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Monday, 24 April 2017

Welcome, Spring!

Here are some hopeful signs from two or three days ago. I think we might actually be enjoying spring and that it is here to stay.


Forsythia is just beginning to bloom. I have this type of shrub in three locations around the property. Very pretty right now, not so thrilling later.


There are little wee clusters of tiny purple violets in the lawn. They're so delicate and such a nice shot of colour.


Peonies are emerging with their wine coloured feathery tops rising up over last year's stalks.


Hostas are just starting to poke up in a new bed that I planted last year. I'm hoping for even bigger clumps this year.


The pink hydrangea from that same bed are also showing some nice growth.


Early tulips are putting forth leaves.


The rhubarb is even bigger now.


Husband and I cut down some dying / dead scrubby little trees and lilacs from the edge of the property, cleaning things up nicely. The bigger trunks will be cut up to add to our firewood. The more branchy stuff goes to the burn pile (which will be a towering inferno if we're not careful).

Since I took these pictures, things have greened up even more. The air is full of birdsong and it just feels lovely.

Speaking of birdsong and on a completely different note, Husband and I were sitting on the front porch after work this afternoon, telling each other about our days and just relaxing. I saw Scooter the Cat with No Tail coming along the rail fence. I could tell he had something in his mouth and it looked big, but I couldn't see clearly because of the fence. At first, I thought it was a black squirrel because there was so much on either side of his face and it seemed to still be moving. The cat kept trotting along, coming toward the house. Of course, I shouted to my husband to do something, but by the time the cat came up to the front walkway and husband got up to "do something", we could see it was a bird. He had the bird more or less by the head and both wings were stretched out, very much alive and moving. I don't like the thought of animals suffering and the cat just came right up the steps onto the porch where I wanted Husband to pick the cat up and force him to drop the bird. The bird, by the way, was a mourning dove. They are not small birds.
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The cat saved us the trouble. He opened his mouth and the bird flew out, scattering small feathers across the porch. The cat turned to look at us with a couple of small feathers still stuck in his mouth and whiskers. I think he was so proud to have caught this bird that he was bringing it for his humans to see and the whole thing just backfired on him.

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This is likely what I would have done:

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Actually, Scooter is black and white, much like Sylvester the Cat (except of course, with no tail).


                                    Looks rather innocent there, doesn't he?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

How Do You Like Them Apples?

You know how you go into the grocery store and you don't need to buy laundry detergent, or a lot of meat, or something from the vitamin aisle and you think this won't be a big grocery bill this week? Then you get to the checkout and you're helping to load up your bags and the sweet girl at the counter announces your total and it's still over $200.00. So you pay for your groceries, then as you are leaving, you check over your bill and you see that you paid $13.74 for four apples. So you assume it's a mistake and you catch the eye of someone important and they say, sure they will check that for you, and you find out it isn't a mistake and they really do cost that much.



What kind of apple costs $3.44 per apple?? Well, I'll tell you: honeycrisp. Yes, I was almost the proud owner of some incredibly expensive apples. However, I decided I didn't need what seemed to be gold infused apples, and they gave me my money back and I went home apple-less.

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After I got over my shock, I decided to find out why one needs to decide if they want to make a significant investment when they buy apples. It turns out that although Honeycrisp apples are truly delicious, they are incredibly hard to grow. In fact they are a huge pain in the backside for apple growers. Here are some articles that I read, from which I got my facts. This one  as well as this other one .  The trees are prone to breaking easily, so they have to be trellised, the fruit can't just be harvested one time when they ripen, instead they tend to ripen at different times, so they are usually harvested three times over the season. Honeycrisp bruise very easily due to their thin skin and even their own stems cause bruising so the harvesters need to hand clip the stems very short. They are also prone to a vast amount of diseases like cedar apple rust, black rot, cork spot, bitter pit, and soft scald.

