I loved to visit my “Aunt” Harriet. She was not really my aunt, she was my Mom’s cousin. However, with me the youngest of the youngest and her the oldest of the oldest, she was a white-haired senior citizen when I was a baby. She was an avid gardener and by avid, I mean she and her husband had a two acre garden. Even better, their next door neighbor was a corn farmer which meant acres of corn field to play hide and seek.
All that gardening meant a lot of canning which meant a summer kitchen. It was a mid-sized outbuilding near the garden, shaded by Norway pines with screens instead of windows. There were wooden awnings over all the windows that could be shut for the winter or in heavy rains, but were raised up to provide even more shade and the free movement of the breeze through all the screened windows that filled all four walls. There was a huge galvanized sink and a wood stove for canning, tables for cleaning, trimming and lots of shelves going from the floor to the bottom of the windows but never high enough to block them. This meant their house did not get heated up by the steam from canning in the heat of the summer. With the kitchen so open to the air, the summer kitchen never got steamy. There were also a few fold-away cots so when I would get to stay for a week, I got to sleep out there. The canning was usually done by noon, so it was not hotter than the house. It was a bit of thrill to be able to be alone out there. Spooky, but safe. Continue reading