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It’s not hard to incorporate a little country into every day of your life if that’s important to you. I know it is to me. Being surrounded by objects with memories and positive associations, a sense of the past existing in the present, all these things make me feel at home and in harmony.

Great Grandfather Jordan's Cast Iron Pans

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I try to surround myself there with items that ‘bring me back’. I enjoy cooking and other food related activities and often find myself doing other projects at the big table with good light. In nice weather we can open 2 doors and get a wonderful cross breeze there as well. I still use cast iron fry pans my Great Grandfather, who emigrated to Concord NH in the 1800s from County Clare Ireland, made in the Concord Iron Works Foundry in the early 1900s. Each time I use them, I think of him and his journey to this country. I am always amazed at the endurance of these pans. Such value, how many cooking vessels on today’s market will still be in use in a hundred years? How many will have a story, sentimental value?

Our electric stove once belonged to my

Gramma Tobey's Stove

grandmother and the cast iron range belonged to my great, great grandparents. These things make me feel connected to the past in a very personal way.

I use old spatter ware and pottery mixing bowls and well worn wooden rolling pins to bake with. They inspire me and make the process all the more satisfying. I collect glass milk bottles. When we buy gallons of milk, I pour the milk into the quart-sized bottles when I bring the groceries home. Every time I pour milk, it’s a little ‘country moment’. I use the pint-sized bottles for drinking glasses at some informal meals as well. Fortunately, some dairies are bringing back the glass bottles. I have several bottles now from local dairies currently using them. Fun!

Glass Milk Bottles

I often use canning jars to put leftovers in the refrigerator. I use spatter ware kettles to cook corn, pasta and other large quantities of food. I use my cast iron Dutch ovens all winter long, in and on the wood stove. A large crock doubles as a wastebasket. Colorful tins and pantry jars hold bulk items. A hideous old tin breadbox bought at a yard sale for one dollar, with a nice wooden cutting board inside, was spray-painted and I added a decoupage and a glass knob to the front. No longer ugly and very practical. A set of bilious green canisters was given a similar treatment. I use gallon restaurant jars, with the lids painted country shades of barn red, deep green and antique white, to hold pastas and grains. All small touches but they make my kitchen time definitely feel more Country. We eat from glass dishes, each day, usually old ones, which I wash by hand while looking out the back window. No dishwasher.

I recycle as many jars and bottles as possible for kitchen use and gifting. I pick up and patch vintage tablecloths and napkins and dishtowels. It is nice to be able to enjoy all these pieces everyday. I’ve learned to enjoy the little things each day in life that bring satisfaction. Just slowing down a little bit sometimes, makes it easier to notice the ‘little things’.

Pantry Shelves