School groups from around the area come in on Friday to have some hands-on learning about pioneer history.
But we’re also seeing daffodils blooming, wheat fields turning green, and people like me already buying first pick of plants in the garden nurseries—even though that means they are enjoying time in my sun room for a few weeks before going outside permanently.
This year Easter makes its appearance in March, and that brings me to eggs, both to decorate and hide from kids and pets, and to bake with.
Spring for the pioneers meant hens starting to lay more eggs after the long winter so here are two of my favorite “egg recipes” from my old-time recipe cook book, Egg Gravy.
Angel Food Cake
Whites of 11 eggs, pinch of salt, 1½ cups sugar, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1 cup cake flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Sift sugar and flour together 7 times. Put cream of tartar and salt in eggs and beat very light, fold in sugar and flour, add vanilla. Put in cold oven and bake slowly 1 hour.
1 cup butter, 11 egg yolks (beaten light), 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour (sifted 3 times) with 2 teaspoons baking powder added to the flour, and 1 cup sweet milk. (Make your own cake flour by sifting 4 cups of flour and 1 cup of cornstarch together four times.) Bake in tube pan 45 minutes.
(I know the cake recipes don’t have time and temperature on them, but every good cook knew her own wood stove, so they didn’t record those on their recipes.)
Try your hand at baking like a pioneer and let me know how they turned out.
National Quilting Day was established in 1991 by the National Quilting Association. Officially, National Quilting Day is the third Saturday in March (March 16th this year). Unofficially, the celebration has expanded to the entire month.
The theme for 2013 is “Celebrate America”, which coordinates with the show theme for the 44th Annual National Quilting Association Quilt Show. A Nine Patch Stars and Stripes quilt for this year’s theme was designed by Kathy Lichtendahl, former NQA Communications Chair. One version of the finished quilt is featured with this blog.
Click into the NQA’s website for the free pattern to create this quilt. Donate your finished quilt to any organization supporting our veterans, or to someone now serving in the military.
I think it would also make a great memorial quilt for anyone who has had family serve our great country. The quilt will look great in any color scheme, and in any size, not just as it’s featured.
Get inspired with this stunning quilt pattern, and “celebrate America” by making this quilt for someone special!
Lilac Lane Patterns had me as a guest blogger today about my quilts. (Here’s the story below, but go to their website to see all the photos of the quilts I talk about.)
Today I’ll show you some of my great grandmother, Kizzie Pieratt’s quilts, and next Friday I’ll show you some of my grandmother, Irene Pieratt Akers’ quilts.
Kizzie raised eight children, was the main farmer in the family, and quilted other people’s quilt tops for additional income. Most of the quilts I have of hers were made to be functional, and used on our own family’s beds when I was growing up in the 1950s.
And please check back to this blog site next week to see even more antique quilts on my bed.
Today I’m going through old photos that I’ll include in my next book. These are pictures I took in 2002 with my camera, of old portraits that were in my great uncle’s chest of family history. Now—eleven years later— I’m scanning, cropping and figuring out where to put in my book, The Kansas Quilter.
As I sort them by family, and study the photos with a magnifying glass, I’m finding clues to my ancestors’ pasts.
For example here’s a photo of Robert Pieratt, probably taken when he enlisted in 1862. He died on Feb. 19, 1863—at the age of 17.
Here’s how I wrote his death in the letter, Feb. 26, 1863 in Stitch of Courage.
“Robert died at Fort Scott on February 19. He had the measles, then succumbed to pneumonia. We barely knew he was sick until Mr. Pieratt got word that he was dead and buried. I curse this war! If it hadn’t been for the Secession, Robert would have been home, alive and well. I can’t stand to think what conditions Robert lived in and must have died in without his family around him in his last hours. In my mind I picture him lying in a spindly cot without enough blankets, no one to bathe his fevered brow, all alone. Did he still have my quilt with him? Did he lose it, or wasn’t it thick enough to keep him warm and safe? Questions keep haunting me, along with his friendly face. I saw it only two months ago!”
