I am writing this from Camp #7, where I have been living for four weeks as of yesterday. But more on Camp #7 later. I’m going to try and post about each camp I’ve spent time at, so this post is about Camp #1, which is where I found myself after I first left Edmonton, AB. back in late September.
I stayed with my cousins M and S from the 27th of September to the 11th of October. They live between Salmon Arm and Vernon in a manufactured home on an acte or so of land. M’s mother was my Mum’s sister and his dad was my Dad’s brother, so he is as close to me as any sibling and only a year and a bit younger. We share a love of antiques, old-fashioned ways, books, language and more. This made for a time of rest and the beginning of recuperating from the past couple of years.
In my last post, I referred to the Best Squash Pie, ever! This was made from the flesh of a Boston Marrow, given to my sister and myself by a good friend who lives on an acreage west of Devon, AB, in the week before I moved. There was no time to make pie then, so it ended up travelling with me to Camp #1, where it was steamed, pureed (only took a couple ofminutes to puree, as it was not fibrous at all). The usual spices were added; cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. Then some brown sugar, milk, a couple of eggs and a couple tablespoons of cornstarch just to make sure it thickened up properly.And it did! We all loved it and it didn’t last too long . . .
Below is a photo of the squash. If you ever have the chance to grow them, I can highly recommend them for pie, but they are likely just as good as a vegetable, too.
Food at Camp #1 was wonderful, as my cousins eat very much as I do when given the chance. Home-made everything, much fresh from the garden, the rest nearly all from local growers. Every lunch I had two open faced tomato sandwiches with bits of basil from the herb garden torn small and sprinkled on top. Then there were slices of cucumber and leaves of lettuce. Mmmmm
Cousin M is retired, but his wife still works. Every day she would bring home produce and fruit that had been brought to share by her co-workers. The pear pie quickly became one of my favourite desserts.
This is the easiest pie to make, too: Pie crust was taken from the freezer and thawed, then flattened. The pears were peeled, quartered and cored, then sliced thickly on top of the bottom crust. A small handful of cinnamon hearts was sprinkled over the pears and the top crust put in place. INto the oven and a short time later we had this:
I was delighted to find that M & S had a couple of climbing nasturtium plants in the yard, as I’ve always enjoyed their peppery flavour, quite similar to watercress, I think. Often as M and I wandered around the yard looking at his plants or beginning to prepare for winter, I would pop a few leaves and flowers in my mouth. I like both in salads, too; the flowers are such a vibrant colour and really spark up a salad.
M & S love outdoor life and often go camping. They alwasy keep an eye out for interesting rocks and some of those have made their way home and now grace the side yard.
Aren’t they lovely?
While I was at Camp #1, Thanksgiving came along. Among the dishes were a local turkey and cherry pie made from cherries off the tree in the back yard, complete with the traditional lattice top. S and I did the top together, with me lifting strips while she threaded others through. Four hands make light work, indeed and sometimes there is no such thing as too many cooks!
I found so much to be grateful for that it was a wonderful day: family, friends, the times I’ve been so lucky to share with my parents since 1999. All of you in my Virtual Village, too. There were moments of sadness, of course, with so many of my parents’ generation now gone, but still I am grateful for the example and inspiration I’ve received from them. There will always be an empty space in my life, but it’s balanced by the fullness in my heart and mind. We will never see their like again, I think, but we are fortunate to have known them and learned so much from them.
For years, this was the only photo I had ever seen of my maternal grandmother. The baby she is holding is my mother, so the photo would have been taken in 1923.
My mother’s parents, probably when they were engaged; my mother’s grandparents. This great=grandmother helped to care for my Mum nd her siblings after her own Mum died. I grew up on stories of Grandma C., but didn’t see a photo of her until many years later.She left Norway in 1900 with their daughters to join her husband (and, I presume, their sons) in North Dakota.
My Dad’s family on their arrival in Canada. My grandfather is at the back left, with my grandmother in front holding the baby, my Dad. The other photo is my Dad’s father in his Red Cross uniform. Mennonites did not believe in killing, so usually had other roles during World War I.
The only known picture of my mother’s paternal grandparents, who remained in Norway along with two of their daughtes.
My Dad and M’s Dad, working together as they usually did for the first decade or so of their lives after the Army. M and I were not in school yet. The other photo is my Dad’s father’s ‘shack’ (what we called them in those days). The last place he lived before moving to the Interior to be near his three sons.
The first home I had was similar to this, but minus the shingles on the outer walls, and likely with a much smaller window or two. The home I’ve spoken of before, where we lived when I was 5-7, was a shack like this, one small window, though, and it measured about 10 feet by 15 feet. That one housed my parents, myself and three little brothers. When we moved to the Interior, Mum was expecting my first sister, the one who moved to Edmonton for over a year to help care for Mum. Not many people would enjoy living like that today, I think, but those wee shacks still feel like ‘home’ to me and I would love to have one again.
Spooky was found with a sibling, abandoned in the woods nearby. No one knows if they were dropped off by a person or if their mother was with them and killed by an owl or the like. The sibling didn’t survive, as they were likely barely four weeks old, but Spooky did and is now a couple of years old and full of kittenish fun. This tunnel is one of his favourite playgrounds.He is well named and took more than a week to warm up enough to allow me to touch him. M said he wandered around looking for me after I left, so I hope he remembers me when I return next year.
Myself and my two oldest brothers. I would have been close to six, D on the left nearly four and B, in the middle, nearly two. On the right, me and D.
Over sixty-five years between these two photos.
Like all the women on Mum’s side of the family, M’s Mum was gifted when it came to fibre arts. Above are the details from ust one of her doilies. It’s been washed, so is not properly stiffened. Back in the day, we used sugar water as a form of home-made starch. These pieces are awe-inspiring when starched and stretched out so that the points can be seen properly.
Details of another of her doilies. Again, if it were starched, the little triangular bits would stand up beautifully. I hope one day to find the pattern for both of these and make myself copies.
Our Dads’ father was a master carpenter. He made this chest for M’s Dad. Some years before, when our Dads married, he made similar boxes for our mothers. Those have a mirror in the lid that swings forward and supports the lid. Those boxes were meant for jewellery boxes and were handy for checking lipstick when going out. Those two boxes were fancier in design than this one and had lovely curved feet that Grandpa carved with his penknife. My Dad asked my Mum to leave hers tome, so once I’m settled I’ll be able to take a photo of it to share with you. For now it’s with my sister for safekeeping. This box is made from a thin plywood, but our Mum’s boxes are of cedar and painted a light green on the inside. In the closeup you can see the square pegs that hold the lid in place when it’s down, reducing stress on the hinges.
Well, that’s it for now, my friends. Next time, I’ll write about my trip to Camp @2 and my lovely, albeit short, stay there. Stay warm or cool depending on which hemisphere you are in. Big hugs to each of you.