Saturday, 23 October 2021

Moonlit Pond

    I took this shot the other morning.  I don’t often see the moon reflecting in the water of my pond.  During the summer with its longer days, by the time the moon gets in this position, it is already too light outside to make a noticeable reflection in the water.  During the winter it is dark enough, but by then the pond is covered with ice and snow, so again, no reflection.

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Friday, 22 October 2021

Wild Swans

    What a treat it was to come upon this pair of Trumpeter Swans yesterday.  Swans are the biggest waterfowl in North America, both in weight and body size.  Their wing span is between 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters).  In 1933 there were thought to be only 70 Trumpeter Swans left and it was figured that they were headed for extinction.  In the 1950’s a population of the birds were spotted at Copper Lake, Alaska and breeding programs and reintroduction were started which have now increased the number of Trumpeter Swans to 46,000 -  a real success story.

    I had only been aware of domesticated swans, smoothly gliding across the water in urban parks, until I moved to Canada.  When I heard that wild swans migrated through the Robson Valley, I was eager to see them, and did.  Even though they come through here every year, I always feel privileged to spot them because they still seem so exotic.

    While it looks like they are in a lake, they are actually in a field that, since our heavy rain summer in 2020, seems now to be permanently flooded.

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Thursday, 21 October 2021

Sadie's Homestead Saga Concludes

    Above is a photo of Sadie Marchant’s homesteaded land, which is still owned by her family.  The photo below shows some of the family visiting the land in 1973.

Sadie’s Memoir concludes:

I had traveled back to South Dakota for Christmas, on my last leave of absence and returned to Montana in a blizzard.  When the train reached Havre, the thermometer had dropped “out of sight” so the conductor told us.  I stopped at Great Falls to go to the land office to announce my return then went out to Floweree where I was to pick up some of my belongings that Gertrude Trackwell had borrowed, since she had just filed a claim.  They dropped me off me at my cabin and left.

When I went in to make my bed, I discovered someone had entered my cabin and stolen all of my bedding.  I had to sit up all night and keep my little stove red hot to keep from freezing to death, as it was bitter cold.  I walked to the neighbors the next day and remained there until I could get to Great Falls and purchase more bedding.  

I regretted losing my army blankets that kept me so warm no matter how cold it was.  Thats was in February and in May of that year, (1914) I “proved up” on my homestead and the land officially became mine.  You will remember it was to have been five years, but thanks to new legislation that had been passed, the required residency time was reduced to three years.

The day came when I had to say goodbye to all of the fine friends I had made and we knew that we probably would never see each other again.  I returned home to South Dakota to a very proud father.  My homesteading experience made all that would later come in my life, easy.

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Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Sadie's Homesteading Continues

I had such wonderful neighbors.  The nearest was Mrs. James Cullen from Wisconsin.  We had an understanding - if I needed anything I would hang a white sheet outside my house.  Some other good neighbors were the Jim Morarity’s from Chicago.  Little Mrs. Morarity never quite adjusted to the rugged life.  She was always wishing she could be walking down Madison Avenue in a white suit with a bouquet of violets pinned to her lapel.  

One winter’s day after a big blizzard when through, when the snow was very deep, she saw me walking across the country to Carter and remarked to her husband, “I do not believe that Miss Carr has any feeling, going out on a day like this”.  What she did not know was that Miss Carr had to sit in the dark the night before because she was out of coal oil.

My second school was about 13 miles from my place.  It was known as Castor School.  I boarded with a family by the name of Howell.  They had two boys, the oldest was a boy in his early teens, and he used to let me ride his pony back to my place on Friday night as it was quite a walk.  

One Sunday when I returned to their house, he was in bed and his mother told me he was very ill.  I realized that, when I heard him moaning.  He was one of my pupils and I knew he was not putting on an act.  This when on for a couple of days.

His father was a railroader and was not at home.  The mother sat as if she were in a trance.  I realized something had to be done, so I walked over to the home of Mr. Castor who was on the school board and he drove me twenty miles to see a nurse.  We brought her back with us and she said that she felt certain he had osteomyelitis, as his leg had started to turn black.  

She advised us to get hm to the Great Falls Hospital at once.  The mother went with hm and the grandmother came to stay with us.  He was in the hospital for over a year.  The doctors wanted to amputate, but he would not let them.  I learned after I left Montana that he recovered enough to walk.

It seemed as if everything happened at this place.  I killed my first Diamond-back rattlesnake as it was sunning itself in the yard.

