DO YOU MISS HOME? Part 3 – Fall.

A true child’s story.

In the fall the whole family was engaged in putting up food.  I remember a huge walk-in, dirt floor, always cold pantry in the basement.  Three walls were lined with shelves for the tons of processed food jars to be properly placed on.  The center of the room had a huge wooden box.  This was where all the potatoes (that is the ones that we did not eat raw) went.  I dream of having something like that in our home now.  I also want to see it stocked full by the first frost.  Has not happened yet, but I have a goal.

The best part of fall was all the taste-testing:

  • Pick it fresh from the vine, tree, root, or wherever it may be growing and munch.
  • Sample ALL jams, jellies, sauces, preserves – before they are done and packed.
  • Enjoy the first of everything made at Thanksgiving with family and friends.

(Not us, but you get the idea just by the faces of these kids.)

While doing my research for this post, I was saddened by the fact that I do not have any more cherished family photo memories.  The fire of 2014 took them all out.  The fact that my wonderful photo memories are gone also helped me to see something that I didn’t before.  I went looking for pics that would be as similar as possible to my original memories.  I was shocked to discover that almost all the photos that came up in my searches were not of kids in real gardens.  A real garden (like what we grew up on) has:

  • No wooden or plastic borders.
  • Simple dirt, maybe a bit of straw, for walkways between the rows.
  • Kids that will get FILTHY while picking all the good stuffs (cuz everything on a kid with dirt turns into mud.).
  • Parents watching the kids all the time because they will eat all the food before you have time to process it.
  • Weeds that will continue to pop up no matter how much you work on them.
  • Not massive acres tended by dozens of people, but a simple backyard size that is managed by using just the family members.
  • Everyone is always smiling because you can see before you the labors of a job done in love, and a job well done.

I remember being down on the ground with bare legs getting full of dirt.  Using both hands (no gloves) to dig into the dirt and pull out potatoes and carrots.  Crawling along the row with those same dirty knees to pick every last one of the beans, peas, and all the other tiny veggies.  Heaven forbids if we missed even one. Oh almost forgot, the children were allowed to go back into the garden area when we were all done gathering the processing foods, to gleen off what may have been missed.  It was never much – but it was fun looking.  At this point, we were allowed to tear the snot out of the garden.  It’s always more fun to tear things apart than to build them.

like our garden 1

(Close, but this is city and has sheds that we did not have back then.  Also picture it about 10-times bigger.)

It would take days, sometimes weeks, to get everything processed and put up in the basement, dirt floor pantry.  I remember walking ever so carefully down those cement stairs to the basement, arms loaded with great foods.  Hang a tight right and straight on to the pantry door.  Watch your step because you had to step down to the dirt floor.  Always, someone older would take the jars of deliciousness from our arms and place them in proper order on the shelves.

The items still left from the year before were brought forward, and the new year’s yummies were placed in line behind them. Next stop – Thanksgiving Day!

We always held the family Thanksgiving party at our farm.  All morning (and most years the night before) were spent bringing up the stored goodies and prepping them for the day of feasting.  I say a “day” of feasting as our family did not just do the one meal.  People started showing up about 10:00 a.m. and some did not leave till after 10:00 p.m.

We had a huge dining room area with a huge rectangle table in the middle of it.  To give you the scope of huge – we also had an antique upright piano, a rounded glass china cabinet, as well as a couple of storage cabinets – oh and an outstanding tree/chair coat rack. (Mom had this thing for tiger wood – we still do.)  All of these things were in the same room as the dining room table.  Granted, the table leaf was added for these special occasions, but how it all fit in, with all of the people getting around it to fill plates, all day long; amazes me to this day.

(The piano and cabinet are identical to ours.  The table is similar, but the chairs were not so fancy.  I just remember hiding under there when our dad’s dad came to visit.  It was a very German thing to chase the little kids and pinch them – I have no idea why?)

Later in the day, the football games would start.  The men would retire with their plates of food into the living room and start screaming and yelling at the poor TV.  The women would gather in the kitchen which was always the place of interesting conversations, and a lot of laughing. (There is a WHOLE other story around “kitchens” and my memories.  Saved for another day.).  The kids would shoot outside like bullets at the first chance to flee.  We had horses, a hay barn, straw mounds with rope swings, and if we were lucky to have a good snow before Thanksgiving, snow to sled on down our steep hills.

kids going off to dream build

Our wonderful 80-acre farm was a fantastic place to grow up.  The limitations were only held back by our own imaginations.

Tis the season for reminding siblings that fresh veggies are better when shared.

I can fly - kid

You can also check me out on:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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helbergfarmstories

I love to write. It is one of the constants in my life that brings me joy. I also love to tell stories, read, knit, crochet, weave, plant gardens, raise our own food, play game with my grandson and throw out my wicked sense-of-humor every chance I get (parents fault – they raised us this way, and I am very glad of it!). I have hundreds of great stories from my life that I want to share. Most are very humorous, some maybe not so much. I hope that all are found interesting. Some of the things that have happened to me in life are: • Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin. • Raising and creating 4-H projects for the fair. • Growing food through natural methods (no chemicals here). • Learning (via trial-and-error methods) how to process all kinds of foods. • The death of several loved ones: Parents, fiancé, grandson. • Living through 2 house fires (2nd of which cost me the one grandson). • Having and raising a disabled daughter (20 surgeries in the first 20 years of her life). • Surviving a rape and abusive x-boyfriend and now being able to talk about it. • Giving up everything and moving to another state with $100 in my pocket. • Giving up a steady well-paying job to buy a farm. • Learning and sharing how to really enjoy farm life. • Writing through all of it. These are just samples of all the amazing things I have experienced. I had parents that were amazing! They encouraged all of us to try everything, at least once. Mom tried to get us to enjoy the riches of the world – fine dining (got some great stories on those episodes), how to sit up straight and walk straight to be noticed. She showed us how to walk into a room as if you owned the place. The best thing she taught us was the fine art of storytelling. She grew up with only the radio era folk, so the art of conversation was everything. One regret I have is that I did not keep the letters between her and our Aunt Elaine. They were filled with family happenings and priceless! Dad was a different egg. He and mom seemed like such opposites, but no two opposites were more meant for each other. He was a big, strong, tough man that had been through war times and then something much worse – surviving three daughters! EEEK! Now, looking back, I realize why they both grayed prematurely – we three gremlins. The thing that stands out most in my memory of my father is his compassionate humor. No matter how mad he got at something stupid one of us did, there was always the little twinkle in his eye that told us it was ok. My little sister had him wrapped around her finger – she could do no wrong in his eyes. To best describe him is to let you know that his knick-name for me was “Dumb Shit.” To understand it you may have to watch old Archie Bunker shows – that was my dad. My sisters and I all have some type of talent. The oldest is the wet-noodle. She falls for any stray that comes her way. Then has to feed it and the world (she's an excellent cook by-the-way!) immediately. The youngest is the Artist. She can draw, paint, and/or create so many different things and she too has the passion for cooking. The biggest difference in the two is the first can’t even draw stick people and cooks using shortcuts. The 2nd does everything from scratch – art and cooking. Me, I’m the middle kid. I love to tear things apart and put them back together. I create from scratch – yarn, paint, draw, paper crafts, clay, wood and a number of other things. Cooking is not my passion, I will do it if I have to or if I get an inclination, but it’s not where my heart if. The one big thing we all have in common is our humor. So, my wish here is that as you read my blog (stories), you will find enjoyment in them. What is life if we cannot have a little fun in it?

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