Sometimes, during school hours,  my youngest daughter and I set off, just to see what we can find.  These little trips lead us down roads less taken and sometimes, especially on the back gravel roads, we get just a teensy bit lost.  Not really but enough for us to be able to pretend we are on a grand adventure.

One of our favourite places to head to is a little store that just opened in a little hamlet called Angusville, just north of the Perogie Line.  The Perogie Line is filled with kitchens well familiar with local delicacies such as piroshki, nalisnyky, beet leaf rolls and smoked sausages.  

My quirky, beautiful friend, Becky, had this dream.  And out of that dream she crafted one of the most amazing places you will find in small town Manitoba.  It's an honest-to-goodness general store and flower shop with a great coffee bar as the final flourish!  Becky and her husband are awesome people and have made a place where friendly smiles greet you. For them, their store is all about the stories.  The tales associated with the furnishings, the old honey pails, the local products.  It's a cozy gathering of memories and a repository for future community happenings and and their associated yarns. 

So we, the little M and I, set off and head southeast, always winding our way there on the back roads north of Russell and Silverton, knowing coffee and candies await us.  There are Winnipeg Old Country pepperettes available by the piece in the cooler.  Whilst you are at it, grab a package of the Boudin Blanc, a buckwheat pork sausage that tastes terrific as a winter supper sautéed with a creamy mushroom sauce and paprika cauliflower florets.  Little Miss M. scores some penny candies from the big jars on the counter and I order a latté.  

With treats in hand, we then meander through, picking out some organic pantry staples from Willow Creek Organic Grain Co.  We love the Three Lentil Mix as a versatile and protein dense coating for pork or chicken.  Or gathering up some Other Brother Roasters coffee, a southern Manitoba roasting company who has combined a love of people, engineering, good food and a sense of humour into a company dedicated to roasting some pretty awesome coffee.

Becky and Bryan have carefully curated and searched for their fixtures.  They happened upon the old general store counters from Vista, a little town just further east on Hwy 45.  Tin buckets, enamelware and barn board add to the atmosphere of authentic small town simple living.  Tables with painted checkerboard tops and bright green tin chairs punctuate the back and make it easy to have a conversation about the weather, politics or neighbourhood gossip.  Cribbage boards beckon to be used.  

And if you need or simply decide on an impulse to surprise a friend with a treat, Becky keeps a selection of fresh flowers and other arrangements on hand to brighten a table or wall.  The greens have a wonderful heady scent that help celebrate this winter season.  Knitted and crocheted toques and mitts, barn board signs and hand-crafted bath products are also perfect for gifts.  

If a little winter break is in order, and you need to take a Sunday-type drive, set your navigational sites toward Angusville and its Angusville General Store.  Becky is open Tuesday to Saturday.  You'll find the smiles and wares are more than worth the trip.  Scout's honour!

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