EXCERPTS FROM A SETTLERS DIARY
Frost hard enough to kill potato vines. We have moved into our new house.
The crops this year are fine, wheat 40 bushels to the acre. They protect the wheat crop from blackbirds. Farmers have to ride on horseback or go on foot or both,around and around and around their wheat fields from day-light till dark, yelling, pounding tin pans and shouting to keep off birds that come in hundreds from the sloughs near Portage and Lake Manitoba to feed on the wheat.
Our food here is mostly pemmican and potatoes,bread and black tea. Curry powder is used on the pemmican.
Bread is made by the natives (old settlers) from whole wheat flour ground by windmill, rolled out thin and baked on top of smooth box stoves. This bread is hard,and will keep for months.
Pemmican is made of dried Buffalo meat pound up fine, over which is poured hot grease, supposed to be buffalo grease, but sometimes wolf – thoroughly mixed and put into bags made from buffalo hides,keep for years. No salt used. Sometimes wild berries are added; this commands a better price. Note – We helped bind and shock wheat for McKay, of Poplar Point, and Bell, of High Bluff.
One day we were binding with gloves and over-coats on, snowflakes falling. The Hon. Mr. Howe visited Fort Garry and vicinity this fall. He did not come to Portage-la-Prairie. He said it was so windy it took two men to hold one man’s hat on.