Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sepia Saturday -Li'l Cindi's Takin' Names

"I wanna know who's responsible for this hat! Oh, an while yer at it, who do I have to kill to git some food around here?"

Li' Cindi looks less than aMUSEd in this picture. She's being taken for ride. I mean she's being taken for a ride in the baby buggy. Pram. Perambulator. Baby cot. Stroller. Carriage. Call it what you will, this bassinet on wheels gizmo has been around in many forms for around 300 years. Early versions were meant to be pulled by a dog or goat .
Are goats interested in that sort of work, Margaret? Check with one of your knickered nannies! Besides, the early buggy models were made out of straw or wicker which spells L-U-N-C-H to a goat along with the baby blanket, booties, and hat.

"Did you say "hat"??? Gimme one of those goats!"

Did you know the phrase"don't get my goat!" probably originated with horse racing? Goats mingled with the high-strung racehorses and kept them calm. I don't know why, they just did. If you "got the goat" and took it away from the racehorse the horse would get all upset.

To check out more Sepia Saturday, please visit Kat at Poetikats Invisible Keepsakes!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - Happy Birthday Kansas

Toboggan Ride at Vinewood Park, Topeka Kansas

Today in History: The Sunflower State, a suburb of Nebraska, was admitted to the Union as a free state - free of slavery - on January 29, 1861. As Kansas opened up to settlement on the tumultuous heels of the Civil War, the abolitionists and pro slavery groups fought so many skirmishes over their pro and anti slavery agendas that the territory was known as the Bloody Kansas. It was also a dry state, which may have accounted for some of the tempers.

For those of us, I mean you, who don't remember from grade school, Topeka is the capital of Kansas. Topeka means "to dig good potatos" in the Kansa and Ioway languages. The Native Americans were referring to the "prairie potato", a food plant (as opposed to the road apple) with tuberous roots that was indigenous to the area.

The postcard picture is of the toboggan ride at Vinewood Park which opened in Topeka in 1902. The park amusements included a roller coaster (hand me my smelling salts!), which was called a toboggan, a penny arcade and a circle swing. Canoe rentals for the canals and a band stand for dancing made this a popular place to visit.

The postmark reads Emporia, Kansas, October 11, 1909, and the message says:


I was out to this place last Saturday night when we were in Topeka playing football. Had a time.

Signature ?

I cannot read the stylized signature, but I would like to think it reads "Artti" because I found Leona Drayer in a web search. She married a fellow named Arthur Crockett.
It appears the writer may have attended Emporia State University (est. 1863 as a teaching college) and played football against Washburn University (est. 1865) in Topeka. He could have mentioned who won!
Washburn's football team is called the Ichabods in honor of an early benefactor, Ichabod Washburn.
In June, 1966, just a few days after classes were let out for the summer, a tornado completely demolishedf the campus and all trees on the grounds. Three months earlier every building in the school was re insured - and for the maximum amount of coverage. How's that for foresight? It took several years of students taking their classes in trailers, but eventually the university was rebuilt.

Vinewood Park employees in uniform circa 1902

Vinewood had a real Lover's Lane
The early settlers in Kansas tried their hand at farming and wheat growing. It was a rough business, and it wasn't until the Mennonites showed up with a variety of wheat that grew on the Russian Steppes that the crop could sustain the farmers.
If meat was available at all, it was generally pork or dried buffalo. It was interesting to find that a staple of the time was pancakes - sometimes served up for 3 meals a day and flavored with a topping of sorghum molasses or gravy.
The huge expanse of wheat farming and vegetable planting in the Great Plains states, including Kansas was one cause of the disastrous dust storms of the 1930's. Native grasses with deep root systems that held the soil in place were tilled and replaced with shallow root food crops. A long drought killed off the crops throughout the great plains and the fertile black top, with nothing to hold it in place blew away in huge wind storms, landing as far away as New England.

I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore!

