Rural North Florida Efficiency

Reader Contribution by The Mother Earth News Editors
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This story is from Elizabeth Hollingsworth, submitted as part of our Wisdom From Our Elders collection of self-sufficient tales from yesteryear.

I grew up and still live in rural north Florida. Growing up, we butchered our own hogs, using the fat for lard and cooking “cracklins” in a big, black cast iron pot outside on the fire.

Our men hunted and butchered deer themselves, we had a huge garden, canned everything, and my grandparents stored redskin potatoes in the sand underneath their off-the-ground house. The potatoes lasted for a long, long time, and we kids enjoyed crawling under the house to get them.

My grandparents had a couple of pear trees and a fig tree that we gathered fruit from and preserved. We went on fruit picking days— blackberries, huckleberries, mayhaws, even down south to pick some strawberries a few times. We made jelly, jam and preserves out of the fruit.

We fished in our own ponds and swam in the river and springs nearby. We went on drives in the country (when gas was MUCH cheaper than now!). For fun, we had potlucks and everyone brought a dish and a musical instrument and we’d eat and then sing for hours on end, with all generations having fun all at the same party. It was a lot of work, but it made us strong and healthy and close-knit and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

Photo by Fotolia/Annette Linea Rasmus

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