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 and 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.
Tips & Warnings
  •  This recipe is from Mary Black, (of Black Jack, Kansas) granddaughters 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.
Rose Hips Card
Rose Hips Card by awhitelaw – Available from Zazzle

Comments from the eHow site (go to the top of the page to leave a comment):

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.

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

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 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)

Personalize Your Bookshelf

In 2008, Gail Martin wrote the following article for the eHow website.

Bookshelves take on their owner’s personality. Besides the range of titles and the way you organize it, express your personality in the choice of bookends. Here are ideas to personalize a bookshelf.


  1. I like my books separated by authors, rather than all huddled together. So through the 60 plus years of saving books, I have found some unique bookends to do the job of keeping our favorite author’s writings together.

    The old time Kansas school books that I discovered mostly at estate sales, I group together with bookends that are replicas of the school desks like my husband used in the one-room school he attended. They even have two miniature school books with each of them.

  2. On the long top shelf where my husband’s books about Abraham Lincoln fill the whole shelf, I added a pair of heavy bookends depicting the Lincoln Memorial. Between some of the different Lincoln biographers, I added a gold bust of ‘Abe’ sold by Avon and a small, square bottle, decorated with a black silhouette of Lincoln and capped with a gold eagle, separates another group of his books.
  3. I found miniature birdhouses that hold our nature books together. This section includes bird guides and insect books. Also in that section, I placed several Foxfire books that feature the lives of the Appalachian Mountain people and Euell Gibbons book, “Stalking the Wild Asparagus.” What fun we had hunting edible food along the back roads after we retired.
  4. I selected a couple of large pieces of petrified wood that we found on 4-H geology field trips. By adding felt to the bottoms so they don’t scratch the wooden shelves, they make attractive bookends and are certainly heavy enough to hold many books together.

  5. I even use the mantel clock that my sister and her husband made for us one Christmas to separate sections of books. It’s made of local black walnut wood.
  6. On one bookshelf, I use old blue-green canning jars to hold categories of cookbooks apart. In one jar, I collect buttons; in another I drop marbles when I find them and in some I put sand to make them heavier. I like to separate all the canning books in one place and cookbooks published by churches and families in another.

 Tips & Warnings

  • Heavy objects make good bookends.
  •  Lighter items can separate subjects or authors in a row of books.
  •  Open items can be filled with something weighty like sand to make it heavy enough to serve as a bookend.
  •  Put felt on the bottom of anything that might scratch the bookshelf.

Recycle Pill Bottles

Thrifty Tips By Gail Lee Martin (first published on eHow)

Recycle Pill Bottles

Recycle Pill Bottles

Many people take medicine prescribed by their doctors. Soon the pill bottles start piling up. There should be a use for something like these containers. They have tight drip-proof lids and most are also child proof.

  1.  To be on the safe side I use tweezers or forceps to dip the containers in boiling water so all medical residue is removed.
  2.  If you are saving money by taking a sack lunch to work, these little containers are ideal for taking mayonnaise, relish or mustard for adding to your sandwiches at lunchtime. This prevents the sandwich from becoming soggy between the time you made it in the early morning or even the night before until you are ready to eat it. Most workplace break rooms have a refrigerator to store lunches.
  3.  You could take a salad to work and place your favorite dressing in a prescription container to add fresh when it is your time to eat. After using the contents just toss the container in the trash or take home and recycle them again.


    Carry a single serving of salad dressing in a recycled prescription bottle.

  4.  I use my print shop to make labels for my recycled prescription bottles. They are easy to wash off and add a different identifying label for the next time you use it.
  5. If you need your pills with you to take at noon, use one of the recycled prescription containers for that. No need to buy a fancy pill case.


    Prescription pills and supplements to take with your meal.

  6.  I also save flower seeds to share with my friends and relatives. Especially my beautiful perennial sweet peas. These small containers are just the right size storing flower seeds. I label them the same way.

    2015-08-14 2015 august 007

    Save your flower seeds to use next season or to give away.

  7. Another handy use for these is to store your sewing machine needles in them. 


I bet Mom would have liked having a label printer like this one.

Buying Tips for the Farmer’s Market

Shopping at a farmer’s market is the best way to get really fresh and local food. For many years, we sold vegetables, homemade bread and jellies at farmers markets, so I’ll give you my insider tips for getting the most from a visit to a farmer’s market.

  • Post the schedule for the farmer’s market on your calendar so you don’t miss the day. If you get there early when the market starts, you’ll get the best selection. Sometimes everyone wants the fresh tomatoes or the first cantaloupes of the season. Before you know it, they’re sold out and latecomers are disappointed. The vendors have to set up real early, so don’t be surprised if you come right at closing time and everyone is packing up.

    2008-08-17 gail and ks photos 554

    Clyde and Gail Martin at the Fort Scott farmers market.

