Sweetie and I have been making kickass pickles with Sweetie's parents since 2002. Canning is hot, mildly tiresome work--it involves a tremendous amount of scrubbing and peeling and slicing and measuring and burning of fingers, all while there are two large pots of boiling things on the stove, and steamy hot glass jars to handle. If your own family has memories of grannies putting up canned fruit or jam or their own pickles, know that it was a righteous deal of work.
In this case, four adults make it fun and chatty, and we've done it enough that there's a reasonable system, even with variables like missing utensils and overly dirty cucumbers. Last year's Pickle Disaster, which resulted in a total of about 40 jars of inedible pickles, was apparently the result of a mismeasurement of the salt and vinegar proportions in the brine (Sweetie asked the resident Pickle Expert at the cucumber farm--apparently, if the proportions are correct, you don't even have to worry about an unsealed jar. This seems slightly insane, but nice in a remember-when-the-world-didn't-always-put-safety-first kind of way.)
Since we started having homemade pickles around, it is pretty much impossible for me to eat a mass-produced pickle, even the fancy NYC deli half-sours that I find occasionally, and even formerly reliable (and expensive) Klausens. None of them have the proper briny, spicy flavor, and none have the proper extra-crunch. You know how cheap, thin potato chips seem unpleasant and papery compared to good, thick, boutique chips? It's the same thing--you didn't know anything was missing, until suddenly you Praise Jesus Find The Truth In A Pickle.
Two years ago, we sold a few jars of pickles at a bake sale for the MoveOn PAC--I think I priced them at $8 each, labeling them "Pickles for Peace". Now I want to call them Praise Jesus Pickles, but I think I would have to cart them off to a very different town to sell them under that name. Maybe Truthiness Pickles is a better brand identity.