After years of recovery and the planting of windbreaks, life resumed. Kansas is, again, one of the most productive agricultural states. Wheat and sorghum are still the major Kansas crops.
If you are looking for a Kansas dish or two, try some whole wheat bread, chicken fried steak, or a buttermilk pie. I found several recipes for the pie - generally it is made with short pastry crust, and the filling is a tangy custard made with buttermilk.
Please stop by Marie's at Voila! Vintage Postcards for more of Postcard Friendship Friday!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sepia Saturday - Delphine

Delphine is graduating from High School today. It's a bright warm day in June, 1940 and she is about to join her best friend, Dora, and class of young women at Nativity High School. But first, she and her sisters, Rita, Jean, and Marcy fuss with her hair and artfully apply a touch of make-up - just enough to pass the scrutiny of the nuns.

Rita made this beautiful white cotton batiste gown with the ruffled hem and tiny bows. A last minute touch up with a little starch and hot iron puff the sleeves and give body to the yards of fabric that make up the skirt.

This beautiful young ingenue, my mother, poses for pictures and enjoys her moment in the sun.

For more Sepia Saturday moments, stop by Poetikat's Invisible Keepsakes! To join in the fun, just click on the Sepia Saturday link on my sidebar.

Postcard Friendship Friday - Today In History - January 22

Henry M. Flagler, American tycoon, built the Overseas Railway as an extension to his Florida East Coast Railway. The Overseas railway ran from Miami Florida to Key West, and was completed January 22, 1912. I've mentioned Henry Flagler in other PFF posts - we could not write about the east coast of Florida without speaking of Flagler, who invested over $50 million of his own money on buildings, hotels and railroads. It all began when doctors advised he take his ill wife (from his first marriage) to live in Jacksonville Florida. He knew there was a potential for growth in the warm sunny state, could not find a suitable hotel, and so it began.
The city of Miami, by the way, was almost named "Flagler". Henry declined the honor, preferring to give the city a Native American name. He suggested the Mayaimi who lived around Lake Okeechobee. The name Maiyami refers to the lake and means "big water."

The card was sent by one of the celebrants, and was postmarked Key West, Florida on February 5 (or perhaps 8th), 1912.

Celebrating the First Train
Thousand of people came out to celebrate the arrival of the first train to Key West. Upon completion, this railroad extension built over deep water was viewed as the 8th Wonder of the World - this came after years of being viewed as Flagler's Follie.

Henry Flagler built beautiful resorts all along the route of his East Coast and Overseas trains, including the Ponce De Leon in St Augustine and the Royal Poinciana in Palm Beach. His Long Key Fishing Camp on Long Key was a stopping place for the rich and famous. He advertised the best fishing in the world, and hosted Zane Grey, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, to name a few.

The veiw from Long Key

The fishing camp initially served as housing for the railroad laborers, and then was refurbished into a resort that consisted of a hotel and a number of cottages.
From the mid 1800's, Key West, believe it or not, was the most populous city in Florida. Most of the state was a frontier with smatterings of towns and villages but Key West had long been a shipping port. Major industries in the early 1800's included salt production, fishing, and the very lucrative business of wreck salvaging. Later cigar making and then tourism, which is the main income source of Key West today.
Once the Panama Canal was completed, Key West became a stopping point for Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic shipping.
The Labor Day hurricane of 1935 destroyed much of the railroad. It also destroyed the Long Key Fishing Camp, but more importantly took hundreds of lives including those of about 400 WWI veterans who were part of a federal work force that improved roads and worked on mosquito control.
The FEC could not afford to rebuild the railroad. Instead, US Hwy 1 was extended from Miami to Key West and the days of the wealthy enjoying the sights of the Keys from one's own private railroad car were over.

Stop by Marie's Voila! Vintage Postcards for more Postcard Friendship Friday fun!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sepia Saturday - You were a baby once?


