Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Snowy Paradise

Enjoy it now. It'll be gone tomorrow!
In southern Alberta, where I was raised, snow seldom stayed very long.
Even though it was winter.
Oh, it snowed.
Sometimes a lot.
But then the famous Chinook would blow through, drastically raising temperatures.
And melting said snow.
Let’s face it. When the temperature goes from minus ten (14F) to plus twenty (68F), snow disappears fast.
In a few hours, any accumulation would be limited to the ditches and snowbanks.
So when it snowed, and if one wanted to enjoy it, one had to move quickly.
Just FYI.
On with my story . . .
Someone was out in the yard.
Hollering.
I looked out the window onto a scene of glistening white.
And my oldest brother, Jerry, holding the family toboggan.
Squealing (and I do mean squealing) with eight-year-old delight, I donned snow pants, parka, boots, mittens, scarf and toque (it's a Canadian thing).
Remember what I said about the snow lasting a short time?
I donned them quickly.
In no time I was out with my brother.
All of our siblings joined us.
Well, all but tiny baby, Anita.
She wasn't coming.
Because.
Jerry sat our youngest brother, two-year-old Blair, on the toboggan, then turned and started pulling the sled toward the river.
The Stringam ranch proper had been built in a bend of the south fork of the Milk River. Any sled-able hills were on the opposite bank.
We trudged along behind Jerry and his sled across the frozen river to the hills opposite.
Then, for the next couple of hours, we towed up and slid down.
The older kids choosing the steeper slopes.
The younger crew sticking with the gentle-er.
Our shouts and screams of sheer happiness echoing across the wide, open prairie.
Finally, it was time to head home. Dusk comes quickly in Southern Alberta and, trust me, you really don't want to try to walk home in the dark.
We crossed the river once more and climbed the hill to the house.
To be greeted by the warm, amazing smell of . . . baking.
In the entryway, we peeled off layer after layer, laughing excitedly and telling Mom about our adventure.
She just smiled and nodded.
Then surprised us with warm spudnuts (doughnuts made with mashed potatoes in the batter. Yum…) fresh from the oven, and gallons of hot chocolate.
Sigh.
The very best of days.

A little addendum:
I still go sledding. And there is still hot chocolate and doughnuts in the program.
But, as when I was eight, I choose the gentle-er slopes.
Full circle.

And for those interested, Mom's Spudnut recipe:
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
Soak for five minutes.

1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Shortening
2 Cups Scalded (and cooled to warm) Milk
1 Cup Mashed Potatoes
2 Eggs (slightly beaten)
Mix these six ingredients.
Add Yeast mixture.
Add 6 to 7 Cups Flour
Knead--Allow to raise--knead--Roll out and cut--Allow to raise
Deep Fry
Dip in granulated sugar, or glaze with thin icing

Add Grandchildren...

16 comments:

  1. I used to love sledding both when I was little and with the boys when they were little. Then they got a little older and went to the sledding hills with snowboards. Nope, I'm out, no broken legs for me!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It sounds like a truly blissful day - with a delicious finish.
    Thanks for the recipe too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It truly was! And I hope you give it a try!
      The recipe, not necessarily the sledding! ;)

      Delete
  3. Love your stories, Diane. Will have to try that wonderful sounding recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Laurie! Tell my what your boys think!

      Delete
  4. I have a recipe with mashed potatoes in the fudge....spuduge???????

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a wonderful memory. We didn't have much sledding where I grew up in the Bronx and certainly no spudnuts waited for us at the end of the day!

    ReplyDelete
  6. So that's what spudnuts are. I've heard of them. and after reading Delores comment I am startled to hear that mashed potatoes can be incorporated into a fudge recipe. I like mashed potatoes and fudge, but I think I'd prefer to keep them separate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love them both, too. Both buttery and good. Mmmmm...now I'm hungry!

      Delete
  7. That brings back wonderful memories for me, too, Diane -- sledding with my brother on the hills across the country road, a good walk away. At the end we'd usually be half-frozen and have wet mittens but it was so much fun, and going back home was a soft landing. We didn't have hot chocolate or spudnuts; I can't remember even being hungry after all that time in the fresh air!

    Thank you for the recipe! My mom used to make potato candy -- mashed potatoes with icing sugar added, icing spread on top, rolled out thin and then rolled up and sliced like tiny cinnamon rolls. Recently I found a recipe for pie crust (for savoury pies) that uses mashed potatoes as well -- it was delicious. But then I AM a potato fan . . .

    Now I want hot chocolate :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you have such great memories as well. I do remember the soggy hand-knitted mittens!
      I would love that potato candy recipe. Intriguing!

      Delete
  8. Yes! Those were the best days!
    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete

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