Tag Archives: Canada

It’s that deleted post!

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Look what I found in the archives… It’s that post that I deleted; about the land we bought! I wrote this 3 years ago but deleted it out of frustration, among other things. I wrote more about that in a recent homesteading post. You can find it here.

Well summer has come and gone. Life got a little crazy for us as we traveled across the country to see the land we purchase. We had made a bold decision to buy land site unseen. An even bolder decision? To go live on it! 18 acres of untouched bush and trees on the east coast. Close to the highway and to town. Sounded do-able… Maybe I could have a market garden and all the animals I could handle. Too many big dreams…

Which came crashing down the minute we turned off the highway. Although beautiful and quaint, hillbilly would be the word that first come to mind. Then came the sight of our sloping land that we were unsure of how to even get onto. Renting a skid-steer seemed the quickest way to make a dent. I was excited to break ground and ‘smell’ our land. (out west I am accustomed to that rich, deep earthy scent that invades your whole head) Well that didn’t happen here… the moist black organic matter that I expected to see from the tree roots and plant mass that had decomposed year after year turned out to be dry red soil that didn’t smell like anything but a bad investment.

Having cleared a path and a ‘yard’ space; we bounced our camper into place and hunkered down…. for the weekend ;p

The deer flies were so bad, that I just knew I couldn’t raise my babies here. We were all covered in deep itchy bites.

So between the bad soil, the bad kind of neighbors, bad bugs, and a general bad feeling about the whole thing….

We met with the Realtor first thing Monday morning.

We didn’t want to have driven all that way for nothing and thought we should give it a solid go. So we looked into renting a place in town (which we had come to love). People were renting out pieces of their house for far too much and there were no jobs to speak of. One guy told my husband “there are lots of jobs, there were 8 last week!” Ha.. not quite what we were used to.

So after much thought and discussion we realized that where we left actually felt like home after all. That was a great realization. Because where we grew up no longer felt like home. And feeling lost as adults and unsure of where to put down roots for your family is very unsettling. So we are back to the exact place we left in spring and it feels right. -for now 😉

Editors note: That place was great for a while but we still ached to have something of our own. And after researching many areas, we finally moved back to our home province….where the dirt is black. 🙂

Pioneering Recipe Books

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My love affair with old cook books started many years ago. We had bought an older but well taken care of, very clean truck camper. While checking through the cupboards I found this…

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Each new chapter explains the history of the pioneers and the diverse ethnic groups that were homesteading in Saskatchewan Canada.

My favorite has to be the Pioneer chapter. They touch on and explain in detail the process of preparing tradition things such as a sourdough starter and recipes for baking with it, curing a ham and making head cheese…. “Have a pig’s head well cleaned, brains, ears, eyes removed and the head cut into four pieces. When cutting up the meat be sure to skin the tongue and only use a small amount of the cheek part. Put in a large kettle…..”
It also includes this bannock recipe that I have been using a lot lately because it cooks up in the fry pan quickly, rather than heating the house to make biscuits.

BANNOCK

This primitive sort of bread was introduced into the west by the Selkirk settlers. It has become a favorite of northern fur trappers.

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup shortening (I use butter)

3/4 cup water

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course bread crumbs. Add water and mix quickly to a soft dough. Turn out on floored board, kneed lightly for 30 seconds and pat into a 10 inch round. Cook in lightly greased frypan over medium heat till brown. (about 15 minutes per side) Serve warm. Yeild: 1  10-inch bannock.

Note: I never mess up my counter… just knead quickly in bowl and flatten into pan or make smaller ‘patties’ in your hands for quicker cooking and individual servings.

DSCN5160 I came across these other books at different garage sales. I love that I found a book compiled by the ‘Women’s Auxiliary of the Western Development Museum’. This museum is located in my hometown city in Saskatchewan and is an absolute favorite family outing. We were always sure to go at least once a year and never missed going during the holidays when they have their famous vintage toy display and Christmas trees with homemade old fashioned ornaments. So I was shocked and so excited to have found this treasure, randomly in Alberta.

Boomtown's First Edition Cookbook.

My next favorite is called ‘Buckskin Cookery, the pioneer section. A souvenir cookbook of pioneer recipes donated by old timers and natives of B.C.”  First printing in 1957 from Williams Lake, B.C.

It’s full of recipes and homestead hints.  Here’s a short hint for Clothes Pegs… “Soak the clothes pegs in a strong salt water solution and they will not freeze to the clothes on the line in winter.” And what do you suppose they did before you could buy sterilized potting soil?  “Flower Seeds.  When flower seeds must be started in the house, bake the earth thoroughly in the oven to kill all worms, insect eggs, and weed seeds.” Here’s a cute one… “Love Charm. Carefully dig up any female plant. Talk to it. Call it by name of girl. Dig up male of same plant. Talk to it, and name for man. Plant together. If plants live, couple will fall in love, if plants die, no good.” 🙂

Homestead hints, medicines, Witch doctor....

Homestead hints, medicines, Witch doctor….

This is the best, most interesting and amusing piece of history I’ve ever come across. This will be cherished forever in my home and put to good use as we set up our own homestead.