Spring Housecleaning

This is the fourth article in March of the School for Housewives 1905 series published on Mar 26, 1905, and is a nice article on spring cleaning. One of my favourite things to do after winter is to go through my possessions and see what I can get rid of in order to make room for the new.

School for Housewives – Spring Housecleaning

An Expert’s Advise on the Most Important of Subjects

Readers will find in another section of this page – in the “Housemothers’ Exchange” – a helpful note from an experiences homemaker which might be headed “The Week Before Housecleaning.”

Referring to one branch of her subject, let me emphasize her exhortation to clean decks for action before settling down to business. Where rubbish comes from in orderly careful families is a mystery past finding out. TO quote from sapient George Sampson in “Our Mutual Friend” “We all know it’s there!” There in quantities that amaze and shame us! Things that are of no earthly – or unearthly – use to us now, and which are not likely to be of us to us ever hereafter – yet too good to throw away – all that is superfluous is rubbish! Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and let them go; the old coat which John has fattened out of; the stained gown you cannot clean or make over; battered toys; reports of patent offices and orphan asylums and quack medicines; letters whose end is to be burned sooner or later; broken plates and cracked tumblers and leaky kettles – extract them from pantry, wardrobe and attic before you begin to scrub and polish – and get them out of the house at once and for all time. Set abut housecleaning on Wednesday, when washing and ironing are out of the way, and begin in the attic – if, as our wise “Grandma” put it, you have one If should have been swept and dusted on Saturday. Scrub woodwork and windows before touching the floor, having first of all brushed down the walls with a peticoated broom. For paint, use a firm, not harsh, brush, sapolio and suds, afterward wiping with a dry cloth. Stir a little kerosene into the water used for the windows, beginning with the uppermost panes, cleaning one at a time and wiping it dry before proceeding to another. Polish with newspaper, rubbed soft between the hands. If properly applied it lends a luster nothing else imparts.

GUARD AGAINST FIRE

After the scouring is done, move boxes, barrel, and trunks invalided chairs and unused bedding into the middle of the garret. Have ready a gallon of gasoline into which were stirred two days ago three ounces of gum camphor, broken small. Keep this mixture in a can with a tight top. With a large syringe, used for this purpose alone, inject this into every crack, around baseboards of the floor. Spray the edges and tufts of mattresses, and do not overlook old furniture. Shut the place up and leave it for twenty-four hours before airing it. Enter, then, without a light, and let not so much as a match be struck in the room until the windows have been opened.

If you have no attic, observe the same precautions against moths and other insect life in cleaning the trunk room or closets where are stored articles not in frequent use. The odor of camphor will soon pass away, and that of gasoline almost as quickly as it evaporates. If there directions be faithfully followed, the danger of summer visitation from nocturnal marauders – “red rovers,” roaches and even mosquitos – will be greatly lessened. The powerful antiseptic kills their eggs with those of moths.

KEEP COMFORTABLE

Go about the work in hand diligently, by systematically, and do not make unwise haste to get it done. Take one room at a time, working steadily downward if you live in a cottage. If John be away all day, content yourself and co-laborers with a cold luncheon, enlivened by a cup of tea or chocolate, at noon. Contrive to have a hot breakfast for him before he goes away in the morning and a hot dinner at night. Make soup in advance for several days, warming it each evening, and study economy of labor in other culinary tasks. By finishing each room before you attack the next, you will never be turned out of your living rooms. A little ingenuity in this respect will life much of the odium from housecleaning justly dreaded by masculine mankind. The average John, having enacted the role of seeking dove for ix nights in returning from the waste of his working world to the domestic ark, is but human if her elect to pay raven on the seventh, and tries his luck abroad.

Set steadfastly before you the purpose of making your quarter comfortable in spite of the semi-annual upheaval and resist, as an unlawful temptation, the disposition to overtire yourself and disgust everybody about you by making a point of “finishing up” by Saturday night. The world will be none the worse if a room or two be left over for next Wednesday.

