Saturday, 16 June 2012

Looking Back At The Old Homestead And Childhood Memories

This morning the kids and I drug out some of the old photo albums and had a look through them.  One of great things about old camera's is that people actually developed photos.  There is something comforting about sitting snuggled up on a couch with the kids, a blanket and a hot cup of coffee and looking through old photos.  I am also thankful that my parents took the time to pull out the camera and snap a few pictures.  It is so much fun to look through them now.  I find myself not just looking at the people in the photos, but at what is going on in the back ground.  You know little everyday things that at the time you take for granted.    It's great to see the people in the photos as well, of course.

I thought I might share a few of these pictures and maybe a few things from my past.  It's all part of what made me who I am today.

When I was very young my parents bought a piece of property out in the bush.   The property was 160 acres (a part was later sold to friends).  There was huge natural meadow surrounded by forest.  My parents worked very hard to carve a home into this place.  It was 3 miles of bush road and completely off the grid.

The log cabin that my parents built.  We lived in a little Scamper while they were building it.  What a cozy looking place.  

I love this picture of my Mom, standing so proud in front of the house that they built.

The Cabin was on a little hill that over looked the meadow.

Taking a walk around the meadow. What better way to travel then up on the shoulders of an older cousin?

In the early spring the meadow would flood.  Sometimes Moose could be spotted out on the meadow.  My Mom is watching one with binoculars.  I remember as a kid taking the boat out on the meadow in the spring with my brother.

In the early days, my dad used to haul my Mom and us kids in on a float behind this old army truck.  The road was very bad, especially in the spring when the mud and the ruts would be so bad that normal vehicles couldn't get through.  I have many great memories of playing in this old arm truck when it wasn't in use.  You can imagine the fun us kids had throwing pine cones and stuff at each other while climbing in out and on this thing!  There were even a few bullet holes in it left over from the war.

Isn't it funny how simple things made kids happy back in those days.  My dad set up a play area for us kids. A Swing Set, a sandbox and a teeter-totter.  You have to love the teeter-totter that consisted of a log, a board, and a few sticks nailed on for handles.  But we were so happy with it.  Later my dad made one that was a board on a stump that had a steering wheel in the middle that you could turn.  We went around and around and around, laying on our stomachs across the board with someone sitting in the middle holding on.  Jumping as we went around.   Ahhhh the days when kids played outside!  Here you can see us kids standing in the back ground in front of a chicken house.

My Dad raised pigs on our ranch.  At one point we had about 60 pigs.  As you can see, I thought they were great to sit on.  Notice how I am in my PJ's with bare feet out with the pigs?  Probably why am so healthy today!  Apparently right after the picture was taken I leaned over and bit the pigs ear.  

My Dad used a Cat and dug a fair sized pond.  It was quite deep.  When he got far enough down, he hit a spring, and it fulled up with water.  It was deep enough for swimming.

As our Family grew so did the house.  Additions were added on to make more space for us.  You could still see part of the original log cabin.

Like I mentioned before, our place was off the Grid.  We mostly relied on Propane for light and home made Candles from paraffin wax.  Though eventually my dad did set up some stuff that could be run off of a generator.  We had a small fridge and stove that were also run off of propane.  Mostly I remember my Mom cooking on her beautiful Findlay Elmira Oval Cookstove.  This stove was my Mom's pride and joy.  She seriously loved this stove and the most delicious things would come out of the stove!

My Mom's stove.  This was before the addition for the new kitchen was added onto the house.  You can see some of the furniture that my dad made.  The little couch, the burrow coffee table, and in the next room the desk... All sorts of things.

My brother helping prepare some dinner.  The bread is fresh out of the oven (My mom's beloved stove), you can almost still smell it.  More handmade furniture too.

My dad making a snack.  I love looking at the picture as well and seeing the stuff in it.  Notice the propane light?  My Dad is so handy.  I love his handmade wooden spoons.

Love the stuff in the kitchen and the handmade cupboards.  My dad devised a way for some gravity fed water in the house.  There were water barrels stored upstairs along the eves that he would fill with the fire hose and pump from the well.  Mom is reaching up to get a match out of the match box.

My mom grew a wonderful garden.  They hauled up soil from the meadow which had beautiful peat.

The green house my dad built her was beautiful.  

Mom has a real green thumb!  The tomatoes were awesome!

The vegetables were stored in a Root Cellar.  There was also canned goods and I can clearly remember going into the root cellar to get a bottle of some homemade Root Beer.  In front of the root cellar is a wheel barrel my dad made.  

For bathing we used a sauna.  The original one was made of logs, but later my dad made a new one.  Inside was a change room area and in the next was the sauna area which had benches and a very large hotel cast iron claw foot bath tub.  The Sauna area had a wood stove in it that was covered with rocks onto which water could be thrown to create steam.  This wood stove was loaded with firewood from the outside so that the sauna area remained clean and free of dirt and wood chips.  There was a small sliding door in which a person could put the fire hose to fill the bathtub with cold water as well as a water barrel for the steam water.  The water for the bath was heated outside the building on a separate fire and was pipped into the bathtub.
Here you can see my Dad filling up the bathwater barrel that the fire would be lit under.  It was my brothers job to get the big fire ready for the bath water, and it was my job to get the sauna fire ready to go.

Of course running out of the sauna on a winters day to the snow was always fun.

We also had an outdoor shower to be used in the summer!  The water was heated in the green house in a large black barrel.  It was gravity fed and on a hot summers day, that water would come out of there really hot!

Since the house was heated by wood as well the sauna and shop we burnt a lot of fire wood.

