Neighbours, family and friends dropped by to gaze at the blossoms and whiff in the fragrance; for a short season, it was the most blossomy yard around. | Getty Images

Multi-fruit bearing crabapple tree was a wonder to behold

Grafting allowed one tree to produce four varieties — the original Nerchinsk as well as Goodland, Kerr and Garland

Every spring, the crabapple tree in my backyard sent forth sensory blessings to the neighborhood —white blooms with a fragrant aroma, a sort of “the white way of delight” as Anne in the story Anne of Green Gables labelled it. Neighbours, family and friends dropped by to gaze at the blossoms and whiff in the […] Read more

The author’s mother made crepes using her own recipe with any fresh fruit in season.  |  Frieda Martens photo

Prairie fruit continues to deliver its goodness

The distinctive almond aroma as we approached our farmyard as we came home from school spelled saskatoon pie. We quickened our pace. In late June, when the fruit started ripening, our mother navigated the underbrush and picked the first ripe berries from the tall bushes, enough for a pie for supper. Mother’s delectable crust and […] Read more

Feeding a calf and watching it develop formed a lasting memory for the author.  |  Alma Barkman photo

Life on the farm made memories, taught lessons

Animals played a major role in the lives of children growing up on mixed farms, but sometimes the reality was hard

The three-week-old calf we named Green wobbled to the rail fence bawling as she tossed her head. She saw us approaching with a bottle of skim milk. As I placed the nipple in her mouth, she tugged and pulled it back and forth, managing to guzzle most of it, although some dribbled from the mouth […] Read more

The local country schoolhouse is no more and most of the community members have passed on. Special activities from those Christmases so long ago stand out — the exchange of gifts, the drama and musical performances, the decked out classroom and the accompanying electrifying atmosphere. The ending was sweet — the brown paper bag distribution by our own Santa Claus.
 | File photo

Christmas joy delivered in a brown paper bag

This simple symbol of giving stands out like a sentinel in the flood of unforgettable memories from bygone Christmases

The school Christmas concert was an unparalleled event at the time — with the last item topping all the rest on the program schedule. Santa Claus followed by his elves (the chair of the school board and trustees) stomped in from outside, brushing off the snow and cleaning their boots, making us shiver not only […] Read more

It’s hard to tell that this beautiful cake is so easy to make.  |  Irene LoScerbo photo

Chocolate cake secrets revealed

When the birthday girl cut the cake and dished it out to her classmates, the boys chimed in with their accolades. “Yummy, this is good.” With sticky, chocolate-stained fingers, they applauded Kiera, hoping there would be seconds. Kiera, one of my Grade 5 students at a Christian private school, brought a chocolate cake to celebrate […] Read more