Sunday, August 29, 2010

The 5 and Dime - Yet another BBQ

A young Army soldier home from the war, a microbiologist, a truck driver, a mother, an Espiscopal Priest, a physician, an insurance agent and the roster continues. Far-reaching in vocations within this one gathering, offering a gamut of incongruities.

Hailing from Missouri, Maryland and just over the county line depicts only a minor portion of the eclectic group who attended the August 2010 BBQ.

With June weather in August; a slightly, waning moon; gentle, subdued breezes and the soft, flickering of lightning bugs, we converged to share a meal, meet new friends and greet old ones.

Unlike the vocations and locations, the variety of instruments was reduced comprising only 2 banjos, 1 fiddle, 2 guitars and a bass and all of a sudden the diversity was lessened.

Steve and Mark were our grill masters, determining the effectiveness of a remarkable smoker that Mark had constructed. In tow, from Missouri to Virignia, he and his wife, Christine delivered this outstanding gift to Steve. The meat was succulent, the group was complete and the night flat-out gorgeous.

Oldfriends; Steve and Mark, new friends; Christine and me, feelings spoken and those unspoken, in retrospect it appeared a common thread weaves us all together. I proclaim it is conceivable that amongst the myriad of differences we all succumb to the same end - love and acceptance and at long last the chasm exists no longer!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

REAL ESTATE - Love, Hate Relationship

Some ancient philosopher said that love and hate are 2 sides of the same coin. That is what I think about each year at this time as the college kids return to their seasonal party grounds.

I am usually reminded of their return on Freshman move in day when I am stuck in traffic on Reservoir Street and get cut off at the light by a Lexus with Jersey plates. Another indicator is the growing amount of trash along the street at our office. Beer cans, pizza boxes and fast food bags appear each morning and we know classes have begun when the red plastic cups start sprouting in our yard. My anger usually peaks when we lose a cluster of mailboxes or I have to confront some punk to explain that I do not maintain the yard so his pitbull has a place to poop.

My anger doesn't last long as I soon realize that this migration will go on whether I like it or not and my personal suffering is a small price to pay for the benefits of JMU. There is a positive side to life with 19,000 extra residents and all of the other things that JMU brings to the community and it starts with economics. Besides a 395 million dollar budget to run the school, the financial impact from students, faculty and staff floats our local economy. They buy homes, rent apartments, shop in our stores and work alongside all of us in community service projects. Harrisonburg would be a mighty dull place were it not for the money and energy from JMU. Maybe the next time I get cut off by the Jersey Lexus, I will just smile.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The 5 and Dime - Keezletown Cannery

Please be certain to read "The 5 and Dime" dated 8/18/2010, 1940's Farming, before this one.

(A sister showing off her Grand Titons and one to spare!)

On August 17, 2010 at 8:30 am four of us headed to the Keezletown Community Cannery to can 5 bushels of tomatoes. Under normal circumstances this would be a daunting task, taking untold hours if prepared in our home kitchens. I ask you to only imagine the amount of tomato seeds, skins and juice that would be concealing the floor by the end of the day? I literally get the nervous tremors at the thought. I have to admit it makes me want to just sew that bomb in my underwear thing . . . . some of you remember the underwear bomber right!

Few people seem to know about our local cannery and that is an immense loss for them. Although home canning has been losing favor through the years it is slowly coming back into vogue with many families choosing to buy local foods then store them up for the winter. Recognizing the call, we four sisters excitedly headed out to process our local tomatoes for the fifth year.

(The shorter, dark haired girl in this pix is not a sister but a magazine writer. The other sister would be me and I am taking the pixs.)

I could go on for pages explaining to you the speed in which a project like this can go due to the aid of massive cook pots, pressure cookers the size of which could preserve a human being and steam tables equally large but you can't fathom the camaraderie and accomplishment gained if you never tried. No canning experience is necessary as Trudy and RT Hammer, the cannery operators are consistanly by your side making certain you do things right to stay safe and be successful. Also they are the only ones allowed to operate the more risky equipment. (Thank goodness for that blessing.)

Be prepared to have a day you will always remember. A day of meeting and working with new neighbors and feeling a complete sense of accomplishment when you cast a view over those colorful jars of food just waiting to be enjoyed during the cold winter days.

Hey and you know what else? After our day of working together, sharing lunch with fellow

canners, eating gingersnaps and reading magazines we arrived home at 3pm (to our clean kitchens)

with 76 quarts of pure gold!!!

(This is just some of the stash - the others jars were still in the cooker at pix time.)

BTW, you will never guess who stopped by for 10 minutes (not to get her hands dirty nor to stay too long due to the sweltering heat) none other than.........QGG!! We suppose she is expecting at least half of the production from this day of work.

The 5 and Dime - 1940's

1940's style Farming!

As part of the war effort during WWII, the government rationed a great many foods.
Because of transportation and labor shortages getting fruits and vegetables to market became impossible. To address this problem the government called on the citizens of this country to plant "Victory Gardens". This meant they would supply their own produce and consequently make their rations go further.

Gardens were planted everywhere; backyards, empty lots and even roof tops. Neighbors worked together, pooling money and resources and formed cooperatives in the name of patriotism.

It has been estimated that more than 20 million victory gardens were planted. In 1943 there was an estimate of 315,000 pressure cookers sold compared to 66,000 in 1942. (C. Reinhard, the Ganzel Group)

At the end of the war came the end of the government promotion of victory gardens but it was during this time of need when the Keezletown Community Cannery (KCC) began. In 1942 it started in the basement of the Keezletown School and like many other public canneries during that era, was supported partially by the school system.

KCC is one of a handful of non-profit, can your own, facilities in Virginia. Due to budget cuts Rockingham County no longer supports the cannery. The Horizons Learning Foundation is fervently working to continue the operation of one of the oldest canneries in the U.S.

Please help support this endeavor because our community would sorely miss such a valuable piece of history. Also check out my next 5 and Dime to read about our
latest adventure at the cannery, hopefully you will glean a bit of understanding as to the importance of this historical place.