Archive for Monday, July 2, 2012

Aunt Norie’s Sewing Room

July 2, 2012

A gentleman remarked recently, “I never could figure out why they called it a ‘root cellar.’ That just doesn’t make sense.” That took me with a “zap” way back to those days when I felt so very privileged to be, to live, “right here, right now, in these special days.” As I got acquainted and listened to my mother-in-law, oh, the stories she could tell.

It was like jumping from the covered wagons to the automobile (the Model T). You see, I had married Frank. He being the youngest of nine, and I the eldest of four, this put our mothers in two different generations. My mother was so young-like and very active, and his mother was so very elderly and inactive (really). Her sister actually remembered the covered wagon, but she had heard stories of those days, of course, as she grew up. My mother-in-law still practiced many of those habits, especially when it came to food storage and preservation.

I love to garden and can fruit and vegetables. I still have to, I say, “dig in the dirt”: a tomato plant or two and flowers.

I scold myself now: “Why, oh why, didn’t I at least take pictures of her drying racks, her (cedar) wooden root storage containers, for carrots, turnips, even beets, and shelves, holding potatoes and apples, in her truly functioning root cellar?”

The turnips were usually left in the field but mulched with straw, or leaves, enough to keep the soil from freezing.

In the corner of her garden she had this scooped-out bowl-shaped spot, lined with fresh straw. She would pull the cabbage heads, take off the huge outside leaves, leaving the roots on, and place them upside-down. She would cover them with straw as she went, making sure the cabbages didn’t touch. In the winter, she would go out and dig back into the straw, grab a root and pull out a head of cabbage.

Granddad didn’t get into the gardening very much, but he had the smoke house, the fire pit in the center where he smoked the meats. He had big barrels full of fresh oats (I think), to hold the cured hams.

He’d also built her drying rack. I just could kick myself around the block. I have no pictures of that beautiful thing, just wide enough to roll through the smoke house door at night after a day in the hot sun drying. It was probably 5 to 6 feet tall with copper wire shelves, such fine mesh that no flies or insects could get through. All I had was the brownie box camera, but even a picture from that would do. Oh well.

Thank God for our great ancestors.

Pray for our leaders. They need God’s help, for sure.

— Aunt Norie, P.O. Box 265, Tonganoxie, KS 66086;


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