Blades and Bushlore

Bushlore Topics => Country and Rural Living Skills => Topic started by: Pete Bog on September 29, 2021, 11:31:48 PM

Title: Peach Lugs
Post by: Pete Bog on September 29, 2021, 11:31:48 PM
   A month or so ago, I happened to notice two pallets of peach lugs placed very prominently just inside the entrance to the local grocery store.
   Now in the past 50 years or so, that was never of interest to me. If the wife wanted to can peaches, well, it was up to her. For the past half century or so, she has been in charge of the kitchen. For the past couple of years, that is no longer the case.
   When we retired, she let it be known, she was tired of cooking and wanted to back out of that household chore. Since we both retired the same day, I figured it wouldn't hurt me to take up something new. Consequently, I pay a lot more attention to goods in the grocery store than I have in my entire life.
    So when I saw those peach lugs there, I thought to myself "What in the world?? There are no individual wrappers on these peaches!!??"
    My thought process continued "Well, the best part of the fall canning season has just disappeared."

   Now, I don't know how many years peaches have been sold by the lug without individual wrappers. But I do know, that canning season was looked forward to, every year, just for the peach wrappers.
   For those of you that are a little younger, or, have had electric service all your lives. The significance of peach wrappers may escape you. So allow me to introduce you to a small part of life off the grid. The outhouse.
   Now modern outhouses with their open pit are indeed very similar to the outhouses of old. But one distinct difference is in how the pit is dealt with when it becomes full. Nowadays, the pit is usually pumped out by a pumping company. And everything better be soft and squishy to pass through the pump. 
   The outhouses of old were merely moved over a few feet to a new hand dug pit. The dirt from the new pit was used to cover and mound over the old, almost full, pit. In those old outhouses, there was no need to worry about what was dropped into the pit. It was never going to leave.
   So......The --ahem-- toilet paper of choice was in fact, toilet paper. But very few homesteaders without electricity, could afford that store bought stuff. Consequently, mail order catalogs were most often pressed into service. Sears, Montgomery "Monkey" Wards, and later, J.C. Penny catalogs.
   I've heard it said that in some parts of the country, corn cobs were used. I've never personally had the experience, so I can only imagine how uncomfortable that must have been. We always used the thinner black and white pages first. Those heavier colored and varnished pages were the last to be used. For several reasons. But discomfort and ah - - - smearing, were at the top of the list.
   At any rate, when the peach papers came around in late summer, we all thought it was the best and we looked forward to it all year.
   It seems that many people long for the "Good Old Days".  While peach papers, in September, for the outhouse may have been a simple pleasure for simpler times. I sure don't miss the other eleven months. especially those winter months with temps at thirty below! Not that August with temps in the nineties with nary a breeze was any better. Phew!! I shouldn't have conjured up that little memory.   
   Missing peach papers - - - - just seems like a small part of Americana was missing that day too.

   For those that are homesteaders and like to be "prepared". If you have the luxury of a pit toilet that can be moved, are you stocking old phone books? They take up a lot less space than toilet paper, work OK, and cost nothing in most cases. Hard to beat that combination. 


Title: Re: Peach Lugs
Post by: Moe M. on September 30, 2021, 07:06:50 AM

    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Peach Lugs
Post by: boomer on September 30, 2021, 07:16:36 AM
Interesting read, thanks. Hsd to look up peach lugs though. Guess my life has been more sheltered than i though. There was a lot of canning going on at the grandparents but my parents thought tv dinners were the bomb. Go figure.

Not much on canning but i do dry fruits and some vegetables. Seems like less work, takes up less space and easy to cook with. But there very few things that were as good as heading to the basement at the grandfolks to snag a jar of something special put up for the winter.

Used a few outhouses now and then. The cabin has a composting toilet that's sort of in between and works great. 
Have to be very water conscious, even more than usual, in the desert these days.

Now if i could just find some peach lugs around here.
Title: Re: Peach Lugs
Post by: madmaxine on September 30, 2021, 09:12:33 AM
We had an outhouse at two of our cabins over the years.

