Thursday, April 30, 2015

Frogs & Frog Legs

I can't say whether or not I'll ever eat frogs legs but I'm told by those who have that they are delicious. So, in honor of those who enjoy and who's characters enjoy here are some tidbits for cooking frogs.

Skin them as soon as possible. The hind legs are usually the only part used, although the back is good eating. Fry or broil the same as chickens—or fricassee them.
Source: Mrs. Owens Cook Book & Useful Household Information ©1884

Both the bull frog and the green marsh frog are edible, but the latter is considered the more tender and delicate. The former has been introduced into France and is valued highly. In Germany all the muscular parts of the frog are used for food, but in France and America epicures are satisfied with the hind quarters. In Canada and some parts of the middle states, frogs are kept and fattened in preserves or farms adapted to this purpose, and the supply for the city markets comes chiefly from these sources.
Frog's legs are in season in some places the entire year, but they are at their best from June to October. They are of a gelatinous nature, and while not especially nourishing for a hard worker, they are easily digested by the invalid. It seems to be the proper thing to learn to like them, and since Americans have become accustomed to them as an article of food, the number consumed here is far in advance of that in other countries.
In the large city markets they may be found skinned and ready for cooking, but if you depend upon other sources for your supply, you may have to prepare them. This is all that is needed. With a very sharp knife cut through the outer skin downwards, and then turn the skin back and off as you would remove a glove, then cut off the skin and the toes. Rinse in cold water, drain and wipe dry.
Frog's Legs, Fried.
Leave them for three minutes in boiling water containing salt and lemon juice. Drain, wipe dry, dip in fritter batter and fry in deep fat.
Or, dip in beaten egg with milk, or in milk alone, and then in fine cracker or bread crumbs, wipe off the end of the bone, put them in a basket and fry until brown. Drain and decorate the bone with paper ruffles if you care to take the time for such work. Arrange them one overlapping the other around a mound of green peas.
Frog's Legs, Stewed.
Scald them, then put into fresh hot water to cover, with salt, pepper, parsley, bayleaf, lemon juice, and a little onion and carrot cooked in butter without coloring. Stew until tender, and the water reduced onehalf. Remove the legs, strain the liquor, heat again and add an equal amount of cream and a few mushrooms, cook two minutes longer, then pour it over the legs.
Frog's Legs a Ia Poulette.
Wash one dozen frog's legs and season with salt and pepper. Put them in a stew pan with two tablespoonfuls butter and cook very slowly for ten minutes, then add half a cup of water and one tablespoonful lemon juice, cover and simmer until tender. Remove the legs to a hot dish, add half a cup of cream to the liquor left in the pan, and when boiling, stir in quickly the yolks of two raw eggs slightly beaten, remove at once, continue stirring until thickened, then turn it over the legs. Serve on toast and garnish with crisp bacon.
Frog's Legs a la Creole.
Wash, drain, and season six pairs of legs, put them in a shallow dish, add juice of one lemon, and after an hour, put two ounces of butter in a stew pan, and one minced onion, one minced green pepper, and cook five minutes. Then put in the legs, cover closely and cook ten minutes. Add four ripe tomatoes, skinned and sliced, half a cup of mushrooms, cover again and cook until tender. Turn into a hot dish and garnish with toast points.
Source: Everyday Housekeeping ©1896

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

1883 Fashions

Below are excerpts from an article on fashions from Lett's Illustrated Household Magazine ©1883.

A very^ pretty spring costume is composed of faille and veiling of two Shades of grey. The skirt is of faille and has two pleated flounces edged with velvet, the tunic or upper skirt is in veiling, and is raised high at the sides, with long bows and ends of wide ribbon velvet, forming a pouf and graceful drapery at the back. The bodice is pointed back and front, and is edged with velvet, fastening down the back, under bows and ends.
Another walking dress is made of cashmere and satin merveilleux, in two shades of terra-cotta. The satin skirt is almost plain; a narrow kilted flounce is placed round the bottom, headed by a crossway band of cashmere, which is of the lightest shade. A draped tunic of cashmere reaches only half-way down the skirt, and falls in a large, loose pouf at the back. The bodice has a very small basque, and is pointed in the front and square at the back; a crossway band of satin, graduating to a point, is laid on the bodice in a V shape, terminating at the extreme point in front; the sleeves are short and quite plain. With this costume is worn a straw bonnet of terra-cotta colour, the broad brim lined with pink satin; a broad satin ribbon crosses the front, and is held at one side by a fancy buckle, falling thence in strings, and a large white feather droops gracefully over the back. A pretty dress for a child may be made of a fancy woollen material; the skirt is in very large pleats, across each of these is a band of ottoman silk, pointed at one end and confined by a steel or fancy buckle, the other end is concealed under the pleat. The jacket has the same trimming on each side and round the bottom, it is fastened to the waist, but from thence is open to display a long waistcoat, which comes half-way down the skirt, d la Louis XII. There are pockets at the side, square in shape, with bands of silk laid on, and sleeves, with square cuffs, trimmed to match.

The first figure illustrated has a skirt of brown cashmere, with a narrow kilted flounce at the edge. Over this is a long tunic, with large pattern of Indian pines embroidered in various colours, draped rather full at the back. The spring mantle is composed of ottoman silk, with plastron down the back in velvet. This is edged with a trimming laid in points towards the centre, and having at the outer end a jet bead or ornament. The points are square, and are trimmed with passementerie and jet ornaments to match the back, and on the shoulder is an ornament of silk cord and tassels. The straw bonnet of a lighter shade of colour than the dress, is profusely trimmed with flowers and foliage, and lias strings of broad satin ribbon.

The second costume is an indoor dress of faille and soft woollen veiling. The skirt is of faille, /raises ecrasees, it has two box-pleated flounces edged with ribbon velvet of a darker shade, the upper flounce is very wide, and is partly concealed by the tunic. This is made of the woollen fabric, and has an edging of embroidery turned up round it; it is raised very high at the sides, with loops and long ends of velvet, and falls in graceful poufs at the back. The bodice is open and pointed, short at the side and coat-shaped behind, a graduated piece of embroidery is placed at the edge of the bodice in front, where it is open to display a full waistcoat of faille, crossed by bands of velvet, fastened with silver or steel buckles. The sleeves are plain and have small embroidered cuffs.

They are mostly of coloured straw; white is scarcely seen. Mixtures of chenille and fancy straw, or of lace and jet, or gold, are admissible. The trimmings include every kind of ornament; flowers, birds, feathers, silk pompons, sparkling gold or silver thistles; and, lastly (this is quite a la mode in Paris), the tiny head of a cat, with collar of lace, in the folds of which are hid loops of narrow ribbon. The "Olivette" bonnet has bceu very successful.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Continuing the tread of recreational sports, last week was bicycling. Today we'll concentrate on football. These remarks come from "Outdoors: A Book of Healthful Pleasures" ©1894

