Remembering forest fires of long-ago

Here we go starting out another week and it’s such lovely day, makes a person feel glad to be alive.

Here we go starting out another week and it’s such lovely day, makes a person feel glad to be alive.

Sad news

On Friday last we lost another one our Southside pioneers, Jean Stanton (Peebles). Jean spent the greater part of her life on the Southside and also raised her family there. Jean was also well known for her kindness to everyone she met. She spent the last years of her life in the Pines. I had been a good friend of Jean’s for over 60 years. Jean is the last one of the original Peebles family who were settlers at Francois for all their lives. They were so well liked for all the years I knew them. The original Peebles family came into the Francois Lake district in the early 30s, that makes just about better than 80 years. They also came from Saskatchewan, the same as we did. They had some tough years in those early days. A younger generation of the Peebles are taking over and doing a good job too. This whole family have been a great asset to the Lakes District.

Tangled up

Last weekend Rick and Marie saved the life of a young doe that had got herself tangled up in some heavy wire. She was a mess as she was unable to move or eat. The deer had been tied up for a long time as she was getting thin. Nobody really knows the number of animals wild or tame who are killed or maimed in wire. This doe was glad to have Marie and Rick notice her tangled up in the wire and cut her loose.


We had two new residents move into the Tweedsmuir House. Ellen Gray and Gwen Hopper. I hope they will enjoy their stay here as much as I have. A big welcome to you both.

Downtown changes

Sure a big change in our local streets, lots of room for pretty flowers and to make the main drag beautiful and it no doubt will. I wonder how the big rigs that are getting more and more bigger and bigger are going to take this change, will be interesting, as my motto says ‘wait and see’.  With the road ban still on sure makes things quiet, but it won’t be long until things start to move. The highway seems to be busy now so let’s look for a busy summer, give our economy a boost. Also give the trucks an idea of the new facelift to the highway through town.

Old mare

Last week or so back I wrote a friend of mine in Saskatchewan, who had a friend who had a 30 year old mare have a foal, almost of unheard of but it happened. I phoned Kia last night and the colt is doing ok with lots of T.L.C. but the mare because of her age is much slower in returning to good health again. Her age is no doubt against her.

May Day celebration

It’s been a long time since we had our May Day celebration picnic. It was a special day and so much fun for both the young and the not so young. At one time we had a two day celebration with some horse sports and this was a crowd pleaser. The May Pole dancing and the crowning of our May Queen, ball games, races and so much fun for everyone. Of course we had a parade and this was a real opener. As they say times have changed so have we. I wonder how many ladies remember a May Queen? It would be very interesting.

Dry spring

So far it’s been a dry spring and this is a concern to the ranchers. It’s early yet so we may get some rain. There has been some forest fires already but were brought under control. We sure don’t need fires and that’s for sure. Not only are they costly but dangerous.

First job

The first job I got when we came here was fire fighting and I well remember it like it was yesterday. Harvey Campbell was the forest ranger at the time and we were shipped down to the east end of Tchesinkut Lake where some First Nation people had been smoking fish and they let the fire go. It was afternoon and the lake blew up rough and Mr. Lord had his boat loaded with blankets and food so he could not get down the lake. So a big bunch of us locals were stranded on the lakeshore with no food or blankets. During the night the wind went down and Mr. Lord and Harvey Campbell sailed into a hungry bunch of guys. This was a bad fire and went as far as the main highway. One man was lost in the fire. Wayman Weldon from Southbank was the cook. There were no tents and there was no rain so we managed ok. I think we got 25 cents an hour. We were given a shovel and a water can that was strapped on our backs. I guess we managed to control the fire until the snow came and did the rest. This fire was in the fall of 1943 or 1944. This fire was one of the biggest fires ever for this district. There was a lot of very valuable timber destroyed in that fire.

Prairie fire

Fire is a scary thing so matter where. Back in the Eyehill we had a bad prairie fire get started and it was a bad one. If a wind gets behind one of those fires it can go faster than a horse can run. I was not very old but I well remember watching it come. The C.P. Railway went through our place and they unloaded some hot ashes from the boiler and it hit the dry grass and was away. Neighbours all came down with horses and plows but the fire hit the creek and burnt itself out, good luck for us. Mother had the team of horses ready to go but the fire was under control. It took a lot of our pasture but it came back again. But our home and buildings were safe.

Auxiliary Day

On Friday afternoon I had the pleasure to be invited to the thrift store in Burns Lake to celebrate auxiliary day. What a wonderful afternoon it was too. Everyone was so thoughtful and kind. There were tables set out with all sorts of good things to eat. The thrift store is a place to be proud of. Everything is so well displayed and so clean and tidy. And I must say so well managed, hats off to you. No matter what you are looking for it’s there. All afternoon the store was busy. Thank you again for picking me up.

Best I close up for another week. Always remember God loves you and so do I.