27 November 2011

Jessie Lyman's Journals, Part 4

I previously introduced you to my great-great grandmother, Jessie Lyman Eckert.  You can read the first post here, and subsequent post are filed under

Jessie Lyman was born January 2, 1877.  She graduated from Westport High School (Westport, MO, now part of Kansas City) in 1897 at the head of her class.  From what I have read of her diaries so far, it appears she went on to teach school for a couple years in Columbia, MO.  She married Herman Eckert in June of 1899.  On July 26, 1900, she died giving birth to twins Conrad and Cornelia at the age of 22.  Conrad is my mother's mother's father.


Wed. Oct. 6th [1897]

Aunt Florence came by the school house on her way to Mrs. Jacobs' for butter.  I went with her and was very glad of the lift.
We stayed about an hour at Mrs. Jacobs' and had a very pleasant visit.  Carrie wanted me to stay all night, but I couldn't do so very conveniently.  They all invited me very cordially to come whenever I could.
I got quite chilly before we got home.  The boys had a good fire going and it felt good.

Thurs. Oct. 7th

Francis and I went to the percimmon [sic] tree again this afternoon.  There were none on the ground, but Francis climbed the tree and shook them down.  I picked up about a quart.  I wanted to send some to Mamma.

Friday, Oct. 8th

Aunt Florence went to Callaway Co. again today, so I will be house keeper for a few days.
I had to punish two [to]day -- Logan Russell and Henry Jonas.

Sat. Oct. 9th

We got up at almost six o'clock this morning.  I got breakfast as fast as I could, but we were so late that Forest didn't try to get to his 8:30 class.  Francis went to town and did not get home till late.  Clarence went to Huntsdale, so I was here all afternoon by myself.  I spent the time in darning Forest's socks.
After supper, Francis and I had an old time tussle.  He had disgusted me with his foolish talk, so, telling him that he was as soft and mushy as one of the percimmons we were eating, I threw one and hit him in the face with it.
Deeming it no longer safe for me to remain in that part of the house, I ran for the porch.  And none too soon, for as I went out the door a percimmon whipped past me.  Then came dashing of water in my face while I cuffed his ears, and smothering me with a comfort [?] while I belabored him with a shoe box.
We finally came to terms and went to bed peacably [sic].

Sunday Oct. 10th

We got up late again this morning.  I got breakfast and cleaned up the house.  By that time Uncle Wallie came over, and stayed an hour or two.  Soon after dinner Aunt Florence drove in.
I am feeling a little lonely today.  I miss going to church on Sunday.  It seems so strange not to expect Herman in the evening.  I wonder if Emmett Scott will come this evening.  I wish he would bring his buggy and take me to church.  It looks very much like rain, however, so I'm afraid he won't.  It could take my mind off of Herman.

Mon. Oct. 11, 97.

It was raining this morning, and Francis took me to school in the buggy.  The sun was shining before school was out however.  Aunt Florence was at Uncle Wallie's as I came by, and we walked home together. 
I got a nice letter from Herman.


Ya know how when you learn about something for the first time, or something comes up that you never think of, then it just keeps coming up all around you suddenly?  Or is that just me?  In any case, I pretty much never think about persimmons, especially since I don't really know what they are, and I've never had one, so I don't know what they taste like.  But last week I typed up Jessie Lyman's first story about the persimmon tree.

Then, at church this morning, one of the ladies brought like 4 big boxes of persimmons to church to give away because her persimmon tree went crazy this year!  So I took 4 of them, with instructions from various church ladies to wait until they're quite mushy before either eating them or making baked goods out of them.  I can't wait!

26 November 2011

A Great Deal that I Just Had to Share

I just found this great deal over at VitaCost.com!  You shop through this link, you get a $10 coupon for anything on the site!  Seriously -- no strings. 

I moseyed on over there and picked up 4 packages of these fancy rice crackers that we always buy for Lucy.  Well, they're cheaper at VitaCost than they are at the store here anyway, but I put 4 in my cart: $11.64 + $4.99 s/h - $10 coupon = $6.63.  That's $1.66/package.  They're like $3.50 here, and that's on sale!

Yep, it's as easy as that.  Check them out.  They sell supplements, teas, formula, organic snacks and convenience foods, etc, etc (including LARABARS which are the tastiest, healthiest snack bars ever).  If you click the link I have here, you get $10, and I get $10!  Heck of a deal!

