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No TP? Never fear, the new catalogue is here!

I’m going to start off this post with a paragraph that many of us have seen or heard in the last few months.

“We in Canada have seen a stark increase in the number of cases of COVID-19. We are being asked to avoid non-essential travel and social distance ourselves. These steps are essential to help reduce transmission and help keep all of us healthy. “

This is such an important message and all of us, not only in Canada, but in the world need to abide to what the science is telling us.

But I’m not writing today to remind nor lecture you on this horrible virus. The news is full of this virus information and at times scary to listen to and can be quite depressing.

 I am not taking this lightly but I want to lighten things up a bit.  

I would like to share with you a few memories that I have recalled in the last little while when hearing about some very strange behaviours in our communities.

Even though we are being assured that there is enough food and supplies to go around, some people are filling their shopping carts as if they will never be able to get them again.

The toilet paper hoarding issue and mostly the fear of people not having any, made me recall the many visits to my Gido’s farm in the early 1960s.

My Gido and Baba lived about five miles out from our small village. They had a typical prairie farm house large enough for their family. The house was connected with power from the hydro poles on the main roads and therefore they had electricity.  But they had no running water.  Here is a photo of a farmhouse similar to one that my grandparents owned. 

With no running water that was connected to the house, Gido had to go out and pump water from the well.  Baba heated their water up on the stove and it was used for cooking and cleaning.  There was a wash basin in the porch so we could always wash our hands or even have a sponge bath in the house.  But no indoor toilet.   The toilet was an outhouse.

For those of you who may not recall an outhouse, it was often a small wooden building that was situated not too far nor too close to the main house. 

Most had a one-hole or even a two-hole seat cut out of two pieces of sawed off lumber.  We had to watch out for the crack.  Of course there was a roof and a locking door.  My grandparent’s toilet did not have any electricity but there usually was a flashlight handy to grab on your way out at night.

But you are now wondering …why is this post about toilet paper?  It’s because of supply and demand! You see, the outhouse never had any toilet paper.  

To my recollection, Gido and Baba never had store bought toilet paper.  Oh no.  It was too expensive for them to waste in the toilet.  I’m pretty sure it was available in the grocery stores.  The Co-op store or the Farmer’s Store had all sorts of supplies.  In fact, I remember asking my mom about this one time when we were at Gido’s house.  Mom told me to ask Gido.  

I can still hear him saying,

“Petrooska….why would I want to waste money on store paper when the catalogue is free?”

That is right.  That’s what we used at the farm.  The latest version of the catalogues had come in and had been stacked on the floor next to the toilet seats.  It didn’t matter if it was an Eaton’s catalogue or a Sears catalogue.  As long as it had clean pages, it was good enough.  I’m not going to elaborate because if you have ever used an outhouse with this type of “toilet paper”, you will understand.  I’m sure some of my followers remember using this from a few years back.

I hope you had a wee laugh and enjoyed this little memory of mine.  Be thankful that our supply chain in Canada is pretty secure.  But if you run out, don’t go looking for an Eaton’s or Sears catalogue.  They are no longer in business.

Stay safe and healthy!

Petrosha

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Petrosha’s Best Turkey Soup Ever!i

Happy Thanksgiving all. I had a couple of requests to post this turkey soup today. Hope you enjoy it!

Petrosha’s Best Turkey Soup ever!

Ingredients:

Carcass from cooked turkey, with some meat bits still on.

10 cups water

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 onions, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and diced

3 potatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 cup sherry (optional)

1/2 cup chicken soup base (such as Oxo)

1 cup pearl barley

1 can of Cream of Celery or Cream of Chicken soup

Boil the carcass of the turkey in a large pot of water for 3 – 4 hours. Add a couple of cloves of garlic, a chopped onion, spices such as thyme, oregano, sage for flavour. When the extra bits of meat slips easily off the bones, strain through a sieve. If you can find larger pieces of turkey meat, chop these into small pieces and add them back to the broth. Ensure that you strain out all tiny bits of bone.