One Sunday when I was out on a picnic with some of the young folks, the lightning struck the house and tore off the front of the house.  I had to take my belongings (what was left of them, as some were destroyed by fire) and hunt for a new boarding place.

I remember once when I was riding the pony home and feeling pretty lonely (as day was I could look there was nothing in sight), I happened to glance up and see a lonely bird winging along.  The children has been memorizing the poem, “To A Waterfowl” and that last stanza came to my mind:

He, who, from zone to zone,

Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,

In the long way that I must trace alone,

Will lead my steps aright.

There were times when it was lonely, but the beautiful friendships that I made compensated for that.  My dearest friends were Edna Vischer, her sister, Gertrude Trackwell and Ina Duncan, a young woman who was there with relatives.  We kept up a correspondence through these 50 years even though we have never seen each other in all that time.

I often feel like the Oscar winners when they receive their Oscars.  I could not have done my homesteading if it had not been for all of the good people that helped me.  People invited me into their  homes, they loaned me horses, and hauled water to me.  Water was a problem as wells could not be found very often.  In winter I melted snow and in summer I carried water from reservoirs.  This water was full of little crawling creatures and had to be strained and boiled.  

I remember the time after a big blizzard, I looked out of the window and saw a lone rider coming down the lane.  He said his wife could not sleep because she knew there was a young woman down there alone and she was afraid I needed something  I assured him there was nothing I needed and he wended his way back through the drifted snow.  It warmed my heart.  It was a wonderful gesture that someone cared that much for someone that they did not know or had never seen.

(Although Sadie never wrote it in this memoir, she once told us that during those frigid winter’s nights, she would often sleep with potatoes under the covers to keep them from freezing.)

I had an outside cellar and one day during harvesting, I was going in for something and I heard a rustle.  Looking down I saw a large rattler.  I took one leap and was out of the cellar.  I went into the cabin and told the girls who were helping me feed the harvesters.  On of the girls was real brave.  She said she was not afraid to go in.  She started down the steps and she not only saw one snake, but two.  It did not take her long to get out.  I closed the cellar door forever and decided the snakes wanted it more than I did.

    The painting above was done by Sadie Marchant in the 1980’s when she took a beginner’s painting class.  It was painted from her memory of her long ago Montana homesteading home.  Sadie’s memoir concludes on tomorrow’s blog.

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Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Sadie's Homesteading Saga Continues

It was a lot of fun to fix up my cabin.  I stenciled curtains for the windows, and made bookcases and cupboards out of the wooden boxes and creates that my good were shipped in.  It was my first, very own home and with 320 acres of land which would be mine someday — I was happy.  I could go to bed when I pleased and get up when I pleased (something I could never do at home).

My first school was near Floweree.  I boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Trackwell, who had a daughter named Rosemary.  They were a fine Christian family and welcomed me into their home.  My school room was a cabin that belonged to a young man who turned it over for a school during his absence.  I had students from many different states which made the job very interesting.

Usually I would go over to my cabin on Friday nights and spend the whole weekend.  One Sunday I had been promised a ride back to my boarding place and the ride did not materialize.  About four o’clock I began to get worried and decided to walk.  My boarding place was about eight miles from my homestead.  When I reached Carter, the lady at the hotel told me if I would take a certain path it would cut off a few miles, so I decided to do that because it was getting late.  

It was early October and I was dressed warm.  I carried a hand bag with with a week’s supply of of clean clothing.  I never did find the path, since it had long grown over.  I stopped and looked in all directions.  There was nothing in sight, not even a cabin.  I had never seen this part of the country before.  Suddenly it dawned on me that I was lost and almost as suddenly it was dark.

I just just kept going in the direction I thought was right.  It seemed as if I was climbing up, then down.  I would run into a herd of range cattle, and they would scamper off.  They were more afraid of me than I was of them.  I could hear coyotes howling and I had no desire to spend the night on the prairie.  

I tried to follow a light, but it would disappear.  Finally after walking and running for five hours, the light suddenly loomed up in front of me, and I saw a house.  Through the window I could see children playing.  I thought I was in Great Falls, it seemed as if I had walked that far.  I rapped on the door and when they opened it, I staggered in, exhausted.

They removed my clothing which was soaked with perspiration and put me to bed.  This was the Ainley family.  Mr. Ainley was the grocer in Floweree.  The next morning Mrs. Ainley drove me to school.   This was the most harrowing experience that I had during my homestead years.  I learned one lesson—never again to take a short cut that I know nothing about.  I had wandered thought what was known as the Big Black Coulee.  There were deep ravines and holes I could have fallen into and no one would have known what had happened to me.

