Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hollyhock dolls, clothes on the line and gardens

My grandmother was a young woman during the depression. The 'making do' ways she learned never left her. She still used a big kettle washing machine when I was a girl, letting me crank the soggy clothes through its rubber rollers, expressing water, until they fell, stiff and flatten into the wooden basket.

Together, her with one handle, me the other, we carried the basket to the clothes line. It ran north and south - the width of her yard, just like her garden. All summer we'd weed radishes and carrots, dig potatoes, and as the corn grew, hung clothes on her line.

At summer's end, I sat in her steamy kitchen, molding holly hocks into dolls as she canned Mason jars of tomatoes and corn, peaches and relish. She's been gone for years, but every now and then, in the way we all walk a moment in the past, I remember and long to touch a crisp breeze-dried pillowcase or crunch a carrot fresh from the garden.
More than anything, I find I long for my grandmother's sweet pickles. So last summer I set out to replicate her recipe and was met with wonderful success! I'll share the recipe in my next post, but until then, check out the youtube video for making hollyhock dolls!

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