One hundred and eighty-four years after its original publication,

Mackenzie’s Five Thousand Receipts in All the Useful and Domestic Arts

is making its Kindle debut.


My, how times have changed …

Or have they?

Complied by an anonymous source known only as “An American Physician,” this book is a mighty mish-mash of intriguing—and remarkably useful—miscellany.

In the course of 460 pages of small print and black-and-white diagrams, Mackenzie’s covers everything,

and I mean everything,

from beekeeping, gardening, metallurgy, pickling, and preserving

to watercolor paints, medical cures, chimney cleaning, brewing, cooking,

and about a bazillion other timeless topics.

Okay, so the application of leeches may not be relevant to most readers, but there is enough trivia in this tome to keep you entertained, and maybe even enlightened, for hours on end.

Who knew you could make acorn coffee?

And wouldn’t you love to try the “Cream of Roses” facial recipe?

Fortunately, farmgirls, the book has a “most copious index” (the physician’s own words).

I’ve been having fun just thinking up a topic and seeing if it’s listed.

Drying flowers?


Manure application?


Waterproofing shoes?


The Kindle release is slated for July 16, 2013, but you can also pick up a paperback reproduction of the original or even reference it free online.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love these kinds of books. There are some amazing old ways of doing things and I find them very fun to learn about. Acorn coffee? Aren’t acorns supposed to be very bitter? I cannot imagine!

    On a different note, Mary Jane, I am enjoying the old book In the Green Valley very much. Set in the Welsh mining area of England, it tells the story of the hard lives of the coal mine workers and the huge rife between the younger men and the older men over supporting labor unions. One wonders why supporting better working conditions were not universally embraced by all ages. But fear of job loss kept people willing to keep the status quo, no matter what. I am about half way through but it is a great piece of history and so pertinent to today’s workers who keep pushing for better and safer working conditions. The struggle continues!

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I just went to see the book & the archives is on a scheduled maintenance. So disappointed. Will have to try later!

  3. Laurel Bake says:

    Just in case, if anyone wants to experiment with applying leeches, they are more. than. welcome. to come remove as many as they would like from my pond. Ewwwww…

    • MaryJane says:

      Hi Laurel!

      • Laurel Bake says:

        And a belated hello to you, MaryJane! I neglected to follow comments on this post and just now saw your reply. 🙂 Hope all is well!

        Side note: If you get the email I sent about a baler, disregard! We thankfully found a new (well, new-to-us), reasonably-priced baler just south of CDA… and a-haying we will continue to go!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



  1. Elizabeth says:

    Truly lovely! I have a thing for white roses & all kinds of other flowers:-)

    Have you seen pictures of (or heard about) the old garden rose…tree that grows in Tombstone, Arizona? The canopy looks amazing but what is astonishing is when you see the..barren~moisture deprived dirt this long~lived rose grows from. The trunk looks a bit petrified too but once a year this rose covers a huge pergola with pretty blossoms & green leaves. Out of the desert…grows the rose??? Not sure how the saying goes but I imagine it’s what they call a desert rose;-)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Love that floral border! This looks like the perfect GLamper lantern or perhaps for the Wall Tent B&B areas?

  2. Darlene Ricotta says:

    loving memories.

  3. Kathy says:

    I so look forward to your great Photo of the Day! I love using them as wallpaper for my IPad.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Old Book Smell

Did you catch my musty book coffee fix post earlier this year?

Just the mention of “musty” makes my nose crinkle (although coffee is a pleasing antidote).

With our noses now inside a book, let’s turn the page … or pick up another edition?

Something like that.

Last week, on a spontaneous hunt for poetic inspiration, I spied my old copy of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass—the one that survived my house fire many, many years ago. It has been sitting unopened for so long, tucked inconspicuously among other faded fabric spines, I was prepared to pinch my nose upon opening it.


Courtesy iPad E-Book Library

But, there was no must, no mildew …

just that heavenly “old book smell.”


glitterati-leaves_of_grass-2 glitterati-leaves_of_grass-3


Courtesy Eakins Press Foundation

Do you remember the last time you fumbled upon that nigh forgotten fragrance?

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Now, that is what I call true detective work! Fascinating! It does make total sense when you read about the relationship to wood products. Chemistry is the science of life and I enjoyed ORganic Chemistry the most! Somehow seeing the little diagrams about how all these things work was beyond amazing. Oh and it introduced me to my husband of 34 years! Ahh, chemistry is the science of life!

  2. Darlene Ricotta says:

    I love books and old books are the best. Nothing electronic will ever give you the feeling that they do.

  3. Heather Sandoval says:

    As much as I like being able to have a whole electronic library at my fingertips, I still prefer actual books for the exact same reason. It is a sensuous thing to open a book, to run your fingers over the cover, smell the paper and turn the crinkly pages. No e-reader can provide the same experience. That is not to say I don’t have one, because I find it helpful when I travel, but given first choice, a real book is always preferred.

  4. Pingback: Can we bottle that, please? | Raising Jane Journal

  5. Pingback: The Printed Page | Raising Jane Journal

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *