YOU will be sorry to hear
that I have lost my horse. The vet, did all that he could to save it ; it
rallied a little, but its strength was exhausted. This will be an awful loss
to me, as I have not been able yet to do much breaking, and was counting on
doing a great deal this fall. I have also so much hauling to do, as I want
to get our cottage built before the winter, and my two other horses cannot
do it all. It is very trying just as I was getting along nicely. I have only
another month before me, and in that I must also haul out all the firewood
we require for the winter, so I must get another horse, and that means an
outlay of at least 100 dollars.
If I were alone I might get
some harvesting to do, so as to help make good the loss, but I cannot leave
my wife and boy. It is bad enough when I am obliged to go into town; she is
alone for three days. She always says that she does not mind, but her nerves
are not as strong as they were, and she gets very nervous at night. This
life is certainly telling upon her, as it is bound to do; it is hard enough
for a man, but it is worse for a woman. She has kept fairly well, but feels
the heat very much. We are having some of the New York heat wave, worse luck
I have not yet enough land
broken to count as my duty, so I must hurry up, or it would put me back a
year for obtaining my patent for the Government 16o acres. I have had
nothing but misfortune dragging on me all this year. It is not for want of
working ; I work as hard as I can. I have to stop sometimes, I simply cannot
go on. I feel quite well and have a good appetite, but nothing but salt pork
and an occasional bird is not very strengthening I suppose, unless perhaps
when you have been used to it from childhood.
We had a dish of new potatoes
yesterday, but they were only the size of marbles. I shall not be sorry when
they are fit to eat. We have had no potatoes for nearly three months; we eat
the boiled beans instead ; but, as I said before, one tires of them.
You would laugh if you could
see the shifts we are put to, but it is often no laughing matter to us at
I have nearly all my hay
stacked, about 16 tons, and I have some 7 tons of upland grass to cut when
the spears have fallen out. I shall buy a few loads of oat straw, and with
my own I hope that I shall have enough to see me through the long Canadian
Thank you for the draft
received safely. It came just at the right moment; it has enabled me to make
up a good team. I came across it quite by chance, and having the money I was
able to snap it up, and now I shall do my work comfortably. I have come into
town to get lumber and stores; I hope to take out a good load. I meant to
haul out to-day, but the roads are so bad from the heavy rain, that I have
put off the journey till to-morrow. I must go then, fine or stormy, for
stores are exhausted at home.
The D----'s have been very
kind to me, helping me with my work when they could ill spare the time. One
of them has been with me a fortnight, aiding me with my barn. I am glad to
say that the walls are up and part of the roof.
I think that you would be
interested to know how we build sod stables here. You plough a 14-inch
furrow 2½ inches deep; cut your sod 2 or 3 feet long, then build your walls
3 feet wide, just as you would build with bricks or stone; you use no
mortar, but fill up the cracks with loose earth, and then after rain has
well soaked it, it cakes quite hard. The utter absence of any stones on the
prairie land seemed so strange to me at first, they would be so useful for
foundations; but I really think if we came across one now, we should stop
work and sit down and contemplate it as a great curiosity. My barn is 24
feet long by 18 wide and 8 feet high. My fowl house and pig stall are of the
same materials as the barn. I am digging a deep cellar in which to lay the
foundations of the new cottage. The building of this will be the next
business. Some friends are coming next Saturday to haul the present shack on
to the site where the other one is to be.
Before the bad winter gales
begin I hope to have the other house finished. It is to be 22 feet long by
20 wide, one long room, a bedroom and kitchen. My old shack I shall take to
pieces, and build a lean-to on to the house; this will give us another
bedroom for a friend, or for Jack later on.
The binder is coming
to-morrow to cut my oats. They have come on well and will be a great help
this winter. I saw some oats cut this week in a hundred-acre field that the
binder could hardly get through; and it is expected that they will yield
something like 8o bushels to the acre. The wheat looked equally good. I only
wish that I had even half as much; but it was not possible to put any wheat
in this year, I had too many other things to attend to.
Our Scotch neighbours have a
fair crop-15 acres of wheat and the same of oats. I went and helped to get
them stacked, and I had the honour of lifting the first sheaf and of putting
the last on the stack. Tom says that he hopes that I shall be in town when
the first bushel is sold, to wet it with something better than prairie dew.
I am thankful to say that no
liquor stores have been opened as yet in our district, and I sincerely hope
none ever will be.
You ask about mails this
winter. I shall go on going into Saskatoon as long as it is possible, and
then when it is no longer so, I shall have them transferred to a place
called Loganton, 9 miles from us, and I and my neighbours will take it in
turns to ride over and fetch them.
If you are sending a parcel
out by parcels post, please enclose some fishermen's helmets, woollen
comforters and gloves. We get the magazines regularly every week; they are a
great boon to us all, for when we have read them we pass them on.