|This page is a text version of the Forest to Field History Book Volume Two. You can purchase a PDF copy of the book in our online store. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the purchased version. The purchased version also includes each image in the original book.|
Page Index of Forest to Field Volume One
Previous - Page 45 or Next - Page 47
our meals out on the lawn at a little home-made table we had bought from our predecessors.
We picked wild raspberries and strawberries on the parsonage grounds and across the road, and high bush and lowbush cranberries in woods some miles away. Rudolph also went with some of our people to pick Juneberries. We ate most of the berries fresh but I made jelly from the cranberries.
We planted a little garden with flowers. We had big ideas of having sweetpeas all along a fence and planted lots of them the first spring. Result: no sweetpeas! We didn't know 'beans' about sweetpeas! Next year we had some Sweet Williams and petunias and did better.
The Northern Lights were spectacular. We often stood gazing into the sky for long periods of time watching them change form and color, sometimes slowly and sometimes darting swiftly across the heavens. At times they captured the hues of the rainbow. As we stood motionless in the still ness of the night we might hear in the distance the chilling call of a coyote.
There were many birds in the woods. The Scarlet Tanagers with their bright plumage were very attractive. One spring during the migration of the robins there were hundreds of these friendly birds hopping on our lawn. At evening there was the croaking of the frogs, the chirping of the crickets and the whirring buzz of insects penetrat ing the stillness. There was the call of the morning dove and the answer of its mate; there was the cheep-cheep of the robins and the song of other birds in the tree; an occa sional moo of a cow in pasture land nearby.
To some folk this may have seemed a lonely place, with no telephone or radio, but we loved it; it was our home and we had each other. We called our three years in Canada our 'Honeymoon Years'.
Winters were dreary - the days short and the evenings long. There was not much activity in church or commu nity. We had much time at home. Rudolph did a great deal of studying, which was ideal for his first parish. I also did some Bible study, so:ne reading and some fancywork. For recreation we sometimes worked puzzles. This was quite a fad in that area. Rudolph especially liked the mathe matical puzzles - he once won $5.00 on a tiebreaker. We even made up our own crossword puzzle.
Each winter some of the men of the congregations came to the parsonage with wood. Chopping and piling it gave Rudolph all the exercise he needed. At one time he had stacked a woodpile about 50-60 feet long, six feet high, and 1 112feet wide. Besides this, there were the big chunks for the dining room and upstairs heaters. The men also brought a load of ice for our winter wash water.
Keeping the houses warm with only wood for fuel was a constant effort. One of the men said, "With sprnce
wood and the telephone, women are kept busy!" Very few homes had telephones, however. There was none at the parsonage. The few times we needed to make a call we used Hansons'.
We didn't use the upstairs in the winter. The first winter we improvised a bed on the davenport; after that we brought a bed down to the living room. During the night the fire in the kitchen range would bum out, so any food that would freeze was brought into the dining room. We put big chunks of wood into the dining room heater and closed the drafts to keep the fire going during the night. Sometimes it would begin to smoke and we nearly choked. Rudolph would get up and open the draft. Then it would bum too hot and we feared we'd have a chimney fire.
Once we did have a good chimney fire from the kitchen stove. We quickly put salt in the stove and Rudolph went up into the attic to check for damage. According to the smoke coming out of the chimney it did look like a house afire. Chimney fires were frequent and some folks claimed they were good for cleaning out the stovepipes!
One winter we had another fire - in our little outhouse.
Rudolph had emptied the ashes from our stoves behind the building when a wind came up, fanning the coals into flame. Fortunately, we discovered it while only a small comer of the building was burning. Rudolph rnshed out with what little water we had in the house, threw that on the fire and then piled snow on the burning area. All tumed out well but we shuddered to think of what might have happened; the woodshed and bam were very near and there was no fire department!
When we went to Erickson in the winter our house would freeze up solid, often down to zero degrees Fahrenheit and at least once to 10 degrees below. Whatever freezables we had we would bring to the cellar where it wasn't quite as cold.
Christmas is always a time when ones thoughts go out to the home folk. We had both spent Christmases away from home before, so this was not a new experience - and besides, this was our home now. We cannot deny that there was a wee longing in our hearts to be with our families, however. We decorated it and had real candles for lights. It was very pretty, standing between the living and dining rooms. I did some special baking. Rudolph was in the dining room preparing his Christmas sermon. Just as I came in the room he blew his nose and I thought he was crying. That set off my tears that had been very close to the surface. When my tears were dried we were able to laugh about it.
Roads were not kept open for cars during the winter.
We had no other mode of transportation so for rides we had to depend on good neighbors. At times we walked