These very finicky apples also must be stored at very precise temperatures when they are first harvested to prevent a whole host of other problems. This all adds up to extra costs for the grower which of course get passed on to the consumer. I don't begrudge the growers. If I had to mess around with a plant that was that problematic, I probably wouldn't bother. Just like flowers in my gardens, it is survival of the fittest. If a plant is not growing well and has to be moved, or treated specially, I don't waste my time trying to save it. But apple growers know that consumers love the texture and eating experience associated with Honeycrisp apples, so they deal with the hassels of growing them.

However, at $13.74 for four apples, I decided I didn't need to be an apple "foody". I was really only planning on cutting them up to take them to work as part of my lunch. I can certainly do that with a lowly Mackintosh, or maybe a Gala for the fraction of the cost.

In general, I find that groceries are very expensive. Importing produce from other countries so that we can have fresh fruit throughout the year results in expensive fruit and vegetables. I buy berries every week. They are a big part of my diet. But good lord, sometimes they are ridiculously expensive. Sometimes I don't want to spend $4.99 on a tiny box of blueberries, and so I don't, and I stick with just strawberries instead. There are many fruits that I won't buy during the winter months even though they are in the grocery stores. Peaches and melons tend to be hard, tasteless things unless "in season". I grow some of my own vegetables so I don't spend much when my own garden is producing, but of course that is just for a short amount of time. Winter is long here.

So there you go. Honeycrisp are so very good and so very expensive,  because they are so very annoying to grow. Happy eating!


Friday, 21 April 2017

Could we Share a Pizza?

Friday night after a crazy week meant pizza being ordered and picked up (too far out of town for delivery) for supper.

There are so many choices of toppings for pizzas now, as well as crust variations (regular, thin crust, gluten free...). If you go to a restaurant that specializes in pizza, the options are a bit mind boggling. Anything from sundried tomatoes to chicken, Caesar sauce to multiple kinds of meat, hamburger to feta cheese is available.

I am not pizza compatible with my husband. He likes anything that involves meat. Tonight he had pepperoni, mushrooms, bacon, and anchovies. Usually Italian sausage plays a part as well.  Blah - I didn't even want the anchovy-tainted air touching my pizza.

I, on the other hand, had pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and green olives. I also requested thin crust to cut back a bit on calories (won't bother mentioning how many slices I had thereby defeating the whole purpose of thin crust).

Now, my lovely people out there in internet land, could we share a pizza, or are you an onion hater? Do you prefer a Hawaiian pizza? Veggie only? Or would you be shoving my husband aside and grabbing a slice of "meateor pizza"?

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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A Bit of Easter

Easter weekend was very nice. I don't decorate very much for Easter because I would only want decorations up for a limited time.


I cut some daffodils that grow wild "down the lane" and put some on the kitchen table along with a cute little cream and sugar set.


I took the lid and little spoon away from the rabbit that is supposed to be a sugar bowl and filled it with chocolate eggs instead.



I put more daffodils in a pretty little pitcher and placed that on the coffee table in the den along with three metal rabbits.



I've had these rabbits for years. The basket on the upright rabbit detaches. I put a few foil wrapped chocolate eggs in his basket.


I brought out my cute little square bunny pillow as well.

This was the first year that I didn't set up an Easter egg hunt for the kids. They are now 17 and 20 years old, so I decided it was time to wrap up that tradition (even though the recent ones were a lot of fun because we made it very hard to find the eggs). I did make up little Easter baskets for everyone. They're growing up and had their respective girlfriend and boyfriend over, but it was still lovely to have an Easter gathering around our table.

I just read over this post and almost put myself to sleep!! I have nothing thrilling to add. Except maybe that Easter candy is like my kryptonite and I'm awfully glad I never got involved in any hard drugs or addictive pain killers because my lack of will power would be my downfall and I'd be writing this blog from rehab.

