I think summer has arrived as people are now swimming in the lake

Summer may have been a bit slow in coming but I think its made up for itself now it’s here.

Summer may have been a bit slow in coming but I think its made up for itself now it’s here. It’s been hot but that’s what summer is all about. The long range forecast says August will be hot and dry.


After coming back from my old home on the prairie I can’t help but compare the farming with how we used to in my growing up years. All the modern machinery, big tractors with big duel wheels, closed cabs with air conditioners and CDs and music. Haying equipment with a 30 foot swath. Laying down a 60 foot every round. As a kid how well I remember our haying and we did lots of it too. A six foot cut mower and a team of horses. These mowers were horse killers. Mowing was one job I hated.

After haying for almost a month we always had one or two horses with sore shoulders. Although we always used extra teams we always had a sore neck or shoulder.

The hay was stacked loose all by hand and an overshot staker. No nice round or square bales in those days, just arm-strong.

We did manage as everyone was in the same boat. It’s hard to compare now to then. It was all hard work but they were good times too, especially when we were finished.

Dad used to say hard work never hurt anyone but we sure didn’t have time to get into mischief, ask any old prairie kid and they will all agree with me.

After moving to Francois Lake haying was still arm-strong work but it’s all modern now and so fast and efficient, quicker, and easy. I still see some old mowers and rakes as keepsakes, in fact son Mark has old haying equipment on show in his pasture. They still use horsepower but it’s under the hood of the modern tractors. No more sore shoulders.

Old friend

It’s always a pleasure to bump into old friends again and this happened to me last week when Fred Shaffer came to the Wagon Wheel, it was such a pleasant surprise.

Fred was born here, took his education here at the Francois Lake school and high school in Burns Lake. His parents were Sam and Janet Shaffer, an old time pioneer family.

Fred spent 44 years with the CN rail from 1958 to 2003. He and his wife have made their home in Kamloops for the last 27 years.

They are still there in their retirement years. Fred is up here not only to visit family but to do lots of fishing. He is touring all the good fishing lakes and just enjoying himself. We both had such a great visit.

Warm water

It’s been a long time since I have seen folks swimming in Francois Lake and yesterday there were some young swimmers.

When our family were growing up they used to swim here at the landing every day as the lake would warm up.

We had a saddle horse at that time called Smokey and he liked to swim and our kids would ride him out into the lake and he would swim around with them on his back, bareback of course. Most horses are good swimmer but take a bit of coaching to go into the water but Smokey would enjoy his swimming. Some where I have a picture of the kids riding out in the bay.

It seems to me that in the years past our summers were longer and hotter and the lakes would be much warmer.

Things I remember as we had no power yet so everyone had an ice house which we would fill up with ice from the lake.

We had one on the prairie and one here at the lake. When it was very hot we would go to the ice house and bring up a chunk of ice and we would make ice cream.

Mother would make up a mixture and we had an ice cream maker so we made ice cream and was it good. Of course no power so it was a handle turning job but well worth it. I wonder how many folks remember making ice cream in an old hand turned maker.

What brought this to mind was the other day while looking for something in the shop and I bumped into parts of the our old ice cream maker and it brought back long lost memories.

Another good friend

It was also a very pleasant surprise to meet up with a great old time family friend Peter Mathews. It was a short visit but very pleasant.

Peter and his wife now live where it’s much warmer especially the winters. Peter was skipper of the old Francois Lake ferries and he was a good one.

Over and above his other duties he was in charge of keeping the channel open.

For some years I used to use a horse to pull out he big blocks of ice as they were too heavy for man power. Of course the ferry was tied up in those years and folks used the lake as a highway.

Cindy and Shawn Ashe moved into their lovely home on Tchesinkut Lake. It’s such a beautiful location.

Although they both spent their younger lives on Francois Lake they love their present location.

They are both members of the Neave family on Francois Lake so they still have a bit of Francois Lake to enjoy.

I love this story and I have told it before

A man and his wife were on a honeymoon trip to the Grand Canyon. They had rented two mules to ride for the scenic trip.

The wife was leading and her mule stumbled so she said “That’s once,” it stumbled again “That’s twice” she said. The mule stumbled again so she said “That’s three” so she pulled out her revolver and shot the mule.

Her husband was really upset so he said “Why in the world did you shoot that mule” his wife turned around looked him in the eye  “That’s once.”

I hope he was smart enough to shut up.

Take care, enjoy the weather and always remember God loves you and so do I.