Friday, September 12

Phew!!! Finished. Maybe...

I have been working on a little e-book about Writing Life Stories.  It has been an on and off adventures, as I travel, work on other projects and generally procrastinate.  However, today it is done.  Well at least until I decide to make any other changes.

I have sent it to my "critical friend" for a review!  So will see what happens.  I hope that within a couple of days I will have it up and ready for sale through Amazon.   This is a BIG step for me - this is the girl who likes writing, but cringes at the thought of others reading it and not feeling satisfied with my work.  Eeek.

I have however, decided to finish some of the items lurking in my computer - which includes publishin my mother's and father's stories - yep.  One each.  I have ideas on what I will do with them. Also in my "spare" time, I am putting together a recipe book - just for family.  A collection of recipes and stories.

I was fortunate in that I grew up in a home where we grew our own fruit and vegetables, and that my mother made us help with the preparation of many of these items for her preserves.  In those days (1950's and 1960's) if one had an abundance of produce we would work to preserve it in some way.

Each summer holidays, we would be tasks with picking the fruit and gently washing and cutting it.  If it was for the preserving of the fruit we took much care in choosing good looking fruit and carefully cutting them in half.  The fruit would be layered, cut side down, and pushed into the Vacola glass jars.  Without squashing the fruit, it was loaded with as much fruit as one could fit in.  In those days Mum made a sugar and water syrup which was poured into the jars up above the fruit.  About 6 or 8 jars would be placed in a metal dish with a couple of inches of warm water, and put in the oven.  We had an electric oven in those days, and the heat would be turned up for about an hour I think.  I can't exactly recall - but I think the rubber band was on the jar and the lid firmly held in place for the cooking process by metal clips.  When the cooking was done, and the oven cooled, they would be removed from the oven and when totally cool, the metal clips would be removed as a vacuum within the jar ensured that the lid was sealed until it was at some stage in the future, forcible opened.

We did apricots and peaches in this manner, and once mum did rhubarb too.  I think she did it only once, as I can recall her taking it out of the oven and some of the glass jars exploded and cut her on the face, and covered the whole kitchen - benches, walls, floor, ceiling etc with cooked rhubarb!  It was a very dramatic day in our household!!!

We had plenty of apricots which we not only preserved, but made jam and dried them.  Jam was pretty simple - the fruit was washed and cut up, and bruised and overripe fruit was used for this.  It was put in a big boiling pot on the top of the stove with a measured amount of water and later sugar, and cooked until it was ready.  One had to put a small amount on a spoon and onto a plate - if it wrinkled or set when it cooled - it was ready.  Jars previously "sterilised" in the oven would then be filled and a cellphane lid held in place by a rubber band would be placed on top.  We wet them, and as the jar cooled, the cellophane pulled tight - and kept the air out until we were ready to eat the jam.

Dried apricots were pretty easy.  My sister and I (and no doubt Mum and Dad) cut the fruit and placed it on racks that Dad had built.  They were then layered into a contraption that Dad built and sulphur was burned at night (the smell infiltrated the whole neighbourhood!!), with the fumes "treating" the apricots.  They were left out in the sun to dry further, before being packed away for future use.

These and other stories must not be forgotten - our children and their children should know what we did in those days.  Life was so much different!!

Back to my book - it is about recording these stories - and I encourage others to write as much as they can before it is too late.

So back to my biography........


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