Yesterday, Better 1/2, Gammie, and the Techno-kid went to the local Farmers Market and had a good ol' time. I got to sit home and suffer through the Annual June Capt Tripps sickness. (I do joke about it, because it seems ever since I read The Stand a zillion yrs ago, I get a major upper respiratory infection first week of June.. go fig.) Anywho, they acquired some strawberries and rhubarb and assorted bits and bobs. The canning season has begun at the ol' homestead.
The t-k says he wants to go back again and again. He had a good time, and today had fun with the canning. When I was a wee lad(queue middle son playing air banjo~smart aleck) I would go with my grand parents and my great aunt and great uncle to pick strawberries so my gram could make strawberry jam. Not a whole lot different other then we picked em ourselves and they were a fraction of the current price, but the idea is the same.
Trust me the smell was fantastic, and I got a tiny taste before it went in the jar. The t-k and me had to taste test! The rhubarb/strawberry flavor was great, and will go well in a pbj. The t-k helped take stems off, and start the batch, then hung out with me while it was cookin'. He had to tell me twice, no touch Dad, it is hot. I know better then to get between the canner and her pot, I just stay out of the way.
I have seen this many a time over the years, not as exciting to me as the wee lad, but it may be a matter of age, not so much the coolness. He was dancing around with the jar tool, trying it out on everything in sight. Apparently, tools are his thing and they blamed me went they didn't have it right there when the jars were ready to come out.. peshaw. It was the little wee lad and the big wee lad, goofing off in the living room picking up objects. It was not just me!
Personally, I think it is cheating to label the jars, but what do I know. I also miss taking the boxes of jars, filling the ol' radio flyer, and walking them to the cellar under the barn. These went to the table and will go into the pantry when they are fully cooled. Not the same I tell ya, not the same.
That cellar was creepy cool, usually in the dead of summer musty and not quite dry. After a rain, mostly during the spring and fall, there was standing water and you had to make sure you did not step off the boards or you would get some nasty water up to your shin. The winter time, it was frosty, not brutal cold like outside, but that wierd underground coolness and the water would not freeze. It may have a thin layer of ice and no, if you stepped on it, then you had a shin high ice bath.
Cobwebs, old barnbeams and moss coverd fieldstone would greet you as you went down the broken stone steps. Creepy, but cool, and filled with jars and jars of food. My grandmother had a tendency to can venison and pigs feet. The yellow flashlight beam would show some weird stuff in those jars. Well weird to a preteen reading too much SF and expecting to see brains or aliens or some such.
Now the t-k can just open the pantry and see the can goodness from mom and gammie mixed with bags of flour and sugar and spaghetti-o's. I dont think that is anywhere near as cool, but you know, you have what you have. Different, but still as cool, because really, the tradition of canning is still there, just a little more updated is all.
If I had a barn and a cellar underneath one end would it be cool? Oh yeah... but not necessary to keeping with the canning tradition. Probably not as creepy either, which might be a good thing!