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look simple and in character with the country, but when well-finished are warm and comfortable. No one looking at these unpretentious buildings for the first time would realize the amount of labour that has to be bestowed on them. After the gable ends have to be put in and the space between each log filled as much as possible with pieces of wood. Next the rafters have to be peeled and fastened on and the roof has to have a thick coat of lime and sand or mud laid on it before it is thatched or the wind blows through it in winter. When the doors and windows are cut the house has to be well plastered inside and out, a most tedious business to an inexperienced hand.
In moving into her new home Mrs. Averill wrote "so far I live to the northward no man lives north of me, there being no settlers beyond."
Cost of things is high as most of the goods were brought from Montreal and the long distance by rail, as well as the custom duties, everything having to come through the United States, added to the cost of freighting them from Winnipeg. This makes everything costly before it reaches here.
Lieut. Governor Judge Ryan, speaking at Minnedosa about the Middle of October 1880 at a Harvest Home, spoke most encouragingly of this country and looked forward to the day when the great land should become the granary of the world.
Shaganappi suits are made of deer skins that are tanned and resemble thick chamois leather. These are durable as well as warm. Bunks were used for beds, children sleeping two at each end. Frosty windows keep out light. The cattle watered on a river or lake and in winter the water hole had to be chopped out each day.
Indians would trade fish and meat for flour, tea and lard. Fish was salted and dried. During the intense cold the snow always continues soft and does not bind, there being no thaw, so at every step you sink in -- only drifted snow would hold you up - in a manner most fatiguing.
I quite admired the dexterity and neatness displayed by the cornerman. I had not imagined there was so much art in making the frame of a log house. Shouts and cheers herald the raising and placing of the ridge pole.
Sleigh rides in winter were enjoyable and must have seemed doubly so to those who had no other means of travel than high wagons in summer.
Sand hill cranes are a sandy colour but make a sound like turkeys in a farmyard. The settlers who first farmed without benefit of reaping machines, self binders, mowing machines and other implements must have found the work most labourious.
People came to the North-West Territories for the sake of their children.
Visiting Ministers would take a duty at a distant parish. Many "bulldogs," smudge for night for mosquitoes they continue smoking until morning if properly made.
Bachelors are as plentiful as mosquitoes.
"Haw" and "Gee" are the words with which the oxen are driven. Gee-right-haw-left, no reins ever being used, though a stout stick is indispensible.
There is a cellar under the house to store vegetables.
For winter the outside had to have an embankment of soil round it about three feet high to prevent the frost getting in. The entrance to the cellar is through a trap
door in the floor. These cellars are also used as a larder and pantry.
In July of 1905 a picnic was arranged for the day of the arrival of the first train at the site where Erickson became a village. This was a worktrain carrying men and supplies to the area farther west where the railroad was steadily pushing ahead. Anna Paulsen Hall was a child of six and had just arrived with her family from Minnesota. She couldn't understand the excitement, the shouting and the cheering of the crowd over a train. She had just spent several days on one and, at home, had lived near the tracks so trains were a common sight. However it was soon explained to her that some of these people hadn't seen a train since they had first arrived in the colony and many young people and children had never seen one. To the settlers this welcome sight must have been a giant step forward. Twenty years of isolation was behind them. A pupil in Norland School at the time recalls that the teacher dismissed school early in the day as she was going to the picnic. No doubt all roads and trails were well used that day by many a horse or oxen-drawn vehicle from all corners of the municipality.
Before and after 1950 when Ethel Neilson was researching material for a local history book sponsored by the Women's Institute, she interviewed many of the early pioneers. Among these were Mr. Frank Hillstrand of Hilltop, and Mrs. Magda Oleniuk of the Westmount district.
Interview with Magda Oleniuk took place in the summer of 1950, just before her seventy-first birthday. In 1899 arrangements for immigration were made through an agent in Hamburg, and Oleniuks travelled from the Ukraine to that seaport which had taken a week. They spent ten days on the sea and another week from Halifax to Winnipeg. Somewhere along the way her husband was held for questioning and payment of soldier dues. She came on alone with their infant daughter, Annie, and it was five weeks before he arrived in Winnipeg and the immigrant house where they stayed with six or seven families, all Polish or Ukrainian. A land agent took some of the men with him to look for a place to settle. Then they were all moved to Strathclair where they were herded into a barn to stay. They were next moved north to Olha, ten miles North of Oak burn by several wagons and teams. The roads were so poor, stones, stumps and water. Once she fell out of the wagon with the baby. She was so frightened that she walked about three miles carrying the baby. There must have been some kind of epidemic raging, as three children died on the way to Strathclair and after they came to the Olha settlement twenty-five people died. They lived in a tent shared with seven other families.
Mr. Oleniuk walked to Bethany where he found work at $5.00 to $9.00 per month. He learned he could acquire a homestead, but the land at Olha was rocky soil and all bush. He chose N.W. 10-17-18, and walked to Dauphin to file on this land in July 1902. Thus the family came to the Erickson district. Their land had heavy poplar and willow growth, but lots of water. To visit neighbours, they would notch the trees so they could find their way back.
Mr. Oleniuk carried a flute into the bush with him so