Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Then and Now by Donna

It is canning season in the midwest and I am busily canning salsa, pasta sauce, and stewed tomatoes.  This is a picture of my work from last year since my camera isn't working and I keep forgetting to get it fixed.  Canning can be exhausting work even if you have everything close at hand and all the right utensils.  I use a hot water bath canner like the one in the picture.

I was born in the 1940's and started helping my mother can in the early 1950's.  We did not have running water in our house so we carried pails of water from a well using a pump like the one below.  Using that pump was definitely good exercise for the arms. 

That is a lot of pails of water when you are canning.  We did not have a gas range.  We had a stove that burned coal and wood like the one in the picture.  I learned how to cook and bake on a stove like that.

We did all the cooking of the things we were going to can on this stove, put everything in jars and then took the jars outside.  My mother did not have a canner like I have.  We had three concrete blocks with a washtub like the one in the picture on the blocks.  We filled the tub with water and built a fire under the tub and put the jars in it.  You got the fire hot enough to boil the water and then left the jars in it for whatever time was necessary. 

While I was searching for these pictures I found a couple of survivalist sites where they describe canning this same way now.

I can just a few things although it ends up being quite a few jars.  My mother canned everything she could get her hands on.  We had a garden, we went to orchards and picked apples, peaches and pears, we picked blackberries.  My sisters and I shared a bedroom that was just off the kitchen and half of one wall was shelves where all the canned food was stored.  All this work was necessary if we were going to eat all winter.  Its no wonder my mom was always tired.  I definitely prefer canning now to back then.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Oh, Snap! Eyes for Amigurumi

by Kelly

Snaps make pretty good eyes for amigurumi :

I ran out of black embroidery thread, so I couldn't sew eyes for this one. I tried button eyes, but that gave the bear what I think of as 'creepy doll syndrome', so I cut them off. It was while I was putting the buttons back in the jar that I ran across a snap and thought I'd give it a try. Of course then I had to pour all those buttons out onto the table again and try to find another matching snap for the other eye, because these are buttons after all, and organizing my collection of loose buttons has never been high on my priority list.

I was surprised that the jar contained so many snaps. I inherited this jar from my mom when I moved out into my very first apartment. I guess she thought that I would do my own sewing after I was out on my own, but, ha, that wasn't what happened after all. In fact, I still have never sewed a snap on anything (until now, that is) although I have replaced the occasional button. I never realized that snaps came in so many different varieties - I guess they're almost like heirloom tomatoes.

Oh, and the bear is available in the shop  if you would like to adopt him. There will be a small rehoming charge, of course.

Also, that funky, old fashioned yarn that the bear is made with came from my aunt's partial de-stashing. Here's a picture of what she gave me:

So what do you call it when you are gifted with someone's de-stash? Is there a word for that? Re-stash, maybe?
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