Of course, my twisted way of dealing with this was allowing myself a day where I could eat my chocolate eggs and tiny little chocolate bunny and not record any calories, and then the next day I had to rein it in and behave. And that's what I did. So there.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Like a 1950's Housewife / Seeing Double

Yesterday (Good Friday) the four of us went down to the city in which my sister, brother, and some of their children live. We had a very nice time eating, telling stories of when we were kids, solving some of the world's problems, and trying to get my niece's cat to sit in a square on the floor created with masking tape. (The cat wasn't interested, but my husband stood in it for a while).

Today I spent time doing the usual grocery shopping (however, the stores are crazy busy because yesterday was a holiday and tomorrow is a holiday and everyone, including me was buying what is needed for gatherings this weekend). I will have the four of us, and the kids' respective significant others, and my mother-in-law tomorrow. The menu will be appetizers of raw veggies and ranch dip, cheese and crackers, and a shrimp ring. Dinner will consist of turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, broccoli salad, and a new adventure, creamy corn done in the crockpot, as well as rolls or rye bread. Dessert will include lemon squares, pumpkin pie, and something new, which is actually something quite old. Sometimes I like to try to make different food as long as there isn't too much riding on it! I figured this was a safe bet and it's just immediate family, so if it didn't turn out perfectly, people could just eat their Easter treats!

I made my very first pineapple upside down cake!


Ta daaa!!  Please excuse the presentation. I needed something big enough on which to flip it and go from upside down to right side up, so I just used a foil covered baking sheet. My baking sheets look like they have been used, and no I haven't tried the Pinterest suggestion of using hydrogen peroxide and lord knows what to make them shiny and new looking again. But I digress... I was thrilled with how it turned out. It looks very moist and gooey and the pineapple rings with maraschino cherries are so pretty. I felt like I should have on a gingham dress, apron, and kitten heels after making this. Pineapple upside down cake just feels like a 50's dessert, something that baby boomers ate with Sunday supper. I haven't eaten any yet. I'm saving it for tomorrow.

On a whole other note, it would appear that Sampson the cat has a doppelganger, or perhaps a body double. This cat showed up about a week ago and has shown his (her?) face around our property a number of times. Sampson is not overly fond of his mirror image and gives a combination of a low grown / moan when he sees it.


Our cat is the one in the foreground. Doppelganger is perched above him.


For my sake, I hope I can tell the difference late at night when a tabby cat asks to be let in the house. This other cat is not terribly afraid of us.

Tabbies are great cats, I'm just not sure I need two of them.


Friday, 7 April 2017

It's spring, no it's not spring, no, wait... it's spring

This past Sunday, we emerged from our house and wandered around the yard taking note of broken branches, raking we will have to do, the fact that a platoon of squirrels has been using our old chicken coop as a walnut husk depot, and the annual drift of gravel that the friggin'  delightful snowplow leaves on our property.

There were also some sweet signs of spring here and there.


A little patch of snowdrops is all that is left of a much larger grouping. Perhaps the squirrels dig them up and move them?




The two photos above are some little bulbs I planted years ago. They are similar to a crocus, but not exactly. I do have some actual crocuses, though.





I love how dark crocuses are before they open up.


This is the promise of rhubarb to come. (I really need to finish up all that frozen rhubarb first!)

Then, four days later, Mother Nature had herself a good old belly laugh. On Thursday night the winds howled and the snow came. This is what I woke up to this morning.




The snow was thick, heavy, and wet. There were no blossoms showing through that snow.

Thankfully the sun came out through the day and much of the snow has melted. This is April in Ontario.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Mom's Throw - Together

I make supper. I make every supper. Every once in a while, we get pizza (no deliveries out where we live, we have to phone in an order and go pick it up), or go out for supper. But usually, I make supper.

Sometimes I am very organized and I plan ahead what I want to make, purchasing the necessary ingredients on the weekend when I go grocery shopping. I have lots of staples in the house like seasonings, dry pasta, canned soup, baking supplies, frozen ground beef, and way too many frozen bags of rhubarb and pumpkin!

