Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Biography & Autobiography Cultural Heritage

Cream Money

Stories of Prairie People

edited by Deana J. Driver

contributions by Deana J. Drive, Jean Fahlman, Bryce Burnett, Janice Howden, Laurie Lynn Muirhead, Carrie Schemenauer & Eleanor Sinclair

DriverWorks Ink
Initial publish date
May 2015
Cultural Heritage
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Selling milk and cream was an integral way of life on the Canadian Prairies in the early to mid-1900s. On many farms, the women were in charge of milking the cows, separating the cream from the milk, and then selling that cream to neighbours and townspeople. The extra money earned was used to subsidize the family’s income, especially in years of poor crops. Cream money helped purchase groceries, fabric, farm supplies, and other items that could not be produced on the farm. While children cherished the occasional candy treat purchased with cream cheque money, everyone in the family enjoyed the everyday bounty of delicious foods cooked with homemade butter or slathered with rich, whipped cream. Cream Money honours this bygone era of Prairie farming, celebrating the work of farm families through true stories and poems of how cream money was earned and spent.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Cream Money contains 29 short stories and two poems written by 30 Prairie writers, including author/editor Deana J. Driver. The writers share their poignant memories of their growing-up years on the farm or of operating Prairie farms in the early to mid-1900s, including stories of collecting and selling cream to subsidize their farm family’s income. Deana (dee-na) J. Driver is a Saskatchewan author, editor, and book publisher. For more than 25 years, she worked as a freelance journalist, chronicling the stories of fascinating Prairie people through 2,300 articles published in Canadian magazines. She has written five non-fiction books and has worked with more than 30 Prairie authors since 2008, when she founded her book publishing company, DriverWorks Ink.

Excerpt: Cream Money: Stories of Prairie People (edited by Deana J. Driver; contributions by Deana J. Drive, Jean Fahlman, Bryce Burnett, Janice Howden, Laurie Lynn Muirhead, Carrie Schemenauer & Eleanor Sinclair)


My mother, Sabinka Staszewski, came to Canada from Poland in August 1929. She was two years old and had made the 12-day voyage by ship with her mother, father and three siblings (ages eight years, six years, and six weeks). After arrival in Halifax, Nova Scotia, they headed west by train to what would become their new home in Athabasca, Alberta, 95 miles north of Edmonton. My grandfather, John Staszewski, paid the required $10 homesteading fee to purchase 160 acres of land (a quarter section). This was more than 10 times the amount of land he and my grandmother, Zofia, had owned in Poland. The homestead was eight miles east of the town of Athabasca but 16 miles by dirt road, explains my aunt Dora Shwaga in the history book From Poland to Canada – A Journey Into Tomorrow – the John and Zofia Staszewski Family Story. The family spent their first two winters living in a hole in the ground. Literally. During the First World War my grandfather had seen houses that were dug into the hills of Romania. There were no hills on the Alberta farmland he’d purchased, so he adapted this idea and created the first dugout house anyone had seen in that region. Using a spade, my grandparents dug a hole that was four feet deep, eight feet wide and 14 feet long. Similar in concept to a log house, they used smooth, four-inch-thick tamarack rails to create inside walls for the dugout house. Rails were added on top of each other until the structure was one foot above ground level.

Editorial Reviews

"This is an important book, both historically and culturally, as these plain-spoken reminiscences preserve the stories regarding a way of life that is now decades behind us. In many ways Cream Money is a cousin to “community books,” where people also include what family members got up to and where they are now, family photos, and even journal entries."

Other titles by Deana J. Driver

Other titles by Jean Fahlman

Other titles by Bryce Burnett

Other titles by Janice Howden

Other titles by Laurie Lynn Muirhead