Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This page, called "During Work Hours" is the page across from "leisure." My father had a strong sense of symmetry. It's now fall of 1921 and time to harvest and sell.

I was told by a Saskatchewan farm boy that in those days they liked to blow the chaff and straw into a poplar bluff (grove) and fill it up so all the trees formed a kind of internal skeleton. Then when the animals ate their way into the stack, it didn't collapse but became a kind of cave shelter that protected them from the fierce cold. But here it looks like the straw is just piling up into a fenced place near the little shed where I suspect the cow lived. It would be very bad if the cow ate herself a cave, got in it, and then were smothered when it collapsed.

Two crews on the premises at once: the threshers and the potato diggers. The Strachan boys, of course, went back and forth as needed. The threshers appear to be standing at the left with their hands up as though on steering wheels. The back of the photo identifies them as the "J.F. Smith threshing crew." Combines were the next step, but by now many farms are so big that the "custom cutters" bring in a fleet of the machines, different from J. F. Smith only in terms of equipment. It also seems that they've brought along a lady, no doubt the boss's wife. The potato diggers look a bit more hard-bitten. One man either has a very dirty face or is black. So here was a last outlay of cash before the money begins to run back the other way.

"Potatoes raised on the SSS Farm. From left to right: Mrs. and Mr. E. Martin, Mr. Pridham and Mr. Cameron." I can't explain the rural looking couple, but the bankers are pretty obvious. On one occasion, maybe not this year, the bankers showed up when Sam was gone and seized the potato crop, which had been loaded onto a boxcar. The SSS farm, of course, had a loan with them that was secured with the crop, but the proper procedure would have been for the bank to wait until Sam had gotten the best price possible, then paid off the loan. Sam got legal papers from the sheriff and went in pursuit. I believe he recovered the potatoes. These guys look like people who might do that sort of thing.

These two photos show a gentler sort of customer, the Salvation Army. One photo says, "Mr. and Mrs. S.S. Strachan, Mrs. Gilson, and Salvation Army officers and first of potatoes raised on SSS Farm." Sam is at the far left. Beulah in the light-colored coat.

All those potatoes! And this was before chips and French fries, except home made!

No comments:

Post a Comment