About ten years before Survivor and other reality shows of its kind took over prime time viewing, public broadcasters such as PBS and TVO here in Canada featured several documentaries that held my interest. These focused on survival of a different sort. One was a BBC program The Victorian Garden. This was in the late 80’s and early 90’s when I was crazy nuts for anything to do with herbs and vegetables and perennial gardens. The series featured a walled kitchen garden and its caretaker, a retired gentleman who in his early days worked in a similar setting.
His job was to restore the garden to its former glory over a twelve month period. Through the change of seasons viewers watched how plants were cultivated, harvested, stored, and prepared in the manor kitchen.
I was completely taken by the idea of self-sufficiency and growing and preserving my own food in a small space. I watched the program with the devotion of a religious convert.
Around this time, the newspaper ran a feature about a new TV reality show called Pioneer Quest: A Year in the Real West. The series “follows two couples as they assume the lives of early settlers to the West and spend one year living as 1870s pioneers on the Canadian prairie.”
The producers invited interested readers to apply. Our (you will note the possessive pronoun) mission would be to clear and settle a plot of land situated in a remote part of Manitoba. The carrot? $100,000 for each couple should they last the year.
Can you believe it? I actually gave more than a passing notion to this invitation. After all, I knew how to garden, how to can food, how to light a woodstove. I liked horses, too. I actually lived on a hobby farm and stabled several of the creatures. I loved the idea of living in a remote setting in a cute log cabin.
Seriously? [there is not an emoticon suitable enough to illustrate the ginormous eye-roll that would be inserted here]
I marvel at this now, of course. Today, my idea of pioneer living is to ensure the supply of wood for the fire. This involves the arduous task of asking, “Honey, can you get us some kindling?”
Apparently I considered my talent for making lid toast as the prerequisite skill needed to apply for the show.
Yes, lid toast, one of the greatest things since… wait for it… sliced bread.
Voilà. Lid toast. I guarantee it, this will be the best piece of toast you’ve had the pleasure of slathering with butter and jam.
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In response to WEThurs August 21, 2014
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