Growing up, I remember my father always planting a garden. My mother would preserve every vegetable that was harvested.

In my early upbringing every vegetable was preserved by canning, processed carefully in jars that lined the cellar walls. During high school my parents purchased a freezer with most vegetables then preserved by that method.

Peaches, tomatoes and pickles also were still canned. My parents planted and cared for a garden and preserved the vegetables so our family could eat during the winter months.

There has always been a garden planted at our Bombay home (and our first home in Ohio; the second house we lived at while in Ohio before moving to Bombay, was a few feet away from Main Street with no space for growing vegetables). The fresh vegetables were eaten throughout the summer and fall with those not consumed preserved by freezing (relish is still preserved by canning in Mason jars).

We were grateful this past year to have a freezer full of vegetables, tomato sauce from fresh garden tomatoes, applesauce, zucchini bread and blueberry muffins on hand when shopping became difficult. This summer was no different.

The Gardener made sure the vegetables grew without the assistance of our neighborly raccoon and deer families. He then harvested them and brought them to our kitchen. Each crop has been prepared and frozen for use this winter.

Our work with those vegetables was something we have done since our sons were young. None of what we did had anything to do with a pandemic or trending.

Sunday, I had the marvelous opportunity to visit online with our daughter-in-law. As we visited by text, she sent me a photo with an accompanying story that told readers there has been a shortage of canning jars and lids this summer.

The article explained that during the novel coronavirus pandemic lockdown, people who had previously tended gardens planted bigger than normal ones. There also was a “boom in gardening,” readers were told. With vegetables in readiness and with an increase number of people cooking and trying new recipes during the pandemic, there has been a “surge in canning.”

This surge has led to a shortage of Mason jars and lids, we were told. The head of the Oregon state food preservation hotline explained that staff members had learned in answering their calls about the shortage of jars and lids, that there were so many more people canning this year than have canned before. She also said they had seen a “big upswing in new people trying to can.”

Thankfully, I had the jars I use for relish and even had purchased lids last year. Some of those same lids were shared with our neighbor, who wasn’t able to find any in local stores.

Most of my food preparation involves freezing. As we prepared the vegetables each week, I needed more zip lock freezer bags.

At one point, there were no freezer bags available (thankfully, I have since found some to use). Each order placed would simply state “temporarily out of stock”!

I found it fascinating to think something I have done for now nearly my entire life to feed our family has become a trend. What fun!

I am sure my mother would smile while thinking her preparation for winter eating has now become a trending fad. With thanks to my daughter-in-law for sharing a fun picture and story, I hadn’t realized canning had become a trend!

WITH THANKS

My heartfelt thanks to Andrea at Subway in the Speedway Plaza on Route 37. There was an order placed last week.

In recent weeks, one of the menu offerings at Subway has been a s’more cookie. For me, the Subway s’more cookie is pure heaven.

With the thought of a s’more cookie in mind, I asked if they had any available (the order was placed about 5 p.m.; I was once told this summer that I would have to stop in at about 10 a.m. to get cookies, they disappear that quickly). The young woman on the other end of the telephone line quietly said there were no s’more cookies available. I thanked her and completed my order.

When I arrived at the Subway pickup window, a young woman named Andrea asked if I was “Ellen” (I had to give my name when placing our order). When I said “Yes,” her masked face lit up.

“I was hoping I’d be here when you came,” she said delightedly.

Her joy was contagious. I was happy just to have seen Andrea and see her joy over our meeting.

And then she shared the good news: “They just made cookies!” Yes, there were warm s’more cookies ready for enjoying with the coffee I had in readiness at home.

My heartfelt thanks to this amazing young woman. She took care of our order, preparing everything far more than I expected, complete with a warm, fresh out of the oven s’more cookie. And her joy was wonderful — there was a smile in her eyes as I paid and took our order.

Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live and pick up an order complete with a warm cookie included? I certainly think so!

COUNTDOWN

I miss Jeff McCallus and his countdown to Christmas (which always began the day after Christmas the year before). Monday, a television reporter telling of upcoming sales announced proudly there were 73 more days until Christmas. Perhaps Jeff had called the station to announce his Countdown!

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

— Anne Frank

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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