She stares intently at the four, large bags of free lemons. Ten years ago, they would have sat on her counter until they rotted (because at that point, she wouldn't feel as guilty throwing them away). Times have changed for her. She sees those gifted lemons as an opportunity. They can be used in different ways to bless her household. She loves the challenge. If she plans strategically, she will have less to purchase throughout the year. She is a home-economist, once upon a time...
She remembers making her last batch of lemon marmalade. The amount of sugar it required got her to thinking… Could she create a tasty preserve using honey instead? It was time to do some research and convert a recipe. She can be a scientist sometimes.
"...eat thou honey, because it is good…" ~ Proverbs 24:13a
She looks out the window. Little pug turns in a circle, trying to catch her tail. The lavender flower is the only burst of color on this chilly, winter day. As she carefully slices the zest, she marvels that she has the privilege to remain home and manage her own little kingdom! She feels like a queen sometimes.
She read in a diary entry that her favorite authoress (Elizabeth Prentiss) enjoyed marmalade. This made the whole idea of preparing it much more charming to her. She has a nostalgic heart. She can be so romantic sometimes.
"We spent yesterday at Hager brook with Mrs. Humphrey and her daughters; papa drove us over in the straw wagon and came for us about 6 P.M. We had lobster salad and marmalade, bread and butter and cake, and we roasted potatoes and corn, and the H.'s had a pie and things of that sort. When they saw the salad they set up such shouts of joy that papa came to see what was the matter. We had a nice time."
She removes the seeds and places them into a square piece of cheesecloth (or spice bag). Though bitter, any excess pith should be placed here as well. She learned that they are both high in pectin and will naturally thicken her marmalade. She is part chemist sometimes.
The house is filled with a wonderful, lemon scent. She had once read that the aromatherapy in citrus stimulates the brain and enhances moods. She loves to learn! She remembers a favorite quote. She is a student much of the time.
“I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It's an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren't stupid because you're a housewife. When you're stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.”
As she tests the marmalade, she considers her depression-era ancestors. Thank God that they were still knowledgable in the homemaking skills when those hard times came. It enabled them to grow their own food and preserve it by using the arts of drying, fermenting, freezing and canning that their mothers had taught them. They were resourceful, hard working and intelligent. She desires to be like these Proverbs 31 women all of the time.
What a lovely accomplishment. She thinks it would be tasty inside a hot cup of tea. It will also be excellent in the summer to flavor a pitcher of iced tea. Some love marmalade with clotted cream and scones. She can be like a gourmet chef when given some time.
She remembers her creation of lemon labels from her last venture. They would also make nice gift tags if printed on card-stock and attached with twine. She smiles shyly, because in her own little way, she feels like an artist (some of the time).
As the day comes to an end, she is wondering who could use a bit of sunshine? She has captured some in a jar. She bundles up her marmalade in a "hat" and "scarf" because tomorrow, she will go visiting. She is a cheerful nurse oftentimes.
The wonderful part about homemaking is that she can express her creativity in a multitude of ways. It can be nurtured in something as simple as a gifted bag of lemons! She has already discovered many basic household uses for lemons, how to dry lemon peel and its many uses, how to make homemade lemon extract and a simple honey lemon cough syrup. She would also like to share her "lemon honey marmalade" recipe with you. She hopes she is an encouraging friend a lot of the time.
She is tired but feels great satisfaction. She knows the cost of running her household decreases daily because of her industry (she knows she contributes to the income in this way) and she is pleased that she has increased their pantry inventory. She loves the variety in the role that God has given especially to her. She is many interesting things because she is a "keeper at home" all of the time…
"She looketh well to the ways of her household,
and eateth not the bread of idleness."
and eateth not the bread of idleness."
~ Proverbs 31:27
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