Welcome to my first Sepia Saturday! Alan of NEWS from NOWHERE is our host for this post theme, and I happened upon it when I stopped by to see Betsy and Kat today.
I'm sure I have enough sepia photos to keep this going for quite some time. Half of my life was recorded in sepia! Even my high school graduation picture. My life is like the movie, "Wizard of Oz." It was sepia until I was about 18 and then BAM! it suddenly turned to technicolor. You will understand why when I tell you this picture was taken in 1946. Probably around Easter. Shortly after eggs were invented.
The cute little kiddies pictured are my brother Joe and I. I was about 7 or 8 months old, and he was a few months shy of his 2nd birthday. The photographer colored in our matching outfits and the chair's seat cover.
That rattle I'm holding looks lethal - and bronze age -doesn't it?. Bronze age is about right. Where's Fischer-Price when you need them?
There's probably a direct relationship between having to sit and face the bright sun, as was required back then for photographs, and the cataract surgery I had about 6 years ago.
I'll be digging through my picture box, and I'll see you again next Sepia Saturday. You got sepia? Stop by Alan's blog if you would like to join this posting theme!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - A Man With A Dream

Today's Postcard Friendship Friday falls on the anniversary of Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 15, 1929.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was originally named Michael King, Jr. His father renamed himself and his son in honor of the German Protestant leader, Martin Luther, after a visit to Germany in 1934.
Dr. King did not formally graduate high school. He skipped his 9th and 12th grades and entered college at age 15. He went on to receive two BA's; one in sociology at Morehouse College and the other in divinity studies at Crozer Theological Seminary. He was awarded his Doctorate in philosophy at Boston College.

Anybody here see my old friend Martin?
Dr. King understood the importance of non-violent activism " the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity" from his mentor, Howard Thurman and from the teachings Mahatma Gandhi, whom he visited in 1959.

Can you tell me where he's gone?

Through the years Dr. King and many other activists in the civil rights movement resorted to boycotts, sit-down strikes, marches and other peaceful methods of protest against the many injustices that African Americans endured. Their peaceful protests were often met with violence, arrests and incarceration.

He freed a lot of people but, it seems, the good they die young;

Doctor King was well aware that his own life was in danger, and spoke of the threats in his "I Have A Dream" speech in Memphis Tennessee after his plane to Memphis was delayed due to bomb threats. He told the audience "...I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you..."
Doctor King was assassinated the following day, April 4, 1968. He was just 39 years old.

I just looked 'round and he was gone.

In essence, Dr. King's dream has been fulfilled.
In reality, we all have a long road to travel.

Didn't you love the things that he stood for?
Didn't he try to find some good for you and me?

Lyrics "Abraham, Martin and John" copyright Paris Music Ltd. Click lyrics for song video

Please stop by Marie's Voila Vintage Postcards for more Postcard Friendship Friday.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Orange you thinking "It's A Miracle, Old Tiger?"

Hello Old Tiger!

Do you even have a clue as to who Dave Garroway is? Here I am dating myself again. Dave G was the FIRST host and presented the first airing of the Today Show on January 14, 1952. He opened his shows with Hello Old Tiger and ended each show by saying "peace" with a raised palm. He introduced the sofa and easy chair method of interviewing guests and brought the news to us in the mornings - at first just to the east coast, and then across the US. Among his many hobbies (astronomy, watch repair, rocket building), he liked to teach birds to say "Birds can't talk"

The reason I even mention Dave is I took the dogs out this morning, and I saw a shadow on one of the ripening oranges. My first thought was Dave Garroway. Weird, but you are familiar by now with how my mind works. My second thought was e-bay. But, alas, shadows don't stick.

The best I can do is offer a characterization of the shadow characterization I saw of Dave G. on the orange.

Or perhaps use a thumbtack to secure his picture to an orange.

And hope that one out of 50 people even has a clue who Dave Garroway is. And want an orange with his likeness on it.

