Her comment made me think about those days when I was in my twenties and thirties and a flood of memories took me down a long-neglected memory lane. According to the dictionary, I didn't fit into a pioneer profile in any way. But, I think it would be fair to say that Sarah's dad and I explored the road less traveled with our back to the basics, self-sufficient lifestyle, as did many of our peers. We heated our little cabin in the woods with firewood from our property, raised pigs for our neighbors and ourselves and enjoyed fresh, brown eggs from our Rhode Island Red hens. I'll save my memories about the beautiful, but equally mean rooster, named Harold!
We grew a gigantic garden, and I canned tomatoes in every possible form: whole, chopped, tomato sauce and juice. I even made ketchup to use up some of the bazillion tomatoes that we couldn't give away. That's what happens when you combine good manure-rich soil with newbie gardener's ignorance and plant 100 tomato plants! I dreamed (well...had nightmares would probably be more accurate) about bushel baskets full of the beauties . Bill and I did learn our lesson and were more reasonable in our future gardening efforts after that first bumper crop.
I remember the many days of picking, cleaning and snapping green beans and canning them in mason jars in my canning pressure cooker. I also recall making homemade sauerkraut on several occasions. We were blessed to have an orchard near by, where we picked peaches and apples when they were in season. It was our custom to pick about forty pounds of their sour cherries when they were available in early summer and I would pit (more dreams) and freeze them for future use. I loved picking blackberries and wineberries from wild, roadside bushes and using them to make jams and homemade pies with the lard from our pigs. There was nothing better than a made-from-scratch fruit pie in late winter!
I recall participating in a street festival in Bel Air, Md. in the seventies with some of our neighbors. I spent days making all kinds of baked goods and actually selling my homemade pies for two dollars each! I wonder what one would bring today? Making our bread was another endeavor I enjoyed. My bread-baking day would yield six loaves. This was my routine for a season, until Sarah and her dad decided they only liked my whole wheat bread on baking day and bread from the freezer didn't appeal to their taste buds.
|I was thrilled to find this photo of a Home Comfort stove that was identical to the one I cherished many years ago. Notice the tank for heating water on the side.|