Posts filed under ‘family’

Back to holidays–Lang Pioneer Village



This year when we toured Lang Pioneer Village, we were there with our daughter and her two young children. Seen and experienced from an almost-4 to a nearly-6 year-old’s perspective, we would understandably travel through the village at a different pace than we did a year ago.

We started our tour with the animal pen next to the Milburn House, where pigs were snuffling in their pen and coming to see who was looking in at them.



Next we went to the Hastie Carpenter Shop where the volunteer said they made things of wood, and especially wheels for the buggies and wagons. Then the tinsmith shop to see what was there.


Outside of the Fife cabin (shown above) was  a guide using a single spindle to get her yarn ready for knitting. A fire was going in the pit nearby where she would cook her meal or dye her yarn. We looked inside the cabin. It was quite dark compared to other buildings. The bed was a box on the floor with blankets in it and a fireplace at the end for warmth and cooking. The girls were interested to see how things looked there.
We crossed the road to the Fitzpatrick House where the guide told us about the family gathering in the main room. They would eat there and sit around the table for it was the only heated space in the house. We trudged up the narrow winding steps,  holding on to the handrail, to the upstairs to see where the family slept. Here they had beds and a quilt rack was set against a wall showing a project the mother might be working on. The beds were much different than the girls were used to and I wondered what they were thinking about it.


See the dried herbs hanging above the fireplace. Those were often the medicines that the parents used to treat illness because the doctor lived a long distance away.



On to the Register where the two young men told us about what they do. They showed us how they printed things, including newspaper, for the businesses in the village. It took a lot longer than with our computers and fast printing presses.


It would take a long time to produce a newspaper with these pieces of equipment


We stopped at the Keene Hotel where a guide told us a little bit about the family who lived there and provided meals and a bed for travellers. We took our own tour of the building, but I did get to say hello to Sophie who gave us our tour last year and served tea and cookies. I thought we might come back for tea and cookies this time, but we didn’t.


On to the Menie General Store. It’s a bit like our stores that sell all kinds of things under one roof.


The girls were interested in the toys on the counter and the little books.



Here’s their Papa talking to one of the guides in the store.


DSCF9103Ana thought the lady’s blouse was pretty. Or was it the necklace and the hat she was commenting on? Anyway, there were many pretty things there for a lady or little girl at the time.


DSCF9105People gathered outside the Fitzpatrick  house, and we stopped along the way to see what was happening. There was a young woman doing laundry. She invited the girls to give it a try on the washboard. Ana wanted to try it so the guide helped her push up her sleeves so they wouldn’t get wet, and then showed her how to put the soap on the board first…

DSCF9107and then get both hands working on scrubbing a piece of clothing so it would be nice and clean. Different than Mommy and Daddy’s washing machine.

On our way to the car for our picnic lunch they stopped off to see the pigs again and then the Centennial commemoration rock out front.


I was impressed with how the guides geared their talks to include our youngsters. Thank you, all.



Off to get our picnic lunch. Taking a break until tomorrow when we’ll continue our tour of the village


August 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

One step at a time–Carolyn R. Wilker

Writers soon learn that getting to publication takes many steps, and that it’s one step at a time. In early days of writing, there’s so much to absorb—show, don’t tell; use active voice, good grammar and correct spelling; transitions from one scene or thought to another. To a new writer it may seem overwhelming. And yet, in time and with much practice, even the newer writer gradually gets those separate elements together. With the help of an editor, the prose or poetry comes out looking polished. Read more here at The Word Guild Authors blog.





February 11, 2015 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Thanks Giving–Canadian Writers Who Are Christian

Today I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian.

When was the last time you were told to give thanks? Could you do it when you’re going through some challenging times?

I’ve struggled with this countless times, because, being human, I can always think of the negative and struggle to find the positive. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, I read, “Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances.” I struggle with that, even when there’s good stuff happening in the middle of overwhelming tension, and I anticipate and await the outcome or the next big thing, just as in our recent experience.

Read more here.

