26 March 2012

Home Economy Tidbits
1879, 1882, 1887, 1897, 1900


Woman Churning Butter in 1893 (photo link)

Oatmeal For Children
Oatmeal is one of the best articles of food known for growing children. The custom, so long in use in England, is yearly becoming more general here, of giving children a daily portion of oatmeal for breakfast. It helps to keep the bowels in good order, and in combination with milk serves to make good bones and teeth.
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

Making Butter
The best butter makers of the present endeavor to avoid working butter as far as possible, in order that the “butter grain” may be kept uninjured and preserved in all its integrity. To accomplish this object the cream must not be overchurned, for the butter is often seriously impaired in the grain by too much churning. When the butter begins to form, or is in small particles about the size of wheat kernels or a little larger, stop churning. The butter is then in a granulated state, and the buttermilk may now be drawn off, and the grains of butter can then be washed with cold water, and afterwards with brine,—which will free it from all milky and caseous matter. Some drain the butter milk from the churn in a hair sieve, and then wash by turning water on the butter in the churn. Butter treated in this way is never salvy or greasy; but remains with its grain uninjured, and should be in its best state. 
[Maine Farmer's Almanac]

Exercise Out-of-Doors
Every woman should take a certain amount of exercise out-of-doors. It is necessary for good health and good nature too. If by doing so you will be obliged to leave some of the work in the house undone, who will know or care one hundred years from now? 
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

To Drive Off Rats
Cayenne pepper will keep the buttery and storeroom free from rats and cockroaches. If a mouse makes an entrance into any part of your dwelling, saturate a rag with cayenne in solution, or sprinkle dry cayenne on some loose cotton, and stuff it into a hole, which can be repaired with either wood or mortar, No rat or mouse will eat that rag for the purpose of opening communication with a depot of supplies.
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

Ridding  the Home of Fleas
To rid a house of fleas, take a piece of fly paper and in the centre of each piece put pieces of raw meat, cut up quite fine. When the pieces of paper are pretty well filled with fleas, roll them up and put them in the fire, and repeat the process till there is not a flea left.[Leavitt’s Farmer's Almanac]

To Polish Oil Cloth
To polish oilcloth, shred half an ounce of beeswax into a saucer, cover it with turpentine, and place it in the oven until melted; after washing the oilcloth thoroughly, rub the whole surface lightly with a flannel dipped in the wax and turpentine, then rub with a dry cloth. 
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

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12 March 2012

1853, 1877, 1880 & 1883


Parsnips for Hogs
Parsnips appear to be nearly the only root good for swine in an uncooked state. Put beets, ruta-bagas, carrots and parsnips, before them, and the question will be soon settled which they like best, and consequently which is best for them—the parsnip being wholly devoured before the others are touched.
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

Management of Swine
Notwithstanding the command in the law of Moses against eating swine’s flesh, and in spite of the learned doctors of the day, who warn us against uncooked pork, with horrible accounts of diseases entailed by careless cooking of it, most thrifty farmers find their account in keeping a few pigs; and will continue to do so until the world is a good deal nearer the millennium than at present. There is no reason to believe that well-cooked pork is unwholesome when taken in reasonable quantities, and not too constantly, by active workingmen. It is probably not well adapted to feed children and people who live much within doors.

Moreover the pig is made by the thrifty farmer, not, perhaps, to “pay rent,” like the Irish pig, for our farmers generally have no rent to pay, but he is made to work for his living, by working up weeds, potato tops, &c., into good manure; and his living will cost little if fed, as he should be chiefly in New England, on waste products—the swill, the refuse of dairies and cheese factories, of starch factories and slaughter-houses. For the western farmer can pack ten barrels of corn into one barrel of pork, and save freight by sending us his pork; so that, although feeding grain to hogs is generally profitable at the west, it seldom is at the east, except to fatten and finish off animals grown on cheaper fodder
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

Enhancing the Pork Price
It is astonishing how apparently trifling changes in methods will influence sales and enhance prices. Farmer A raises pork; his hogs are kept in the old slovenly way, fed on garbage, or whatever the animal will eat. Farmer B also raises pork, but his hogs are well cared for; the pens are clean, and a bed of straw is supplied for quiet repose. Sunlight and air are admitted freely to the pens, and also plenty of clear water. During the fattening they are fed on good, sound meal and shorts, with skim milk. Farmer A finds a slow market for his pork, at the present time, at five or six cents per pound; while B cannot supply the demand for his at fifteen cents a pound.
[Maine Farmer's Almanac]

The Economical Pig
The pig is not a very popular animal on our eastern farms, but it is the most economical meat-making machine we have. The stomach of an ox or a sheep is very much larger in proportion to live weight than that of the pig, while the proportion of intestine is greater in the pig than in the sheep or the ox. So these latter, as ruminants generally, are best fitted to deal with food that requires long digestion, while the pig assimilates food  much more rapidly. So the pig increases in weight far more rapidly than either the sheep or the ox, and not only is the rate of increase more rapid, but this increase is far greater in proportion to the food taken. To be sure his food is usually more digestible, but his capacity for assimilation is far greater and hence the more rapid increase.
[Thomas’s Farmer's Almanac]

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