Secretary Advisory Committee Inter-Collegiate Foot Ball Association.
IN the bright, crisp days of late October, when the air has in it a bracing exhilaration that tempts one to almost any belief in athletic strength and prowess, when the wheelman finds not his endurance but the day too short, when even the horsa under the rider seems to gather power from the air he breathes, when the wonderful and bewitching autumn of the year has given all her wealth in lavish display of colors, then is the season of the sport of foot ball.
The game is a too sharp and sturdy one for the hot days of summer, and winter renders the ground unfit for the hard tumbles of the players; but during the two months of October and November, the season is at its height and the gridiron field is covered with the hardy young players.
It is now nearly twenty years since the Rugby Union game of our English cousins was introduced in this country. Previous to that time American foot ball amounted to but little. Some indiscriminate kicking and bunting, a very poor, mongrel attempt at the old Association style of play, was all that could be brought out here. No more than a few score people would come to a match, and even they would hardly find a reward for coming. To-day, thirty-five thousand psople will sit, unprotected, through the heaviest rainstorm to see the final match of the American Inter-collegiate season, while other matches draw ten or twenty thousand. Schools and colleges from Maine to California all have foot-ball teams, and wherever there are two rival schools, colleges, or universities within travelling distance of each other, there is now an annual foot-ball contest, fraught with the greatest intensity of interest. And for all this, foot ball is still an undeveloped sport. Each year brings forward new lines of skill and tactics, each season witnesses some marked advance in the play, and ffom the last match in November until the opening of the next season in September, the busy brains of captains, coaches, and players are studying up new strategies, unusual and brilliant manoeuvres, many of which, it is true, come to naught when put to the test, but there are always a few of the best that succeed beyond all expectations and mark out still further lines of progress.
The fundamental theory of the game "is of the simplest character. Two teams of eleven men each meet upon a field 330 feet long and 160 feet wide, and each team endeavors to put the ball over the goal, or past the goal line of the opponents. The ball may be kicked, carried, or passed by the players, but by only the two former methods can it be advanced, for all passing or throwing the ball must be directly across the field or else toward the players' own goal and not toward the goal of the opponents. There are but two scoring places and those are at the ends of the field, and called the goal lines. They are the end boundaries and in the centre of each stands the goal itself, composed of two upright posts, set eighteen and a half feet apart and crossed by a bar at a height of ten feet from the ground. To score a goal the ball must be kicked by the player over this bar and between the two posts which project above it. There is but one kind of a kick that cannot score a goal, and that is what is technically termed a "punt." In a punt the kicker drops the ball from his hands and kicks it before it touches the ground. This style of kick is the most common one for advancing the ball in the field of play, but when a team is near enough to try for a goal their kickers either attempt a drop kick, that is, kicking the ball just as it rises from the ground on the bound, or a place kick, where a second player holds it on the ground for another to kick. In addition to kicking goals, points may be scored by gaining touch-downs. These are of two kinds, ordinary touch-downs and safeties. The former are made by carrying the ball over, or securing it behind the line of the enemy's goal, the latter are made by members of a hard pressed side carrying the ball behind their own goal line as a measure of protection. An ordinary touch-down entitles the side making it to a try at the opponent's goal by a place kick, but, even though the kick be unsuccessful, the touchdown itself counts four points. If the goal be kicked the two together count six points. A goal kicked in any other way than from a touch-down, counts but five points. Finally, a safety counts two points for the opponents; and the entire match is decided by the number of points scored in two halves of forty-five minutes each. The laws under which the game is played may be summed up briefly as follows : —
Any player may run with or kick the ball, and any opponent may seize him when he has the ball in his possession and stop him or try to secure the ball. The only limitation to a player's running with the ball or kicking it, is, that he must have received it when '.' on side," that is, without being between the ball and the opponent's goal. The only limitations to the tacklers are that they must not seize the runner below the knees or trip him. There are two judges under whose rulings the game is played, one known as the umpire, who sees that the players are guilty of no unfair acts, and the other called th2 referee, who judges the position and progress of the ball. The game is begun by placing the ball in the centre of the field, in the possession of one of the teams, [decided by toss,] and then follows the attempt to advance the ball either by kicks or runs. In order to prevent a side continually holding the ball and never relinquishing it to the opponents, the rules provide that whenever a man is caught and held with the ball, his side must at once place the ball on the ground and make another attempt to advance it. If in three of these attempts they have not gained five yards, or lost twenty, they must, either by kicking the ball or surrendering it, give the other side a chance to try their skill at advancing it.
The remarkable development of the game in America has rendered the division of players even more specific than in England. The line in front, consisting usually of seven men, is called the rush line, or forwards, while the man who stands just behind this line and passes the ball for a kick or run, is termed the quarter back. Next behind him are two half backs and a back or goal tend. The forwards are still further classified as ends, tackles, guards, and centre, as will be seen by reference to the accompanying diagram.
The exercise of foot ball is a thoroughly general one, calling upon almost every muscle in the body to bear its share, and for this reason all forms of out-door sport, cycling, riding, swimming, rowing, and tennis are excellent preparation for foot ball, as foot ball in its turn is for the others. In universities where both rowing and foot ball are cultivated, it is no unusual thing to find several of the crew men foot-ball players as well. Base ball and track athletics also furnish their quota to make up the foot-ball team. The prime requisite for a foot-ball man is soundness, and the wonderful "all 'round" development attained by the members of teams, as shown by the measurements taken by those interested in physical culture, has been something remarkable. That element known as pluck must enter largely into the make-up of anyone desiring to make a great success of competitive work in any branch of athletics, and perhaps ho place gives a better opportunity for the cultivation as well as the display of this attribute than the foot-ball field, where almost every moment brings forward some new and unexpected emergency to be faced, until quick thought and ready action come to be the rule rather than the exception.
The best advice to give to a man who desires to become a successful player is, to begin by putting himself in good physical condition, by engaging in any or all of the out-door sports of the summer season, being careful, however, not to overdo the matter by running any risks of overtraining, which is rather more liable to result from immoderate fatigue in the heat of summer than later in the year. In the early fall the teams begin work upon the field and the candidate for honors, who has spent some little of his summer in keeping in condition, at once finds himself better able to endure the violent exercise than those of his fellows who have devoted the summer to high living and little exercise. The man who tries foot ball for the first time is now, thanks to the popularity of the sport even among the younger schools and classes, so unusual, that one need only say to him, "Look on for a week, ask questions, and then put on a canvass jacket." To those who have had some experience, but who are ready to go up higher, to young school boys who want to get on the first team from the second, to preparatory school graduates just entering college who want to get on the freshman team, or to those who have aspirations for the 'Varsity, let me say that nothing will bring you so close to the object of your desires as-making a study of the particular position you wish to fill. A man must not be content with going through the daily routine of practice, doing merely what he has seen others do before him, thinking of none but the ordinary regulation work. He must begin by thinking, after his day of practice, just what plays were made during which he stood unoccupied, and lending no assistance. Then he must ask himself the question whether, without jeopardizing the play in any way, he could not perform some act that would add to its efficiency. For instance, a man is playing the position of left tackle, and the play has been that of sending the half back through between right end and tackle. As left tackle the mal* has merely blocked his opponent, and then psrhaps taken a step or two up the field, and looked on open-mouthed to see his runner making a fine gain on the right, but eventually brought down by the opposing full back. It occurs to the player who is really ambitious and thoughtful, that there was a possibility of the left tackle checking his man, and then, by fast running, getting over to the spot where the full back stopped the runner, and interfering so that the run might have yielded a touch-down.

Monday, April 27, 2015

1883 Architecture House Plans

Below are two images from Lett's Illustrated Household Magazine ©1883. In the article the author talks about having previously discussed the lower level so all we have here is the upper floor plan and the drawing of the front of the house. Personally, I love running across floor plans like this to help me set the stage for a location in a book. Note the dressing room.

Here's a link to an earlier post with 1871 House Plans

Friday, April 24, 2015

Poisons for roaches, moths and bed bugs.

Here are three poisons to kill pesty bugs in the home. They can be found in Mrs. Owens' Cook Book and Useful Household Hints ©1884

Equal parts of borax and white sugar will drive away roaches or Croton bugs.
Put salt under the edges of carpets when tacked down.
Mrs. R. W Louis, Chicago.
Six ounces corrosive sublimate, 6 ounces camphor gum, 1 pt. spirits turpentine; shake well, mix; let stand a day. Shake before using.

Below are three links to previous posts regarding poisons:
Poisons & Remedies

Poisoning by Lemon Meringue Pie


Thursday, April 23, 2015


This is continuing the Egg Recipes from last week found in Mrs. Owens New Cook Book ©1897

NoTE-lf possible keep one pan for omelets alone.
PLAIN OMELETS—4 Eggs. Four eggs, $ cup of milk and 1 teaspoon flour. Beat the flour with a little of the milk, and fill the cup with milk till half full. Then put this mixture and the 4 eggs together, just sufficiently to break the Quaking. OMELET. Souffle.
yolks, but not to beat them. Pour this into a hot and well-buttered frying pan and cover it. When it begins to cook, roll it over and over like a jelly-roll, and as soon as cooked, turn it out on a hot platter with as little handling as possible.
QUAKING OMELET—4 Eggs. Four eggs, 1 tablespoon milk, pinch of pepper and scant half teaspoon salt. Whip the whites into a stiff froth and place in a pan of boiling water and let cook until firm. In the meantime beat the yolks and milk together and turn into a hot frying pan, which has been well buttered, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and set the frying pan in the oven, and let remain 6 minutes. Carefully dish the whites, without breaking them, on to a hot dish, and turn the yolks out on them exactly in the center, leaving a white rim all around, and you have a pretty dish.
Mrs. T. A. Evoy, Chicago.
2 heaping teaspoons corn starch. 2 level teaspoons baking powder. 1 cup milk. 4 eggs, pepper, salt and celery salt.
Beat all together and put into hot bacon fat in spider. Cover and cook slowly.
Katherine Gorman, Clinton, Illinois.
6 eggs beaten separately. Beat a large teaspoon of flour with the yolks, add a little salt, then the whites and k cup milk. Have the skillet hot and buttered, pour in the mixture and let stand on top of stove 10 minutes then put in the oven and bake 15 minutes.
Emogene Mather (Mrs. W. B.), Chicago. 8 fresh eggs beaten separately, 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt. Thoroughly beat yolks then add salt, flour and milk, and lastly the beaten whites; stir lightly. Bake 25 minutes and serve at once in baking dish.
OMELET SOUFFLE. Beat the yolks of 6 eggs light, add $ teaspoon lemon juice, a bit of grated peel and nutmeg, and $ teaspoon sugar. Beat well and add lightly 5 tablespoons cream. Butter the omelet pan, heat, pour in the mixture, and stir in lightly the well-beaten whites. Cook 5 or 6 Apple. OMELET. Codfish.
minutes in a quick oven. Turn upside down on a hot plate and serve instantly.
APPLE OMELET. Pare and stew 4 large tart apples and rub through a sieve. While hot add a tablespoon butter, $ cup sugar (heaping), 1 teaspoon vanilla and a grating of nutmeg. Whip whites and yolks of 4 eggs separately and add when apples are cold, folding in the whites the last thing. Pour into a buttered pudding dish and bake only until delicately browned.
ASPARAGUS OMELET. Boil 2 whole bunches of asparagus for 20 minutes. Remove the tender tops and put into a buttered baking dish. Season with pepper and salt and dots of butter. Beat 4 eggs with 1 tablespoon melted butter, a little salt and pepper, and pour over the asparagus. Bake 8 minutes in a quick oven and serve hot.
Mrs. Z. B. Glynn, East Boston, Mass. Put bread crumbs into a saucepan with cream or milk; salt and pepper. When the bread has absorbed the cream, break in as many eggs as will suffice for the meal, and fry as omelet.
1 cup cold boiled cauliflower chopped fine and mixed with 4 eggs and 1 teaspoon corn starch. Cook as other omelets in buttered frying pan.
CHEESE OMELET. 4 eggs, 4 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons grated cheese, salt and pepper. Separate whites and yolks. Beat whites stiff, add the yolks and seasoning, then the milk, then the cheese; pour into the omelet pan. Have a platter warm for omelets, otherwise they will shrink or fall.
CODFISH OMELET. Pick up £ cup of salt codfish and let the water run on it a short time to freshen sufficiently. Put into a frying pan with 1 heaping tablespoon butter. Beat 4 eggs very light and add. As soon as partly Corn. OMELET. Meat.
set fold over and place in hot oven for 5 minutes. This may be served with cream sauce, but is good without.
CORN OMELET. Take cold boiled sweet corn, cut from the cob. For a cup full take 6 eggs, beat, add 6 tablespoons milk, the cup of corn, 1 teaspoon salt, \ saltspoon pepper; mix all together and cook in butter as any other omelet.
Florence R. Sheridan, Mobile, Ala.
Boil $ dozen crabs and pick out the meat, to which add 3 eggs beaten, 2 tablespoons cracker dust, a little chopped onion, parsley, butter, salt and pepper. Have a pan with butter very hot, in which drop the mixture in spoonsful and fry a light brown. Canned crabs make delightful omelet also.
Mrs. Z. B. Glynn, East Boston, Mass.
2 eggs. 4 tablespoons butter.
2 tablespoons minced ham, lean. Pinch of pepper.
Fry the ham 2 minutes in a little butter; then mix all togetner and proceed as with a plain omelet. Serve very hot. Lean bacon or tongue will answer equally as well, but should be slightly cooked previous to mixing.
ORANGE OMELET. Three eggs, a teaspoon of orange juice, and same of grated orange rind. Beat the yolks and whites separately, then add carefully together and proceed as for plain omelet.
RICE OMELET. Mix 1 cup boiled rice with 1 cup milk; add 1 tablespoon butter, a little salt, and 3 well beaten eggs. Cook as an ordinary omelet. DRIED BEEF OMELET. Mince £ pound dried beef fine, beat up 4 eggs and stir into the beef. Put in the skillet a tablespoon of butter and turn the mixture in, stirring until the eggs scramble. Serve hot with garnish of celery or parsley.
MEAT OMELET. Mince up any cold pieces of meat, add a few crumbs of bread or crackers, and enough beaten egg to bind them together. Season Mushroom. OMELET. Oyster.
well and pour into a well-buttered frying pan. If it is difficult to turn it whole, a hot shovel may be held over the top until it is browned. MUSHROOM OMELET.
Twelve large mushrooms, wash and peel. Remove the stems and mince them fine, adding 3 beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne and pour the mixture over the mushrooms. Put a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and dip a spoonful at a time into it, being careful that a whole mushroom is in each spoon and fully encased in the mixture of egg and minced stems. They may be turned or not as preferred. When dished for the table they should be kept separate and one served to each person.
One dozen large fresh oysters chopped into small pieces, £ teaspoon salt sprinkled on them, and then let stand in their own liquor hour. Beat 6 eggs, separately. Add to the yolks a tablespoon of rich cream, a little pepper and salt, and then lightly stir in the whites. Put 2 tablespoons butter into a hot frying pan. When it is melted and begins to fry, pour in your egg mixture and as quickly as possible add the oysters. Do not stir, but with a broad-bladed omelet knife lift the omelet as the eggs set from the bottom of the pan, to prevent scorching. In 5 minutes it will be done. Place a hot dish, bottom upward, over the omelet, and dexterously turn the pan over with the brown side uppermost upon the dish. Eat without delay.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

1862 Fashions

Here are a few examples of some women and children fashions from 1862 resources.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Terrestrial Flight

The term had me looking it up so you'll find some information below are some tidbits about recreational sports from a book titled "Outdoors: A Book of Healthful Pleasure" ©1894 Enjoy the thoughts from the time about exercise and recreation.

The lazy Washington atmosphare, which seems to have been imported from the Land of the Lotus Eaters, and which affects everybody on foot, from the sable piccaniny to the Cabinet officer, is powerless to influence the rider on the steel horse. I forget how many bicycles are owned in Washington, though I did take the trouble to ask; but it appears at times as if everybody must own one. The broad, straight streets, smooth with polished asphalt, are swimming with shining wheels, following, passing, crossing, approaching, vanishing, gliding, all lightness, noiselessness, and speed. They stream to and fro in glaring currents, and no single rider can hold your eye but for an instant, but they are always coming, always going, and spin in continuous succession along thsir soundless paths, swift as birds, and with no more apparent effort, though their elastic tires never leave the solid surface of the planet.
Then terrestrial flyers are not restricted to sex, age, or occupation. If there are not, at present, as many women as men, the number of the former is constantly increasing; and a woman looks so graceful on a bicycle that the aesthetic instincts of the sex, no less than its good sense and love of movement, will aid in urging them to the saddle. The Washington Department clerks are almost all members of the steel cavalry division; their unwearying steeds enable them to stay so much* later at their breakfast, and so much earlier at their dinner; and at the journey's end there is no stable to hire, no hostler to fee, no fodder to provide. How much salary, how much lassitude, how much dyspepsia and low spirits do these tense, economic racers save in a twelvemonth ?" Post equitum sedet atra cura" says Horace; but I doubt if dull care often overtakes the airy sweep of the bicycler. His foot is on the pedal: he is the author of his own flights, and he can regulate it to suit his mood.
The small boy and the elderly gentleman, the tradesman and ths manabout-town, the seamstress and she for whom the seamstress works, all mingle with equal propriety and enjoyment in the wheeling lists. Bicycling is a freemasonry, broader in its membership than any other, save human nature itself. The man of brawn and the man of brains are at one in the saddle. Youth and age alike can do their mile in three minutes or under. The "winning wave, deserving note, in the tempestuous petticoat," is never more winning than when it whispers past you on the wheel. A woman on horseback, in a trim riding-habit, is an alluring sight; but we miss one important feature ■— the rhythmic grace of motion, which nothing but the bicycle affords. The entire pose shows the figure to the best advantage; and the slight, unconscious swayings of the body to maintain the balance imparts an element of life to the spectacle which is more fascinating than the most studied art of mere attitude.
But it would be omitting an important factor in the combination which has made the bicycle so universally popular, to ascribe its success to its practical business utility and to its faculty of making its riders look well. It is, above all, the solution of a problem which has puzzled hygienists and physical culturists for many years. The modern gospel of physical culture has been preached sinca before i860; and certainly, the multiplication since that revived of gymnasiums, of athletic clubs, of out-door sports, and of athletes, is evidence that it has not been preached in vain. Probably a majority of college-bred young men have made more or less practical acquaintance with bodily exercise. During their college career they attended the gymnasium, rowed, played base ball or foot ball, or took part in athletic games. In after life, a fair percentage of them kapt up their practise for a time; but, as a general rule, the business occupation of life, or other business, led them to discontinue their active habits soon after reaching their thirtieth year ; thenceforward they "took things easy," and rapidly developed portly abdomens, short breath, and sluggish circulation. This is especially noticeable in men who have been prominent in feats of strength and endurance while their athletic life lasted. The more acute their enthusiasm, the sooner it seems to exhaust itself. Some few persistent individuals, however, who have always done enough and never too much, keep up a moderate activity till past forty, fifty, and even sixty, and these retain their health, their vigor, and their figures till near the end.
Now, it is a physiological fact that rational exercise, constant, but not excessive, is never so beneficial and necessary as between the thirty-fifth and the fiftieth years. During the ebullient season of youth, our bodies instinctively crave to work off their superfluous animation; but later on, physical indolence supervives, and money-making pursuits seem to afford an excuse for the indulgence thereof. But, whereas vitality is abundant in youth, even when not artificially reinforced, the opposite is the case in age. As years accumulate, we must needs do something to keep the pot of life boiling. It need not be much, but it must be something; otherwise the penalties —■ dyspepsia, palpitation, asthma, nervous prostration — are tolerably sure to be inflicted. The conditions of our intellectual and business occupations are too arduous and exhausting to be endured with impunity (save in the case of exceptionally fine organizations) unless they are counteracted by deep breathing and systematized muscular movements.
These facts have been often repeated, and are widely accepted. But the truth is, it is not good advice that we lack, but the stimulus that shall prompt us to follow it. A man or woman may be assured that a certain nostrum, taken regularly, will give him or her health and long life; and he or she may know the statement to be true. Nevertheless, if the nostrum in question be nauseating to the taste, or involves much trouble to procure, the patient will take advantage of any specious pretext to avoid taking it; and the result will be that, for the parson concerned, the nostrum might as well be non-existent. The situation is the same with regard to bodily exercise. Unless it be administered in an attractive form, it will be neglected. In youth the competition and solid pleasure of out-door games, and even of gymnastic contests of a more precise and scientific kind, are sufficient to enlist participants. But, as we grow older, we perforce retire from such contests and must then do our work alone, or not at all. But who wants to play ball, or run races, or lift dumbbells, or practise leaping, alone by himself, after the hair has begun to thin on his temples? Who will practise calisthenic movements in the solitude of his chamber? Who, even should his geographical situation permit it, will set out to row a couple of miles out and back, for the mere hygienic advantage of the exertion? Even walking is too monotonous for the majority of temperaments, except a definite material goal be in view. It is true that a few of the faithful here and there will do all these things, in spite of spite: but their number is so small that, for purposes of argument, they cannot be considered.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Americanism or American Slang

Quite a while ago I posted various chapters on Americanisms or Slang. Today's post is an index for all of the posts.