Mr. & Mrs. Trackwell went to Floweree to church and they took me with them on Sunday.  They would sometimes go to someone’s home for dinner or invite someone home with them.  Mrs. Trackwell was a marvelous cook and on Saturday she would fix a large roast of beef, a large kettle of rutabagas, make pies and cakes.  These people lived well for they had their own meat and vegetables.  I met so many wonderful people through them.  It finally came to where I had so many invitations on Sunday, I had a hard time deciding where to go.

On Thanksgiving they all gathered at church and brought food.  It reminded me of the pilgrims.

I remember, as probably others do, of a night in winter when we had gone to church to some function and a blizzard developed.  We were not able to go home and someone suggested we go to Mr. Ainley’s store and spend the night.  We made coffee and sandwiches and played games until morning.

One Saturday morning Rosemary Trackwell and I started the hike to my cabin.  We had gone about four miles when we saw a wagon approaching.  The two men stopped and asked us if we wanted a ride.  Rosemary was getting tired so we climbed up on the high spring seat atop several side boards.  We had not gone far when we noticed a motorcycle coming(an almost unheard of thing in those days).  We asked the driver if his horses would be afraid of the machine and he said he did not think so.

When that motorcycle got closer to us, those horses when crazy.  The driver was thrown from the wagon and the other man jumped out, leaving Rosemary and I stranded in the racing wagon, pulled with wild, runaway horses.  I saw we were headed toward a deep coulee and I yelled for Rosemary to jump. 

We leaped from the wagon and I hit the ground with such force that I just doubled up.  I could not get my breath and they carried me up to the hotel at Carter.  I was put to bed where I remained for the day.  I did not seem to be hurt, but I was in shock.

The horses had veered their course and straddled a barb wire fence, and finally hit a telephone pole.  One horse was so badly cut from the fence that it died.

More of Sadie’s memoir tomorrow.

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Monday, 18 October 2021

Sadie Carr Marchant's Homesteading Adventure

    The other day while trying to “organize” one of the chaotic areas of my room, I came upon a short memoir my Grandmother Marchant had written about the time she homesteaded in the barren prairies of Montana.  I have always felt a special kinship to my grandmother, because of what she did when she was a young lady.  Like her, I left my family when I struck out to Canada, but I was married, she was alone, and she was a female, which made things a whole lot more difficult for her.

    Here is the first part of what she wrote about her homesteading adventure:

Homesteading Memories


Sadie Carr Marchant

On an Easter Sunday morning in 1911, my father looked up from his paper and said, “Sadie, here is an opportunity for you.”  He was reading an Aberdeen South Dakota paper, and he had read a letter from a Mr. Truax of Big Sandy, Montana, who told of what a wonderful country it was and of the land yet to be filed on,

Some of my school teacher friends had gone out across the Missouri River in South Dakota and taken up homesteads, and I, too, had been thinking of this fore some time.  My father offered to help me finance a claim if I wanted to go.  I wrote to Mr. Truaz that very day and soon received an answer.  He gave such a glowing account of the country that it make me even more anxious to go.

At the time, at the age of 23, I was teaching school and my term ended in a few days.  I closed school on Friday and the following Monday, went into Redfield to see when there would be an excursion to that part of the Montana.  The depot agent told me there was one that day, and if I could leave that night on a freight train that would take me to Aberdeen, he could give me the cheap excursion rates. 

I knew deep down in my heart that if I did not leave that day, I would in all probability, not go at all.  I went home, talked things over with my father.  He had planned to go with me, but circumstances were such that he could not leave at that that time, but he advised me to go anyway.

I packed my suitcase, stopped at my County Superintendent’s office to get a recommendation and left on the six o’clock train.  I was young, it was spring, and I was off on a great adventure.   How great it would be, I did not realize.

The depot agent had advised me to buy a ticket to Great Falls.  This was good advice for when we came to Big Sandy, my heart sank.  It was not at all as I had pictured it, so I decided to go on to Great Falls.  

After three days and nights on the train, crossing the great barren plains, Great Falls looked like an oasis in the desert.  I checked in at the beautiful new Rainbow Hotel.  Everything about Great Falls impressed me.  Here was a city with street cars, beautiful parks, beautiful falls, the great copper smelter, and there was land to be homesteaded not far away.

I had become acquainted with a land agent on the train (the very thing Mr. Truax had told me not to do,)  This man came to the hotel and persuaded me to come out to the areas around Carter and Floweree and let him show me the land.  I had gone to the land office in Great Falls and they had just shoved a map out in front of me and told me nothing.

