Archive for the ‘August 27’ Category

The name for the finely crafted pull-out bed couldn’t be more appropriate. The guidebook identified the lofty perch, piled high with blankets and quilts, topped with a  cover embellished with hand-made lace, as a ‘himmelbad’ or literally a ‘heaven bed.’

An exaggeration, perhaps, but only a slight one. In affluent homes the himmelbad could almost reach the ceiling. 

And the setting for the himmelbad was equally appropriate. Created around 1920 in the Rosthern area of Saskatchewan, the beautiful pine bed is ensconced in the groote stow – or great room – of one of the historic homes in Neubergthal, a Mennonite street village three kilometres south of Altona in southern Manitoba.

Across the room the glausschaup, or built-in wall cabinet, lent another elegant touch to the room, with its scalloped-top edge and glass-fronted display shelves. 

Underneath the window on another side of the room, a wooden cradle on half-moon rockers sat ready for another wee babe – no doubt many a little one has been tucked up in this sweet cot with decal application typical of the Russian settlement from which the cradle was brought in 1924. 

I came across this intriguing exhibit of Mennonite furniture and floor patterns while taking in the Manitoba Sunflower Festival in Altona in late July. The exhibit, put together through the efforts of the Neubergthal Heritage Foundation, is on until Oct. 11, offering a compact and appealing history lesson on the Mennonites who fled Eastern Europe and their imprint on their new homeland on the Canadian Prairies. 

One of the clocks ticking away in the great room came from 1865, made by the Mandtler family, clockmakers for several generations. The hanging corner cupboard shows the skilled grain-painting techniques, black trim, pin-striping and applied decals typical of this type of Mennonite cabinet.

A look at the floors upstairs and down in the Friesen Housebarn Interpretative Centre that houses the exhibit shows another slice of days gone by. From the late 1800s to the mid-1900s, many Mennonite women painted the floors of their housebarns, and some of these patterns have been unearthed from under layers of linoleum. 

Pre-1920 the patterns were floral but geometrics took over after that, “because of the lino patterns,” says Margruite Krahn, an artist who lives next door to the Friesen housebarn and who is chair of the Neubergthal Heritage Foundation. Upstairs in the attached barn Norma Giesbrecht, a member of the heritage board, was busy showing visitors around her former home. She grew up in that housebarn with her siblings and parents Abraham and Margaretha Friesen, so she knew the ins and outs of the place. 

“This door leads to the loft (of the barn),” she said, opening what looked like a closet door on the second floor of the house. 

The ‘veranda room’ – one of the upper bedrooms with a balcony leading off it – was “always a bit of a bonus for whoever had it” because it was “huge, nice and sunny.” 

These days it is home to a slew of handcrafted toys; the showpiece being a full-bodied rocking horse carved about 1910 by John Peters of nearby Gnadenthal. Although showing its years – the saddle is well-worn from many generations of children clambering off and on – the original black and green paint remains. Split sections of a buggy wheel form the rockers on this well-turned out item. 

Other interesting pieces in the exhibit include: 

Raft bench – a plain, rough bench made by Bernhard Penner from the raft that transported his family down the Rat River when the family immigrated to Manitoba in 1875. 

Immigrant trunk – not made by Mennonites, this and other trunks hand-made in South Russia nonetheless are key to Russian immigrant history. This chest has the iron handles, criss-cross tin strapping on the lid and two tin panels on the front. Elaborate floral designs decorate each panel. 

Spice box – a rare find, made from pine about 1925, with three pairs of small drawers arranged vertically with one long drawer at the bottom. The rectangular body curves to an arrow-shaped top. 

Coffin bench – made to lay out the deceased in the groote stow for visitation before the funeral. Shows typical mortise-and-tenon with decoration by way of scalloped edges in the skirt. 

The exhibition is entitled Himmelbleiw, which is Low German for heavenly blue, a favourite colour for walls and furniture because it expresses hope and joy. 

More on Neubergthal – Considered one of the best-preserved Mennonite street villages in the world, Neubergthal is both a National Historic Site and a working village. Eight intact housebarns remain. 