25 November 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Another Thanksgiving, come and gone. This one was perfect for us homebodies. (And by "us" I mean Norman and me -- I don't think Lucy could ever be misconstrued for a homebody.)  It was just the three of us, but enough food to feed... 8?  10?  A lot.

[The spread]

I made the soft pretzels (!!!) on Wednesday.  I hadn't made these in a while, and my bread kneading skills are much better than they used to be.  They turned out perfect.  Really.  There wasn't a single thing about them that could have been better.

Then Thursday started early with 5 bags of frozen green beans.  Now, calm down.  I had signed up to take a vegetable to the local Veteran's Hall.  We only kept about one bag's worth for ourselves.

These turned out really well.  I cooked up some bacon, then dumped it (and the grease!) into a pot with the frozen green beans.  Then I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried minced onion.  Simple and tasty!

Then the turkey, which, sadly, I overcooked.  Especially sad because it was free range.  But the gravy I made from the pan drippings?  Ohhhh man.  So flavorful, but not fake flavorful.  Conventional turkeys are usually injected with a brothy liquid -- the ones at my local grocery store said they had up to 16% broth solution. That's a prime place for MSG to hide as "turkey broth", "natural flavorings", and "spice".  This is why we were so happy to be able to spend more on a free range turkey. 

Also, a standard post-Thanksgiving job for me, making turkey broth!  Turkeys are so big that I'll make two batches of crockpot broth from our 10 pound turkey.  And, once again, no MSG!

We also had sweet potatoes (actually yams -- I went to two stores and couldn't find any sweet potatoes!), but I cooked them two different ways.  Norman wanted them just mashed with butter and salt, so he could put gravy on them.  And I, of course, wanted them drenched in sugar!  I ended up mashing mine with butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Then I topped them with this homemade marshmallow fluff and baked them!  Soooo good.  They taste just like some sort of Yankee candle smells.  (That's a good thing.)

We had wine, and sparkling pomegranate juice.  And for dessert I made pumpkin donuts.  Oh my.  This recipe makes about 50 donut holes.  And each one of them is fried in coconut oil (if you're at my house, anyway).  And coconut oil is seriously filling.  I have a feeling a bunch of these are going to mysteriously show up on the coffee table at church on Sunday, especially since we also still have a bunch of pretzels!

[Pumpkin donut holes]

[Om nom]

20 November 2011

Jessie Lyman's Journals, Part 3

I previously introduced you to my great-great grandmother, Jessie Lyman Eckert.  You can read the first post here, and subsequent post are filed under

Jessie Lyman was born January 2, 1877.  She graduated from Westport High School (Westport, MO, now part of Kansas City) in 1897 at the head of her class.  From what I have read of her diaries so far, it appears she went on to teach school for a couple years in Columbia, MO.  She married Herman Eckert in June of 1899.  On July 26, 1900, she died giving birth to twins Conrad and Cornelia at the age of 22.  Conrad is my mother's mother's father.

Sunday, Oct. 3d. [1897]

I didn't feel well enough to go to church today. Indeed, I spent most of the day in bed.
About three o'clock "the old bachelors began to roll in" as Forest said, so I had to bestir myself, arise from my repose and make myself presentable.
The first was Mr. Frazee.  He is about forty.  He talks very well, and I enjoyed his call very much.
Before he left, I heard a knock and lo and behold another bachelor in company with his niece.  It was then about six. Mr. Frazee soon left, promising to come again.
The name of the second was Mr. Emmet Scott.  His niece's name is Pattie Scott.  They stayed until 9:30.  I hadn't laughed so much since I left home.  Mr. Scott is so funny.  We made friends very soon and he promised to take me skating in such a funny way.  I expect to have a good deal of fun with him.  He has nice horses and buggies too.  He was referring to "those same" during the evening.  I think I will have to be very nice to him.  He is very fond of pretty girls.  I don't know what he will do in my case as beauty is a minus quantity here.  I almost starved before they left as I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast.

Monday, Oct. 4th

I felt much better today.  My school work was hard though, and it was five o'clock before I left the schoolhouse.  There was a carpenter fixing the house today.
To my surprise and delight, I got two letters today -- one from Mamma, and the other from Herman.  I mailed one to him Sat. which he must have received today.  I was so glad to hear from him.  He is always the same dear old Herman.
Aunt Florence ironed my duck skirt for me today. I thought it was so nice of her.  I didn't know when I would get time to do it.