(Excerpt from Stitch of Courage © Linda K. Hubalek)
Now look at the photo again and think how bittersweet it would be to have a picture of your son as he’s ready to go to war, and then to hear you’ll never see him again.
And then there’s more in this letter in Stitch of Courage, and you realize…
“The word of Robert’s passing came after his stepmother, Nancy, died of bronchitis on the 20th. She hadn’t been well for the last month but turned worse quickly at the end. The Pieratt children have lost two mothers. I feel their pain as I relive my own loss. Life can be so hard on children. “
The father, John Pieratt (from Trail of Thread) lost a son on the 19th and his wife on the 20th.
These are the emotions I try to portray for my books, because they were real—especially when you find an old photo like this one and know the story behind it…
As the state of Kansas celebrates their 152nd birthday this week, one wonders why people decided to venture out into the open prairie of the Great Plains in the first place.
The answer was free land with the 1854 opening of the Territory of Kansas and Nebraska. A surge of settlers took that opportunity to move in, stake out land claims, and build brand new towns.
What role did the woman of the family have in the decision to move, and in the building of a new life out in the middle of nowhere?
While researching for my Trail of Thread book series, I was plagued with the questions the women would be asking of themselves and their husbands about the reason for the move, and how to prepare for it.
What were these women’s feelings when they were told they were moving to an open wilderness without family or towns nearby? How could they decide what to pack and what they must leave behind? At what point did these pioneer women feel they were making progress in starting a new state?
Unfortunately, after the early homesteaders settled in the new territory, the clashes between the free-state and proslavery forces made life hard for all. While the men were out fighting for their picked cause, the women were left at home to build and defend their new homesteads.
Even though women didn’t have a vote in what was going to happen to their state, it was often the women that were holding the state together and talking care of the farms- establishing the state and its future.
So, as the 34th state looks back on its history and ahead to its future, we say thanks to the pioneer women that made Kansas a state.
Linda K. Hubalek’s second book in the Trail of Thread series is just as delightful as the first. Join Margaret Ralston Kennedy as she decides to give up a good life in Ohio to join her children in Kansas. You will find her facing droughts, freezing temperatures (it says -40 at one point!), and political upheaval. I really appreciated how strong pioneer women really were. To think of living in a drafty log cabin where you woke up with frost or ice on yourself every morning!
The book addresses Bloody Kansas as our state was torn between slavery and freedom in the mid 1850s. You will recognize characters such as John Brown. By the end of the book, we are on the verge of Civil War.
There is also tons about starting a new household, gardening and of course quilting. I especially enjoyed a newspaper article included at the end of the book documenting Margaret who lived to be 87 years old.
I was touched by how frequently people were killed by plagues and yet, life went on. These women were tough, hardy pioneers who were thrown into a situation where they had to protect their families from raids and cold alike. And yet they stood for what they believed in.
Once again in the form of letters, it is a tale of survival, and you will enjoy it. For more information or to order the book, please visit Hubalek’s website at http://lindahubalek.com.
The year 2012 went by fast for me as my husband and I built our own house, plus me taking care of my aging parents. Both “jobs” were filled with work, trauma, and joy. But, these were important things that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.
Now I’m starting the new year by moving into my new home office and planning my dad’s 90th birthday open house on Jan. 20th.
I’m enjoying a sunny winter snow scene from my office window and getting back in gear…and still wondering what I did with… where I put… certain files… that envelope of research photos, etc.
I wasn’t able to concentrate on my writing as I would have liked to last year, but now I’m working on my next book.
I have enough research done to start writing the story of my great grandmother, Kizzie Pieratt who was a spunky pioneer, and an avid quilter.
It’s going to be fun to write her story. Please keep tuned in to see how the new book progresses.
