Sunday, August 23, 2015

Reaching back in time

I was in Saskatoon for a couple days this past week. Rose had laser surgery done on her eyes and is now seeing without glasses, and I was the parental support.  Anyway, while I was there, I asked my mother about her grandparents.  I have often mused that memories seem to stop at about four generations - or at about my great-grandparents.  On any side of the family that I care to track back, the memories tend to stop about there.

In any case, my parents, Harold and Mary Ruth (Lidbury) Orr - who have eight children, 22 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren at this point in time - which makes for a real crowd when we get together.  Because this is the family I grew up in, I can tell lots of stories about all of the members.  For most of their life, they have lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Then, my mother's parents, Edward James (Jim) and Pearl Etta (Head) Lidbury - who had three children.  I can also tell lots of stories about this family - both personal stories, and stories that have been related to me, or that have been written down and I have read.  For most of their life, they lived in southern Saskatchewan, at Harptree, then at Stony Beach, then at Moose Jaw and finally in Saskatoon; but my grandmother is buried in Denison, Texas, while my grandfather is buried in Saskatoon.

Then, my mother's mother's parents, Benton McMillan Head and Mary Florence (or May)(Osgatharp) Head - who had 12 children (my grandmother was the oldest).  I remember visiting my great aunts in Texas many times, and I can tell a few stories about them, and I have heard a few stories about my great grandparents.  Although they were born in Clay County, Tennessee, they moved by covered wagon to Texas - first to west Texas, then because of drought conditions, to east Texas, and lived just south of the Oklahoma border.  They were third cousins - related on the Plumlee side, and Benton was enough taller than May that if he stretched out his arm from his shoulder, she could stand right underneath it.  They were farmers.

But generally, that's where the memories stop.  However, I asked my mother some questions, and then did some searching on the internet, and I have a little bit more than just names for my mother's mother's mother's parents, Erasmus Gaw Osgatharp and Rachel (or Rachael) Presovia (Plumlee) Osgatharp.  I found two photos, and a bit of a history.  He was a logger, as was his father before him.  They lived all of their lives in Clay County, Tennessee, and they had 11 children.  They were big families back then!

It's so interesting to find a photo of my ancestors, who lived over 100 years ago, who were alive during the American Civil war!

Monday, May 11, 2015

A new salad recipe! Beet Salad

Last year Ruth and I helped at the Russian Pavilion for Mosaic.  We got to try all the food - and we really enjoyed the beet salad.  The other day when I was at the grocery store; they had some discounted beets - which I promptly purchased.  But, it's too hot out for borscht right now; so I contacted Anna and told her I wanted the recipe for Beet Salad.  We made it on Saturday - and it was just as good as I remember.
So... here's the recipe:

3 medium beets - cooked and diced
3 medium potatoes - cooked in a separate pot and diced
3 medium carrots - cooked in a separate pot and diced
1/3 to 1/2 cup sauerkraut
1 small bunch fresh dill - finely chopped
1 small onion - finely chopped

2 TLB oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar

OK, I've tried to upload a photo and it doesn't like me today - so you don't get a photo.  Suffice it to say that the salad's yummy

Sunday, May 3, 2015


It's a routine that I know from my childhood.  There are people coming over, get things tidied up.  Start at one room; sweep the floor, pick up the clutter, put things away.  Move to the next room.

I'm planning "the crowd" for Sunday dinner today.  That means whoever we can invite - likely somewhere between 20 and 30 people.  There will be kids and adults spread throughout the house.  My boarder, who's shy about such things, will hide in his room.  I'm planning on making kid-friendly food - chili dogs, coleslaw, mixed green salad, hash brown patties, juice, dessert. I made two batches of chili; one batch is regular Canadian strength; the other has the judicious application of hot sauce.

So, I'm nearly ready.   Dishes are done; dishwasher is running.   I've got the clean tablecloth on the table; paper plates and cups are set out.  The chili and hot dogs are in the 3-pot slow cooker, with the buns beside.  The coleslaw's in the fridge; cake's in the oven.  The hash browns will be heated in the oven and green salad will be mixed together when I get home from service.  I have checked the ingredients on everything for people with allergies (and need to run past the grocery store for more juice and plastic cups on my way to church).  Ice cream is in the outside freezer, the dairy-free topping for those who can't do ice cream is in the fridge.  I still need to carry the garbage out.