Starting with the Letter A

















S Part 1

S Part 2






There were no X's or Z's.

Friday, April 17, 2015

American House Plans

I found this tidbit on an American House from an English publication titled "The Choice of a Dwelling." It gives a detail description along with some basic floor plans.

This common disposition of the plan of an American house is not without useful application at home; plans are here offered (illustration No. i) of one erected by the author in Philadelphia during a residence in the United States, which possesses the most desirable of the features above detailed.
The plot was 25 feet frontage by 100 feet in depth, the invariable area devoted to what is called a "city lot."
The extreme depth on the basement and principal floors is 78 feet, including the piazza, and of the bed-room floors (of which there are three) 50 feet.
In the basement the dining-room is 20 feet wide by 25 deep, and is octagonal, the corners being cut off to obtain more space for the room by curtailing the passage (which is only used by the servants and tradesmen coming to the house), and at the same time not to contract the doorway and its side lights. A fire-proof safe occupies one of the front corners, and from another a door opens into a large private store-closet. The other portions of the plan follow the general description previously given. Servants' bathroom and water-closet are provided on this floor.
The principal floor comprises two long rooms, each 25 by 15 ft. 6 inches, with columns between; the extension or tea-room in the rear, and back of all, the enclosed piazza breast, and with Venetian blinds working in grooves between the pillars that support the over-hanging roof. Between the end of the reception-rooms and the rear apartments, are wide sliding glazed doors, which, when opened, do not show, the opening extending nearly to the cornice. There is at the end of the hall a serving room with lift to a closet below, for use in entertaining company.
The bedroom plan represents two large bed chambers, back and front, with dressing-closets between, lighted by a well, and at each end of the hall small rooms, that in front being a single room, and in the rear, a general bath-room and water-closet. Each floor is similarly arranged. The dressing-closets are very completely fitted; on the right are wide drawers, and above are wardrobes, but of full size and with every contrivance that ingenuity can devise for hanging and placing dresses; upon the left is a bath with shower over, and a marble wash basin; a large cheval glass forms part of the fittings.
§ 296. Cost.
The cost of this residence, built very substantially, finished throughout with hard polished woods, and fitted with heating and ventilating apparatus, hot and cold water to every dressing-room, gas pipes, speaking-tubes, &c, throughout, the exterior faced with cut stone, the floors all double—in fact built in the best manner, and of the best materials—was about ^7000 of English money, the land upon which it stood being worth then about ^2500. At the present time I learn the house and ground are worth nearly ^16,000, the great increase being due principally to the rise in value of the land.
§ 297. Features worthy of adoption.
Some features of this, and similar American plans, are worth introduction into our London buildings; the octagonal planning of the dining-room, giving as it does so fair a space for the front door, removes a frequent objection that builders of small houses are compelled to devote a verynarrow allowance to the entrance passage.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How to Cook Eggs

Below are 19th Century Recipes and information on how to cook eggs from Mrs. Owens New Cook Book ©1897 Omelets will be in another post.

Have the water far below the boiling point. At 180 degrees the albumen will become solid and white. If at 212 it will become shrunken and tough.
TO SERVE HARD BOILED EGGS. Remove shells and if not ready to serve at once drop them into hot water, a little salted. Place them on a layer of lettuce, with a few leaves over them. Pretty and appetizing.
Boiled. EGGS. To Poach.
Use a wire egg-boiler for boiling eggs; 3 minutes cooks the white about right for soft-boiled eggs. If put into cold water and let remain to a boiling point, they are cooked more evenly than by plunging into hot water at first. And it is further recommended to pour boiling water on the eggs and set the vessel on the hearth for 5 minutes.
Another method is to put eggs into boiling water, set back and let remain in water for 10 minutes.
ENGLISH BOILED EGGS. Put eggs into cold water and when it begins to boil, let boil just 2 minutes.
SCRAMBLED EGGS. Put a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan. When hot put in the requisite number of eggs beaten lightly. Pepper and salt them, and add $ cup of milk to a dozen eggs. Stir constantly, and as soon as they begin to set, take off and pour out. They must not be hard. EGGS SCRAMBLED IN MILK.
Lydia Avery Coonley, Chicago. Eggs beaten up with milk and scrambled in a dish set in a dish of water, make a pleasant variety. Use salt, but no butter.
C. R. Schrapps, St. Louis. Take an even brick-shaped loaf of bread, cut the top off. Take a sharp knife and cut out the crumb of the loaf evenly, leaving the crust, ends, sides and bottom. Immerse both case and cover in hot fat and fry a nice brown, and drain well. In the meantime prepare scrambled eggs in the ordinary manner sufficient for the meal, and put into the hot bread case, cover with the hot cover and place on a platter. Dish with a spoon from the case the same as from a platter or tureen. After the eggs are gone the fried bread may be served in convenient pieces. Cooked asparagus placed on the eggs is a nice accompaninent.
Mrs. W. A. Dickerman, Marseilles, Ill. Let the water come nearly to boiling heat, break the eggs in carefully and be sure that the water covers them, put a close cover on the sauce pan and cook until sufficiently done, and they will skim out very full and white. It will take but 2 or 3 minutes.
To Fry. EGGS. Panned.
TO FRY EGGS. Break the eggs into hot fat in the frying pan, cover closely and cook until done—perhaps 5 minutes, or butter gem irons and break an egg in each one, set in the oven, after seasoning. Will cook in a very short time.
FRIED HAM AND EGGS. Freshen the ham, if it requires it, by putting it on the stove in cold water, and pouring off as soon as it comes to a scald. Fry the ham in its own fat, then fry the eggs afterward in the same. Dish up on the same platter.
BROILED HAM AND EGGS. Broil thin slices of ham. Put a bit of butter on each slice when done. Poach the eggs in water, and lay one neatly on each piece of ham.
Butter a tin plate and break in your eggs. Set in a steamer, place over a kettle of boiling water and steam till the whites are cooked . If broken into buttered patty pans they look nicer, by keeping their forms better. Or still better, if broken into egg cups and steamed until done, they are very nice. Cooked in this way, there is nothing of their flavor lost.
Take a large platter. Break on it as many eggs as you need for your meal, sprinkle over with salt, pepper and lumps of butter. Set in the oven, and in about 5 minutes the whites will be set and the eggs sufficiently cooked. A handy way on washing or ironing days, when the top of the stove is all in use.
EGG PYRAMIDS. Mrs. H. B. Clark, Pulaski, N. Y. Take 4 eggs, beat whites to a stiff froth, salt a little, butter the platter, put whites on in spoonsful. Make a hollow in each center and put a whole yolk in, salt and pepper and put a bit of butter on each one. Set into the oven and bake until a delicate brown.
PANNED EGGS. Make a minced meat of chopped ham, fine bread crumbs, pepper, salt and some melted butter. Moisten with milk to a soft paste, and Scalloped. EGGS. Fricasseed.
half fill some patty pans with the mixture. Break an egg carefully upon the top of each. Dust with pepper and salt, and sprinkle some finely-powdered cracker over all. Set in the oven and bake about 8 minutes and serve at once.
SCALLOPED EGGS. Prepare a cup of thick drawn-butter gravy, and a dozen hardboiled eggs. Butter a pudding dish and place in it a layer of fine bread crumbs moistened with milk or broth. Add 2 beaten eggs to the drawn butter. Cut the boiled eggs in slices, dip each slice in gravy and place in layers upon the bread crumbs. Sprinkle these with cold meat or fowl minced fine. Repeat the layers and put over all a covering of sifted bread crumbs. Heat well through in a moderate oven.
EGGS WITH TOMATO SAUCE. Boil 6 eggs hard and divide lengthwise. Pour over them a pint of tomato sauce. Serve hot.
Isadore P. Taylor (Mrs. H. S.) Kenilworth, Ill. $ can of tomatoes, stewed, 1 small onion chopped fine, 1 small teaspoon corn starch, and butter size of egg. Cook 6 minutes, add salt and pepper (chopped parsley if desired) then add 5 well beaten eggs very slowly. When the mixture is as thick as thick cream, pour over buttered toast and serve immediately.
EGGS al a CREME. Boil 12 eggs hard, cut in slices and put in a baking dish with grated bread crumbs, pepper and salt. Make a cream sauce of a pint of cream or milk, add chopped parsley and a bit of onion and nutmeg. Pour over the eggs, sprinkle with crumbs and brown in a well heated oven.
SHAKER EGGS. Boil 4 minutes, take out, and as soon as cool enough to handle remove the shells, keep the eggs whole. Dop in a covered dish and dress with pepper, salt and sweet cream. To 6 eggs allow ^ cup cream. FRICASSEED EGGS. Boil 6 eggs hard, cut crosswise and remove yolks; mash the yolks with a little minced cold tongue or ham or fowl, a little butter and Swiss. EGGS. Sur Le Plat or Shirred.
made mustard and parsley. Fill the whites and set them in a covered dish. Have some broth ready and heat to boiling, and add 3 tablespoons cream to each cup of broth. Boil up, pour hot over the eggs, let stand covered for 5 minutes and serve at once.
Take a baking dish and butter the bottom generously. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Break in as many eggs as are required. Season with salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of cayenne. Pour over k cup cream and sprinkle more cheese. Bake 15 minutes.
Boil 6 eggs hard, when cool remove shell cut in two, take out the yolks and put them in a bowl, with the juice of one onion, pinch of red pepper, saltspoon of salt and $ cup cream. Mix thoroughly into a smooth paste, then return to the whites, and stand them in the bottom of a small pudding dish. Pour sauce over them and bake 20 minutes.
Rub together till smooth 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 small tablespoon butter, saltspoon of salt, pinch of red pepper and juice of 1 onion. Put this with 1 pint of boiling cream (less amount used for yolks) stir until thick and smooth.
Chef of Les Trois Freres, Paris in "250 choice recipes."
(The above is a delicious dish, but I use only a few drops of onion juice. I found the flavor entirely too strong if a whole one was used. F. E. O.)
BEAUREGARD EGGS. Boil 12 eggs 20 minutes; remove shells, divide whites and yolks. Rub the yolks through a sieve into a dish alone; chop the whites very fine; blend 1 tablespoon of butter with 2 of corn starch in a saucepan and add a pint of milk and stir until thick and smooth. Stir in the whites of the eggs, $ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of white pepper. Have a nice piece of toast ready on each plate, and more for reinforcement . Spread each piece with the white sauce and sprinkle with the sifted yolks set in the oven a minute. A bit of parsley is also an improvement.
Little individual stone china dishes come expressly for this mode

