Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The canning season at my mother's house lasted from the time the yellow apples came in until the skin was peeled from the last tomato.  We had no freezer, so canning was the only way to preserve food, unless you made leather britches from green beans. 

Anything and everything could go in a jar:  applesauce, blackberries, cherries, kale greens, corn, and the ubiquitous green beans and tomatoes.  Once my parents canned chickens.  Too yucky to even talk about.  

My most recent canning adventure:
 another six jars of chow chow

My canning season is much shorter; my garden is much smaller.  Applesauce goes into the freezer, not the Mason jar.  From our bumper cucumber crop this year, I've canned 11 quarts of dill pickles, 16 pints of bread and butter pickles, made refrigerator pickles, gave a grocery bag of cucumbers away at church, supplied my neighbor with a bag of cucumbers, and served sliced, cubed, and marinated cucumbers for supper.   The plants are still blooming, by the way. 

This year has been a good one for gardening and canning, although the tomatoes have lagged a little; I don't know why, but they just haven't bloomed much.  It probably has something to do with the fact that I haven't watered them much, sprayed them for blight, or kept the weeds away from them. 

A sea of corn on the road to Chilhowie.

This time of year reminds me of the pantry built into my mom's back porch and the sense of satisfaction as the shelves filled up.  When you pulled the string on the naked light bulb overhead, the palette of reds, yellows, and greens sprang to life.  I get the same sense of satisfaction when I pass the cornfields on the road to Chilhowie, even though I have absolutely nothing to do with the planting or the reaping of that corn.  I just enjoy watching the stalks ripple as the wind blows across them. 

My daily walk takes me by the corn field.  When I walk by, the smell of the corn oozes out of the narrow rows.  A look back through the rows reveals dark shade at midday which can hide the secret lives of happy groundhogs and chipmunks.  The deer who live at the top of the hill are probably thrilled with this bounty that sprang up within walking distance. 

A little further past this field is yet another corn field. Actually there are three large fields within a mile of each other. I've been thinking that with the newly painted red barn and the acres of corn covering the rolling hills beside it, this property is ripe for a corn maze.

While there have been times when I didn't have much money, I've never really known true want.  From my mom's filled pantry to my cabinet full of pickles, my life has been blessed with abundance.  I see that abundance in the corn every day.

1 comment:

  1. Awww...reminds me too much of Grandma Ballengee.. miss glad you're keeping her memory alive through this and other articles.