It’s time to Meet Mary Lynn and our Austin House

I talk about her all the time. I would be lost without her to guide me and correct my spelling and grammar. If only you could see a blog before she reads over it. It looks nothing like the blog you see before you. She doesn’t have a red pen to strike thru my errors. She stands over my shoulder and tells me what makes sense and which form of to (or too) use. She loves semicolons for my run-on sentences. If it was left up to me most paragraphs would only have one sentence, maybe two.

At The Dickens' Christmas Festival

The photo you see was taken at The Dickens’ Christmas Festival in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Everyone had to dress in period outfits. We searched all over the internet for ideas. She decided to dress like a cook from that era. She found out what chefs wore and made me an outfit. I had the white chef’s cook shirt with ballon sleeves under a starched apron. The pants were balloon legs that sort of folded under my belt. It felt really strange. Glad I didn’t live when they wore clothes like that. We even decorated our booth to look something like that era. She spent a great deal of time researching that show. It was a 4 day show. Each day tour buses would unload groups of assorted people who would walk thru the show; compliment you on your looks; sample your items, and even tell their friends to try something. The problem was they could not buy anything that they had to carry on the bus. They had no storage room. Then they would get on the bus and another group came thru a little later. Same story! Four days of this and then we loaded up and drove home. We decided not to do the show again in the future.

But we did get our favorite photo ever from the show.

We did about 30 to 35 shows a year. Mostly in the fall and in the spring. We did winter shows in Florida and summer shows up North. Worked out pretty good. We had a great time traveling and meeting some of the best people we have ever been blessed to meet. The customers were fantastic. Our best friends were the people we did shows with, other vendors. When things slowed down a little she would walk around and talk to the other vendors. She looked at their things and in many cases, offered to trade with them. She would get this and they would get to pick from our booth equal face value. It made for many long-lasting friendships that still go on today. She did this while I stayed and gave out samples, talked and told jokes to anyone that was close enough to hear me. I was sort of a carnival barker for our booth. It worked out great! We have some of the most awesome things decorating our home from these trades. She also got some beautiful things that we used for gifts for our family. Many jewelery items have been boxed and wrapped to give as gifts for every occasion you can think of.

Mary Lynn Sutton grew up in rural South Georgia in Fitzgerald and Cuthbert. You have to look hard on maps to find them. Many summers she stayed with her Grandmother. She taught Mary Lynn all about putting up things for food later. She learned about all types of beans, corn, okra and tomatoes, just to name a few. She learned under trained hands all the little things you have to do to make whatever you are canning taste great and store without spoiling. It would be a huge disaster to go in and get something for dinner and open the jar to find it had gone bad. Not only was dinner ruined, but the work put was wasted. Not to mention the lost vegetables and meat that you canned. Every jar or bottle had to be just right or else it did not last.

Her family moved to Daytona Beach just about the same time as my family. We went to the same schools and knew the same people, just not each other. Go figure! We met while she was a newspaper editor for Daytona Today and I was a DJ at a local night club. We didn’t date long before I wanted to marry her. She was just what I was looking for. I am not sure I was what she was looking for, but never mind that.

Mary Lynn

This very same way of doing things was the way she ran our kitchen and cooked those many things. We developed and cooked over 1000 different varieties of products in our business. We started The Austin House Jams & Jellies about 24 years ago. Mary Lynn and I were making gifts to give our family. And then they wanted more and asked if they could buy some. It all started that way.

We enjoyed the unbelievable variety of things available within a 1 day ride of our house. We would travel to South Georgia to get Peaches, or Blueberries. We bought Blackberries from the kids in our Sunday School Class. We gave them $5 for each gallon of berries they brought to our store. We told all the kids and parents that if they wanted extra money for something, picking was a good way to get it. Many Friday and Saturday afternoons we would get a call asking if we were going to be at our store at a certain time. Their moms or dads would bring them over and we would have cash for their trip to the movies or the mall. We bought many gallons of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and even grapes. It worked for us and was a good teaching element for them. They learned that they had to earn their own money to spend.

Something else about Mary Lynn that keeps our house jumping; she works as an extra or  a stand-in for movies and TV shows being filmed in our area. Were we live, just outside Atlanta, on any given day or week, at least 3 or 4 movies or shows are in progress.

She has worked on the TV show Vampire Diaries. She did 4 or 5 shows. In movies, she has worked as a teacher in Halloween 2. She also was in the movie Hall Pass. In the Disney

On the set of Vampire Diaries.

movie Flash, she played a vendor at the fair (sort of type casting). She also worked as a stand-in for Lois Smith in the movie “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” starring Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton and others. She is very multi-talented. Just recently she played a Nun in the new movie, The Three Stooges.

You never  know from day-to-day what is going on around our house. I am writing a book, as well as 3 different blogs. I also find time to keep us current with all the goings on in Facebook. We have a very large family and we all keep in touch via the internet. Over several states, we visit almost daily.

Now in the future when I talk about Mary Lynn, you will know who I am talking about. I write the blogs, but we live them. We have enjoyed our 26+ years together.

If you have any questions, please ask. If I can’t make up a good enough answer, she will be able to help me. Send us an e-mail at:

Remember, if someone ask you if you can can it, say YES! I can can it.

About Pete Austin & The Austin House

My wife, Mary Lynn and I had a very sucessful canning business for over 15 years, called The Austin House Jams & Jellies. We had to close it due to pure health. I will be writing a blog about some of the recipes, and how to use them. Also some of the interesting, funny, weird things that have happened in our traveling with the business. If you follow me, you will see that I look at things just a little different than others. If you look at the header at the top of the page, you see that I am looking at things. Making sure eveything looks as good as possible.
This entry was posted in Cooking, Food Preservation, Home Made, Old Fashioned, Recipe and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to It’s time to Meet Mary Lynn and our Austin House

  1. Karla Rai says:

    Love this!! Appreciate all the time you invest for us Mr. A~!! =)


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