Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 09

Thats Christmas 1909, a hundred and one years ago when Cecil Nevard sent this "pre coca-cola" Santa Claus postcard to his nephew, Ernie (Bill) Nevard in Canada. 1909 would have been their seventh Christmas in the New world since they left Essex, U.K. in 1903.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas at The Poplars

Christmas approaching, how did the early Saskatchwan Nevards spend it? From the daily entries in E.W. (Bill) Nevard's journals we see that it was truly a family event. The usual gathering place was at "The Poplars", the home of Ernest and Mary Nevard for dinner and supper. Both brothers, Horace and Arthur with their families would all manage to get around the kitchen table in the small log house to celebrate christmas.
It was a short trip, usually on foot or by horses and sleighs since all of the families lived on the same section.
Often they would have a home grown turkey from a small flock raised for their own use. Not because it was organic or environmentally friendly, it simply made sense to grow your own to save money. Mail parcels from the T. Eaton company would be received with christmas presents when they could afford them. Letters and cards from relatives still in England would be in the mail too.
And mail was not delivered to your door in those days. The post office was just another farmer's house a few miles to the north where they had to ride horse or ski to pick up the mail , one of the few contacts with the outside world in those days.
Unfortunately no photos of christmas gatherings from those days remain. I have this one of Bill Nevard with one of his favourite horses taken in the 1930s.
And here is one of my favourite links to an excellent tv series called "Victorian Farm" which shows the state of the art farming as it was when my grandparents were still in the U.K.
Victorian Farm Christmas

Friday, November 26, 2010

Winstanley Grove

November 27 marks an occasion that drew the Nevard and Goff family a
little closer together. My grandparents, Tom and Mary Goff, were married
in a private ceremony done at the home pictured above in 1911.
Winstanley Grove, so named by my great uncle Arthur Nevard after his
wife's maiden name of Winstanley. The 3 Nevard brothers all named their
farms. Ernest chose "The Poplars", quite appropriately as they are
surrounded by poplar trees.
My grandfather , Horace, chose "Silver Birches" although I have yet to
find a birch tree on the entire farm.
The photo above was taken in 1910 or 1911 at Winstanley Grove but it is
not my grand-parents wedding. It was a Sunday afternoon Church service by
the Anglican minister who travelled quite an area between the small villages
and country schools.
My grandfather, Horace Nevard is the man seated in the front row beside
the dog.
Winstanley Grove was new in this picture, logs still unplastered.
Today it lies in ruins, only a depression in the ground with some rotted
logs and a rusty stove laying in it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Excerpt from Bill's Journal

November 12, 1946
Bud came along before daylight this morning trying to start the tractor so he could take the outfit up to John Senft's. He couldn't get it started so he asked me to come out and help and eventually he had to put a fire under it to warm it up before he could start.
Then he went down after the separator. He succeeded in getting it up to the yard but the radiator was freezing up on him so he had to give it up as a bad job and went up to John Senft's.
Then they both came back with John's team to haul the separator but when they started off one of John's horses was scared of the separator behind him so they had to take him off and borrow Roy's horse, Duke before they could get away.
I got a tank of water then turned the team out and did some fencing. They got John Senft's oats threshed with Bud running the machine and John Senft, Kreutzer, and Donald having racks. John Senft and Bud brought the separator back tonight with the John Deere tractor. They threshed about fifteen loads of sheaves.

Thus ends the journal entry for that day, diligently recorded by E.W. (Bill) Nevard. It sounds like harvest was late that fall with all the fun of running machinery in cold weather. I don't have any photos from that episode but this one below was taken back in January of 1944 showing some of the locals out on the “big slough” on Uncle Arthur Nevard's home quarter enjoying some ice skating.