How Country Folks Lived
Without The Corner Store
The thing about years ago, our weekly shopping trip wasn’t to a corner store. We had our own pantry where we kept all our preserves and in the Fall of each year, it was chucked full of all kinds of things. The way the winter weather was back then, folks wasn’t able to get to town for supplies. For most parts we grew our own and what we didn’t grow we bartered for.
Through the summer months we ate fresh out of the garden every day. I remember every spring, Laura and I would head off to a small clear brook, just up the road from us. It was a bit of a walk but with the trees just coming into leaf and the spring flowers showing themselves, it was sure a site to see. I used to enjoy all the smells of the bush and in my eyes there is nothing like it. In the small brook, down near the bottom, Laura would find the water crest, a small leafy plant that we used for salads. Being so fresh and tasty you could eat it right out of the water if you took a notion to. We would pick a couple of baskets and head on home.
Later on for supper we would have the tastiest salad you could ever ask for. To get some more ingredients for that salad Laura and I would head on out to the pasture fields to find morels, a type of mushroom. I got to tell you, they make my mouth water just thinking about them. They mostly grow up on knolls and in the spring of the year. If it was a good year we would have more than our share. The morels would be taken home by the basket full. A few would be then taken, washed and put in with the salad. A few more would be fried with garlic, fresh butter and cream. That would be put on top of the salad, when all said and done.
Back to our garden, this time we would pick a few tomatoes, some onions and fresh garlic tops that we planted last fall. Them all cut up and mixed in the salad, we were almost ready. The last to go in was a few chopped up apples also from our trees out back, which we had put away for the winter. Once all mixed in with the fried morels and garlic poured over the top, it was ready for us to dig in. I have to say it was sure tasty, also very healthy and the best part was, it didn’t cost us a cent, other than a bit of energy from the walk to the bush.
Most of our things came to us that way and Laura had a way of fixing them up, so that a young fella couldn’t wait to get to the table at meal times.
For winter meat we did up a steer, a pig and some laying hens that stopped laying. The hens would be kind of tough being so old but Laura would let them simmer on the old wood stove all afternoon in a big pot mixed with more fresh vegetables. After she got finished with them, the meat would fall off the bones and there wasn’t a time that anyone didn’t go back for seconds.
Once in awhile Reg would bring home a deer, to add to our meat supply and if lucky a pheasant or two. If a pheasant did come our way, it would usually go towards our Christmas dinner. Potatoes were grown by a farmer up the road, which was his main crop and we bartered hay for them. Just wasn’t worth our while to grow them ourselves at the time.
In the spring, I couldn’t wait for the sap to start flowing from the hard maple trees. We did up a few jugs of maple syrup every year and my most favorite time was when it was just starting to thicken in the big kettle out in the bush. Reg would dump it on top of a cup of fresh snow and give it to us young ones to eat. It was a treat that we all looked forward to, that’s for sure.
I guess some folks would say it’s not a life by today’s measures but for me looking back, I had everything and more than a young fella could ask for. I had a good home, warm, clean and lots of food, with folks around that cared for me.
Along with that, they taught me the real values in life and how to enjoy each and every day. Sure I had my chores to do but you know, I looked forward in doing them. Every day working with the animals, making sure they were fed and cared for, gave me a feeling of accomplishment.
My rewards were many, no, not with money but with a family, friends and critters of all kinds, along with Mother Nature thrown in to boot. Yep life was good.
Well there you have it, how us country folks lived, with out the corner store.
In Closing I Would Like To wish You Well.