Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

It's only fitting that I post today on St. Patrick's Day.....after all my Irish ancestors can be traced back to 16th century Ireland. I get this part of my ancestry from my maternal grandfather........Jack Everett McGuire, Sr.

Grandpa had a sense of humor and he loved to laugh. He loved fishing, gardening, traveling, professional wrestling and most of all his family. Grandpa and Grandma did a lot of traveling during their life. Grandpa always said that nothing made him happier than to have a chunk of cheese, a chunk of bologna and soda pop while traveling. I guess that is where I get my junk food cravings while traveling. Yes, I always have a box of goodies and an ice chest with my cold drinks in the van when we travel.

Grandpa and Grandma always had a huge garden with lots of veggies and flowers. At times gardening was hard for Grandpa because he was disabled and had to use a crutch to get around. He had polio when he was a child and that weakened his legs. Then as a young man his back was injured in a accident. Grandpa and Grandma preserved hundreds of jars of fruit, meat and veggies each year for their family. They had 11 children........2 died in childhood. They had 9 boys and 2 girls. There was always somebody around to help Grandpa with the heavy stuff.

My favorite food that Grandma canned was Green Beans with Tiny New Potatoes. I could eat a quart of them by myself. I've never tasted any as good as Grandma's. I'm going to try canning some myself this year. She also canned Strawberries that could be used on Strawberry Shortcake. Mom said that she just thickened the juice with a little bit of cornstarch......I tried once to can them that way and mine didn't turn out like Grandma's. I found a recipe for canning Strawberries that are not supposed to float. You are supposed to be able to use them for Strawberry Shortcake. I thought I would try one batch and see how they turn out. Now I just have to wait for Strawberries!

Grandpa raised a lot of the meat the family needed. Each fall there would be 1 -2 hogs, 1 - 2 steers and lots of chickens to butcher. Grandpa had a cow or 2 for years. Yep, Grandpa was right out there milking both morning and evening. He would bring the buckets of milk in the house and Grandma would take care of it. She always skimmed off the cream. She used the cream for whipping and most important of all.......butter. I loved it when we got to take home cream to make butter. I used to get in trouble all the time because I would shake the jar of cream on the way home and Mom would have to finish off the butter. She would tell me not to shake it up......and I did it anyway. Oh, how beautiful and tasty that butter was on Mom's biscuits.

All of my grandparents are gone now. I cherish all the memories and the skills I learned from each of them.


Cat Nap Inn Primitives said...

oh shirley you were a naughty little girl weren't you? but the memories make my mouth water...I make black berry jam from the wild ones here...and grate zuchinni to use in breads..need to can more..I remember as a young girl we used to put up nectarines, plums etc..hated doing it as a kid hated the sticky juice running up my arm as I cute the skins off..now I love doing it..go figure..have a wonderful week!..:)

Gena said...

Loved your story!