‘Outside’ served as the deep freeze

From our December 2012 issue

By Sophie Schmidt – Elk Point, Alta.

I was born on a farm to a poor farmer in 1931. We had one quarter of land and had very little money, but we were never hungry.

We milked cows by hand and made our own butter and cottage cheese. We raised chickens and pigs. In the summer we planted a big garden and had lots of veggies and potatoes for the winter.

We did sauerkraut in a 45-gallon wooden barrel. It was set outside for the winter. That served as a deep-freeze because we had no power or running water. Oh, wait, we did have running water. We grabbed pails and ran for it. Ha!

In the winter our mattresses froze to the walls when it was minus-30 to 50 below zero and not Celsius, just Fahrenheit, it was so cold.

My dad used to take a wagon box of wheat to a mill about 40 miles away so we had our own flour of which we made our own bread, perogies, cakes, donuts, etc. Remember those good old days?

Brought lunch, relieved man

I was the oldest girl and I always had to help my dad, like stooking bundles after they were cut with a binder. When it was time to thresh the bundles, mother and I would bring lunch out for the men.

I relieved the man that was lined up to throw the sheaves into the machine while he had his lunch.

I also helped dad shingle a hip roof barn. My mother almost had kittens because she was so afraid that I would fall and break my neck, but I didn’t. I did lose one finger starting a pump engine to water the cows and the pigs.

Sadly, we lost our mother when she was 48 years old which left me to look after my two younger sisters aged 11 and 14. Those were very hard days for me.