Tuesday, May 26, 2020

I have nothing to say

I have nothing to saw. So I will not take 10 paragraphs to say it. As my then three-year-old daughter said when she dialed 911, "Nothing 'citing ever happens 'round here". (Something did, shortly thereafter). It is cold and raining enough to be miserable. My FB news feed and email inbasket is full of Coronavirus and Trump, with a bit of Trudeau, Kenney and Ford thrown in. Occasionally, some Zelensky, Putin, Merkel, Macron and Johnson. Bleah. So I am posting some cartoons I have collected over the years. I'll leave the off colour and political ones to Jackiesue in West, Texas at Yellow Dog Granny. Her sources are superb.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

I never saw a purple dog

Well, actually, I have, sort of. It's a long and violet tail.

Volk was 12 years old in January. He does not know this. He is also a runaway because he hates being in the dog yard especially now that Lucky has figured out his size makes him top dog. So Volk sits by the fence and cries a lot, a mournful not quite howl.

I used to let him run free with Lucky on a leash because he would mostly come home after our walk. Then he stopped and took off to somewhere, coming home when he felt like it. So I put both dogs on leashes and all was well but Volk was even less happy in their yard.

Late one afternoon, last week, he started with the mournful howl and Tanya said enough. She opened the gate and he disappeared. At 4:30 in the morning she opened the door to let the cats out and there was Volk, comatose on the front step. He had a bit of blood behind his left front leg and on cursory examination, what looked like a small round bullet or pellet home. It was not a bullet or he would have been dead and the wound did not seem very deep.

Tanya called the vet at 6:00 am. Our "House-calls" vet was out of town, so she called the lady vet at the clinic. We could get in at noon. She gave Volk some water with a syringe. Next thing he was sitting up. He was comatose because he was tired. We reexamined at the wound and found a couple more. The little SOB had been fighting, AGAIN. It was not much of a fight as he showed no signs of a struggle. He had been attacked and made a run for it.

An hour later he had struggle to his feet and stiffly walked to the gate to go back in the dog yard. He knows the drill, having been through it many times before. But we had a vet appointment.

The vet found a couple more holes, cleaned, disinfected, bandaged him and sent him home. Antibiotic injections for 10 days. We made a bed for him on the front step, rigged a cardboard box for him to sleep in and tied him to a reasonably heavy plastic patio arm chair. The leash was long enough to give him room to move around and we took him for walks every 4 hours, more to keep him happy than that he needed potty breaks that often. Once a day Tanya would disinfect the wounds, spray purple disinfectant (Potassium permanganate) on it and rebandage him.

On Sunday, Tanya went out the front gate and left it open. Volk made a run for it, dragging the chair. the chair caught in the gate, the "knot" came undone and he was gone, leash, bandages and all. We went looking for him but a lady brought him back in about an hour. She lives across the river/marsh from us.

She has a little female dog and two large yard guard males. Volk likes the little female. the two big dogs disapprove. Volk was then firmly tied to the railing. We quit bandaging as it didn't stay on very well anyhow. He lived for walks so yesterday I took him for 3 km. His leg is fine. Last night he was howling again so we threw him back in with Lucky. He can defend himself.

I went out this morning and sprayed him purple again.

That dog has more lives than a cat. He still wants to run away and we have to watch him when we open the door to the dog yard

For those whose education had been neglected, a poet named  wrote:
The Purple Cow
I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one.
Years later she added a verse:
Ah, yes, I wrote the purple cow
I'm sorry now I wrote it
But I can tell you anyhow
I'll kill you if you quote it.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Remembering the Farm - Cavell History

There are hundreds of communities that have disappeared over the past few decades because they no longer served a purpose. Good roads, better vehicles, and larger farms dried up the livelihoods of the small towns. I have, as a highschool friend put it, outlived two towns, now abandoned and pretty much disappeared. One I went to elementary school and the other highschool. This is the story of Cavell, my first and real hometown. The story is abstracted from the Leipzig and District history book published in 1980 for Saskatchewan's 75th anniversary. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any pictures of the town. there are aerial photos from 1946 but I could not access them.

Cavell, (initially Coblenz until 1915) was incorporated as a village in 1908 when the Grand Trunk Pacific (later the Canadian National Railway) completed the rail line from Winnipeg to Edmonton. The railway acquired land for the village and built a station and stockyards. At that time, the village had a general store, restaurant, boarding house, two lumber yards machine agencies, hotel, butcher shop, construction company and an Imperial Oil dealer.

The post office, operating from several locations over the years. Joe Hingston was postmaster from 1918 to 1949. My aunt, Winnie (Hingston) Simpson was postmistress from 1956 to 1970 when it closed.

St Margaret’s Anglican church was built in 1909 in which services were held until 1954 and a Pentecostal church in 1926 of which my Grandfather FW Hingston was pastor, followed by my father. Services were held there until 1987. The history book says there were two wedding in the Anglican church. Actually there were three because I was at one of them, aged five. I asked my folks if 16 was the right age to be married and they didn't think so.

Two elevators were built in about 1909 and eventually were owned by Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. They operated until 1975.

A one-room school was opened in 1911. My father completed his Grade 8 there and I attended to the end of Grade 7 in 1960, when the Wilkie School District closed all remaining one room schools and students were bused to Leipzig or Wilkie.

Cavell was intended to be a divisional point on the Railway, but sufficient water could not be found to supply the steam engines, so Wainwright and Biggar were set as the Divisional points. Such is fate.

The population of Cavell increased rapidly to around 200 by 1913 but then fell away just as rapidly to only 20 to 30 people by 1925 as other towns grew and took business away. Cavell never could find sufficient water and it contributed as much as anything to its demise. By 1943, it lost village status and was merely a hamlet in the RM of Reford #379. There may have been 20 people left when I started school in 1953 and perhaps five when the school closed in 1960.

By 1980, there was only one resident left in Cavell. Today everything is gone except the RM maintenance shop, and my grandfather’s house and the old church which my brother owns.

This 1915 map of Cavell indicates that it once was a thriving little community.

Sketched from memories of 65 years ago.
I could not find an aerial photo, or even a photo of any kind. I found Cavell on the National Air Photo Library but there was no preview of the 1946 photo, so I have no idea if there is even a close up. So, I sketched what I remember from 65 years ago. Not to scale and certainly not accurate as I know some things are missed. The stockyards were still there when I started school but were torn down shortly after. The general store was owned by Jake Kaufman and then Jake thomas before becoming home to a retired farmer. Tom Kilbert was an old bachelor who lived next to my grandparents. When he died, his tin covered shack was moved to our farm and turned into a grain bin. Both the Anglican church and the school were relocated before my time. The school is now a museum in Wilkie.

Google Earth from 2003.
Google Earth shows what was left in 2003 when they last updated the area. The RM shop is the only real structure left, along with the old church and my grandfather’s old house across from it both of which my brother owns. My brother is keeping Cavell on the map because so long as there is one owned lot on which taxes are paid, it it legally a place.