One part of the formidable job will require nice calculation and adroit management. I refer to the “treatment” of your hardwood floors. After forty years’ experience with these, I have come to the deliberate conclusion that the one and only satisfactory way to keep them in order is to put them into the hands of “the profession.” They must not be touched until the rest of the cleaning is done. Wash off the dust overnight, have your household astir betimes next morning, bed made, etc., s that they men engaged to “Treat” the floors may get at them early. If they understand their business, they will use a preparation warranted to dry hard in five or six hours. Of course, you will have the floors of the living rooms treated earliest in the day. If any must be done so late hat the furniture cannot be set back in place until the morrow, let it be drawing room and guest chamber. A draft of fresh air sweeping through the apartments facilitates the business. If there be any trace of “tackiness” about the floors do not relay rugs until the next day, and treat lightly upon the polished surface. A footprint is more easily removed from it than the pattern pressed into them by the underside of the heavy rugs.

From first to last study prayerfully to keep temper and nerves in hard. Make the inevitable endurable by a cheerful spirit. At the worst it is never so bad in the doing as in the dreading.

Our next week’s talk will be headed: “When John Brings a Friend Home to Dinner.”

Marion Harland

Update

My series on Marion Harland’s School for Housewives is working out fairly well. No bumps or issues so far though I am now debating whether I should include the names of the articles also published on the same page.

I have also completed Today in the Dauphin Herald years 1911-1912, these have been back dated and can be found under THE DAUPHIN HERALD > 1910-1919, in the header above. I will be working on the years 1913 and 1914 although I have already nearly completed 1914.

Complete Directions for Making Beautiful Easter Flowers at Home out of Waxed Paper

This is the second article in March of the School for Housewives 1902 series published on Mar 23, 1902, and is a fun article on how to make tissue and waxed paper flowers.

School for Housewives – Complete Directions for Making Beautiful Easter Flowers at Home out of Waxed Paper

Tissue and crepe paper flowers can be made more handsome and durable by waxing them. The process is quite an easy one, very inexpensive, considering the result obtained.

When intending to wax flowers take care to arrange them on a stout wire stem, strongly attached to the flower, as the wax will make the flower heavy, and if the stem is weak the flower is likely to droop or even break at the base.

The paper is not waxed before the flower is made. First finish the flower and tint it as desired. The wax (refined paraffine, retailing at fifteen cents a pound at the drug store) is put in a small, rather deep agato saucepan and melted. Leave the saucepan on the back of the stove, where it will keep melted and yet not boil or get too hot. Add nothing to the wax.

When the wax is ready dip your blossoms quickly into it, one at a time, and when the surplus wax has run back into the pan lay the soft waxed flower on a sheet of blotting paper and proceed in the same way with another flower. While the wax is soft there may be sprinkled, if desired, dip each blossom or leaf a little “diamond dust.” This is procurable at the druggist’s at ten cents an ounce. It gives to the flower a dewy or frosted appearance. The flowers, however, look well without it.

In making lilies or other flowers with large blossoms that must be grouped again on a single stem to imitate nature, do not finish the stem or plant before waxing.

Make all the buds, blossoms and leaves necessary, wax them one by one and group them as desired. Then cover the stems with tissue paper and wax the main stem by pouring wax on it from a spoon.

As Easter is fast coming and many will not be able to purchase hothouse lilies, the following directions for making the different varieties of lilies will be valuable. And if well made, they look quite natural.

The Easter lily has for center one pistil and five or six stamens. The pistil is made by covering a wire with green tissue paper, forming a little mail at the upper end; the stamens are made by covering a piece of wire, about five inches long, with deep orange-yellow tissue paper, having the paper wrapped in such a manner at the upper end as to be flat and one sixth of an inch in width, for about one inch in length.

This wider part is bent over. The pistil and stamens in the tiger lily are done in the same way. In the illustration, both the tiger lily and Easter lily show the arrangement.

For the petals, cut six pieces of white crepe paper, same shape as Fig. S, about ten inches in length, and two inches wide as the widest part. Cut six pieces of white covered wire (green can be used if white is not to be had) about fourteen inches long, and paste one length wise through the centre, from point b to a of each petal. Arrange the six petals around the centre, with the wired side out and about one-third of the petal (end a) bent outward gracefully. Tie all together at base b and make calyx of green tissue to cover ends of wires, and add the leaves, which are out about the same shape as the petals, and of varied length.

