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Friday, July 5, 2013

Jenny's Homefront Strategy


Lately, I've had a thing for all things 1940...

It started while watching Eleanor Burn's Strip Quilting show and went on to watching Bomb Girls. What is our current fascination with this generation? I'm not sure.

I think part of what resinates with us, is this was a time when people came together for a common cause and women were, for one of the first times in history, literally called upon by our government to "keep the homefronts running" so our men could concentrate on the war. Women were valued not only for what we could do in the workplace, keeping American industry strong, but for one time in history, for what we could do, and had been doing, in our homes for so long. For once, the value of our work got the spotlight.

Reduce, reuse and recycle were very much common themes that are very familiar to us today. Women were encouraged to be as resourceful as they possibly could in planting victory gardens and finding many new ways of nourshing our families. I seem to recall on the show, The Supersizer's Go... that, directly after the war, people were (at least in Britian) much healthier than they had been in decades.

The beautiful lady in the corner of this blog was my grandmother. She was an inspiration to all that knew her and if you can't tell by the picture a fun person to be around. She was very resourceful, very crafty and truly a women of the modern age. She worked when women didn't work out of the home, she forged her own path and didn't listen to anyone who told her what she was or wasn't. In her honor and because it was her generation, I'm naming this "Jenny's Homefront Strategy".

Jenny's Homefront Strategy

Jenny's Homefront Strategy is all about being resourceful and preparing for the upcoming months ahead when produce prices become higher. It's about canning, couponing, gleaning, trading, drying, crafting and preparation. It's about taking stock of what you have and what your family may need. Like what our grandmothers or mother's may have had to do to make sure that their family got through an uncertain future. Our future is in no way certain in the midst of unemployment, layoffs, rising costs and an uncertain economy. To use a quote from one of my favorite Disney movies:
"Luck favors the prepared".

When we moved out to our farmhouse 15+ years ago, we were a newly married couple that had little savings. I had grown up on a farm so one of my first moves was to begin planting a garden and fruit trees...after all, one can't eat grass. I also discovered that the area we moved to had many farm stands and pick your own options... and that they varied in price. I learned how to can and do everything possible to stretch our meager income. The fruit and plants that I planted didn't always produce what we needed but through the years of trial and error, we finally began being able to rely more and more on what our little "farm" could produce. One of my most cherished memories was when my mother came to my home and stated that I "had a nice little farm here". A farm, my mother recognized my little house as a farm!

So with as much rain as we've had going on in the Northeast this year, it appears we should have a wonderful year for our gardens here on the farm. The cherry tree is still producing (and I'm getting so sick of picking, not to mention becoming a smorgasbord for the mosquitos and biting flies) but I'm counting my blessings as they haven't always been there and going out picking everyday being grateful for the bounty.

So what was the final tally and what did we make with all the cherries?

  1. Traded 6 quarts for 6 quarts of strawberries at the local fruit market. 
  2. Canned 3 quarts of maraschino cherries, five pints cherry jelly, three half pints cherry jelly, two pints of cherry syrup and two half pints of cherry syrup
    (the later being used for "glaze" in fruit salad)
  3. Froze three Tupperware containers full of cherries.
    2013's Cherry Harvest from ONE TREE
  4. Took four to work as gifts for people I work with

Summer in a Jar!

So what are your strategies for filling the pantry for the winter months? What did your grandmothers do to make sure their families were fed? Do you still have their recipes? What are you planning on "putting up" this summer?

Until next time....

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