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Canadian Life as I Found It
Chapter XV May, 1905


I GOT to town on Monday afternoon, and left again on Tuesday morning. I went in to get a load of lumber for S . I had arranged to cart it all out, but I am glad to say that he has found some one else to do it, so I had only one load. It would have meant ten or fifteen days on the road for me, and they- .are getting pretty bad just now with the frost coming out.

We have Mrs. S---- and the little girls staying with us till their shack is up. Jack gets on very well with them, and flirts quite comically with the eldest. Poor S--- is laid up at present with a touch of pleurisy. I had to go and fetch the doctor for him, and I got home just in time to find that my little mare had foaled. The colt was a fine one, but I am sorry to say only lived three days, the mother had no milk to give it. I tried to bring it up with a bottle, but did not succeed. The mare was ill, and I was afraid that I should lose her too, but she is all right again, and I am soon going to break her in. She is only three years old—too young to be bred from, still I think that she will make a fair pony, and if I decide to sell her in the spring, I shall probably get a good price for her. In the meantime she costs me nothing to keep.

The one I bought has turned out a real good beast, a bit crazy at times, but she is always all there when I want her. I am seeing about another one, for I must have three to do any good ploughing. The one I am after I know is a good one. I do not consider that I have done badly with my cattle, for if you recollect I bought three oxen, harness and wagon, for 300 dollars. I shall have the wagon, which is as good as new (value 70 dollars), the old ox traded for the pony (value 45 dollars), the other two oxen sold for 200 dollars. I got one year's work out of them, so you see I am 15 dollars to the good on that deal.

To-morrow I am starting to deepen the well, and next week a young fellow from the next quarter is coming to help me. I hope that we shall not have to go very deep as it is rather difficult work. Young A- is a very nice lad; he comes and does chores, that is feeds the animals and does odd jobs for Mabel, whilst I am in town, and will not take any remuneration for it, so I have taken him on now, to help with the well, and later on to help me finish my sod-barn. After that is finished I shall try and get a little breaking done, so as to have a nice lot of land to crop next year, only it is useless trying till we get rain, for the ground is far too hard and very dry underneath. Seeding everywhere is nearly all done, and the wheat in some parts is germinating well. The oats I have sown look as if they will do fairly by and by also.

It is really wonderful the number of people coming out this year from the States, and from home. They seem all substantial people too. Last year you saw people on the trail with a wagon, a little timber, a few stores, and that was all; but this year you meet people with all implements wanted, quite new ones, and plenty of timber and stores. Homesteads are very hard to get now; one has to goat least 70 or 8o miles out from town to procure one any good, and land is being bought up fast, but I am sorry to say not with any idea of settling on it, only as a speculation.

I hear that we shall most likely have a school here next year. We now have the required number of children in the district to be able to claim one. I rather hope that we shall not get it, for I do not see why I should pay school rates and taxes before Jack is ready to go to school. He is so big that they have counted him of school age. Mabel has sown some flowers, but I am afraid that they will not come to much, for the hens are capital gardeners. They lay well, however. We have only six hens and we get five eggs every day. You do not know how they help the salt pork to go down, for we have eggs and bacon for dinner, and bacon and eggs for tea, each day of the week; then on Sundays we have bacon and potatoes for dinner, and potatoes and bacon for tea, just for a change. I shall soon be ashamed to look a pig in the face; as it is I am half ashamed to face the hens, for when I see one on a nest I invariably lift it up, to see if there is an egg under it.

Do not be anxious about the well digging, there is really no danger. I think that I shall not have to go deeper than 35 feet.

My Union Jack has arrived, and so I flew it on Sunday, to the envy of my English neighbours. One suggested that I should cut it in half, and let him have half, or that they should each take their turn with it, but I said that they could all come over and look at it.

When I first hoisted it I told Jack to take off his cap. He-evidently understood that it was the right thing to do, for every time he went by afterwards he took his cap off and said; How do you do, Mr. Flag. The cousins are leaving to-morrow for their homestead, and Mrs. S---- is feeling now what we felt last year, only more acutely, for she has not yet taken in that half the things we are used to at home, we never get here. One shakes down to roughness after a time, and so will she I dare say, but a little more civilization would not come amiss for us all.

We live in hopes that some day, not too far distant, we shall have built up a nice home. Even now our little shanty is supposed to be as homelike as any to be seen here, and I must confess that things appear much less hard than they did a year ago.


 


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