We had the most fantastic Out House!  It had two holes.  One was kids size, and one was adult size, so you never had to be worried about falling in.  We had a nice collection of books and magazines in there.  One time a kid came over and threw a bunch of magazines and toys down the hole.  Another time the cat was chasing chickens and my brother and I seen one disappear under the edge of the outhouse.  We were convinced it would die down there.  My brother bravely offered to get lowered down with a rope to save the unfortunate chicken.  Luckily though the chicken reappeared.  I still laugh when I think about how brave he was to offer.  Here I am with a few sheep down by the outhouse.

As kids we learned never to be bored.  And to never, ever, ever admit that we were.  Yes, I remember one time when my cousins came to live with us.  My cousin who was used to living in town thought that it wasn't very exciteing out in the country, and complained one day of being bored.  Well, he was given the wagon and sent out to the field to pick rocks.  Yes, It was a lesson that was quickly learned at our place.  Never ever get bored.  There is always something to do.

My dad made the best toys.  Like I said he was very handy.  One of the best things that he made was the Log Swing Set.  It was HUGE and it was fun!  (Sometimes I wonder if he made it so the adults could have a little fun.  hee hee!)  It has a massive log seesaw at one end that you could fit lots of kids (or adults) on to.  You could really get that thing flying.   I remember laying on it in the middle and hanging on.  You would fly foward and when you would go backwards your feet and legs would lift up into the air.  You had better be hanging on good.  I don't have a picture of that in use, but wish I did.  It also had some nice swings that we spent a lot of time on.  At the opposite end of the see-saw there was a whole picnic table and benches that would swing.  It was a great way to keep the bugs at bay, the swinging.

We were always warned to make sure never to walk behind the big swings when they were moving.

Another fun thing was playing in the little tree fort that my dad made us.  It didn't take much to make us happy!   My cousin and I were so nice to let my little sister up there with us!

One of the best things to do was play around the pond.  Oh my gosh, the hours we spent around that pond!  Catching frogs, leaches, water bugs and swimming in it.  The top layer of water was warm, but the bottom layers was cool.  We would cover ourselves in the smooth blue clay that was on the bank and jump in, thinking the clay would keep us warmer.  We used to put watermelons in a bag with a rope attached and throw it off the dock to keep it cool.  The pond also would have ducks in it and sometimes muskrats which we would throw bread for.  I loved that pond so much!

In the winter we would skate on the pond or cross country ski.

For a while we had some horses that were boarded at our place.  We were allowed to ride them and help care for them.  My favorite was climbing up on their backs with just the halter and a rope and going for a ride, or simply sitting on the horse and letting it go where it wanted to go.

Winter time was so pretty!

We would get company out quite often and they would spend the night or company would come and stay for a while.  My dad fixed up a very cute little guest cottage.  It had the sweetest sleeping loft.  My cousin used to come and stay and we stayed in the cottage.  I remember her telling me the scariest ghost stories out there.  My dad has such a special way of adding to things and making them unique.  I love the sunburst wood pattern above the door and the rails on the little deck of the cabin.  The inside had all sorts of special touches as well.

I just had to throw in this picture of my cousin in front of the guest cottage.  He had just had a bath/sauna then went and played in the mud with my sister.  Doesn't he look happy?

My dad waters the gardens.

My Mom would drive us in every morning to catch the bus over those 3 miles of rough roads.  We would leave pretty early in the morning.  

Yes, my parents certainly worked hard in the 8 or 9 years that we lived there, building a home for us from scratch.  I look back and amazed at the amount of work that went into it.  It was amazing.  I am so thankful for the experience that they gave me.  It has a lot to do with who I am today and why I chose to live where I live. 

We moved to Terrace when I was about 11 years old.  A story my parents reminded me of not long ago was that shortly before we moved we went to visit my grandma in town and when they asked me to make toast, I didn't know how to use a toaster.  See, I had only made toast on the wood stove before over the fire.  At this point they decided that perhaps it might be a good idea for me to have a little civilization.  (hee hee!)  This isn't the reason we moved, but my parents do like to remind me of it once in a while.

Here's a cute little story!  A few years after we moved to Terrace, we went back for a quick bit to check on things and get it ready for Sale.  My Mom was so happy to be able to use her Woodstove again.. Long story short,  a while after that while we were once again back in Terrace someone went in and stole the stove out of the house.  My mom was so upset about this.   For quite a long time she morned the loss of her beautiful stove.  
Well, a few weeks back, my Sister sister seen an add for a Findelly Elmira Stove and my parents went to check it out out in Greenville (near Terrace).  It turned out that the stove is exactly the same as my Mom's old stove, down to the crack in the damper in the back.  You can only imagine my Mom's excitement!  Of course, they went home with the stove.  My parents recently bought a place out of town and are installing the stove in the new house.  My mom is so excited about this stove that she has been bringing pieces of it home to polish and shine up.  Why just last weekend I went to visit and my Mom and I shone up the top piece of the stove where the dishes go.  She is just thrilled, and so am I!

About 10 1/2 years ago I returned with my daughter who was only about 4 months old to check out the place.  Quite a bit had changed, but the lady was really nice and showed me around.  Before I left she gave me a wooden logging truck toy she had found under the house that somehow made it's way under there.  It was one my Dad had made with his chainsaw as a toy for my brother.  I took it home and gave it to him for Christmas.  Boy was he surprised to see that toy again.  He thought it gone forever.

I returned about a month ago, but didn't get out to have a look around.  I really wish I had of though.  But the place was very, very different looking, so perhaps it's better that I didn't.  Still, it was a thrill to go out and visit the area.  

Meadow View Ranch will always have a very special place in my heart.  I'll never forget it!
Thanks Mom and Dad!  


  1. this is such a neat photostory, you put so much work into it, did you scan your old photos to your computer? They turned out pretty good.
    Love the childhood memories you shared!

  2. Thanks! Yes, I scanned the pictures to my computer. It was a lot of fun doing it!