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After my parents were married in 1923, they farmed two miles west of Sandy Lake for approximately a year. Their first daughter, Olga, was born on the Sandy Lake farm in November, 1924. My parents and their daughter, Olga, moved to the Erickson area in about 1925, and leased a farm from O.J. Gusdal. The farm was located on the NW IS-IS-ISW, in the Rural Municipality of Clanwilliam, approximately four miles northwest of Erickson, on the Clear Lake Highway. My parents lived on this farm for about eight years (1925-1933). During those years, Bill and Mary had two more daughters born to them: Nadia in April 1929, and Lilla in August 1930.
I do not have any memories of life on the Erickson farm, but from the information that was passed on to us by my parents and friends, they enjoyed life in the Erickson community. My parents were both very hard workers and took great pride in managing the farm. The first seven years were quite successful. My Dad owned a Model-T Ford car, farm implements and raised many cattle and hogs. However, in 1933, when the country's economy took a turn for the worse Dad was unable to sell his grain and prices for cattle and hogs were very low, my parents were forced to give up farming. This was a great disappointment to them as they had many friends, en joyed living in the Erickson community, and enjoyed their farm life in spite of the hard work that was in volved. It has been told to us that Dad took great pride in his horses and cattle and his farm operations were of the highest standard. My mother often talked about having to wash clothes by hand for hired men, and cook and feed them, along with raising three children.
Bill and Mary Stechkewich - 1977.
My oldest sister, Olga, was of an age when she could recall her years on the farm. The following are her memories:
"1 grew up on this farm -- playing with dogs, cats, calves, piglets, colts and baby chicks. I enjoyed the farmyard very much -- I used to gather eggs and learned to milk a cow. I had a pet dog which was a Collie and he and I were the best of friends. We had a big yard and a
big garden -- everything seemed so big to me at the time - house, barn, etc. We always had much produce from the garden. Mom and Dad milked lots of cows. We separated the milk and had plenty of cream to sell to the creamery at Erickson. We also made our own butter. I liked most of all to help with separating the milk and the making of butter. My favourite food was hot bread from the oven, buttered with fresh butter. We used a tall crock with a board lid, which had an opening in the middle for the handle to move it up and down to splash the cream until butter was formed. We then rinsed the butter with cold water to get all the buttermilk out. We packed some butter into a pound-shape container and usually sold this butter or traded it at Erickson for products we could not get off the farm.
"I went to Tales school about two miles northeast of the farm. I walked a total of four miles a day. My teacher was Mr. Leonard Neva. He had 9 grades in School. On the way to school and back, I would meet with other boys and girls coming from the different farms along the road.
"One of my favourite visitors to the farm was a man by the name of James Proven, who later in the 30's moved to Cooking Lake, Alberta.
"I enjoyed the threshing gang coming every Fall to do the threshing of our grain. Mom would prepare a big supper for the men for about 10:00 p.m. Lunches were taken out at 4:00 p.m. to the field.
"I remember when my two sisters were born, Nadia and Lilia. Dr. Rutledge was the Doctor in the Com munity at that time. He also took my tonsils out at Erickson in his office.
"Dad owned a Model T Ford car. I liked going away in the car with the whole family. I always wanted to know how to drive and so I would sit in front of the steering wheel pretending that I was driving."
My parents were of the Ukrainian Catholic faith and every Sunday they would take us all to the Church at Ozerna.
When my father had to give up farming in November
Bill Stechkewich Family - 1978. Left to Right: Victoria Johnston, Lilia Presser, Mary Stechkewich, Olga Maherniak and Nadia Hanuschak.