You see, we would take the bottles to the store and turn them in for the deposit money. It was the best recycling program I've ever known, and a great way to teach children money management. (If you're too young to understand what a deposit on a bottle is, go ask your mother.)
With the deposit money, we were allowed to purchase colas and candy. People didn't drink colas like they do now. We had one (maybe two) on vacation. Occasionally on a Saturday or Sunday (not every weekend). And one or two at my grandparent's house in the summertime. Like ice cream, sodas were considered a real treat, not a normal part of our diets. My grandfather saved his bottles all year in order to get a pile big enough to treat each of his grandchildren to sodas and candy in the summer.
As we look forward to summer, Donna at Gardens Eye View asks the question: What seasonal celebration are you looking forward to this quarter? My answer is : canning. You thought I was going to say enjoy a soda, didn't you?
Growing a vegetable garden is not something I love. But I do love seeing those cans of vegetables lined up in my pantry. I love eating from them all winter long. I love having a lower food bill because of it. I've just started canning, and look forward to doing this all summer long.
So, this summer, I celebrate the season of canning.
Beth at Plant Postings asks: What lessons did you learn last quarter? Again, I look to the vegetable garden.
What I learned was to grow something fun in the vegetable garden: Sunflowers! I have never grown sunflowers, but they are the star of my garden this year. Their bright faces look down, and I can't help but smile.
I now love to go out to the vegetable garden, just to see the sunflowers. And while I'm there, I check out the other vegetables, too. Last year, I thought of the vegetable garden as a chore. It represented work. Labor. Sweat. Toil.
This year, thanks to the sunflowers, my attitude toward the vegetable garden has changed. Now I see it as a place full of wonder. Joy. Delight. Fun.
Even visitors are magically drawn to the garden just to see the sunflowers!
My grandfather farmed. My grandmother canned. It was a necessity for them, not a luxury. The vegetable garden meant the difference between survival and starvation. They didn't need sunflowers to make vegetable gardening exciting. Growing food was exciting enough.
Canning was for preservation, not for self satisfaction. A full pantry was a celebration because it meant winter nights with a full stomach, instead of a hungry one. And a soda was a treat, not a daily drink.
So what about those sodas? Well, my consumption grew to be a weekly expectation when I became a teenager, then on to a daily habit when I began working full time. Now, I try not to drink sodas very often. But I think I'll drink one this summer, in remembrance of my grandparents.
Do you drink sodas as a treat, an expectation, or a habit?
Your post bough back memories of returning bottles and getting deposit money back, I used to do that too!!ReplyDelete
Regular soda drinker here as a habit :) Diet soda I may add!
Getting money back was fabulous - instant gratification! I think everyone would recycle if they got a few pennies in their pocket while doing it!Delete
My first exposure to sodas was 7-up in the bottle when we lived in the Philippine Islands in the early 50s. When I drink one now it takes me back there every time. Sodas were a special treat not an every day thing. As an adult like you they worked their way into my regular diet. Something to drink with lunch at work. Now it's rare that I have one. Maybe at a party and a small glass at that. If we eat fast food and the only choice is a soda I get the smallest I can and never drink more than a third. There's too much and it isn't really small anymore. It's what large used to be. I didn't raise my girls on drinking soda and thankfully they rarely have them now. Too much sugar.ReplyDelete
Good luck with your veg garden. I'll have to email you a photo that reminded me of your big project the name of which I can't remember. I know its not an arbor but that's what comes to mind.
I try not to drink sodas often now, but I do love sipping one, especially if it's hot outside. I like that sodas are a treat now for me instead of a habit. Makes the experience much more special.Delete
Hi Holley, My childhood memories are similar to your. Colas were a treat. As a young adult, they were the preferred summer beverage. Now in my later years (I don't want to say old age) I rarely have one, preferring water instead. How nice that you have sunflowers. The little one I planted has been eaten down by the snails. It must not be meant for me to have sunflowers!ReplyDelete
My very favorite drink in the summertime is pink lemonade! I have a story about that, too. And orange sodas. I love them so much more than the regular colas. And even though it's traditional in the South to have iced tea, I usually just drink water. I'm too lazy to make tea all the time!Delete
Oh, yes! The good-ole' days! My childhood was similar with ice cream and sodas a treat. Not so for the generations of today. Oh, well! I admire your full pantry...I'm not much of a vegetable gardener and really appreciate the resources, energy and effort it takes to have a productive garden. Good for you! There must be a lot of satisfaction each time you pop open a jar.ReplyDelete
I don't consider myself much of a vegetable gardener, either. I think because I don't really love it like I do flowers. But, yes, it's wonderful to have a full pantry of canned goods!Delete
Your sunflower is gorgeous! It's my most favorite of all the flowers, because just like you, they make me smile each time I see them :-D Also your canning sounds super cool! My mother and I have tried to motivate ourselves to start canning, but we are both intimidated by it. Maybe soon we will get over it and give it a try lol.ReplyDelete
My sister and I grew up drinking sodas everyday. When I got older I stopped being able to digest them. I don't think I've had a soda in several years...which is probably a blessing in disguise.
I love seeing my sunflowers. I planted them on a whim, and am so glad I did! Everyone that sees them gets a kick out of them, too! I hope you will try canning - it's not so intimidating once you do it. Just follow the directions carefully and you will be hooked, I bet!Delete
Your canned goods look fantastic! I love canning too - filling the pantry with rows of multi-colored glass jars for the winter is so satisfying, must be a primeval instinct women have.ReplyDelete
I think you're right about the instinct. It is very satisfying to know that there are supplies for the winter (even when we have grocery stores right down the street!).Delete
I love sunflowers in a vegetable garden too, Holley! My grandfather used to plant beautiful vegetable gardens with what seemed to be magical sunflowers as I looked up at them as a child. The photo of your canned goods is beautiful and inspiring. To answer your question about sodas, I only drink them as a treat now. :-)ReplyDelete
I think the sunflowers are magical, too! I grew some that are around 20 ft tall - it's so much fun to see those giants with the fun face!Delete
We could only get soda from a vending machine a half mile from our house. It took getting on a bicycle and riding down a gravel road. It also took a dime. They got especially uneasy if we didn't ride up with an empty bottle to turn in as a trade. That meant riding for miles searching the ditches for a throw away bottle. Talk about work!ReplyDelete
My grandmother canned peaches, green beans, and pickles. I got to help by putting the grain of alum and the sprig of dill in the piping hot bottles. The dill of course was from the garden right by the compost pile. Nice memories. We should write a book about all this before its lost to the next generation. Great post, my friend.
Oh, yes, I remember riding a bike or walking (barefoot in 100 degree weather) for a soda. We went to a store, though - I don't remember when I saw my first vending machine, but I think it was much later in life! I was thinking today about how fun it would have been if our grandmothers had had blogs back then. And the stories they would tell that would seem so quaint now. I wonder if 50 years from now someone will read our blogs and think "wow - that was soooo long ago and my, how times have changed"! hahahaDelete
What a nice memory from childhood. I remember a time too when sodas were something special. I love that you put sunflowers in your veggie garden. Sometimes i feel like the vegetable garden is too much work myself but a few flowers always make the trip out there a bit nicer.ReplyDelete
I'm going to try to have flowers in my vegetable garden from now on! The sunflowers are fun - I'm hoping we actually get some sunflower seeds to eat from them, too!Delete
Holley, this post was such a great trip down memory lane! We almost never had soda (except we called it pop) either, except sometimes after a hike we'd stop for a tiny rootbeer at A & W--the kind where the waitresses came out on roller skates. And sometimes on a super hot day we'd have a purple cow--grape pop with vanilla ice cream. But that was about it. My mom had a big vegetable garden and did tons of canning, everything from bing cherries to pickles to watermelon rinds (not my favorite). She still does the dill pickles, enough to bring all her children a few quarts every year. She's shown us how to can them ourselves, but it's still easier to have her do it... Beautiful depiction of the differences between then and now, and necessity and luxury.ReplyDelete
I keep meaning to tell you that my copy of the Well-Tended Perennial Garden just arrived a few days ago, and I love it! I keep forgetting to go fix dinner and things because it's being so interesting and useful. What a great recommendation of yours!Delete
I loved hearing your memories of A & W - we would have root beer floats on very rare occasions. They were so exciting to get, because they were a very special treat! And I'm so glad you like the book! It has a lot of useful information stuffed in those lists!Delete
Hi Holley, I gave up carbonated drinks about a year ago ---and truly haven't missed them. In fact, when I drink one now, I don't really like it. I not only gave up carbonated drinks --but I also gave up caffeine. I've had a harder time drinking decaf coffee than I had giving up my Diet Mtn. Dew.... haReplyDelete
I wish that we'd go back to some of the 'old' ways... I remember that my folks even put their milk jugs out to be picked up and recycled... I also remember turning in soda bottles for money---like you did. That was neat that your grandparents did that JUST for you kids.
