Homesteading in Canada

Homesteading in Canada was no easy feat. Furthermore, with harsh and unforgiving climates, it took patience and dedication. Homesteading in Canada is now a thing of the past. You simply can’t claim land as your own to develop and nurture like you used to. Over the past year, I have been talking a lot with my Grandma. She has lived a rich and full life. Some of the most enchanting and romantic chapters of her life took place on a small Canadian homestead. Today I’m going to share a few of her adventures.

The World Today, Our Elders An Afterthought

Before I get to her stories, I feel the need to talk about today. In today’s world there is a pandemic raging. We have many people falling seriously ill with the coronavirus. This virus seems to hit the elderly particularly hard. I won’t make this a political post or episode, but I was disturbed by some of the dialogue being thrown around on the internet. Why are we sacrificing our comforts, economy and way of life for people. How much do we truly value human life. How do I interpret these comments? Why are we doing so much just to save the elderly?

I had an interesting chat with my grandparents a year ago in Milford, UT. They had just heard that an old Sunday school teacher had passed away. They grew up in a small town in Kansas, and they were high school sweethearts. My grandparents reminisced about church socials and all of the incredible food that came with them. My mouth was watering just listening.

However, the conversation drifted to how much is being lost today because we don’t take time to listen to our elders. Life is so busy. It’s frantic and crazy. Furthermore, we tend to fill our lives with so much noise, that we don’t have time to stop and listen. Furthermore, many today view the elderly as out of touch with current events and problems. That is why, for many, it is an easy choice. They choose the economy, lifestyle and work over the elderly.

Why Do I Care?

I grew up visiting my grandparents in Milford, UT. Milford is a small town in Southern Utah. It is a beautiful valley with a small population. The sunsets are magnificent. They light the sky on fire. I often felt from my visits with them that there is nothing as spectacular as a desert sunset.

Once the sun went down, the sky would be splashed with brilliant stars. Without the light pollution of the city night, you can see the night sky as God intended. It is simply breathtaking.

I’d spend days fishing with grandpa, listening to his stories and discovering new wisdom for life. I have grown a lot as an individual in my adult years applying some of that wisdom and knowledge.

My grandparents are passionate about family history and rarely let an opportunity slide for sharing stories about the family. Historically, our elders were the record keepers. They would pass an oral family history from generation to generation. We are content to put our elders in assisted living and get back to our busy lives. I worked directly with the elderly for 6 years. I have seen that story play out again and again.

How Does This Relate to Homesteading in Canada?

You might be asking yourself right now, how does this relate in any way to homesteading in Canada? It is a valid question, and one I will answer right now!

My personal family history comes from my mom’s side and my dad’s side, obviously. I spoke about my dad’s parents in Milford and the tremendous impact they have had in my life. However, on my mom’s side, I never knew my grandpa. He passed away when my mom was 6 years old.

He was a rancher/homesteader in Canada and met my grandma in Kentucky. They had a long distance relationship through letters once he went back to Canada. One day she received a letter from him that he was on his way to Kentucky with his parents to pick her up and take her back to Canada to marry him. My grandma was a little nervous and spooked. She tried calling him, even though it was expensive, but he had already left.

However, she took the leap of faith and went with him when he arrived. They loved each other deeply and knew it would all work out. She went from being a country girl in the sticks of Kentucky, to a homesteading rancher in Alberta, Canada. What a dramatic change of scenery!

My Family Food History?

Like I mentioned, I have spent some time over the past few years talking with my Grandma and recording her stories. She is a tremendous story teller and has done a fantastic job at capturing the setting of her new life in Canada. You might be wondering what this has to do with a food history podcast. Well, much of my personal food history comes from my grandparents on both sides of the family. We are a tremendous food family.

My grandma is a tremendous cook. You know that being from Kentucky automatically makes you an amazing cook right? Many of the stories my grandma has told me revolve around food. Mealtime was a big part of their family life growing up. From a very young age she remembers amazing family dinners with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Naturally I can’t talk about my family history without talking about food.

Through the Years to Today

I mentioned that Delmer passed away when my Mom was 6 years old. My grandma eventually remarried to a great man, James Tippets. Today would have been his 100th birthday. I don’t think I could do an episode on my family food history without giving a shoutout to this great man. He is the one I called Grandpa. He meant so much to me and I have many dear and precious memories of that man. Grandpa was a kind and gentle man who always got through the hard times by counting his blessings. Perhaps that is why I’m feeling nostalgic and thinking about my family history today. 

Growing up, I remember the fresh produce he and my Grandma would grow in their garden. I remember the joy of tasting a fresh raspberry right off the vine. To this day raspberries make me think of my grandma and grandpa Tippets! I remember the pure delight of fresh, vine-ripe tomatoes sliced right before dinner. Furthermore, I remember watching my grandpa sprinkle sugar on them, even though they were already super sweet.

Memories Continue

I remember buying an old snowblower at a second hand store and how he patiently spent time with me to help me get it running. Even though I never used the snowblower, I kept those memories treasured up inside. Of course I remember his quiet sense of humor and his quick smile. He loved his kids and grandkids and it showed!

In today’s world, none of us know how long we have to be here. However, when we are faced with a crazy pandemic, it causes us to take stock of where we are at and what is most important. For me that is family. While most of us are shut inside, I’d challenge you to reach out to a parent or grandparent. My work experience with the elderly has shown me that they are full of stories and are more than willing to share. Furthermore, all they need is a slight push and a listening ear. I think most of us will be surprised at the new stories we can gather just by taking time to listen. 

Some of Grandma’s Recipes

Grandma has amazing recipes. The stories in this episode touch recipes like her pecan pie and hot chocolate. She also shared her recipes for bread and rolls. Her time homesteading in Canada was a time of growth and incredibly delicious.

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Homesteading in Canada, Some of Grandma’s Stories
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