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Canadian Life as I Found It
Chapter IV June, 1904


I DON'T know whether I told you what our stock consists of. Well, it is composed of one Indian pony, three oxen, a cow and calf, and I am very anxious to get a few hens, for eggs are luxuries unknown out here, though in Saskatoon they only cost 18 cents a dozen, about the only thing really cheap. A neighbour has promised to bring some out with him if possible, but two days' journey in a wagon will not improve them I am afraid.

We saw the northern lights to-night for the first time; they were very clear, and formed a semicircle of yellow light in the sky. The breaking plough is busily at work, there are nearly 6 acres ploughed. Often we are up at 4 a.m. as it is cooler then to work, and we take a rest later on.

Two young fellows are going to town to-morrow, so we shall profit to send letters. They arrived last night, belated travellers, looking for land; we lent them our tent and rugs, and gave them breakfast and dinner. Occasional passing travellers are very welcome, although it gives one a little extra work. We always do the best we can for them, feeling that our own dear ones may be some day in the same predicament.

We manage to get our mails pretty regularly, as our neighbours, although distant, always bring ours, as we bring theirs, if we happen to be in Saskatoon.

Letters are indeed welcome out here, so please write as often as possible. People tell us that after a little while we shan't care to go home, but we neither of us believe that; for my part this wild cold country has nothing of home about it, and our only idea at present is how soon we can make a small pile, and make tracks for home again. Perhaps the life later on may grow upon us, time will show.

Our dear boy is very well; he grows so tall and looks so bonnie; he is so fond of our Indian pony, and is absolutely fearless. Our cow is a very good one, the calf is a heifer, so as food costs nothing we are going to bring it up.

Thanks for the draft, it arrived quite safely. Now as I only had the shell of the other side of the shack up, which made it very cold at night, I shall go in and get a load of timber to finish it, and to get my mower. It is time now to cut my hay, before other people's cattle take a fancy to it.

This other half of the shack will cost me over 100 dollars, as I have three boardings to put instead of two, through the first wood having shrunk. One must buy one's experience here as well as elsewhere, and I shall now take care to get well-seasoned wood.

I went to a sale yesterday and got a good heating stove for 9 dollars; it is only a year old, and has not been much used—they cost new 3o dollars, so I hope I have secured a bargain.

I am longing to get a team of horses, oxen are so slow; it took me two days to get in to Saskatoon, whereas with horses I could do the journey in a day. I left home Friday morning, drove 25 miles, and took nine hours to do that part of the trip, camped and started at six the next morning, and got into Saskatoon at 3 p.m.

I hope to haul out to-morrow, and get home about Tuesday night, as I shall take longer going home, having to take 3,000 lb. weight on my wagon, and the trail is not good. Captain R— is with me with his team I am glad to say, and there is another young fellow going out, so we shall make up an outfit.

I expect very heavy travelling as it has been raining hard, but it was really wanted, although the crops are looking well.

The country all round us is filling up; it is wonderful to see the people pouring in, but goodness me it is rough out here. Here I am in the best boarding-house in Saskatoon, and there are two in a bed and four in a room, and that not by any means a big one, and we have to wait our turn to dress.

Vegetables are the great want with us, we have only potatoes, for we have not had time to make a garden yet, the prairie has to be ploughed, and left for six weeks so that the sods can rot, or you must cart them off, which takes too much time. We have been hard at work since we came out here, and we have still lots to do.

The house now is as ready as we can make it, but a sod stable must be built as the nights are getting cold.

My well had given good water till now, but I am sorry to say it is getting low, and I shall have to go deeper, worse luck.


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