I need to give up caffeine totally, but always go back to drinking a cup of coffee in the mornings. Sometimes I think the recycling programs were much better years ago - now we have too much plastic!Delete
Definitely a special occasion drink when I am out at a resturant and usually then only when I am tired or not feeling well. We never let the kids dring sodas either, and the two older boys don't touch them. Don't get me started on soda consumption in America.ReplyDelete
I hadn't really thought about how much soda consumption has changed in America until I started remembering how rare they were in my childhood, and how common they are now. Smart of you to not let the kids start drinking them.Delete
I have the exact same memories of soda that you do--not much of it as a kid, too much as a teenager, and now I rarely drink it. But every once in a while I treat myself--especially after a hard day of heavy physical work in the hot summer sun. I always include flowers in my veggie garden--they brighten things up, and I consider them part of the harvest. I can make lots of bouquets, plus they're great organic companion plants for the veggies. Great post, Holley! Thanks for joining in the memes!ReplyDelete
I have always separated out the flowers from the vegetable garden before this year, but I may be adding more flowers in the future. A cutting garden included alongside the vegetables sounds like a great idea!Delete
Well, yes I remember pulling a chilled bottle of root beer with my grandfather out of chest type cooler filled with cold water at the bait shop. Or how about a 24 oz glass bottle of Coca-Cola made with real sugar not corn syrup and a greasy corn taco. Yum!ReplyDelete
Working for Coca-Cola I get free soda so that probably answers your question. ha. Actually I drink flavored water every day instead of soda.
I remember the little 8 oz. size colas - they were the best! Just enough to quench the thirst, but not too much. I occasionally see these smaller sizes for sale, and I am glad they have started making them again. And I like flavored water, too! :)Delete
I love how big your garden is! Wow! No more soda for me. I've stopped completely..but fancy coffee's well, that's my big trouble spot. I only dabbled in canning last year so I am really excited to try my hand at it this year. Cheers, JenniReplyDelete
I don't do the fancy coffee, either. I have a cup of homemade coffee every morning. That's enough for me! I hope your canning efforts turn out well. You are going to be so excited to have those canned vegetables - especially in the winter!Delete
I love this post...canning does bring back memories and I wish I had time to do it...love these lessons...as for sodas...they were a treat as kid and a necessity as a young working adult...now I concentrate on coffee and teas...left sodas behind about 5 yrs ago...too many chemicals etc for me...thx for joining in HolleyReplyDelete
That's what I think about when I drink them - the chemicals! And since I don't drink them very often, they don't taste as good as I remember, either! I'd much rather have old-fashioned lemonade! (and not the powdered stuff)Delete
Holly, I love doing the same, cans full of veges. In winter time we often eat our summer harvest remembering warm days!ReplyDelete
There's nothing better in the winter than opening a can of vegetables that came from your own garden!Delete
Holley, I am 32 yo and I remember very well deposit on bottles! I feel older now... :(ReplyDelete
Anyway, I'm not good in canning at all, for example what's the liquid on those carrot chunks? water and sugar? vinegar? oil? spirit?? or maybe soda?! Who knows. I only hope I'm going to harvest a lot of tomatoes so I'll give them all to mum who can make a delicious sauce out of them and then she gives me cans (no deposit on them, I just promise her she's going to have them all back after use).
I was a child in the 80s, and we had soft drinks as an expectation at the time. Now I don't bother about colas anymore since I can have wine as a habit... ;)
haha - you made me laugh! Sorry I made you feel older! I couldn't remember when the bottles quit having a deposit. And it's just water (and salt) on the carrots. Your mom's tomato sauce sounds wonderful. You should get her to teach you how to make it! I hadn't thought about wine - I sometimes think I'm going to start having a glass at dinner, but never do. Perhaps I should give that a try!Delete
Fizzy drinks are a treat, when we are out to lunch, we have Appletizer. Sparkling apple, or grape juice. A compromise, but still something festive!ReplyDelete
Oh, Diana - I love sparking grape juice! But I only have it at New Years. I really should drink that more often. It really is a treat.Delete
I remember deposits. That is a fine memory you told us about. The seasonal image of the mason jars does make me think when summer winds down and all the veggies are harvested, and the decision, "what do we do with them all?" is answered when all the jars get boiled.ReplyDelete
The decision in the summer for me is "when will I get around to canning all these vegetables?" Seems like the garden takes a lot of time - add in canning and it becomes a full time job! But, it's so satisfying!Delete
Loved this nostalgic post. My favourite treat after a heavy gardening session is a scoop of ice-cream floating on cola. A childhood treat I never grew out of.ReplyDelete
Oh, that sounds wonderful. I have that treat only once every year or two. Maybe I should have it more often!Delete
I remember the days of bottle return. Of course it's less hassle now trying to lug all that around. Wish I had enough room to grow veggies to can.ReplyDelete
Cher Sunray Gardens
If you don't have room to grow veggies, I recommend going to the farmers market and canning all those fresh vegetables! ;)Delete
