My Nan is my inspiration, she passed her knowledge of preserving on to my mother, and she has now passed it on to me....When I was little, we would travel 10 hours to visit Nan and Pa in the xmas a family we made that journey every year. I can always remember Nan making date n nut loaves, preserving fruit that landed on her door, and pies, she could fit 12 pies in the oven at once....and they all went to the Red Cross stalls, along with many jars of pickles, jams, and sauces....In thirty plus years, my Nan never missed a Red Cross Stall. Nan never liked serving on the stall, but she went into every shop in Oak Flats selling tickets. Even when she wasn't well enough later on, she would get someone to deliver the goods to the stall. She also sewed for the stall too, making aprons, crocheting around facewashers, teatowels and even jug covers...I was always on the lookout for beads that could be threaded on the crochet cotton.

I remember when I was little, and on our visits, we could go to the wardrobe in the spare room and choose a shirt that she had made. If there weren't any in there, she would sit at the machine and make you one..and it was a full shirt with a yoke at the back, collar and cuffs, you name it. ....and no pattern to be seen. She never blinked an eye making them either...seeing she had had her old singer push pedal converted to electricity...I especially loved the shirts that were made out of old flour bags. My brother and I would fight over who would get to use the flour bags.

My nan was a tough ol' bugga' , she said it like it was and never beat around the bush. Nan helped raise some of her grandchildren on and off over the years and after her one true love passed away; she looked forward to visits from friends and family. She would walk anyone around her garden, showing you what was growing and what was supposed to be growing. By this time I had moved to the area with my husband and first child. We used to take Nan to feed the ducks down at the foreshore; she could always round up enough bread for the ducks and I loved how her eyes lit up when she was around them. I guess maybe it reminded her of times back on the farm too, before she moved into town.

I can always remember Nan and Pa having a vege garden, but my Uncle who lived with her most of the time when she got older, used to tend the garden more.....was it her garden? Of course it was, you just ask her. Did my Uncle think it was his garden?, of course he did, after all, he was the one that did most of the work towards the end....and I can still hear him asking her why she had pulled something out, when he wanted to let it go to seed.....She would just reply with "Its my garden, I've got plans for that space, and I'll plant whatever I like there."

I spent many years with my Nan once I moved to the area, and took her shopping and even to bingo. I also spent a lot of time standing in front of the stove stirring pots of jam, pickles, whatever was cooking on the day.....I stirred for my mother before moving away and then stirred for my Nan. Nan didn't live to the ripe old age of 90, but she did make it to 86, spending her last three years battling alziehmers.

After Nan passed away, there was no one left to make the jams, the pickles, the preserves...I came across some of Nans old recipes and now that I have my mother living with me, I have kind of taken over her recipes too.....and I guess the torch has been passed on to me.......Looking back, I don't think either of the two women knew they were teaching me, after all, I was just there to stir if they needed to leave the room for a minute......But I picked up many hints and was taught heaps, just by standing there and stirring............Today I asked my son to stir for me......I hope they end up marrying someone who likes cooking, because I have plans to pass these skills on too. Its good to know that skills are being passed down from generation to generation....I haven't made her apple pies yet, but I plan to have a go. Love you Nan!