corner, dig, opposite each other, a double set of holes, one foot deep, and two and a half feet apart, on each side of the intended building, say three feet equidistant, so that when the posts stand up they will present a double set, one and a half feet apart. Then set in your posts, which should be of oak, chestnut, or some lasting wood, and pack the earth firmly around them. If the posts are sawed, they may be 4×6 inches in size, set edgeways toward each other. If not sawed, they may be round sticks cut from the woods, or split from the body of a tree, quartered—but sizable, so as to appear decent—and the insides facing each other as they stand up, lined to a surface to receive the planking. Of course, when the posts are set in the ground, they are to show a square form, or skeleton of what the building is to be when completed. When this is done, square off the top of each post to a level, all round; then frame, or spike on to each line of posts a plate, say six inches 

wide, and four to six inches deep, and stay the two plates together strongly, so as to form a double frame. Now, plank, or board up closely the inside of each line of posts, that the space between them shall be a fair surface. Cut out, or leave out a space for a door in the center of the side where you want it, two and a half or three feet wide, and six and a half feet high, and board up the inner partition sides of this opening, so as to form a door-casing on each side, that the space between the two lines of posts may be a continuous box all around. Then fill up this space between the posts with moist tan-bark, or saw-dust, well packed from the ground up to the plates; and the body of the house is inclosed, sun-proof, and air-proof, to guard the ice.
Now lay down, inside the building, some sticks—not much matter what, so that they be level—and on them lay loose planks or boards, for a floor. Cover this floor with a coating of straw, a foot thick, and it is ready to receive the ice.
For the roof, take common 3×4 joists, as rafters; or, in place of them, poles from the woods, long enough, in a pitch of full 35° from a horizontal line, to carry the roof at least four feet over the outside of the plates, and secure the rafters well, by pins or spikes, to them. Then board over and shingle it, leaving a small aperture at the top, through which run a small pipe, say eight inches in diameter—a stove-crock will do—for a ventilator. Then set in, 4 little posts, say two feet high—as in the design—throw a little four-sided, pointed cap on to the top of these posts, and the roof is done. If you want to ornament the under side of 262the roof, in a rude way—and we would advise it—take some pieces of 3×4 scantling, such as were used for the roof, if the posts are of sawed stuff—if not, rough limbs of trees from the woods, to match the rough posts of the same kind, and fasten them to the posts and the under side of the roof, by way of brackets, as shown in the design.
When the ice is put into the house, a close floor of boards should be laid on joists, which rest on the plates, loosely, so that this floor can be removed when putting in ice, and that covered five or six inches deep with tan, or saw-dust—straw will do, if the other can not be had—and the inside arrangement is complete. Two doors should be attached to the opening, where the ice is put in and taken out; one on the inner side of the lining, and the other on the outer side, both opening out. Tan, saw-dust, or straw should also be placed on the top of the ice, when put in, so as to keep the air from it as much as possible; and as the ice is removed, it will settle down upon, and still preserve it. Care must be taken to have a drain under the floor of the house, to pass off the water which melts from the ice, as it would, if standing there, injure its keeping.
It will be seen, that, by an error in the cut of the ground plan, the inside line of posts does not show, as in the outer line, which they should do; nor is the outside door inserted, as is shown in the elevation. These defects, however, will be rectified by the builder.
We have given considerable thought to this subject, and can devise no shape to the building more appropriate than this, nor one cheaper in construction. It 

may be built for fifty to a hundred dollars, according to the cost of material and labor, and the degree of finish given to it.
It is hardly worth while to expatiate upon the convenience and economy of an ice-house, to an American. Those who love well-kept meats, fruits, butter, milk, and various etceteras for the table, understand its utility well; to say nothing of the cooling draughts, in the way of drinks, in hot weather, to which it adds—when not taken to extremes—such positive luxury. We commend the ice-house, well-filled, most heartily, to every good country housekeeper, as a matter of convenience, economy, and luxury, adding next to nothing to the living expenses, and, as an appendage to the main buildings, an item of little cost, and a considerable degree of ornament.
If an under-ground ice-house be preferred to the plan here shown, a side hill, or bank, with a northerly exposure, is the best location for it; and the manner of building should be mainly like this, for the body of the house. The roof, however, should be only two-sided, and the door for putting in and taking out the ice may be in the gable, on the ground level. The drainage under the floor, and precautions for keeping the ice, should be quite as thorough as we have described; as, otherwise, the earth surrounding it on three sides, at least, of the house, will be a ready conductor of warmth, and melt the ice with great rapidity. If the under-ground plan is adopted, but little more than the roof will show, and of course, be of little ornament in the way of appearance.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


I found this interesting info in a book on Rural Architecture published in 1852.  Thought I'd pass it along for fun...


