My visit to Roger and Emily Shepherd the other day couldn’t have come at a better time. It was canning day. Emily and Roger garden on his family’s home place at the end of Triple S Road in David, Kentucky, right down from the Mission. I know why they call it Triple S, cuz of all the curves. But I have a hard time calling it a road. Where I come from something that narrow with cars on it is called a driveway.
Anyway, visiting Emily and Roger is always a treat because they can and preserve a lot. In fact, Emily taught our canning class last year. The day I went to visit they were canning beans–white half-runners. Roger does at least as much of the actual canning as Emily does. He was in charge of the canners that day and had every thing under control. He said he’d harvested a bushel and a peck that day because he had 28 quarts of beans. When Roger and Emily first moved back to Kentucky, they used to do their canning in a kettle over an open fire. “It took six hours standing over that fire.” Emily told me. “It got awful hot.”
Emily and Roger have done some “peddling” in their day too. They grew sweet corn and sold it on the side of the road when their youngest son was in college. “We gave him the money for clothes and spending money.” Emily told me. She sold her jams too. “We used to go out on 650 and set, but then people got to know us and would start calling the house asking if the corn was ready yet. So then we’d just keep a note on the wall of who wanted how much and when it came in we’d call them and they’d come get it.”
I tried to get the Shepherds to join the Floyd County Farmers’ Market this year but they decided not too. Roger retired from the coal tipple last year and they are enjoying their first grandchild and retirement. Besides there is still the garden to tend, beans to can and jelly to make. That’s what I got when I left. A big hug and two pints of jelly-one blackberry and one black raspberry, Roger’s favorite.