A diorama at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon demonstrates the effect of a Dirty Thirties dust storm. | Sheri Hathaway photo

Prairies no stranger to damaging droughts

Drought is often associated with the Dirty Thirties, but significantly dry conditions have been commonplace for centuries

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 […] Read more

Lucy calls her grandmother on her dial phone. | Sheri Hathaway photo

When children learn to use the phone

Kids have a much more casual acceptance of telecommunications technology than when the author was a young child

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 […] Read more

This McClary stove is on display at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, Man. | Sheri Hathaway photo

Beloved McClary stove holds many memories

It was a versatile workhorse, drying out wet mittens, getting rid of old newspapers and warming bath water as well as cooking supper

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 […] Read more

These after dinner mints are so pretty that couldn’t possibly have any calories, could they?  | Sheri Hathaway photo

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 […] Read more

Brown sugar fudge makes a nice birthday or Christmas present.  | Sheri Hathaway photo

Precision important with brown sugar fudge

Author’s aunt did not believe in ‘fudging’ when making this sweet delight; she also didn’t believe in scraping the pan

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 […] Read more

January might be considered the perfect month for marmalade because it is the best time to buy citrus fruit.  |  Sheri Hathaway photo

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 […] Read more

Cpl. Huron Brant of Ontario’s Bay of Quinte Band was decorated with the Military Medal in Italy in 1943 by General Bernard Montgomery for bravery at Grammichele in Sicily.  |  Supplied photo

Indigenous soldiers wore the uniform

More than 4,000 members of First Nations volunteered for the First World War and 3,000 in the Second World War

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 […] Read more

The Hathaway family stands in front of their Rambler.  |  Hathaway family photo

Auto evolution: a prairie family joins the ride

The author remembers what it was like as her parents started down the unfamiliar road of car ownership in the middle of the last century

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 […] Read more

Store relish in nice jars and give them away as Christmas gifts.  |  Sheri Hathaway photo

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 […] Read more

Prairie measles outbreak prompted quarantine in 1937

Life was significantly disrupted when family members became sick and a 21-day quarantine period went into effect

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 […] Read more