The kitchen garden yields more necessaries and comforts to the family, than any other piece of ground on the premises. It is, of consequence, necessary that it be so located and planned as to be ready of access, and yield the greatest possible quantity of products for the labor bestowed upon it; and as locality and plan have much to do with the labor bestowed upon it and the productions it may yield, both these subjects should be considered.
As to locality, the kitchen garden should lie in the warmest and most sheltered spot which may be convenient to the kitchen of the house. It should, in connection with that, be convenient of access to the dung-yards of the stables. The size may be such as your necessities or your convenience may demand. The shape, either a parallelogram or a square; for it will be recollected, that this is a place allotted, not for a show or pleasure ground, but for profit. If the garden be large, this shape will better allow the use of the plow to turn up the soil, which, in a large garden, is a much cheaper, and, when properly done, a better mode 
than to spade it; and if small, and it be worked with the spade, right lines are easier made with the spade than curved ones. One or more walks, at least eight feet wide, should be made, leading from a broad gate, or bars, through which a cart and horse, or oxen, may enter, to draw in manure, or carry out the vegetables; and if such walk, or walks, do not extend around the garden, which, if in a large one, they should do, a sufficient area should be thrown out at the farther extremity, to turn the cart upon. If the soil be free, and stony, the stones should be taken out clean, when large—and if small, down to the size of a hen's egg—and the surface made as level as possible, for a loose soil will need no draining. If the soil be a clay, or clayey loam, it should be underdrained two and a half feet, to be perfect, and the draining so planned as to lead off to a lower spot outside. This draining warms the soil, opens it for filtration, and makes it friable. Then, properly fenced, thoroughly manured, and plowed deep, and left rough—no matter how rough—in the fall of the year, and as late before the setting in of winter as you dare risk it, that part of the preparation is accomplished.
The permanent or wide walks of the garden, after being laid out and graded, should never be plowed nor disturbed, except by the hoe and rake, to keep down the weeds and grass; yet, if a close, and well-shorn grass turf be kept upon them, it is perhaps the cheapest and most cleanly way of keeping the walks. They need only cutting off close with the hand-hook, in summer.

We have known a great many people, after laying out a kitchen garden, and preparing it for use, fill it up with fruit trees, supposing that vegetables will grow quite as well with them as without. This is a wide mistake. No tree larger than a currant or gooseberry bush should ever stand in a vegetable garden. These fruits being partially used in the cooking department, as much in the way of vegetables, as of fruits, and small in size, may be permitted; and they, contrary to the usual practice, should always stand in open ground, where they can have all the benefits of the sun and rain to ripen the fruit to perfection, as well as to receive the cultivation they need, instead of being placed under fences around the sides of the garden, where they are too frequently neglected, and become the resort of vermin, or make prolific harbors for weeds.
Along the main walks, or alleys, the borders for perennial plants, as well as the currant and gooseberry bushes, should be made—for the plow should run parallel to, and not at right angles with them. Here may stand the rhubarbs, the sea kales, the various herbs, or even the asparagus beds, if a particular quarter be not set apart for them; and, if it be important, a portion of these main borders may be appropriated to the more common flowers and small shrubbery, if desired to cultivate them in a plain way; but not a peach, apricot, or any other larger tree than a currant or raspberry, should come within it. They not only shade the small plants, but suck up and rob them of their food and moisture, and keep off the sun, and prevent the circulation of air—than which nothing needs all 

these more than garden vegetables, to have them in high perfection. If it be necessary, by means of a cold exposure on the one side, to have a close plantation of shrubbery to screen the garden, let it be outside the fence, rather than within it; but if within, let there be a broad walk between such shrubbery and the garden beds, as their roots will extend under the vegetables, and rob them of their food.
A walk, alley, or cartway, on the sides of the garden, is always better next to the fence, than to fill that space with anything else, as it is usually shaded for a portion of the day, and may be better afforded for such waste purposes than the open, sunny ground within.
It will be observed that market gardeners, men who always strive to make the most profit from their land and labor, and obtain the best vegetables, cultivate them in open fields. Not a tree, nor even a bush is permitted to stand near the growing crop, if they can prevent it; and where one is not stinted in the area of his domain, their example should be followed.
A word upon plowing gardens. Clays, or clayey loams, should always be manured and plowed in the fall, just before the setting in of the winter frosts. A world of pounding and hammering of lumps, to make them fine, in spring, is saved by fall plowing, besides incorporating the manure more thoroughly with the soil, as well as freezing out and destroying the eggs of worms and insects which infest it. Thrown up deeply and roughly with the plow or spade, the frosts act mechanically upon the soil, and slack and pulverise it so thoroughly that a heavy raking in early spring, is 
all that becomes necessary to put it in the finest condition for seeds, and make it perhaps the very best and most productive of all garden soils whatever. A light sandy loam is better to lie compact in winter, and manured and turned up in early spring. Its friable nature leaves it always open and light, and at all times in the absence of frost, accessible to the spade or the hoe. On these accounts, it is usually the most desirable and convenient soil for the kitchen garden, and on the whole, generally preferred where either kind may be a matter simply of choice.