If you are a “Downeasterner” then you will probably recognize this phrase, Use It Up, Wear it Out, Make Do. The mantra of the northeast and my grandmother! I even remember seeing it on the cover of Downeast magazine.

Living through my formulative years in Maine shaped and molded many of my significant outlooks on life. We had loving, next-door grandparents and in particular a grandmother who taught me unconditional love and the 23rd Psalm.

Visiting grandma’s house fit the stereotype perfectly. Always a homemade doughnut in the crock, loaves of fresh bread, a pie or two cooling on the counter, and molasses cookies in the oven by 8:00 a.m. Jars of bread and butter pickles, beets, greenbeans, applesauce, and jellies decorated her pantry shelves.

The summer kitchen still had the old, wringer washer; a couple of scrub boards, Ball canning jars (clear, blue, and green) stacked, baskets on pegs used to gather from the garden, and other stored kitchen {antique} “tools”.  I so loved my grandma. Our middle child is named for her, Ellen.

What she taught me with her words and her deeds are deeply ingrained into my character and soul. Grandma was an early riser and could be found at 5:00 a.m. with her Bible quietly reading. She spoke to me of God and deposited her precious seed of faith into my life.

She taught me the love of homemaking; growing, tending, and harvesting a garden; storing and preserving the bounty; and to appreciate “homemade” anything.  She used her time well and still lived her days as the farmer’s wife she once was. {The farm was long gone by the time I was born} Early to bed, early to rise . . .

Simplicity has to find its roots in Maine. Whoever heard of a simple supper of baked beans {made in the classic bean crock}, coleslaw, and brown bread but a Downeasterner? Life was so simple in those days, of course I was a wide-eyed child, with no real responsibilities of my own, but I absorbed it all . . .

 . . . there was something special about a hard day’s work . . .

filled with the tasks of simply living day-to-day . . .

 the simple exhaustion by dusk . . .

the simple satisfaction of a productive day lived in total completeness . . .

and the simple love of a grandmother.

{Read more thoughts of Living Simply Saturdays at Keeper of the Home}

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