I love to photograph items that depict a way of life. Resourcefulness, particularly in rural areas, is certainly a way of life in Atlantic Canada, and part of the culture of Nova Scotia.
I grew up in a very (very!) rural part of Nova Scotia and my parents were older than those of my friend's parents. When I was 14 my father was already 68. He was born in 1925 and the idea of reducing, reusing, and recycling was a part of his make-up, more so out of necessity than anything else I would imagine. Growing up with limited resources, and limited access to resources in a rural area, leaves you with a different kind of respect for items than if you have easy access to whatever you need whenever you need it. If you have to drive for an hour to a decent department store, or better yet, 3 hours to a major city, you stretch your resources and often make use of what you have on hand.
I'm pretty sure that for the first part of my life I didn't even realize that you could buy buttons. If you needed buttons for a shirt or sweater you were making (yes, making), you made your way over to the button tin and began a treasure hunt for enough buttons that matched. And, before you threw away an old shirt, or cut it up for rags, you cut the buttons off and put them in the tin. I actually remember enjoying "playing" with buttons when I was a kid.
Above is a photo of the large pot my mother uses to make everything from boiled lobsters to homemade pickles and chow. It is easily decades old - 5 to be exact, and I don't think she would dream of replacing it with a new shiny version. In fact, I expect that if someone even attempted to give her a new one it would sit in the back of the cupboard or she would offer it to someone else. Personally, I think the pot is part of the recipe and I love the way the inside and handles are worn. There is comfort in that pot, whether it is full of pickles being cooked or if it is empty.
My mother's salt container is the epitome of resourcefulness. It is an old honey container - the spout is perfect for filling salt shakers and perfect for times when a large amount of salt is required (like pickle making time). No need to run out and buy a container to store salt when there is a perfectly good one to be saved from the trash can. And, no need to toss that little scrap of aida cloth if it can be used to label and decorate the bottle! I love everything that this bottle stands for: innovation, resourcefulness, and of course... delicious pickles.
I started thinking about this blog post when I was out shopping for a gift for my boyfriend's mother. We decided to get her a cover for her Kobo and when we were in the store we learned that they no longer make a cover for the version she has. Her version has been discontinued. What? It is less than a year old. Now there are newer versions with newer covers. What happens to the old versions when people "must have" the latest and greatest? If you wonder that yourself I encourage you to watch this short video: The Story of Stuff.
I hope you get to experience or create some rural (or urban) resourcefulness this holiday season. If you do, or have in the past I would love to hear about it in my comments section, please share :)
And, stay tuned for a special Christmas blog post near the end of the month.