Problems With Getting Food
For the first winter we brought in our groceries from Calgary. Soon the Sylvester family started a small store in one room of the house they had built. They hauled their merchandise from Crossfield and later from Acme with team and wagon. At one time when we were out of money they gave us the necessities on credit for which we were most grateful. We got flour, rolled oats, tea and sugar. As other things ran out we just did without them.
Of course, we had our own milk, butter, eggs, and sometimes meat and vegetables. One whole summer our only meat was home cured bacon. It became very monotonous. We also got some lovely heads of cabbage but they did not keep too well in our cellar, which was just a hole in the ground under the shack. In a later year, a carload of vegetables was sent to our community from some district near Edmonton when we had a failure and they had plenty.
We used rabbits for food in the early years. A roasted rabbit with dressing in it made a delicious meal. I made hamburger of one rabbit and had it fried when the children came home from school. They said, "Who’s been to town today?" They knew there was no meat in the house. It was good and we had a fine meal. In later years, most of the rabbits were diseased. They had water blisters on them and were unfit for food. I cooked one and it smelled so good, but when I cut it, I found the blisters and we had to throw it out. We were a disappointed family that day. We soon gave up using them.
Occasionally we had a good dinner of wild duck; a day’s fishing at the Red Deer sometimes resulted in a meal of fresh fish, mostly gold eyes. Most of the early years there was a good crop of saskatoon along the Red Deer River and at the Hand Hills. Many a summer day we took lunch to the river, picked saskatoons till late in the afternoon, bathed in the river, and got home in time for the evening chores. We cooked the berries with sliced lemons (when we could get them), vinegar or rhubarb to take away the flat taste.
click to enlarge (91 kb)
This 1932 photo shows Art in front of their "shack"
with their dog and a bunch of mellons
they had grown.
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