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Living Off the Land……

I remember popping beans for hours alongside my grandparents as a kid. I thought my fingers would fall off at times, but I didn't often complain outwardly, because I knew I would be destined to hear another hour long speech about how important it is to help provide for this family, and how if we don't work, we don't get to eat!

I remember picking fresh watermelon and cantaloupes out of the garden. My grandpa would sit in his recliner and pass out salted pieces to all of us vultures standing around him.

I remember picking turnips straight out of the garden, and running to my grandfather to peel and salt them so we could eat them right away!

I remember fresh baked apple pies….the apples picked from my grandparents' orchard.

My parents, grandparents, and the ones before, attempted to live off the land and actually did manual labor to get food on our table. We had canned jellies, beans, corn, tomatoes, pears, pickles, salsas…..the list goes on and on.

My mothers generation had less need to learn these things than the generation before, my generation knows even less, and when my kids are grown it will be considered history. Grocery stores are much easier, and way more convenient in our busy lives……even if the food is processed and filled with hormones and preservatives that will lead to our early deaths.

My mom still lives on a farm and continues to have a nice garden and 18 rows of sweet corn to share with her family. The only deal is, if you want corn to freeze for the winter, you must come help pick it and join in on the process of “freezing corn”! This is the part that people don't want to do these days! It's easier to get 5 ears for two dollars at the grocery 🙂

WELL….NOT THIS TIME! I was going to get me some fresh sweet corn!

Today I headed out to the farm! It's about an hour and a half drive. Since I was feeling countrified today, I put on my jeans, even though it was 90 degrees out. I made this decision after my mom told me that there could be a variety of snakes in the corn, due to the weeds being higher than the corn itself!!!! That information, plus the added mentioning of corn spiders, field mice, and raccoons, made me realize why we opt for the grocery store…..but I was on a mission.

I then selected old country CDs to listen to on the way. I belted out the tunes to Patty Loveless and Reba McIntyre…… Putting every bit of twang on the words that they did! I sang so much that my voice was slightly hoarse. I was ready to do corn!!!

We picked corn, shucked it, dehaired it, boiled it, rinsed it, cut it, and placed it in bags for freezing. I got 29 bags in all…and 2 bags of unshucked corn to eat off the cob!!! We also picked fresh tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers for me to take home, all from her beautiful garden……. Then she gave me a box of her fresh jelly, made from the grapes she grew in her tiny vinyard 🙂

It DEFINATELY was worth my short visit and small amount of work!

On my way home, I wondered why I didn't listen more, when my mom attempted to show me how to can things…She'd tried on multiple occasions…..I then started thinking about how many times this season I had seen pictures on Facebook, of what other people….people that I grew up with, had canned out of their own gardens! I guess some of them listened to their mothers. Then I remembered my multiple attempts at trying my hand at gardening over the years at my own home.

I plant a little garden every year, but I never water it or weed it….which I think is my main problem. I usually get two hand fulls of cherry tomatoes, a few cucumbers, and two or three radishes….and that's only if it rained ALOT. But every time I get something out of that garden I am filled with pride! Unfortunately one radish divided by six isn't very filling…especially if I canned it for winter!

In addition to my garden, I planted several blackberry bushes, and a couple of grape vines. I hoped to learn to can grape jelly, and I couldn't wait to make my first blackberry pie!!!! Well, I never take the berries off in time, so the birds get them first. It's very disappointing…. especially after Ive been talking constantly about the pie to the kids, while the berries are ripening :)….

Renee tried her hand at the jelly, a few years ago, after picking our first batch of our own grapes! Two years in a row, she didnt use pectin, so we have a bunch of jelly that we call grape syrup! Don't get me wrong, we still use it, but we could DEFINATELY use more leadership in this canning process.

Now that I've become an avid corn freezer, I think I may take the next step in the winter food storing process. After all, it is healthier, it's cheaper, and I fear we may need these skills again in our future, when the world turns to shambles!!

The only real part I worry about…….is the time and labor 🙂

Anyone have good tips on canning…..maybe with a mnemonic pattern?

 

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Living Off the Land……

  1. debbiedoit says:

    I have no canning tips, but some fun memories of many failed attempts! Can’t beat fresh corn, green beans and sliced tomatoes for supper! 👍

    • I need some way to remember the information damn it! It hasn’t seeped through my brain in the last 37 years…there’s just got to be a way to get it to stick!! 🙂

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