with a purpose

While growing up on a small farm in northern Alberta I learned a number of valuable life skills.  Being the youngest child I became my mum’s constant companion.  As I helped her in the garden, my interest in gardening developed.  Cows, chickens and pigs were raised to provide food for our table.  Dad took care of feeding the animals, Mum milked the cows and the milk was separated using a hand cranked milk separator.  Some of the cream was poured into metal cream cans for shipping, and some was churned into beautiful butter, for our own use & for sale.  The washed butter was shaped into one pound blocks & carefully wrapped in waxed paper printed for such purpose.  By the age of seven there were daily chores assigned for me: to keep the wood box filled for the cook stove and to gather the eggs.  I learned to handle eggs gently as I washed them & placed them in flats.  Once a week Dad would hitch the horses to a wagon to deliver the butter, cream and the wood case of eggs, to the General Store operated by Corn Boos & his family.  He documented a credit in a small bill book for the eggs & butter… payment for the cream came later as a cheque.  That credit was used for purchasing grocery essentials like baking supplies.  I watched Mum prepare hearty meals for us; chocolate cake was baked during the week for lunches & a sponge cake was a Sunday treat… usually served to company with canned wild strawberries & cream.  Her hands were always busy… creating something for us or others.  During the winter months there was knitting & sewing… from cozy wool mitts, socks & sweaters to sewing repurposed clothing into scrap bag quilts.  With the change in seasons to spring / summer there was preserving vegetables & fruits from the garden for winter use.  During garden season the creative hand work was usually embroidery on pillow cases & table runners during any ‘idle’ times.  Those were the days of no electricity or televisions.  There was always something in the works… with a purpose… some thing tasty for the table, or to comfort someone or to provide a touch of beauty.



6 thoughts on “with a purpose

  1. Wow, that brought back memories! With 4 brothers I didn’t have to do outside chores, but I did have to help with the cooking and cleaning! Sometimes I long for those days again! Life was so simple then!

    Liked by 2 people

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