Tuesday, 1 October 2013


http://www.genealogyprompt.blogspot.ca/ Because of technical difficulties, Google vs. Internet Explorer, gmail vs. Outlook, PC vs. laptop and tablet, I have transferred this blog, my Book of Me, Written by You, to another site, as a blog called Genealogy Prompt. I hope you find me there. ;) Jamie (aka Bridget) Sorry the link is not connected. Just copy address into your address bar and Enter. jmb

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Prompt #5 - My Childhood Home

My Childhood Home I lived in the same house on the same farm for the first seventeen years of my life, until the day I left home to go to university. And I never lived with my parents ever again after that. I loved living on a farm even though I was not the typical outdoors type of person. My father and brothers did what few barn chores there were and my mother did all the gardening and lawn care, so my responsibility was pretty much just my schoolwork. But I loved walking out into the pasture or across the fields or walking or biking down the roads and over to the nearest neighbours which, for the first ten years, was where the twins lived, Linda and Leila, and after that, my cousins, four boys all younger than me. The pasture was a magical place of grass, low box-like shrubs, and scrub bush, mostly Manitoba maple and poplar, with willow in the lower sections surrounding the sloughs (rhymes with “clues”) which are places where rainwater and runoff water collect, mostly in spring, and which have usually evaporated before the end of summer. If the water did not evaporate, then it would have been called a lake. The farm was on the Parklands of Manitoba, three quarter sections around the home place, most of it “broken” meaning under cultivation, planted in wheat, oats, barley, or flax, with clumps of bush around the farmstead and along the fencelines.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Prompt #4 - Seasons

For my favourite season, I think I have to pick fall. Probably because it meant the start of the school year. New clothes, a new lunch kit, new scribblers and pens. The smell of cedar shavings around the classroom pencil sharpener. Of someone's orange rinds in the wastepaper basket after lunch. And the end of the farm year, with combines and grain trucks, augers and elevators. The hot noon lunch driven out to the fields, eaten "on the run" so as not to lose even an hour of warm dry days. Hot tea drunk from quart sealers. Cookies stuffed into dusty shirt pockets. And the garden harvest, Mum's kitchen becoming a factory production line. Blanched peas and corn for the freezer. Rows of cellar shelves stocked with sealers and more sealers full of every kind of food for the winter. Apricots. Blueberries. Cherries. Crabapples. Peaches. Pears. Raspberries. Rhubarb. Strawberries. Tomatoes. And pickles. Beets. Mustard cauliflower. Mustard beans. Rhubarb relish smelled the best of all--onions and cinnamon stewing together. Tomato and cranberry catsup. Thousand day pickles. Dilled cucumbers. Dilled carrots. Old hens and venison. Grape jelly and strawberry jam. A full potato bin. A huge crock of sand with carrots and parsnips buried within. Stacks of pumpkins and vegetable marrow. Cabbages hanging upside down from the joists. That was what it seemed to be all about. The world turned upside down. With everything that had been "going out" now coming back in, in a flurry of lonely or communal labour.

I love the colours. Gold. Red. Brown. Orange. I loved the full pumpkin harvest moon climbing from the horizon. The smell of wet earth in the air. The colours of the sunset exploding with all the extra dust. And in the olden days, when they used to burn the stubble and the fields were a line of fire, yellow and orange and red against the black of night. The smell of clean smoke.

I live elsewhere now. There is no real harvest except for decorations on school windows and displays in the supermarket. And fall here means the beginning of the rainy season. I can already hear it strumming as it hits the roof. Everything is still lush, even the crop of leaves which have fallen on the moss of the lawn. A different kind of beauty. The same wet earth smell. No basement. No canning. A wealth of generous friends with gardens.

Maybe I'm feeling nostalgic because my brother just phoned me with the news. The house, the yard, the barnyard have all disappeared. Bulldozed like the windbreak and the pasture and the sloughs which used to surround it. Bulldozed, burned, buried, levelled, cultivated over into the one grand wheatfield. Owned now, rumour has it, by some giant corporation on another continent. Things change. Life goes on. Mine goes on virtually without wheat, and without a cellar full of home preserves. I'm just glad that such abundance was once a part of my experience. I'm glad too that it sewed in me an appreciation of how so much is given.