The pattern for this Country Farm block comes from The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt by Laurie Aaron Hird. Using templates for this 6" block, I made it from scraps left over from my Joel Dewberry Aviary 2 quilt. The pattern for a 9" block can be found at The Quilter's Cache right here.
My grandmother, Hattie, is 20 years old as she is writing this diary entry. Minerva is her oldest sister and is married to Robert McCauley. They live in Olivet, Kansas. Howard is my grandmother's brother - two years younger than she is. Howard goes to high school (pre-college) in Manhattan, Kansas, 95 miles away. Olivet, their nearest town, only has the first two years of high school. Lesta is a close friend of my grandmother's. They went to high school together in Emporia.
Sunday, January 2, 1916 -
"This has been such a glorious day except pretty bad underfoot. For this reason, we did not go to Sunday School. I admit it was not a very nice way to begin the New Year. But Luke had such a hard time pulling me alone yesterday, I don't know what he would have done with the buggy full.
"After dinner, Minerva and Rob and the kids came down for awhile. We went down to the barn, and Howard weighed me. Minus rubbers and sweater, I weighed 110 pounds. Just after the folks left, Howard wanted me to jump into my riding suit and go with him after the cows. We had the best ride together. It was the first time I had ever driven any cattle, and it was fun for me. We had to go away down by the east bridge and drive them up through the fields.
"Howard left for school again this evening. I certainly hated to see him go for we had such good times when he was here, and I miss him terribly. I wanted to take him to the train, but it was rather dark and the roads were a little too rough for Papa to consent.
"So I came up here and finished a 14-page letter to Lesta by candlelight as they couldn't start the plant tonight and there isn't much juice."
Uncle Howard's Hayfield or Pasture Cookies
3/4 cup lard
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup nuts (black walnuts, if you have them)
1. Cream the lard and brown sugar. Add in the eggs and vanilla.
2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add to sugar mixture.
3. Mix in the oatmeal, raisins, and nuts.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until brown.
Uncle Howard always kept these in a tin box in his pickup so he could eat them while he watched his cattle. If he was late to dinner due to a cow calving, for example, he'd always have something to tide him over until he got home. His wife Rachel or daughter Ann made them for him. Ann remembers that during World War II when sugar was scarce, they used any kind of sweetener they could find - molasses, corn syrup, sorghum - so they could feed these to the high school boys who came after school to help with the haying.
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog entry: