Spiced Blueberries Recipe

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Tuesday, July 28, 1914:  Nothing much these days.

DSC09175

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share an old seasonal recipe for Spiced Blueberries. They make an excellent relish to serve with pork and other meats.

Spiced Blueberries

6 pints fresh blueberries

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons whole cloves

Combine blueberries, sugar, and vinegar in 5-quart pan. Put cloves in a cheesecloth bag and add to the mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 25 minutes, or until the liquid begins to jell.*

Remove cheesecloth bag, and ladle into hot pint jars, filling to 1/8 inch of jar top. Wipe jar rim, and adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes approximately 4 pints.

*The Portland Preserve website has a nice description of how to tell when the jellying point has been reached.

Losing Weight as Summer Advances

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, July 27, 1914: I just finished writing several letters. So you see I am in the mood for writing this evening. A regular down pour of rain drenched the earth this afternoon. Am glad of it, for I realized how deep the dust was, when I went off on an errand of Pa’s this morning. I took the nearest cut and went across the field. This involved climbing fences or crawling through them as the case happened to be. I chose the latter, when I found a place large enough to admit my ponderous body. I still cling to the idea that I am big and fat, but nevertheless I am losing weight as the summer advances, so you see, the time may come, when I will be reduced to normal weight.

The people here have gone to bed, so I will shut up for awhile.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma-

How much you weigh? It can’t be very much. What is a “normal weight” for your height?

On March 23, 1914, you wrote:

Got a streak of sewing today. I get the streaks quite often in many variations. Another one is to get rid of some of my superfluous fat. 140 pounds (January) is entirely too much for a girl of my age. I don’t weigh that now, since I lost six and gained about three. Intend to take advantage of the other three and fight for dear life.

And, on March 29, 1914 you wrote:

. . . Am rather tired of dieting by this time. Have lost ten pounds.

—-

My memory is that Grandma was quite short—probably 5 feet 1 inch . . . maybe 5 feet 2 inches. She probably was a little taller than that as a teen, but she definitely was not very tall.

Hot Day to Sit in Church

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Sunday, July 26, 1914:  Went to church this afternoon. I was pretty warm.

church pews

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma-

Whew, it doesn’t sound pleasant. I bet that it was hard to concentrate in the heat. Was there a breeze coming in through a window?—or was the hot air still? Did you have a fan?

Fishing on Hot Summary Days

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, July 25, 1914:  Nothing doing.

DSC08663 crop2

Source: Kimball’s Dairy Farmer Magazine (May 15, 1914)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma-

You must have done something. Do you and your 9-year-old brother Jimmie ever go fishing on hot summer days in the   the nearby Warrior Run Creek ?

Sloan’s Liniment Advertisement

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, July 24, 1914: Nothing doing.

sloans_liniment

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma-

I hope that you aren’t doing “nothing” because you’re still in pain from the hay-loading accident two days ago.

If you’re stiff and sore, maybe Sloan’s Liniment would help. It kills all pain in man or beast.

Still Sore

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, July 23, 1914:  Can still feel the results of yesterday.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma—

Are you going to be okay? Your accident yesterday didn’t sound good—and I still think you should have gone to the doctor and the dentist. I hope that your father at least gave you the day off—and that you are lounging around the house.

Grandma hurt herself while loading hay or straw. She wrote:

I’m feeling awful sore in my lower region. Have a sore nose and two sore front teeth. Was loading hay this afternoon. While at work on the last load the train rounded the bend. I glanced in that direction. This next moment I was lying on the ground with the breath knocked out of me.

July 22, 1914

As I described yesterday, I think that hundreds of pounds of hay fell from a hay hook as it was being lifted into the barn.

Injured While Loading Hay

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, July 22, 1914: I’m feeling awful sore in my lower region. Have a sore nose and two sore front teeth. /Was loading hay this afternoon. While at work on the last load the train rounded the bend. I glanced in that direction. This next moment I was lying on the ground with the breath knocked out of me.

The train that surprised Grandma would have come down these tracks.

The train that surprised Grandma would have come down these tracks.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma—

Whew, are you okay? Do you think you should go to a doctor (or a dentist)? It sounds like a bad mishap—and like you‘re very lucky that you weren’t hurt worse.

I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I think that it was a mishap with the rope and pulley system used to lift hay or straw from the wagon, and take it up into the hay mow. There was a huge hook at the end that held the hay that was being lifted. If care wasn’t used (or if the rope broke) hundreds of pounds of hay would fall back onto the wagon. This would jolt the wagon—and could throw a person standing on it.  The falling hay could also potentially hit a worker.

Hay,Pulley.crop

There were train tracks that ran along the edge of the Muffly farm—and the Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick Railroad had regularly scheduled passenger trains that used the tracks. I suppose Grandma was surprised by the train—and somehow failed to properly attend to whatever she was supposed to be doing with the pulley system.

For more information about hay pulleys you might enjoy this previous post:

Hay Pulleys and Ropes

You may also enjoy this link to a YouTube video what shows people using the old-fashioned pulley system to unload hay. (Thank you Jim in Iowa for finding this link and sharing it when I did the previous post on this topic.)

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