Tues. Oct. 5th

I was very tired when I got home from school, but after changing my dress, I felt much better.
Francis asked me to go to the percimmon [sic] tree with him, so I got on old George behind him, and away we went, Frances asking me every few minutes if I was "on", and I clutching him franticly [sic] around the waist as we went up hill and down.  We passed some beautiful little glens.  Our path was through a wooded pasture where the quiet was broken only by the snapping of the twigs under the horse's feet.  Once a squirrel crossed our path and ran up a tree a little distance away, peering at us first from one side of the tree and then from the other.
We reached the tree, and found a great many percimmons on the ground.
Having forgotten to bring a basket, we had to be content with eating enough for ourselves and those at home too.  When we were ready to come home, I tried to persuade Francis to carry a handful home in his hip pocket, but he very ungallantly declined.
We came home a different way from the one we had taken on our way out.  It was through the fields.  Francis got down to let down a rail fence; after grazing quietly for a while, George began to turn round.  I pulled on the rein, and he began to turn all the faster.  I was behind the saddle, and so did not have full control of my fiery steed.  To make a long story short, I slid off.  George -- blind in one eye -- became frightened at the display of girl and skirts coming down beside him, reared and if Francis had not caught the bridle just in time, would have stepped on me.  As it was, he backed off dragging Francis by the bridle.  Strange to say, I was neither hurt nor frightened.  Francis finished letting down the fence, and we went on our way rejoicing.  The next fence we had to go through, I slid forward into the saddle when Francis got down.  
It was dusk when we reached home.


OK, so she keeps mentioning her "duck skirt", right?  After much Googling and checking my OED, it seems that she means a rather plain, sturdy skirt, perhaps like this one

made out of "duck", which the OED defines as "a strong untwilled linen (or later, cotton) fabric, lighter and finer than canvas; used for small sails and men's (esp. sailors') outer clothing."

18 November 2011

Today in Thrift Store Kitsch

I found this at the thrift store today.  (The same store I found the breastfeeding poster -- fabulous place.)

I paid a whole 35 cents for this beauty.  I still haven't decided whether to keep it, sell it on Etsy, or send it to my mom!   I think Norman's vote is to hang it in our kitchen.

I also found, in keeping with my ridiculous good luck and perfect timing where thrift stores are concerned, a broth separator for making Thanksgiving gravy.  (My old one was cracked, so I tossed it before we moved.)

14 November 2011

Jessie Lyman's Journals, Part 2

Last week I introduced you to my great-great grandmother, Jessie Lyman Eckert.  You can read the first post here.

Jessie Lyman was born January 2, 1877.  She graduated from Westport High School (Westport, MO, now part of Kansas City) in 1897 at the head of her class.  From what I have read of her diaries so far, it appears she went on to teach school for a couple years in Columbia, MO.  She married Herman Eckert in June of 1899.  On July 26, 1900, she died giving birth to twins Conrad and Cornelia at the age of 22.  Conrad is my mother's mother's father.

Sept. 29 [1897]

The day was very hot and I had two classes in which I explained subjects which really seemed hard for them.  I hardly knew whether to try it or not, but an explanation was necessary to a clear understanding of the subject.
The pupils seemed to understand it very readily too.  I have taught them the tides, winds, ocean currents, continental structure, and origin of the parts of speech as well as the similarity between North and South America.  They seem to take an interest in them, and think very quickly.  It seems to be different from anything they ever heard before.  Miss Watson's teaching helps me a great deal.
I was very tired when I got home, and went to bed about seven o'clock.

Sept. 30.
Another hot day without a drop of rain.  The roads are very dusty.  I was not so tired this as I was last evening.
I went down to the sorghum mill this evening.  We watched the grinding of the cane, and saw them stir off a lot of sorghum, then we took knives and scraped the box.  We rode home in the big wagon after a mule team.  I got my hands covered with molasses.

Mark -- He hit me on the back of the neck with a book, and stuffed some paper down my back.
Logan -- "I didn't either."
Mark -- "You did too."
Teacher -- "Well Logan, what did you do?"
Logan -- "I just stuck a stick down his back."
Teacher -- "What did you do Mark."
Mark -- "I didn't do a thing.  I couldn't reach him."
The children were given the following sentence and required to fill out the blanks:
I slide on my ______.
Most of the sentences read "I slide on my new sled," or something similar.  Logan's -- "I slide on my cellar door."