Cool the turkey stock in the fridge overnight. All the excess fat will accumulate on the top. Scrape this off and discard.

Next day, pour the turkey stock into a large pot (add up to 10 cups of water to fill your pot if needed.)

Add the chicken soup base, chopped celery, onions, carrots, potato, sherry as well as the pearl barley. Bring this up to a rolling boil, and after about 20 minutes, turn down the stove and continue simmering for another hour or longer. You want to ensure that the vegetables and the barley are thoroughly cooked.

Now here’s the secret Ukrainian ingredient…add one can of cream of chicken or cream of celery soup to the pot. I do not use mushroom because this throws off the flavour.  Stir it in well and continue simmering. This one can will give the homemade soup just the right amount of thickener as well as add extra flavour.  It’s easy and takes the guess work out of adding a thickener.

If desired, add some freshly ground pepper and chopped parsley to taste. No need to add salt as there’s plenty in the canned soup.

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Tap, tap, tap…

Hammering with Dad

I wish I could record the tapping that is happening outside.  No! It’s not a woodpecker.  It’s a carpenter sitting on top of our neighbour’s storage shed. He is putting up shingles and if you have ever heard the sound of a hammer, you’d understand.

He is not using a nail gun.  No, it’s just a hammer.  You are now wondering why I’m writing about such a boring topic.  If you have been following my blog for a while you will understand that something as simple as this tapping can bring on a flood of memories for me!  On this Father’s Day, this time is no exception.

Listening to the tapping outside takes me back to many years ago when I was only 4 years old and my dad was a carpenter.  Whenever my dad had a day off from work, he would often work outside in our old barn.  We didn’t have any cows or horses in this barn.  It was converted into a workshop for him.

I used to love being with him.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, dad often made me things like homemade swings in the old Maple tree and “saw-horse” ponies.  He enjoyed having me around!

This one particular day however, I recall it was just the opposite.  I remember having my own little hammer and was banging nails into a piece of old wood while dad worked away on his woodworking project.  He tapped and tapped. And, I tapped and tapped.  He’d tap once.  I’d tap once.  He would tap two times, and I would imitate his tap. This was lots of fun for me.  He continued nailing and tapping away.  I too tapped away.  He’d look at me and smile.  I’d smile back.  Oh, did my dad ever have a lot of patience with me !

But, after about twenty minutes of this, my dad stopped hammering.

“Okay, that’s enough”,  he said to me.

I didn’t really understand until he took me by the hand and walked me back to the house.

He opened the door and said to my mom, “Keep her in. I can’t concentrate when she taps along with me.”

Looking back, I am surprised that my dad even let me near him when he was trying to concentrate on his wood projects.

I prefer a quiet work place with no interruptions whenever I work on a project. I don’t get too upset whenever I am interrupted.  And, my friends tell me that I am a patient person.  Perhaps Dad passed this trait down to me?  I like to think so.

On this Father’s Day, I fondly remember my dad and I thank him for teaching me about patience.

I heard a saying recently…God gave everyone patience but unfortunately, only a few people use it!

Happy Father’s Day to all !

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Bread making is a Science?

I was trying to think of a title for this blog and the story of the Gingerbread Boy came to mind.  I am sure that you know the one – “Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me…..”.  I came up with this title because sometimes dough can just get away from you.

I made some bread this morning and as I was kneading it and setting it out for rising, I recalled a bread making adventure from a few years ago.

My brother and I had the great idea one day to make bread together.  Yes, you are right.  This is the same brother that I have written about before.  He is the one who kept getting me in trouble.  But to be fair, this one time it wasn’t all his fault.  Have a read and see what you think.

One Summer, my brother and I attended university together in the month of July.  I believe we were taking the same Science course at Summer school.  We shared an apartment and one day before our afternoon class decided to go shopping for groceries.

We had gone down to the local grocery store and while walking down the frozen food section, we saw some frozen dough.

