Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hat to the Park Virtual Trip

Hi Marston

Report 38

I'll try to stay detached from the fact that we are at the jumping off point to Fort Carlton, Duck Lake, Batoche and Louis Riel for a moment while I report on Rosthern as its a nice little place of its own. They don't know if the town got its name from a mythological Ross who reportedly drowned in a "Terne" the old English word for pool or the Rostherne back in England.. More than likely the latter but there are always those who prefer a romantic or exciting origin to the obvious.

There is a big iron monument of a sheath of wheat outside the visitors center and lots of wheat in the fields. This is Mennonite country clear over to Hague, a town started by early Mennonite pioneers. Great family oriented folk and the country side reflects their work ethic and keen stewardship.

This is also the home of the 60 acre experimental farm of Seagar Wheeler. Ironic how history is full of people who make a substantial contribution to our well being and then disappear and we forget all about them.. Unlike some of the current frivolous people who entertain us with the way they walk, wiggle or warble and then we follow them around like a gaggle of goosed geese and mourn for weeks...

Lets not go there,) as I was saying here is a man from the Isle of Wight, England, who rather than just homestead, when he arrived, devoted major time and effort on his allotment just outside of Rosthere to experiment with multiple varieties of wheat to determine which would or would not grow on the prairies. Because of his efforts, the prized and world envied Hard Red Duram wheat was ultimately developed. It can be grown in a short summer with harsh winters.

He earned a place in the National Historic archives and the title of Wheat king of the prairies, but he also instigated new techniques for dry land farming such as shelter belts, crop rotations, and crop diversification.The picture is the farm and it is still operating.

Even though I am at Rosthern a few miles away The whole place seems locked into the past. You feel it, sense it and see it. . Time stopped and you are back there when you enter. A Red River cart sits on the front lawn of a restored pioneer home. These were meant to be pulled by oxen even though the photo shows horses, and had high axles so they could go over almost any type of terrain.This was the poor man's vehicle or original "Volkswagen" as it translates into German.

This was of course long before another group of Germans came up with the same slogan when it produced the BEETLE over 60 years later. The thing that must have been the most vexing to everybody who owned one besides the incredible quantity and size of the mosquitoes that spared no one, , would be the howling of the Cart wheels.

The axles almost immediately went dry after they began to move and the wood on wood friction sent up a shrieking howl that could be heard literally miles away. As you can imagine they travelled in teams of dozens which made it all the worse. I turned one wheel by hand on a dry axle and the noise was so loud, you couldn't hear a person shouting beside you.

. I think I shall enter the time zone via Fort Carlton because that really where the Riel uprising all began.

See you later.


Thanks Doug

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