The village came about when the entire Bergthal Colony packed up and moved from Russia in the mid-1870s, with many settling in the newly created Province of Alberta. 

The Friesen Housebarn, built in 1901, and now the interpretive centre for the historic site, is a classic example of rural Mennonite architecture. A large, central, brick heating oven highlights the main floor. Norma Giesbrecht (nee Friesen) says she had mixed feelings on learning her childhood home was being turned into the interpretive centre. The housebarn, built by her grandfather Bernhard Hamm, of one of one of the founding families, was “this close to being mowed down” because it was so rundown. During my visit I experienced a pleasant Mennonite custom – faspa. For this afternoon coffee, I ate fresh bread baked from the brick oven at the Friesen Housebarn.


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It’s autumn, 1985. The fires of fashion are raging out of control and millions of people are learning fashion sense from their televisions. 

Dynasty teaches the power of shoulder pads and Miami Vice is seducing men into a world of pastels and deck shoes. Women are defying the laws of physics in leg warmers, lace and headbands perched above Brooke Shields eyebrows. Men are swaggering in Magnum-inspired Hawaiian shirts and growing thick moustaches and designer stubble. 

It’s chaos. 

It’s excess. 

Hair can’t be big enough, makeup can’t be heavy enough and Polo cologne can’t be strong enough. 

Evening television includes the Night of 100 Stars Diamond Fashion Show hosted by Joan Collins and featuring Treat Williams and a plethora of nighttime soap stars wearing designs from Halston III for JC Penney, Bob Mackie and Oscar de la Renta. (Check out You Tube and be sure to turn up the volume to fully enjoy the disco-infused Beethoven.)

I’m 11 years old and my favourite season is here. I love fall because I’m mad about sweaters, and this year I have two new outfits of note. First, a pair of red wool plaid pants with a mustard yellow knit sweater. Second, stirrup pants with slouch socks, Keds and a striped batwing sweater. Yes, memories are made of this. Crisp September days and cosy sweaters.

Every autumn is like this for me, and friends are familiar with my love of sweaters. Even Style Guy said to me, “Well Sarah, you do love your cardigans.” Yes, all 17 of them. I love black turtleneck sweaters, argyle sweaters, Aran sweaters, Fair Isle sweaters, and the list goes on. And when I showed Style Guy a photo of my favourite hand-knit sweater and asked him how to describe it, he replied, “Ugly.”

Well, I am learning that love for a sweater doesn’t translate into said sweater being stylish or flattering for your body type. This is where Style Guy comes in. I wondered, what sweaters are hot for fall this year and who should wear them?

Here, Style Guy gives us an overview of a fall favourite.

The Cardigan – this sweater classic is as versatile as it is essential. In a variety of textures from silk to cashmere and wool the cardigan sweater can be dressed up elegantly for a night out, worn to the office to finish off an outfit or more casually with a pair of great denim. 

The Turtleneck – another fall/winter classic. The turtleneck sweater comes in several forms, but it is important to remember a few key things. First, NEVER wear a ‘mock’ turtleneck, as this is not a good look on anyone, and secondly, if you have a short neck length avoid this type of sweater altogether, as it will cut off your neck and make you appear less than flattering.

The Cable Knit – this sweater is all about comfort and staying warm. This is the perfect sweater to wear on a cold fall evening or winter’s day. Look for one that is more tailored to your body shape and size and pair with khakis or denim for a comfortable look that is still pulled together.

Colours? For women: black, brown, camel and pastels. For men: black, navy and grey.

Where to get the Look? For women: Banana Republic (WEM), Urban Outfitters (WEM), BCBG (City Centre and WEM), H&M (WEM, Kingsway, South Edmonton Common). Best bets for plus sizes are Toni Plus (WEM) and The Bay.
For men: Henry Singer (Manulife Place), Identity Clothing (Rabbit Hill Road), HG2 (Manulife Place), G-Star (WEM)

And now onto our rapid-fire Q&A, where Style Guy answers my questions and takes us through some of the more common fashion successes and mistakes. 

