The CSG (The home)

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:

Looking Back
The CSG (Household servants)


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?


9 responses

  1. Last year I left Oregon after living there for 20 years to move to Wyoming. I left my two oldest daughters there (one in college and one newly married). That was hard. We lived in a camp trailer for 7.5 months. That was hard too. I hated leaving my house, hated it. There were times that I was truly miserable and wondering what in the world we were doing. Now I’m glad we did it. And my daughter and her husband will be moving here in a few days. My college daughter will be coming when school is out to spend the summer. Besides for the two of them the only other thing that Wyoming doesn’t have that Oregon did. The beach. I do miss that. But we live on a sand dune (like the beach) and the wind blows (like the beach) and we have beautiful sunsets (like at the beach) so I guess it is similar. haha.

  2. Millie and Marg – I have a feeling I’ll be living in a trailer one of these days, as my husband wants to start from scratch somewhere drier than Oregon on bare land. I’m not looking forward to it. And I don’t even love my “house” now (I don’t mean home, I mean my “house”) but I might when I have to live in a trailer or tent for awhile! 😉

    I appreciated her advice for how to adorn the home. I thought it was sensible and practical. It is nice to read about the adornment of the kitchen, which favors functionality. I feel that homes today have lost the ability to provide a kitchen that really functions the way I need it. So, after I live in a trailer for many months, I may get a kitchen that really works out of the deal. 😉

    • Wardeh, you reminded me of a reality show that took place just north of us here. It was called Pioneer Quest and aired on the Canadian History Channel back in 2000. That isn’t the site from the show but one that one of the couples put up. The site from the show was taken down shortly after the show finished airing. 😦

      The challenge was for 2 couples to pioneer on the Manitoba prairie for one year. The wife of the older couple insisted that the men take the time to first build an outdoor kitchen. The husband wanted to please his wife (it was his idea to take this adventure) but the younger couple was clearly annoyed. BUT I think it was the best thing they could have done. The meals were much easier prepared which took up a lot of their time anyway, without the kitchen they would have spent so much more valuable time simply preparing food, when they were needed in other areas. The kitchen was covered which provided shelter for them without having to sit inside their tent if it ever rained (which it did, it rained a LOT that spring)

      BTW, hubby and son#3 and I visited the site of Pioneer Quest. It was really interesting, we would have loved to been able to do something like that.

      Wardeh, I think your kitchen will need special considerations. It would be nice for you to be able to design it! I don’t know how you would manage in a trailer kitchen. It would be very difficult.

  3. Marg – I saw some of that show! It was neat to watch. But I don’t remember anything about the kitchen – I’m glad to hear you recall it. I would think that they all ended up thanking her for that foresight. I do remember how the younger girl worked and worked on her bread technique – but it looked white to me, which I remember thinking was probably not accurate to the period. Do you remember that? Neat that your dh and son got to see the site!

    • Wardeh, they built the kitchen the first day the second older couple joined them. I don’t think they would have had white flour in that time period either. I imagine the producers of the show would have done research though. Neat you got to see some of it!

      • I think I saw that show too. Was there a different older couple first who weren’t able to continue?

        That is the reason we lived the way we did. My hubby wanted to go somewhere drier too (or at least somewhere that it didn’t rain quite so much). We came here to very bare land! When we got here the neighbor’s horses had been grazing it and we didn’t have anything but sand on it.
        Cooking in a camp trailer is very challenging but do-able. We had plans for an outdoor kitchen but things fell together very fast for us with getting a home put on. Honestly, not my dream home but after living in a camp trailer my standards weren’t too terribly high. lol

        I agree with making the outside of the house look good too. Soon after we moved on and the horses moved off grass started growing. I was so excited to drive up one day and see how beautiful and green it was. And as soon as we could we put in a couple of shrubs by the steps and 6 sand cherry trees. They looked very nice and then the antelope found them. I’m hopeful that they will come back.

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