Prairies no stranger to damaging droughts

Was the 1930s really the worst drought ever? With every dry spell, comments are made about the Dirty Thirties. It remains a landmark in Canadian history for its effect on all aspects of life, especially in our agriculturally dominated Prairies. We’ve experienced more recent droughts, such as in the late 1950s, early 1960s, 1980s and[...]

When children learn to use the phone

My granddaughter, Lucy, learned how to call me on the phone when she was four years old. At any time, I can expect an excited little girl to reply when I answer the phone. I’m amazed she can do this on her own but even more so because she uses an old dial telephone. Her[...]

Beloved McClary stove holds many memories

Many who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s cherish warm and cozy memories of their mother’s McClary wood and coal stove. In addition to the parade of delicious food born out of it, other favourite images might include one or more of the following: Jumping out of bed, running downstairs with your clothes clasped[...]

Homemade mints for Christmas

At the end of a family meal, we’d lean back, stuffed like turkeys. While conversation and coffee or tea circulated the table, a pretty dish of after dinner mints stole its way around as well. Our Aunt Mattie often brought her delicious homemade candy when she joined us for a special meal. We groaned but[...]

Precision important with brown sugar fudge

Brown sugar fudge makes a welcome gift for a birthday or for Christmas, sedately reposing in an attractive container. This recipe is presented exactly the way Aunt Mattie wrote it. You may think it’s a small thing to time the boiling for 7 1/2 minutes and have your dial at No. 6, but Aunt Mattie[...]

January a great time for making marmalade

Two elderly women influenced me in making my marmalade. When I attended university in Edmonton, I boarded at Mrs. Mae Head’s home. She always made marmalade in January from Seville oranges. I can still hear her English accent as she tells me, “January’s the best time to buy oranges, you know. That’s when they’re in[...]

Indigenous soldiers wore the uniform

Aboriginal men and women have served Canada in all wars. In the War of 1812 before Canada was wholly independent of Great Britain, thousands of First Nations and Métis fighters fought alongside British troops and settler militia, defending Canadian territory against American invasion. Commander of the British forces, Major-General Isaac Brock, saw these warriors as[...]

Auto evolution: a prairie family joins the ride

SASKATOON — Jim Adamson farmed in Alberta near Harold Hathaway’s place in the 1940s and they worked together for harvest. “Transportation in 1947-48 still involved horses and we had a particularly lively pair of grey Percherons, who delighted in periodically running away for no reason at all and in the process, usually completely demolished a[...]

Plenty of ways to cook rhubarb

Lilacs and rhubarb have nothing in common except they are both ready for picking at the same time. On one sunny day earlier this year, I went out to my rhubarb patch, pulled several stalks and then cut lots of lilacs to take indoors with the rhubarb. Rhubarb was a staple in every early Canadian[...]

Prairie measles outbreak prompted quarantine in 1937

The first words of Louise McLean’s diary for 1937 were: “Jan. 1 to 22: Quarantined for measles.”
She and her parents and siblings spent the last part of their Christmas holidays in isolation because her younger brother and sister had contracted measles from friends at school. 
“Stanley is the worst — very thin. Varina seems quite[...]