Labour of Love.

Today, I became One of Them.

All day, my wonderful mom and amazing Grandma slaved away in my kitchen teaching me the fine art of … preserving.  My mom and my grandma both are Master Canners with years and year of experience to pass on to my generation, a gift I gladly accepted today, despite the sweaty brows, aching feet & backs and tomato splattered kitchen floor.

Together, we canned tomatoes, dill pickles and salsa. I wanted to do more but my eyes are bigger than my energy levels right now.

My hubby already cleared out a big shelf in our century-old basement for my canning project when I warned him his mother-in-law and grand-mother-in-law were coming over, armed with huge boiling pots, can lifters and wide-mouthed-jars for our canning adventures. At first, he just sighed. He remembers the ‘old days’ … when I was just learning to cook and left chicken broth in the crock pot “stewing” for five days. Yes, friends, that smell doesn’t leave your memory too soon. But I think, I just think, we may have shocked the socks off my doubting hubby’s feet when he came home to a scrumptious, amazing meal made with delicious, fresh homemade sauce …

{interjecting here to say I am the luckiest daughter/grand daughter on earth to have these two beautiful women in my life!!}

We used a pressure canner to speed up the process. We had one heck of a time trying to find one but finally had someone offer to lend us one for the day – apparently, they are “what farm people use” (from what the local kitchen people said when I asked where I could buy one) and are rarely carried in kitchen stores. I can’t wait to own one. Guess I’m a qualified  “farm person.” Fine by me.

Gee, it looks like mom and gramma did all the work. I just sat down and took pictures.

When I was a little girl, I thought my mom made Dale Pickles, not dill pickles … thought they were named after my dad, Dale. Dale, Dill – scrumptious either way.

A labour of love – and sweat and some laughter mixed in between.

I’m not sure what I should can next … does anyone have any tips or suggestions? I’m on a roll here!

Also, another big thing happening in the Gauthier home … I’ve been wondering how to write this out on the blog and just can’t seem to find the words to explain it all or the reasons behind our decision … when I have it all figured out and clearly written, I will definitely blog it … it’s a decision that is very near and close to my heart.

We have decided to  homeschool the girls.

For now. To try it out. To see where it takes us. There are a lot of reasons behind this – almost too many to write out here. We loved, loved loved the school Lacey attended for kindergarten but strongly felt this is where our family was being led for this year. Yes, I know some people may think I’m crazy (and they are probably right) and others might think I’ve lost it especially with a baby on the way (also correct) … and there will be lots of questions to go along with this decision but for now … we know this is the right decision for our family. I know of several families with a similar setup – running a photography business, homeschooling their children and still surviving so I know it can be done. There’s also an amazing homeschool network here in Dufferin County that I can tap into.

Today, the first of the curriculum arrived in the mail. I am beyond excited… and so is Lacey! She’ll be studying Grade 1 and we’ll also incorporate junior kindergarten for Lyla this year, as well.

I’ll be adding a section to the blog to help you follow along in our homeschooling adventures … stay tuned … I’m sure there will be a TON of ‘interesting’ stories to share.

Let the adventures begin!

September 9, 2010 - 11:11 am

Lori I read a few blogs and I thought I’d give you this one because I thought of you when I saw she has a homeschooling section. As always, I enjoy your blog and photos. Thanks for being so open with us. 🙂

September 6, 2010 - 8:09 am

Lori Good luck on the homeschooling journey 🙂 As for canning – I love pickled beets!

September 4, 2010 - 5:53 pm

Nicole Looks yummy Gillian! If you want to buy a canner, TSC or Co-op might carry the ones “farm” people use. Good luck in your homeschooling adventure 🙂

September 4, 2010 - 2:14 pm

Elaine Gillian, looks like you all had a great time preserving.
I am sooooo proud of you undertaking homeschooling with the L’s. It will be a challenging time for you especially with the wee one on the way but I have great confidence that you can do it and know the girls will benefit from it. Perhaps when they get a bit older a field trip to England????? Love you lots

September 4, 2010 - 12:36 am

pammelah Loved the idea of canning! my mommy used to can all kinds of stuff.. green jars and red jars.. I remember going to newfoundland and thinking how pretty the pink jars were until I found out there were rabits in the jars!! ;(
so excited to hear you are home schooling! what a great idea for your family! 100% do-able and enriching for you all! blessings!!!!! (now, go put your feet up!

September 3, 2010 - 11:38 pm

Ellen Wow, you had a great day! I do know a place you can order a pressure canner, they are based in St. Thomas, Ontario…but be forewarned – they aren’t cheap! Click on kitchenware and then you can scroll down to see pressuer cookers/canners. My sister ( Chris McCoy at Parsons Florists) has one too, or so I have been told! I’m sure she would let you borrow it!

I also homeschool..I started my daughter off in kindergarten and it was not what we expected or wanted. So we decided to homeschool, and she is now 18 and we are still going on strong, she is finishing up some of her work and making an art and photography portfolio, and we homeschool our two sons as well. We love it! We were going to do a “one year at a time and see how it goes” thing, and we just kept on going. If you have any questions, feel free to email me!


September 3, 2010 - 11:01 pm

Brenda (Gillian’s Mom) It was a lot of fun, Gillian! Thanks for allowing me the privilege of being your mom and the gramma to your children! Thank you for letting me be in your life!! And I am so proud of my mom … she is very special and I am blessed to have such a heritage!! I am a blessed woman!

September 3, 2010 - 10:50 pm

Tara C First, I have to say – your Grandma is TOO cute! I love that she’s so active and involved in your life. 🙂
Awesome job on the canning!! I would love to do stuff like that…one day when I have a bigger kitchen and storage capabilities. 🙂 All the best with your homeschooling adventure. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!