Counting down to the blessings of autumn

Ellen Emery

As a child I remember the glass, quart jars along the shelves as I would walk down the steps into my grandparents’ basement in their home in Skaneateles.

My grandmother would can beans from their garden and the most delicious peaches.

Later, I would watch and help by snapping beans preparing them for canning.

Our mother would can all the vegetables from my father’s garden, providing our family with food for the winter.

My mother-in-law even canned meat and fish for the winter months.

In the early years of our marriage, I also canned vegetables preparing those grown by The Gardener for our use.

A canner was purchased and food processor, too.

Jars and lids were purchased to make this project complete.

Each year, new lids were purchased — which were always available on local store shelves.

After moving to our current home on State Route 95, a freezer was purchased (later, a second freezer was even purchased to hold applesauce that was prepared from The Gardener’s apple trees — the first freezer was filled with vegetables).

Bread and butter pickles and relish are now all that is processed in canning jars.

If any of you have prepared vegetables or relish and pickles, you must realize as I soon did that the vegetables have to be attended to when they are ready.

Last week, the vegetables were ready for relish preparation, which involved canning jars and lids.

I checked my supply since I had made one batch earlier — there were only a few lids remaining in the small square box.

Certainly, those few lids wouldn’t be enough for the recipe I use.

At the top of my shopping list was written “canning lids.”

I first attempted purchasing the lids with my online grocery pickup — but lids were “out of stock.”

I decided to try in-person shopping.

I soon discovered the shelves were completely bare in four stores in Massena.

I came home and checked with our neighbors:

They had purchased canning lids in a store nearby in Brushton.

I called that store only to learn all of their lids had been sold.

I called every store I could think of in Massena and numerous stores in Malone as well.

I learned from each one “they’ve cleaned us out” or “we have none left and don’t know when additional lids will come in.”

There were no canning lids to be found.

It seemed the north country shelves had been emptied of not only lids but every canning supply needed.

A representative from the Mason Jar company reported this week that sales through the online store in late August were up about 600% over the same month in 2020 with 90% of those sales pertaining to canning lids.

The lid shortage doesn’t seem to be limited to Bombay or even the north country.

I noticed a news feature about canning telling the listener that during the novel coronavirus pandemic, many turned to gardening.

Now in an attempt to preserve those vegetables grown during our at-home time, it seems everyone has turned to canning.

If lids are being used for preserving the north country harvest, that is wonderful.

Even though I was pleased that others have once again turned to canning, I still didn’t have lids to process my relish with — and relish is one item that I haven’t found a freezer version to use.

I turned to online shopping and soon discovered the canning lids could be purchased online.

The lids would be delivered on Monday, my order told me.

My relish needed to be made last week.

My neighbor Carole asked if I had found lids yet.

When I told her I hadn’t, my kind neighbor (who cans all of her tomatoes and had found lids to purchase) offered her lids so I could make my relish.

I told Carole that I could replenish her lids when my online order arrived (as I write this column, they still haven’t been delivered).

The lids were sent across the street for use with my canning. How thoughtful our neighbors are in Bombay.

My heartfelt thanks to Carole for sharing this precious commodity — canning lids and trusting they would be returned.

Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live — and preserve vegetables in cans with shared lids from a thoughtful neighbor?

I certainly think so.

BIRTHDAY WISHES

A terrific gentleman, Bruce Truax, will celebrate his birthday Saturday.

Bruce is skilled at brewing the best cup of coffee on a Sunday morning and is always there to make sure each one enjoys their coffee and a muffin.

Bruce also is always there for family and friends in need and makes sure the lawn is mowed in readiness for Sunday morning and makes sure every repair is taken care of at home — and for neighbors and church, too.

I am sure your wife, Gini, and your family and many friends throughout the north country will join me today in wishing you only the best as you celebrate your birthday.

Have a great day. Enjoy!

REMEMBRANCES

Last week, I mentioned the return of “vinyl” or records, as we refer to them in our home.

When I mentioned playing our records, I said we had purchased our stereo at the Hi-Fi Shop in Massena (and a wonderful radio, too, that each family on Townsend Road had set to the same Montreal station!).

That small reference was added the final time I read through my column. It was a remembrance I wanted to share.

How nice this week to receive a note from a faithful Massena column reader who remembered visiting the Hi-Fi Shop.

With her email, she sent a picture that had been posted online of the store on the corner of Parker Avenue and St. Regis Boulevard.

The photo must be one taken when the Hi Fi Shop was open since there is a “Zenith” sign in front of the store.

With that posting, my friend noted a comment made by her sister from out of state saying she also loved to visit the Hi-Fi Shop.

This week as we shopped in Massena, we drove by the Hi-Fi Shop only to see it being demolished.

I will look for new life in that space and remember visits to the store.

I hope you will remember this week a purchase made from Leo Beaudet, who established the Hi-Fi Shop in 1958.

He operated that store until 1990 when he retired.

It was in the Hi-Fi Shop that I first met Todd Truax as he assisted with my technology questions (which he still does today).

My thanks this week for faithful readers and fond remembrances of a local business. I wonder how many in Massena still have radios, stereos and speakers from the Hi-Fi Shop that bring music into our homes.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“Being a good neighbor is an art which makes life richer.”

— Gladys Taber

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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