A little knowledge is a good place to start

I am fortunate with my job to learn about a huge variety of topics.

I am fortunate with my job to learn about a huge variety of topics. I can’t think of any career that rivals journalism in its diversity. During my time here in Sylvan Lake and the surrounding areas, I have learned about agriculture, sports, canoes, trapping, and more. The information I’ve gained has certainly come in handy in more than a few conversations.

The most recent thing I learned about was cream. Before this weekend, all I knew was that cream is the delicious, more expensive part that is separated from whole milk. I also knew it tasted sublime with fruit when whipped, sweetened, and flavoured with vanilla.

I visited Markerville on Sunday for their annual Cream Day, where the hamlet’s historic creamery hosts the event on their lawn to celebrate all things cream-related. There was ice cream, there was pie, and there was butter. There was also a cream separator, where people were encouraged to try separating the cream from the milk the old-fashioned way, by turning a crank.

A large vat at the top held whole milk. Mounds of foamy bubbles had formed on the milk, which I was told were the result of recycling the milk and cream so people could continuously try to separate it. I was invited to turn the crank, and I accepted.

I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into. As it turned out, it’s hard work to turn the crank. A little bell rang when I wasn’t turning fast enough, which was most of the time. I kept turning it, faster and faster, until finally I was able to keep the bell from ringing. In my excitement I lost focus on turning the crank, and the bell resumed ringing. Finally, panting, I gave up.

Without a doubt, I have learned the most about agriculture, probably because I’ve written so many articles about Eckville and other rural areas. I’m a city girl. I like nice clothes and nice shoes. However, I have learned it’s a bad idea, a very bad idea, to wear flats to a beef show. I remembered my lesson next time and wore cowboy boots to the Benalto rodeo. I now also know the difference between a bull and a steer, and a cow and a heifer.

I’ve learned a lot about sports, as well. I have never been particularly athletic, preferring to read books when I was younger. If people still picked teams when I had gym class in school, I would surely have been one of the last picked.

When I was six, I played soccer. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. My mother likes to tell the story of my first soccer lesson, when someone passed the ball to me and I shrieked, “Mom, it’s coming right at me! What do I do?”

I’ve had to write a few sports articles now, so I’ve had to learn the proper rules and terms. Sports terminology is its own language, and each sport is different. People who read about sports care deeply about the subject, so it’s important to do it justice. While my knowledge is by no means complete, I feel significantly more confident now when discussing sports with people.

So far, I’ve learned a little about a lot. While some might argue it’s better to learn a lot about a little, I think learning a little opens the door to learning a lot.

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