Monday, March 8, 2010


Competition is considered to be one of the important motors of progress, whether it's about who can raise the biggest whatsis or who can go the fastest. The Strachans were up to it, but rather amazed themselves at the tall oats they could raise on newly cleared ground far to the north with long, long days.

Three Strachans are in the center of the photo, but one -- indicated by a light pencil note, shows as only "Seth's hat." The back of the photo says, "Seed oats on S.S.S. Farm 5 1/2 feet high."

The back of the photo says "Wheat raised on S.S.S. Farm." But the album caption says "oat bundles five feet long." It's also unclear whether this is in the Strachan yard, and whether that's "Papa" standing in the middle. But plainly they were all impressed and proud. I had understood that all the horses died of equine encephalitis when the family got to Swan River, but maybe these were later and maybe they were replacements or even borrowed.

Here's where all those long bicycle trips paid off! Glenn is WAY out in front! The back says, "Glenn Strachan winning bicycle race at Swan River." The album caption is "Glenn wins bicycle race at Swan River (Dominion Day, July 1, 1921.)" Note the flag of the British Empire. Ironically, in later life he had terrible trouble with his lungs and allergies, finally moving to Santa Ana, California, to keep from constant bouts of pneumonia that in those days were life-threatening. We wondered whether his lungs had been frozen, but his son, who grew up in Santa Ana, also has trouble with breathing.

Of course, ironically and destructively, bumper crops mean overabundance and low prices. The railroads and elevators could buffer that a bit by shipping crops to where the weather and other factors were not so favorable.

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