When you have no job, but you have six children to feed and clothe, you get creative. My Irish grandfather had beautiful handwriting, so he parlayed that skill into a job making signs around town. My Russian grandfather did odd jobs around his town, and his wife, my Russian grandmother, made dandelion wine. She actually turned floral weeds into an alcoholic beverage.
5 quarts dandelion flowers
10 quarts water
Plenty of sugar
1 yeast cake
She filled several large pots with dandelions and water, and then she soaked them on the stove for a long time. The following day she strained the liquid through a cloth. Next, she added the sugar, yeast, orange peels, and lemons. The liquid needed to sit for a while before adding more sugar. The final step was to pour the wine into bottles, which she stored in the basement until the fermentation was complete, and they were ready to drink.
That was an example of the creativity that people of the Great Depression used to provide extra income. I always think of this whenever I see dandlions blowing in the breeze.
Weeds = Money
I found this recipe in the old diary in my father’s dresser—the diary he never told us about. This was the diary that was one of the keys in unlocking his story that lead to a book, Do Svidanya Dad: Tracing the Story of an American Family Trapped in the USSR.