Oct. 1st.
Aunt Florence started for a visit of three days in Callaway Co. this afternoon.  I am to be chief cook and bottle washer during her absence.
I have made out my first month's report to the school board and expect to get $35, all my own for this long month of work. Won't I be rich?

Oct. 2d.
I got up at five o'clock and got breakfast this morning. The boys say I am a first rate cook.  Well, I don't intend to let them go on cold meals all the while.
I washed the dishes, took care of the milk, washed my duck skirt for the first time, and then did the house work.  I don't know how my skirt will look -- I never made starch before.  My wash woman's little boy came with my washing while I was washing my dress.  I don't know what he thought.  I didn't want to trust her with my skirt for the first time.
While I was upstairs doing the work, one of the Kirtz boys came to say that Aunt Florence's horse had got away at their house and that Aunt Florence was coming home -- would be here in a few minutes.  I was sorry for her, but I was glad to see her, as I was very tired.
I went to town in the afternoon, got my money, bought a few articles and came home.  In the evening we went over to Logan's "show".  I road behind Francis on George.  It was much better than walking through the dust.  Logan's show was a decided success -- very original and extremely provocative of mirth.  The phonagraph [sic] was the feature of the evening.  Anderson looked too sweet with his little blue shirt with short sleeves and low neck, and his little blue trousers.


I would just like to interject at this point and say that I love that she cannot spell her schwas, despite being a teacher herself.  Perhaps it is genetic?

More to come...

06 November 2011

May I Introduce You to My Great-Great Grandmother?

I was sorting through some things on my desk last night, and I realized that while I am in possession of my great-great grandmother's diaries, I have never read them.  What??  This is craziness.  As I started reading them, I thought about how interesting, and strange, and personal, and impersonal having something from an ancestor is.  I never knew her, but she is part of my story, and I was named after her.  I thought I'd share this strangeness with all of you, if that's okay.  I decided to transcribe the diaries as I read them and share them with you here, in installments.  [Edit: You can view the rest of the posts under the label Jessie Lyman's diary.But first, an introduction:


Jessie Lyman was born January 2, 1877.  She graduated from Westport High School (Westport, MO, now part of Kansas City) in 1897 at the head of her class.  From what I have read of her diaries so far, it appears she went on to teach school for a couple years in Columbia, MO.  She married Herman Eckert in June of 1899.  On July 26, 1900, she died giving birth to twins Conrad and Cornelia at the age of 22.  Conrad is my mother's mother's father.

[We have a portrait photo of Jessie Lyman, but it's tucked away in my parents' storage somewhere. Photos of her journals will have to suffice.]

Jessie Lyman
Sept. 26th, 1897

I have been in Columbia a month.  The time has passed very quickly, and, on the whole, very pleasantly.  In the week before my school began, I took several little pleasure-trips about the country.  On Monday morning Sept. 6th, at 8:30, I opened my first school.

Every thing passed off very pleasantly, but at four o'clock I was very glad to find that the boys had brought the road-wagon for me.

On Friday, Sept. 10th, I had to punish a little girl for disobedience.  It was the hardest thing I ever had to do.  Thus ended the first week.

In my second week I got the pupils quieted down to some extent.  I adopted a new remedy for subduing whispering.  I got some cotton bandages to tie up their mouths.  Three victims suffered from this punishment.  I have been afraid to try it much since, however, because it looks so funny I'm afraid to test my self-control.

We had a good rain that week and the weather was much pleasanter afterward.

The week beginning Sept. 20th was rather warm and the roads are becoming very dusty again.

I am getting affairs a little better arranged in my school.  It isn't a play-spell, however.

I had my first caller this week.  I was getting anxious to see a girl again.  This one was Imogene Scott.  I hope we will find each other congenial, as girls are few and far between, here.

I went to church this morning, and heard a very good sermon.  The day has been very warm and the roads are dusty.  A four-mile drive is rather tiresome.

I wish some of the bachelors who are said to abound in this country would call, and break the monotany [sic] this evening.  They are mostly of the species owning two-horse buggies.  

Monday, Sept. 27th, 1897.

It was a little cooler this morning and I got along with my room work very well, but for some reason I got started to school late.  I met Uncle Wallie and he took me over to the gravel in his buggy, so I got to the school house in plenty of time.

The day passed very pleasantly.  In the evening I began hem stitching a school handkerchief.  I am doing it more for practice than anything else.  I want to know how well by Christmas.

