This page is a text version of the Beckoning Hills History Book. This is the story of the Turtle Mountain Area of Manitoba. You can get a PDF copy of the book on our full version page. 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 full version. The full version also includes each image in the original book.

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that when the boys went out of sight of the home, dad and mom knew that until their lads returned there was no way of knowing what might befall on those almost trackless prairie wilds, so they could only wait, and hope and pray for the safety of their dear ones.


One of the earliest harbingers of spring was the gopher, that lively little squirrel-like fellow, with the voracious appetite for grain. A nuisance, yet we knew it was spring when he came out of winter hiding. Kids at school used to tame the odd one, and it was fun to watch the small creature come up to nibble a bit of your noon lunch. Badgers were frequently seen, rolling along on short legs and looking like an animated muff. Vicious things they were, but caught when newly born could be tamed, as the Wright family proved. "Badg" was a great pet, and lived with the family till fully grown, but one day went away on his own affairs, and never came back.

Coyotes, weasels, mink and jack rabbits were plentiful, and the rabbits formed the main fresh meat of many a family in those early days. Birds of many sorts, large and small, were abundant. In the spring when one heard that wild cry from high up in the heavens, we knew the whooping cranes were with us. We did not call them "whooping cranes," but I know now they were those wonderful birds which are now almost extinct. They would fly in circles higher and higher until out of sight, still giving out that strange wild cry, a sound no one has heard can ever forget.

The great V's of wild geese were so unafraid of man in the early days that they flew so low one could almost strike them down. There were the two kinds, the smaller grey goose and the beautiful snow goose, or "wavey" as these were called. Literally tens of thousands passed over in their migration to and from their northern and southern nesting and feeding grounds. I recall one day seeing a large field on dad's farm, not many rods from the house, com­ pletely covered with waveys, till it looked as if there had been a snowstorm. The noise of their honking as they passed over at night was such music that those who have heard, sometimes ache to hear again. To see huge flocks flying across the heavens on a moonlight night was a thrilling sight. Man's greediness and the coming of noisy machines have driven these beautiful birds either along other migratory paths or so high they are no longer often seen.

Prairie chickens were very plentiful, and when well nourished and plump were pretty good eating. The meadow lark was the first spring warbler, and his bubbling notes made father say he was saying "a peck 0' peas for their thrubble." There were whippoor­ wills, blackbirds, gulls (usually fore-runners of rain), night (or mosquito) hawks, several kinds of marauding chicken hawks which plagued the housewife when the chicks were small. There were