Friday, September 24

Roughing It in the Bush

(I'd thought of calling my blog by that title, but unfortunately someone named Susanna swiped the title right out from under me.)

Domestic Excellence and Specialty Housekeeping has chosen pictures to represent all of the blogs on his/her/their blogroll. Here's mine.

See, there I am, roughing it. I'd like to think that my camping spot would be just a tad tidier, but I've taken a good look around at the parts of the house behind my desk and decided that it might not be. And I've been known to play solitaire while hand-sewing.

While we're on the subject, have you read Susanna Moodie's book Roughing it in the Bush? If you haven't, and you're interested in the history of private life, or the history of women's lives, or the history of Canada, or if you just like stories from everyday life, you'll probably enjoy Susanna's accounts of her family's experiences homesteading in the Canadian wilderness in the middle of the nineteenth century. Susanna was a woman of great faith and courage, and pretty good writer and poet to boot. Would you like to read a little sample? From the chapter, Brian, the Still-Hunter:
It was the early day. I was alone in the old shanty, preparing breakfast, and now and then stirring the cradle with my foot, when a tall, thin, middle-aged man, walked into the house, followed by two large, strong dogs.

Placing the rifle he had carried on his shoulder in a corner of the room, he advanced to the hearth, and without speaking, or seemingly looking at me, lighted his pipe, and commenced smoking. The dogs, after growling and snapping at the cat, who had not given the strangers a very courteous reception, sat down on the hearth-stone on either side of their taciturn master, eyeing him from time to time, as if long habit had made them understand all his motions. There was a great contrast between the dogs. The one was a brindled bulldog of the largest size; the other a staghound, tawny, deep-chested and strong-limbed. I regarded the man and his hairy companions with silent curiosity.

Here's her poem about this man:
O'er memory's glass I see his shadow flit,
Though he was gathered to the silent dust
Long years ago. A strange and wayward man,
That shunn'd companionship, and lived apart;
The leafy covert of the dark brown woods,
The gleamy lakes, hid in their gloomy depths,
Whose still, deep waters never knew the stroke
Of cleaving oar, or echoed to the sound
Of social life, contained for him the sum
Of human happiness. With dog and gun,
Day after day he track'd the nimble deer
Through all the tangled mazed of the forest.
I once checked out a book from the libarary that was full of of photographs taken in victorian Saskatchewan by Susanna's grandaughter (I think). I can't find it at Amazon, so I can't link to it, nor can I give you the author's name. The most fascinating photos in the whole book were the ones taken inside her own home. It was very, very messy.