Monday, August 24, 2020

Lucky me

I am pretty grateful for having such an interesting upbringing. All summer we stayed at a  small cottage. No TV, no hot water, we did have a toilet that flushed but weren't allowed to use it during the day.

Grandpa wanted to conserve electricity and not burden the pump. I think he was under the impression that we kids would flush for fun? I have no idea. 

My Grandparents had a tiny house not far from where we stayed. Our tiny house had two halves. One half was a room that was the kitchen and everything else room. The other part of the tiny house had 2 sets of bunk beds shoved together to sleep in. And the toilet with a curtain for privacy. It was built for Grandmother's parents to live out their lives in. The floor was wavy, uneven, and fun to play marbles on. 

We spent the summer surrounded by my Grandparents' huge garden. Only now am I coming to realize that they didn't just raise items for themselves and to sell, but they also raised enough food for to always have extra. I can recall their cellar be lined with home canned goods. The floor was dirt and there was a 'cold' room.

My own family had rows upon rows of home canned goods also. I never ate any jelly or jam that was factory made unless it was at a restaurant. I actually still don't as I've only once purchased grape jelly for grandkids when they all visited for a week during the summer and they all wanted grape jelly and peanut butter for snacks.

So why am I so lucky? I learned how to preserve and garden as a kid. A skill I was sure I would never use, ever. After all, we are the land of plenty right? I mean I can go to the store and pick up whatever I want when I want.

After swearing off vegetable gardening for many years, but growing flowers, I decided to experiment and mix it up. Flowers and green beans along with leaf lettuce.

Soon the garden grew larger and included all the basic veggies that Rich and I both loved. I had continued all along to make jellies and jams from foraging in the woods and picking blackberries, raspberries, and seeking out the wild apple trees to make apple jelly.

I went to the store after the Covid-19 #SafeAtHome order came to our state. Imagine my surprise in March when the land of plenty became the land of empty shelves. 

I dug back into my childhood and decided the prepare for this coming fall and winter. I planted another vegetable garden with the foods I knew that we would use all year to make stews, soups, and meals.

This is the third batch of tomatoes. The other two batches yielded 8 pints of Pasta Sauce to use for Lasagna and of course spaghetti this winter. I used to hate canning tomatoes, especially the peeling part.

Not so much any more. I use a food mill that separates the skins and most of the cores from the tomato. Easy Peasy.

It all comes somewhat naturally to me as I reach back in the memory banks to kid-hood. Grandpa's habit of saving things that could be useful in case of a shortage must have stemmed from living through WWI, the pandemic, the depression, and the rationing of WWII. Now I get it.

My Grandparents weren't idiots, they'd seen a world they hoped I would never see.

Yes I am Lucky.


  1. Your last sentence says it all 'they'd seen a world they hoped I'd never see.' I am forever thankful that my parents taught me the skills I hope will take me through the pandemic. I don't have the yard anymore, but I still have the basic skills I learned growing up on a subsistence farm. I'm an expert at making 'stone soup' and finding a way to make things work. Like you, I feel lucky.

    1. Yes! I love that description of Stone Soup! I call it Freezer Soup when you take all the leftovers and make soup! I think one of the skills we learned was extreme patience. I don't mean to say others don't have it but the very young...well, they don't have IT!
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Good memories! I grew up with huge gardens and every day were were expected to hoe a row and pick never wanted to get behind. I wish I could have a bigger garden here but the deer would wipe it out. I like my styrofoam containers in the wagon...the lettuce is up again after I re seeded it:)

    1. I have the advantage of having an electric fence and mules around two sides of the garden. They don't allow deer anywhere in their pasture and give chase with exuberance.