Kuroki, Saskatchewan

Kuroki, Saskatchewan

We arrived at Kuroki, our first destination a couple of days after leaving Winnipeg and unloaded the cars with the help of the members of mother's family. Dad rented a farm from one of his brother-in-laws fourteen miles north of Kuroki and we moved out there into a one roomed house about 20' by 25' probably. It was two and a half miles from school and we kids walked there every day. It was a bush country there but good land . One of mother' s brothers had a little store about one and a half miles from where we lived and we bought our groceries there. Dad planted oats and barley, I forget how much now. They did some road-work during the summer holidays. I drove a team on a scraper. I sure thought I was a man then but my heels got sore as I wasn't used to wearing shoes I guess. I started to limp after a day or two of work and it looked as if I was going to have to quit but there was only a few days more of work left so I threw away the shoes and finished up without further trouble only I didn't feel as much like a man driving my team in bare feet. Dad was on the outfit also and between us we worked out the taxes. That was about all the road-building they did in those days but they paid fair wages to get farmers to work their horses, and the roads were surely needed.

I remember I shot my first duck while helping Dad stook barley. A bunch flew over and I shot the lead one instead of shooting at the centre of the flock.

We threshed the grain into the house and moved into town for the winter. Mother had two sisters and two brothers living in town with families. Two of them had rooming houses, one of which was built for a hotel but I guess the country went dry before he got a licence so it was just two rooming houses in competition with each other and they used to get in each others hair occasionally. We kids all got along well, went to school together and had a lot of fun that winter.

I caught my first fish at a lake about two miles out of town. Dad and I were fishing through holes in the ice about twenty feet apart when I got a bite. A head about a foot long appeared above the water and I called to him as I was almost afraid of it, afraid I might lose it mostly but we landed it safely. It was a fifteen pound jackfish. A fishing uncle I had there said it was the biggest catch of the year. In the spring the fish ran up a creek that ran under the railroad tracks some three miles west of town and the railroad section crew drove to it on a handcar and let me got with them. The creek was about four feet wide and three feet deep. They shot fish with twenty-two rifles but I had a five tined manure fork and threw them out on the bank. I also threw out what they shot. We caught fifteen or twenty altogether in about thirty minutes or so.

I was carrying snow water for mother one day from the railroad ditch just across the road from the house we lived in and had to climb over a page wire fence. In doing so I caught a foot on the top wire and fell on a poplar stump which had been cut with an axe about a foot above the ground. I landed on my left knee cap making a gash right across it. It didn't hurt much at the time but on rolling up my pant leg and bending my knee, it opened up three quarters of an inch wide and looked awful. Mother got a neighbor woman who was a trained nurse to look at it. She taped it together and said she was afraid it would have to be stitched. The nearest doctor was twenty miles away and it was during the spring thaw. There were no cars around there in those days so they just taped it, bound it up tight and put me to bed. I was in bed for two weeks if I remember correctly and it healed up O.K. but I have quite a scar there yet.

Dad went on west to Alsask on the provincial border to find a homestead in Alberta that spring and met another family man. They went land hunting together and took a half section each side by side. They had sixteen kids between them and thought they should be able to get a school. They did too. Their land was located about thirty miles northwest of the forks of the South Saskatchewan River and Red Deer River where the town of Empress is now.