July 26—Finished cutting the oats on the swamp while green and stacked them. There is a fair catch of grass.
Aug. 4—All the grain is ripe; cutting is slow on account of the stumps. Today there were four of us busy with the hook. Oats are not as plump as in Scotland; they fill too quickly.
THE AFTER YEARS
Further extracts from the master’s diary would not help the story I am telling you, for it becomes such a record as many farmers keep,—when they sowed and reaped, what they sold and bought. Having completed the account of his first year’s experience in the bush for his friend in Scotland, he ceased noting down his daily happenings, which for him no longer had the interest of novelty. The forest had been sufficiently subdued to enable him to gain a living from the land, and his life partook more and more of the routine of Canadian farmers. He was, however, much more successful than the majority of them, due to his energy and skill. His first decided start was due to the existence of that swamp whose discovery filled him with dismay. The forage he got off it enabled him to start keeping stock long before he otherwise could have done. In the fall of 1826 he bought a cow and a couple of two-year old heifers, and the following spring there was enough milk to enable the mistress to make a few cheese. These gave the farm a reputation which established a steady demand at a paying price. More cows were got, no grain was sold, everything was fed, and the master, with the help of the mistress, led in dairying. In Ayrshire she had the name of making the best cheese in the parish and her skill stood the family in good stead in Canada. That second summer the entire swamp was brought into cultivation, and it proved to be the best land on the farm for grass. When other pastures were dried up, cattle had a bite on the swamp, for so it continued to be called long after it had lost all the features of a swamp. The clearing of the forest went on steadily, so that each fall saw a larger yield of grain and roots. In the fifth year the master was rejoiced to find many of the stumps could be dragged out by oxen, and a field secured on which he could use the long-handled plow as in Scotland. An unlooked for result of the draining of the swamp and the sweeping away of the forest in every direction was the gradual drying up of the pond. A more striking instance was told me by a settler who was led to choose a lot near lake Simcoe on account of a brook prattling across it and which reminded him of Scotland. In twenty years the brook was gone, the plow turning furrows on its bed. The one great drawback to the progress of the three families was the lack of a road to Yonge-street. In winter there was little difficulty for then snow made a highway, but the rest of the year no wheeled vehicle could go over it. At one of the sessions of the legislature, when the estimates for roads and