I get a little bit ridiculously excited about simple things. A little while ago I wrote a blog entry about how much I love glass jars. Not long afterward I hit the mother lode of glass jars. It was canning time, and poking around on the old farm for some mason jars seemed like a good idea. I just about fell over backward when I opened the side door of an old stock trailer and came upon a treasure trove of antique jars and lids mixed in with modern jars! The trailer had been loaded up years ago with the intention of hauling it to an auction, but for whatever reason it never left the farm. There were gobs of boxes of mason jars in there.
I found even more canning supplies in the old wash house. These things have been accumulating around here for more than a hundred years, during times that everybody canned their food and nothing was thrown away. My partner was raised by his grandmother, and he remembers her putting up a lot of food in those jars. The oldest ones came from the original homestead, a mile down the road.
Fast forward and here I am, like a kid in a candy store, pulling out disintegrating boxes and gingerly exploring the contents. Some of the jars have bubbles and imperfections in the blue and clear glass from the early glass-making processes. Most of the jars are in pristine condition. There are also glass and zinc lids and old pressure cookers.
I’m going to make a special place in our new house to feature some of these cool old jars, and use the newer ones for canning. I found things like a washboard, a butter churn, vintage telephones from different eras, and lots of other stuff in the stock trailer and wash house. Considering how many neat old family heirlooms I’m finding all over the place, I think it’s fitting that the old wash house should become a mini-museum to keep all these things in. I’ve always loved going to old farm estate auctions and flea markets. There is so much stuff to go through here, I’ll probably never feel the need to go to another one again.
If you have a collection of old jars or have come across some of these treasures yourself, leave a comment! I'd love to hear about them.