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The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Child

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Video Transcript:

Hi there, I’m Yvonne Page Illustrates and for tonight’s episode of Facts to Relax, I’ll be reading to you two chapters directly from the classic domestic manual “The American Frugal Housewife,” written by Lydia M. Child in 1832. Child was an American abolitionist, women’s right activist, Native American activist, novelist, journalist, and writer of domestic manuals. She is also the author of the still recited poem “Over the River and Through the Woods.”  Hopefully the soothing words and accompanying pictures I’m drawing on the screen will help you be lulled to sleep while also learning about American life in the 19th century. This text is read exactly as it was written and in this recording, I will read the Introductory chapter, Odd Scraps for the Economical. If you’d like to skip chapters, please use the chapter timecodes in the description below. 

So let’s settle down into a comfy spot, take a deep breath in, and let it out again slowly, so we can get started.

 

The American Frugal Housewife, by Lydia M. Child

Published in 1832

DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO ARE NOT ASHAMED OF ECONOMY.

 

INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER

The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost. I mean fragments of time, as well as materials. Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be; and whatever be the size of a family, every member should be employed either in earning or saving money.

‘Time is money.’ For this reason, cheap as stockings are, it is good economy to knit them. Cotton and woollen yarn are both cheap; hose that are knit wear twice as long as woven ones; and they can be done at odd minutes of time, which would not be otherwise employed. Where there are children, or aged people, it is sufficient to recommend knitting, that it is an employment.

In this point of view, patchwork is good economy. It is indeed a foolish waste of time to tear cloth into bits for the sake of arranging it anew in fantastic figures; but a large family may be kept out of idleness, and a few shillings saved, by thus using scraps of gowns, curtains, &c.

In the country, where grain is raised, it is a good plan to teach children to prepare and braid straw for their own bonnets, and their brothers’ hats.

Where turkeys and geese are kept, handsome feather fans may as well be made by the youngest members of a family, as to be bought. The sooner children are taught to turn their faculties to some account, the better for them and for their parents.

In this country, we are apt to let children romp away their existence, till they get to be thirteen or fourteen. This is not well. It is not well for the purses and  patience of parents; and it has a still worse effect on the morals and habits of the children. Begin early is the great maxim for everything in education. A child of six years old can be made useful; and should be taught to consider every day lost in which some little thing has not been done to assist others.

Children can very early be taught to take all the care of their own clothes.

They can knit garters, suspenders, and stockings; they can make patchwork and braid straw; they can make mats for the table, and mats for the floor; they can weed the garden, and pick cranberries from the meadow, to be carried to market.

Provided brothers and sisters go together, and are not allowed to go with bad children, it is a great deal better for the boys and girls on a farm to be picking blackberries at six cents a quart, than to be wearing out their clothes in useless play. They enjoy themselves just as well; and they are earning something to buy clothes, at the same time they are tearing them.

It is wise to keep an exact account of all you expend—even of a paper of pins. This answers two purposes; it makes you more careful in spending money, and it enables your husband to judge precisely whether his family live within his income. No false pride, or foolish ambition to appear as well as others, should ever induce a person to live one cent beyond the income of which he is certain. If you have two dollars a day, let nothing but sickness induce you to spend more than nine shillings; if you have one dollar a day, do not spend but seventy-five cents; if you have half a dollar a day, be satisfied to spend forty cents.

To associate with influential and genteel people with an appearance of equality, unquestionably has its advantages; particularly where there is a family of sons and daughters just coming upon the theatre of life; but, like all other external advantages, these have their proper price, and may be bought too dearly. They who never reserve a cent of their income, with which to meet any    unforeseen calamity, ‘pay too dear for the whistle,’ whatever temporary benefits they may derive from society. Self-denial, in proportion to the narrowness of your income, will eventually be the happiest and most respectable course for you and yours. If you are prosperous, perseverance and industry will not fail to place you in such a situation as your ambition covets; and if you are not prosperous, it will be well for your children that they have not been educated to higher hopes than they will ever realize.