Who shouldn’t wear turtleneck sweaters? Anyone with a shorter neck or those who have a round-shaped face.

Women’s wrap sweaters? Yes if done correctly, but this is not a look everyone can pull off. 

Women’s long, belted sweaters?  NO, NO, a million times NO! 

One colour of sweater and pants? (Ivory on ivory, navy on navy…) This monochromatic look can work, but it has more potential to go wrong, so unless you consider yourself to be in the advanced styling category I would say to avoid this look. 

Collared shirt under sweater?  Absolutely! This is a great look, kind of preppy and dresses up a sweater for an evening out or at the office. 

Men’s v-neck with what beneath? I would recommend wearing a dress shirt with a tie underneath a v-neck sweater. This can be a great alternative under a suit or to dress up a pair of pants or khakis for the office. 

Men in cardigans? Guys should definitely wear cardigans. Again be aware of your size and body shape when selecting fabrics and colours, but this can be a great look for guys.

For more of Style Guy’s moral discourse and honeyed words, check out styleguyjared.ca and “Like” his Facebook page. Watch for the next disciple column in September, as it coincides with Fashion Week.

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• 2½ cups water

• 1/3 cup thinly sliced carrot

• 1½ cups fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

• 1 cup sugar snap peas

• 1/4 cup ice water

• 13½ oz can of evaporated skim milk

• 1 tsp garlic and herb no-salt seasoning 
     (such as Mrs. Dash)

• 1/2 tsp lemon pepper

• 2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni,

• 2 green onions, finely sliced

• 1 cup grated light sharp cheddar cheese

• 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Bring water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add carrot. Cover. Cook on medium for four minutes. Add asparagus, peas and red pepper. Cover. Cook for three minutes. Remove vegetables with slotted spoon to ice water to cool quickly, reserving 2 cups cooking water. Drain vegetables once cooled. Set aside.

Add evaporated milk, seasoning and lemon pepper to reserved cooking water in same saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni. Cook, uncovered, on medium for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until macaroni is tender and most liquid is absorbed. Do not drain. Pour into large bowl.

Add asparagus mixture, green onion and cheese. Stir. Turn in to greased 3 qrt. (3 L) casserole. Cover. Bake in 350º F oven for about 30 minutes until heated through.

Garnish with parsely. Makes eight cups. Serves four.

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Q: I was told that tuna may contain heavy metals and could be harmful to my cat. Is canned tuna safe to feed my kitty? 

A: Not as the sole source of nutrition, but it is certainly safe if fed in moderation. There are heavy metals such as mercury in many of the fish that we eat. Mercury causes irreversible damage to the nervous system if given at high doses over a long period of time. The first signs generally observed in the cat are loss of balance and lack of co-ordination. These signs are not reversible.  

 One study revealed that cats receiving 20 micrograms of mercury per kilogram per day did not show any signs after receiving it every day for two years. For a 10-pound cat and based on the concentration of mercury in your average can of chunky light tuna, this is equivalent to eating about 225 grams (half a pound) of canned tuna per day. Be aware that not all tuna products have the same concentrations of mercury. 

Based on an unpublished study from a researcher at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design, light tuna had less mercury than white tuna. Also, chunky tuna (as opposed to solid tuna) typically comes from smaller fish and therefore not as much mercury has had a chance to bio-accumulated in their tissues.

 A few other important notes on canned tuna:

it’s nutritionally deficient, especially of nutrients like calcium & taurine.

it contains thiaminases (highest in red tuna), which can cause vitamin B12 deficiency. Also, the canning process destroys natural B vitamins, which cats require in high amounts.  

the ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acids to vitamin E is insufficient and this can lead to pansteatitis (inflammation of fatty tissues), a painful and debilitating condition which can be fatal.

some compounds within tuna antagonize vitamin K, which can lead to bleeding disorders in those cats eating almost exclusively canned tuna.

