The Backwoods of Canada eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 306 pages of information about The Backwoods of Canada.

Last summer was very favourable, and the crops were abundant, but owing to the failure of the two preceding ones, fewer settlers grew it.  Our small patch turned out very good.  The flour makes a substantial sort of porridge, called by the Americans “Supporne;” this is made with water, and eaten with milk, or else mixed with milk; it requires long boiling.  Bread is seldom if ever made without a large portion of wheaten flour, mixed with the corn meal.

With respect to the culture of other grain, I can tell you nothing but what every book that treats on emigration will give you.  The potatoe instead of being sown in drills is planted in hills, which are raised over the sets; this crop requires hoeing.

With respect to the usual rate of wages, this also differs according to the populousness of the place:  but the common wages now given to an active able man are from eight to eleven dollars per month; ten is perhaps the general average; from four to six for lads, and three and four for female servants.  You may get a little girl, say from nine to twelve years, for her board and clothing; but this is far from a saving plan, as they soon wear out clothes and shoes thus bestowed.  I have once tried this way, but found myself badly served, and a greater loser than if I had given wages.  A big girl will go out to service for two and two and a half dollars per month, and will work in the fields also if required, binding after the reapers, planting and hoeing corn and potatoes.  I have a very good girl, the daughter of a Wiltshire emigrant, who is neat and clever, and respectful and industrious, to whom I give three dollars only:  she is a happy specimen of the lower order of English emigrants, and her family are quite acquisitions to the township in which they live.

I think I have now answered all your queries to the best of my ability; but I would have you bear in mind that my knowledge is confined to a small portion of the townships along the Otanabee lakes, therefore, my information after all, may be but local:  things may differ, and do differ in other parts of the province, though possibly not very materially.

I must now say farewell.  Should you ever feel tempted to try your fortune on this side the Atlantic, let me assure you of a warm welcome to our Canadian home, from your sincerely attached friend.


“A Logging Bee.”—­Burning of the Log-heaps.—­Crops for the Season.—­ Farming Stock.—­Comparative Value of wheat and Labour.—­Choice of Land, and relative Advantages.—­Clearing Land.—­Hurricane in the Woods.—­ Variable Weather.—­Insects.

November the 2d, 1833.

MANY thanks, dearest mother, for the contents of the box which arrived in August.  I was charmed with the pretty caps and worked frocks sent for my baby; the little fellow looks delightfully in his new robes, and I can almost fancy is conscious of the accession to his wardrobe, so proud he seems of his dress.  He grows fat and lively, and, as you may easily suppose, is at once the pride and delight of his foolish mother’s heart.

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The Backwoods of Canada from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.