Peace, Old Tiger!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday - Today In History #1

Jackson Square, New Orleans Louisiana

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! I thought I would focus on "Today in History" as the theme for Postcard Friendship Fridays this year.
Today, January 8, is the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, the last battle in the War of 1812. An outnumbered army, lead by General Andrew Jackson, defeated the British. The battle of New Orleans was won on January 8, 1815
There were many causes for the War of 1812. The major cause was the refusal of the British to allow the United States to trade commerce with France due to Britain's ongoing war with the French. The Treaty of Ghent, signed in late December 1814 ended the war, but it was weeks before news of the settlement reached General Jackson. It's sad he didn't have a Facebook account. He might have known moments after the last signature was applied; "Hey you ole reprobate! Git on home! War's over. WE WON! ROFLMAO :-)"

Lacking any telecommunications whatsoever, Jackson's troups fired on the British and they"ran through to briers and they ran through the brambles and they ran through the bushes where a rabbit wouldn't go. They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch them, down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico." according to Johnny Horton's song of 1959. Click on the lyrics for a video of Johnny Horton looking like he hates the costume he's having to wear.

Francis Scott Key penned the Star Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 and Captain Oliver Hazard Perry sent the immortalized dispatch to headquarters: "We have met the enemy, and they are ours." after winning the Battle of Lake Erie. He was speaking of the Canadians as well as the British here - sorry, neighbors! We love ya! All is forgiven!

This vintage card was postmarked August 14, 1907 and mailed from (?) Mississippi to Wilmington Delaware.
The message reads: A terrific storm just began after an intolerably hot day - Why don't you write to me - you young reprobate? As ever, Hubley.
I LOVE the word reprobate! We must use it more often. It means utterly depraved. Abandoned to sin. Hubley sounds like a tongue in cheek laugh a minute.
The Battle of New Orleans was one of the pivot points that lead to General Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson's election as 7th President of the United States. He was known as "Old Hickory because of his toughness. His beloved wife Rachel died of a heart attack just two months before he took the oath of office. She left 10 children, all of which were either wards of the family or adopted by the Jackson's due to the deaths of family members. One exception was Lyncoya Jackson, a Creek Indian orphan the Jackson's adopted after the Creek war. Lyncoya was to be educated at West Point, but died at age 16 of tuberculosis.

Niece Emily Donalson acted as First lady for part of Jackson's term. She closed the period of mourning for Rachel on New Years Day, 1830, hosting a party at the White House.
Sara Yorke Jackson, Jackson's daughter-in -law, became co-host in the White House in 1834. This was the only time in history that two women acted as First Lady simultaneously. She took over when Emily became ill and retired from her duties.

I usually talk about the foods of the region, but to properly mention the wonderful French, Spanish, African and Native American influenced Louisiana foods that we enjoy takes a cookbook. The Cajuns, Arcadians and Creoles all have delicious recipes that make use of the wonderful seafood including crawfish and alligator, as well as the vegetables, grains and fruits that thrive in the region. I found one interesting dish that you may not be aware of; chicken bread. It was made by the plantation workers and consists of flour, cornmeal, shortening, salt and milk and is made in the frying pan after the chicken is done frying. Sounds delicious! Sounds like a great cornbread.
There are two schools of thought on cornbread in the US. One includes the addition of sugar - the other does not. I'm pretty sure if I delve a little further into the history of the Old South I will find a war fought between the "Sugars" and the "Naughts". I'm on the Sugars side of this battle. What's your preference?

Thank you so much for stopping by! Be sure and mosey on over to Marie at Voila! Vintage Postcards for links to the other PFF posts!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Armageddon Worried about THE END

Muse's Aztec Calendar

I was surprised and pleased to discover that another blogger, Anna Lefler of Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder, also follows the Mesoamerican calendar system. She probably shares similar problems such as trying to make an appointment. Like my Doctor calling about scheduling a colonoscopy. I tell her an appointment on 1 alauton would be fine, as long as it doesn't fall on a Wednesday. After a heated discussion during which my current weight/height ratio comes into play, we decide that 63 billion years is not do-able. After all, who knows if that will fall on a Wednesday or not.