If you are about to furnish a house, do not spend all your money, be it much or little. Do not let the beauty of this thing, and the cheapness of that, tempt you to buy unnecessary articles. Doctor Franklin’s maxim was a wise one, ‘Nothing is cheap that we do not want.’ Buy merely enough to get along with at first. It is only by experience that you can tell what will be the wants of your family. If you spend all your money, you will find you have purchased many things you do not want, and have no means left to get many things which you do want. If you have enough, and more than enough, to get everything suitable to your situation, do not think you must spend it all, merely because you happen to have it. Begin humbly. As riches increase, it is easy and pleasant to increase in hospitality and splendour; but it is always painful and inconvenient to decrease. After all, these things are viewed in their proper light by the truly judicious and respectable. Neatness, tastefulness, and good sense, may be shown in the management of a small household, and the arrangement of a little furniture, as well as upon a larger scale; and these qualities are always praised, and always treated with respect and attention. The consideration which many purchase by living beyond their income, and of course living upon others, is not worth the trouble it costs. The glare there is about this false and wicked parade is deceptive; it does not in fact procure a man valuable friends, or extensive influence. More than that, it is wrong—morally wrong, so far as the individual is concerned; and injurious beyond calculation to the interests of our country. To what are the increasing beggary and discouraged exertions of the present period owing? A multitude of causes have no doubt tended to increase the evil; but the root of the whole matter is the extravagance of all classes of  8people. We never shall be prosperous till we make pride and vanity yield to the dictates of honesty and prudence! We never shall be free from embarrassment until we cease to be ashamed of industry and economy. Let women do their share towards reformation—Let their fathers and husbands see them happy without finery; and if their husbands and fathers have (as is often the case) a foolish pride in seeing them decorated, let them gently and gradually check this feeling, by showing that they have better and surer means of commanding respect—Let them prove, by the exertion of ingenuity and economy, that neatness, good taste, and gentility, are attainable without great expense.

The writer has no apology to offer for this cheap little book of economical hints, except her deep conviction that such a book is needed. In this case, renown is out of the question, and ridicule is a matter of indifference.

The information conveyed is of a common kind; but it is such as the majority of young housekeepers do not possess, and such as they cannot obtain from cookery books. Books of this kind have usually been written for the wealthy: I have written for the poor. I have said nothing about rich cooking; those who can afford to be epicures will find the best of information in the ‘Seventy-five Receipts.’ I have attempted to teach how money can be saved, not how it can be enjoyed. If any persons think some of the maxims too rigidly economical, let them inquire how the largest fortunes among us have been made. They will find thousands and millions have been accumulated by a scrupulous attention to sums ‘infinitely more minute than sixty cents.’

In early childhood, you lay the foundation of poverty or riches, in the habits you give your children. Teach them to save everything,—not for their own use, for that would make them selfish—but for some use. Teach them to share everything with their playmates; but never allow them to destroy anything.

I once visited a family where the most exact economy was observed; yet nothing was mean or uncomfortable. It is the character of true economy to be as comfortable and genteel with a little, as others can be with much. In this family, when the father brought home a package, the older children would, of their own accord, put away the paper and twine neatly, instead of throwing them in the fire, or tearing them to pieces. If the little ones wanted a piece of twine to play scratch-cradle, or spin a top, there it was, in readiness; and when they threw it upon the floor, the older children had no need to be told to put it again in its place.

The other day, I heard a mechanic say, ‘I have a wife and two little children; we live in a very small house; but, to save my life, I cannot spend less than twelve hundred a year.’ Another replied, ‘You are not economical; I spend but eight hundred.’ I thought to myself,—’Neither of you pick up your twine and paper.’ A third one, who was present, was silent; but after they were gone, he said, ‘I keep house, and comfortably too, with a wife and children, for six hundred a year; but I suppose they would have thought me mean, if I had told them so.’ I did not think him mean; it merely occurred to me that his wife and children were in the habit of picking up paper and twine.

