Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kitchen remains heart of my home

If you have a sitting area in your kitchen, it should be called the “keeping room.”

The other day while browsing through my Country Homes magazine, I learned that this practical, all-purpose room was called the keeping room in olden times because that was where the heat was in the winter and sometimes it was the only room that was lived in besides the bedroom.

I would like a “keeping room” for watching TV, visiting with people -- a cozy place to spend most of my waking hours.

Our family came from the farm, but never got used to city ways and the kitchen was the place for them. You might say they “kept house” in their kitchen and most their business was done at the kitchen table.

My grandparents had a rocking chair and a black cookstove that burned wood in the kitchen.

Family and friends who came to visit would sit in rocking chairs and the woodbox and around the kitchen table.

Other non-family members were taken to the living room.

The woodbox and stove are gone, but the chair still is used for storytelling when the little ones come for a visit.

I find that the kitchen is the place for everything I do, whether it’s writing checks, paying bills, reading the daily newspaper, cutting out patterns on the table, or fixing whatever needs mending.

In my grandma’s kitchen in the,spring, I believe, there was a box behind the black kitchen stove where covered over with a huge flannel cloth would be baby chicks she was raising.
They would sleep a great deal, but each day they would be taken out and put on the floor while she cleaned out their box and put new paper linings in it. When she was doing this, we would rush into the kitchen to watch the babies as they pecked at the small amount of cornmeal that she would put down for them to busy themselves and not be wandering off while she was cleaning.

We were always sorry when the time came to go to the little chicken house in our backyard to live until they grew bigger.

It was fenced in and had a runway from the inside of the house to the yard where they could run around. Eventually they grew to the size to be moved into a larger house that we had in back of the barn.

It was not uncommon back in those days to have chickens in the village; many folks did and when the Great Depression came along more and more people fixed places to have a few chickens for eggs and a Sunday dinner.

My dad kept the chickens until his retirement. Sometimes neighbors would complain when the rooster crowed early in the morning.

We only ever had one, but he could be noisy, along with the others in the neighborhood.

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