I went out to Carter and put up at a little hotel and the land agent took me out with some others.  The land he showed me was thirty or forty miles out of town.  I knew I could not go out there as it would cost a fortune to have my provisions hauled.  He then showed me a claim that was available about six miles away from Floweree, and three miles from Carter, on the Missouri River.  

We rode around this 320 acres on horseback.  Everything was green and beautiful, as there had been a great deal of rain.  It was evening and off across the river I could see the beautiful Highwood Mountains.  I decided that this was just what I wanted.  I went back to Great Falls, filed a claim and had my cabin built right away so I could establish the needed residence required as part of the Homestead Act, before I left for home.  

I borrowed a cot and blankets from the hotel and the first night I slept in the cabin, there was a terrific storm.  The top of one side of the cabin had not been completed and it rained on my bed, drenching me.  As I walked over to the hotel the next morning the folks were all out on the veranda waiting for me.

I knew what they were thinking, “I’ll bet this fixed her and she will have had enough of homesteading.”  

I’ll admit I had been frightened, as storms and rattlesnakes were something I feared very much, but it had not daunted me.  I waited to have the cabin completed then stayed in it several nights before leaving for my home in South Dakota. 

I had all that summer in South Dakota to think about it and my father, who was beginning to have second thoughts about having his young daughter homesteading, tried in every way to discourage me.  He was willing to lose the money he had given me, if I would only give it up.

I did a lot of praying over it and did not know myself how I was going to endure the five years of residency required before that land became mine, but I was determined to go.  The settlers in Montana had  promised me a school, so when August came, I packed my belongings, and ordered a laundry stove, table, chair, and folding cot from Sears & Roebuck to be delivered.  My friends gave me a farewell shower and finally amidst sad farewells, I left for Montana. 

Sadie’s adventure continues tomorrow.

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Sunday, 17 October 2021

Soggy Sundays

    Every Sunday I sit down and write a letter to my 100 year old mother.  There isn’t always a lot to write  about because there isn’t a lot going on around here, so I often end up with a paragraph mentioning what our weather is doing somewhere in the letter.  Strangely, for weeks and weeks now it seems like every time I mention the weather, I have to report that it is either raining or showering.  Well that is not the case today, because today it is neither showering or raining--instead it is snowing.  (It did rain hard all night however, then slowly turned into snow around 6:30 AM.)

    I find it strange how often precipitation does seem to always occur on the same day of the week.  In the summer of 2020, when we began to have our music jam outside on the McBride Train Station porch, it seemed to rain or shower every Tuesday, the night of our Jam.  Fortunately, his summer on our outside Jam, it seemed to be sunny and warm every Tuesday, which was a welcome change.

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Friday, 15 October 2021

Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman


Deborah Feldman grew up in a closed Hasidic community in New York, and was basically raised by her Jewish Orthodox grandparents after her mother left the marriage.   Deborah’s father came from a wealthy Jewish family, but he had a very low IQ and developmental problems.   His family was under great traditional pressure to marry him off, because as the oldest, he had to marry before his younger siblings could.  

Her mother grew up in Great Britain, in a poor Jewish family and didn’t have any prospects for a “good” marriage until they were approached by Deborah’s father’s family.  They married and had Deborah, but after the marriage her mother felt trapped in a loveless marriage and resentment from her in-laws, who had been so kind before the wedding, She left the marriage and had to leave Deborah behind.

Deborah was never comfortable, or felt like she was a part of the strict rigid confines of the cloistered Hasidic community where she grew up.  There were strict rules about everything, especially for females.  Her curiosity made her a secret rebel who would sneak into public libraries to get and and read English novels, something forbidden by her sect.  She had to hide the library books in her room.  

       She bought an English version of the Talmud, something women were forbidden to read, and after reading how King David, was actually a hypocrite and murderer and not the hero honored by her Hasidic sect, she began to privately question all the indoctrination and dogma she had experienced throughout all of her young life.  She recognized that the whole religion was basically set up for men; a women’s role was designed just to serve men and manufacture babies.

Her disillusionment increased when she turned 17 and was forced into an arranged marriage.  She was only able to meet her intended husband for only 30 minutes beforehand and then had to keep her head down.  The marriage thrust her into all kind of bizarre customs and traditions.  There were rules about everything.  Women had to cut off all of their hair, then wear wigs.  During their menstrual cycle they had to avoid touching their husbands and had go to a religious bathhouse to bathe and be deemed “clean” when it ended.  It seemed that every aspect of her life was closely observed.  Husbands, like her husband who studied the Talmud and were considered scholars, had sex on Fridays.

