May 21st, 1947

I have a notion that because of the fine weather we experienced during the winter, it has made some farm folks expect to step right from it into the cropping. 

Though through the years there have been odd springs that james and I can remember when seeding was commenced much earlier than this, even the sowing of wheat in April to be covered later by a depth of snow, going back to a leaf from the calender of 1927, I find that our first sowing of grain was on May 24. 

The entry has it: “Sowed 6 acres of oats today. Cold.”  

On the following day we “got the wheat in.”There are also other items interwoven with the more important work of the seed time such as “set the old black hen today”

   -Ellen’s diary, May 21st, 1947


May 24th, 1963

“And the morning blessed every graduate of class, from the exceedingly gifted top Co-Ed down to the last of the young first years with happiness agleam in their eyes. It set old Sol to beam his brightest on their account and brought to them a warm wind of the fields. In it was the essence of spring : scent of wave and woodland of hill and dale, of meadow and dell.

‘At Alderlea, here in the valley of the millstream, it seemed as though the birds put extra grace of heart into their matins, and returned thanks on behalf of this child of the farm, to whom the happiness of a day of moment. A milestone  reached on her road of life, had at length come. 

‘What an air of excitement there was in those halls of learning this morning! What smiles were reflected, what happiness in young and older: And so light the steps that answering a roll call went up to receive the year’s honours including that coveted piece of parchment, duly signed and sealed,and tied with a ribbon of white.”


April 27, 1949

“This afternoon brought our farmers the end of their wood-splitting. From a window, where we sat comfortably at our mending, we saw last sticks being thrown to the heap, and the base of it made neat and compact, and then much as we would stop to regard and admire a fresh-gathered bouquet, the men paused to view their handiwork before leaving the scene of it, the lengthy and toilsome task over at last. ‘It’s remarkable,’ James commented of it when he came in to supper, ‘how much of a chore a fellow can get done, if he only is content to keep at it. A few minutes each day, Ellen, given over to some work or another, will one day give one ‘something done’ to be proud of. You know that was quite a heap of blocks to start at and we with only small time to give to it – some days not as much as a dozen sticks made, but,’ and he drew a happy sigh, ‘just by sticking at it- there it’s done!’”


October 18, 1956

“‘You’d think some Superman had been here’ one of the children chuckled this evening reporting on today’s first endeavour of the farm. ‘Big trees uprooted, great stones moved, stumps and bushes taken out… What a mess. They’re powerful machines, those bulldozers.’

“This was today’s great interest of these farms. A great machine moved in to clear away certain hedgerows and woodsy knolls for the sake of neatness and to make more open and arable the area about. 

“All day the work continued in this and that location until in the upheaval left in its wake one might well suppose that some Superman had passed by. 

“‘When we stop to consider how laborious it was to clear land back in the years- with axe and a hoe and a pry, or later, with the help of a stumper, hand- or horse-powered, it’s amazing to watch a bulldozer at work,’ James said this afternoon.

“‘It’s incredible what one can do- and so quickly. For example today, well years ago, it couldn’t have been attempted at all. No, couldn’t even have been considered.’

“It is likely some gallant old trees perished in the endeavour, wide-spreading maples, and birches, ringed with time, sturdy spruces, gay little firs.

“‘Remember that clump of birches, Ellen, out in the open field?” James queried, ‘That’s cleared away now, and the great stone too about which they grew.”


February 20, 1956

Blue jay in the winter.

“Today was a wash spread to fitful sun and cloud; a mild wind of February, and a sheltered hillside baring; a lone wild duck on wing and a blue jay’s shrill call. It was children off bright and eager to school-by sleigh, and the farmers busy about at the choring and hauling. We saw a grist being taken to the mill, one which will vanish smartly in tins and handfuls to the mangers of the stables about.

“‘Next thing we know there’ll be lambs’ Mack, little fellow of the place came in with the news today. ‘Yes, shortly. Do you know we’re not too far from spring now? There’ll be more calves and kittens too!’ he remembered. ‘I hope’ he added soberly ‘we’ll have good luck with those.’

Sugar maple sap collection.

“And through the branches of the maples in the yard, the little breeze played, bringing us tales of a sap-time of young years we knew… of honey-combed March snow in an old woodland where odd sugar maples grew. Not far from the sweetest brook rippled its thawing tunes as between woodsy banks it emerged in a meadow and ran at length to the river and Strait. And the trees tapped and tended by the farmlands thus providing nectar for themselves and any wayfaring maids could not know how far apart the band would one day wander to visit and dwell in separate climes and places.”


PEI in Winter. Image Source.