Economy is generally despised as a low virtue, tending to make people ungenerous and selfish. This is true of avarice; but it is not so of economy. The man who is economical, is laying up for himself the permanent power of being useful and generous. He who thoughtlessly gives away ten dollars, when he owes a hundred more than he can pay, deserves no praise,—he obeys a sudden impulse, more like instinct than reason: it would be real charity to check this feeling; because the good he does maybe doubtful, while the injury he does his family and creditors is certain. True economy is a careful treasurer in the service of benevolence; and where they are united respectability, prosperity and peace will follow.

ODD SCRAPS FOR THE ECONOMICAL.

If you would avoid waste in your family, attend to the following rules, and do not despise them because they appear so unimportant: ‘many a little makes a mickle.’

Look frequently to the pails, to see that nothing is thrown to the pigs which should have been in the grease-pot.

Look to the grease-pot, and see that nothing is there which might have served to nourish your own family, or a poorer one.

See that the beef and pork are always under brine; and that the brine is sweet and clean.

Count towels, sheets, spoons, &c. occasionally; that those who use them may not become careless.

See that the vegetables are neither sprouting nor decaying: if they are so, remove them to a drier place, and spread them.

Examine preserves, to see that they are not contracting mould; and your pickles, to see that they are not growing soft and tasteless.

As far as it is possible, have bits of bread eaten up before they become hard. Spread those that are not eaten, and let them dry, to be pounded for puddings, or soaked for brewis. Brewis is made of crusts and dry pieces of bread, soaked a good while in hot milk, mashed up, and salted, and buttered like toast. Above all, do not let crusts accumulate in such quantities that they cannot be used. With proper care, there is no need of losing a particle of bread, even in the hottest weather.

Attend to all the mending in the house, once a week, if possible. Never put out sewing. If it be impossible to do it in your own family, hire some one into the house, and work with them.

Make your own bread and cake. Some people think it is just as cheap to buy of the baker and confectioner; but it is not half as cheap. True, it is more convenient; and therefore the rich are justifiable in employing them; but those who are under the necessity of being economical, should make convenience a secondary object. In the first place, confectioners make their cake richer than people of moderate income can afford to make it; in the next place, your domestic, or yourself, may just as well employ your own time, as to pay them for theirs.

When ivory-handled knives turn yellow, rub them with nice sand paper, or emery; it will take off the spots, and restore their whiteness.

When a carpet is faded, I have been told that it may be restored, in a great measure, (provided there be no grease in it,) by being dipped into strong salt and water. I never tried this; but I know that silk pocket handkerchiefs, and deep blue factory cotton will not fade, if dipped in salt and water while new.

An ox’s gall will set any color,—silk, cotton, or woollen. I have seen the colors of calico, which faded at one washing, fixed by it. Where one lives near a slaughterhouse, it is worth while to buy cheap, fading goods, and set them in this way. The gall can be bought for a few cents. Get out all the liquid, and cork it up in a large phial. One large spoonful of this in a gallon of warm water is sufficient. This is likewise excellent for taking out spots from bombazine, bombazet, &c. After being washed in this, they look about as well as when new. It must be thoroughly stirred into the water, and not put upon the cloth. It is used without soap. After being washed in this, cloth which you want to clean should be washed in warm suds, without using soap.

Tortoise shell and horn combs last much longer for having oil rubbed into them once in a while.

Indian meal and rye meal are in danger of fermenting in summer; particularly Indian. They should be kept in a cool place, and stirred open to the air, once in a while. A large stone, put in the middle of a barrel of meal, is a good thing to keep it cool.

The covering of oil-flasks, sewed together with strong thread, and lined and bound neatly, makes useful tablemats.

A warming-pan full of coals, or a shovel of coals, held over varnished furniture, will take out white spots. Care should be taken not to hold the coals near enough to scorch; and the place should be rubbed with flannel while warm.

Spots in furniture may usually be cleansed by rubbing them quick and hard, with a flannel wet with the same thing which took out the color; if rum, wet the cloth with rum, &c. The very best restorative for defaced varnished furniture, is rotten-stone pulverized, and rubbed on with linseed oil.

