Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I was canning tomatoes the other night and my thoughts were wandering. I was thinking back to when I first learned how to can.  When I was young, my parents moved to a small hobby farm, just enough acreage for me to have horses. Our neighbor had horses too, and one day somehow the fence got knocked down and the horses went visiting, so I walked over to collect mine.  And I met the old farm couple.

Come the first summer I discovered some bushes covered with berries and not knowing what they were or if they were horse safe, Mom sent me over to ask.  Mrs was so surprised that I didn't know that these were chokecherries, and that they were for "jellying" that she offered to teach me how.  So the next day I picked a bunch of berries and she taught me how to make jelly.  I was hooked.  To this day chokecherry jelly is my favorite.  I wish I could get my hands on some berries.

Then she taught me how to can tomatoes. Being an older lady she was very frugal and she taught me the right way-next to nothing wasted. I learned how to can whole tomatoes and stewed tomatoes, but I also learned how to can "fancy" tomatoes. Fancy tomatoes were seeded. Its funny, all these years later and I still can almost all my tomatoes as fancy.  It's more work to seed them all, but its so nice.  But remember when I said frugal.  Well, when the tomatoes are peeled, all the peels are saved along with all the seeds.  These all go in the pot with the not so perfect tomatoes to make sauce. And I still do that too.

I also learned how to pickle, how to make bread and how to milk and collect eggs. I dont know if I could still milk, but I know I can still do the rest. I was 12 and even then I knew I wanted to be a farm wife.  I still do but life didnt take me in that direction.  But even in the city I can have a small garden and enough tomatoes to can.  Well almost enough.


Taryn said...

I hear you on being a farm wife! I grew up in the country with horses and dogs and cats and whatever else needed a home at the time. Growing up I always figured that's how it would be when I was grown. My sister was never interested in any of the farm/animal stuff. Funny thing is, she kept the place after my parents passed and is the one living the farm life. And I live in a tightly packed suburbia! Life seems to have it's own plans!

Anonymous said...

Honey, I know you could still milk. It's just like all things learned, they come back in an instant. I still can and do jelly and jam. There's nothing wrong with being frugal!!