Why Bother?

“The only man who never makes a mistake
is the man who never does anything.”
– Theodore Roosevelt


The table was laden with 260 cobs of fresh-from-the-farm corn. Picked by our neighbours just this morning, it was all ready for the yearly Provisional project of putting it away for winter (and spring and summer!). Thankfully, we had the help of some lovely friends (who came all the way from England!) to shuck all that delicious corn, as well as help me cut off all kernels and prepare it for the freezer. We settled in for a morning of work.

The corn juices were flowing and everyone was catching up on the yearly news with our friends and their family … we drank coffee and ate homemade butter tarts in between pulling off the tight husks, all the girls all helped, the boys played and napped … we took a break for lunch and then finished up about one hour after the lunch hour was finished. All in all, it did not take too long to prepare the corn with all that wonderful help.

But why bother? This is the question raised often to me, sometimes, I admit, even by my own husband.  Why bother going through all that work? … growing the corn (or in this case, our friend grew it), shucking the corn, cutting the kernels off the cob, canning or freezing the corn, the cleanup, the sticky mess of corn juice everywhere … why bother when you can just go get a bag from the store in a quicker, easier fashion?

For starters … it truly is healthier. However,  it is also cheaper than buying store bought corn. It is more time efficient for me (and in my opinion, time is pretty valuable!). It builds memories with those who are helping the project. It helps with a household skill (the girls will know how to preserve corn when they are older, if they choose to do so with their families). It slows down time … in a way … you need to be at home to do these kinds of projects.

It’s different than regular life. It takes longer to prepare and handle the sharp knife needed to cut the golden kernels off the corn …yes, it’s faster to just grab a bag of frozen corn from your nearest supermarket but … look at it this way … a day spent with my children, working together, offers so much more.  It trains our family to work together as a team. We have to learn how to get along, to enjoy the mundane – not all of life is a tea part or an exciting day at the beach. There’s hard work invovled, there’s boring work involved and sometimes, just sometimes, there’s gardening, weeding, watering or canning involved. 🙂

This is a life skill, in some small way, to work on such projects and not complain or whine during the project. Later, with utter satisfaction, you may in turn see the end results on your dinner plate later in the season. In the winter, when the girls thank me for dinner, I will say, “And thank you to YOU! You helped with this food last year!” Whether it’s canning green beans or shucking corn, we are all involved.


We have also finished up most of our spaghetti/tomato sauce needs. We have moved on to salsa and ketchup.

Some days, we simply cut and dice the tomatoes and start boiling them down in a huge pot on the propane stove. This means the big work is done – the next day, I add the seasoning and spices and work on preparing the actual product. It saves energy and allows me to work on other projects or tend to my home as needed during the day. It spreads the workload out, in turn, canning big projects do not seem as daunting.



So, why bother?

It’s a lifestyle.

It’s a choice to be different, to eat different, to find sustainability from your own garden or local produce. It’s old fashioned. And most of all, it’s practical. It does not have to be for a large family – it certainly can be just for a married couple or a retired couple – simply prepare less food. It’s a fantastic skill to attain and it will only bless your family and loves ones in return.



It is certainly worth all that hard work – and bother.



Elsie’s Mennonite Ketchup Recipe

3 gallons of tomato juice
7 1/2 tbsp. salt
3 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. cloves
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. pepper
3 onions
4 1/2 cups of vinegar
6 cups of sugar
9 tbps. of clear jel or Thermflo

Mix salt and tomato juice. Boil down 1/3. Time will vary on this step. Add seasonings. Reserve a cup of the tomato sauce, cooled, for adding the Thermflo. Taste as you go to see what suits your preference. Once reduced enough, add your clear jel or Thermflo to your reserved cup of tomato juice. Stir well and add to the large pot. Process jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Let jars cool and rest for 24 hours before removing rings.




September 5, 2018 - 1:06 pm

Gigi Yes, it is a huge blessing! Tomato juice is no problem, corn juice, no problem – just hose off the ground!

