When I grew up in rural southwestern Ontario, Dufferin County, to be exact, I was surrounded by acres and acres of farm land. Cash crops and pasture fields predominated the landscape.
However, land that drew my attention the most was a chunk of soil designated for gardening. Have to say that it wasn't everybody's favourite chore but it proved worthwhile when fresh vegetables were ready for the picking or prepping to freeze for cooking during the long cold winters.
Half of the large garden was reserved for potatoes. Rows of beans and peas and beets lined up beside the cucumbers and onions and tomatoes.
Today, it is a different story. Living in a city, I have turned to container gardening on the deck. Cherry tomatoes, peppers and herbs are the choices for this year along with some lettuce and squash.
Having just tasted the first salad harvested from a lettuce assortment, I am certain that I will try to grow this again. Looking forward to trying the squash, a first!
Today, in the living room, a cactus is growing, occasionally blooming. The plant sits in an Ontario-made crock, decades old and very similar to the crocks used by my mother for canning pickles — 9-day pickles, to be exact.
These pickles were crunchy and sweet with just enough tang to make them the perfect accompaniment for sandwiches and light lunches. Each year, baskets filled with cucumbers were harvested from the garden, washed, trimmed at the ends and sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 sections. These green spears were placed in crocks, soaked and rinsed and soaked again in a series of water/vinegar/brine baths.
The nine-day process was an annual tradition for which we children were grateful through the long winter when grocery stores were not filled with a cornucopia of fresh produce throughout the year.
Ironically, it seems that canning has made a comeback. Stores and websites are full of canning supplies and recipes. To be honest, I have not picked up on the craze. Occasionally, I have made some chili sauce from one of the old recipes; however, I am not sure that I will try the 9-day pickle operation.
This Relic photo prompt reminds me of some more relics from the past, ones with a traditional faith-based focus. These relics — rosaries, medals, prayerbooks — are not part of a photo collection. They are carried with me, in spirit, every day, reminding me of parents and grandparents who left us with these treasures.