“Hey, instead of buying some bread we should make our own”, I had exclaimed to my brother.  He agreed.  We figured that we would save a lot of money and have fresh delicious homemade bread.

To be honest, neither one of us knew a lot about cooking back then but I had seen my mom make bread.  I knew we could do it.  So, we bought the economy pack that had five loaves in it.

After purchasing our groceries, we went home and unpacked our groceries.  We kept the frozen dough loaves out of the fridge because we knew that the dough needed to thaw before baking.  We would bake when they had thawed.

But first, we did have our afternoon Science class that we had to dash off to.  So we kept the package in the grocery bag on the kitchen counter.  We’d bake after class.

I’m pretty sure you already know what happened.

After we returned from our one hour lecture, the dough had thawed.  In fact, it was not only thawed, but it had risen very well.  The dough had split open its plastic wrapping and splayed itself all over the counter.  It covered our entire kitchen counter and rose up under the upper cupboard shelves and was slowly making its way down over the edge onto the floor!  It was like an octopus sliding out of its nest.  Yes, it was scary!

My brother and I now have a good laugh over  this.  Back then it was not funny.  It was however a lesson to learn.   To this day, we both recall learning about rising dough very well.  We can’t say the same about that Science lecture at Summer school that we attended.

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Happy Easter 2018

It has been a busy Holy Week and we celebrate Easter this weekend with our family and friends.  I took the Easter basket of special foods to church today to be blessed and our family will be sharing it for our breakfast.

In addition to the traditional foods, I included eight of my newly written pysanky. Why so many?  Well, I like to give away my pysanky and I will not give them to anyone until I have taken them to church to be blessed.

For many years now, I have been trying to improve my pysanky writing skills.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I started writing pysanky with my mom at the age of two.  I was asked last week if I have made the pysanky every year.  To this I had to say no.  Like many of you I started out learning the Ukrainian traditions at home when young.  But as a teenager, it really wasn’t so cool to “be Ukrainian” so I stopped writing them with my mom.  And as the years went by, my career took over much of my time and unfortunately I didn’t make any for a number of years.  But this all changed when I became a parent myself.

When my children were old enough to hold a crayon, I knew that they could also hold a kistka.  It was time to teach them to learn about the traditional art of pysanky.  We started out hand-over-hand and as you can see, they didn’t do too bad at all.  Yes, I’m a proud mom and yes, I have saved all of my children’s eggs.  I’ve included a couple of them in this post.  Also don’t forget to check out my Pysanky photos on my Home page.

 

 

Happy Easter everyone!

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One “Frosty” Morning

I woke up this morning feeling all stuffed up in my head. My sinuses are blocked and I have a dreadful headache. I can’t stop sneezing!  Yes, you’ve guessed it…I have a head cold.

Not sure how I acquired it. Perhaps it was the lady that I met on the bus two days ago. She sounded congested and constantly took a tissue out and wiped her nose.  Perhaps it was our postal worker who handed me the mail yesterday. Well, I don’t mreally know who; but what I do know for sure, is that it wasn’t Betty Frost who gave me this cold.

Who is Betty Frost?  Let me explain.

As you are aware, I grew up on the Canadian prairies.  The prairies are a beautiful place really. Weather wise however you must know that the prairies alternate between dry sunny days and quite cold nights, and in Winter, the prairie provinces sometimes have fierce temperatures as low as -30C.  The first snowfall is often in the month of October.

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Growing up on the prairies I often heard…

“Bundle up now and keep warm.  Мороз is outside and you don’t want to catch a cold.”

“Don’t go out without a toque on, it’s мороз outside and you will catch cold.”

“Don’t go out with wet hair. It will get all frosty and you will catch a cold.”

Sound familiar to some of you?  Yes, when growing up,  I was frequently stopped from going outside because I could catch a cold from the cold weather. My mom used to say that the мороз would get me. Мороз is Ukrainian for frost.