I know I’m behind in Christmas decorating, shopping and my annual holiday letter- compared to everyone else around my neighborhood. Most people put up their house lights and their tree right after Thanksgiving, and will take them down right after Christmas.
But growing up in a Swedish community meant that the Christmas season was from Dec. 13, which is St. Lucia’s Day, to January 13, St. Knut’s Day, when you take down your Christmas tree. And I still stick to this time frame because it was a tradition in my family, and for the last several generations. It just makes me feel good to remember my Swedish grandparent’s custom and how their living room was decorated this special month.
Here’s an entry from Butter in Well that tells about the start of the Christmas season for “us Swedes”.
December 13, 1868- At home in Sweden the Christmas season starts today on Saint Lucia’s Day. When I was living at home, Sara, my oldest sister, would wake us up early with coffee and cakes in bed. She wore the traditional white robe, crimson sash and a crown of lighted candles that illuminated the dark to represent Saint Lucia, the patron saint of Sweden. Special food was prepared for the holiday season. Fader was in charge of the meats and Moder baked enough pastries for us and anyone who came to visit. The smörgåsbord on Christmas Eve was loaded with the traditional Christmas dishes. Seemed like we had barely gone to bed when it was time to rise and walk to Julotta. The rest of the day was spent quietly at home with our family. We would open our gifts, handmade items that everyone had secretly worked on for weeks before Christmas. I remember the ljus krona that sat on the corner table in the living room of my parent’s home. The tree, carved out of wood, was wrapped in white paper and had small handmade candles tied to its branches. Each branch represents a member of the family. It was my favorite Christmas decoration. Now I feel homesick. (Excerpt from Butter in the Well, ©Linda K. Hubalek)
I hope you’re remembering special people and traditions this month too. I’m starting my Christmas season today!
Lindsborg, Kansas (PRWEB) October 25, 2012
Butterfield Books Inc. is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Linda Hubalek’s Butter in the Well Series by releasing updated versions of all her books during Family History Month.
Family History Month promotes searching for one’s ancestors. A good way to understand the journey and homesteading of one’s family is to read Kansas author Linda K. Hubalek’s historical fiction book series. Hubalek has a knack of pulling readers into the story to feel the emotions, times and trials of the 1800s, which helps the person researching their ancestors to realize what their family’s life was like during that time frame.
The Butter in the Well books is based on the actual Swedish immigrant family that homesteaded the farm that the author grew up on. Used in schools for pioneer history studies, they are also enjoyed by readers of all ages who have kept the Butter in the Well book series in print for twenty years.
A reader on Amazon.com wrote about Butter in the Well: “One of the best “first settler” accounts I’ve ever read! Hubalek’s story of Swedish immigrant, Kajsa, who settled in Central Kansas, was riveting. I couldn’t put it down until I had read the whole book. Stories of rattlesnakes coming through the dugout ceiling, prairie fires, the joys of newborn babies and the heartaches of losing loved ones….Reading Linda Hubalek’s book shows that starting life as a homesteader was very tough, and the story was so real that I was working the sod right with her. Be sure to read the whole four-book series, and her other two series as well.”
These books are available in stores, or online at Amazon.com, ButterfieldBooks.com or LindaHubalek.com. Watch for free ebooks on Amazon.com this fall to celebrate the updated books.
Butter in the Well by Linda K. Hubalek is available as paperback: ISBN: 978-148004345 or EBook: ISBN: 978-1886653217.
About Butterfield Books Inc.: Founded in 1994, Butterfield Books Inc. publishes and promotes books about Kansas and its pioneer history. The company is located in Lindsborg, Kansas, known as “Little Sweden USA.”
About Linda K. Hubalek: Homesick for her Midwestern family community while temporarily in California for her husband’s job, Hubalek turned to writing about what she missed, which started a new career for her. Hubalek has written ten books, including the Trail of Thread and the Planting Dreams series about pioneer women that made Kansas their home.