Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Of vintage canners, planting by moon, and 1940's rationing

I wanted to blog about everything that doesn't have to do with Katie's birthday today, mostly farm and kitchen related happenings. I needed a second pressure canner, so many things take 90 minutes to process plus the heat up and cool down times that 7 jars can take a few hours all told. New pressure canners cost a bit more than I'm willing to pay for such a thin walled contraption (they say it's to make them heat up and cool down faster than the old style but I don't believe it, it's all about cheap, shoddy goods) so I kept watch for a nice used one and I found this beauty!

I think it dates to the 1930's, it has wooden handles instead of the usual Bakelite. I really think it's cute, or as cute as a pressure canner can reasonably be anyway. :-)

We planted the crops that bear above ground last Wednesday and Thursday, the ground was dry and we didn't water them at all and!!! the plants are up, way up, yesterday morning! That is so amazing! I have never, in all my years of gardening seen seeds do this. Planting by the Moon was one of the smartest gardening moves we've ever made. Above is one of the hills of corn with a bean also up (they use the corn stalks to trellis themselves).

On my way back from taking the garden picture I snapped this picture below. I didn't "artistically arrange" the snaths or the yoke. They rest at the corner of the porch and the yoke does its duty daily in the hauling of water to the pigs, chickens, turkeys and cow. The yoke is surprisingly comfortable, light weight yet strong. Aleks used it this Spring in hauling sap, that was its original purpose but now it assists in water hauling. Following the old ways brings such a sense of "rightness" about it, there's something about doing the same things in the same way that people have been doing for hundreds of years that meets a need that humans have to feel connected to the natural world. There's a peace in it that isn't readily found in our plastic, throw away world.

I dispatched Levi to go take a picture of the Buff Orpington hen with her Chocolate turkey baby, as you can see by the ruffled neck feathers the hen was irritated at the intrusion. She was so anxious to go broody that Aleks gave her a turkey egg and she struts around proudly with her surrogate baby. :-)

Doesn't it look like a little bandit? Chocolate turkeys are very rare, one of the rarest heritage breeds that there are.

And lastly, have you read about the gal who decided to lose weight following 1940's recipes using rationed food proportions? Her goal is to lose 100 pounds and she's well on her way. I thought it was an interesting idea and certainly a worthwhile goal. She lists an authentic recipe for every pound she loses, I think there are 30 some on there now.


  1. That Canner looks ancient, I like older stuff it was made to last. The cheap china junk is so frustrating use. I have been wanting to raise heritage breed turkeys but have not yet. We once got three bronze hybrid turkey polts and two died so we put a duckling in with it. And when the turkey grew up it went around with the flock of ducks!

  2. Oh my, what a darling turkey baby. What an amazing post this is. I kept putting mental exclamation points everywhere. :) I so envy your lifestyle. Have you ever done a post on how you got to the point you are at now? I'd love to hear about your journey, that is, if you didn't grow up in families that endorsed this kind of lifestyle so that you ALWAYS lived this way!

    The dieting-by-1940s-recipes sounds amazing! I will need to check that out. These 15 lbs I want to loose are just NOT coming off. . .

  3. I really like the clothing that your family wears. Do you make up the patterns? or do you buy the patterns? are they very expensive patterns?
    I really like the gowns and undergarments that you made for your baby.
    I want to make wool diapers with our sheep wool. It is so nice to read about others that have the same mindset on things. I am all for the old ways of doing things. I make cheese from our milk and have been figuring out how to make it without all the modern cultures that commercial cheese makers use. It have been alot of fun and challenging. That baby turkey is cute!
    ~Grace E. F.

  4. Grace, thank you! Many of the patterns are 1850/60 patterns that I've tweaked so that they really fit, unlike "off the rack" garments that aren't truly fitted. Our wardrobe is now a combination of homemade and store bought clothes (it's *hard* to sew for 11!) I'm happy to share our patterns with you, if you'd like, e-mail me at yankeeingenuity1860@yahoo.com

  5. Dear Mrs. G,
    I love the canner. I have two older ones and then this last season I bought a weighted model. I love the weighted model!!! My canners with the gauges had to be checked annually ($4.00 each) to make sure the gauge was still accurate within two pounds and if it wasn't then the gauge needed to be replaced ($25.00 each). I simply got tired of laying out the extra money... I found a weighted model within my price range ($65.00) at Wal-Mart http://www.walmart.com/ip/Presto-16-Quart-Aluminum-Pressure-Canner/5913467
    It is not as nostalgic as the older canners but requires less maintenance.
    I can be in the direct vicinity doing other tasks, laundry, dishes, etc... I live at a high altitude so I have to use the 15 pound weight. Just listening to the weight doing the 'cha -cha' as our garden produce is being put by gives me a warm and cozy feeling. Happy Canning!! Robin

  6. Wonderful post, Paris!

    I had wanted to follow the moon planting and was going to research it to see how it was done. I totally forgot, and it's too late. Maybe next year. Where did you find your information on it?