Sal-volatile, or hartshorn, will restore colors taken out by acid. It may be dropped upon any garment without doing harm.

Spirits of turpentine is good to take grease-spots out of woollen clothes; to take spots of paint, &c., from mahogany furniture; and to cleanse white kid gloves. Cockroaches, and all vermin, have an aversion to spirits of turpentine.

An ounce of quicksilver, beat up with the white of two eggs, and put on with a feather, is the cleanest and surest bed-bug poison. What is left should be thrown away: it is dangerous to have it about the house. If the vermin are in your walls, fill up the cracks with verdigris-green paint. 

Lamps will have a less disagreeable smell if you dip your wick-yarn in strong hot vinegar, and dry it.

Those who make candles will find it a great improvement to steep the wicks in lime-water and saltpetre, and dry them. The flame is clearer, and the tallow will not ‘run.’

Britannia Ware should be first rubbed gently with a woollen cloth and sweet oil; then washed in warm suds, and rubbed with soft leather and whiting. Thus treated, it will retain its beauty to the last.

Eggs will keep almost any length of time in lime-water properly prepared. One pint of coarse salt, and one pint of unslacked lime, to a pailful of water. If there be too much lime, it will eat the shells from the eggs; and if there be a single egg cracked, it will spoil the whole. They should be covered with lime-water, and kept in a cold place. The yolk becomes slightly red; but I have seen eggs, thus kept, perfectly sweet and fresh at the end of three years. The cheapest time to lay down eggs, is early in spring, and the middle and last of September. It is bad economy to buy eggs by the dozen, as you want them.

New iron should be very gradually heated at first. After it has become inured to the heat, it is not as likely to crack.

It is a good plan to put new earthen ware into cold water, and let it heat gradually, until it boils,—then cool again. Brown earthen ware, in particular, may be toughened in this way. A handful of rye, or wheat, bran, thrown in while it is boiling, will preserve the glazing, so that it will not be destroyed by acid or salt.

Clean a brass kettle, before using it for cooking, with salt and vinegar.

Skim-milk and water, with a bit of glue in it, heated scalding hot, is excellent to restore old, rusty, black  crape. If clapped and pulled dry, like nice muslin, it will look as well, or better, than when new.

Wash-leather gloves should be washed in clean suds, scarcely warm.

The oftener carpets are shaken, the longer they wear; the dirt that collects under them, grinds out the threads.

Do not have carpets swept any oftener than is absolutely necessary. After dinner, sweep the crumbs into a dusting-pan with your hearth-brush; and if you have been sewing, pick up the shreds by hand. A carpet can be kept very neat in this way; and a broom wears it very much.

Buy your woollen yarn in quantities from some one in the country, whom you can trust. The thread-stores make profits upon it, of course.

It is not well to clean brass andirons, handles, &c. with vinegar. It makes them very clean at first; but they soon spot and tarnish. Rotten-stone and oil are proper materials for cleaning brasses. If wiped every morning with flannel and New England rum, they will not need to be cleaned half as often.

If you happen to live in a house which has marble fire-places, never wash them with suds; this destroys the polish, in time. They should be dusted; the spots taken off with a nice oiled cloth, and then rubbed dry with a soft rag.

Feathers should be very thoroughly dried before they are used. For this reason they should not be packed away in bags, when they are first plucked. They should be laid lightly in a basket, or something of that kind, and stirred up often. The garret is the best place to dry them; because they will be kept free from dirt and moisture; and will be in no danger of being blown away. It is well to put the parcels, which you may have from time to time, into your oven, after you have removed your bread, and let them stand a day.

If feather-beds smell badly, or become heavy, from want of proper preservation of the feathers, or from old age, empty them, and wash the feathers thoroughly in a tub of suds; spread them in your garret to dry, and they will be as light and as good as new.

New England rum, constantly used to wash the hair, keeps it very clean, and free from disease, and promotes its growth a great deal more than Macassar oil. Brandy is very strengthening to the roots of the hair; but it has a hot, drying tendency, which N.E. rum has not.