However, sometimes I just don't really know what I want to make and don't have a lot of desire to make anything anyway. Then it's time for a Mom's Throw-Together. That's what these meals have come to be known. I don't know if I started the notion of "throwing some stuff together" and then it evolved into, "What are we having for supper?" "Oh, I'm just throwing things together." Now they are just referred to as Mom's Throw-Togethers and my husband is usually very happy to hear that it is time for another one.

I'm sure this is nothing new. You open the fridge, see what is left over in some various plastic containers, check the freezer, look in the pantry and create something. Usually in casserole form, these meals are great to use up bits of this and that. Throw-togethers are never the same thing twice.
As I was driving home from work I was thinking about what I was going to make for supper. I knew there were sausages left over from two nights ago (unless the husband ate them late at night!) so I started building a meal around those in my head.

Here's what I ended up throwing together!!


Three leftover cooked sausages (and a piece of my finger apparently, at the side of this picture!)


Some leftover boiled red potatoes got cut up and there was a handful of leftover peas.


I boiled up some frozen green beans and threw them in, too.


I normally would use a can of mushroom soup but shockingly I didn't have any (I DO have several cans of tomato soup, guess I keep forgetting I have some on hand and keep buying more), so I found a can of cream of celery soup, which I mixed with a half of a can of milk.


I put in a half a container of French's crispy onions, just like the kind used in green bean casserole.


A few dashes of Worchestershire sauce helps.


Bubbling hot out of the oven, it is ready for a sprinkling of the rest of the French fried onions.


And, voila!  Dinner is ready.


What about the rest of you? Do you make use of your leftovers? Do you create your own versions of throw-togethers? I look forward to your comments!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Dryer or Hang to Dry?

Are you a toss it in the dryer kind of person, or do you hang your clothes to dry? I am definitely in the second category. In the summer months, I use my very long clothes line and hang my clothes, as well as bedding and pool towels. But as you know, summer is just a couple of months here (or so it seems), so clothing gets hung up inside the house.

I've had two drying racks for years: one that is wooden and folds out like an accordion, and one that is metal and is similar to the wooden one, but much smaller. The wooden one is nice and big, but the little metal one is pretty small and the wires are small and slippery. Things tend to slide off.

So, yesterday, I went out and bought myself a new wooden drying rack. I had been looking around for a while and saw many plastic / metal ones. Most of them folded out horizontally and would take up much more space when being used than the kind I already use. One kind was actually heated! I did consider that one for a moment, but thought not. I ended up buying quite a substantial one that is almost as tall as me when it is unfolded. Here it is with a load of laundry drying on it.

By the way, that's clean laundry that I'm airing in public! I tend to hang dry my clothes because I think a lot of items shrink in the dryer. I also think it saves a lot in electricity, not running your dryer all the time (electricity is quite expensive for us).

My husband throws everything in the dryer. My son does as well, except for his "good jeans". Sometimes I find my drying rack set up with just his two pairs of jeans hanging there. When my daughter lived at home more frequently, she would hang yoga pants and other exercise type gear.

I absolutely love the scent of sheets dried outside. It is supposed to be a nice day today, perhaps I'll wipe down the clothesline and rid it of its winter grime and  throw in a load of bedding to hang up later outside.

I know there are some urban communities that do not allow clotheslines, to keep the area more aesthetically pleasing. Heaven forbid someone should use a good breeze and sunlight to dry their laundry! What about you?  Dryer or hang to dry?

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Eating Habits as a Child / How We Were so Different

I was just reading comments on a forum where somebody had posted the question -  when did junk food / sugary desserts become the norm as opposed to special occasion treats food? The replies varied and many people described the meals they ate as children. It really got me thinking.

