“A Neighbor’s Bounty”


When I lived on the houseboat, and later when we moved into our own home on our five acres, we were surrounded by farms. I had taught myself to can and to make jam and jelly and with produce so readily available, the summer was full of jars.

Canning food is only economical if the supply of produce is abundant and affordable. Fortunately, in Scappoose, it was both. The first farm I visited to buy cherries was owned by a childless couple Walt and Hazel Gilbert. Hazel took to me and my daughter, just an infant, right away. After that first visit, I never paid for any produce.

The Gilberts supplied me with cherries, apples, raspberries, blackberries, pears, corn, tomatoes, green beans, squash and asparagus. I made jam and jelly from all the fruit and canned the pears and all the  vegetables except the summer squash. I had been raised with holy dread of botulism, and I took no chances in my canning techniques, carefully following the USDA approved methods. Only the asparagus failed to can properly, and it was the only batch I had to discard.

Walt was a silent type, but he willingly went up in the trees for the fruit. Hazel was very warm and social and delighted in our regular visits. Their gift of food was a real blessing at a time when we were short of money and long on time. I will always remember their bountiful generosity.

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