There is something about a pressure canner that baffles people. Some may recall horror stories from grandmothers and/or mothers that detail canner explosions, jars not sealing, or more. Others may have noticed recent news articles with growing concerns of botulism outbreaks in canned goods. Botulism is a type of food poisoning caused by a bacterium growing on improperly sterilized canned meats and other preserved foods. Stories like these that we have heard or read about have led people to misunderstand some aspects of pressure canning.
Last month, I shared stories of growing up on Minnetrista Boulevard from Janice, Helen, and their cousin Doris Mauck. This month, we’ll check out the memories of sisters Lucy, Margaret, and Rosemary. Their parents were Frank C. and Elizabeth “Bessie” Brady Ball.
With a great map in hand, you can dream about exploring a different city, state, country, or continent. You can even go back in time and, in some cases, way, way back in time. One of more than 80 maps in the collection donated by Edmund F. Ball is titled America Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio. The black and white wood-engraved map from a 1588 – yes, that is the correct date – atlas shows a much different America than the one we know. The map locates the village of “Quivera” in what is now California and inland “kingdoms” with names like “Anian” and “Tolm” to the north and east. In the center of the continent are “Tiuguas rio,” “Marata,” and “Terlichiechi.” Makes you wonder what happened to all of these places. Do they still exist? What is the English name?
Of the herbaceous perennials at Minnetrista, Joe-Pye weed is one of the skyscrapers, reaching 7–8 feet tall. Although it’s slow to get going—it’s one of the last plants to start growing in spring—its height soon surpasses most plants around it.
Although the odd weather has affected the crops this year, there is still a lot of great produce out there. This is certainly the best time of year to get tomatoes, peppers, onions, along with many other delicious produce items.
Along with the usual contents such as community memorabilia and newspaper articles, there are some very special letters included in the Minnetrista cornerstone. They were written by Janice Ball Fisher, Helen Ball Robinson, Lucy Ball Owsley, Rosemary Ball Bracken, and their cousin Doris Mauck Friedrichs.
In the early 20th century, Harriett Mitchell Anthony, a.k.a. “Diamond Heels Hattie” and “Hattie Bell” made quite a splash in her hometown of Muncie for her extraordinary clothing and for her shoes set with diamonds in the heels.
About this time last summer, I briefly mentioned a plant disease the gardeners and I were dealing with in the Minnetrista Boulevard planting bed. Called crown rot or southern blight, it was making quick work of hostas.
Recently, I spent a pleasant lunch hour talking about the Ball family and the history of the company with approximately forty Jarden Home Brand employees. Jarden, of course, holds the license to make Ball jars. The company also manufactures the lids and bands for all canning jars at a facility located on the former site of Ball Brothers Company at Memorial Drive and Macedonia Avenue.
Ouch! With its thirty sharp needles, the medical instrument known as the “life awakener” or Lebenswecker in German most likely caused more pain than it cured. The hollow ebony tube contained a handle with a coiled spring attached. When this spring was released, the needles punctured the patient’s skin, injecting oil known as Oleum, otherwise known as fuming sulphuric acid. Again, ouch.