Mary's Spring Flowers

It is warmer in the mornings now and the sun is rising earlier.  So am I.  I like to wake up when my room becomes light.  I know just where the sunlight will be when I open my eyes.  I will be going out to feed the chickens today.  The barnyard is still muddy so I will put on my brogans and shorter wool cape. Sometimes the edges of my longer cape get muddy.  I cannot gather it all up in my hand and hold it off the ground.  My hand is still too small, I think, and if I stop to pick something up, it all falls to the ground.

It is spring and we will have some new chicks and baby lambs. That means Easter will be here soon.  I hope I will have a new gown to wear.  Mother always sings this to us:

At Easter let your clothes be new,
Or else be sure you will it rue.*

We all will go to church to celebrate the day Jesus rose from the dead three days after he was crucified.  Father is German and he told me about a bunny who lays eggs and hides them in the Garden for good little children to find. All winter long, the bigger girls and women in the kitchen save onion skins to dye the eggs a rich red-brown. Red cabbage will make blue eggs and beets make the eggs a beautiful pink.  That is my favorite color. Father helps me scratch-carve them with my name or a design.  I can never make a bible verse fit. The boys will “pick eggs”.  Each will thump his egg, at the base, against the other’s egg.  The egg with the weaker shell will crack and be claimed*  This is a game that I know Brent and Josh would really like.  But when there are many children to play with, I forget to think about Josh or Brent and then I don’t see them.  I usually tell them things when they are with me the next day.

*If new cloth was not woven by spring, chances are the moths would have your old cloth eaten.

To dye eggs naturally, start with either hard-cooked eggs or emptied eggshells. Then, choose a dyestuff.  Use your own judgment about exactly how much of each dyestuff to use. Place a handful – or two or three handfuls –  Add tap water to come at least one inch above the dyestuff. This will be about 1 cup of water for each handful of dyestuff. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer about 15 minutes or up to an hour until you like the color. Keep in mind that dyed eggs will not get as dark as the color in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.

With a very fine strainer (or cheesecloth, if you have some) strain the dye mixture into a liquid measuring cup. Add 2 to 3 teaspoonsful of white vinegar for each cup of strained dye liquid. Pour the mixture into a small bowl that’s deep enough to completely cover the eggs you want to dye. Use a slotted spoon or a wire egg holder from a dyeing kit to lower the eggs into the hot liquid. Leave the eggs in the water until you like the color. If you’re using emptied eggshells, stir or rotate them to help the color reach all the shell parts evenly. Lift the eggs out with the spoon or holder. Let them dry on a rack or drainer. Eggs colored with natural dyes have a dull finish and are not glossy. After they are dry, you can rub the eggs with cooking oil or mineral oil to give them a soft sheen.*

by Mary Beekman

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Barbara White

Josh, Brent (and Mary) too—Have a Blessed Easter. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend. Thank you for sharing your Easter with all of us.


Finally had a chance to read Mary's Easter blog. My grandmother was Lithuanian and always made onion skin eggs. My mother continued the tradition, and so do I. We just put the onion skins (from about 8 onions) in a pot, add cold water and eggs, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Run cold water in pot to stop further cooking and cool eggs. This prevents the dark halo around the yolk. When the skins stick to the shells during this process, it creates a marble-like effect! We also made designs on them with wax crayons before putting them in the pot-dots, swirls, rings, and flowers.


Elaine, I hope you had lots of fun dyeing eggs for

Easter. My Mother calls those noisy frogs, the wee little ones,



We don't have new baby lambs and chickens to look forward to at my house, Mary, but we do get the frogs each year at spring. They are so loud out by the pool that they woke me up!

Dyeing eggs is so much fun. I will be doing that in a few hours.

Happy Easter!