If an entire stalk of the Easter lily plant is desired, first made a few buds of various sizes, then three or four blossoms, then the leaves disposed along the length of the stalk, smaller leaves nearer to the blossoms, getting gradually larger when nearing the base. More leaves are arranged at the base, that it may look like the growing plant. Then leave a few inches of the stalk without any leaves at all. This is to play that role of root and be painted in the sand of a flower pot or jardinière.

These directions apply to the making of “tiger-lilies.” The exceptions are these: The stamens in the tiger lilies are covered with a light shade of yellow, while the petals are made of orange-color crepe paper. Some blossoms have the petals only slightly curved, as in the Easter lily, while some others (those supposed to be withering) have the petals rolled as shown in the illustration. The orange-color petals can be left plain or tinted.

Make the spots on the ordinary tiger lily with ink, taking a burnt match to apply the ink. If other varieties of lily are desired, such as the “Japanese,” etc., make the markings to imitate nature, using ink or water-colors.

A small quantity of diamond dye of the correct color, diluted in water, is useful in tinting flowers, and can be made as deep or as light in color as desired.

Even if the petals of the tiger lily are not rolled as shown in the illustration they must be bent outward in a more decided manner than the petals of the Easter lily. In the last named the petals are first brought upward in a cup-like fashion before being bent outward. In nature the tiger lily does not form a deep cup, as does the Easter lily, so the petals must, of course, be bent accordingly.

When quick work is more to be desired than a close imitation of nature, the Easter lily may be made in the simple way illustrated by the blossom in the upper right hand corner. To make it, cut a piece of crepe paper four inches wide, and six inches long, the lengthwise edges together, and make six rounded scallops at one end for the upper edge of the flower; with the finger spread the wrinkles in each of the six scallops, at the same time curving and bending them outward as shown. The centre is formed of a pistil and five stamens, as in the regular Easter lily. The lower edge is gathered around that centre and the rest of the work is done in the same way as the Easter and tiger lilies. At a distance it looks quite natural and effective.

CALLA LILY

This flower is, of all lilies, the easiest to make, and whether “dwarf” or “giant” calla is desired, the directions fur cutting are the same. Four or five stalks of calla lilies, planted in a jardinière, look very pretty and natural.

The diagram A D E F B C shows how the white crepe must be cut. The edges are made alike, so that the pattern can be folded over and the line C E laid on a double fold of the crepe paper. The lines A and B from a to d, and d to b, are glued together. A long bud (for centre) is made of yellow crepe, taking a piece five or six inches long and two inches wide, shaping it as shown in the illustration.

Twist the upper end tightly and gather at the base, fastening with a wire. Insert this bud inside the pasted white petal and fasten together as the base G, leaving the ends of the wire for a stem.

Now stretch the edges D E F, flattening and drawing them backward gracefully, and the blossom is complete.

Cut green leaves like Fig. P and arrange them naturally along the stem.

IRIS

It is incorrect to call this flower the “fleur de lis.” The French name “fleur de lis” belongs by right to the Easter lily, which is France’s national flower. The iris, then, to call it by its right name, is one of the most difficult of all flowers to make. It is, however, so beautiful that the effort will be amply compensated by the result.

The iris is made from white crepe paper, of a heliotrope tint, and is composed of six petals, in two sets of three each. As the crepe is cut on the bias, the petals must be made in half sections, six each (Fig. A and B) so that when joined by gluing around a six inch long petal wire, the grains of crepe will take a V course from base of petal outward. This necessitates replacing the pattern on the paper each time three half-petals are cut.

When joining half-petals hold the piece of crepe, with glued wire between, on the straight edges. Fig. B shows half of the lower petal, and Fig. A half of the upper petal. On the lower petal glue some yellow cotton, as indicated in the illustration.

