I’ve been busy working outside for the past week and haven’t had time to blog. But today it’s cold and raining which has forced me indoors. 🙂 While I’m canning tomatoes, I thought we could continue with the discussion of the book, The Canadian Settler’s Guide by Catherine Parr Traill. If you need to catch up you can find other posts here:
Woman, whose nature is to love home and to cling to all home ties and associations, cannot be torn from that spot that is the little centre of joy and peace and comfort to her, without many painful regrets. No matter however poor she may be, how low her lot in life may be cast, home to her is dear, the thought of it and the love of it clings closely to her wherever she goes.
But kindness and sympathy, which she has need of, in time reconciles her to her change of life; new ties, new interests, new comforts arise; and she ceases to repine, if she does not cease to love, that which she has lost: in after life the recollection comes like some pleasant dream or a fair picture to her mind, but she has ceased to grieve or to regret; and perhaps like a wise woman she says – “All things are for the best. It is good for us to be here.
The author, Catherine Parr Traill gives advice on the adornment of the home, inside and out. She tells us costly furniture is not in keeping with the character of a log home but the aim is to keep it neat and simple. She gives advice on suitable furniture (chairs, rocking chairs, tables, sofas, bookshelves, pictures, rugs, curtains) and their cost. A lot of poor emigrants homes were furnished with only a very few homemade things. She assures us this is only the first trial and better things are coming. A good quality cookstove is preferred over other cheaper ones where the casting may be thinner and lighter which are apt to crack. She also recommends getting a larger stove in order for the oven to be large enough for baking bread and “a good joint of meat”.”In fitting up your house,” she writes, ” do not sacrifice all comfort in the kitchen, for the sake of a best room for receiving company”. Nothing contributes to the comfort and appearance of a home than a verandah. It allows shade from the summer heat and shelter from the cold and helps keep the interior of the home clean.
There are many vines, and wild plants to be found in Canada’s nature that will provide shade and also cover rough log homes. Wild grape vines are found in every swamp and near lakes and rivers. The most common climber is the hop, which was the principal ingredient in making yeast for the rising of bread. Canadian Ivy, Virginia Creeper, Wild Clematis, Traveller’s Joy all help to ornament the verandah and provide shade.
I am the more particular in pointing out to you how you may improve the outside of your dwellings, because the log house is rough and unsightly; and I know well that your comfort and cheerfulness of mind will be increased by the care you are led to bestow upon your new home in endeavouring to ornament it and render it more agreeable to the eye. The cultivation of a few flowers, of vegetables and fruit, will be a source of continual pleasure and interest to yourself and children, and you will soon learn to love your home, and cease to regret that dear one you have left.
This section of the book caught my attention because I could really relate to the first quote that I mentioned. I love to make a home, but as I think about it, could I leave this one?
Of course there are other factors to take into consideration – for one, the reason we are emigrating, but could you leave the home you are in, the town, the country or the area? If not, why? If so, what would you miss most?