Her marriage was a disaster beginning on their Honeymoon night.  Neither she or her husband really knew what to do and she seemed to have some kind of anatomical problem, which meant weeks of doctor consultations.  After months spent correcting the problem, which was caused by stress and extreme anxiety, her first real “consummation” of the marriage resulted in her getting pregnant, which meant more doctor appointments and a frustrated husband.

She quickly got fed up with her husbands’s attitude and lost any love she had started to develop for him, especially after he put off taking her to the hospital because of a  Jewish religious day, even though she was experiencing a medical emergency.  Upon finally getting to the hospital, she was immediately given drugs to prompt the birth because of the danger she was in.  

Deborah at this point a new mother, had had enough of her religion and her marriage.  She didn’t want to accept a woman’s role as a baby machine.  She secretly took some writing classes at Sarah Lawrence College, escaped with her infant son and divorced her husband.  It was a complete break from her previous life.  She had to abandon her family and the Hasidic community where she had spent her whole life. She dumped her long dresses and wigs, and began a new life, wearing jeans, sporting her own hair, listening to music, and at the age of 22 wrote this novel.

I, like most others who have read Unorthodox, found it to be a fascinating glimpse into the fundamentalist Jewish Cult where Deborah suffered under all kinds of ridiculous and strict rules.  I have great respect for people like her who have had courage enough to think independently, and are willing to sacrifice their whole past, for their principles.

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Thursday, 14 October 2021

Reflections on Still Water

    We had an unexpected beautiful day yesterday.  The the weather was mild, the sun was shining, and there was no wind.  When we walked the path around the pond, I was struck by the mirror like surface of the water.  It intensified the blue of the sky and there were still enough colored leaves to make some interesting photos.

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Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Slim Pickin's

    Our crab apple tree has small “apples,” about the size of grapes.  They are very hard and bitter so we don’t use them at all, but the birds sure do.  Already this year robins and grouse have already had their way with the crab apples and have eaten the bulk of them, but there are still a few scattered around on the ground.  

    That was good news for this Varied Thrush, a robin-looking bird, that wears fancier dress.  It has been out in the yard picking up the crab apples are left.  Although the Varied Thrush live around here during the summer, they seem content to spend their time deeper in the forests so I rarely see them except for in the Spring and Fall.

    I always thought their call resembled the ringing of a distant telephone, and when we first moved to McBride, I would often be working outside and hear the thrush and think it was the phone ringing in the house, so I would stop what I would I was working on and go in the house to answer the phone.  It took a while for me to figure out what was going on.

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Tuesday, 12 October 2021

A Memorable Thanksgiving

    Yesterday was the Canadian Thanksgiving, and we had a memorable one.  The day started out with 2 inches of snow on the ground, but by noon that had melted away and the clouds opened up. (I took this photo at the McBride airfield, where we walked Kona). 

    The big event of the day was a Thanksgiving gathering and feast with friends, something we hadn’t been able to do for over a year and a half, because of the Covid restrictions.  It was so nice to once again gather around a big table covered with food, and to be able to engage with friends as we ate the bounty they produced in their garden.  It was a wonderful return to the socializing we had been so long without. 

    The food was almost entirely locally produced, most of which, by the serious gardeners who sat with us around the table.  I was amazed by the size and quality of the tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and cabbages the were devoured.  The chicken was the size of a small turkey, and delicious.  The feast was topped off with a tasty almond tart (below) created my talented wife had made.  The leisurely meal was accompanied by the conversation of friends who had too long been apart.

    On our drive home we discovered an aurora in the sky, something else we had not experienced for a really long time (probably decades).  It was not the most spectacular one I have ever seen, it was faint and broad rather than bright and defined, but still it was nice to see again.  We saw a STEVE, a long linear, newly discovered, visual object that sometimes accompanies an aurora, it was something we have never seen before.  I tried to take some photos, but unfortunately, they were all miserable failures. 

    Seeing the aurora was a nice end to a really wonderful Thanksgiving.

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Monday, 11 October 2021

Overnight Snow

    They say a change is as good as a vacation, but last night we had a big change in how everything outside looked after a 2 inch (5 cm) snowfall, and it sure doesn’t feel like a vacation.  There are still so many things that need to be done outside before winter moves in.

    I took this photo of the front of our house this morning and I thought it showed an interesting contrast:  The Nasturtiums are still blooming in the window boxes, while the Honeysuckle bush is covered with snow.