If you wish to preserve fine teeth, always clean them thoroughly after you have eaten your last meal at night.

Rags should never be thrown away because they are dirty. Mop-rags, lamp-rags, &c. should be washed, dried, and put in the rag-bag. There is no need of expending soap upon them: boil them out in dirty suds, after you have done washing.

Linen rags should be carefully saved; for they are extremely useful in sickness. If they have become dirty and worn by cleaning silver, &c., wash them, and scrape them into lint. 

After old coats, pantaloons, &c. have been cut up for boys, and are no longer capable of being converted into garments, cut them into strips, and employ the leisure moments of children, or domestics, in sewing and braiding them for door-mats.

If you are troubled to get soft water for washing, fill a tub or barrel half full of ashes, and fill it up with water, so that you may have lye whenever you want it. A gallon of strong lye put into a great kettle of hard water will make it as soft as rain water. Some people use pearlash, or potash; but this costs something, and is very apt to injure the texture of the cloth.

If you have a strip of land, do not throw away suds. Both ashes and suds are good manure for bushes and young plants.

When a white Navarino bonnet becomes soiled, rip it in pieces, and wash it with a sponge and soft water. While it is yet damp, wash it two or three times with a clean sponge dipped into a strong saffron tea, nicely strained. Repeat this till the bonnet is as dark a straw color as you wish. Press it on the wrong side with a warm iron, and it will look like a new Leghorn.

At the last of May, or the first of June, the little millers, which lay moth-eggs begin to appear. Therefore brush all your woollens, and pack them away in a dark place covered with linen. Pepper, red-cedar chips, tobacco,—indeed, almost any strong spicy smell,—is good to keep moths out of your chests and drawers. But nothing is so good as camphor. Sprinkle your woollens with camphorated spirit, and scatter pieces of camphor-gum among them, and you will never be troubled with moths. Some people buy camphor-wood trunks, for this purpose; but they are very expensive, and the gum answers just as well.

The first young leaves of the common currant-bush, gathered as soon as they put out, and dried on tin, can hardly be distinguished from green tea.

Cream of tartar, rubbed upon soiled white kid gloves, cleanses them very much.

 Bottles that have been used for rose-water, should be used for nothing else; if scalded ever so much, they will kill the spirit of what is put in them.

If you have a greater quantity of cheeses in the house than is likely to be soon used, cover them carefully with paper, fastened on with flour paste, so as to exclude the air. In this way they may be kept free from insects for years. They should be kept in a dry, cool place.

Pulverized alum possesses the property of purifying water. A large spoonful stirred into a hogshead of water will so purify it, that in a few hours the dirt will all sink to the bottom, and it will be as fresh and clear as spring water. Four gallons may be purified by a tea-spoonful.

Save vials and bottles. Apothecaries and grocers will give something for them. If the bottles are of good thick glass, they will always be useful for bottling cider or beer; but if they are thin French glass, like claret bottles, they will not answer.

Woollens should be washed in very hot suds, and not rinsed. Lukewarm water shrinks them.

On the contrary, silk, or anything that has silk in it, should be washed in water almost cold. Hot water turns it yellow. It may be washed in suds made of nice white soap; but no soap should be put upon it. Likewise avoid the use of hot irons in smoothing silk. Either rub the articles dry with a soft cloth, or put them between two towels, and press them with weights.

Do not let knives be dropped into hot dish-water. It is a good plan to have a large tin pot to wash them in, just high enough to wash the blades, without wetting the handles. Keep your castors covered with blotting-paper and green flannel. Keep your salt-spoons out of the salt, and clean them often.

Do not wrap knives and forks in woollens. Wrap them in good, strong paper. Steel is injured by lying in woollens.

