homesteading experiences (surviving).
home page for alittlehistory.com1874 The Mounted Police Tame the Wild Westthe Metis half of the 1885 Northwest Rebellionthe Native half of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion1900-05 Diary of a student and young teacher1908-1920 homesteading experiences and lifestyle1920's farm and community lifestyle1954-56 diary of a boy, before the effects of televisionthe future: extending human limitations through technology (eg. computers and inline skating), presenting history with applets, a new family recreation program, etc.

 

Surviving on the Homestead

After we had a few acres broken we still had no seeder. I drove the wagon up and down the field, Margaret and Hugh asleep at my feet, while my husband broadcast the seed from the back. He harrowed it, walking behind the harrows. I donít remember whether it was wheat or oats, but it grew. There was a cold rain and sleet falling part of the time while we were seeding.

We stacked all of our first crops. We never knew how long it would be before a threshing machine came around. . . . Mr. John Ewin had a small threshing machine run by four horses. They drove around in a circle. He threshed for himself and the near neighbors. The Murray family had the first large outfit run by steam. Then Mr. Colter got one. I had 21 men for one dinner. Three of them were going off, and three had just come on to take their place.

The first tractor near us was bought by our nearest neighbor, Tom McKee. It often sat in the field while Tom drove around with his horse and buggy trying to find some one who could start his tractor, and the neighbors were getting on with their seeding with horses. It was not a good recommendation for tractor farming. It sat in the corner of his field for a long time.

The wild animals in our district were the coyote, rabbit, badger, skunk, porcupine, weasel and gopher. On rare occasions deer and antelope were seen and very rarely wolves were heard. Skunks, weasels and badgers killed chickens; a skunk got into our hen house and killed and mangled thirteen old hens. He was still there when we went out and we killed him. Coyotes came into farm yards and ran off with chickens and turkeys.

 

tractor - 38 kb
click to enlarge (38 kb)

This photo was taken years later when they had a tractor.
Their barn is in the background, and
behind it is a stack of hay.

 

Their neighbours the Sylvestors, had moved in from Crossfield, where they had been farming. They had everything to farm with, machinery, horses, cattle, and poultry. Mrs. Sylvester, a very kind hearted woman, gave each of her three nearest neighbors, Mrs. Rodseth, Mrs. Steward, and Mrs. Morley, a hen and [part of] her flock of chickens, to start them up.

 

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