Pioneer Potluck: About living on the farm

  • By Grannie Annie
  • Tuesday, March 18, 2014 3:40pm
  • LifeFood

Northern Colorado

1937 To 1955

As I said before – I owe my interest in cooking and sewing to my Mom. And my interest in quilting and bread making to my Grandma Freda Cogswell.

I didn’t want to take Home Ec in High School because I learned how to cook and sew from my Mom and I told her I already knew how. .My Mom said “No, you don’t!” And I didn’t!!

Grandma made my clothes when I was little and in first and second grade. Then for some reason Mom took over the sewing and I benefited from cute and different dresses and skirts and blouses that mom made me off and on through grade school. She continued to make a few cloths on into my high school years. My very favorite was a brown and yellow gathered skirt she made and a white blouse that she bought. She hand sewed the same material from the skirt onto the collar of the blouse. She finally told me to stop wearing it. It had to be ironed every week.

My first attempt at making a dress was at Timnath High School under the eyes of Mrs Burke. It was a turquoise waffle-weave cotton dress with a huge circular skirt, a big collar and I bought a wide black belt to go with it. It had to be perfect to get a good grade and I worked and worked on it. The hem had to be done by hand and it had to be straight and perfect! I am sure it was at least a mile around because I had to rip out the circular hem at least three times because Mrs. Burke said it was even, as she examined almost every hand sewn stitch. (I would take it home, rip out the handsewn hem that I have worked so hard at and then sewed through to 10pm before Dad made us go to bed, to get the dress hem straight. I finally got it right and received a good grade. I wore it until my mother told me to stop wearing “that dress.” It had to be ironed, maybe another reason she told me to stop wearing “that dress.”

Mrs. Burke also taught us how to set a “fine table”-using china, crystal glasses and silverware on perfectly ironed linen table clothes and how to fold linen napkins. …but I already knew how to do that because I had learned from my mother. I got an excellent grade in that class!

The next Home Ec class with Mrs. Burke as teacher, was a dinner prepared and served to, I think, the Senior class. I do not remember much about this – except that I was in charged of making bread or cookies – and I already knew how to do that. But I do remember I got an “F” in that class. Seems some of my girl friends and I were doing the dishes – and I hauled off and did what my Dad did quite often in Moms kitchen – I twisted a wet dish towel around and around and aimed at on of my class mates behind and “popped” her with the wet dish towel. She let out a yell! I got the “F” for that semester. Makes me smile now, but I sure was hurt at the time for the strictness and no nonsense of Mrs Burke.

The next Home Ec lesson was taking care of your skin and finger nails. I loved polishing every ones finger nails. I was forbidden to wear nail polish or lipstick at home so I thought I was so important when I came home with “all that junk” on my face, lips and finger nails. Mom disapproved intensely and told me to go wash my face before Dad came in from work or what if “for heavens sake” Grandma and Grandpa came to visit! So I learned to put lipstick on in the bus and wipe it off before I got off the bus. I sat on my hand a lot when Dad or Grandpa or Grandma were around – to hide the finger nail polish!!

Then there was a class about different types of material, color combinations, color wheel, and how to match different colors. Well, I love ALL bright colors and I almost flunked that class. She told me I was part gypsy as I loved red, orange and yellow. She told me that yellow made me look sick and orange made me look pale and red did not become me at all. So I switched to turquoise and black. That made her feel better but was not exactly on the “color wheel.” I still wear a lot of red and if I had to pick a color in the whole world I would pick yellow because it looks like a happy color to me. Just look at all the yellow flowers, especially the sunflowers!

I hope you all had a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, my Dads favorite holiday. We had to wear green or get pinched and he pinched hard. We had corned beef and cabbage for supper with Moms biscuits or great homemade bread. I wanted to put green food coloring in her nice homemade bread batter and maybe put green in the milk we always drank at each meal. Mom drew the line on all that – NOT in her bread and NOT EVER in the milk! Included is a recipe that I make every St. Patrick’s Day, AND I did not have to cook corned beef and cabbage this year – My nice neighbor Cathy Fenton cooked it for us!! Thanks Cathy!!


Please do not forget the less fortunate in the world especially those suffering from cancer.


May God grant you always

A sunbeam to warm you

A moonbeam to charm you.

A sheltering Angel so

Nothing can harm you.

Laughter to cheer you,

And whenever you pray

Heaven to hear you

An Irish Blessing

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