Children do not purchase their own groceries. They eat the food that is bought or prepared by a parent. I grew up in the late 60's to 70's. I lived in rural southern Ontario. We rarely if ever ate out at restaurants . It was a huge treat if my father brought home Kentucky Fried Chicken on his way from work. My mother made much of our food, and we sat and ate supper together. However, we had an enormous amount of processed / packaged food available to us as well. Here is a list off the top of my head: chips, cheese whiz, sugary cereals, chip dip, candies such as jelly beans, chocolate bars, Tang, kool aid (kool aid popsicles), unlimited flavours of pop, packaged Hostess brand "cakes", cookies, frozen mini pizzas, cinnamon spread, barbecue flavoured peanuts, Carnation Instant Breakfast, ice cream. These were not occasional treats. They were almost always kept in stock in the house.

My father quit drinking when I was about ten years old, maybe a bit older. He substituted sugary junk food for the alcohol. We had a "treat" drawer in the kitchen. It was never empty. My mother cooked and baked a great deal. While she made dinners like roasts and vegetables, she also heated up quick and convenient food like canned alphagetti. Dessert was not for special occasions. There was almost always a cake, pie, homemade cookies, or rice krispie squares available.

I knew no different. I am not "blaming" my mother. She was no doubt tired of making meals by the time I came along (youngest of four). The marketing of convenience foods was strong. There were absolutely no limits placed on me. I spent a great deal of my youth at my uncle's / grandmother's farm. My grandmother baked and made her own food but also placed a weekly order at the bakery whereupon things like donuts, coffee cake, and Chelsey buns were the norm. A dinner always included dessert. If pie or cake or apple dumpling or custard was not available, at the very least, a piece of white bread swimming in real maple syrup was offered. Canned pop or Shop Pop bottled pop was in constant supply.

Needless to say, I was a heavy kid. My sister, closest in age to me, but still five years older, was not heavy as a child. I do not know if she just had better self control, or if the amount of junk food in the house increased as the years went on.

Contrast this with my husband who is only two years older than I am. His mother also made almost all of the family's food. Dessert was a rarity. Fruit was offered if they wanted something sweet. She was the one on the block who gave out apples or little boxes of raisins at Hallowe'en. He did not know what Cheese Whiz was until he married me, then would clandestinely eat it from the jar with a spoon late at night, like it was some sort of edible oil crack. An after school snack he made for himself as a kid was ketchup sandwiches. He considered that a treat. Ketchup was limited in their home. It had too much sugar. I don't think the words "too much sugar" were ever spoken in my home. My husband was not a heavy kid.

Why the difference between the two families? I'm not sure why my family embraced the world of processed food and sugar and his did not. My mother was raised in a hard working farm family that ate its own beef and grew much of its own food. She was of German descent. My father grew up in a small rural village of Scottish descent with little extra cash flow.

My husband's mother is Yugoslavian and had a very difficult childhood, spending some of her youth in a work camp and the rest of her youth in boarding school, or in England. She did not have the experience of having a mother who showed her how to cook and family meals around the table for a lot of her childhood.

Neither one of our fathers did any of the meal preparation, although every once in a while my father got it into his head that he would bake bread. He made loaves of white "potato bread" which he loved but I quite despised as it was not the soft, fluffy crap white bread that I was used to eating.

I had / have a very different relationship with food than my husband. It is comfort for me and I love a variety. It is sustainance for him and he could eat the same meals over and over.

I like to think I found a balance for our own children. Neither one of them binge eats. They would actually have leftover Hallowe'en candy for weeks if not months after. (Note I did not insist that it be thrown out after a certain time period? One does not waste good candy!) I generally made the meals for them growing up and tried to pack healthy lunches with veggies and fruits. They did receive treats, but they were treats, not daily consumption. I chose whole grains for them, cooked homemade soups and stews, offered a variety of vegetables and salads with dinner, and grew many of my own vegetables and raised chickens for eggs.

