1997 to 1998

Grandma Zoe’s Jockey Days in the 1920s (Feb 1997)

1997-1 Feb - Grandma Zoe in her jockey days of 1920

The front cover is a photograph of my Mom’s mom … Grandma Tessier in her riding duds. Grandad Tessier was a race horse trainer and veterinarian. Grandma was 4′ 10″ and weighed 82 pounds and raced them for the different owners. She loved horses and was an excellent rider. She was the only Canadian woman jockey in the 1920’s and won so many races that the men got annoyed and decided to ban women from horse racing. She spoke five languages, had a photographic memory and her favourite topics were politics, religion and unions. She enjoyed a good debate and was labelled a Communist because she was always rallying support for the Russians, especially when she worked for Senator Morris in Oregon, USA. She learned to read Russian and German so she could learn about their herbal cures for her own health problems … she had eaten rat poison as […Read More]

Making Root Beer (Mar 1997)

1997-2 March Making Root Beer

This month’s front cover is a photo of me as a ten-year-old pouring Root Beer into beer bottles. It was a store-bought mix that was supposed to ferment in the bottles and get fizzy when opened. I can still hear Mom cursing when she walked into the storage room and discovered that more than one bottle had blown its cap and sprayed the sweet mixture all over the ceiling and walls. Some batches turned out great and some didn’t, and it didn’t matter to me as long as we got to drink the sweet-tasting Root Beer, for living in the wilderness, treats were special and thoroughly enjoyed. February 20th was my birthday and as soon as I thought of it I knew exactly what I wanted … so I ordered a lemon sponge cake with blueberry filling and whipped cream frosting from Jude at Just Pies and asked her to […Read More]

Good Tasting Water from Dipper (Apr 1997)

1997-3 April Good Tasting Water from Dipper

I am sure this photo of the galvanized tin bucket and dipper will bring back memories for many of the older folks who grew up without running water. This photo is of Michael, my second youngest brother, enjoying a drink of water as he daydreams. Everyone drank from the same dipper and put it back into the water bucket, which we hauled from the creek to the cabin more than once a day. The water was usually ice cold and tasted so sweet and delicious. Sometimes Michael would ask for help to get a drink, and if no one was around he would climb up on the stool and reach for the big dipper, trying not to spill much water before it got into his mouth. Being able to ask for help and being able to do it himself were both great experiences for him. Children need to learn they […Read More]

Stoking the Smokehouse (May 1997)

1997-4 May Stoking the Smoke House

Grandad Kost stoking the fire in the smokehouse is this month’s cover photo. I remember that special wood was used so that the smoke dried out the fish instead of the heat of the fire. Grandad learned a special technique living in the Arctic with the Inuits and had lots of practice. His smoked fish was the yummiest I have ever tasted. The fish had to be cut fairly thin, soaked in a salt brine, then hung on racks to dry … slowly. If there was too much heat, they crumbled and if there was too much moisture, they got mouldy. Even with guidance, I’m sure it took trial and error to figure out how to get just the right flavour. This energy is the same for all that we do, which reflects back to us how much our life is in or out of balance. I recently read that […Read More]

Springtime Changes (Jun 1997)

1997-5 June Spring Time Changes

It seems like spring has just arrived, reminding me of our first calf. This month’s front cover is a photo of Buttercup and my brothers Bill and Michael. This calf was born while Bill was in the hospital recuperating from a severe concussion. He had accidentally hit the door handle while playing in the back seat of Grandad’s old Dodge while Mother was busy driving and fell out, hitting his head on a frozen rock. This was before car seats and seat belts were invented, and Bill gave my Mom a real good scare, for she was worried he wasn’t going to make it. I am sure the one-hour drive to the hospital seemed like an eternity to her. My Mom insisted she was not going to leave his side till he came to, and the hospital policy was ‘no visitors after eight pm.’ They literally picked her up and […Read More]

Warming up the Water (Jul 1997)

1997-6 July & August Warming Up the Water

This month’s front cover needs a bit of explaining. My oldest brother David is keeping the fire burning so that we can have warm water to wash our dirty clothes. The warm water was then siphoned into the wringer washer that was powered by a gasoline motor. I enjoyed hanging the clothes on the line to dry, trying to second-guess if I could get them all to fit. The tank holding the water was painted yellow, the same colour as the school bus that my parents converted and drove to Rosswood in 1959. The words behind David spell out the city where we came from, Alpena, Mich. Summertime is the best time of the year for me. The long summer days give me external heat. For many it’s a time to eat fresh fruit and salad greens, but not for me. I continue to eat porridge and the more warming […Read More]

Bareback Horse Riding (Sep 1997)

1997-7 Sept Bareback Horse riding

A new photo of my brother and I on our horse, that we did not get to ride very often. I remember being bucked off when he stepped into a nest of hornets but it was fun to ride rather than walk the hour to play with the 3 other girl friends that were part of our community at Rosswood. You can see the image I talk about in the archive for 1991 July and August Some things are just worth repeating and so is the photo of me on this month’s front cover. For those of you who weren’t reading my Musings six years ago, the photo is me standing on the work horse ringing the dinner bell. It was the fun part of working hard helping my Mom prepare dinner for a family of ten. Rereading that column reminded me of how long I have been struggling to […Read More]

The Big Move (Oct 1997)

1997-8 Oct The Big Move

The year is 1959, the location is northern Alberta, a pit stop just before we pick up Grandad. I am seven years old and my family is moving from Alpena, Michigan to Rosswood, a small settlement in northern BC. This month’s picture shows us fully loaded, including Mother’s piano. The water tank shown on the cover of the July/August issue is at the front of the bus behind the mattress springs. Mom had made money selling some land and with the profits, she bought an old school bus, called it Chinook, and, like the wind, she decided to move. The decision to move took several years, but Canada offered land at two dollars an acre and the hunting and fishing were extra good. I remember the move as being fun, and the effort was made easy with many people helping. As the farewell party gathered we all said our good-byes […Read More]

Chinking the Cabin (Nov 1997)

1997-9 Nov Chinking the Cabin

After the ‘Big Move’ from Alpena, Michigan to Rosswood, BC in 1959 my parents found an old house to rent. To be more correct, it was an old telegrapher’s cabin, owned by the government. During the war it had been used to relay messages to and from Europe across the Arctic Ocean but when we arrived it had fallen into disrepair and was inhabited by rodents. My parents were delighted to find a cabin already built, right in the middle of nowhere, so fixing it up was going to be quite a joy. Rent was twenty dollars a month. While they were tearing down one of the bookshelves to use as floor planking, twenty dollars fell to the floor so the first month’s rent was free. This seemed to add to their excitement and enthusiasm for fixing up that old cabin. Grandad took over chinking the walls. The wind blew […Read More]