Thank you for this - we need to be reminded of the great privileges we have in the 21st century. To grow food now is a hobby, for our parents and grandparents it was life sustaining. I try not to drink sodas - they are not my favourite, so I thankfully prefer a fruit juice. But heres to all the grandparents!ReplyDelete
It really was a hard life back then. Personally, I wouldn't want to have to depend upon my vegetable gardening skills to get me through the year!Delete
This reminded me of my dear Aunt Irene's vegetable garden, She always planted sunflowers along its edges, and her veggies were the best. I also remember turning bottles in for the deposit money! Times have certainly changed. I was shocked not so long ago to learn that cola machines were in all the schools. When I was in school, we were offered milk and juice. There were no colas in sight, though in high school there were rumors there was a soft drink machine in the teachers' lounge.ReplyDelete
Like you, I am always amazed how controversial it is for a school to NOT have colas now! We were not permitted any type of soft drink - milk or water were our choices.Delete
Oh yes, I remember taking the bottles back to the shop and getting enough to buy a poke of sweets, kids would be expecting pounds not coppers these days. Did you also have a ragman who would call and give you a toy for a bundle of old clothes.ReplyDelete
I can't say I remember a ragman. Old clothes for a toy sounds like a great deal! I wonder how many children gave away perfectly good clothes just to get a toy! :)Delete
We lived in San Joaquin Valley in California and my family would go to one of the local farms throughout the summer and pick peaches, nectarines, and plums. My mom would freeze the and can the peaches. She would also make plum wine for Christmas.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, I'm an every day diet-soda drinker. In New Orleans we would call them cold drinks.
Funny how different areas call sodas different things, like Stacy above calls them pop. Actually, in Texas here, we call them all cokes. As in : "What kind of coke do you want?" "An orange coke. No, I don't want an orange coke. Make my coke a Sprite, please." haha!Delete
Have never been a soda pop drinker which is lucky for me now I'm older with some kind of a waistline to maintain. Most of us freeze veg rather than can but seems yours is a more enviromentally friendly solution. Artistically pleasing too but ultimately the produce is there to feed the family. Glad the sunflowers have made the chores such pleasant work. Nice idea of your grandfathers re the bottles - that generation knew the value of everything.ReplyDelete
I like to can over freezing because the end cooking time is so much shorter, and I'm usually in a hurry to get supper on the table. It's so much easier to open a can of peas instead of cooking frozen peas for 30 min. or so!Delete
Sodas were only a treat to be had on the very rare occasions that we went to a restaurant. Now going to restaurants is a weekly occurrence, but I still rarely have sodas, as if I start drinking them I'll want to drink them all the time!ReplyDelete
That's great that you can! I would love to learn how to can. My grandparents were dairy farmers and had a big veggie garden and canned a portion of it. I hope that sometime my veggie garden will grow to the point that I will need to!
I am hoping my tomatoes will make lots and lots of sauce this year. I put up several can of it last year, and I am all out - it was soooo good! I hope someday you will learn how to can. I think once you do it, you'll be hooked!Delete
Sodas have become a "hot" topic in the New York area with Mayor Bloomberg tring to restrict the sale of super sized sodas! But I think of a bottle of soda as a refreshing treat to be enjoyed occasionally not as a daily requirement. Canning is wonderful if you have the time! You can get some FABULOUS glass canning jars at Kaufman & Mercantile. (on line)ReplyDelete
Thanks for the info on the canning jars. I may need a few more this year - I'm trying to can a little bit more than I did last year.Delete
My mom always plants a row of zinnias in her garden. I remember going out and cutting bouquets, all thru the summer! As a kid we thing everybody does this! But I haven't seen it since...ReplyDelete
My mom cans beets, green beans and tomatoes. I live further south and have not yet mastered the vegetable garden. I'm always wanting to plant too late--I grew up planting on a different schedule than required here!
A bouquet of zinnias sounds so colorful and cheerful! I understand completely about planting the vegetable garden too late. Every year I miss getting something in the ground because I still consider it winter, and forget it's already planting time! Thanks for commenting!Delete
Such a wonderful post--it brought back so many memories! I grew up on our family farm and spent many a day helping my mother prepare fruits and vegetables to be canned. As you say, this was a necessity back then, not a trendy back-to-nature thing. Money was tight, but we never had to worry about going hungry. Soda pop was a treat reserved for when we had "company," but when I married, somehow we became regular soda drinkers. My kids used to load up their red wagon with pop bottles to return to them to the corner store in order to buy treats. I've always wondered why we don't return to glass bottles instead of all the plastic ones today. Great post!ReplyDelete
It seems a lot of us have similar memories, and I wonder how cola got to be so commonplace and a regular consumption item! I do think the glass bottles make much better recycling sense. I bet the majority of the plastic ones end up in a landfill, or in the ocean. :(Delete