‘Buffalo chips’ used as fire fuel

From our April 2012 issue

By Esther Wake – Penticton, B.C.

A day in life in the 1930s at Brownlee in central Saskatchewan was hot and dry with duststorms and worms.

We couldn’t afford coal or wood for cooking, so we took an old washtub and fork out to the pasture to gather buffalo chips (cow manure).

These made a fast, good fire in the kitchen. The boiler was placed full of water to heat for washing.

After supper I would prepare a batter for bread – a yeast cake, potato water, and whatever, and it would start working. Later that evening I would add the flour.

Three hours later, I’d put it into pans, 10-12 loaves of bread. If we were short of bread in the morning, I’d make large flat bread and fry it in bacon grease. This was a real treat.

Then my wash water was ready. My husband had cut off old beer bottles to make a wind charger using old batteries. This made enough energy to run the washer.

By the end of the day it had been a big day.