 A good rule of thumb is that it’s safe to feed tuna provided it constitutes less than 10 per cent of your cat’s total daily intake.

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Hello everyone. They call me Hutch and I’m getting used to having a special name all to myself! 

I was rescued from a hard life up north by a lady who was doing some temporary work up there. She noticed  I was limping and she made friends with me and brought me home. 

NASAP agreed to bring me into care and so off I went to the vet clinic to have my leg x-rayed. That’s how they found out what I already knew, that somebody had shot me with a rifle and broken my thigh bone right in half. Pieces of the bullet fragments were still in my leg too. 

Unfortunately, the leg could not be saved and so now I am a three-legged dog and doing very nicely, thank you. I had my leg amputated a few days ago and in two weeks’ time the staples will be taken out and I will be looking for a new home. I am loving living with my foster family but I know I can’t stay there forever. I am looking for a new family that will love me and let me become part of the household and hang out with them and keep them company.

I am housetrained and I will go in a crate with no problem if I have to. In my foster home, I sleep in my crate at night time. During the day, I doze on the deck or on the sofa (yes they are kinda spoiling me!) and I get along with everyone. I’m living with a cat and three other dogs right now and we all get along famously. I would like a fairly calm new home where I will be allowed to take my time getting used to new situations. I have learned not to be scared on a leash and now enjoy going for short walks. 

Once I’m completely healed I will be just as fast and agile as any other dog. I’m not keen on being taken places by my collar and so my foster mom has to sometimes pick me up and carry me places! I’m not very heavy so that is not a problem but, as you can see, sometimes a bit of patience is required to deal with me.

I have spent my life up till now pretty much taking care of myself and it is so nice to have breakfast put in front of me every morning and kind people to make a fuss of me now and then. I am very affectionate and will put my head on your lap while you stroke my head. I love to snuggle and will cuddle up beside you on the sofa.

So, if you are looking for a quiet companion who is a little different from the rest please call NASAP at 780-922-0250. My adoption fee of $200 includes a free post-adoption health check and I have been neutered and been given my shots.

Love, HUTch xoxo

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Alberta’s museums, interpretive centres and provincial historic sites celebrate the growth of our province, its people and its industries. Dotted throughout the province, they provide insight into the rich history and heritage of our fascinating part of the world. Most are near enough to make weekend treks for your family, or you can plan a route that will meander in any direction. To learn more about this wealth of living history, visit http://www.culture.alberta.ca/events or call any museum or centre toll-free at 310-0000.

Here are a few examples of the discoveries that await in Alberta.

The Oil Sands Discovery Centre

The Oil Sands Discovery Centre in Fort McMurray is in the heart of the world’s biggest single oil deposit – the Athabasca Oil Sands. At the Centre you’ll be surrounded by BIG things – a dragline bucket, a 150-tonne heavy hauler with tires three metres high and “Cyrus,” an 850-tonne bucketwheel excavator. You’ll really get the “big picture” when you see our big screen movie “Quest for Energy.” 

The Centre opened in 1985 as the Fort McMurray Oil Sands Interpretive Centre and changed its name to the Oil Sands Discovery Centre when it announced a major exhibit redevelopment project. The centre is an educational facility committed to increasing public awareness, appreciation and knowledge about the oil sands industry. This is done by presenting and interpreting the history, technology and significance of the industry and its role in the development of Canada.

The centre is a one of 19 provincial museums and historic sites, operated and maintained by the Alberta Government, Department of Culture and Community Spirit. 

Rutherford House


Rutherford House Provincial Historic Site is the home of the first Premier of Alberta, Alexander Cameron Rutherford. In 1911, A.C. Rutherford and his wife Mattie moved into this beautiful brick mansion near the university campus. The family entertained friends, relatives and influential Edmontonians for more than a generation. Today, this restored and furnished post-Edwardian home maintains the Rutherford tradition of hospitality and offers visitors a glimpse into the past with costumed interpreters, guided tours and special events.

The gleam of polished silver, the warm glow of a library lamp and the aroma of freshly-baked scones beckon visitors into the home.