If it be practicable, get a friend in the country to procure you a quantity of lard, butter, and eggs, at the time they are cheapest, to be put down for winter use. You {15}will be likely to get them cheaper and better than in the city market; but by all means put down your winter’s stock. Lard requires no other care than to be kept in a dry, cool place. Butter is sweetest in September and June; because food is then plenty, and not rendered bitter by frost. Pack your butter in a clean, scalded firkin, cover it with strong brine, and spread a cloth all over the top, and it will keep good until the Jews get into Grand Isle. If you happen to have a bit of salt-petre, dissolve it with the brine. Dairy-women say that butter comes more easily, and has a peculiar hardness and sweetness, if the cream is scalded and strained before it is used. The cream should stand down cellar over night, after being scalded, that it may get perfectly cold.

Suet and lard keep better in tin than in earthen.

Suet keeps good all the year round, if chopped and packed down in a stone jar, covered with molasses.

Pick suet free from veins and skin, melt it in water before a moderate fire, let it cool till it forms into a hard cake, then wipe it dry, and put it in clean paper in linen bags.

Preserve the backs of old letters to write upon. If you have children who are learning to write, buy coarse white paper by the quantity, and keep it locked up, ready to be made into writing books. It does not cost half as much as it does to buy them at the stationer’s.

Do not let coffee and tea stand in tin. Scald your wooden ware often; and keep your tin ware dry.

When mattresses get hard and bunchy, rip them, take the hair out, pull it thoroughly by hand, let it lie a day or two to air, wash the tick, lay it in as light and even as possible, and catch it down, as before. Thus prepared, they will be as good as new.

It is poor economy to buy vinegar by the gallon, Buy a barrel, or half a barrel, of really strong vinegar, when you begin house-keeping. As you use it, fill the barrel with old cider, sour beer, or wine-settlings, &c., left in pitchers, decanters or tumblers; weak tea is likewise said to be good: nothing is hurtful, which has a tolerable portion of spirit, or acidity. Care must be taken not to add these things in too large quantities, or too often: if the vinegar once gets weak, it is difficult to restore it. If possible, it is well to keep such slops as I have mentioned in a different keg, and draw them off once in three or four weeks, in such a quantity as you think the vinegar will bear. If by any carelessness you do weaken it, a few white beans dropped in, or white paper dipped in molasses, is said to be useful. If beer grows sour, it may be used to advantage for pancakes and fritters. If very sour indeed, put a pint of molasses and water to it, and, two or three days after, put a half pint of vinegar; and in ten days it will be first rate vinegar.

Barley straw is the best for beds; dry corn husks, slit into shreds, are far better than straw.

Straw beds are much better for being boxed at the sides; in the same manner upholsterers prepare ticks for feathers. Brass andirons should be cleaned, done up in papers, and put in a dry place, during the summer season.

If you have a large family, it is well to keep white rags separate from colored ones, and cotton separate from woollen; they bring a higher price. Paper brings a cent a pound, and if you have plenty of room, it is well to save it. ‘A penny saved is a penny got.’

Always have plenty of dish-water, and have it hot. There is no need of asking the character of a domestic, if you have ever seen her wash dishes in a little greasy water. When molasses is used in cooking, it is a prodigious improvement to boil and skim it before you use it. It takes out the unpleasant raw taste, and makes it almost as good as sugar. Where molasses is used much for cooking, it is well to prepare one or two gallons in this way at a time.

In winter, always set the handle of your pump as high as possible, before you go to bed. Except in very rigid weather, this keeps the handle from freezing. When there is reason to apprehend extreme cold, do not forget to throw a rug or horse-blanket over your pump; a frozen pump is a comfortless preparation for a winter’s breakfast. Never allow ashes to be taken up in wood, or put into wood. Always have your tinder-box and lantern ready for use, in case of sudden alarm. Have important papers all together, where you can lay your hand on them at once, in case of fire.

Keep an old blanket and sheet on purpose for ironing, and on no account suffer any other to be used. Have plenty of holders always made, that your towels may not be burned out in such service.

Keep a coarse broom for the cellar stairs, wood-shed, yard, &c. No good housekeeper allows her carpet broom to be used for such things.

There should always be a heavy stone on the top of your pork, to keep it down. This stone is an excellent place to keep a bit of fresh meat in the summer, when you are afraid of its spoiling.

