My mom used to tell me a story about her friend Katie. Mommy Dearest loved to go over to Katie’s house because there was always something going on. Her dad was a member of a Pipe & Drum Corps (a marching bagpipe band) and would practice his big bass drum, twirling his mallets as they do in parades (and causing large lumps on his head as a result).
MD’s favorite part though, was the culinary aspect of it all. They always had something brewing in the basement, and some pot bubbling on the stove. She told me Katie’s family made their own dandelion wine, mead and something I assume was kombucha. There was always a pantry full of canned goodies and I believe Katie’s mom taught MD to put stuff in jars.
Jars ready for the canning pot
Another childhood memory of mine is “helping” my grandmother make applesauce in her tiny carpeted kitchen. I remember the paisley pattern of the well-loved carpet in that kitchen, and the paisley pattern of my grandma’s apron. I remember the “pock” sound the lids made when the seal engaged on the jars. I remember a well-worn spoon and a big flecked tin canning pot and waiting anxiously to use some rubber-banded tongs to help lift the jars from the pot.
I miss my grandma a lot.
So, I’ve been fighting some personal demons that have kept me away from my blog AND Twitter….(My Klout score dropped 6 points in 2 weeks. Ouch.) Lately, I’ve also been putting a lot of stuff in jars. I hosted a food swap at my house, and Kate Payne came.
I’m happiest when I’m feeding people. Or when I’m storing things for feeding people later. Or reading books about food. I’m good at it. I enjoy it immensely.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. Planting a garden with things we enjoy eating. Putting stuff in jars to feed people later. Learning how to make my own butter. Creating a compost system for our house. Being “Suzy Homemaker”.
9 pounds of fresh sun-ripened, hand-picked-by-me WA berries. Nom.
I’ve been amassing books and blog posts and any resources I can find about preserving and pickling and homesteading. We’ve researched chickens, and whether or not Devil Dog will try to eat them. We’re planning on building a vermicompost system. We picked 9 pounds of berries yesterday to make jams and pies.
Feeding my family is necessary for my survival, both as a mother and as a human being. It feeds my soul and therefore makes me a better mom to my kids. Making our own food teaches my kids how things go from dirt to mouth (and sometimes dirt goes in the mouth….thanks Chuck) and gardening is teaching them how to be responsible, how to take care of something other than themselves, and teaching them to be patient as we wait for the fennel to get big enough to harvest, and how sometimes the deer eat all of our gorgeous rainbow chard and we have to problem-solve a way to keep them out of our garden from now on. (The 8′ fence we have isn’t helping.)
So expect some of the regular snarky posts interspersed with posts about what we’re doing this summer, and how our garden is growing.
And maybe even some recipes, like I’ve been promising forever :)
And for those of you who have been asking, we are all doing great, and we’re almost back to normal. Or as normal as we choose to be!