Friday, June 22, 2012

Feathers For My Nest

The week's been dreary and the days have been short. There's no denying we have sunk into the halfway mark of our year. If I had any doubt, the number of Google hits I've received at this blog for a post I wrote a few years ago on the longest night in Australia, has surely convinced me. Not that I needed much. Sunless days, icy temperatures and a garden drained of its colour... are proof enough.

This winter my children have all upgraded to goose feather quilts. With a resounding thumbs up by all, I wish I had made the switch years ago. (Thanks to my honey-girl for convincing me.)

Now, Crabapple House offers the same comforts once considered by the French aristocracy as their home's most prized possession. Well-to-do families often willed their feather beds to heirs and passed them from generation to generation.

By the 19th century, members of the middle class could afford to make feather bedding if they plucked from their own geese. Mothers often furnished their daughter's dowry with a feather bed and held themselves with pride at the accomplishment. Anyone remember the wedding scene from Fiddler on the Roof?

Servant girls were allowed to collect from poultry they prepared for the table. They would save the down and feathers, and gradually accumulate enough to make a set of pillows before they married.

The treasured stuffing would be aired and dried before being sewn into ticks, linen or cotton bags. These would be rubbed with wax or soap to prevent the quills from poking out. Most had to be fluffed every morning to redistribute the feathers and release moisture. The English had their own method of propping them up, while the Germans hung them from balconies.

Here in Australia we call then doonas. And this week, I'm glad to leave the goose plucking to the scullery maid and buy my own ready-made. It's warmed my heart to feather the nest and keep my children happy. To see them nestled, safe and protected from the cold night.

Goose Feather Quilts at Crabapple House
More than a soft wrapping, is the assurance we are held like this by a God who lavishes himself on us. Like wings spread over bald chicks, He provides a cover no one can mess with. As well tucked as a mother's blanket, and as fierce as well forged armour.

He shall cover you with his feathers 
and under his wings shall you trust. 
His truth shall be your shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4

How do you feather your nest for those long winter nights? Do you have a favourite blanket you could never be without?


Whether you're rugged up against the wind or wriggling your toes in the sand, I wish you hours of happy reading. 

And many congratulations to Linda, the winner of this week's Ink Dots book give-away. You've won a copy of Cowgirl Trail by Susan Page Davis. 

Enjoy the weekend