Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Lamps of Linderhof

I have a lamp fetish.
I love lamps
I adore lamps

But latest obsession are oil lamps
"electrified" oil lamps

They're quite 20s because of the Colonial Revival going on
in the 20s
You find lots of Duncan Phyfe and Chippendale furniture
And you'll find reproduction "electric" oil lamps

So I think these "oil" lamps fit the style of my house
Some are new -- 70's (1970's) probably
while others are genuine and, therefore, old

This one is a kerosene lamp
And old kerosene lamp
It was my mother's and either her mother's or her grandmother's
I'm sure there is a way to date it but I'm not sure how
It's kept in the kitchen
and used for electrical outage emergencies

These are Argand lamps
from the 20s I'm guess by the plugs
for yes, they are electric
And I'm not sure they were ever oil
I wanted one (or to be greedy a pair) "forever" and one day there was an estate
sale and there they were -- for a measly sum compared to what similar lamps are selling for on ebay!
I couldn't wait to bring them home!

A banquet lamp.   It's newish.  And one of a pair.    I'm thinking probably 70s reproduction.
From a dear friend and I think of her often when her lamps are lit at night!

My pride and joy -- a Sinumba lamp
although I do think it's a 20s reproduction rather than an early 1800s one that has been electrified
I love the prisms and how they shine in the daylight reflecting the sun or shine at night reflecting the bulb.

Two old oil lamps that have been electrified.    Almost a matched pair (the shades are a bit different)

Another Sinumbra lamp.
Also a reproduction, I would assume.
It's smaller than the living room one
And was my first!

These have a name and I've forgotten what it is!
But a pair.    Reproduction for sure.   But a lovely globe and colonial prisms

An electrified "whale oil" lamp.    With shade instead of globe.
I also think this is a 20s reproduction but it's perfect beside the chaise in the bedroom

A pair of dressing table lamps.    I think these are probably 40s and were meant to be used on a dressing table or a sideboard -- a Duncan Phyfe sideboard!

A sweet little lamp.    With prisms and a sin umbra type shade.
It's not all that old -- 40s or perhaps 50s I'm assuming.
Bought when our daughter lived in Buffalo.
I left it at the antique shop there, regretted it, called them and they sold it to me over the phone and shipped it -- I regret leaving it but have never regretted sending for it!

A lovely lamp that I bought at a church bazaar silent auction
(And paid much more than I like to pay for lamps).
I assumed it was a 50s/60s reproduction.

Imagine my surprise when I inquired on a vintage lamp facebook page
to find this:

So it's old and not new.
Much older than I thought and has been electrified
And the enormous sum I paid for it is a paltry price for what I got!

A true Aladdin that has been electrified
Bought, actually, at the same antique mall that the dresser lamps came from.
That shop has always had a good selection of lamps!

I am happy for once at the lamps that light Linderhof.
There are a few more -- none of them oil lamps or oil lamp wannabes
for they're floor lamps and provide good task light.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Yesterday, as I cleaned I thought of 
"Doors Eye View"
That first peek into a room through a door
Be it the front door
or a door to another room

Rooms tell a story
But so do those first peeks
The first thing you see before you enter a room

Join me as we look through the doors of Linderhof . . .

The door from the dining room to the breakfast room
Originally is was just a window
But when we added the breakfast room, that window became a door
The breakfast room table with a bit of lace
Duncan Phyfe chairs that we bought 30 some odd years ago
(and which we have recovered over and over again)
And a peek into the garden at Linderhof
A brick floor
(because Linderhof is brick)
And Mollie
who had just come in from squirrel chasing!

The door from the dining room to the kitchen
And yes, there is a real door
Not original for it was gone before we bought Linderhof
but a salvaged one which matches the rest of the doors at Linderhof
Normally, it is open, but it can be closed when we have company
so no one has to stare at dirty dishes and food prep
It's not a fancy kitchen but we feel that with the marble countertops
and the glass upper cabinets that it has the feel of a 20s kitchen
And we very much like the green lowers and cream uppers
(Husband in's suggestion)
And there are always plants on the windowsill by the sink
These are Parma violets

The door from the kitchen to the dining room
An old clock, a dog toy under the sideboard, the armoire that holds our glasses
and "Green Man" which is over the sideboard
Husband Jim bought him when he was 19 from an art gallery in Taiwan
when he was on R and R from Vietnam
He's always hung in our dining room no matter where we've lived

The "door" from the living room to dining room
It's an arch really
You can see into the breakfast room just beyond
And the garden beyond that
Candles and flowers are always on the table
(well, mostly flowers are on the table -- sometimes in the winter it's fruit)
And "Green Man" is obviously a focal point of the room!

The door from the front porch into the living room
This is the view as you walk into the house
An antique corner chair
(and you can tell it's an antique because it is low)
is extra seating
"My" chair, a lamp from a dear friend, the red cabinet holds the television
and you can just barely see one of the pair of  antique wing chairs
On top of the bookshelves is Jim's Asian collection

The door between upstairs hall and stairs
They're wee French doors which can be shut
"matching windows" on the wall
My Grandmother's chest, two antique lamps and an old blue transfer ware bowl of potpourri

The door from the hall into the spare room
It was Daughter Sarah's room but now it is our spare room
Yellow wallpaper, lace curtains, an old iron bed with an old crochet bedspread,  hooked rug, samplers and an antique lamp

The door from the hall to the bathroom
The original tub but everything else we've put in --
the tile (replaced pressboard tile from the 20s), the shower, the pedestal sink (the original was removed just before we bought the house -- how sad), and the floor although original looking is "new" -- put in by us because a former owner had glued carpet to the original tile and to get the carpet up, the tile came with it.     We found this at a company in New York and reinstalled the original tile.
(this was before it was the thing to do and it's not new looking and never was -- no one would guess that it's only been there 30 years or so)

The door from the hall into the Front Bedroom
When I first walked in and saw that fireplace, I would have signed a contract right then and there.
It was an always wanted, a never thought I would have!
Part of my Royal Doulton ladies dance across the top of the mantle and my parents wedding present clock centers the mantle
More antique lamps on the chest

The door from the Front Bedroom into the sunroom
French doors -- they abound upstairs -- there are 3 sets!
The sunroom is the room that made a two bedroom house a possibility
Floor to ceiling bookcases house a lot of my cookbook collection, two comfy leather chairs, an antique floor lamp and walls of windows.

The door from the Front Bedroom into the dressing room
It's really too small to call a dressing room for I don't dress there, but it does have a full size window.
It's a closet really, with French doors to shut it off from the bedroom, but because of the window I decided to put 
 my "vanity" -- an old Sheraton table that I got at a sale at Cottey College in Nevada in it, plus  a Victorian chair, two antique lamps and my lotions and potions.
The pictures are of Canterbury -- the cathedral and the Christchurch gate.
Christchurch gate because next to it is a hotel that I stayed at in 1994 and both pictures of the gate show my window! 

I like how doors allow us peeks into rooms showing us small vignettes 
without being overwhelmed by the whole room.   

Sunday, June 7, 2020

The Fence That Bill Built

When we moved to Linderhof 32 years ago, there was a "privacy" fence on the back property line
It replaced a privet hedge that was probably planted when the house was built

It was made out of plain boards and considering the low cost of erecting the fence,
it lasted 35 years which is probably 10 years longer than it should!

It looked rickety 
(like if our dogs weighed 200 pounds instead of 20 a good lunge at the fence and down it would come!)

So we hired a fence builder
A "fence whisperer"
Bill Lalman

And the day finally came when he appeared
To build us a new fence!

Here yesterday, gone today
(no fence which meant that the dogs only could go out front and only on a leash --
they were not happy dogs.
Mollie laid on the breakfast room floor looking out at the garden - HER garden)

They dug the holes for the posts
Not by hand -- they had a BIG hole digging machine!

Then you put in the posts
In concrete for you don't want your fence to fall down!

Cross boards to hold the upright boards

And fence building began!

Every good fence builder needs a break
And so I baked some oatmeal, raisin, pecan cookies for them!
And they ate them all!

The new fence
It's taller than the old one
(which is good for the garden seems more private)
We definitely don't have to worry about the dogs getting out of any nooks and crannies
for it hugs the ground

And from our alley
Doesn't that fence look like a masterpiece
If the old one lasted 35 years, this one will last 100!

Thanks to Bill Lalman and his crew for the wonderful job
that they did on our back fence.
If you live in SE Kansas and want a fence built,
Bill's your guy!

Friday, May 29, 2020

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are particularly valuable
when cooking at Linderhof

But I like things to be pretty, too!

So no store jars or cans of spices on my shelves.

Years ago, Sally gave me the "Mint" jar because she knew I loved blue and white.
Where she got it, I'm not sure
But I did treasure it
And I did put dried mint in it!

And the pretty little herb jar sat alone on the spice shelf
admit clay pots of herbs and glass jars of spices.

Until . . . 

A trip (a couple of years ago) to Tuesday Morning
and I found a treasure trove of Spode herb/spice jars
(I bought one of all they had!)

I did order the "Mixed Spice" jar because I like to keep the English Mixed Spice
on hand for I cook a lot from English cookery books and they often call for it.

And then . . . Monday, up popped

The Mixed Herb jar on Ebay for a very good price (less than what I paid at Tuesday Morning).

I have always kept a jar of mixed herbs.
It's the little bit that I pick from the garden that doesn't get used.
I hate to throw it out so I put it in a saucer until it is dry and then add it to my
"mixed herb jar"
(which until this week was a half-pint canning jar)

I love using mixed herbs for you get a new recipe every time!

And now my mixture of herbs has it's own classy jar!

And there's some basil to be dried to add to it!

I keep my dried herbs and my spices in the larder
On a shelf -- the "herb and spice shelf"

It makes me happy -- the little glass jars full of mostly spices
And the blue and white Spode jars
And way in the back are the clay jars that I've had "forever".

If you don't keep a "mixed herb" jar (whether a pretty Spode one or a plain old canning jar one),
you should -- there's nothing like roasting a chicken breast and sprinkling on some of the mixture from the mixed herb jar.     Next time you do it, it won't taste the same -- that's for sure!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Pink Pudding -- A Fifty Year Adventure

Back in the day there were book clubs galore
For a mere 99 cents, you could get 4 or 5 hardback "book club" editions
of popular or famous novels and then with the promise to buy 4 or 5 more in the next year (at regular price), you could build your library.

And I did!

And so because I did,  I got an advertisement for a "cookbook" book club.
That first year of marriage, I desperately wanted to learn how to cook
"gourmet" food
And so I was a sucker --

I subscribed and one of those 4 or 5 books I got for 99 cents

The Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook

by Mary Mason Campbell
With darling illustrations by one of my favorite illustrators
Tasha Tudor

I fell in love -- instantly!!!

What I loved most was that each chapter was a different "holiday"
And so there was a charming story
And then the "receipts"
which were very good and simple --
country food
New England country food
I loved to cook from that book!
I learned so much!

Sometime later the cookbook book club 

The Butt'ry Shelf Almanac

The second book by Mrs. Campbell and again illustrated by her friend and neighbor,
Tasha Tudor

I loved it as much as the first --
It was a month by month book of birds and flowers and a story
With receipts that went with the story
(July was canning and so a corn relish and pickle receipt were given, for example)

And I learned something new about the birds and the flowers

Sometime with three moves
(one long distance move from Kansas City to Nevada, Missouri),
I lost The Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook

And back then there was no Amazon or internet to find a copy.

I got brave and wrote Mrs. Campbell
(she had her address, at least town and state in the forward of the Almanac),
telling her how much I enjoyed both of her books but that somehow, the
Cookbook had gotten misplaced and did she have a copy she could sell me.

She wrote back!

And yes she did and by the way, she had another book,

And she had a copy of that for sale and would I be interested.

I loved the other two books and new I would love the third one
And so I said yes.

She autographed them, included a clipping of rosemary
And I absolutely fell in love
with the third book.

It is my herbal bible!

Not many receipts but more a gardening book
And it's because of her and this book that I have a herb garden!

Sometime later, I found she wrote a fourth book --
Yes, a long time later because I found this on ebay
and bought it

So my collection is complete!

But this isn't a post really about Mary Mason Campbell
it's a post about a Fifty Year Adventure!

I've made a lot out of this first book
And quite a bit out of the second one
But one receipt had always intrigued me --
A receipt for "Pink Pudding"

It sounded good
But it contained unflavored gelatin
And it's always been intimidating to me
You soften it in water and then you have to melt it

I didn't want to have anything to do with it!
Too "fussy" for me
But everytime I picked up
The Butt'ry Shelf Cookbook
I was drawn to the receipt.
And wanted so to make it!
Wanted to taste it!