I still personally struggle with my food issues. I go through phases of "clean" eating and being very diligent versus eating sugar laden food in private and eating way beyond feeling full. Would I have these issues if I had been fed a more nutritious diet as a child? I'll never know, but it is all fodder for thought.


Saturday, 18 March 2017

Last Twenty Minutes

We are in running shoes and I have on my jeans. We are sitting in the lobby of the testy waiting for the shuttle bus to take us back to the airport. I have a sneaky ziplock bag of muffins and a banana that we grabbed at breakfast for the three hour wait at the airport. I have no idea if we will be fed on the plane (we weren't on the way here).

This was a very nice week with the weather being generally sunny and hot. Although it is a nice resort, it is not spectacular so we will not be returning. In fact, there are only two places we would go to again: the Majestic in Punta Cana DR and Playa Pesquero in Cuba. We priced them out for this trip but both had gone up in price.

We don't relish returning to blowing snow, but that's life as a Canadian. It will be good to see our son, although with texting and FaceTime these days it is a very different experience than when the kids were little and Nana and Papa stayed with them and we placed one very expensive collect call home during the week.

I shall catch up with blogs in between loads of laundry tomorrow.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

By the third day

We arrived Saturday afternoon and it is now 1:30 Dominican time so it is our third day here. We are now getting the hang of things and know that the metal lounge chairs are better for lower backs than the plastic ones, the "quiet pool" is better than the main pool for reading and relaxing, and our new room that we moved to yesterday is infinitely better than the first one they put us in.

So here's what happened. My husband booked this trip a few months ago with a company called Red Tag. We were under the assumption that we were paying for a standard room and nothing more. After reading reviews on Tripadvisor (anyone else do that?) I knew there was a separate upgraded part called the Sun Club. I had even spoken to my husband about it, saying that it doesn't seem to matter about being in the Sun Club, that most amenities were available to anyone and it all sounded very elitist.


Fast forward to our arrival where we were whisked to a separate area to check in and were told what we could expect and what introduction meeting to go to (NEVER go to those, they're just a sales pitchabout time shares)... and then it occurred to me that we actually were part of the Sun Club! I guess the package we paid for just automatically put us in it. I felt a little sheepish. So off we went to our room which was nothing special but nice enough. It would have been fine if it had not been for the slow draining poorly designed shower area that flooded back into the rest of the bathroom area, or the family of fluttering squawking birds that lived under our roof tiles. So, we kindly and politely (Canadian after all) requested a room change. No problem. They asked us to come back to the Sun Club lounge the next day at noon which we did. They gave us room keys for a different building and asked us to check out a room to see if we would prefer that. If we did, we were to call them and confirm and they would send someone to bring our luggage over. I'll let you decide:



Here is our first room.








Now here is/are our current room (s):




I must share  with you that  it has  taken  me  about a day and a half to go back and forth between iPhone and tablet to get pictures to show up and go in the order I want them. I think I will  save  the  rest  of the fake exclusivity story for when we return and any other "adventures " we may have. I'm about to hit publish. Wish me luck!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Beach side

I am currently looking out at the water and listening to a variety of languages in a variety of accents. The one thing we have in common is that we all scraped together the money to come to this resort in the Dominican Republic. We arrived at the resort at about 2:30 in the afternoon. We had been awake since the morning before because we left our home in Ontario at about half past midnight to try to drive in what appeared to be a window of opportunity according to the radar. Following what had been a period of mild and unseasonably "warm" weather, Mother Nature decided to unleash some pent up frustration by providing snow squalls and a ridiculous accumulation of snow in a very short amount of time. We literally crawled out way over roads that barely revealed a hint of car tire tracks to follow. Squinting through what I describe as Star Wars snow, we managed to stay on the road and were glad of the very few cars that were out there at that time providing a little more illumination. Eventually we made it to the Park and Fly close to the Toronto airport. Like every Canadian out there, we shed our winter coats that we travelled in, tossed them in the back of our vehicle, and donned a heavy hoodie so we could stand, shivering in the cold until a shuttle bus could take us to the airport.