Stuffed. EGGS. Cradled.
of serving eggs. Heat and butter dish, break into it two eggs, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and $ teaspoon butter. Place in hot oven about 5 minutes. These may be varied by adding different seasonings and flavorings. For instance, the cups may be rubbed with onion, a little chopped parsley, ham, tongue, chicken, or grated cheese may be sprinkled in the dish before the eggs are broken in.
Boil 12 eggs 20 minutes; cut in two; also cut a thin slice from each end so the eggs will stand. Take out yolks and mash fine. Add 3 tablespoons melted butter, 2 drops onion juice, a little finely chopped boiled ham, small teaspoon prepared mustard, 1 of celery seed, salt and cayenne pepper to taste; make quite moist with vinegar, mix all thoroughly, chip the edges of whites in small points with scissors; fill with above mixture and serve each half on a small, curled lettuce leaf.
Remove the shell from hard-boiled eggs; moisten a cup of bread crumbs with 1 teaspoon butter; mix with this the crumbled yolks of 3 hard-boiled eggs; season with salt and pepper; line bottom of dish with this mixture, place eggs in, then fill round again, and cover the top with buttered crumbs, and brown in oven 5 minutes. Garnish with slaw or chopped pickles.
Tin cups, or tin muffin pans; butter thickly, line with thin layer of chopped parsley, put in bottom a thin layer of minced ham (seasoned), break egg in cup, sprinkle with salt and pepper, (be careful not to break the yolk); set molds in pan of boiling water until eggs set (about fifteen minutes). Serve upon a piece of round bread, toasted.
CRADLED EGGS. Mince very fine some cold chicken, turkey or duck and add some melted butter, pepper, salt, chopped parsley, and. two beaten eggs; moisten with some stock, put in a saucepan and place over a fire and cook about eight minutes; turn on a hot platter and make it smooth across the top, form a ridge all around and build a fence of triangular pieces of toast on the outside; have ready and place in this meat bed Deviled. EGGS. Omelets.
as many poached or dropped eggs as it will hold; garnish with parsley at each end of the platter.
Boil eggs hard. When cold, take off the shells, cut in two lengthwise, remove yolks and mash fine in a bowl, adding salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar until it is palatable and taking care to keep it thick enough to replace in the whites. Smooth over and serve eithes in halves, or put the halves together. A most excellent dish.
Take the whites of hard-boiled eggs divided in lengthwise halves. Drop into each one a teaspoon of mayonnaise, on this put the yolk rubbed through a sieve and mixed lightly with salt and pepper and top this with a bit of grated cheese.
Boil eggs hard, remove shell and divide in lengthwise halves. Take i rounding tablespoon of butter, put it in a frying pan; in it fry one tart apple, one small onion, add a heaping teaspoon curry powder, the same of flour, 4 tablespoons stock or water; let simmer; then add the eggs and heat them thoroughly.- Have ready a dish of plain boiled rice, make room in the center of it for the mixture, and pour what may be left over the top.
Boil eggs very hard and remove the shell. Take 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, allspice, and mace, put in a little muslin bag in cold water, boil well, and if it boils away, add enough to make $ pint when the spices are taken out. Add 1 pint of strong vinegar, pour over the eggs. If you want them colored, put in some beet juice.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

1875 Hats

Below you'll find a variety of 1875 hat designs, enjoy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Egg Tidbits

Here are some interesting tidbits about the egg from the 19th Century perspective.

EGGS are regarded by some as a great delicacy, by others as a prime article of food. But in either case, the mode of cooking has much to do with the satisfaction produced in the eating. The yolk is much more nutritious than the white.
To ascertain the freshness of an egg, hold it in the hand and look through it to the light. If it looks clear, there is tolerable assurance that it is good. Another test is to put them in a clear vessel of water. The good ones will lie on the side.
The eggs of the common hen are esteemed the best. They are much better when new-laid, than even a day or two afterwards.
Turkey eggs are almost equal to those of the hen—not quite so mild.
Goose eggs are large, and agreeable to the taste.
Duck eggs are richly flavored. The white is of a bluish tint, and will cook in less time than that of the hen.
Guinea-hen's eggs are smaller and more delicate than those of the common hen.
Eggs of wild fowl are usually colored, and often spotted. They frequently taste somewhat like the birds themselves.
Eggs of land birds, such as the plover, are much liked, but those of sea-fowl have a fishy taste that is disagreeable.
Turtle eggs are numerous, and have yolks only. The eggs of some varieties have no shell. They are very delicious. The turtle To Test. EGGS. Hard Boiled Eggs.
lays from i 50 to 200 at a time, and lays several times during the year.
Eggs contain a large amount of nutiment in a compact, quickly available form. It is stated as a fact that there is more nutriment in a dark than a white-shelled egg. The white in the latter is like limewater, while the former is gelatinous and will hold together if lifted a few inches and is a third more valuable for any culinary purpose.

Put into water and a good egg will always lie on its side.

Wind strips of bright-colored calico around the eggs, and then boil in lye; you will find them gayly colored. To color them yellow, boil with onion skins.

A curious fact about eggs is: A boiled egg will spin freely, while a raw egg can not be made to spin at all. Another curious fact is that the white is heavier than the yolk. A French gentleman hung up an egg in a little bag, lying on its side and marked the upper part of the shell with an X. In just one month he let the egg down, still enclosed in its bag, into a saucepan of boiling water. When hard he cut the egg open. The yolk he found adhering to the membrane, not of the lower, but of the upper shell, and thus was disproved the common belief that the yolk was heavier than the white or albumen.
Source: Mrs. Owens New Cook Book ©1897

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pets (The Cat)

Below is some basic information about having a pet cat during the 19th Century.

