(Holzwarth Historic Site, Rocky Mountain National Park)

One life stamps and influences another, which in turn stamps and influences another, on and on, until the soul of human experience breathes on in generations we’ll never even meet.

~ Mary Kay Blakely

An interesting side-effect of all the canning and freezing I do at this time of year is that I not only feel a deeper connection to the land I live on and the community I am a part of, but I also feel part of a long line of women (and some men) who have spent the latter months of summer and the early months of autumn preserving the harvest.

It’s sometimes hard for me to imagine what it must have been like trying to keep food around well into the winter months without the modern appliances we have now.

The reason I preserve some of the harvest is to save money since I am no longer working outside of the home.  But I also do it because I like opening a jar of tomatoes in the depths of winter, when the world outside of my door is covered in snow and ice, and getting a whiff of summer as I sniff the tomatoes to make sure all is well (and not rotting).

Yesterday I finally finished up canning the tomatoes.  I’m thinking of heading over to Hilgert’s for another bushel of them as tomatoes are something I use a lot of in cooking.  They go into soups, stews, chili, pasta sauces, and probably plenty of other things not coming to mind at the moment.

(My freshly canned tomatoes, in their jars and ready for winter.)

Which reminds me…

I made a risotto the other night as part of my adventures in cooking.  It was fabulous.  I’ll share the recipe with you soon.

9 Comments on “Connections”

  1. jenna says:

    I’z in yr kitchenz eatng tr tomatoez!

    Actually, I might break and enter and haul some of those mason jars out of your house. You’re always trying to declutter anyway.

    Actually, before I took a really good look at the first picture, I thought it was a photo of your basement kitchen, and thought, “Damn, she really DID get organized and decluttered! It’s downright rustic!”

    • Robin says:

      J: If you’re going to break and enter, take the fresh tomatoes. I’m putting those mason jars under lock and key.

      I WISH I had organized and decluttered to that degree. Instead, I’ve been a lazybutt and am nowhere near my goal for the year.

      I do like that rustic look, though…

  2. Anna says:

    I do like looking at the pioneer stuff and wonder how they made it… and in the severe heat and cold! Love the photo of the canned tomatoes!!! 🙂

  3. Karma says:

    I learned way more than the average person would ever want to know about preserving food from my days working at a living history museum that portrayed New England in the early 1800’s – a time even before canning was going on, when tomatoes were thought by many to be either poisonous, or just not tasty! On the rare occasion folks of that time had tomatoes, they just weren’t sure what to do with them. One diary entry from the time that I read relayed the story of a woman cooking a tomato pie and that no one in the family liked it – not even the family dog!

    • Robin says:

      Karma: It’s funny how tastes change over time, whether in one person or the population as a whole. I can empathize with the woman who made the tomato pie. I’ve made a few things that were less than popular with my family. You would think they would at least buck up and pretend they like it. lol!

      I think it would be fascinating to learn more about how they preserved food way back when. I think you should write a blog post about it. Someday. 😀

      • Karma says:

        That’s an interesting idea, Robin. I’ve been thinking maybe I should take a visit back to my former place of employment and take some photos – you may have inspired a future post or two! 🙂

  4. I could happily live in an old house like the one you have photographed, Robin. Imagine using that lovely old stove.

    As Karma says, tomatoes were once thought of as being poisonous, but it was later discovered that some people became ill after eating tomatoes due to the vessels they were stored in! Some connection to the acid in the tomatoes having an adverse reaction to a substance in the storage vessel.

    I’ve been dying to ask ~ why is it that you say you are “canning”, when the produce is preserved in jars? Over here, we call it preserving. I wondered for ages how you managed to seal those can, making them airtight, in your kitchen at home! It got the better of me recently and I told my son about it…he suggested maybe you were actually putting the produce in jars. (Who’s the dummie then? *red face*)

    • Robin says:

      Joanne: I meant to answer this yesterday…

      I could happily live in a rustic place like that, too. I love the simplicity of it all. Did you notice that in the kitchen in the first photo there are three representations of how water is brought into the house? I thought that was pretty cool.

      Visiting some of the old ranches in Colorado has given me some decorating ideas. I think I’ll be visiting flea markets and yard sales more often in the future months. 🙂

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