Pioneering

“Someone” lived here once upon a time. “Someone” must have worked very hard to make ends meet, cook meals,  raise children, keep warm in an uninsulated house in extremely cold winters, and  keep their spirits up when the nearest neighbour was miles away.

I can’t imagine anyone being that tough, to live out there so isolated and to work so hard on the land, fighting the elements.

I peeked into the house and saw the kitchen stove still in its place. It must have run on propane, as I doubt they had electricity until later years. They probably had to bring the water to the house from somewhere, either with buckets, or from a shallow well that you had to pump by hand.  Either way, it would have been a chore to heat water for a bath.

Most likely the nearest  neighbours were the local birds and other animals like coyotes, porcupines, deer, and rattlesnakes.

The pronghorns must have been a wonderful sight to see then, just as they are now. These antelopes were about half a mile away when I tried to snap a shot of them.

The one in the photo below looks like it might be trying to grow antlers. A young buck, maybe?

 

Another neighbour’s feed house tells the story of the climate in this area. Do you think it’s windy much?

You have to be very tough to live in this country. It’s one thing to visit here, but to actually spend a winter in this harsh place takes a lot of fortitude.

22 thoughts on “Pioneering

  1. pobept

    Doesn’t look all that different from the old plank and board house where I was born and spent the first 7 years of my childhood.
    Everything except lights were operated by kerosene. Cook stove, heaters, refrigerator etc. REA had not wired homes so far off the main road with electricity. Wood heating, natural gas, propane/butane simply was not an option.
    Lights were powered by an old airmortor wind charger to power 1 – 24 volt light bulb in each room. There was a big stack of 6 volt glass batteries outside on the south side of the house. Emergency lighting was several kerosene table lamps.

    The rest room was a little building about 30 yards south of the house.

    Bathing summer and winter was in a galvanized steel tub setting on the back porch. Water in winter was heated in 2 galvanized buckets on the cook stove.

    We did have indoor water that was piped in from a wooden water tank setting on a wood stand next to the airmotor windmill.

    The house was located in the middle of a 16 section(16 square mile) wheat patch.
    Two miles to the front gate, about 8 miles west was a house where daddy’s employer lived, another 7 miles to a black top road (15 miles of dirt road to the black top) then 9 miles to the nearest town.

    Grin, in wet weather the school bus would not get off of black top roads. I missed several weeks of my first year of school due to wet weather days.

    I’m sure glad I survived the good old days and those day’s are now only a memory.

    Happy Gardening

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I thought I answered this comment, but it seems not to have gone through. I want to thank you for your comment and all that information (some of which I had gotten wrong). What hard work just to get through every day.

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  2. wordsfromanneli Post author

    I can sure see why some of them would choose to end it. Probably not all situations were as dire as I’ve portrayed, but they were sure a lot harder than what we have to deal with today.

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  3. Still the Lucky Few

    This is all very familiar to me. My ancestors all came from the old country (Romania) during the early 1900s. They built their first homes from poles and sod, and of course they had absolutely NO amenities! The women had it the toughest, since they gave birth, sometimes to large families while the work of early survival was going on.But this harsh period only lasted a few years—before long, most of them were established and successful. I love these stories…thank you Anneli!

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Diane. I just checked About on your blog and saw that you live in Victoria, not so far from us in Comox. Then I read the bit about the Peace River country and thought how similar our backgrounds were. I lived in Dawson Creek in the 50s. Life was hard enough then, never mind a few years earlier. But we do appreciate everything we have now (like indoor plumbing)! I was thinking you might be able to relate to the story in my novel “Julia’s Violinist.”

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  4. Lori

    I love imagining what was in old, abandoned homes, too. Love these photos. I was excited to see that you took some picks of the inside. Could you tell if it had a bathroom? The house where we stayed in South Dakota originally had one bedroom a kitchen and living room, no bathroom. Thankfully it was remodeled with an addition of an extra bedroom and one bathroom. Although, as I wrote, even that was primitive for me without a shower and an old fashioned garden tub. I definitely do not have the “fortitude” of those pioneers from the Montana wilderness.

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