Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Part 4d House & Land


House and Land

Breakfast Nook, Back Porch, Butter and Ice

The breakfast nook was at the South side of the kitchen. It was about eight or nine feet deep and about seven or eight feet wide. There was a table and, I guess six chairs around it. When Claire and Sylvia were in their teens, the table was moved into the kitchen and a flat, wire spring cot that opened out to make a double size bed was put in the breakfast nook for them to sleep on. Daddy had gotten a couple of nail kegs, and either they or Mother made pillows and covers to make stools for each side of the bed. So, I guess that's the first time any of us had a separate room.

On a small, screened-in back porch, there was a screened, shelved, "safe" and an old ice box that had screen over the doors. Freshly strained milk was put in crock bowls and pitchers and kept there. Of course, milk would not keep long at all during summer months, but kept very well in winter. Once-in-a-while, we would get a special treat when the milk would freeze and we, literally, had "ice" cream for breakfast. We'd dip off the frozen cream into a bowl, then add sugar. "Mmmm," what a great "breakfast" treat!

The back porch was the place that the churning was done. Most of the time, when we were little, we'd sit on Lucy's lap, look through the Sears Roebuck & Co. or Montgomery Ward catalog and dream of stuff we wanted. Or, Lucy would sing to us or tell us stories. When little pieces of butter began to appear on the dasher handle, a little bit of cool water would be poured into the churn to make the butter "come." The cool water helped the butter to come together atop the buttermilk.

After it was decided that all the butter had come, it would be gathered up on the dasher and put into a bowl of water. Then Mother would take a cedar paddle; about six inches by 1 1/2 inches, with about a five-inch handle, and "work" all the milk out of the butter by folding it over and over. Then the water would be poured off and the paddle was used to work out all the water. After working the butter, particularly in cooler weather, it would harden sufficiently to be paddled and pressed into a half-pound butter mold that had a decorative floral pattern at the top. When the butter was pressed out of the mold, it had the floral pattern on the top and weighed a half-pound. Sometimes, Mother would just mold the butter out on a saucer, about one-and- a-half inches thick and about four inches in diameter, then take the edge of the paddle and make little "ruts" across each way, about and inch apart, or some other swirl type pattern to make the butter look pretty.

Sometimes the butter was taken to the store to trade for groceries, etc. Most of the time, with all of us and the field hands to feed, the butter was pretty well used up at home.

Once-in-a-while, someone would come by, during summer months, selling ice. We would get a 50 or 100 pound block, put it in a tub on the back porch, wrap it in newspaper and Daddy's raincoat to keep it cold for as long as possible. Late in the evening, we'd make homemade ice cream. We always had plenty of rock salt that was used in packing down fresh meat in the smokehouse that we could use for making ice cream. That salty ice in the freezer surely did taste good to me. So! I'd eat too much salty ice.....and get sick, almost every time we made ice cream. Of course, that good ole ice cream always brought by tummy back in line. I kinda liked my ice cream almost liquid so it wouldn't hurt my old bad teeth so badly. Joe was always the one who could really pack in the homemade ice cream. After everyone had had their fill, Joe would still be scraping the bottom of the bucket for more.

No comments: