Make Rose Hip Extract for Tea or for Jelly Making

This is a very old family recipe, going back to Kansas pioneer days. They picked rose hips from wild roses and made this extract. The extract was then used to make rose hip jelly or to make a tea as well.


Rose hips (photo by Virginia Allain)


Things You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup rose hips
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • stone crock
  1. Pick the rose hips. These are the round bulb that forms where a rose bloomed.
  2. Remove the blossom ends, the stems, and the leaves.
  3. Wash quickly to avoid any loss of quality. If unable to prepare right away, chill them to prevent enzyme action.
  4. Bring the water to a boil in a pot, then add the rose hips.
  5. Cover and simmer for fifteen minutes.
  6. Put the rose hips and the liquid into the stone jar. Cover and let it steep for 24 hours.
  7. The next day, strain out the rose hips, then save the juice.

History of the Recipe

This recipe is from Mary Collins Black, (of Black Jack, Kansas) granddaughter of the earliest doctor there, Moses O’Neil. Dr. O’Neil’s wife, Eleanor (called Ellen) O’Neil was a sister to our great-grandmother, Elizabeth Jane (Rosebaugh) Kennedy. Elizabeth was the wife of David Greacen Kennedy, my husband’s great-grandfather.
oneil line mary black
Rose Hips Card
Rose Hips Card – Available from Zazzle

The recipe was first published on the eHow site in 2008 by Gail Lee Martin. Here’s a comment about it from there:

JackLTrades said, on 10/27/2008 – “I made this as a kid on the farm in South Dakota. Also catnip and nettle tea. We had plenty of stuff growing all over. I had forgotten how much I loved making tea on an open campfire.”


Shivaree in Kansas

My sister, Karen Kolavalli tells this story,

“I remember Mom telling about their shivaree. They were married in Neodesha, Kansas, with Mom’s parents as witnesses, and spent their wedding night with Mom’s uncle and aunt in Tyro. So the shivaree must have been when they returned to their farm home outside Madison. All the labels had been taken off their canned goods in the kitchen and that night all their friends (and relatives?) came banging pans and making a ruckus.”

I looked into the custom and see there are variations on it. Luckily, no one kidnapped Mom and took her for a ride in a wheelbarrow. You can read more about What Is a Shivaree? in the article that I compiled on Hubpages.

To frame this by what was going on in the world, the final surrender of the Germans occurred on May 8, 1945. Gail and Clyde were married less than a month after that. The surrender of Japan happened about two months after their marriage.

We don’t have any photos of their wedding.  Gail and Clyde drove to Neodesha, Kansas to be married in the office of a minister they knew, Reverend Hawkins. The minister’s wife was the witness for the ceremony.

There was an angel food cake which Gail ceremoniously cut. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t know the right way to cut such a fluffy cake and ended up squashing it. That’s a story retold many times around the family dinner table.


Angel Food Angelfood Cake Slice Strawberry Sticker
Angel Food Cake Slice Sticker by rebeccaheartsny

Karen did a little research on it,

Family history research often takes me down random pathways that don’t necessarily make much difference in the family story, but simply intrigue me. Such is the case of my interest in Reverend Sidney Hawkins, the minister who married my folks.

My parents drove from Madison, in southeast Kansas where they both lived, to Neodesha, Kansas, which is close to the Missouri border, on that spring day in 1945. Mom’s parents went along as witnesses. Reverend Hawkins had been the minister of Mom’s church in Madison when she was growing up and she wanted him to officiate at her wedding.

No photos were taken of the happy couple that day and all that exists to mark the occasion is a faded newspaper clipping announcing the nuptials and my Mom’s stories.

I never thought to question Mom when she told the story. I always enjoyed hearing about the old-time chivaree their friends had for them when they got back to Madison. Since she and Dad are both gone now, the time for questions has passed.

I never wondered about why they didn’t have a “real” wedding with invited guests and all the trimmings. I suppose I thought it had to do with it being the war years. But looking back now, I think it’s more likely because it was a quickie wedding when Mom found herself pregnant. My brother was born 8 months later. And, remember, this was the 1940s and illegitimate babies were beyond scandalous.

So, for some reason, today I was curious about what happened to Reverend Hawkins. I found him, thanks to the Find-A-Grave website, buried in Restland Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas, alongside his wife Marion (1904-1987). He was born in 1896 and died in 1979. I wish I knew more of his story.

This was taken on Clyde's folks' farm southeast of Madison. They had retired and were living up on standpipe hill in Madison while Clyde and Gail lived on the farm.

This was taken on Clyde’s folks’ farm southeast of Madison. His parents had retired and were living up on Standpipe Hill in Madison while Clyde and Gail lived on the farm.

Gail Lee McGhee and Clyde Owen Martin were married for 67 years.

Making Pickled Beets

Our family is very fond of eating the sweet pickled beets that we preserve from a recipe in Kerr Canning Book (now the Ball Canning Book). We like to grow beets that are a dark glossy red color and look beautiful when added to a veggie plate of celery and carrots sticks and clumps of cauliflower or just served in a dish on their own. Either way, place a pickle or salad fork with them for easy serving. Since we can them in the summer time, they are ready to remove from the pantry and take to the Thanksgiving dinner so all the Martins can enjoy them. I just remove the canning ring and pop the flat from the jar and they are ready to serve.

When you are gardening you soon find out that you can’t eat all the produce that just keeps growing. Then you try giving it to your friends and neighbors, but that doesn’t work either. Very few people know how to cook produce fresh from the garden if it isn’t the basic tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and potatoes. Few know what to do with beets freshly pulled from the garden.

Beets is one vegetable that is a little hard for a beginning cook.

Look at the rich color of these pickled beets. (photo by Virginia Allain)

Look at the rich color of these pickled beets. (photo by Gail Martin)

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:

  • Ball canning book (latest edition)
  • canning jars, lids, rings
  • beets from the garden
  • spices
  1. You should never cut the root of the beet and always leave an inch of the stems where the leaves were. That inch of stem needs to still be on the beets for cooking. If the beet is cut before cooking, the color will bleed out while cooking changing the pretty beet to an unappetizing looking beet.
  2. Wash the beets to remove any dirt.
  3. Cover whole beets and stems with hot water and boil for at least fifteen minutes for medium size beets. More time for bigger ones.
  4. Drain and add cold water, then slide the skin off. You can test one beet to see if the skin is ready to slide off.
  5. You can get your canning book from Ball (link below). By following the instruction in the canning book, add the spices, then fill the canning jars and place in a boiling water bath. We follow the directions carefully.
  6. When the specified time is up, set the hot packed jars on a towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough, you can hear the tin lid ping as it sucks down on the jar rim and is sealed.

Tips & Warnings

  •  Cooked beets can be sliced, salted and buttered to taste after boiling. I never can resist eating some right then.
  • We don’t wait to eat them just at Thanksgiving and at turkey time. We share the delightful taste of sweet pickled beets with our large family anytime we gather together. Keep them in your pantry for a quick side vegetable for any meal.
  •  You also can dice the beets and make a corn starch sauce with a dash of sugar and couple of tablespoons of vinegar and butter to make Harvard beets.

(Written by Gail Lee Martin and first published in 2008 on eHow)

Make Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

The sweet-tart flavor of strawberries and rhubarb makes a perfect summer dessert. Here’s an easy sauce to make to serve over biscuits or shortcake. It can also be converted to strawberry rhubarb crumble or strawberry rhubarb crisp with the addition of toppings.

2012-01-03 NH july 2013 001

Rhubarb and strawberries, fresh from the garden (photos by Virginia Allain)

I have fond memories of my mother, Gail Lee Martin, making strawberry rhubarb pie back in the days when pie crust was still made with lard. Gee, that was tasty, but I’ve never mastered the art of making pie crust. This sauce gives me the flavor and comfort of those long-ago pies baked with love and homegrown ingredients.


cut rhubarb

Rhubarb, ready to cook



Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups – rhubarb
  • 2 cups – strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup – sugar (if using fresh berries)
  • 1/8 cup orange liquor (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon – cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon – orange zest (optional)
  1. Pick the rhubarb by pulling the outer stems, leaving the center of the plant. Cut off the leafy part and use just the stems. Wash the stems and chop them into 1-inch pieces. I find it easier to just cut them into chunks with my kitchen shears rather than use a knife.
  2. Stir the cornstarch and orange liquor together until all lumps are gone. Put it in a microwave-safe container with the liquid from the frozen strawberries or the sugar if using fresh strawberries. Mix this together, then stir the rhubarb pieces in until coated with the sugary solution.
  3. Hold the strawberries aside (fresh or frozen). If using fresh strawberries, cut them in half.
  4. Cook the rhubarb mixture in the microwave for three minutes. Then add the strawberries. Stir, then microwave for 2 or 3 more minutes. Check at intervals to make sure it isn’t bubbling over. Stir.
  5. The mixture is done when the rhubarb pieces are tender and the sauce thickens.
  6. Serve it over biscuits or shortcake. Top it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.
strawberry rhubarb crumble

My strawberry rhubarb crumble

 Tips & Warnings
  • Be very careful when stirring the hot mixture. It’s molten and will burn you.
  • Don’t use the rhubarb leaves. They are poisonous.


 GailMartin said on 9/18/2008  – Well now that sounds so easy even I could make it. I’m still looking for an old recipe using soda crackers with the rhubarb sauce to reduce the tartness. A really fabulous recipe.

MIghtyDreamer said on 9/4/2008 – Is that a pic of your own crumble… Looks delicious either way…this sounds like an excellent recipe. thanks for sharing.

Susanh said on 9/3/2008 – This article brings back sweet memories of the rhubarb sauce and pies my Momma made for us when we were little. We always had fresh rhubarb in the garden. As an adult now, I realize what a treasure that was.

kaseysviewblog said on 9/1/2008 – Sounds yummy!

Sush56 said on 8/31/2008 – Thanks for the recipe, it sounds good!

(First published on eHow in 2008 by Virginia Allain)

Make Wagon Wheel Rugs from Rags

My husband, Clyde, and I revived a long-lost family craft by making Wagon Wheel Rugs.

Using a combination of oral history and a trial and error method, we have succeeded in making the rugs the same way his Great-grandmother Kennedy probably did. Our great-grandmother was Elizabeth Rosebaugh, and she was born on the western frontier of Pennsylvania in 1826. In raising a large family, Elizabeth always had to make do with what she had, so it would be natural for her to come up with the idea of the wagon wheel rugs.

Wagon wheels from an old wagon

Difficulty: Challenging


Things You’ll Need:

    • cotton sheets or material
    • a wagon wheel rim (without the spokes)
    • an old blanket
    • pins

Today we make them from cotton sheets, as well as dress material. The hardest part of the whole rug process is finding suitable cotton material. We search garage sales looking for cotton sheets for making the rugs. Most sheets with a blend of fifty percent cotton work well. If there is too much man-made material in the fabric, the material stretches as you weave and the rugs won’t lay flat. In fact, some of my first rugs looked more like baskets than rugs.

Most sheets from garage sales are on sale because the owners have changed bed size or are redecorating and changing color schemes. These sheets are usually still in good condition and can be purchased for a dollar or so in our area. The rugs can be made with brand new material but that would add to the price of the rug. Pioneers didn’t have the opportunity to make designs like we can, using the vivid colors of modern sheets. Depending upon the color scheme, some of the rugs have vivid spokes that dominate the rug, while others have a solid band of color going around, giving the rug a wheel effect. Flannel sheets make warm rugs for the winter.


  • Tear the sheets into long strips.
  • The old iron rim of the wagon wheel is over 140 years old and is still being used. We wrapped the iron wheel with strips of an old blanket.

    Clyde Martin, early stages of the wagon wheel rug

    Clyde Martin, early stages of the wagon wheel rug

  • Then pin the cotton material to that to form the spokes. The early pioneers tied their strips to the rim. We start by crisscrossing the rim with an odd number of spokes, usually nine and pin the ends.
  • Then we start weaving in the middle where the spokes intersect. As the rug making continues, more spoke strips are added and the weaving resumes. In the process, the wheel rolls round and round many times before the rug is finished. This makes for strong, arm muscles.

    The rug is about 1/4th done.

    The rug is about 1/4th done.

  • On the large wheel, the completed rug will be 33 to 34 inches across with a 2-inch fringe. Clyde found a smaller, easier to handle wheel that we can make smaller rugs about 24 inches across that are ideal for small areas like the bathroom. I use this wheel when demonstrating our craft.

    Finished rug, still on the loom

    Finished rug, still on the loom

  • Clyde also experimented with making half rugs that are so attractive and handy by the kitchen stove or sink area. He says that half rugs are the hardest to make so he just make them for family.
  • The rugs last a long time. To wash them, gently slosh it around in a sink of sudsy water. A washing machine, even on the gentle cycle, is too rough for them. Rinse, then lay out flat to dry. Press down any areas that lump up.
Partially completed wagon wheel rug

Partially completed wagon wheel rug

Tips & Warnings
  •  The wagon wheel rugs can be used in many ways. A small rug tossed down on a wall-to-wall carpet for accent is an ideal accent for a large basket of flowers.
  •  Draped over a small antique table they make an attractive addition to any room.
  •  These rugs are as useful today as they were in bygone days as they are reversible as well as washable.
  • We have used other circles to make rugs but some worked and others didn’t. We used Hula Hoops with fair success. The flexibility of the Hula Hoop is a problem. The best modern results came from having a machine shop make us an inch and half wide rim with a 30-inch diameter of metal welded into a hoop. It is not as heavy as the real wagon wheel and I use it for demonstration.

    Gail Martin demonstrating wagon wheel rug making at a pioneer day.

    Gail Martin demonstrating wagon wheel rug making at a pioneer day.

  •  Since we retired we demonstrated our rug-making skills as we travel across the state to craft fairs. Rug weaving is a time-consuming occupation, so we set up the wheel and weave wherever we are and soon find ourselves the center of attention and a topic of conversation. Probably Great-grandmother Kennedy did the same.
One of the finished rugs made by Gail and Clyde Martin - blue/white/yellow

One of the finished rugs made by Gail and Clyde Martin – blue/white/yellow



veryirie said on 1/6/2009 – Excellent pictures and instructions. I’ve done off-loom weaving, but I don’t know where the heck I can get hold of a big wagon wheel over here. I’m determined to think of something to use though. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful craft!

smidgen said on 1/2/2009 – This is wonderful and so practical! I bet that you sell tons of these at craft fairs that you go to and sell! I love the pictures and directions!
prism said on 11/25/2008 – It is so wonderful that you are passing on this skill! I’ve never seen these before but I can tell they are sturdy and last a long time. Growing up in New England, I am more familiar with braided rugs that have that same look and quality. I know there are still many in our family made by my Grandmother.

 From the Wayback Machine, I retrieved these 2008 articles from eHow for other methods of making a round rag rug.

(Article first published on eHow in 2008 by Gail Lee Martin)

Make Parmesan-Oregano Bread Crumbs

Make your own flavored bread crumbs for breading chicken, pork chops or fish. Oregano and parmesan are perfect flavors to go with those. It’s a great way to use up excess bread.

Since my husband made homemade bread several times a week for the farmer’s market, sometimes we ended up with leftover loaves. Since it doesn’t have preservatives, it won’t keep as long as store-bought bread. This recipe makes good use of it if you can’t eat it fast enough.

A vintage ad for M & M Bread (photo by Virginia Allain)

A vintage ad for M & M Bread (photo by Virginia Allain)


Things You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 loaf day old bread
  • 1/4 c. grated parmesan
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. coarse salt
  1. Remove the crust from day-old bread. We use our homemade bread that we make in the bread machine. This doesn’t work with soft, store-bought bread. You will need to allow it to dry out.
  2. Divide it into two batches. Put one batch at a time into a food processor. Pulse it until it forms fine crumbs. To do this manually, put the bread cubes in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling-pin. You will have five cups of crumbs.
  3. Stir together the fine bread crumbs with 3 1/2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 3/4 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of coarse salt.
Drying out store-bought bread (photo by Virginia Allain)

Drying out store-bought bread (photo by Virginia Allain)

 Tips & Warnings
  • Extra crumbs can be frozen until needed.
  • Don’t feed it to the birds.
Here's Dad (Clyde Martin) slicing his homemade bread.

Here’s Clyde Martin slicing his homemade bread.

(First published on eHow in 2008 by Gail Lee Martin)

Kids Everywhere

Back in the days of my childhood, we did our chores and then went out to play. We were expected to keep ourselves amused for hours and not be running into the house all the time. It was the 1950s, before the days of driving children around to dance classes, karate, play dates, and soccer. Parents weren’t worrying about anyone kidnapping their child back in the fifties, so we rode our bikes or played in the creek without adult supervision.

ginger childhood

Gail Martin holding Shannon. (Left to right) Susan, Ginger, Karen, Cindy, Owen Martin

Just keeping the six of us fed and clothed required a lot of effort for my mom, Gail Lee Martin. Even in the 1950s, six was a big family to raise. She did want us to have enrichment activities and at first, tried scouting.

scouting owen susan ginger gail

Gail Martin, scout leader, with her children (Ginger, Owen and Susan)

Getting us to boy scout and girl scout activities had us going in all directions, so when we moved to the country, we switched to 4-H. Then we all went to the monthly meeting together. There were a variety of projects in 4-H that fitted our lives, so we learned gardening, baking, and sewing. We raised rabbits and pigs and chickens. There were projects for photography, interior decoration, and landscaping.

She introduced us to 4-H projects that fit her interests like entomology and geology. Often, she became an expert and then a project leader for others in the club.



Little sister, Shannon Martin, with her insect display at the Butler County 4-H fair.

Maybe all our 4-H projects were that era’s version of the soccer mom. We learned a lot, but I still remember long summer days of exploring the fields and woods without deadlines or restrictions.