Up until very recently, I always gave credit to my mom's side of the family for my love of gardening and preserving. It seemed like a natural assumption. My nona was Italian and she canned almost anything and everything including Pickled Chicken's Feet. Growing up, I honestly don't believe that we EVER had store bought jam in the house because my mom was always making her own. So I put 2 and 2 together.
But what I didn't take into consideration was my dad's side of the family. See, my dad died in a plane crash when I was 3 years old and naturally we spent more time with my mom's family from that point onwards.
My mom is here visiting me now and on my request she brought my Grandma Manning's journal (1937-1942) along with her and I have been enjoying reading about her life on the farm; everything from how the kids were doing in school, to reading about my dad's first steps to what her daily life was like and what she did with her time.
I wasn't really surprised when I read the first entry dated August 12, 1937.
Thursday - Canned beans this morning. Francis and Charlie picked saskatooms. Jean and I raspberries. Hot 7 and windy. Grandpa and Grandma and the Beckers arrive 11pm. Gab fest and confusion
With each passing page I am pulled deeper into her daily life. Her first child, my Auntie Francis born in 1923 and then the 11th child born in 1943 she was a busy woman. In 1937 when this journal begins she would already have had 9 children, my father having been born in June of the same year the journal entries start . I find myself flipping to today's date throughout the 5 year period to compare our activities.
May 21, 1938
Warm and sultry. Dense smoke clouds from bush fires. Take Grandma and Grandpa to Amisk in afternoon. Shoes for Carol with her silver dollar. Very proud of them.
May 21, 1939
Cool and cloudy. Rest and read. Baby Robins hatch. School meeting in evening. Decide to ask for more mature teacher. Jeanne and Charlie on the cow hunt. Bring home lizards and other treasures
May 21, 1940
Hot and dry wind. Mosquitos getting bad. Roy combining. Takes lunch. Grandpa having trouble with drill. Breaks wheel. Ironing finished and bread baked
May 21, 1941
Windy and clear. Hurry through washing to get it dry before the dust starts. Finish ironing. Too windy for gardening until evening. Roy, Carol and I seed more corn. Wrestle with quack grass.
May 21, 1942
Cloudy and close but no rain. But wheat coming and first radishes and lettuce showing. Apple tree in garden a mass of blooms. Another with a few blooms. Charlie's war savings certificate comes.
Now fast forward to May 21, 2013
Weather shifts from clear and sunny to rain showers with the threat of thunderstorms. Just got the garden planted. Preparing for tomorrow's day in the commercial kitchen where we will make Spicy Zucchini relish. Bought a Blackberry Q10. Spaghetti for dinner with my mom, aunt and uncle who are here visiting from BC and Alberta. Chives close to flowering.
I am trying not to read ahead as I want to continue the comparisons throughout the summer to see how our canning, preserving and gardening schedule compares.
What did you do to today?