In a Pickle

It’s Sandy here, with a late summer farm <and quilting> report.

I’ve spent the last eight days babying along a batch of icicle pickles. These sweet pickles were a staple of our childhood, and I hate to say it, but I have traditionally been more of a dill/sour pickle lover myself. Mom makes icicles nearly every year and this year after being gifted with a box of cucumbers from a friend’s garden, she had to go out of town. That meant that the daily pickling chores were left to me.


Day 1 of my week in pickles.

The recipe is very simple, if a little lengthy. It takes 8 days (albeit only 15 minutes on each of the days) to accomplish the task. I forgot to take a picture of mom’s recipe, but here is a ‘modern’ version — one that contains exact measures. Mom’s recipe calls for a “walnut-sized” scoop of alum and a “handful” of pickling spices.  What??? Apparently there were no OCD people in olden times.

I love canning time of year! It makes the house smell amazing and it makes me feel like I’m creating a gift for my family. Jams, jellies, tomatoes, corn, peaches, apple pie filling — they are all part of the late summer canning ritual on the farm. I remember a time in Texas when a dear friend of mine passed away suddenly — I spent that afternoon making jam while trying to ground myself and contemplate the loss.

Putting away food helps to connect me to my place and it fills the house with the most delicious smells.

Now as I said, I was never a fan of icicle pickles. However, I have to let you know that I grabbed a few this week before they were in the jar and I am now obsessed with these pickles. Time’s change, you know?

More evidence of times changing: it’s been many years since Cindy and I were captives on the farm and required to make hay all summer. That meant hauling around hundreds of bales of hay and unloading them from a wagon into the hay mow in the barn. Oh how we hated that work and those summer days, but miraculously, we both look back on them fondly.

Dad doesn’t have animals anymore, so he sells his hay to a local mega-dairy farmer. Here’s hay-making on the farm nowadays.


It’s still not officially fall, but I have been working on Christmas gifts. Cindy helped me finish up my long-delayed log cabin tree skirt and I’ve attached the binding, so depending on how you look at it, I’m way ahead of schedule or only two years behind in my Christmas sewing/gifting!


Preparing to bond with my tree skirt!


Looking back. It’s so easy to remember walking these fields looking for cows. I miss cows. 

Today is primary day in New York. The polls are open until 9 pm. If you are from the Empire State, don’t forget to vote! Free pattern.



10 thoughts on “In a Pickle

  1. Gray Barn Designs says:

    Cindy here quoting John Denver…”Country roads take me home, to the place I belong!!!!” Thanks for the pictures, it brings back memories, most recently Labor Day weekend!

  2. piecefulwendy says:

    I have recipes from both of my grandmothers, my husband’s grandmothers, several aunts and my mom, all in their handwriting. Several of them have all the ingredients listed, and that’s it. No instructions whatsoever. It was just a given back then that you knew how to do the rest. I remember coming home from school, walking to my grandmother’s house and opening the door to the smell of oil of clove. It was pickle canning day for my mom and grandma, and it was serious work in the kitchen. Canning jars everywhere, and it was like a sauna in there. I have fond memories of those days!

      • piecefulwendy says:

        Well, I wouldn’t say I’ve picked up the mantle, but I have done a little bit of canning. I managed to make some cherry chutney this year, but that was about it. I think they’d be happy to know I at least know how to do it 🙂

  3. Linda Scharf says:

    Food and storytelling connects us to our family, and community traditions. Thank you for sharing these with us. Remembering the delicious traditional dishes my grandmother made with ingredients fresh from her vegetable and herb garden — and the wonderful aroma in her kitchen — always evokes fond memories and makes me nostalgic for home. 😢

  4. rl2b2017 says:

    Hi Sandy! HAHAHA – no OCD people in olden times! heehee – that really makes me chuckle. People are wondering what’s up with me. HA! Even funnier! You are WAY ahead of the game, girl. Christmas is just three-ish months away – who cares when you started the project. It’s when it’s finished that counts. What a fun post. Thanks for sharing and for the good laugh this morning. ~smile~ Roseanne

  5. Sparkle On with Abbie says:

    Mmm, your pickles look yummy! Preserving all of summer’s harvest is so worth it, and has a meditative quality like you say.
    I enjoyed seeing hay making on the farm! And I love your Vote quilt message, I never miss the privilege to vote! So important 🇺🇸

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