i've had Winnie's recipe box for over 10 yrs now!
who was Winnie? i can only tell you what i've heard because i never actually met her. when jambaloney and i bought our first house in ottawa...and oh what a wonderful house it was - a 200ft long X 75ft wide yard, our next door neighbours, Anna and Rafel lived next door and had the same size lot. can you imagine that? right in the heart of the city? those lots were rare indeed!
Anna and Rafel were from Poland and had only been living there for 3 yrs. they purchased their home from Winnie, who was also from Poland but came to canada during WW2. she lived there for the entire rest of her life and had an amazing garden growing in her backyard. but she was getting close to 90 and needed to sell her beautiful home and garden and move in with family. she was very happy to sell her home and land to Anna and Rafel as they were from Poland, too, and Anna was a gardener extraordinnaire.
Winnie gave Anna all of her seeds and all of her recipe boxes.
Anna was constantly in her garden and so were we. our yard was beautifully landscaped and had a little park, a gazebo and long beautiful lawn that we suntanned in every chance we could. several times a day you would hear Anna's polish-accented voice saying "kimberly. kimberly." and we would meet at the gate, or visit in each other's yards. Anna was a scientist back in Poland but didn't work for the 4yrs she was in canada. she missed working and she missed Poland. Rafel was in IT like my jambaloney so we all really got along well. it was Anna that got me and jambaloney into growing our own food and prepping.
after only 4 short months of us being neighbours, Rafel got a lucrative job in Amsterdam. it was hard for them, but they really wanted to be back in Europe and closer to their family and friends. they asked us if we would take their cat, Karol, named after the famous Polish king. we had my 2 female cats at the time, both of whom have since passed, and we took Karol in a heartbeat. and promptly named him Barrel because he is the shape of a barrel - bahahahah! somehow his name changed to Moby-Moe and Moby-Shambie. who knows how these things happen.
anyway, Anna also asked if i wanted Winnie's recipes and recipe boxes. i said of course.
and i have had those recipes for over 10yrs now. i have sorted through them many times - a lot of them are depression-era recipes and all of those i have kept.
but i wanted to do something special with the box. i don't keep my recipes on cards so that wouldn't work. but i always knew that i wanted to do something special with the box. and after 10 yrs, finally came up with a special use!
once i have started seeds in the little cups in the greenhouse in the house, or in the outdoor greenhouse, i put those seeds in a bag marked "planted". that way i know where the seeds i have planted are. when seeds get planted in the ground, the seed packs don't all fit in the bag so then i take all of the seeds and put them in a container. i know, great system. this year, however, i want to be rigid with what i plant, when where, how, etc.....so i decided to use some of Winnie's extra cards for my seeds.
i will use more cards as the growing season comes on, but these cards say: "1st planting, 2nd planting, 3rd planting, 1st up, 1st flower, 1st fruit, 1st ripe, first in ground". and that is how i am storing my seeds.
i also keep a notebook and a calendar. but Winnie's recipe box really shows me what is really going on even better than my notebook and calendar. i think it's because Winnie's box has so much history to it. and i love looking in it and i love that my first hot wax pepper, from the "1st planting" section, has now been moved to the "1st up" section.
thank you very much Winnie, though we never had the chance to meet. who knew that your recipe box, decorated with cute pictures of cats would live on so long. and thank you Anna. i feel both of you this growing season. and it feels very extra special.