It has not been satisfactorily ascertained at what period cats were first classed among domestic animals. Every country has its peculiar species. In Tobolsk the cat is red; at the Cape of Good Hope, blue; in China and Japan, they have pendent ears. In Russia, it is stated, the muzzle is small and pointed, and the tail six times as long as the body. Cats are mostly the favourites of ladies. In ancient Egypt they carried their veneration for this animal to a ridiculous excess; they not only lived in splendour, but were buried with great pomp. Iu China this animal is indulged with a bed of down and silk, where it lies in that indolence so dearly loved by the race, decorated with a silver collar, and rings of jasper or sapphire in its ears.
Buffon gives this animal a very indifferent character. He saip, "The cat may be considered as a faithless friend, brought uiroer human protection to oppose a still more insidious enemy."
The aversion cats have to anything like slavery or imprisonment is so great, that by means of it they may be subdued to obedience; but under restraint they are very ill at ease, deprived of liberty they will die of languor. Lemery, by way of experiment, put a cat into a cage, and then suffered two or three mice to run through it. Puss, instead of destroying them, merely looked at them with indifference. The mice became bold and provoked her, but she remained quite quiet till her liberty was restored; and then, had they been in her power, the mice would have been destroyed.
Cats are but little susceptible of teaching; there have been, however, famous exceptions. Valmont de Bomare states that he saw at the fair of St. Germain cats turned musicians, who mewed sad or lively strains; an ape conducted'this singular concert. Sometimes a cat can be taught to beg, to jump through the hands, or a hoop.
Active, cleanly, delicate, and voluptuous, the cat loves its ease, seeking the daintiest spots to he on. Birds and mice are its principal game, for all cats are not good ratters. The black species, which is a degenerate one, will seldom attack a rat; it is the grey tabby, whose fur is dark, with black rings, who is ferocious enough to attack and master rats. Black cats make affectionate pets, but are of little service in the family household. The disposition of cats, as of men, differs much in individuals. Four cats kept in a family known to the writer are remarkable for the absolute difference of their tempers. These are two black cats, one light tabby, and a dark grey. "Tootsy,"' a cat entirely black, of great age—for he is twelve years old—is of a sullen temper, seldom allowing himself to be coaxed, though sometimes seeking notice; petulant, and resenting freedoms by scratching, or giving a sharp blow with his paw; unsocial with his own kind, and very malicious towards his companions, biting them slyly when they are asleep; somewhat of a coward, too; yet, when this cat's mistress died, the poor creature took to moping and not eating, and seemed for many weeks as if he, too, would die; only great care and notice brought him round, with unlimited indulgence. '' Jem," his companion, a black and white cat, about four years old, has, on the contrary, an affectionate temper, with a great share of spirit, and a determination to be master; yet, if ever so much teased, never biting or scratching, only testifying his displeasure by growling. "Sille," the light tabby, is one of the sweetest tempered of the feline race ever known. Anything may be done to Sille, and he will only coax and purr. A little vixen terrier will teaze and play with him roughly, and he will put his paws round her neck and lick her all over; he seems perfectly incapable of resentment; while "Crab," the dark grey, shows not the least symptom of fear of dogs or anything human. Crab will fight with a large black dog called Jip, or else will sit still and regard his fury with the supremest contempt. This last cat is a fine ratter, which none of the other three are. All these cats are "toms."
Sometimes, indeed, cats testify strong attachments, and even to animals superior to themselves. A celebrated horse, the Godolphin Arabian, and a black cat were for years the warmest of friends. When the horse died in 1753, the cat sat on his carcass till it was buried, and then, crawling slowly and reluctantly away, was never seen again till her dead body was found in a hay-loft. It is customary for these animals, when they feel life about to depart, to seek some retired place to die in.
A cat was so strongly attached to a hunter in George III.'a stables, at Windsor, that whenever he was in the stable she never would leave her seat on the horse's back; and to accommodate his friend, he slept, as horses will sometimes do, standing. This, however, injured his health, and the cat was removed to a distant part of the country.
In the eyes of cats there is this peculiarity: the contraction and dilation of the pupil is so considerable, that the pupil, which by- daylight appears so narrow and small, by night expands over the whole surface of the eyeball, and their eyes seem on fire; by this peculiar conformation they see better in the dark than in the light.
Cats have a great antipathy to water, and dislike to wet their feet; yet such is their fondness for fish, that to obtain favourite prey cats have been known to seize them out of the water. Dr. Darwin tells a story of a cat who fished for trout in a mill-stream near Lichfield. They are ravenous after cooked fish, also, and their fondness for the herb valerian is a well-known fact. Cats, to be kept in health, should, moreover, have free access to grass, which is medicine to them.
It is stated in " Loudon's Gardener's Magazine" that white cats with blue eyes are always deaf. A cat of this kind—which comes from Persia originally—kept in a family, was deaf herself, and such of her kittens as were born white were deaf also, while others of her offspring who had the least trace of colour had their hearing.
The true Persian or Angora cat is a beautiful and docile creature, larger, considerably, than the common cat, with long hair, and thick, bushy, long tail; some are white, others of a dun colour. The fur of the cat has the property of emitting electric sparks, especially in frosty weather; if the fur be rubbed backwards the electric sparks come freely.
There is also a race of cats peculiar to the Isle of Man, which have no tails.
Cats are liable to maDy diseases, but especially to mange and to cold. When indisposed, a dose of castor-oil, or a spoonful of syrup of buckthorn, should be administered, and occasionally sulphur in their milk will keep them healthy.
Source: Hand-book About Our Domestic Pets ©1862

Friday, April 10, 2015

Moving the Hen House

I stumbled on this tidbit and could see all kinds of possibilities for my characters to run into trouble or have a bonding experience when moving chickens. When I was young my father and I raised chickens. We did not move our coup but when we had a season of no chickens the weeds grew over ten feet tall in the penned in area from all the manure. So when I stumbled over this I thought it was extremely practical. Enjoy!

Movable fowl-houses are used exclusively, with the exception of some large ones for hatching-rooms. By building small, light, and low, with strong sills made on purpose for runners, the houses may be moved every spring by an ordinary team, to the section tilled the previous summer. The distance traveled in transferring 100 fowl-houses, from one 6O-acre lot to_ another, is one-third of a mile for each building, and back with no load. The amount of labor is much less than would be involved in hauling the manure, mixed with dry earth, from the buildings. The moving is acoomplished systematically; the fowls belonging to a building being all moved in one flock in a large box made on purpose, in which they are quietly entrapped when attempting to leave their house in the morning by placing it adjoining, after which the box is darkened and drawn upon runners, on which it stands, to the new station. On arriving they are immediately allowed to escape into a spare house, shaped and colored like the one they left, placed before-hand, when they are ready to commence their day as usual, the whole operation of removal occupying only a few minutes.
Source: An Egg Farm ©1891

Referring to a "broody hen"
most hens will bear moving, nest and all, to a quiet place; but a great many will not like to be taken out of the chosen nest, and placed in another.
Source: Rural Life Described and Illustrated ©1868

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Axle Grease

Here's some practical information regarding axle grease. It's something most of us don't need to use today but very important for our 19th Century characters. Below the most recent tidbit you'll find a link to a previous post on Axle Grease for Wagons.

Axle-grease for very heavy wagons. No. 1, for winter: Tallow, 420 parts; palm oil, 840; soda, 140; water, 4200.
No. 2, for summer: Tallow, 420 parts; palm oil, 490; soda, 35; water, 2300.
The above lubricants are calculated for a low temperature in winter and a hot one in summer. For a moderate winter climate, the quantity of soda may be somewhat reduced, and that of palm oil increased.
Axle grease for heavy wagons. Palm oil, 210 parts; tallow, 85; soda lye, 65; water, 920.
Melt the palm oil and tallow together, and after making the mixture homogeneous by stirring, add the soda lye. The latter is prepared by dissolving soda in sufficient hot water for the cooled fluid to show 20° or 21° Be. After adding and stirring in the soda lye, the water is added, and the whole stirred to a homogeneous mass, which is ladled into vessels and allowed to congeal.
Grease for wooden machinery. Tallow, 30 parts; palm oil, 20; train oil, 10; graphite, 20.
After melting the fats at a moderate heat, intimately mix the graphite, previously pulverized and elutriated, with the mass by stirring.
Source: A Practical Treatise on animal and vegetable fats and oils ©1896

Here's the link to the previous post. Axle Grease For Your Wagon or Carriage

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

1875 Ladies Dresses

These 1875 Ladies Outfits come from original sources. I love the colors that they used.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Here is some basic information about the Cashew. It's interesting to see how beneficial they saw the cashew during the 19th Century.

'The cashew-tree, is a native of the Brazils, and other parts of America, where it grows to the height of twenty feet or more, in favourable situations. Lunan gives the following account of it in his Hortus Jamaicensis. The fruit is full of an acrid juice, which is frequently used in the making of punch. To the apex of the fruit, grows a nut, of the size and shape of a hare’s kidney, but much larger at the end which is next the fruit than at the other end. The shell is very hard, and the kernel, which is esteemed the finest nut in the world, is covered with a thin film. Between this and the shell is lodged a thick, blackish, inflammable liquor, of such a caustic nature in the fresh nut, that if the lips chance to touch it, blisters will immediately follow. The fruit is said to be good in disorders of the stomach; for the juice of it cuts the thick tough humours, which obstruct the free circulation of the blood, and thus removes the complaint. This juice, expressed and fermented, makes a fine rough wine, useful where the viscera or solid system has been relaxed. Barham, who has written on this fruit, says, " the stone of this apple appears before the fruit itself, growing at the end in the shape of a kidney, as big as a walnut. Some of the fi'uit are all red, some entirely yellow, and some mixed. with both red and yellow, and others perfectly white, of a. very pleasant taste in general; but there is a great variety, as some more sharp, some in taste resembling cherries, others very rough like unripe apples. The taste of most of' them is sweet and pleasant, but generally goes; off with an astringency or stipticity upon the tongue, which proceeds from it’s tough fibres, that run longwise through the fruit. When cut with a knife, it turns as black as ink. The generality of the fruit is as big and much of the shape of the French Pippins, and makes an excellent cider or wine.” Barham adds, that he has distilled a 'spirit from the nut far exceeding arrack, rum, or brandy, of which an admirable punch is made.
The flowers are very small, grow in tufts of a carnation colour, and are very o'doriferous. The leaves much resemble those of the common walnut-tree in shape and smell, and a decoction of them is equally efifectual in cleansing and healing old wounds.
The oil cures the 'herpes, takes away freckles and liver spots, but draws blisters, and therefore must be cautiously made use of; it also takes away corns, but it is necessary to have a very good defensive round the corn to prevent inflaming the - part. The inside kernel is very pleasant to eat when young, and, before the fruit is too ripe, exceeding any . walnut; and when older and drier, roasted, is very pleasant, exceeding Pistachio nuts or almonds; and ground up with cocoa, makes an excel
lent chocolate. . It has been observed, that poor dropsical slaves who have’ had the liberty to go. into a cashew-walk, and eat what cashews they please, ‘' as well as the roasted nuts, have been recovered. These trees are of quick growth: Barham says he has planted the nuts, and the young trees have produced
fruit in two years after. They will continue bearing fruit for more than a hundred years. Many are now flourishing in Jamaica that were planted when the Spaniards had it in possession. '
I have lately received from Jamaica cashew apple, bearing two distinct nuts, which was considered so rare a circumstance that it was preserved in spirits. It’s appearance is unnatural, resembling a lemon pippin apple, with two lambs’ kidneys stuck on the end.
Source: Pomarium Britannicum ©1822

Monday, April 6, 2015

Pets (The Dog)

Below is some basic information about Dogs and their breeds from the 19th Century.