In putting the flower together, two upper petals should be made to curve upward in the fashion of the tulip, with one curved and bent down close to the stalk. The three lower petals are bent outward, as shown, and the edges of each of the six petals must be pulled or stretched, to gibe a natural ruffled effect. When this has been done tint the flowers; the upper petals must be tinted only slightly, while the lower petals an be tinted from light to very dark. The green leaves are cut from green crepe paper, long, and narrow, and wired on the back at the centre.

Marion Harland

Shampooing a Feather

This is the third article in March of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Mar 20, 1904, and is a short article on how to clean feathers.

School for Housewives – Shampooing a Feather

Clean Water, Soap and Care All That Are Needed

Owing to the frequency with which it is turned over to the professional cleaner, a white or pale-tinted plume becomes something of a luxury.

If the feminine continent only realized how easily these pretty ornaments can be cleaned at home, quite a little saving toward the end of the year would result.

Nothing more difficult to obtain than soap and clean water is necessary to clean an ostrich tip in a thoroughly scientific fashion. If the work is carefully done, the plume will stand an infinite number of “shampooings” without showing the least signs of wear. Here is the simpler process:

Make a lather with warm water and a good white soap. Fill a bowl with this and dip the plume into it.

When it is thoroughly saturated draw the tip through the finger, as shown in the second illustration. Repeat a number of times if the feather is much soiled.

Now rinse thoroughly in clean water, making sure that no vestige of soap remains.

Put on a white apron or cover the knees with a clean towel and gently pat the plume with the hands until dry. Curl with a blunt knife.

Or steam the plume over the hot water kettle and dry out in the heat of the stove, when it will of its own accord attain a certain degree of fluffiness.

Marion Harland

Mowat School District History Spans 64 Years

Below is an interesting article I located about the Mowat School that was published on Aug 4, 1967 in the Dauphin Herald. Mentioned is my 2nd great-grandfather, Noah Johnston, as well as my great-grand uncle, George Basham. The article mentions that it cost $600 to furnish the school-house in 1903 and by using the Bank of Canada’s inflation calculator based on the year 1914 (earliest year available) it would have cost them over $12,430 based on today’s standards.

Mowat School District History Spans 64 Years

When Peter Rudkevitch of Whitehorse, Yukon, arrived in Fork River for his grand-niece’s wedding, everyone began renewing acquaintances and memories went back to school days. School days where? At Mowat school!

The general feeling was “Let’s get together and have some pictures taken for Centennial year.” The old school chums and classmates phoned around and the gathering took place at the new school, as they called it, on Tuesday, July 25. The result was the following history of Mowat school:

This is the original Mowat school located on the boundary of Mossey River and Dauphin.

This is the original Mowat school located on the boundary of Mossey River and Dauphin. Seen grouped in front of it are former pupils who attended school there prior to World War II.

From left to right, front row, are Joe Masiowski, Peter Rudkevitch, Jim Richardson, Joe Rudkevitch; second row, Metro Brezden, Jim Johnston; back row, Tom Miller, George Miller and Mike Brezden.

Mowat school was organized by George Lacey in the year 1903. He spent many days walking from home to home by trails, as there were may children of school age, but no roads or phones, but he felt the necessity of an education for all, and his many miles of walking resulted in a first general meeting being held at the home of Noah Johnston, N.E. ½ S12-29-19 in June of 1903.

The first trustees were George Lacey, Charles Clarke and Noah Johnston, with George Frame as chairman and Thomas Richardson as secretary.

The first school was built and furnished for approximately $600. The name was chosen to honour Sir Oliver Mowat who served as one of the Fathers of Confederation.

Students prior to 1939

This is a group of former pupils shown at the present school. They attended prior to World War I and prior to 1939.

They are from left to right, front row, Joe Masiowski, Joe Rudkevitch, John Zabiaka, Fred Solomon, Mike Brezden; second row, Earl Gower, Tom Miller, Jim Johnston, Mrs. Joe Masiowski, Henry Solomon; third row, Ernest Johnston, Metro Boreyko, Peter Rudkevitch, Mrs. L. Carriere, Mrs. Jim Johnston; back row, Jim Richardson and William Zabiaka.

