Harvest Time: What's Your Fondest Memory?

| 9/28/2009 8:52:21 AM

Tags: question to readers,

Fall Party


Not that long ago, around this time of year, friends and family would gather in celebration of the harvest. There was a little hard work, but it was followed by lots of fun and fellowship.

I remember shucking ear after ear of corn with my aunts, as they prepared to freeze a particularly large bumper crop one year. All winter, as we enjoyed our "hard work corn" (as my mom would call it), we remembered the fun that went into preserving it. What are your favorite memories of the harvest? Do you still attend harvest parties today?

Photo by iStockphoto/Thomas Perkins

10/1/2009 10:50:25 AM

My fondest memories are of natures harvest rather than garden harvest. We would forage the woods for gunny sacks full of hazelnuts and butternuts. Spread them out on tarps in the garage and when the outer casings dried we would roll them under our shoes to release the nuts inside. Kind of like a harvest dance. I put on my first harvest dinner celebration this late summer when the gardens began gifting us with the seasons produce. Venison roast smothered in root veggies surrounded by everything from the garden, wild fruits and eggs from the chickens. The more, the merrier, to share it with. A new tradition, a refreshing "holiday gathering" untouched by commercialism.

roy fritz
10/1/2009 7:55:41 AM

The moments during harvest are of the greatest value only to those that have watched the growth from the land provide them with a winters food supply. For years my harvest memories are sitting in front of the warm fire in the fall as the first snow falls going over the years supply of 104 quart jars of each of our vegtables. Each filled with food from my our garden. The carrots we left in the garden to dig up as needed. Memories of takeing my extra pumpkins to town about a week before halloween and sitting in front of the small local school and handing them out to the school kids as they head for home. Harvest time is seeing a small kid trying to carry a pumpkin home that is larger than they can put ther arms around. But they make it and there was always enough left over for those that didn't make it the first time. The cooking smells and satisfaction of harvest time are the best of memories. When the snow has fallen deeply, the fire is warm, and supper made from you harvested garden is the in front of you. Homesteading is a good clean healthy life to live. Harvest time is the gathering of family and friends to create another memory.

10/1/2009 5:44:11 AM

I have always lived on a working farm. Some of my favorite memories are: During the summer we would can(in tin cans) boiled peanuts in a large cast iron pot over a open fire. My job was to put the lids on the cans with a hand turned crimper. Some of these peanuts would be mailed to Germany for my Uncle, stationed there. After school each day in the fall we would have to pick two bags ( appx. 2 bushels) of field corn and place into piles in the field. On Saturdays, Daddy would drive by the piles and throw the corn into the back of the truck to take to the barn. During the winter we would shuck, then run the ears through the hand cranked sheller to feed the chicken and pigs. The barn, filled with hay and corn, was a warm, cozy place to play with the city cousins on Sunday afternoons. Now in November, we make sugar cane syrup. We invite family and friends over to visit and to eat. For all the early birds that come to help grind the cane into juice on a 100 year old press, we make biscuits and sausage for breakfast, Lunch is usually dried beans and cornbread and what ever anyone wants to bring. Around 4 o'clock the syrup is cooked and jarred, so out comes leftover cornbread and roasted peanuts that go into the cooking pan to soak up any left over syrup. I love my country life!! and hope I will never have to change.

vickie barbour
9/30/2009 12:26:04 PM

I have never attended a harvest festival, or had the wonder of a garden to watch come in as a child, teenager or young adult. I do remember my grandfather having one, however, my parents were divorced and I never saw it in the fall. I have always dreamed of a life with these things in them. So as an adult I have gone out of my way to provide them for myself over the last few years. I guess though the most wonderful thing about harvest and this time of year is the next lighting of the oven. When the match touches the paper and kindling and you know that no matter what the next few hours will be some of the best you will ever have. The lighting, signifies that it is time to cook, sing, be merry with neighbors and friends. I light my oven once a week and cook more then enough food for as long as my garden supports it. For us lighting is all encompassing. From one firing, we cook enough food to eat all week, put some back, boil water for brewing beer and mead. A typical Wednesday in the fall we cook, bread, a chicken, turkey or some other meat, roasted veggies, beans, soup, followed up with pear cobbler, pumpkin bread and cookies. As our outdoor earthen oven cools down, and we sit with neighbors at the firepit watching the fire, started with the coals from the oven, chickens, dogs, bees and the world go by. There is nothing better. I do not know if this is a Harvest Festival. But it is some of my best fall moments.

