Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rural Women's Report, April, 1935

“The Woman’s Touch or What Club Work Means to N.C. Farm Women”, edited by Jane  S. McKimmon, State Home Demonstration Agent and Assistant Director of Extension, N. C. State College, Raleigh, in the Carolina Co-operator, April, 1935

Beautifying the Country Churchyard
Love for God’s “Green things a’growing” seems part of our love for God Himself, and I’ve always felt that trees, grass, and beautiful shrubs should be the setting for our houses of worship. Farm women are feeling the same urge and it is good to see women in communities coming together for planned planting of the little churches scattered all over the country side. Too long we have seen them perched on slender pillars with not even a semblance of base planting to tie them to the ground, a tree to shade, or grass to give them grace.

Johnston County has 20 farm women, representing churches in 12 of its communities, who are enrolled as demonstrators in yard improvement this year. They started out with a leaders’ school conducted by Miss Pauline Smith, specialist, and it was there that they discussed plans for planting church grounds and how they could propagate the shrubs they would need in the planting. Micro Church already has its plans drawn, trees planted, and is planning to lay out walks and a driveway.

Halifax County has nine churchyard projects in operation and home demonstration club women are working on the courthouse lawn.

Negro farm women have also been active in churchyard beautification. In Melville community, Alamance County, Negro club members met at the Community Center, raked up leaves, whitewashed posts, designed to keep cars from parking on the grounds, and set out shrubbery on either side of the church door.
Their enthusiasm carried them further down the road in the beautifying project and for a quarter of a mile they planted flowers and shrubs around the mail boxes. Because of their interest, plans have been made by the State landscape specialist to give Negroes of Alamance County instruction in how to plan and plant.

They say yard beautification work is slow but the satisfaction to be gotten out of harmonious plantings is something that will last them for a lifetime.

We Should Look Well to Our Water Supply
Every family should have a safe, adequate, and convenient water supply, yet facts taken from the North Carolina survey of farm homes show that:

--About 2,000 farm families are getting their water supply from streams
--18 and 7/10ths per cent use springs
--One-third of all wells need repairs or replacements
--In 76 and 8/10ths of the farm homes in the State, water is carried an average distance of 179 feet

This is a long distance for a housewife to walk with an empty pail and afterward with a full one, particularly as the data gathered show that pitcher pumps could be used in 32 per cent more farm homes.

Wouldn’t it be good if next month I could print some accounts of how a number of farm families had installed pitcher pumps and sinks in the kitchen?

Demonstrations of just how this can be done will be given at the Raleigh Better Housing Exposition to be held in the City Auditorium the week of April 22nd.

Good times are on the way and we will have a little more money to spend. Let us look first to the good health of the family through a safe water supply, and to the comfort of the overworked housewife by saving the time and energy formerly spent in carrying water.

An Interesting Story Given Us by Dare
Nearly every community in Dare County has gardens and fruit trees or bushes and many of the gardens are good. Our people are fond of collards and other greens and to be entirely without them is quite a tragedy. Some, however, have a rather poor chance for gardens because in sections the land is washing and blowing away, getting lower every year. This allows the ocean and sound waters during the storms to come over the land, the yard, and the gardens.

One man at Rodanthe said he knew the ground in front of his house was now 18 inches lower than it was two years ago. From Hatteras comes the statement that a house with a big garden, fig bushes, grape vines, and plum trees which used to be there cannot be located now. It is somewhere out in the Atlantic Ocean!

A similar story came from a woman whose house was on the Sound side at Nagshead. When she and her husband first went to live there, the sound was at least a quarter of a mile from them and they had one of the best gardens on the bar and a whole yard of flowers. But the sound has been coming nearer and nearer until a year ago the waves carried away their porch, and broke through a door and two windows, flooding their entire first story. They moved away.

When the salt water comes over yards and gardens, it kills flowers and vegetables in short order and makes the soil so salty that it is hard to grow more. Last year’s September storm reduced our fruit crops in a rather curious way. The northeast wind blew the ocean spray all over us; some folks reported that it was raining salt water. At any rate, it killed or blew leaves from trees and bushes. During the warm weather that followed nearly all vegetation came out in new leaves and flowers, and some of the pear trees were in full bloom. Of course, those were the blossoms that we were supposed to have in the spring, so our crop this year of pears, grapes, and figs has been greatly reduced.

The Farm Women and The County Commissioners
There is a very friendly spirit between farm women of a county and the county commissioners who help support Home Demonstration Work. In many counties club women invite the board members to break bread with them, and it is over a well-prepared, well-served lunch that the progress of Home Demonstration Work is reported and plans are discussed for the county. The meal itself is a demonstration and serves to show how far women and girls have come in their ability to select food wisely and prepare it well; and the ease with which they serve shows the deftness they have attained.

An observant man in the courthouse remarked as he caught the unaccustomed aroma of coffee proceeding from the Temple of Justice, “There must be some women about here.” And when he was told that the farm homemakers were serving a meal to the board, he said, “Well, this courthouse was built to try offenders against the law, but it may be in time to come when women have learned to be real homemakers and character builders that their children will prefer staying at home to running the streets and there will be no cause to try offenders against the law for there won’t be any. If this comes about the courthouse may then be frequently filled with odors of good food and the laughter of well satisfied people because the building will be used for community recreation and pleasure and not for the expression of community disapproval of the offender against the law.”

Sweet Potato Balls
Mrs. J.M. German, Boomer, N.C.
Boil desired number of potatoes until tender. Peal, mash, season with sugar and butter. Then make into balls. Put one marshmallow in the center of each. Roll the ball in coconut or cornflakes. Set in stove for a few minutes to brown.
My Favorite Gingerbread
Mrs. Curtis C. Bost, Pineville, N.C.
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
1 egg
1 cup molasses
1 ½ teaspoon [baking] soda
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
1 cup hot water
2 ½ cups sifted flour

Cream sugar and butter. Add egg well beaten, then molasses, and dry ingredients. Add hot water last. Beat until smooth. Serve with whipped cream, topped with a candied cherry.

Mrs. Mac Sample, a farm homemaker from Iredell County, thinks that coming together in club work has done much for rural women in her community. She says, “You have only to ride along our State roads and see the farm homes which now nestle in a foundation planting of shrubbery where once stood a house with no underpinning, and walk on green lawns where there used to be only stretches of bare earth.”

Goals for the well-dressed women of Rutherford County:
1.       To make the best use of what we have.
2.       To be well dressed and well groomed at a small cost.

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