16 AUGUST 1930, Page 12



[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]

[A correspondent sends us this record of his first two years experience as a settler under the " 3,000 Families Scheme.71

Sia,—We came to Canada in the spring of 1927 (my wife and myself and three children). After a very pleasant trip we reached Winnipeg and were informed that we were to be located in the Arden district—about 100 miles north and east of Winnipeg, upon a " quarter-section " (160 acres), on which were a farmhouse and buildings, with an adequate water supply, and which was well fenced and partly broken. One condition was that, irrespective of farm experience, I was to work with a Canadian farmer at the current wage, to gain local experience, while my wife was to be supplied with sufficient cows and poultry to enable her to obtain sufficient revenue to meet current household expenses. Dimino. this " probationary " period I was under no financial obligation to the Government for rent or taxes. The probationary period left us dependent entirely upon

our adaptability and proficiency, but was to last for at least one year.

Upon arrival in Arden we found that the farm was three and a half miles from town, and that it was as represented. We had been informed also at Winnipeg that the farm had been neglected and that it was weedy—and that real work was necessary to make a paying proposition of it. This also proved to be true ! We started therefore with but few illusions.

I soon found employment with a man some four miles from us. I informed him that my experience..was nil, and that if he was prepared to go to the trouble of showing me--

I was there to be told, and an occasional " bawling out " would do me no harm. Upon this understanding he hired me for $25 per month and board, and we started at the beginning. Despite the secret dread I had of being kicked to death by a particularly mean "broncho " under my " care,"

I was driving a six-horse team in two days. By the end of the first week I was doing my share of the milking, although

I must confess that, like many London boys, I was scared out of my wits by the persistent stare with which one old cow would greet me when I proceeded to milk her. However, she meant no harm.

When we commenced seeding operations I had a pet theory that I should immediately take my seat upon a riding plough. This theory was quickly exploded when I found that the hired man " is first broken in by lots of walking— behind drag harrows. I walked very many miles . . .

However, eventually, and before many weeks had elapsed,

I had seen, used, and operated each implement used during seeding operations, always with the definite opinion that the Englishman is a far better and more consistent walker than his Canadian cousin—and that the more " Canadian " one becomes the less he likes walking.

Seriously, though, I gave satisfaction, and very soon was left to do my job without supervision. One thing was impressed upon my mind most forcibly—the layout of Canadian farm holdings is such that one can plough a mile- long furrow perfectly straight and without a break, each farm being either square or rectangular—a much simpler proposition than at home—and one's whole attention is devoted to manipulating the particular implement in use, and not to driving an irregular route around a field. This is most helpful to a beginner.

By the end of three months I was quite at home with horses (including even my broncho), and was being favourably reported upon to the field supervisor whom I saw frequently —in fact, was earning my pay. Our day usually commenced at 5 a.m., when we milked ; field work started at seven ; at 11.80 we quit for dinner, recommencing at 1.30 p.m. and working till 6 p.m. : at this time we always did justice to supper (there is no " tea-time " here). Following supper came evening " chores "—milking, feeding and bedding down the stock. Our barn held fourteen horses and 20 milking cows and innumerable calves, so that by 9 p.m. I was always ready to do justice to the bed.

Summer fallowing followed closely upon seeding, and we summer-fallowed about 100 acres that summer. Haying succeeded this, and August found our crop ready to cut and stock, and we commenced threshing toward the end of September. At harvest time one just works with the sun. It is one rush and, incidentally, pay is on a different basis. My pay was, as I have stated, $25 per month. My harvest wages were 15 per day 'find board.

After threshing, my engagement expired and I went to our own farm to make ready for our first winter. My visits to our place had been rare, and of very short duration.

During my absence my wife had been busy, she had been provided with two cows, two pigs, and about forty hens ; she had planted about half an acre of garden ; in fact, Isaal worked like a Trojan. Her task had been no light one.

Imagine—a townbred English girl with three children under seven—coming from a populous centre—to the environment of a prairie farm, and in a very few weeks earning enough from her cows and hens to keep the house going—it was an achievement that made her an enviable reputation in a community where everyone works..

Our first winter was rather monotonous. Our literature was very limited—we had no horses or sleighs, and the trip to town for mail was made once a week on foot. Eventually spring came, and with it news from Winnipeg that we were to be " established."

Eighty of the hundred and sixty acres had been broken here, and selecting the least weedy I seeded about forty acres down to oats and barley. The season 1928-9 proved a fairly good one, and we harvested enough grain to enable us to meet our cash obligations, provide grain for winter feed and seed, with a sufficient surplus to enable us to finish sixteen pigs for market. During the season we had cut and stacked ample hay for all our needs. Twenty acres of land had been summer- fallowed, and ten acres rebroken.

The sum of our first season on our own (our second in the country) was—an ample supply of seed and feed, lots of hay, and a surplus to sell. Our fuel supply was assured, while our meat and vegetable requirements were satisfied, and our hens and cows had enabled us to keep on a strictly cash basis at the store.

So, you see, in spite of the utter strangeness of everything— one can very quickly get down to the job, and we, now com- mencing our fourth year here, look forward with much eagerness to the future and its not unpleasant prospects. We in no sense regret having come, and hope to stay a very