9/30/2009 12:01:46 PM

For me it's tomatoes! My dad had a big home made BBQ pit in the back of the house where we'd be boiling water for canning. My mom and grandmother would spend hours peeling hot tomatoes or blending them up, and canning them while dad would be picking them and I'd be driving the tractor back and forth to the garden with another trailer load of tomatoes. All year long we'd have those canning jars stored in the basement just ready for another meal!

9/30/2009 10:49:32 AM

I grew up not a farm per say but a large piece of ground where we utilized every inch. We had rabbits for meat, a large patch of raspberries which I can remember always offering to help pick but not many made it to my basket but the little berry baskets lines the stairs that went to the kitchen-which were many. We had chickens that we raised for eggs and when the hend reached maturity we would have to help pluck. We had an apple orchard and I remember helping my mother can and harvest every year. My grandmother had a root cellar-which I thought everyone had. I can still remember the smell and the shelves of canned vegies and the smell of potaotes. I love the summers, and gardening but fall harvest is something special, it's when we go hunting, start moving the wood closer to the house, start cooking stews and I am like a little mother quirrel getting her nest ready for the winter. My husband gre up on a cattle ranch and it's funny we have lived in the big city, had the big fancy houses and now we are returning to our roots. After 30 years when most people are thinking of retiring to a condo or traveling the world we are selling everything to return to a simpler and I must say more enjoyable lifestyle. We have both already experienced and tried all of. I can field dress a deer, sheep, chickens, turkeys, geese and pigs. I have birthed sheep in 20 below weather in the middle of the night and carried water in 3' snow banks when our water system went out. I learned how to take down 180 pound sheep to trim his hooves when I only weighed 120 so can I do this lifestyle? You bet and I can't wait. Reading mother earth news makes me yearn for that simpler and more rewarding life. I am so ready to leave the rat race and materialistic world where it is and return to a lifestyle that my grand mother lived. She died at age 94, without taking any medications, without any packaged foods or junk foods. I would like to leave my grand children with the opti

sharon ritchie
9/30/2009 8:35:47 AM

I have wonderful memories of corn picking time with my Dad. I would be in the wagon or on the tractor with him, while my 2 older brothers would be gathering the pumpkins that we planted in the corn field. I loved to watch the corn shoot out of the picker.It was a beautiful scean when the wagon was full of corn and pumpkins piled in the back.

9/30/2009 1:12:47 AM

One of my favorite memories is going out in the evenings with my father and helping him cover the vegetables still in the garden, using old sheets and blankets. The air was crisp and cold, and the sky was usually clear. My father was fascinated with astronomy, and he enjoyed pointing out various stars and telling me about how they got their names, etc. We always had anywhere from 2 to 4 gardens going, so we got to spend considerable quality time, which unfortunately parents don't seem to do as much with their children today. My father passed away in 1996, and although I miss being able to spend that time with him, I'll always have those memories.

reba anderson
9/29/2009 9:59:39 PM

It was 30 years ago and I worked on my father and brothers wheat and soybean farm. It was about 1,000 acres and very isolated with a creek running through it. When one of the combines broke down and we had to wait for a part I would go down to choccalocca creek and look for arrowheads.I would always find some since it was well known that there had been an Indian village on the creek a couple hundred years ago. Sometimes I would see bobcat tracks or deer. It is a place and a time I will always remember with great fondness.

9/28/2009 5:59:20 PM

I guess it's stupid, but I remember making jack o' lanterns. My aunt and uncle planted a couple hills of pumpkins every year; each of the kids (four of us) got one to carve. My husband, our friends, and I used to go camping for Samhain (Halloween to the rest of us). I didn't used to like Spam. I still don't-- but I do like the memories that are associated with a Spamwich. The friends are far away. I don't want to go back to being the relatives' kick-me dog. I guess we need a new Harvest tradition. We made cider for the first time last week. We're pickling cucumbers and drying apples. Not ALL of the Ozarks has been taken over by Branson Tourist Hellhole. I hear Mountain View is still nice, and determined to stay that way. I can vouch that the area around Cassville (extreme SW MO) is still a nice place. Except for all the stupid rich peoples' stupid vacation homes, you'd never know Garfield is less than an hour from Bentonville. I'd like to check out one of the corn mazes. Maybe we will. It would be cheaper and less time consuming than going to the Herb Harvest Festival over to MV.

9/28/2009 1:23:23 PM

I grew up on a wheat farm, the goal was always to finish plowing by the 4th of July so we could go to the local fireworks and then leave on a short vacation to the Ozarks, before they became Branson et. all. After the last load of wheat was delivered we would all meet to have a steak dinner too.

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