Puttin’ up & eatin’ food in days gone by

Our rainy days are over and we are experiencing a heat wave. I was ‘slaving over a hot stove’ the other morning, cooking some food to take out to my mom’s. What a baby I am. I had food in the oven at 7 and was done by 8: 30 or so, and of course later on when I came back home, while I don’t have whole house air, I would be able to run my window air conditioners. After my mom’s, I went out to Simmon’s Farm.

I have tomatoes and green beans and some very strange looking cucumbers growing here, but I picked up corn, peaches, lettuce ( mine’s bolted ) and a watermelon there. I picked up for my place and my son’s…they would pay me back.  Whenever I hit the farm, I check in to see if they would like anything. Luckily I was early enough to get the #2 peaches…slightly bruised and half the price. Fresh from the farm Pennsylvania peaches….or any local fresh peaches from your own state…there’s just nothing like it.  The same goes for corn, potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, all of it! :)

Nowadays, some of us labor a little in our gardens, and some still do a lot. Some, though…can only frequent farmer’s markets or one or two local farms, and others haven’t tasted a real fresh local fruit for ages. Then there’s our tendency for light meals during the summer…salads and such. And while I can, and make jam, and pickles, I have the luxury of just doing a little bit of that…or being lazy and feeding all of the tomatoes to the grandkids and skipping it for a season. I thought it would be fun to compare…what puttin’ up and eatin’ food in days gone by was like for some folks.

From “Kitchenary” by Peggy H. Landis:

Living on a farm was like owning our own supermarket stocked with very fresh, entirely unprocessed foods. Instead of pushing our cart up and down the aisles, we pushed it around the seasons.”

Mother was captain of the summer garden, and the rest of us marched to her orders.”

Mother always did a good job of bringing the garden to the table. A typical supper menu might have been fried country ham, mashed potatoes or corn on the cob, fresh green beans, sliced cucumbers in a creamy dressing, thick red slices of ripe tomatoes, homemade bread, and sweet iced tea. Fresh sliced peaches from a nearby orchard often provided a simple but delicious dessert.

From “Up a Country Lane” by Evelyn Birkby:

Wooden steps led down to the hard earthen floor of our cave. Bricks lined the walls and low-domed roof. Several feet of dirt and sod covering the cellar kept the inside temperature cool in the summer and above freezing in winter. A clay tile pipe embedded in the center of the ceiling allowed fresh air from the outside to circulate down inside the windowless space. My spirits always rose as I carried jars of food down into the cave and lined them up on the wooden shelves along the wall.”

By the way, this book is not only a memoir but a cookbook. Here is the author using her pressure cooker to can green beans and other low acid vegetable

canning in 1950s kitchen

From “Mrs. Blackwell’s Heart-of-Texas Cookbook” by Louise B. Dillow & Deenie B. Carver, illustrations by John Henry Faulk:

Canning, to my mother, was a form of saving for a rainy day and was as profitable as the modern-day working mother’s trip to the bank on payday.”

” During the summertime, the noonday meal was a feast of garden vegetables, hot corn bread, or yeast rolls and butter, fruit cobbler, and iced tea. ”

large family at the table

“We had a spring and fall garden so there were fresh vegetables from April through December and canned and dried vegetables during the winter months.”  ” Mama canned green peas, green beans, beets, corn, tomatoes, and made chow-chow and kraut out of the cabbage. She pickled the cucumbers, and made jelly and preserves of every fruit that she could find. She dried the black-eyed peas and cream peas, the pinto beans and butter beans. With dried corn, she made hominy.”

Pickles and Preserves Page

in the field illustration

From Reminisce : Around the Table : this memory is from Floyd Hedge, Mountain Home, Arkansas:

My step-grandfather grew tobacco and had a big garden and several fruit trees. It was my job to pick the fruit and vegetables, and then Mom and Grandma slaved over a hot stove all summer to can them and make jams and jellies for the coming winter. “

“I always finished off my meal with peanut butter mixed with either a half-pint of blackberry jam, peach preserves or sorghum molasses.

page 104 full larder

( the above photo is from the Reminisce book. I borrowed this book from the library but there is a website that you can visit to purchase books, magazines, etc. It is listed in the book and can be found HERE  )

From “Country Kitchens Remembered“, by Marilyn Kluger: “ We didn’t know the riches we had in our cellar at the end of those summers. They seem as priceless as the golden peaches of Samarkand when I think of them today.” 



YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY :  Make a Small Batch of Jam   or  Making Delicious Pickles with Little Kids  or  Want Some Tomatoes? 

Sharing at : French Country Cottage / Cozy Little House / Savvy Southern Style / Common Ground


Hummingbird Moth Visitor and more…

Who is behind these flowers, pines and bushes in the front of my yard?

who is behind these flowers

I did a post on a baby bunny not too long ago ( HERE ) and he has adopted this area since his last visit.

This is just one small area on one side of my front porch.

one small area

Here is the bunny living underneath and behind …

bunny by hibiscus bloom

I had gone out to water the flowers in that little wooden wheelbarrow and he had been sitting right next to it enjoying some morning sunshine. He ran behind the pine tree and flowers and I caught a picture of him back there while I sat on the porch steps.

Since then I’ve seen him venture out a bit into the sunshine to eat some grass, but he hops back into the shade and safety when a car passes or I get too close. He’s such a tiny little thing; I can’t get over how early they are off on their own.

baby bunny by fence collage

The flowers in the little wooden wheelbarrow are nasturtiums and it’s the first year that I’ve planted them. I am glad that they are coming up in the ground as well because out of all of the zinnias that I planted I only see a few coming up….what a difference from years past. I assume that I either got bad seeds or the torrential downpours rotted them or something…who knows :(

The bees love the nasturtiums, though. Along with bees constantly enjoying the dahlia blooms and the sunflowers, they are all over these nasturtiums.


bumblebee 2

The bees like the transplanted wild phlox as well but I am quite excited to show you this next visitor. I was out on the porch and something flew by….like a hummingbird but smaller…was it a baby hummer? I took a quick look and then ran for the camera…was it one of those hummingbird moths? YES! :)

So there I was with bees to the right of me ( Nasturtiums ) and bees to the left of me ( Sunflowers ) and bees in front of me ( Phlox ) hoping that none of them were going to get upset and pay attention to me while I clicked as fast as I could….many photos were blurry because this little treasure moved pretty quickly around the phlox, but I did manage to get a few decent ones.

I had never seen one before nor heard of them until one visited a blogger a year or so ago and she posted about it ( though I don’t remember which blog at this point. )  If you are unfamiliar with them they don’t flutter around like a moth or butterfly…they behave, or this one did, exactly as if it was a little hummingbird. What a treat to be outside at just the right moment for my first live encounter with one.

hummingbird moth collage

hummingbird moth

hummingbird moth 3

hummingbird moth 2

There is magic to be found in Nature on a daily basis…and I thank the Creator and Designer of it…things such as hummingbird moths and cute bunnies and the way a cat purrs just cannot be happenstance :)

You might also enjoy :  Southern Ice Storms & Pioneers ; The American Spirit  or  Sewing Machine Cover  or  Early Morning Entertainment  or Making Delicious Pickles With Little Kids

Sharing with : Little by Little / French Country Cottage / Viewing Nature with Eileen /Cozy Little House/A Stroll Thru Life / Savvy Southern Style / Common Ground