Ancestor Arts are invaluable. Another way of saying it, “canning”, might not sound so impressive though the reality behind the thought still is. I grew up in the city, so when I got my first real view of a farm in mid-summer, I was absolutely amazed at the vastness of life growing all around me. I had honestly thought that the world was blanketed by cities and that farms were just squeezed in between. Suddenly I had a new perspective. It takes enormous farms to keep the cities alive.
So when my husband and I were graced with an opportunity to buy a place in the country, we jumped at it and we dove right into the exciting world of country living. But that meant we had to learn a thing or two. Ancestor Arts is what my friend and homeschooling “guidance counselor” calls it. She grew up on a farm and knows all about growing, harvesting, canning & preserving the fruits of the earth. Of course, I had the uncanny ability to ask her for help to jam up fruit or pickle cucumbers on the hottest days of summer – but she was always willing to share her expertise. And amazingly enough, I learned to follow her example.
For years now, we have been canning jams, pickling pickles, jarring up salsa, freezing bags of corn, raising and processing chickens, drying and hanging our herbs & onions and doing a number of other “Ancestor Arts” type stuff. We’ve mad a few misadventures through the years – frozen green beans are a particularly unpleasant memory – but most of what we have done has worked out astonishingly well.
Last month my second daughter canned up the cherries almost completely by herself and today I had three other daughters helping me process the pickles. It is a charming way to spend a morning. Not so charming in the heat of a blistering summer day – but even then – it is such a good feeling to discover what nature has accomplished, and to cooperate with your bounty, so that some wonderful food will be waiting for you when the winter winds blow.
There are a lot of good ways to spend time with your kids, but few are quite as rewarding as working to preserve the fruits of your garden for the winter. It just feels so right. And the kids are proud of their new skills. Plus – on a cold snowy day when you pull out that jar of cherry jam and scoop it onto hot biscuits – you can revel in “Remember when…” Ancestor Arts should not be forgotten.