Anyway, we eventually got on the plane where I watched three old episodes of Dharma and Greg (so funny to see Hotch from Criminal Minds in a totally different light) and tried unsuccessfully to nap. After a refreshing mint and a glass of water, we landed in Puerto Plata and began our holiday. Now the only decisions we have to make are beach or pool? Beer or banana mama? And before you hate me too much, it rained last night and it's starting to spit again. But at least it's not snow!! Please excuse any typos I'm doing his only phone!

Monday, 6 March 2017

Get the Milk

Recently, a blogger posted something about milk (I think it was about remembering when milk was delivered to homes). Well, that got me thinking about milk, specifically about my youth and milk. It actually played a very big part. Allow me to begin.

I grew up in rural Ontario. My parents built a house when I was eight years old. This land was severed off of my uncle's acreage. He was a bachelor dairy farmer. His mother, my grandmother, also lived there. We were surrounded by farms, but did not have a farm ourselves. However, I spent a considerable part of my childhood at my uncle's farm. Many of my memories of the farm are good. Most of those good memories have to do with animals and time spent in the barn.

My uncle had a herd of Holstein dairy cows, like the ones in this picture.

My mother helped out on my uncle's farm at certain times of the year, specifically planting or harvesting. She drove tractor at those times. As well, when the "hired man" had a weekend off, my mother helped do chores like milking. Do not visualize a milking stool and a metal bucket. This farm was as mechanized as it could be in those days. Milk went directly from cow through pipeline to bulk tank in the milk house. Fifty cows were regularly milked twice a day. As well, the barn housed heifers and calves and an assortment of barn cats and one faithful dog.

not the actual bulk tank, but very similar


Because of this ready supply of milk, we grew up drinking whole milk straight from the farm. Now, of course, it is very controversial to consume non-pasturized milk, but we never thought twice about it. My uncle was fastidious with his cleanliness, practices surrounding medication, and the milk in his bulk tank was tested every time milk was collected by a tank truck that came every two days (I think it was every two days).

Periodically, my mother went to the farm (a two minute drive away from our house) with a very big white plastic bucket. She extracted milk from the bulk tank in the bucket and brought that back to our house where she would ladle it into glass milk bottles. Several bottles were filled and placed in the "downstairs fridge", an old fridge that was a constant and compared to modern day fridges, lasted a lifetime!

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In my brain, this is what the fridge in the basement looked like. Of course, I could be remembering it incorrectly.

I am the youngest of four siblings. We are spread pretty far apart, with four or five years between each child. When supper time rolled around, or at other family gatherings, inevitably the milk would be used up and the familiar phrase, "Jenn, would you get the milk?" would be uttered. It would be my job to leave the table, go down to the basement and bring up another bottle of milk which would be poured into a pitcher. This got really, really old by the time I was a teenager.

In keeping with whole milk, this was full fat, cream included milk. After it sat in the milk bottle for a while, the cream would rise to the top. Some might consider this a decadent, rich bonus, but I hated it. The thick cream kind of made me gag. I kept a small metal strainer beside my plate at the table, so I could pour the milk through the strainer to catch the bigger blobs of cream and keep them out of my glass. To this day, I do not buy whole milk. I prefer 1% milk.

I can still conjure up the sounds and smells of being in the barn during milking time. It was a pleasant, homey time for me with these big animals chewing away at the hay that had been placed in their troughs, the hissing sounds of the machinery being attached and detached, the background mooing sounds, the presence of a favourite barn cat, all very nice. That was the association I had with milk, not purchasing milk at the store, or having milk delivered to our home, although my father had mentioned that experience in his youth and that the horse knew the milk route and stopped automatically at each house. Because milk was essentially free, we drank a lot of milk! If we ever ran out (which we never did), there would always be a ready source at the farm.

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So those are my milk memories, perhaps very different from your own. Chime in.