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.

Page Index of Beckoning Hills History Book

Previous - Page 149 or Next - Page 151

dollar's worth of sugar and sit right down on the ground and eat it. I realized since that it was nature's call for a balanced ration.

Humor Not Lacking

Many things happened in the early days that still give me pleasure to recollect. May I set down a few of them? I had been living on my brother's homestead. I heard that as a consequence mine might be cancelled, so I concluded I had better put in a few nights on my claim. A neighbor, Wm. Latimer, and myself rigged up a hay bed in a small log stable with this end in view. The smell of new mown hay proved conducive to sleep, but about midnight another odor became sufficiently pronounced to counteract the perfume of the hay. Dawn revealed a lusty member of the skunk tribe as our guest. I gently, oh, so gently, circled him around to the door, but he seemed loath to leave. Bill stood ready and the next circle he made he grabbed him by the tail and had him soaring skyward before he could get his defensive apparatus into action.

One of our staple articles of diet was rusty bacon, as it was known then, "Chicago chicken." We would live high on this along with potatoes and bannock until the bacon got pretty slim, then we would drive a nail in the north wall of the shanty and hang it up in reserve for visitors. In those days the common procedure was to boil a pot of potatoes "a la jackets" and dump them on the table. The man who skinned the most got the most. I have seen this method produce expert peelers in three days.

Practically all our travel was done on foot and I have walked to Old Desford, eleven miles distant, for the mail and shouldered a hundred· pound sack of flour back. Being thrown on one's own resources surely makes one versatile. What would you think of a couple of young ladies who desired to visit a neighbor one winter morn, and on finding that the men had the sleigh away, hitched a horse to the henhouse door and made the trip on this novel vehicle?

In times of crop failure we were hard put to earn money enough to live. I have drawn out building logs and rails, and dug dozens of wells and cellars for farmers who came in later with some money. I have even been glad to walk five miles to Boissevain and load cars during the night after working all day. We loaded out of the old flat warehouses which preceded our modern elevators and the grain was handled in sacks, The pay was $3.00 per car; $1.50 each for two of us. Peter and I operated one of the first threshing machines in the district and have owned nine outfits in all. We often threshed twenty-five miles from home and our season lasted three months. We had excellent men at $1.00 ~er day, and it took more than a snow flurry to send them scuttling East.

I remember hiring a man once who was a professional song writer, who came West for his health. He composed a humorous song, mentioning the different farmers on the gang. I recall one verse referring to Peter, who had just got married.