Have all the good bits of vegetables and meat collected after dinner, and minced before they are set away; that they may be in readiness to make a little savoury mince meat for supper or breakfast. Take the skins off your potatoes before they grow cold.

Vials, which have been used for medicine, should be put into cold ashes and water, boiled, and suffered to cool before they are rinsed.

If you live in the city, where it is always easy to procure provisions, be careful and not buy too much for your daily wants, while the weather is warm.

Never leave out your clothes-line over night; and see that your clothes-pins are all gathered into a basket.

Have plenty of crash towels in the kitchen; never let your white napkins be used.

Soap your dirtiest clothes, and soak them in soft water over night.

Use hard soap to wash your clothes, and soft to wash your floors. Soft soap is so slippery, that it wastes a good deal in washing clothes.

Instead of covering up your glasses and pictures with muslin, cover the frames only with cheap, yellow cambric, neatly put on, and as near the color of the gilt as you can procure it. This looks better; leaves the glasses open for use, and the pictures for ornament; and is an effectual {18}barrier to dust as well as flies. It can easily be re-colored with saffron tea, when it is faded.

Have a bottle full of brandy, with as large a mouth as any bottle you have, into which cut your lemon and orange peel when they are fresh and sweet. This brandy gives a  delicious flavor to all sorts of pies, puddings, and cakes. Lemon is the pleasantest spice of the two; therefore they should be kept in separate bottles. It is a good plan to preserve rose-leaves in brandy. The flavor is pleasanter than rose-water; and there are few people who have the utensils for distilling. Peach leaves steeped in brandy make excellent spice for custards and puddings.

It is easy to have a supply of horse-radish all winter. Have a quantity grated, while the root is in perfection, pour it in bottles, fill it with strong vinegar, and keep it corked tight.

 It is thought to be a preventive to the unhealthy influence of cucumbers to cut the slices very thin, and drop each one into cold water as you cut it. A few minutes in the water takes out a large portion of the slimy matter, so injurious to health. They should be eaten with high seasoning.

Where sweet oil is much used, it is more economical to buy it by the bottle than by the flask. A bottle holds more than twice as much as a flask, and it is never double the price.

If you wish to have free-stone hearths dark, wash them with soap, and wipe them with a wet cloth; some people rub in lamp-oil, once in a while, and wash the hearth faithfully afterwards. This does very well in a large, dirty family; for the hearth looks very clean, and is not liable to show grease spots. But if you wish to preserve the beauty of a freestone hearth, buy a quantity of free-stone powder of the stone-cutter, and rub on a portion of it wet, after you have washed your hearth in hot water. When it is dry, brush it off, and it will look like new stone. Bricks can be kept clean with redding stirred up in water, and put on with a brush. Pulverized clay mixed with redding, makes a pretty rose color. Some think it is less likely to come off, if mixed with skim milk instead of water. But black lead is far handsomer than anything else for this purpose. It looks very well mixed with water, like redding; but it gives it a glossy appearance to boil the lead in soft soap, with a little water to keep it from burning. It should be put on with a brush, in the same manner as redding; it looks nice for a long time, when done in this way.

Keep a bag for odd pieces of tape and strings; they will come in use. Keep a bag or box for old buttons, so that you may know where to go when you want one.

Run the heels of stockings faithfully; and mend thin places, as well as holes. ‘A stitch in time saves nine.’

Poke-root, boiled in water and mixed with a good quantity of molasses, set about the kitchen, the pantry, &c. in large deep plates, will kill cockroaches in great numbers, and finally rid the house of them. The Indians say that poke-root boiled into a soft poultice is the cure for the bite of a snake. I have heard of a fine horse saved by it.

A little salt sprinkled in starch while it is boiling, tends to prevent it from sticking; it is likewise good to stir it with a clean spermaceti candle.

A few potatoes sliced, and boiling water poured over them, makes an excellent preparation for cleansing and stiffening old rusty black silk.

Green tea is excellent to restore rusty silk. It should be boiled in iron, nearly a cup full to three quarts. The silk should not be wrung, and should be ironed damp.

