It's still snowing here - I can't believe that it will be the longest day of the year in just 2 months! The temperature is -8 degrees Celsius so it's pretty cold and the wind is blowing too. Eastern Alberta is in the throes of a winter blizzard today. Hopefully this will all pass by soon. So it's a good day to do a bit more writing!
My Life Story
Part 2 - My First Home
My parents moved to a farm 2.5 miles west of Millet after they were married in July, 1954. Dad purchased this farm for $11,000 from Cliff and Alice Wagner, a local farm family in 1953. He had saved the money for the down payment by working for Calgary Power, installing power lines in the West Liberty area when electricity came into the area. The farmyard was partway into the quarter section at the top of a hill, behind a bluff of trees. The driveway came in from the north and curved up the hill. Big spruce trees separated the west side of the yard from the driveway. I still remember how they towered over us and how nothing would grow under them along that side of the yard. The yard site included a tall 2 story house that had been built in 1910, an big old shed that was used as a pump house and a log barn with several lean-tos, one of which later became a barn for the pigs. Across from the barn was a big granary with an aisle down the middle and bins on either side. Also on the yard was an old chicken coop and another small granary.
At first, we used only the downstairs of the house and I remember the living room/dining room on the north side of the house being closed off during the winter months. Mom says they had no furniture for those rooms so they didn’t use them. To us kids, the kitchen was the hub of our home. Here Mom was often busy cooking or baking. We gathered at the kitchen table for meals and to play. The table was positioned under a big window that looked south out on to the rest of the yard so we could see Dad busy at work outside or heading for the house. Mom’s uncle, Louie Tauber, had come during the summer before they were married, and installed this window after tearing down a lean-to outside which had been used to store extra wood. The lean-to was a haven for mice and they had no place in my parent’s brand-new-to-them home! Mom’s kitchen was along the east side of the big open room and a window over the sink looked out on to the garden and clothesline. As long as we lived in this house there was no running water - just a bucket of water with a big dipper in it on the kitchen counter beside the sink. Water was carried in from the pumphouse and heated on the big white wood stove that dominated the north wall of the room, right beside a washstand and mirror. I can still picture my Dad standing at that mirror and combing his hair back before coming to the table for meals. The kitchen also had a small black woodstove that stood along the west wall and heated the room. Between the washstand and this stove was a door that opened to the stairs that led down to the basement. When my brother Brent (who was 2 years younger than me) was a toddler, he fell down those stairs onto the dirt packed floor below. He needed stitches on his forehead to close the gash that resulted but I don’t remember the incident. Close to the front door of the house, on the side that had the master bedroom, was a small room where the cream separator and milk pails were kept between milkings.
Oh, my - the memories are coming! Funny how they flood back once you start writing.
ETA - We've had nearly a foot of snow now!