This faithful and generous animal, the friend of man, often his protector and guide, needs no description here. Of the genus canis, in anatomical structure and external character the dog is closely assimilated to the wolf, the jackal, and the fox, having the same kind of teeth; the canine teeth being strong, conical, pointed, and curved slightly backwards; the incisors, or cutting teeth, are six above and below. But widely different is the disposition of the domestic dog from his fi'rce and savage brethren. He attaches himself to humanity, and is never so happy as when domesticated, and a sharer of his master's toil or pleasures. A faithful dog is one of those treasures at best but little appreciated, because familiar to all.
The great variety of the canine species, and their frequent resemblance to savage beasts of prey, is remarkable in the annals of natural history. There is the Esquimaux dog, which so closely resembles the wolf, that, when observed at a little distance, it is difficult to distinguish between them. It has been stated that the Esquimaux dog is a domestic variety of the wolf, but this is not true. The Esquimaux dog hates and fears the beast of prey, which it will attack only on the pressure of strong necessity.
Again, the Hare Indian's dog, found on the banks of the Mackenzie lliver and the Great Bear Lake, so nearly resembles the Arctic fox, that the one has been supposed, again, a domesticated species of the wild beast. In its native country the Hare Indian's dog is never known to bark, but one born in the Zoological Gardens here barked the same as any European dog of his size and race. Sometimes, indeed, the dog in its domestic state displays an inclination to abandon civilised life, and return to savage habits. Of this the following instance from the annals of sporting is an example:—A dog was left by a smuggling vessel on the coast of Northumberland. Finding himself deserted, he began to worry sheep, and did so much mischief that considerable alarm was created in the surrounding country; mangled sheep were constantly being found by the shepherds, who with difficulty recovered them. Frequently this animal was pursued by hounds and greyhounds, but when the dogs came up to him, he lay down on his back, as if asking for mercy, and in that position they never hurt him; he therefore lay quietly till the hunters came up, when he made off again without being followed by the hounds till they were excited to the pursuit, which invariably terminated unsuccessfully. One day, he was pursued from Howick to a distance of more than thirty miles, but returned thither the same evening and killed a sheep. His general abode was upon the Heughhill, near Howick, where he had a view of four roads that approached it. There at last this canine brigand was shot.
The Spotted, or Coach Dog.—There are two breeds of spotted dogs—viz., the Dalmatian and the Danish, the latter being much smaller than the former. The Dalmatian is used in his native country for the chase, but in England he has never been so employed. He is said to have little sagacity or power of nose, but has a remarkable attachment towards horses, and is generally used as a carriage attendant by the wealthy and great to gambol before the carriage horses. This animal is elegant in form, and marked all over with numerous small, round, black or reddish-brown spots.
The Greyhound.—This race of dogs has been known for more than 3,000 years. The head of the greyhound is narrow and sharp, the ears high and semi-pendulous, the neck long, the chest deep, the limbs long and slender, the back considerably arched, the whole structure evincing elegance, and rendering the animal swifter in speed than any other carnivorous beast. English greyhounds have been known to run eight miles in twelve minutes' time, while the hare in pursuit has dropped dead. The differences between the Grecian and the English greyhound are that the former is not so large, the muzzle not so pointed, nor the limbs so finely formed. According to the climate from whence they originally come is the greyhound's hair. In Russia and Tartary it is long and shaggy; in Syria, Germany, and Hungary, it is rough; in Persia and Greece, silky; and smooth in southern India, south and western Europe. In the west the smooth coat is the result of importation. Scotland has long been celebrated for its greyhounds, large and wiry-coated. "Maida," Sir Walter Scott's favourite hound, was a fine specimen of the breed. He was presented to Sir AValter by the chieftain Macdonell, of Glengarry. Maida lies buried at the Gate of Abbotsford. A gravestone, with the effigy of a dog, is placed over him, and the Latin inscription— "Maidse, tu memoreas dormis sub imagine Maidse. Ad Januam Domini sit tibi terra levis." The breed of the Irish greyhound—a noble beast—is believed to be extinct. The greyhound has been charged with wanting the attachment so discoverable in other dogs, but circumstances do not sustain this accusation.
The Sleuth, or Bloodhound.—A terrific animal, employed in former ages to hunt down men, and still used, we believe, in Southern America in the capture of runaway slaves. An instance of the scent and ferocity of this animal may be drawn from the following anecdote:—
A servant, discharged by a northern sporting gentleman, broke into his late master's stables at night, and cut off the cars and tail of a favourite hunter. An alarm by the dog was raised within an hour, and a bloodhound was brought into the stable, which immediately discovered the scent, traced it upwards of twenty miles, stopping at the door of a certain house from which he could not be removed. On being admitted, he ran to the top of the house, and bursting open the door of the garret, found the criminal in bed, whom he instantly seized, and would have torn to pieces but for the huntsman who was fortunately at his heels.
We come now to pet dogs, which are of various fancy breeds, and the smailaess of whose size increases their marketable value. There are various breeds of pets, from the small, sharp, wiry terrier, to the delicate King Charles, or Blenheim spaniel.
Spaniels.—These dogs are remarkable for docility and an affectionate disposition, which, with their beauty, renders them universal favourites. This race of dogs was known, it seems, to the Romans, for its effigy is clearly figured on some of their later monuments. Fidelity is a great attribute of the spaniel.
"A spaniel was reared by the gamekeeper of a gentleman, and constantly attended its master by night and day. Wherever the gamekeeper appeared Dash was not far distant, and in nightly excursions to detect poachers, Dash neglected the game to assist his master in taking the depredators. During the last stage of a consumption that carried his owner to the grave, Dash watched unweariedly at the foot of the bed, and, when Death came, lay down by the side of the body. With great difficulty the dog was induced to take food, and though, after the funeral, he was taken to the mansion of his late master's employer, he constantly stole back to the room of the cattage where the gamekeeper died, where he would remain for hours from home. For fourteen days he constantly visited the grave, and at the end of that time the faithful dog died."
The Blenheim spaniel is a breed cultivated by one of the Dukes of Marlborough. It is essentially a toy dog, though in the field it will sometimes break out and display its sporting propensities.
Water-spaniels and rough water dogs are valuable and intelligent animals. Dr. William Hamilton relates, "that in riding from Portrush to the Giant's Causeway, they had occasion to ford the river Bush near the sea, just as some fishermen with a dog were about to haul their net. As soon as the dog perceived the men move, he ran down the river of his own accord, and took his post in the middle of it, on some shallows, where he could occasionally run and swim, and testifying all the eagerness of a dog which sets his game. One of the salmon escaping from the net rushed down the stream, where the dog stood ready to catch him. A chase commenced, but the dog was left behind in con
sequence of the water deepening; nothing datrated, the dog ran down the river again, seaward of the salmon, which a second time met him, and another chase commenced, but the salmon distanced his pursuer, and ran out to sea."
The Poodle.—This is a most sagacious dog, and numerous are the tricks he may be taught, and the anecdotes told of him. Mrs. Lee's account of the poodles of Milan, in a letter to Mr. Loudon, dated March, 1830, is most amusing. The principal of these dogs, Fido, had a remarkable faculty for spelling and arithmetic. A word being dictated to him from the Greek, Latin, Italian, German, French, or English language, selected from a vocabulary containing fifty words of each tongue, and which altogether make three hundred different combinations, Fido was able to select the letters which composed the given word, and lay them in proper order at the feet of his master. His skill in arithmetic was equally remarkable. In playing .ecarte with Bianco, his companion, he excited the admiration of all who saw him. Mrs. Lee adds:—" All this passes without the slightest visible or audible sign between the poodles and their master. The spectators are placed within three steps of the carpet on which the performance goes forward. People have gone for the sole purpose of watching the master, and yet no one has found out the mode of communication established between them and their owner. Whatever this communication may be, it does not deduct from the wonderful intelligence of these animals, for there must be a multiplicity of signs, not only to be understood with eyes and ears, but to be separated from each other in their minds, or to be combined .one with another for the various trials in which they are exercised."
In Mr. Jesse's "Gleanings" is the following anecdote of a poodle given:—
"A gentleman who had occasion, when in Paris, to pass one of the bridges across the Seine, had his boots, which had been previously well-polished, dirtied by a poodle dog rubbing against them. He, in consequence, went to a man who was stationed on the bridge and had them cleaned. The same circumstance occurring more than once, his curiosity was excited, and he watched the dog. He saw him roll himself in the mud of tho river, and then watch for a person with well-polished boots, against which he contrived to rub himself. Finding that the shoe-black was the owner of the dog, he taxed him with the artifice, and, after a little hesitation, he confessed he had taught the dog the trick in order to procure customers. Struck with
the dog's sagacity, the gentleman purchased him at a high price, and brought him to London. He kept him tied up some time, and then released him. The dog remained with him a day or two, and then made his escape. A fortnight later he was found with his former master, pursuing his old trade on the bridge at Paris."
There are also Italian greyhounds, a delicate species of pet; pug dogs, now becoming extremely rare; and small Maltese silky dogs, all of which are much prized.
The Alpine spaniel, or the dog of St. Bernard, is a very remarkable creature. These dogs originally came from Spain, and, being sent out to clear the snow, and aid the unfortunate travellers who may have been surprised by an avalanche, they are instrumental in saving numbers of lives. Two, named Barry and Jupiter, are renowned in the annals of St. Bernard for saving many travellers.
We cannot conclude without noticing the shepherd's pet, the collie dog. This useful and intelligent animal is one of the most placid, obedient, serene, and grateful members of the canine race. Ever alive to the slightest indication of his master's wishes, prompt and gratified to execute them, he is never happier than when employed in useful service, in exerting his talents for the benefit of man, and in giving constant proofs of his inviolable attachment. For him there exist no attractions beyond the flock committed to his care. Once properly trained, he knows every individual of his flock, and will select his own from others and drive all intruders away. The shepherd of mountainous districts would be badly off without theservices of this faithful ally. Naturally hardy, he subsists on the least possible food, and, in the shepherd's absence, will guard the flock as ably as his master.
Finally, in regard to the treatment of dogs, to keep them healthy let them have plenty of exercise, and do not over-feed them; let them at all times have plenty of clean water, and encourage them to swim. When they are washed no soap should be used, as it prevents them licking themselves, and they may thus become habitually dirty. Dogs should only be fed once a day. Meat boiled for dogs, and the liquor in which it is boiled thickened with barley meal makes capital food. Dogs are liable to be attacked by distemper, from four months to four years old. It prevails most in spring and autumn. The symptoms of this disease are dulness of the eye, husky cough, shivering, loss of appetite and energy, and occasional fits. During the prevalence of this complaint they should be allowed to run on the grass; their diet should be spare, and sulphur should be put in their water. To administer medicine to a dog, place him upright on his hind legs, between the knees of a seated person; apply a cloth round his shoulders, bringing it forward over the fore legs, by which he is secured from resisting; the mouth being forced open by the pressure of the forefinger and thumb upon the tip of the upper jaw, the medicine can be introduced with the other hand, and passed into the throat, to insure its not being returned; the mouth should be then closed, and kept so till the matter given is passed down. Consult chemists who dispense cattle medicine on the diseases of dogs.
Source: Hand-book About Our Domestic Pets ©1862

