Today it is my dad birthday. I am part of The Canadian Food Experience Project and this month we are talking about our Canadian Food Hero.
My dad left school after completing Grade 6. Right away he started working on my uncle's farm to learn the tricks of the trade. He later left that job to go work for someone else to make a bit of money because his dream was to buy his own farm. His dream finally came true and in 1962 he finally was the owner of a big piece of land. A year later he married my mom and she decided not to teach anymore to start a family. For their first child they wanted a boy to help on the farm but surprise, it was a girl, and that was me.
Being a farmer family means countless hours working on the farm, you dream of vacations that does not come and sometimes you wish you could sleep two or three hours more instead of getting up at 5 a.m. to go feed the animals. At one point we had 2000 pigs and let me tell you that is a lot of mouth to feed.
Very young I became involved on the farm and my dad never missed the boy he had wished for as a first child. I was working hard and actually liked that kind of life. Being raised on a farm has its ups and downs. The memories I have now are the good times spent with my family on the farm. We worked many hours but we also took the time, once in a while, to prepare a picnic to eat outside, to go play in the woods, to look at the stars at night or go skidooing in the winter.
Dad and I would work long hours together without saying a word and I knew he was just happy to be with me. I was proud of him and what he was doing to make sure we had food on the table every day. Never he would complain about it, even if I knew by looking at his face that some nights he was very tired.
We also had a big field and every year we would cultivate different kind of grains. Like many local families we also planted a large variety of vegetables for our vegetable garden. Everyone in my area was proud of his or her garden. We would go visit our neighbours to see what they had done different from us every year in their garden. What I loved the most about having a garden was to pick vegetables for our meals and I could not wait for that first bite of fresh tomatoes or cucumbers every year.
What dad thought me over the years was that in life there is nothing free, you need to work hard to achieve your goals and to never stop dreaming because dreams comes true. We had a simple life, but we were happy. Many days we would go in the fields to help my dad and we would laugh and try to spend a good time together even if it was tiring and hard physically.
I am blessed that my dad devoted his life on a farm. If you know a farmer take the time to tell him how you appreciate the hard work he is doing for our country.
My recipe is in honor of my dad. 'Mietton' with fresh fruits is one of his favorite dessert in the summer. If you are wondering what 'Mietton' is, it is simply pieces of bread that you shred and place in a bowl, top with any fruits that are in season like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries. Pour milk over and sweeten with sugar or maple syrup.
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My brother and dad in the fields
Myself with my 2 sisters and brother
My dad taking few minutes for a picnic with us, his 4 kids