For many years, Rutherford House welcomed the political and social elite of Alberta. Today, this restored post-Edwardian mansion maintains that tradition of hospitality and recaptures the spirit of Edmonton in 1915.

The Friends of Rutherford House provide visitors with a taste of the past in the Arbour Restaurant, and their giftshop offers keepsakes reminiscent of Edwardian times.


Historic Dunvegan

Discover Historic Dunvegan, the site of one of Alberta’s earliest fur trade posts and missionary centres.

Let our interpreters guide you through the 19th century log buildings that have been restored and furnished in meticulous detail. In the Rectory, glimpse into the spartan lifestyle of an Oblate missionary. 

Marvel at the rustic splendour of St. Charles Mission Church. See how the Hudson’s Bay Factor and his family lived in the Factor’s House. A modern Visitor Centre features an audio visual presentation, displays and a souvenir sales area.

Historic Dunvegan is nestled in the scenic valley of the mighty Peace River. Next door, 67 campsites (28 electrical, three handicap-accessible), a large day use/picnic area, horseshoe pits and playground make this a perfect place to visit for a day or for a week. Market gardens nearby are still farmed just as they were a hundred years ago. Historic Dunvegan is located in northwestern Alberta, 26 kilometres south of the town of Fairview on Highway 2.

Reynolds-Alberta Museum

The Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin interprets the impact of technological change in transportation, aviation, agriculture and industry from the 1890s to the present. Visitors will see a wide variety of vintage automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, stationary engines, tractors, agricultural implements, aircraft and industrial equipment.
The Reynolds-Alberta Museum opened in 1992 and is a project of Alberta Culture and Community Spirit and Alberta Infrastructure.

The museum is named after Mr. Stan Reynolds, a Wetaskiwin businessman and world-renowned collector. Mr. Reynolds donated a core collection of 1,500 artifacts to the province of Alberta between 1982 and 1986, and, along with many other individuals, continues to donate portions of his collection.

The Reynolds-Alberta Museum is one of 18 provincially owned and operated historic sites and museums.

The Reynolds-Alberta Museum is supported by the Friends of the Reynolds-Alberta Museum Society.

Location: 6426 – 40 Avenue, Wetaskiwin, 45 kilometres southeast of Edmonton and 230 kilometres northeast of Calgary, accessed via Highway 2 and 2A, two kilometres west of Wetaskiwin on Highway 13. The site is 30 minutes south east of Edmonton International Airport.

For a full llisting and details about more of Alberta’s museums and historic sites, log on to http://www.culture.alberta.ca and click on Heritage and Museums.

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A few rules for leading a better life


Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

Memorize your favourite poem.

Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.

When you say, “I love you,” mean it.

When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye.

Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

Believe in love at first sight.

Never laugh at anyone’s dreams.

Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only
way to live life completely.

In disagreements, fight fairly.
No name calling.

Don’t judge people by their relatives.

Talk slowly but think quickly.

When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask, “Why do you want to know?”

Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

Call your mom.

Say “bless you” when you hear
someone sneeze.

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others;
Responsibility for all your actions.

Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Smile when picking up the phone.
The caller will hear it in your voice.

Marry a man/woman you love to
talk to. As you get older, their
conversational skills will be as
important as any other.

Spend some time alone.

Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Read more books and watch less TV.

Live a good, honourable life. Then, when you get older and think back, you’ll get to enjoy it a second time.

Trust in God but lock your car.

A loving atmosphere in your home is so important. Do all you  can to create a tranquil harmonious home.

In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation.
Don’t bring up the past.

Read between the lines.

Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.

 Be gentle with the earth.

Pray. There’s immeasurable power in it.

Never interrupt when you are being flattered.

Mind your own business.

Don’t trust a man/woman who doesn’t close his/her eyes when you kiss.

Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are
living. That is wealth’s greatest

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck.

Learn the rules and then break some.

Remember, the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.

Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Remember that your character is
your destiny.

Approach love and cooking with
reckless abandon.

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