In the Mowat school vicinity still reside Mrs. W. Mullen, formerly Hattie Lacey, and Joe Rudkevitch, who entered school when the doors were first opened in 1904 with George Basham as teacher. Mrs. Emma Rice and Jim Lintick were teachers well remembered prior to World War I.

Between the two World Wars, teachers who were spoken of at the reunion were: Miss Grace Beach, Mr. Jarvis, John Main, Miss Reta Breaker, and C.D. Voigt Others were mentioned, but names seemed difficult to recall.

  • In 1920 a new school containing two rooms was built to accommodate some 80 pupils. The primary room included grades 1 to 4, and the secondary room grades 5 to 11. in 1921 the present school inspector, C.D. Voigt was the primary teacher and D.A. Dahlgren (brother of C.N. Dahlgren, Dauphin) was the principal.
  • Since the Second World War, the two-room school was destroyed by fire and a one-room school was replaced by the Dauphin-Ochre Area board in 1951.

Many prominent men and women of Canada have been products of this country school. One in our Canada’s present field of education, John Slobodzian is federal inspector of Indian schools.

In September 1967, one hundred years after Sir Oliver Mowat prominently figured in Confederation, the school doors will open again for another year with Mrs. Stanley behind the desk to teach grades 1 to 7.

And so the school bell will still ring for Mowat school after a history dating back to 1903.

Fred Solomon and Peter Rudkevitch

It is a note of interest to learn that Fred Solomon and Peter Rudkevitch, right and left respectively, sat in a double desk in the school for seven successive years. The two seen here in happy frame of mind, no doubt have been reminiscing about some of the mischief they got into when teacher had her back turned.

Kitchen Plenishing

This is the third article in March of the School for Housewives 1905 series published on Mar 19, 1905, and is a more extensive article on what sorts of tools a housewife would need in the kitchen. Some items such as the ham-boiler and fish kettle seem needless in many people’s modern kitchen today.

School for Housewives – Kitchen Plenishing

An expressive word that – “plenishing” – of old English and Scotch ancestory. It signifies something more than furnishing or supplying, carrying wit it a sense of fullness, completeness and fitness.

Your kitchen may be a mere cabinet as to size. Let it be well and fitly appointed. The spacious kitchens of our foremothers – who were many of them English born – were designed as general sitting rooms for the family. In a majority of old New England and Middle State farmsteads the kitchen was, within a generation, also the dining room. Nowadays, in unconscious imitation of the French – the best cooks in the world – it is a place where food is prepared, and its appointments are adapted strictly for that purpose. It is virtually a tool chest – a place where work of a specific kind is done. When the labor of the hour and day is over the workers go elsewhere for rest and recreation. We will, therefore, consider our plenishing with a single eye to business.

THE FLOOR AND WALLS

Beginning with the floor, let me say, after long experience in this regard, that of oiled hardwood floors, painted floors, stained floors, cocoa matted floors, carpeted floors, oilcloth floors, tiled floors and floors covered in linoleum, I give the decided preference to the last named. A good inlaid linoleum will outwear an oilcloth of the best grade by five years. Tiled floors are cold and slippery, requiring a covering of rugs to make them endurable. Linoleum, in a neat tiled pattern, looks almost as well and is far more comfortable for those who stand or walk upon them. I emphasize “inlaid linoleum,” because color and figure go clear through the fabric, and hold their own as long as a piece of it is left, whereas with oilcloth and cheaper grades of linoleum the figure wears off gradually until a dingy mottled surface is left, unpleasing to the sight and unmistakably shabby.

The inlaid linoleum is easily kept clean. When soiled, wipe off with a soft cloth wrung out in clean suds, wiping dry with another as you go on. New and then go over it with old flannel wrung out in warm water to which a little kerosene has been added.
Have the walls painted, if possible. Kalsomine or paper soils easily, absorbs steam and colors, and is difficult to clean. Of course, tiled walls are preferable to any other. The cost of these puts them beyond the reach of the average purse. The next best thing is hard paint, with “a zinc finish.” One notable housewife has covered her kitchen walls with floor oilcloth, laid on smoothly, and tacked at the bottom and top. In figure it matches the linoleum on the floor. The effect is harmonious.