Now we know as a fact that no one catches colds from being outside.  The cold temperatures of the prairie winters did not give a person a cold.  Colds are transmitted from person to person, not the cold winds of winter. But old wives tales were very prevalent back then.  Come to think about it, they still are in many ways.

On my first day of school in Grade One, I met a fellow classmate named Betty Мороз.  When I first heard the teacher call roll call and ask if Betty Мороз was present, I nearly ran out of the room.  Oh no, I was doomed.  How could I escape catching a cold if the мороз was in this classroom?  I was so happy to know that her desk wasn’t connected to mine. I was in row 2 and she was in the row 5. Whew. At recess I never went near her. If she was on the swings, I wasn’t. I couldn’t understand why the other kids played with her.

That first day of school after class was dismissed at 4:00pm, I raced home and told mom that I would probably be sick now forever and wouldn’t ever be able to go to school again.  But why my mom asked?  Did you already learn to print your name?  Could you already read a book?  No, I replied. It’s because of Betty Мороз.

My mom laughed and said that I’d be just fine and I should be her friend.  She never explained but I did as she told me.

I became friends with Betty and I still am!

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Wedding Rushnyk Journey

Since the last post that I did on stitching the Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk, I have made a lot of progress.  Well, to be honest…….I am now totally finished the stitching!  And, I must say, “what a project”.  I do not think I could ever do this again!

Here it is….the last stitch!

Just a bit of a recap here.  On November 6th., 2016, I started cross-stitching a Wedding Rushnyk. Ukrainian Wedding Rushnyk

I kept at it and kept you informed.  Still Stitching !

Take a good look however and see the change I made on the top and lower border.  I decided in the last month to not stitch the roses on the border but chose a less complicated and fewer stitches band design.  It’s not as busy looking but most importantly, I have not been blinded by this project.

 

Seriously.  I found that my eyesight was rapidly deteriorating and I just couldn’t do any more.

My Man helped me out by setting up the brightest lights for me.  I went to see my optometrist and had prescription eyeglasses made.  But I knew that if I didn’t change-up the pattern, I would not be able to complete it.

I chatted with my friends and even my neighbour came over to see what my dilemma was.  She totally agreed with me and helped me choose a complimentary design.  I’m so grateful for her because I was feeling very overwhelmed and had the feeling that I was “chickening” out of my project. Rushnyk update #3

Want to hear what I find really strange?  I completed the very last stitch on My Man and my wedding anniversary.  To my way of thinking, it was meant to be because I sure didn’t plan it this way.  But wait, I was not quite finished yet.

Next thing that I had to do was to wash the entire cloth.  Even though I had washed my hands and kept my work space clean, oil from my hands did get on the cloth.  I had read somewhere that one had to be very careful about washing a project.  Sometimes the colours of the thread bled.  Great, I thought.  The last thing I needed now was to have the red and black colours run into each other.

Once again I asked around to seek advice from anyone who looked or sounded knowledgeable about cross-stitch.  So much information on the internet and some I knew I shouldn’t believe.

It was at my church where I found the best advice.  I knew I could trust these Ukrainian women because they had recently stitched dance outfits for their grandchildren.  Their advice?  Ice cold water for the first wash; ice-cold water for a second wash but add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to the water; do not rub stitches or wring out; lay flat on fluffy white towel to dry.  It worked!

This Rushnyk has been stitched with love for my niece.  Even when I felt like quitting, I thought of her and her future husband.  This stitching was very hard at times.

As I stitched, I thought about how hard a marriage can be as well.

Every little step of married life is a journey.  Each day needs to be worked on with great care and kindness to each other.  Just like the stitching of this Wedding Rushnyk, there needs to be a plan and an exciting  pattern to follow.  Of course, just like stitching, there will be knots to untie, threads to untangle and even tears to shed from time to time.  But eventually, a life-long design will emerge.

So here it is!  Once again I thank all of you who followed along with me and encouraged me to keep going, one stitch at a time.  

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