  • Be courteous and friendly. Don’t criticize the vendors’ produce, as they work hard to grow it and bring it to the market. Yes, it isn’t as cheap as the truckloads of produce shipped in from Mexico or Chile, but it’s a lot fresher. Most of it was picked that day or else the day before.
  • Tell your friends, fellow workers and neighbors about the market. You could even ride together to save on gasoline and it would help eliminate the parking hassle. Often a market has limited space.
    Don’t park in front of the vendors unless you are really handicapped. Park, so there’s room for other vehicles. Leave the space in front of the booths for buyers walk along looking at the produce and to and from their cars.Farmers Market Cottonwood Tree_1999
  • Remember who you buy from. If you get great fruit or vegetables, you’ll want to go to that seller again. If you weren’t happy with something, you don’t want to go back complaining to the wrong vendor.
  • Take a quick walk around to all the vendors to see what’s available. Most vendors have the same kind of veggies but some look better than others. Don’t pass up something really good though as it might be gone when you walk back.
  • In Kansas, the vendors are not allowed to use scales as the scales are not accurate when they are moved around. So they sell by the box, bundle or bag. Sometimes you can bargain on the prices if you’re buying a large quantity.
  • The vendors recycle clean grocery bags by bagging what they sell in them and are very appreciative of buyers bring them more bags. Some even give a bonus to the buyer bringing back canning jars.

    old fashioned thanksgiving vintage

    Gail Martin’s homemade jellies. Photo by her sister, CJ Garriott

Further Tips & Warnings
  •  Enjoy the visit to the farmers market, get to know the sellers and make it a fun outing, rather than just another shopping trip. You get fresh air, interaction with people and good local produce.
  •  Look for booths where the produce looks clean and neatly displayed.
  •  Produce that’s in the shade stays fresher.
  •  Don’t expect the farmers to have out-of-season fruits and vegetables. Sure you would like a juicy, home-grown tomato in May, but you have to wait for the weather and growing season to reach the right time.

(This article by Gail Lee Martin first appeared on eHow in 2009)


MargaritaBobita on 11/11/2009 – Good tips. Farmer’s markets are often freshest, most natural, least expensive and fuel local economies.

DelawareGeek on 9/13/2009 – I love farmer’s markets, they offer better produce and are cheaper than grocery stores

How to Raise Good Children the Old-Fashioned Way

(former eHow article by Gail Lee Martin)

I raised my six children in the 1950s and 1960s. At that time, it wasn’t uncommon to be a stay-at-home mom. Raising six children was a full-time job.
Here’s my method for raising children.

Live in the country or a small town. Give them animals to raise and teach them to grow a garden.

Shannon_and_Kittens_June_1963 - Copy

This was taken out at the farm north of El Dorado. Shannon turned 5 that June. Owen, the oldest of us, would have just graduated from high school in May.

Teach them varied household skills like baking a muffin, sewing an apron, and decorating a room. Give them chores like ironing, bringing in the firewood or washing the dishes. Everyone contributes to the well-being of the family.

Develop their interests. 4-H is a good organization to introduce children to a variety of projects from photography to cooking, to news writing and many other skills.

Expose them to nature. Let them play in the creek and ramble the pastures. If they like butterflies, teach them to make an insect net, to identify the insects and label them properly. If they bring home an interesting rock, help them learn about geology. Make sure they understand about being kind to animals.

Teach them to love reading. Set an example by reading for your own pleasure. Read aloud to them. Take them to the library. Give them books as gifts.

Teach them resiliency . When they can’t do something, encourage them to try again or try it a different way. Learning not to give up is an important life skill.

Teach them to strive to be the best at whatever they do. Raise rabbits? Make yours the ones winning all the purple ribbons. Like bugs, become a national 4-H winner in entomology and attend the national conference in Chicago.



Shannon Martin with her award-winning insects display at the county fair.

Sit down to eat together. Put food on the table that builds healthy bodies. Use the dinner time to reconnect, catch up on how everyone feels, and to establish family values. Let them know what you think about the news of the day and about events in the neighborhood. This helps them learn what is acceptable and what is not.

Tips & Warnings
Take time to talk to your children. This is how they develop their language skills.
Take time to listen to your children. Keep the lines of communication open into the teen years by talking and listening over the early years.

lynsuz12 on 11/19/2009 – Bravo!!! Children learn what they live. The old-fashioned way is still the best way to do a lot of things.
trillity on 9/19/2009 – Awesome practical advice! Thanks! 🙂
mbailey18 on 9/16/2009 – How refreshing to be reminded of the proper way to raise children. In this day of kids being upset if they aren’t allowed to text message their friends or play video games all day, it is nice to be reminded of the basics. 5 stars and my recommendation
jonhensley said on 9/23/2008 – Good parenting is needed in this ol’ world today. This should be a must read for every new parent.