W.G. Heath by W.G. Heath (in a letter to Mrs. Alice Nielsen)

In Alix, Alberta on September 22, 2016 at 9:14 PM

I cam to Edmonton…March 26th, 1912.  I noticed in the paper that Stanton School, Alix, wanted a supply teacher for a few weeks….

I phoned Mr. C.C. McDermand and told him I had taught in Ontario…. We met as arranged. He had a team of horses and a wagon….

On our way to his place I asked him if he knew of a place where I could stay.  He asked me if I could milk….He told me he was very busy getting ready for spring on his farm, and that his wife wanted some help in getting up the cows from the pasture, milking and separating.  He said if I would accommodate them they would give me room and board.  Well, I told him I would.

The next morning he took me to the school and introduced me to the pupils, some 25 of them, in all grades One to Eight…. I taught for six weeks and was paid the huge sum of sixty dollars….

This is one thing I will never forget.  When I was a boy, I set traps…and I always got muskrats and learned how to pelt them.

Near McDermand’s farm was a small lake and a great many muskrats.  I used Mr. McDermand’s shot gun and traps while I was there and I got 12 muskrats and sold their hides for 60 cents each.  Mrs. McDermand was a wonderful cook.  When I pelted the muskrats, she warned me to be very careful of the carcasses.  She would take those carcasses and do something with them.  She soaked them in a brine of some kind for a few days and then cooked them.  At first the thought of eating muskrat made me ill.  However after tasting the meat I really thought it very good.

This article is excerpted from  Gleanings After Pioneer and Progress  published by Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1981, Friesen Printers, Calgary.


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