Unlike Anna, who follows the Mayan calendar, inconvenience aside, I prefer to use the Aztec. It's a later version that uses kind of a "pick and choose" off the Mayan system. Kind of like Christianity today. Also, the guy in the middle has better teeth. The inconvenience has to to with trying to open the refrigerator with that giant stone magnet on it.

I'll admit the 20 day week is a bit bothersome too, but the holidays are good. Except for those that require human sacrifice. And then there's the end of the world thingie in December 2012. My main concerns about that are:

1. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen very close to Christmas. Should I bother to shop? Should I ask my friends to do their shopping early? What about Christmas cards? Lots of holiday stuff up in the air.

2. What about that colonoscopy I finally agreed to? My last one was fine. No weird stuff going on. So why can't we make the appointment for January 2013? Can't hurt. Either I'll be around to show up or I won't.

3. And then there's The Number One Rule about money: Don't outlive it. That'll be a problem. It will be close to the wire, but if 2012 is the BIG ONE I figure I shouldn't have to go live with my daughter for more than 6 months or so - instead of my original estimate of 10 to 15 years. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to spend more time with her, but she is WAY over Wayne Newton, and my CD collection is going to irritate her quite handily.

Like Anna, I am somewhat concerned about how to manage those around me in December of 2012. Take Chico's for instance. I'm in their Passport Club and I get free standard shipping (and an additional 5% off) for ALL of my orders) If I try to place a standard shipping order on, say, 12/12/12 they'll be all like "you have to pay for the 2 day express because we expect your mailbox to blow up with the rest of the world in the next 5-7 days." That could be costly, especially when I tend to order their clearance items one at a time so I have a steady stream of incoming wardrobe enhancements.

Also, the lawn guy will be calling with special deals for the annual chinch (or is it chintzy) bug spray. "Better get it in now Mrs. Con...ah...Concio... Contr... ahhh...anyway, like I say, do it now or you won't have any chinch bugs to spray."

Those are my thoughts on the subject. You got any?

(I did a spell check on colonoscopy and it kept suggesting kaleidascope. I'd rather have one of those.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tasting Christmas Roses

The scent of a rose - as much from it's beauty as it's alluring aroma.

Jennifer was home for Christmas(!) and helped me make rose scented Shrowsbury cakes. These crispy shortbread cookies, in several flavors, are pronounced "shrewsbury" and have been around for centuries! It is said that Guinevere enticed King Arthur with them.
Martha Washington made caraway and anise flavored cakes, and has several recipes in her cookbook "Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery. I made the simple dough and added rosewater for the flavoring.

Jennifer cut them in small circles and baked them on parchment paper.

And here they are, awaiting a cup of tea for companionship.

Martha said to bake them just until the tops look iced and not let them brown. I couldn't figure out what she meant until we baked them. They are pale, but crispy, and the tops do look iced.

The picture I set on the table is from Mim! She sent me this charming Florida Girl for my 1 year bloggiversary. I love the yellow shoes and the tropical pink bloomers. Thank you so much Mim!

Would you would like to make some 700 year old cookies? Here's how Martha explains it:


Mix a pound of searced sugar & a pound of flowre well together. Then beat and *searce some sinamon, nutmegg, and ginger, & put in 2 egg youlks. Worke all these to paste with sweet butter, & roll it about halfe an incth thick. Cut them round, and flowere y papers& soe bake them. & when they looke ised over, they are enough.

*searced means sifted

Use 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 2 large egg yolks, a pound of softened unsalted butter and add either 2 tablespoons rosewater or 1 1/2 teaspoons of anise flavoring. You can leave the other spices out if you would like a pure rose or anise flavor. My friend Heather made delicious lavender scented shortbread cookies. What a treat! You can chill the dough for an hour or so to make it easier to work with. Bake at 300 degrees for about 15 -18 minutes. Mine took 15 minutes, so set the timer a little early and keep an eye on them. Store in an airtight container.