Saturday, August 28, 2010

Corny News

I love this time of the year in BC. Fresh, local produce is pouring in from all over the province, especially corn. We got 30 ears of corn this week to put up for the winter, 3/$1, and there's still more to come. I bought a new gadget from Pampered Chef a while back called a Corn Kerneler. It's a specialized gadget to take the kernels off the cobb. It is super easy to use and fun too. I'm just a little bit of a gadget freak in the kitchen.

We still hope to be able to pick up some fresh blueberries and possibly some peaches as well. I am planning a trip next weekend to the Apple Barn, then it's time for applesauce. I hope we'll be able to pull in some tomatoes from the garden before the weather starts getting too cold. They've only just started to turn so we'll see.
Oh, and I forgot about the Sockeye salmon last week. Jonathan got a "heads up" from a guy in our church that the First Nations wer going to have a fresh load available for sale. Jonathan went out there and picked up twelve fish for us and a few other people as well. We spent two hours cleaning and vacuum packing the fish and then freezing ours for use this fall and winter. The news is excellent for the Sockeye fisheries this year, a record three million fish are expected to return to spawn. Numbers this large haven't been see since 1912. After four years of a closed season on Sockey, the public fishing season will be open this year.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I made a batch of Switchel this afternoon to see if Jonathan would like it. I have read about it, also sometimes called Swizzle, in several historical novels, but never thought to find out about it. After reading another living historian's blog (thank you Miss Macrae) and seeing the receipt I decided to try it. Such a strange mixture of ingredients, but all good for you on a hot day, and could be likened to the historic replacement for Gatorade. Here is the Wikipedia description of Switchel:

"Switchel, also Switzle, swizzle, ginger-water, haymaker's punch, or switchy is a dring made of water mixed with vinegar and often seasoned with ginger. Honey, sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup were sometimes used to sweeten the drink instead of molasses. In Vermont, oatmeal and lemon juice were sometimes added to the beverage. Switchel originated in the Caribbean, and had become a popular drink in the American Colonies in the late 1600's. By the 1800's, it had become a traditional drink to serve to thirsty farmers at hay harvest time, hence the nickname 'haymakers punch'." Laura Ingalls Wilder refers to a similar beverage made by Ma to serve to Pa during haying. Switchel, because of the ginger won't make you ill if you drink too much too quickly on a hot day.

1/4 c minced ginger
(boil in a little water and then strain)
1/2 c honey
1/4 c molasses
3/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
Mix together and then combine with 1 gal. of cold water.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In Memoriam...

John Cox, 1861 Huttonsville, VA
Joel Line Cox, 21 Regt Illinois Infantry
Jesse Cox, 89 Indiana Infantry
Joseph Cox, 1 Tennessee Cavalry
We visited Hovander Farm in Ferndale, WA today for a Civil War re-enactment. Following the battle, a Cross Brigade was formed to honor soldiers that had fought and those that had died during the civil war. Above are listed those from my family that served both for the North and South during the Civil War.
This was a tremendous event, though quite wet. My new dress was perfect and I was nice and comfortable through it all. The advantage of 7 layers is that when it rains, it takes quite a while for the bottom most to become wet. My shawl served me well, and I'm really glad now that I made it. Jonathan has become a target for the 15 Alabama's recruiting department. He's considering joining up even though we wouldn't be able to attend all the events. My treadle sewing machine could see quite a bit more use in the coming year. At the park there were quite a few historic buildings - this is Hovander House. It wasn't open when we were there, but is open for tours through the week. Perhaps we will be able to go back and take a tour at some point.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I'm not sure how you measure progress, but this week I began to seriously question my assessment. Granted, I am no computer whiz, but I generally do alright at basic operations; I managed to thread and successfully use my serger; my sewing machine is computerized; and I can competently drive an automobile, why am I having trouble with a treadle sewing machine? It's parts are quite simple by comparison, yet I feel woefully inept. After four visits to the Singer shop ( yes, Singer does still manufacture, sell, and service treadle machines) I managed to wind a bobbin, thread the machine, and sew a straight seam. Victory! Maybe this is why someone finally developed the electric motor! There is a definite trick to sewing on a treadle machine. It all sounds so straightforward until theory becomes practice. Think walking and chewing gum, or patting your head and rubbing your stomach. Think you're good?, you try it! You'll really begin to question what you thought were your abilities. Here is the proof that I have been humbled - 2 hours to sew 6 seams. Now, before you question my sanity too, it really was fun in an intriguing, challenging, historic way. This was amazing technology for Mr. Singer in the 1850's. For hundreds of years women/men had made garments with their hands, a needle, and thread. Now they had a machine to help. My machine was manufactured in 1910 in Clydebank, Scotland. Even then, a sewing machine was still a wonder and very valuable appliance to a few housewives though it was growing in popularity and affordability. Here is the proof of my attempts at sewing on the treadle. Not too shabby, and my plaids match pretty well. Progress?Definitely! Atleast to me.