Pat Shingleton: "Apple Storage and The Barlow..."
The apple harvest is underway in northern orchards. Our backyard contained trees with adjacent lots providing a good crop for everyone. The harvest provided my Mom with enough produce to “put up” apple sauce, apple butter and freezer apples for pies and cobblers. To compliment refrigeration, a basement or spring house provided a “climate controlled” environment for turnips, potatoes, carrots, peaches and apples. Another location was an abandoned well. Our Dad and Grandfather devised a means of “basketing” apples, attached to a rope and lowered into the well; above the water line. An apple urge sent my Dad outdoors on a cold winter night. Attempting to retrieve the crisp treat he felt less rope tension and heard the splash. Cold weather above the 14 inch freeze-line snapped the line. Another tradition for your review...George Washington carried one and Mark Twain wrote of a “real Barlow” in “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn” in 1876. A Barlow is classified as a penknife however original penknives didn’t have folding blades; resembling a scalpel and designed to thin and point writing instruments known as quills. Both knives were used for whittling which is an exercise in cutting small bits or pare shavings from a piece of wood. No matter what the season, Bert Price, our grandfather, not only carried a Barlow but also whittled. When we would ask “Gramps” to borrow his Barlow he would fold his newspaper, spit some tobacco juice and retrieve his precious knife from his overalls, saying, “Now mind, that Barlow is sharp and cuts two inches ahead of its shadow.”
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