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

Combines have come a long way since they were first introduced to prairie farms.  | File photo

Combine a game-changer for prairie farmers

The earliest combines were pulled with huge teams of 20 horses, but by 1948 the author’s father was using a tractor

A young farmer in Alberta, Harold Hathaway, had just written a letter to his parents, now living in Vancouver. He would rather pull nose hairs with a vise grip than write a letter, but he had managed to fill up two pages by regaling the latest changes in farming. The recently discovered letter, dated Oct. […] Read more


Getting enough sleep is a key element of good health. The author’s father, as captured in this painting, would take a nap in the truck after lunch in the field during harvest.  |  Sheri Hathaway photo

Sleep deprivation causes a variety of problems

Sleep is thought to be so critical to good health that it should be considered as important as nutrition and exercise

Sleep problems such as insomnia, sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome are common for many. Our lifestyle and technology affect our sleep. Research has proven that sleep is as important to our health as diet and exercise. Studies show that sleep is a factor in reducing weight. When we are sleep deprived we have increased […] Read more

Getty image

Making the case for having a nap in the middle of the day

“Lay down for at least 15 minutes every day after lunch,” our family doctor advised Dad when he was diagnosed with an ulcer and still recovering from a back injury. The doctor advised laying on the floor to help my dad’s back but the midday rest would benefit both conditions. The idea of a rest […] Read more


It’s estimated that more than 300 million ordnances deployed in Belgium during the First World War were duds, and most have not yet been recovered. |  Getty Images

‘Iron harvest’ still threatens European farmers

Thousands of tonnes of unexploded ordnance, largely from the First World War, continue to be found every year

For soldiers and politicians, the destruction of the First World War ended 100 years ago, but for farmers in Europe today, it continues and will do so for centuries to come. Four years of siege warfare left parts of France and Belgium in ruins. Some mortars, bombs, mines and other shells that should have exploded […] Read more

This recipe was found in an old cookbook that was a church fundraiser.  |  Sheri Hathaway photo

Election dessert spices up politics

After you’ve voted, why not watch the election results with a dish of Tory Pudding with Liberal Sauce? I promise you won’t have a single party in opposition. Steaming hot and oozing with sweetness, it may just be the only palatable thing you take away from this election. I found this recipe in an old […] Read more

There’s just something about the homemade flavour of this cream of tomato soup that makes it worth the effort.  |  Sheri Hathaway photo

Fresh garden tomatoes make for a great soup

When fall moves in and plump, red tomatoes are in abundance, I think of making homemade cream of tomato soup. It’s become a tradition and there’s just something about the homemade flavour that makes it worth the effort. You’ll agree when you try this recipe. It is simple and delicious, letting the country flavour of […] Read more


The author’s mother’s diary shed a light on the excitement of this major trip away from home.  |  Submitted photo

Mother’s 1940 summer holiday remembered

The author’s mother made a trip with a 
friend to Vancouver Island, and captured 
her adventures in a diary

Ah summer. That time of year when Canadians free themselves to travel while the weather is warm. As a history writer, I’m curious about most things from days passed, so I wonder what travel was like. Recently, I came across a diary written by my mother, then named Louise McLean, of a trip she took […] Read more

Choosing to laugh: a family’s approach to life

The author’s father made it his life’s mission to coax laughter out of his family — but sometimes it was best to wait awhile

One time my sister got two baby ducks and named them Harold and Louise after our parents. The next spring, an egg appeared in the duck pen. Being in about Grade 4, she reported this event for her “news of the day” at school. “I have two ducks named Harold and Louise,” she said, “and […] Read more