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
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
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
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