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Sunday, 10 October 2021

White Stuff Falling From The Sky

    I’m not sure how well this is showing up on the photo, but we are getting some snow.  It really can’t decide if it wants to rain or snow, so it keeps switching back and forth.  I don’t think there is any danger in any of the snow sticking to the ground, but I am still going to consider this our first snowfall of the year.  

    In the photo you can see about half of the firewood I have stacked.  It should be more than enough to get us through winter, although I always get nervous if we get a severe cold spell and start going through the wood rapidly.  

    As I write this, the snow has now stopped and there is just a few raindrops falling.  It’s pretty changeable out there today.

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Saturday, 9 October 2021

Another Highway 16 Photo

    Here is another Autumn shot from the trip we took up to Prince George the other day.  I really like the dream-like quality of the soften the trees down in the foggy area.  I wish I would have taken more photos because the color and morning light was pretty spectacular, but I felt time pressure to get to Prince George because we had a dental appointment.

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Friday, 8 October 2021

Is That The Same Dog?

    We have had Kona in our life now for almost exactly a year.  We have sure enjoyed having her in the family, although with her boundless energy, she often runs us ragged.  I happened upon a photo (above) that was taken a few days after we had gotten her and it is difficult to comprehend that that skinny-looking dog is the same dog that we have today.  

    She was tightly shorn when we got her and we decided to let her hair grow out, which totally changed her appearance.  She is still the same dog inside; she still loves to be close, to be touched, and cuddled.  Which is all very endearing.  She has sure made a positive difference in the Covid-restricted life that we now lead.  She came into our lives at exactly the right time.


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Thursday, 7 October 2021

Extraordinary Autumn Scenes on the Way to Prince George

    We had to drive up to Prince George yesterday for dental appointments.  I wasn’t looking forward to the drive.  We had to start out in the early morning darkness and I was worried about encountering animals on the road and the weather (we did run into snow on the way back home).  I was totally surprised by the beauty we encountered on our trip up.  The skies ahead of us were dark and threatening, but the rising sun behind us started to highlight the yellow trees on the sides of Highway 16.  The effect was amazingly beautiful and luckily the photos turned out.  

    Here are two of my favorites.


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Tuesday, 5 October 2021

More Robson Valley Autumn

    It is not a very inspiring day; all cold, overcast, and wet.  This morning I took the car into town to get my snow tires put on, its that time of year.  Yesterday when we got up the temperature was 0° C (32°F), so things are changing.

    On a dull miserable day like today, I thought I would revisit some of the beautiful colored trees that we saw a few days ago.  The photo above shows Beaver Mountain sporting an obvious snow line.  The Aspen trees are a brilliant yellow even with the dull sky.  All those leaves are not long in the world, but they are sure enjoyable while they last.  This blast of color will have to see us through all of the grays and whites of winter.  

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Monday, 4 October 2021

Eliza Ann Olmstead Marchant Upright

    Back in the late 1990’s I became interested in my family’s genealogy.  There were beginning to be some genealogy sites on the internet and I began to delve into my ancestry.  One of the most remarkable things I discovered on my Marchant family line, resulted because of the Civil War. 

     Arlo Marchant, a blacksmith, living in Winnebago, Illinois married Eliza Ann Olmstead from Wilton Connecticut on Christmas Eve 1824 .  

    Together they had a remarkable 17 children, 13 boys, 4 girls (one of which died in infancy).  Arlo died in 1855 and the widowed Eliza remarried to Morris Upright in 1961.  

    Unfortunately as her boys matured the Civil War began.  Ten of the sons joined the Union Army and fought in the war.  One was killed in action, another was killed when a cannon accidentally went off, and a third son died while in service.  There was some confusion about the family name when they were discharged, some of the sons retained the name Marchant, while other’s ended up with the family name of Merchant.  After the war, a younger son joined the regular army.  

    Because one’s son was killed in action, she received $8 per month from the government.  She sought no recognition for the fact that she had a remarkable 10 sons that fought for the Union, but in 1879, when she was 74, her situation was called to the attention of Congress, because she asked that Norman, her son who was still in the army after 5 years of service, be discharged.   Congress voted to allow it.

    At that time and into the 1930’s, there had been a push to get some kind of national recognition for the only woman on record who had 11 sons in service for the United States, (her second husband was also a Civil War veteran), but no such thing was ever done.   She is buried in Rockford, Iowa.

    Below is an old newspaper article about Eliza.

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