In a way, the straightening up, tidying up is a form of prayer.  May the Lord bless you as I practice hospitality.  Bless you as I prepare for your visit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

OK, it has been forever since I've posted - I know it.  However, Ruth and I have still been cooking together and I have new recipes to post.

First of all - I made a "new to me" salad - although Aunt Alice informs me that Grandma Orr made it all the time.  It's really good though; and very easy.  The warehouse store had a 5 kg bag of coarsely grated carrot on half price; so I've been experimenting with ways to use it up.

One of the big successes, was this Carrot Apple Salad

Combine together:
3 cups coarsely grated carrot
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup raisins
2 large apples, diced and turned in  1/2 cup lemon juice to prevent browning.

Use the leftover lemon juice to thin 1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing.
Toss to combine with salad.

Nearly every salad Ruth and I make we make a vinaigrette dressing to go over it; so it was very nice to have a mayonnaise dressing instead.  This is a really pretty salad and it keeps quite well.

Next... Bram came home with a purple cabbage that needed to be used.  So Ruth introduced me to Bigos.  This is a traditional Polish stew; made with cabbage and garlic sausage, and whatever is on hand (such as grated carrot).  It makes up extremely quickly - as in it's ready in under 15 minutes, and is delicious!

Fry together:
2-3 sausages, cut into small pieces OR 2-3 pieces of bacon, cut into small pieces
about 3-4 inches of garlic sausage, cut into small chunks
2-3 cups grated cabbage
1 cup grated or finely chopped carrot
1 diced onion
any other leftover vegetables in the fridge
1 cup sauerkraut

It's the sauerkraut that really makes this - it gives it a real tang.

Next to make with the grated carrot?  Carrot cake and meatloaf.... another day though

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Grey – or is it Gray? 
The sky is grey, the street is grey. 
A gloomy day. 
But I don’t have to choose to feel grey about it all. 

I choose light!

Wendy.  Thanks so much for the help.  
I couldn’t have done it without you.  
I could even say, you made my day brighter.  
Now I know how to rotate a photo.

31words (twice! - or actually 3 times if you saw it before with the rotated picture.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


My cousin, Janelle, has started an interesting idea - 31 words in 31 days.  You can see it here.  I thought  I'd try it too.  - So... here's my entry.  The word is Salvation:

Many people believe that a cup of coffee in the morning equals salvation.  Personally, I drink tea.  However, I will agree that it does seem to be essential on some days.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day - to my Dad

Harold OrrWhen I think about my Dad, I think about generosity.  He is so very generous with his time and expertise, in addition to his finances.  My parents have spent the better part of two weeks down here in Regina, because my nephew needed help with some renovations.  He's done several mission trips to India, but has helped out so much more here - close to home.  When Mission 6:10 first started, he provided the "expert advice" for the renovation and retrofit of the first house they worked on.  It would be impossible to list the people that he's helped with their homes; new building, renovations or retrofits.  I think every one of his eight children have had him come and help him numerous times on whichever home we're living in, or thinking of buying, or renovating.  Dad built the front hall closet in my house for me as a Christmas present.   Dad lives out his faith in concrete ways, helping others.

Although he has retired from consulting, he is still one of the foremost experts in low energy construction and building techniques.  My daughter told me this winter that he was mentioned in one of her classes, and she said, "I always thought of him as Grandpa, but he's really somebody too!"  Yes he is.  This winter he received two awards and he's still written about, both in the press and in scholarly documents.  Here's a selection of links, talking about him and his accomplishments: News storylifetime achievement awardSuperinsulated RetrofitsA Bio from Ecohome.

My Dad also models for me what I want to be like when I age - or how to age gracefully.  My Dad's 30 years older than I am... which makes him 83 this year.  I can tell when he gets tired now, because his one foot drags a little, and his walk becomes unsteady.  Mom has restricted him from climbing on ladders, and he is to get cataract surgery in August.  However, my parents still mall walk for an hour most mornings, when they're in Saskatoon.  He is still very active and involved; although Mom encourages him to have a nap in the afternoon.  They've got their name down on a waiting list for a senior's residence in Saskatoon - they're still planning for the future.

It's impossible to talk about my Dad without talking about Mom as well.  Since he has retired, they do most things together.  Mom's the one who enables Dad to do what he can.  She's the one who ensures he has a nap or a break, or doesn't climb ladders, or grabs the broom and cleans up the construction debris so he doesn't have to slow down to do that.

Happy Father's Day to my Dad, Harold Orr.