Growing up in my parents house we led a fairly simple life. As a child I thought we were well off. We had heaps of food, a dodgy tv, freedom to play in our large yard or up in the bush or down by the river.
It is only as an adult that I realized my parents were doing it tough. Without dads large vegetable garden, my nannas sewing and knitting skills and my mums thriftiness, making ends meet would have been a real struggle.
My dad had a large vegetable garden and many fruit trees - 8 apples, a few pears, two huge plums, lemon, raspberry vines, gooseberry, rhubard to name a few. Dad was the gardener. He came home from work and was out in the garden until we called him in for tea and then again after tea for an hour or two.
Mums domain was the house. She had the task of preserving, bottling and storing all the home grown produce. She stewed apples and berries for the freezer, bottled pears, froze excess vegetables, made the most delicious plum and tomatoe sauce (as children we never had store brought sauce).
My nanna and unmarried Aunt kept us girls in clothes. They knitted us lovely jumpers for winter (our Tassie winters were cold), they sewed us dresses for summer. My Aunt always looked out for clothes on sale for us. Nothing was brought at full price - there wasn't the money. But we never felt deprived.
Mum cooked on a combustion stove. It was a great big, soot covered black cast iron thing. Nothing like the one in the picture above. She hated it! The stove also heated up the water, so no fire going meant no hot water! First thing of a morning one of us would light the combustion. It smoked and went out regularly. The hot water took at least 30 min to heat up and it was forever going cold, usually in the middle of having a shower. If we had been out all day the first thing needing to be done was to get the fire going. In summer it made the house too warm. In winter we hated going outside and up to the shed to bring in armfulls of wood.
When I was a teen mum finally got rid of the combustion heater and replaced it with electric oven and electric hot water.
Now having a combustion oven sounds wonderful. Maybe not here in Newcastle in the heat of summer but it would sure beat the electric oven.
A week of ordinary days
15 hours ago