Lime pulverized, sifted through coarse muslin, and stirred up tolerably thick in white of eggs, makes a strong cement for glass and china. Plaster of Paris is still better; particularly for mending broken images of the same material. It should be stirred up by the spoonful, as it is wanted. 

A bit of isinglass dissolved in gin, or boiled in spirits of wine, is said to make strong cement for broken glass, china, and sea-shells. 

The lemon syrup, usually sold at fifty cents a bottle, may be made much cheaper. Those who use a great quantity of it will find it worth their while to make it. Take about a pound of Havana sugar; boil it in water down to a quart; drop in the white of an egg, to clarify it; strain it; add one quarter of an oz. of tartaric acid, or citric acid; if you do not find it sour enough, after it has stood two or three days and shaken freely, add more of the acid. A few drops of the oil of lemon improves it.

If you wish to clarify sugar and water, you are about to boil, it is well to stir in the white of one egg, while cold; if put in after it boils, the egg is apt to get hardened before it can do any good.

Those who are fond of soda powders will do well to inquire a apothecaries for the suitable acid and alkali, and buy them by the ounce, or the pound, according to the size of their families. Experience soon teaches the right proportions; and, sweetened with a little sugar or lemon syrup, it is quite as good as what one gives five times as much for, done up in papers. The case is the same with Rochelle powders.

When the stopper of a glass decanter becomes too tight, a cloth wet with hot water and applied to the neck, will cause the glass to expand, so that the stopper may be easily removed.

Glass vessels in a cylindrical form, may be cut in two, by tying around them a worsted thread, thoroughly wet with spirits of turpentine, and then setting fire to the thread. Court plaster is made of thin silk first dipped in dissolved isinglass and dried, then dipped several times in the white of egg and dried.

When plain tortoise-shell combs are defaced, the polish may be renewed by rubbing them with pulverized rotten-stone and oil. The rotten-stone should be sifted through muslin. It looks better to be rubbed on by the hand. The jewellers afterwards polish them by rubbing them with dry rouge powder; but sifted magnesia does just as well—and if the ladies had rouge, perhaps they would, by mistake, put it upon their cheeks, instead of their combs; and thereby spoil their complexions.  The best way to cleanse gold is, to wash it in warm suds made of delicate soap, with ten or fifteen drops of sal-volatile in it. This makes jewels very brilliant.

Straw carpets should be washed in salt and water, and wiped with a dry, coarse towel. They have a strong tendency to turn yellow; and the salt prevents it. Moisture makes them decay soon; therefore they should be kept thoroughly dry.

Rye paste is more adhesive than any other paste; because that grain is very glutinous. It is much improved by adding a little pounded alum, while it is boiling. This makes it almost as strong as glue.

Red ants are among the worst plagues that can infest a house. A lady who had long been troubled with them, assured me she destroyed them in a few days, after the following manner. She placed a dish of cracked shagbarks (of which they are more fond than of anything else) in the closet. They soon gathered upon it in troops. She then put some corrosive sublimate in a cup; ordered the dish to be carried carefully to the fire, and all its contents brushed in; while she swept the few that dropped upon the shelf into the cup, and, with a feather, wet all the cracks from whence they came, with corrosive sublimate. When this had been repeated four or five times, the house was effectually clean ed. Too much care cannot be taken of corrosive sublimate, especially when children are about. Many dreadful accidents have happened in consequence of carelessness. Bottles which have contained it should be broken, and buried; and cups should be boiled out in ashes and water. If kept in the house, it should be hung up high, out of reach, with POISON written upon it in large letters.

The neatest way to separate wax from honey-comb is to tie the comb up in a linen or woollen bag; place it in a kettle of cold water, and hang it over the fire. As the water heats, the wax melts, and rises to the surface, while all the impurities remain in the bag. It is well to put a few pebbles in the bag, to keep it from floating.  Honey may be separated from the comb, by placing it in the hot sun, or before the fire, with two or three colanders or sieves, each finer than the other, under it.

❁❁ SOURCES & RESOURCES ❁❁