Seventy tomatoes turned into 28 pints of salsa. And 14 cucumbers turned into 12 pints of pickles.
I have always admired women of older days who canned and froze their veggies so their families could enjoy them all through the year. Both my grandmothers and my mother were three of those kind of women. I remember my mama being up to her elbows cutting corn off the cob to freeze. That creamy goodness making the biggest mess.
My mind's eye sees MaMa Howell rocking in her chair on the front porch shelling beans. Sometimes she and some of my aunts and my mom would get together on a hot summer afternoon and shell beans or peas or something else from the garden. We cousins would get to play and have bologna sandwiches for lunch.
When MaMa Kimball was living, there was rarely a meal that I had at her house that didn't include some sort of field pea. She must've froze a million bags.
These women are my heroes. Especially now that I'm grown up and see how much work they put into taking care of their families, which included me. They'd pull weeds around the veggies. Then they'd have to pick them. And you couldn't pick them in shorts and a tank top. Oh, no, the bugs would eat you alive. They'd have to put on long sleeves and pants. Have you ever picked a row of butterbeans half a mile long in July or August wearing pants and long sleeves? I sure haven't.
But weeding and picking the vegetables almost seems easy compared to how much work it is to put them away. Shelling, shucking, peeling. As a little girl, I remember shelling butterbeans until the skin behind my thumb would be sore. Desperately trying to get every silk off the ears corn. My mama wouldn't allow you to leave too many on there.
Nowadays, corn comes frozen in a log. You can get a bag of butterbeans for a couple of dollars. It's pretty good, for sure. Is it as good as what grew in my daddy's garden and what my mama worked her fingers to the bone for us to eat? Heck no.
So feeling nostalgic, I guess, or crazy, more than likely, I decided to put away some of the things that Jeff grew. He pretty much had a salsa and pickle garden. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. My nails are stained orange from the tomatoes. I won't be biting my nails for a good long while because every time my finger goes to my lips, my mouth catches on fire from the peppers. My hands smell like they've been caressed with Eau de Onion hand lotion.
But I can now include myself in the same category with my mama and my grandmothers. My heroes. And that makes A Girl Named Kelly Kelly very proud.
Till next time...