September 5, 2018 - 12:25 pm

Katy So wonderful! I can as well….but not quite as much as you do! 🙂 I love that you have it all outside! That must be wonderful! Canning in the heat of summer can be difficult inside when it makes the whole house sweltering! An outdoor kitchen must be wonderful! 🙂

September 2, 2018 - 2:46 pm

Gigi Shirley, thank you for your words of encouragement. I’m still in training it seems, on most days. 🙂

September 2, 2018 - 1:55 pm

Gigi Hee hee! Abby surprised us by coming home for work to help …! I warned him to change, but he didn’t listen. I believe his shirt and pants were very dirty by the end!

September 2, 2018 - 1:33 pm

Teresa Did no one else get the memo about dressing up to do the corn? Abby is the only one dressed for the occasion !!!

September 1, 2018 - 9:13 pm

Shirley You are blessing your children with all you are teaching them. I admire you and all you do. And your readers are blessed to watch and learn from visiting here. You are a rare mother.
God bless you

September 1, 2018 - 1:34 pm

Gigi Because I had company that day …. so just tried to make things easier …. I would prefer to do half frozen, half canned …

September 1, 2018 - 1:18 pm

Amy Curious why you froze the corn rather than canning it this year…

September 1, 2018 - 12:19 am

Lynda Lu Gibb God’s provision is bountiful.. so many blessings .

August 31, 2018 - 4:09 pm

Gigi You are right, Paula – I failed to mention that. It does indeed taste better!

August 31, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Paula Did you mention how much better all your canned foods taste? You can not go to a store and buy that corn. It is lovely to see your kids learning about preserving foods that are gifts provided by God for us.

August 31, 2018 - 10:54 am

Gigi Regina, for sure, some fun memories. 🙂

August 31, 2018 - 10:54 am

Gigi I agree, I love it when someone says “I have …. extra plums or so forth” for canning! What a blessing!
Yes, you are right. It is Proverbs 31. Thank you for the reminder! ((hugs))

August 31, 2018 - 7:54 am

Monica Yes it’s worth it! For all the reasons you stated! And it also just keeps the good food God has given us, provided for our needs, from going to waste. That’s why when someone calls me and says, “do you want to come pick xyz…because we don’t want it…” I just have to go and pick it because I can stand to see or think of good produce wasting away. Our garden was not anything like we normally plant this year, but thanks to other’s not wanting their produce or their “leftovers”, I still got to can some and put away. Another good reason is it’s very Procerbs 31…one never knows when some catastrophe could occur, fill in the blank…you never know…and you would have means of food for feeding your family…for weeks, if necessary! We have hurricanes pretty common where I live and sometimes the electric can go out for days if we are hit “just right”….it’s just nice to have a food storage! It’s being prepared for our families!

Very inspiring, Gillian, as usual! 🙂

August 30, 2018 - 10:16 pm

Regina What precious memories which makes all the hard work worth it.

August 30, 2018 - 8:56 pm

Debby in Kansas, USA I love reading all about it! I grew up in Los Angeles so my childhood was drastically different. Even though I was raised by depression era grands that were quite old fashioned, the wide open spaces around you just reel me in. My grands did mostly homemade everything, but on a much smaller scale. Also different foods because we’re Hispanic. Lots of beans, meats, chile, and sauces.

I think that what you’re teaching your children is invaluable. I believe all that knowledge will mean that many more options when they’re grown.

August 30, 2018 - 7:33 pm

Gigi That sounds like fun! I will look her up. 🙂 I would love some pears!

August 30, 2018 - 5:31 pm

Diane So fun to see your post today! We are all ears! 🙂 We have been freezing corn all week. Our neighbor grows an acre of sweet corn on a corner of our land to attract the deer. We can have as much as we want. We just finished up with our peach trees and now we will be starting with the pears. My daughter is putting up stuff at her house with my other daughter and her six kids. She is putting up a video on her you tube channel tonight if you want to check it out. Her channel is called Doug’s Wife.