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Canadian Life as I Found It
Chapter XLII August, 1907


I AM in Saskatoon to get the lumber for my stable, so as to try and get it all up before the cutting of the crop comes on, which I expect will be in about three weeks from now.

We have shut up house and all come in together for the agricultural show. It is pretty good considering the newness of the country. There is a good show of cattle and horses, much better than I expected to find.

My wife was very tired and unwell, but I think that the change did her good, for we were all suffering rather from nerves, from the shock caused by poor R---'s death, so the outing did us no harm; now we are settling down to work again.

At last I do believe that we are going to have a railroad; one of the railway men came out the other day to see about the right of way. All of us hereabouts have given a free right of way, so I trust that will help them to hurry up. It is rather hard to have to do so, especially for those whose places will be badly cut up. As for mine it will not really do it much harm, as it goes across the only piece of land that I do not care about, and if I can have the railroad through there, it will put a greater value on to my land than the railway could afford to pay me for the acre or two that it will take. We are promised 30 miles of rail by this fall. Personally I doubt if they can accomplish this; still when work is begun there will be hope for next year. Anyhow, we have done our best to further the opening up of this part of the prairie lands.

After these three years spent here we are so looking forward to a few months at home, and so escape the worst part of the coming winter. We have the last one still on our minds, with all its bitter cold and anxieties, and we are doubly rejoicing at being at home this year, although the experiences of last winter may not be repeated this coming one. Of course the time of leaving must necessarily be somewhat late; it will depend entirely on what sort of a fall we have. I shall have my grain to team in, and I want to plough all the stubble I can, for I shall have quite 140 acres to seed next year 100 acres in wheat, and 40 in oats. This would have made it difficult to get away next year, so we are all the more delighted that you have offered us a trip this one.

My Scotch neighbours will take care of my horses, the dog, cats, and poultry, and I do not think that it will be difficult to find a lodging for the cattle.

Jack is very excited at the thoughts of going to see you; if he does all he says he will, he will quite scare you; he is very independent and a regular know-all. At the show the other day he gave me the slip whilst I was talking to a man who had a herd of Jersey cattle. When I looked round for the youngster I found him in a stall with four Jersey calves, quite at home, and giving his opinion on their good and bad points.

I have not been able to get in any hay yet worth speaking of; what I did get in was so soaked by the rain that I have to begin haying all over again.

I am going to a bush 25 miles from here with two wagons for dry wood. I am not looking forward to the trip, for it means an uncomfortable night on the road in the open.

We had our first Church of England service at the school-house last week, and a meeting afterwards to consider whether we should continue to have one. We decided to have a service every other Sunday, but we are only to have a layman to officiate. The Church of England is very slow in looking after its members; the Methodists and Presbyterians are much more active, and do not seem to mind what trouble they take. Young D---- has undertaken to build the stable and has started now. G---- and I will help him when needful, so I am free to do my other work. It will be a treat to have a good building.

The wife and I went and chose the site, and she declares that as she has become quite a fair carpenter, she will drive a lot of nails to help; she can saw a plank far straighter than I can.

Just now housework is very heavy on her, having D---- and G---- to cook for besides ourselves, to wash up, and then start and do it all over again; it is generally between 8 and 9 p.m. by the time she has finished her day, such is life in the North-West at present.

If I enter into all these details, it is that they may be helpful to other intending emigrants, that they may realize what the wife of a settler, however delicately brought up at home, has to put up with, and to deter those Coming who do not feel the courage necessary to face all the trials and hardships that must be gone through, during the first four or five years, at all events, of this kind of life.


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