Saskatchewan II

Written By: Leo Lawton

One of the ways the youngsters could earn a small amount of money was to capture gophers. The government paid ¼ cent bounty for each gopher tail presented for payment. Lloyd and Floyd earned school clothes money in this manner. Most children went barefoot all summer, saving their shoes for winter usage.

On one occasion the three children remained home while Will and Cora went to town for supplies. The children were upstairs playing. When they started down the open staircase they spotted a huge hairy form in the room. The boys loaded the gun and sat on the stairs waiting for it to move. Finally Will and Cora came home to discover what the boys were afraid of was an old buffalo hide coat inadvertently left in the house.

In the fall a single wheat threshing machine made the rounds of all the local farmers. Thirty to forty men followed the machine from farm to farm each helping the others. One fall Cora took the job of being camp cook for the threshing crew. Each day she and the children would prepare three meals, mostly of meat and potatoes, for the men. Only after the men ate and returned to the fields were the children allowed to partake of the leftovers.

Because the land was flat and barren of trees, a friend of Cora’s from back east sent her a silver maple tree which was duly planted next to the house. Beyond all odds it grew, and neighbors would come to stare at the only tree for miles around. Some seventy years later Clara was watching a television program about western Canada homesteading. A small snippet of the show showed what Clara was positive was their old homestead home, yet with the tree growing next to it.