Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Family Farm

On Sunday, our little family piled up in the truck and headed to Lebanon to visit my Grandmother's farm.  Three generations of my family have lived here; the house, barns, and sheds all built by my great grandparents.  Our intentions were to get a few nest boxes for the new chicken coop Wes has been working on.  Long ago that farm was fully operational - hundreds of chickens, beef and dairy cows, pigs, and my great grandmother's huge vegetable garden (although I am fairly certain the vegetables were only for home use).  It has been probably 40 or 50 years since its heyday, but the evidence of what a huge operation it was is still there if you look hard enough.  

We filled the truck bed with the nest boxes and several other treasures we had to take home with us, but truth be told I am pretty sure we could spend countless hours out there finding all manner of "antiques".  My favorite and most treasured of all the things we found were my great grandmother's canning jars.  I only knew Mama Laine as an old lady, but everyone that knew her has stories of her.  Gin, my grandmother, has told me how she would snatch up and kill any kind of varmint before it knew what hit it; "she was a tough old bird!" she said.  Also, her cooking was famous through the whole town.   Her husband was sick for quite a while and she managed to support the family - 4 kids plus her father in law - by selling pies and chicken salad (with home grown chicken, of course) to local restaurants and families.  Back in her day she didn't have the luxury to go to the grocery for green beans in winter, or even the option of a deep freezer to store her summer produce, so she canned.  Everything.  I must have brought home 40 jars, and that is just what has survived.  Some of them are so neat just to look at, but then to think that my great grandmother used these very same jars to pickle beets or can tomatoes just makes it all the more special.  

A few of my favorites, from left: Longlife Mason, California Poppy Ball, regular mouth square half gallon Ball, liberty bell Mason, star Mason Jar, square quart Ball.

Another amazing find was these old pictures tucked away in a rotting trunk in the milk barn.  I have no idea who any of the people are; I am hoping my dad will know.  I may even try to ask Gin, although I am not too hopeful she will want to help.  All but two of the pictures are unmarked.  The one with the most information, a picture of a football team with names and positions written on the back, is half rotted away.  Still legible are the year - 1913 (!), and V.T.S., which I guess is the school or institution the team played for.  The other is a picture of a young woman with the words "Mamie, I love only you.  Mara" written on the side.  The name could be Mora or Mary or something similar.  Such a mystery...

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