Sunday, February 11, 2018


     Mom had never been out to Dad's farm. Dad had probably given her a fairly realistic description of the house conditions. Mom had rarely traveled out of her town Portage la Prairie Manitoba. The 500 mile train trip back to the farm was a major trip. Arrangements had been made for someone to meet the train and pick them up and take them to the farm.

      Dad on his farm

    Mom arrived with a few linens like sheets, blankets, towels and tea towels. She also had a set of cutlery that may have been silver. There was an old trunk in the house and it was probably used to bring all her worldly goods to the farm.

     The house was not insulated and the wood had dried out so there was a crack or two in the walls. The house was banked up with straw to gain some warmth. There was no electricity. Light was by something called a coal oil lamp. A flame burned from a wick so there wasn't much light. They got used to working with such low light levels. There was no water! In the winter there was a large barrel beside the stove and they kept that full of snow. The snow slowly melted . When water was needed for washing you dipped out as much as you wanted. There was no washing machine. Clothes were washed by hand and hung on a clothes line outside. Now in winter the clothes froze rapidly. A few days later the clothes were brought in the house and hung on racks to complete drying.

     Later on an old hand rocked washing machine was purchased but there wasn't any room in the house for it so it was only brought in on wash days. Later Dad set up an outdoor washing machine that could only be used in the summer. This machine was powered by a primitive one cylinder engine.

     Now the town where Mom lived had some amenities. They had electricity and water. The places where she worked had some conveniences like clothes washers. 

      Mom's family about 1930. Mom is in the middle.

     Mom had been on farms as her grandparents farmed and she spent part of the summer with her grandparents.

     But to come out to Dad's place would have been a shock...culture shock. Dad had grown a garden the summer before and left his produce with a neighbor who kept them and so they didn't freeze . So he probably had a couple of bags of potatoes and vegetables.

    Mom did have a cousin in the district who lived about 2 Km away. There were other people in the district who she had met.

    Dad loved farm auction sales. Stuff that sold was usually old and in poor condition. That's how Dad got some farm machinery. He loved to buy "junk" boxes for 5 or 10 cents. You didn't really know what was in the box but there were usually things that could be used such as tools. Farming at that time was done by horse power so guess what? Dad got his horses on auction sales. They were usually very poor quality horses. I remember old Teddy who was a very dumb horse. 

    One time Dad bought a horse and then traded it before he went home for a very ancient Model T truck that had a cloth cab. It was the first vehicle he ever bought. The truck was used very little as they didn't have money for gas in the 30' and during the war there wasn't much gas for sale. Besides that the old truck wasn't very reliable.

    Dad also bought a cow or two on auction sales. He ended up naming the cows after the people he bought them from . There was a cow named old Oscar.

    However, they survived the winter of 1938.