Caster oil was a sure fix back in the old days

I have written about ‘The Big Dry’ in the big depression years but I will finish off with a little story that I put in some years ago.

Last week or so I have written about ‘The Big Dry’ in the big depression years but I will finish off with a little story that I put in some years ago.

During those years water was our big problem. We had a cistern under the house for rain water but no rain, no water. We had three wells which we pumped dry every day and the Eyehill creek was not running, just a few holes with water.

We had one big slough below the barn which kept water in it until late spring. As it was soft water mother liked it for washing clothes so once a week I would bring up a 60 gallon of water with a team of horses on a stone boat. It was a float with runners on and about 10 foot long. It was handy for hauling water. In the slough there was still about three feet in the middle.

I hooked up the team, Goldy and June, loaded up the big oak barrel and off I went. My little brother Peter wanted to come along so we were on the way to the slough. I drove the team into the water and it was deeper than I thought and Peter was standing in water to his waist so I stood him in the barrel to take him across as I could not fill the barrel with him in it.

Goldy, the one mare, was spooky and she jumped and the barrel with Peter in it rolled into about three feet of water. I dropped the reins and let the team go and I jumped into the water as he was still in the barrel. It was filling with water, I got him out and we walked home. The team were home already.

Dad sure took a strip off me for nearly drowning Peter. Anyway I got the team again and filled Mother’s water barrel. On the phone last week I asked Peter if he remembered this little episode and he sure did. It could have been very serious but we had a good laugh anyway.

Goldy got me into trouble a second time and it was serious, some day I will write about it.

Caster oil

This is a true story as it happened to our family many years ago now. Growing up on the prairie as we did was rugged as power, that we heard of and take for granted today, was unknown. Meat especially was hard to keep. Whatever was left in the spring of our winter meat had to be put in jars, smoked, or dried and pickled or it was thrown out.

Mother canned in glass sealers most of the leftover meat and she was really careful. This time one jar got by her, it had turned.

I was late getting home as I was riding for a neighbour of ours and had supper with them. I went to bed early after putting my saddle horse in the barn ready for an early morning start. Two o’clock mother woke me up with the news we are all sick that meat we had for supper was bad. Ride as fast as your can to the local store and get a big bottle of caster oil. Everyone was deadly sick. So I made a record trip, got the store keeper, Amy Smith, out of bed, got a big bottle of caster oil and off for home.

I left my lathered horse at the door of the house. Mother had a pan of hot milk which she poured in the caster oil and everyone except me had a cup full.

Our dad and George Boxal, our hired man, were both very sick but the dose of caster oil and hot milk did the trick.

If you want something to make you stand up and take notice try a cup of hot milk laced with caster oil.

It’s good for what ails you. Poor mother as this was the first time in many years that she had a sealer of beef go bad on her. As it happened my saddle horse was in the barn so a quick run like I had no doubt saved some lives as anything to do with bad meat is dangerous.

Why there was no taste to the bad meat mother had used some spices in the cooking. Brother Peter will enjoy this little story.

The Browns

What an honour it is for Burns Lake when I saw the picture of Jack and Greg Brown celebrating their 87 years of business in Burns Lake.

The same business in the same location still giving service to the residents of the Lakes District. The business Burns Lake Home Hardware has been a landmark in Burns Lake. We are proud of you.

You were there to help us when we first hit Burns Lake, now over 62 years ago and I will always remember your hardware where you had such a stock, your motto was if we don’t have it we will get it and you did.

When we first came into town your father Jack Brown Sr. had a garage also the Chev dealership. This was a busy place, plus a huge hardware as well for the times.

As I was in the taxi business in the 40s and I well remember buying an almost new Ford sedan and I think a chev sedan.

They are good cars and did me well. If I remember well Gordon Rush was the salesman. These are good memories to look back on. Your father was a good friend to me. In the early 40s your father gave my wife Jo Keefe and Kay Cooper their first job clerking and general store work.

They worked the winter for Home Hardware. it was a nasty cold winter and the store was heated with a huge wood heater.

My wife used to say could it go through the wood. Jo and Kay got a wealth of good experience working for and with your father. He was nice to them and helpful too.

The girls boarded with Mrs. Nourse in an upstairs apt. She was like a mom to them. When spring came Kay went back to her dad’s ranch on the Brown Rd. and Jo went nursing. Jo used to say that was a great experience working for the Home Hardware and fun too.

Must close up now with my usual remember always God loves you and so do I.


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