On Jabez appearing next morning he had six bags of potatoes on the ox-sled, which were for seed as well as eating, and said he had left a load of pine-boards to be hauled through the bush to floor the shanties. They now had to decide what kind of shanty they wanted. The cheapest, he told us, for all, men, women, and children, had gathered to hear about the building,—was a house twelve feet by twelve, with basswood staves for flooring or the bare soil, an opening that served both as door and window, with a blanket to keep out the cold, basswood scoops or elm bark for the roof, in which a hole was left to let out the smoke. There were many such shanties, but living in them was misery. From that sort they varied in size and finish, all depending on the settler’s means. With $25 a good deal could be done. Size and finish were agreed on, it being understood the master, who had most money, would have a larger house. This being decided, Mr Brodie set to work to dig his cellar and I was sent to Simmins to see if he could supply shingles for the three shanties and to ask Sal if he would hire until they were finished. I took the compass and found their clearance without trouble. In returning Sal, who carried his axe, blazed the trees, so that it would be easy to know the way. The following morning his mother accompanied Sal. She came to show how they made bread in the bush, and had brought a dishful of bran-risings. Explaining what yeast was and how to treat it, she set a panful of dough. When the mass had risen, she kneaded it, and moulded it into loaves. The bake kettle having been warmed, the loaves were placed in it, and when they had risen enough, she put the cover on, and planted the kettle in a bed of glowing embers. The bread was sweet and a welcome change to the cakes made on the griddle or frying-pan. We had more than bread that day. Mrs Simmins pointed out plants, like lambs quarter and dandelion, whose leaves made greens that added relish to our unvarying diet of pork. How much more she taught I do not know, but her visit was a revelation to our women-folk. Grannie was delighted with her singing because she could hear it.
ANDREW ANDERSON’S DIARY
In Scotland it had been the master’s custom to keep a record of work done, and of money paid or received. On parting with a neighbor, a farmer who had a notion of emigrating, he was asked, as a favor, to keep notes of his own daily experience. He had his doubts as to accounts of Canada he had read being correct, and knew whatever the master set down as to climate and other conditions he could depend upon. The book in which these notes were made was never sent, the master having learnt his friend had taken a new tack of his farm. From this journal I will now quote.