The family took care of the garden. When it came time for planting and harvesting the fields the farmers helped each other, going from farm to farm planting and harvesting. Not all farmers could afford to have all the heavy equipment needed for the different crops. They gladly helped each other knowing that they, too, would be helped with their fields. Some of the most fun was when they mowed the hay and we'd slide down the haystacks or carve out a small shelter in the side of them.
We helped with the preparation for canning, making jellies and pickling; e.g.,
stringing and snapping the beans
shelling the peas
shucking the corn
picking the berries and cherries
When we picked the corn and shucked it, the boys saved the dried corn silk and later stuffed it in a corncob pipe and smoked it. It didn't last long though, it always burned out fast. And they didn't want to risk get caught trying to light up another one. And NO, I did not try smoking it – cross my heart and hope (not) to die. Smoking was never a vice of mine.
There was a trap door in the kitchen floor that covered the steps leading down to the cool "dirt" cellar. That's where the bins were for storing potatoes and shelves for all the jars of canned vegetables, jellies, and meats. My favorite canned meat was the pork tenderloins. It was saved for special occasions.
There was no smoke house on the farm where we spent the summers, so the butchered meat was taken to a smoke house. Virginia is famous for its smoked, salted or honey cured hams.
We were already back at school when the apple butter and cider were made.
Such was life for kids on a farm during summer vacations. Then, it was back to school in the city and indoor plumbing. Looking back, to those days, in some ways spending the summer on a farm was like glorified camping with chores.
I once made homemade strawberry jam....about as close as I've come to canning or pickeling or anything like that. It was rather good, if I do say so myself. My grandpa and I ate jars of the stuff in the weeks after I made it (we practically lived off toast and jam for a month). LOL.
I love smoked meats and jerkey too, but I'm glad of my ignorance in how that's made. It was bad enough as a kid knowing the deer jerkey my step dad gave me came from bambi. ^.~
Great entry. One day I'll have to visit a farm....