And fifty years later . . . 

I finally did!

It's as pretty and as tasty as Mary Mason Campbell described in her book

"The little girl always chose the dessert she loved even more than cake.   It was just called Pink Pudding.   It always looked very beautiful turned out on the pink Haviland chop plate with pink candles lighted around it and a garnish of strawberries or little pink rosebuds or sweet peas.    Best of all, she was allowed to have all she could eat of it, which was quite a lot.   (It still is many years later."


(In a tin (or aluminum) cup soak 1 T. unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water until soft, then melt it over boiling water until gelatin is very  thin and liquid.

Squeeze the juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon and pour it over 1 cup sugar with the grated rind of 1 orange added.    Stir until sugar is well dissolved.    Add 1/2 t. vanilla, 1/4 t. almond flavoring and a few grains of salt.     Add some pink food coloring and mix well.

Whip 1 cup heavy cream very stiff, then fold int he quit juice mixture and last the melted gelatin.    Pour into a small fancy mold or into individual molds and put in the icebox for several hours or until well set.

This receipt makes a serving for four, and may well be doubled to put into a larger fancy mold.     When serving, invert on a pretty plate.    Tiny birthday candles may be placed around the top of the pudding.     Fresh flowers arranged around the edge o the plate add to the festivity.

And like other receipts in Mrs. Campbell's books,
I'll make this again!
Her receipts are never
"one and done"

Sunday, May 10, 2020


Saturday and now Sunday
are our days for

Real breakfasts!

The rest of the week we have juice, cereal and toast
with tea and coffee

We've run the gamut of
traditional breakfasts
we haven't yet had a Dutch Baby
(or German Baked Pancake
or David Eyre Pancake)
French Toast

Perhaps next week!

Some favorites:

From scratch not a mix
Betty Crocker's recipe
made in my 50+ year old waffle iron
A wedding gift from my mother!

Scrambled eggs, sausages, cheese grits and fresh from the oven biscuits

Which means meat, biscuits and eggs
without grits
The meat this time is ham
And I do think ham is Husband Jim and my favorite
breakfast meat

Need I say more
Homemade biscuits, of course,
with a creamy sausage gravy
It is definitely comfort food on a plate!

This is the breakfast we so enjoyed in England
sausages (real English sausages), beans (Heinz in the blue can), eggs
served over a piece of fried bread
Toast in the toast cooler (Jim likes really hot toast -- the "toast cooler"
cools it off faster and it is his nickname for the toast rack that you find
on every English breakfast table)

I prefer blueberry and I think they pair really well with a
big plate of scrambled eggs with chives.
A simpler breakfast than most
And one that is not always limited to Saturday.
The leftover muffins go really well with tea!

We always eat in the breakfast room
because it is the breakfast room
And our china is Johnson Brothers Indies --
it is our breakfast china!

We enjoy a second cup of coffee and tea
and often watch the birds for a while
before we begin our day --
especially on the weekend when we have a 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Changes Upstairs!

For a long time, the china cabinet/bookcase
has been in the corner of our bedroom.

It partially blocked the window and I really feel that you should
put furniture in front of a window.
Even a room that has lots of windows.

But sometimes I do it because there is no where else to put it!
I'm sure we've all done that!

And so yesterday I moved it

And put this sweet little table, lamp and sewing box on it.
Two cross stitch samplers seemed fitting art for the wall.

The sweet little table was a gift from my friend, Sally,
who's moved but this sweet little table and the start of her grandmother's true Christmas cactus 
will always remind me of her.

The room looks and feels brighter and bigger with the cabinet removed!
More spacious I think!

And where did I put the china cabinet/bookcase?

In the sunroom!
It fits better I think, between the two leather chairs.
And it's a room of books anyway
so a bookcase seems appropriate!

When I got the table, I put it between the leather chairs
But it's a feminine dainty table
And the chairs are masculine.
It looked okay
But I kept thinking that it wasn't "perfect".

For a long time, I had my mother's bookcase there
And another piece that blocked one of the windows.
I moved that piece to the spare room
And the bookcase across the room
It seems more spacious without that window being partially blocked!

And then I was looking at something on the blog and ran across this picture!

I need to move the bookcase back!
And so I did!

I'm much happier with both rooms now!