ALWAYS WITH IRON AND TIN

I have spoken before in this series of the advantage of zinc-topped tables. If too expensive for your purse, buy the plain deal table from the furniture dealer, and a square of zinc from a stovebaker, and let John nail the cover on some evening. Thirty years ago, wearing of seeing one cook wearing her strength out in continual scrubbings of the tables, and a succession of cooks letting grease and stain sink in the wood, until a plane was necessary to get rid of the dirt, I evolved from my inner consciousness the scheme of covering kitchen table tops with zinc, and gained a great peace of spirit thereby. Nobody credits me with what I flattered myself was an original idea. But let that pass!

For over twenty years I have abjured iron pots and tin saucepans as relics of an age when time was a drug in the domestic market, if one may judge of the expenditure of that, to us, priceless treasure in cleansing and compounding by ancestral dames. I use, instead, ware as stout as iron, and as easily kept I order as common crockery. It is light, it is rustless, pleasant to the eye and costs less than the cumbrous “castings” over which the old-time cook groaned in lifting and scrubbing.

A ham-boiler is the largest utensil you will need to buy, if, as I assume, the family washing is not done in your kitchen. It is an oblong kettle, with a closely fitting top, and useful for boiling hams, legs of mutton, fowls, etc.

A fish kettle must be use for cooking fish, and for nothing else. Even the non-absorbent ware of which I speak will retain a faint suspicion of the peculiar odor of the finny tribe, let it be ever so faithfully scalded and rinsed. It gets into the joints and seams, and “Will not out.” This vessel is also oblong, and has a closed lid. There is a moveable grating upon which the fish lies, the water passing freely under it, rendering adhesion to the bottom impossible.

Of farina or rice double boilers you should have at least two sizes. They are indispensable for cooking cereals, milk, custards, blanc mange and everything else which “Catches” readily in cooking. If you can afford one holding three quarts, one two quarts, and a third that will contain one quart, to be used for individual portions, for the nursery or the sick room, get them all.

A soup kettle, with a cover and straight sides, is also a “must-have.” If, also I hope, you have a just sense of the importance of the stock pot in every well-regulated family, you should have a soup kettle of six quarts’ capacity. After each soup-making, cleanse thoroughly, air and sun, leaving it open, the cover lying beside it.

Saucepans are in almost infinite variety, and tempting to the housewifey eye. Those with straight sides are best, offering broad bottoms to the fire and heating more quickly and evenly than those with curving sides. You should have four, ranging from a quart to a gallon in capacity, all with covers.

As to teakettles, you can get along with one; but two are better, the second and smaller being convenient when the top of the range is crowded, and water must be boiled for tea or coffee.

Colanders come in graded sizes. One of moderate capacity is all you need. Be sure the holes are not so large as to let the rags and smaller bone of meat and the cores of tomatoes escape through them.

THE FRYING-PANS

A covered roaster is a desideratum, a sine qua non-in kitchen English, a must-have. In choosing one, bear in mind and in measurement the dimensions of your oven, buying one that will fit in easily, with room for the covered top.

A quart and a pint cup for measuring, mixing spoons in three sizes, a pudding mold with a close cover, soup strainer, vegetable press, three sizes of mixing bowls, four pie plates, and the same number of jelly cake tins, three of the last with straight sides; salt and pepper boxes, are among the smaller essentials of your plenishing.

A flourholder, with sifter attached; a box for bread, and another for cake; kneading board and rolling-pin, egg beater and syllabub churn, a large and small dishpan, a vegetable and a nutmeg greater, two breadpans, a soapstone griddle, a spatula for turning cakes, one large knife of good steel, and half a dozen smaller, with forks to match; a set of muffin tins, a colander, canisters for tea and coffee, for sugar and for salt, a butter jar, a coffee pot (the tea you will make upon the table), a couple of stout pitchers –

“Where will the growing number end?”

At a rough computation you can bring your plenishing within $50.

This does not include laundry appointments.

Marion Harland