This photo, although dramatised, is one taken recently at the old Family Homestead at Whitemouth Lake. This is a trail leaving the yard. It was too depressing to not dress it up somewhat.
Where the lilac bushes are seen, somewhere beside or behind stood the Family Homestead. Grandma would be seen wearing an apron. She wore a dress underneath until she passed away. No matter what type of work she had to do, she would dress like a woman…that is in a dress, and material fit for the weather. Long stockings kept her legs warm. At that time, the cloth and stockings were of good quality. Grandma mended everyone’s socks or stockings and mended clothing. I learned to do these things from both my mother and grandma’s.
Sheep used to be raised on their farm. Grandma would wash the wool, card it, and then spin it into wool. Then she knitted mittens and socks. Probably toques and scarfs as well, but the two girls probably had to help, for altogether there were seven in the household.
Grandpa fished in the lake behind the house about one-half mile away. My father said they used to swim in the lake, but you had to know where to go. Grandpa and my father and his two brothers knew the lake well. Jack fish was the kind of fish that mostly swam there, but before my father passed away in 1999, my son’s took him fishing and he caught a Walleye. He didn’t believe such fish could live in that lake, but they were planted there by the fisheries department, and Walleye can now be caught there in season.
The lake was also great for duck hunters. I remember a green cabin that was quite long and had several windows. The women catered to these men who arrived from the U.S. by washing their bedding and clothes, cooking their meals, and cleaning their ducks and preparing them for cold storage.
It became a way of making money for my grandparents who had struggled financially for years. Grandpa would go with his horse and wagon, fish covered in sawdust and ice, and travelled all around the area selling fish. People were happy to buy fresh fish at that time.
One time, Grandpa became too zealous to make money. He started a home-brew still and began selling his stash. It happened before I was born or maybe I was too young to remember. I just recall the family poking jokes at Grandpa for spending a bit of time in jail. Poor Grandpa. I don’t believe he meant any harm.