Summer days were filled to the brim. With a growing family Mom had planted a bigger garden and days were filled with picking up any stones we could find between the rows of vegetables and piling them beside the garden for Daddy to use on one of his many projects. I enjoyed picking stones much more than pulling weeds which also thrived in abundance.
It was always fun to start the canning season. Peas were always the first vegetables ready to harvest. Shelling peas was a tiresome job. With several five gallon buckets heaped full, we would get bowls and sit on the front porch swing and start shelling them. To make a boring job more fun we often played guessing games while we worked or sang songs.
Once we were done shelling them Mom would wash them to remove any of the dirt that happened to get into the bowls of peas while John and I went to the attic to find the jars Mom needed. Once we found the jars, they needed to be scrubbed in hot soapy water, which I thought was a total waste of time since they looked clean already.
Once the jars were scrubbed to Mom's specifications we would fill them with peas and carefully measure a teaspoon of salt into each jar and then filled them with water and turned the lids on tightly. Mom would set the filled jars in a canner and cover them with water and light the burner under the canner. Once we saw a few puffs of steam escape from the canner we would check the clock and calculate the time the peas could be removed from the canner three hours later.
Several days later another batch of peas would be ready to can and we would go through the whole process again. And so it continued all summer long, as one vegetable ended another one started and by fall it seemed everything wanted to ripen before the first frost and days were hectically busy with piles of sweetcorn and bushels of tomatoes and green beans plus the fruit, peaches, pears, and early apples. We would no longer have time to pick rocks and the weeds used to wave victoriously at us as we worked from morning till night everyday canning food to take us through until the next summer.
Every once in a while after a particularly warm and tiring day Mom would send John and me to the corner grocery store in the village to buy a box of ice cream for a treat for supper. The half mile walk was worth it as we stood in McLaughlin's Store and Mr. McLaughlin would open the freezer and let us choose a box of ice-cream. He was a kindly old man and would often give us each a Popsicle to eat on the way home. We never could make those Popsicles last until we got home as we thoroughly enjoyed the refreshing cold sweetness they provided after working all day.