Friday, December 24, 2010

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FROM THE FARM; part 2; by Marion Aldrich

To my brother's wife I sent a small crate of mixed vegetables. She was delighted. I sent them early enough for her to use them for the Christmas dinner. There was a small Hubbard squash, some choice potatoes, onion, beets, carrots, turnips, a cabbage, some apples, a dozen hard winter pears and a little jar of delicious crabapple jelly tucked in.

To our old school-teacher, still striving to teach the young idea how to shoot Ruth and I joined in making a big, rich fruit cake.

To a friend who had a number of small children, Ruth sent half a dozen jars of pure honey.

I don't know how many little jars of jellies and chili sauce and baby pickles and jams and other preserves and condiments we sent along for presents.

To a doctor friend—the one who sent me to inhale the country air for six months—I sent two dozen big, rich duck eggs, quite fresh. On each egg I pasted a tiny sticker, a little Santa or Christmas tree or stocking or something of that sort. I placed these in a wire case which holds each egg firmly, marked them plainly and they reached the good doctor without a break or a crack.

Every year Ruth's great-aunt send her something of value. This great-aunt owns a string of business blocks in a big city and keeps a lawyer busy attending solely to her estate. At my suggestion, Ruth prepared a goose for the oven, stuffed it, sewed it up in a white cloth and packed it in a box, the corners of which she filled with apples and onions for roasting. This she sent to Great-aunt, not without fear and trembling. “The very idea of sending her something to eat,” she gasped, “she'll think it an insult.” she invited a select few in to dinner, she wrote, and boasted of the “home-grown goose straight from my dear niece who lives on a farm,” And all her guests raved.

To friends who had children we sent baskets of native nuts: walnuts, butternuts, hickory nuts, chinquapins and the like. We also made some delicious molasses kisses, wrapped them in waxed paper, packed them with sprigs of evergreen and sent them along.

If you live in the maple belt, you surely have some maple sugar left. If it is black, melt it over and re-cast the cakes. They will be delicious. Or melt them and stir them into the soft maple sugar and let your friends use them for genuine maple fudge.

If you have popcorn, tie up four bunches, six ears in a bunch, with red ribbon and send it as a present. Country pop corn “tastes different,” you know! It does. I've tasted it.