Canadian Life as I Found It
Chapter XIX September, 1905
I HAVE bought two more little
pigs, Yorkshire breed, to bring on ready for next spring ; the other one I
bought some time back I shall kill about Christmas. I don't know how the
killing is going to be done, as I have never had anything of the kind to do.
I hope that I am taking out
my last load of lumber. I took last time 1,600 feet, and I expect to take
the same quantity to-day.
The team I bought has turned
out very well; one horse is seven years old and weighs 1,050 lb., another is
three years old and weighs 960 lb.—this one will be a splendid beast when he
is fully developed. I paid 187 dollars for this pair, quite a bargain just
now, and I was able to snap them up because I had the money, and their owner
wanted ready cash. You should have seen Mabel's delight when I drove up with
the two new horses in the shafts, and my other two tied at the side.
The best news at present is
that the C.P.R. is building a road from the East through Saskatoon to
Edmonton, and it passes 18 miles north of my place. They have begun work,
and it is, said that they will have 5o miles of rails laid this fall, so now
we can put several inches on to our height, and say that we are z8 miles
from a railway.
The G.T.R. may come within 8
miles, no one knows exactly, but there is something in the wind, for the
agent who sold me the land offered me a good increase, if I would sell it
back, but I told him that I was not taking any just at present.
My barn is finished and is
nice and warm. I have room for six horses and three cows. I must get another
cow for the winter, for the one I have is going dry ; she is due to calve in
February, and it would never do for the boy to go without milk, as he is a
great milk drinker.
A soon as it freezes up I
shall kill my pig, ugh! This is the job that I dislike the most, and I shall
be glad when a regular butcher establishes himself somewhere within reach.
I have a nice lot of
potatoes, not very big, but plenty of them, so we ought not to starve this
winter, and I shall not go out more than I can help on any long journeys; I
had enough of that last year.
I have got in my crop of
oats. You would have laughed if you could have taken a peep at us. I was
alone, and Mabel would come and unload for me whilst I made the stack. It's
wonderful how she makes the best of this life, she is always ready to turn
her hand to anything. As for Jack, he must have a finger in every pie and
gives his opinion on everything in general. He is very proud of himself just
now, for his hair has been cut "like daddy's"—he parted with his curls last
Sunday; it makes him look so much older.
We drove over to see the S---
's the other day, they are getting on all right now, but are not in love
with this country. They all look half starved, and cannot manage the salt
pork yet; they have no garden made, so of course have no vegetables of any
sort, and the people round about will not sell any, as they generally have
no more than they want for their own consumption. I am afraid that the S----
's fare rather badly. It requires a good energetic manager, like my dear
wife, to surmount the many difficulties and discomforts of a settler's life,
and to be able to make even a shack look homelike. It is a pity that the
S---- 's could not have had land nearer ours, we could then have done so
much more to help them settle clown more comfortably, for there is a lot to
learn when one first comes out to the North-West, and at times one pays a
heavy price for the learning, if one has no more experienced monitor at hand
than one's own previous knowledge of what is right in the old country.
Our days are so fully
occupied at home that we have no time to spare for social intercourse, or at
most only a few hours now and then at rare intervals, so that even the eight
miles lying between us precludes our seeing each other often.
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