Tues. Sept. 28th

I had a rather hard day today.  It was 4:45 before I left the school house.

I overtook Forest at Uncle Wallie's and rode over behind him on his horse.  It was lots of fun.

I received a nice letter from Herman -- the first I have had for two weeks.

More to come...

In preparation to write this blog post, I finally got around to reading the short family history that my great-grandfather Conrad Eckert put together in 1978.  Some information attached to the back of that document (hopefully reliable), indicates that I have in my direct family lineage a knight from 1066, two kings of Scotland, and two ladies named Dorcas Plumb and Mindwell Pomeroy.  I'm not sure which of those things I'm most excited about.

04 November 2011

Harvest Fest Recap

"And here's what my booth looked like this time!"  Oy.  Are we like so totally over the photos of my various craft booths?  If you are, I apologize.

I showed up to the Harvest Festival with no idea what was going on or where I was going to be.  The lady in charge was supposed to call me the week before, but Saturday morning came and I had heard nothing.  Usually this would make me crazy, but I was oddly at ease.  I'm a craft show veteran.  I can roll with it.  (It may also help that I don't actually have a booth set-up, and I just putt things wherever I feel like it while I'm setting up.)  Turns out I was in the gym, on the stage/dividable classrooms, next to the Altar Guild's White Elephant table.  Ha. 

[The view from my corner.]

This, in part, is why I was surprised when I actually exceeded my sales goal!  And it was kind of fun to talk to everyone, and the dinner was delicious.

[Table setting before the sauerbraten-nomming mob descended.]

[The view of my booth from the front/gym floor]

[Lucky me, this mobile bulletin board was already in my space. Perfect!]

[Buford's back there with my cedar sachets. Keep up the good work, man.]

[Free stickers. For the kids. {Which is funny because there are only like 8 kids in the whole church. Not even exaggerating. Lucy is the only 2-year-old. So different.}]

I got a lot of people saying, after looking over all my stuff, "Oohh, so you recycle stuff! That is so great!"  Humboldt County, I love you.

01 November 2011

Halloween 2011: Year of the Noodles


Ah, another Halloween come and gone.  I had a very ambiguous relationship with Halloween growing up.  Some years my mom made fabulous, elaborate costumes for us (I was once a pink crayon; another year, Samantha, the American Girl), some years we pulled stuff together for ourselves (like when I was a "gypsy", i.e., long skirt, head-kerchief, lots of jewelry). Some years we went trick-or-treating, some years we only did church things, some years we did nothing because my dad decided it wasn't cool to beg people for candy.

But having a kid of my own, everything is just so much more exciting!  I'm seeing everything through new eyes.  And I'm also going to keep up this family-theme costume thing for as long as I can get away with.  (Last year we were The Interwebs. The year before that I was still in a daze and I barely remember putting Lucy in that lion costume.)  So this year we were the Noodles from Elmo's World on Sesame Street.  Mr. Noodle, and Mr. Noodle's sister Miss Noodle, and Mr. Noodle's other sister Miss Noodle.  (That's how Elmo introduces them.)

[Whatdya think? Christmas card photo?]

[I told her to make Miss Noodle face.]

[Lucy's attempts to take a photo of me in my Miss Noodle costume.]

I spent precisely 75 cents to put these costumes together: I found Lucy a too-big little boy suit vest at a rummage sale.  The rest was stuff we had around the house.

We also carved a pumpkin!  Our very, very nice neighbor lady (who is moving, sad face), has gardened the heck out of her yard and actually grew pumpkins!  Successfully!  (I've heard this can be difficult, although I guess I shouldn't be surprised that pumpkins grow easily in Humboldt County.  It's like the frickin' Garden of Eden here.)  And then she gave us one!  She's outside a lot, so whenever we walk by, Lucy starts talking to her.  Neighbor Lady kind of doesn't have a choice.  But I'm pretty sure she likes Lucy.

[We had the pumpkin for like 3 weeks before we carved it, so Lucy was very excited.]

 [Alas, we did not give him a name.]

And we walked around the Plaza (the local downtown shop area) and got candy.  I had to mitigate a couple of near-tears situations when Lucy caught sight of anyone with any kind of skeleton mask on.  Goodness!  I had to have my Uncanny Valley radar on.  And it was worse than usual because she hadn't had a nap.  Probably too excited all day!

 [Where did this kid come from? Coulda sworn all I had around here was a little toddler...]