from Elmer Primus and Family- by Merle

In Alix, Alberta, Pioneer Farming, Settlers on November 14, 2018 at 10:37 AM

Excerpted from 74Pioneers and Progress Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1981.

part one

Elmer was born March 24, 1906 in a dugout on S.W. ¼ of 27-39-23 west of Alix.  Primuses had built a house but were not quite ready to move.

He loved rabbits better than cats or dogs for pets.  He got a pair of rabbits from Steve Foster, both does, then he got one from Mr. McGonigal and it was a doe.  Finally, he sent to Stettler for a buck.  The rabbit cost 50 cents and the express was 60 cents.  After that, they multiplied well and he soon had 60 or 70.

When it was near Easter, they would put away a few eggs every day, then Easter morning they went out and brought in two or three dozen They were boiled and the big thing was, who could eat the most boiled eggs.

At that time, they had a couple of coyote hounds that needed feeding, so his rabbits kept disappearing.  There were quite a few empty twenty-two shells around the yard, so I guess the older brothers were instructed to limit them a bit.  They had taken over the green feed, cow mangers, etc.  Elmer was very worried.  They finally ran out of rabbits.

Then he visited the Sargent boys.  They did enough sneaking, from their father’s tobacco pouch during the week, to have a smoke behind the barn on Sunday.

In the winter he trapped weasels and muskrats.  In those days, you could walk as far as you could stand to go, as these animals were quite plentiful and not too many were trapping.

Every Sunday, they had to carry in snow as Monday was wash day, regardless.  The wood pile, also, had to be carried to the house, and he was the youngest.

Then the Primuses bought the Harbottle house.  They had six acres with the creek running through the edge. They and other families used to put chicken wire across the creek, then a couple of people would go in and chase the fish up to it, and catch them.  The fish were suckers and pike.  They split them down the back, then cleaned and salted them overnight, and next day smoked them.  Dad Primus was the smoking boss.  He laid them on a chicken wire rack over a bed of coals from willow wood.

Elmer and Lou rode horses to school.  Elmer took his saddle horse called Buster to town, so he could ride tout to Hillert’s farm on weekends.  Later he traded Buster off to Tom Ralston for a younger horse called “Tewie”.  He was very hard to catch after being turned out to pasture.  It took his Dad, Mother, and himself to catch “Tewie” every Friday night.

Once when they were going to feed cattle the tongue of the bob sleigh came down and bumped the wagon up in the air throwing Elmer out. He must have struck his leg as he went, as he landed in the snow with his left leg broken at the thigh.  Hillert went for orris; they loaded him in the wagon and took him to town.  Dr. Hart, an Alix doctor, looked after it.  For six weeks he lay in bed with a weight attached to it, Jack Pears visited him every night.  All the kids were good; even we girls visited him.  He played a lot of cards, darned socks, and played the violin.  Still, he thought it was a long time.

While in school, all the boys went swimming in the creek, in the nude.  We had an hour and a half noon then.

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