Marie Cathillon raised five children on the farm in Le Petit-Courty. I imagine Marie’s Pantry stocked with wild and cultivated herbs used for cleaning and seasoning. Long before chemicals, eco-friendly housekeeping was the only alternative.
The characters Francisca, Marie, and even Aunt Agnes are loosely based on my family and my experiences. In this picture, my mother’s family is making apple butter on an outside pot on her family farm in rural Western Pennsylvania, just as I envisioned Marie making things for her family in Le Petit-Courty during the Renaissance.
Soapwort (Wild Sweet William)
Early in the summer, you will find Soapwort, wild sweet William. Look for it in rich, well-drained soil along the edge of the meadow where it is shaded from the strong afternoon sun. The leaves are slightly hairy with flowers forming atop the smooth stem. Little fingers appear to reach out from the stem and grab weeds near it to reach its full height of three feet. Left undisturbed, it can be invasive. The prolific pink, sometimes white, flowers burst forth from June to October attracting butterflies and honeybees with their sweet, spicy aroma. Learn more…