Grandma was not a happy camper going primitive.  Grandpa was the opposite.  He'd was one with the forest.  An outhouse was luxury.  One time Grandma had to go in the daytime.  Our resident Jeep dude (his Lab rode on the hood.) stopped and yelled, "If anybody's in the outhouse, don't come out.  There's a bear sniffin' around."  Poor Grandma stayed in there Lord knows how long.  Another time she went out at night and freaked out.  She screamed and yelled, " There's something chasing me!"  We all scrambled to her defense.  Letting in beaucoup Minnesota skeeters into the cabins.  Turns out her heels (! yeah.  I told you she was a city girl) caught on a fishing line (oopsy) and everytime she took a step something made a noise behind her.

There's a lot more outhouse stories.
Title: Re: Peach Lugs
Post by: madmaxine on September 30, 2021, 10:29:14 AM
Back to the peach lugs.  I've heard jokes about using rabbits, but the peach lugs are unfamiliar.  I guess we really didn't have alot of peaches in IL or northern MN.    Do you use them before or after peeling?
Title: Re: Peach Lugs
Post by: Pete Bog on September 30, 2021, 05:56:22 PM
    Sorry I was a little vague about the "Peach Lugs". When I was much younger, 50-60 years ago, peaches and pears came in a cheap cobbled together wooden box. This wooden box was referred to as a "lug", followed by whatever fruit was contained there in. Hence, a "lug of peaches" or a "lug of pears", apricots,  what have you. The wooden box allowed the fruit to be stacked in a truck for transport without being bruised. If I remember correctly,  the bottom of the box had a stamped paper pulp cushion. It reminds me of a giant paper egg carton, but with bigger compartments to accommodate the fruit.
   The best part of this transport system were the "Peach Papers". Each peach was wrapped in a single sheet of tissue paper, each about 6 by 6 inch in size. That tissue was the outhouse treasure we looked forward to each fall.
    There are several units of measure that are unique to a product. A cord of firewood, a bale of wool and so on. Back when farms were small, I remember grain being talked of as sacks of "insert name of grain here" and those gunny sacks seemed to come as either fifty of hundred  pounders.
All the feed stores had a weight scale on wheels. The gunny sacks were thrown on the scale and you were charged by the pound, but the common terminology around the feed store was sacks of this or sacks of that. Whether if  be corn, wheat, barley or a mixed ground feed.
    Gunny sacks were made out of a lightweight cotton canvass or a burlap cloth. Don't see them much anymore, but when farms were small, one family operations, grain was transported in these sacks in the back of a pick-up truck or the trunk of a car. Kind of like dog food bags are now.
    On a side note, the sacks were tied shut with a "strangle knot". Similar to a constrictor knot or a clove hitch, but slightly different.  A well practiced man working in a grain elevator or feed store could tie a gunny sack shut in two seconds or less. 
    As a little kid, I remember watching those guys fill feed sacks. One guy would have a dozen or so pieces of sisal twine in his mouth, Each about 14 inches or so long. He would grab the top of the feed sack, bundle it together and give it a little twist to make it tight. Then he'd pull one piece of twine out of his mouth and do his magic around that gunny sack. Within a second or two, that sack was secure and no amount of tossing, heaving or bouncing around in the back of a truck was going to loosen it.
    Haven't seen it done in years. Probably one of those skills that will be lost to time.

    I grew up in northern Minnesota, the first time I saw a bale of cotton, I was maybe 20 years old. I was amazed at how big it was. Never got close to one so I don't know what the sack was made out of or how much that monster weighed. Anybody got experience with that?
    Same goes for peanuts. I assume they were transported in gunny sacks but I've never seen it. Anybody got some first hand experience they can share? Thanks.
Title: Re: Peach Lugs
Post by: Pete Bog on September 30, 2021, 06:23:01 PM
   The outhouse story reminded me of my grandmother.
   The outhouse was maybe a hundred yards from the house. Doesn't sound like much until it's dead dark, 10 below zero, and the foot path in the snow is only a foot wide. One missed step and you were off the path and up to your calf in cold snow. The only light was a 2 D cell, incandescent powered by carbon zinc batteries.
   Now, my grandmother was a city gal too. But she would come out to the farm to spend a week or two on occasion. Inevitably she would have to visit the outhouse in the dark of night at least a couple times during her stay. And she always insisted that someone come along as "company" to keep away the bears.
    As I think of that now, many years later, I'm reminded of that old joke about not having to run faster than the bear. She just had to run faster than me!