Friday, April 3, 2015

Painting Photographs

Below is some basic information on painting photographs curing the 19th Century.

Colors for the Eyes.
Blue Eyes.—If they are light blue,, use thin Cobalt; shadow delicately with the same and a touch of Indigo; add White to Cobalt for the illuminated part of the iris—if it is not left sufficiently clear in the photograph. If they are dark blue, use a deeper tint of Cobalt, and shadow with Indigo. If "deeply, darkly, beautifully blue" (as are some children's eyes), the effect can be heightened by using French Blue; but carefully, as it is a powerful color.
Gray Eyes.—Define them delicately with India Ink and a tinge of Cobalt; if the eye has been photographed with sufficient distinctness, use Cobalt alone. If of a bluish-gray, use Indigo instead of the Cobalt. Add White for the illuminating. Gray eyes often change to yellow hazel as the person grows older, and are to be painted in this transition state by tinting the illuminated part slightly with Yellow Ochre, which will produce a greenish-yellow tone.
Light (or Yellow) Hazel Eyes.—Use Yellow Ochre,
slightly toned with Neutral Tint for the local color. Shadow with Vandyke Brown, and illuminate delicately with White added to the local.
Dark (or Brown) Hazel Eyes.—For the local color use Vandyke Brown, or if the print is dark, use Burnt Sienna. Shadow with Sepia. Illuminate with Burnt Umber and White, and sometimes Burnt Sienna and White.
Black Eyes.—Although all dark-colored eyes are generally called '' black," reference is now specially made to that description of eye which has its iris of so deep a brown as to be scarcely distinguishable from the pupil. They are peculiar to brunettes and people generally who are from tropical countries. Use Sepia and Vandyke Brown for the local color. Shadow with the same, mixed with Neutral Tint or India-Ink. Illuminate with Burnt Sienna and Chinese White.
Painting the Cheeks.
The nearest approach to the color of the cheeks will be found in a mixture of Pjnk Madder and Vermilion, either color prej dominating according to the subject. It should be kept in mind that children ought to have more Vermilion, adults more Pink Madder, and old people more of a purple tone,—this last being made by adding a little Cobalt to the former mixture, provided the photograph itself does not give a bluish tone.
Remember that the use of Carmine or Crimson Lake is not recommended for carnations; the one being too bright, the other too purple,—and both are fugitive. On the contrary, all the Madders are durable and in every respect better. Pink and Rose Madder seeming to differ only in intensity, may be used according to the option of the student . Either can be used for men, but Vermilion should be added for young women and children.
In applying the carnations, observe the grades of color and light on the cheek-bones, and do not lay out the cheek-tint in a circular, but in a triangular form, having its angles at the temple, lower jaw, and the nostrils. In no case should the carnations be washed on, but always stippled; although in very large pictures they can be hatched.
Painting the Chin.
In nature the chin being somewhat of a redder tone than the ( surrounding color, it is to be treated in like manner as the cheeks, though in a very slight degree; and care must be used not to commit the error of over-tinting.
Painting the Lips.
The upper lip being nearly always in shadow, is both darker and less bright in color than the lower lip. If the mouth in the photograph be not too dark, use Indian Red with a little Crimson Lake for the upper lip; if dark, use Pink or Rose Madder heightened with Vermilion. For the lower lip, wash' it first with thin Vermilion, or Orange Chrome and Rose Madder, and in .either case model and shade it afterwards by stippling with Pink Madder. Observe that in painting both lips, the more distant parts are to be less vivid in color.
The lips of children require more Vermilion, and those of I aged persons more Pink Madder,—not unfrequently approximating a slight purple tone.
The painting of the mouth is perhaps the most delicate and hazardous of all the features, on account of its variableness of expression. In defining the partition-line between the lips, the slightest deviation will alter its character and damage the portrait. Especially so at the corners of the mouth, wherein most of the expression lies. Hence it behooves the student to consider well its distinctive marks as photographed, before commencing, and work throughout with the utmost care.
As has been already observed respecting the carnations, it will be well to paint the lips with a. full tone of color, in order to provide against the unavoidable deterioration which time will effect.
Painting the Ears.
In painting the ear, which is semi-transparent, let the shadows be made warm and inclining to red. The inside of the ear should be colored with Pink Madder and Indian or Venetian Red, and the tips very lightly with Rose or Pink Madder alone.
The ear should always be well toned down, so that it will set back, and be wholly secondary to the more important lights. A large or prominent ear is considered ever an ugly, unsightly object: and as it is an organ without being a feature it should never be painted in a manner that would increase its conspicuity. If practicable, it is more judicious to partially cover it with the hair,—which can be done in most pictures without materially changing the drawing.
Painting the Neck and Bosom.
The general tint of the neck, as it will be noticed in nature, is much below the color of the face, and invariably of a grayer tone. The flesh-wash might therefore be somewhat reduced for the neck, and the pearly tints added to a more considerable degree. The clavicles or collar-bones peering through the flesh, are to be sometimes tinged slightly with Pink, but great care should be used to avoid rendering them too distinct and angular. The shadows of the bosom are usually of a bluish tint.
Although a well-curved neck, and round, plump shoulders do not by any means appear in the majority of photographs of ladies so taken, the colorist may very safely assume the privilege of correcting the drawing of his picture, so as to produce these desirable elements of physical beauty. Few ladies will object to any roundness of the neck or graceful droop of the shoulders which it may be possible for the artist to bestow on their pictures. Some delicate touches of Pink Madder can be put on the extreme point of the shoulders; whilst Indian Red and Cobalt will serve to shadow the flesh around the arm-pit.
Painting the Arms and Hands.
The foregoing remarks apply somewhat to the painting of the arms, although the lower arm often partakes of a very slight purple hue. Indian Red alone can be used for the first tints, working over them, when necessary, with Blue; and observing the reflected lights, which are always to be kept warm. The elbows should be tinted with Pink Madder, but delicately; and any disagreeable angularity rounded off—as before observed.
The Hands in most photographs, by reason of their distance from the focus-point of the camera (generally directed to the face), are disagreeably enlarged; and in some cases partially shadowed. For these reasons it is often desirable to cut them down, shorten the fingers, cover them with thin drapery, or '' paint them out" entirely.
When the division-lines of the fingers are light or somewhat indistinct they may be drawn with Brown Madder, or Sepia and Crimson Lake. If already rather dark, use Light Red or Burnt Sienna.
The tips of the fingers, the knuckles, and the outside of the hands are more rosy than the other parts, and require to be hatched with a little Pink Madder. Before doing this, however, it may be advantageous to rub out the flesh-wash a little in these particular parts; and when the hands are perfectly flat— as in old copies—and without definition and modelling, this rubbing out of a portion of the flesh-wash assists very greatly the raised appearance of the knuckles, and other lights.
A liberal use of Cobalt in the hands is recommended—particularly for those of women and children—in order to attain clearness and the appearance of veins. This effect is also more necessary tor female hands, the skin of which is intended to appear very fair and transparent.
The general tone of color in the hands should be very much below that of the face (except when the head rests upon one of them), so that they shall not first attract the beholder's eye, which ought always to be drawn involuntarily to the face,—the portrait!
Source: How to Paint Photographs in Water Colors and in Oil ©1878