Carolyn Wilker is a member of  The Editors’ Association of Canada,The Word Guild, Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship, The Baden Storytellers’ Guild and Toastmasters International.

Carolyn Wilker 2

image002Once Upon a Sandbox

October 11, 2014 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

Anchor in Grief

Today I blogged over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian on grief, remembering a friend, and reflecting on that grief.

Carolyn Wilker-photo







Recently I marked the date of my friend’s birthday, September 2nd, though she died eight months ago. I posted one of my favourite photos of her on my Facebook page.

Her own Facebook page is still up and there was a reminder of her birthday— which I could never forget. And her voice is still on their home answering machine. It wrings at the heart. It’s hard when a friend dies. This was a friend I’ve known since early childhood.

On my Facebook page that day, I received many virtual hugs from others who have known grief too, and those were much appreciated. Yet not all reactions to grief are similar.

Some say, “Keep busy.” Others say, “Move on,” as if the loss were trivial. And while I know that one must keep putting one foot in front of another, I recognize that grief is something that one has to deal with. Grief is hard work. I’ve seen friends struggle with the death of a baby and another who is grieving the death of her husband who was just as much a friend. I will offer a hug and a listening ear, knowing this is a difficult time and a grief I do not know. Read more here.




September 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm Leave a comment

Canadian Writers Who Are Christian–Sandwiched

Today I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian, about being part of the Sandwich Generation.


“If God sends us on stony paths, he provides strong shoes.” –Corrie Ten Boom

We’re at that stage in our family with aging parents on one side—we’re all aging every day—and younger family with grandchildren on the other side. We’ve known, in retrospect, that this could happen one day and now we’re there, but we don’t always know what to do with it.

With two parents needing our support, our attention and energies are spread to their maximum, and that comes apart from a career as a freelance editor and writer, and a husband at home with some special needs of his own.

Carol Abaya, an expert in elder care, writes that there is no rehearsal for parent care, rather parenting one’s parents. “Becoming a parent to an aging parent presents extraordinary challenges.” Apparently it was Abaya who coined the term “sandwich generation” but also “club sandwich generation.”

Go here to read more.


And while you’re there, read the posts of Peter Black, Glynis Belec, Heidi McLaughlin. You’ll surely find some story that resonates or entertains.


The Sandwich Generation looks a little like this





or like a Dagwood sandwich, with the caregivers in the middle.


Back to the Canadian Canoe Museum another day.

August 21, 2014 at 1:07 am Leave a comment

One more post about Lang Pioneer Village

We’d covered a lot of ground in those few hours and yet there was more to see, the lumberman’s shanty and the mill.


DSCF7543Men from the village sometimes went to work in a lumber camp over the winter to earn extra money for their families. They left their wives and children behind and headed off to the forest and lived in a small shanty with little more than an axe they carried with them. As it says in this sign, that

Canada remained a competitor for the timber market because they were exempt from a heavy British duty.


DSCF7545Informational sign in the shanty at the village


DSCF7546How to sharpen an axe on the stone. One would approach this task very carefully, just as much so as cutting down a tree. No chain saws here. It was all manual labour.


DSCF7548The men at the lumber camp would sleep in bunks like these and hang up wet socks on the line above. There were no fancy closets to hang clothing, and if I remember correctly from the information posted there, the men came with very few extra clothing pieces.

Seeing this shanty and reading about it reminded me of the storyteller Deborah Dunleavy and her story of the Flying Canoe, in which men in a lumber camp were tempted to travel  home to their home town for a New Year’s party, and in particular one young man to visit a certain young lady, but I won’t spoil the story for you. The Crystal is the story CD you’d like to hear it. Storytelling at its best.


DSCF7549 Out in the field behind the shanty is an old harvester.


DSCF7550 And zooming in on the name, you can read who made it.


We took a short snack break before heading on to the mill.




DSCF7558The Lang Grist Mill was owned by the Otonobee Region Conservation Authority. The Quaker Oats Company had some input into restoring the mill for historical purposes.



DSCF7561Exhibits in the mill



DSCF7560Yes, horses were important. They pulled the wagon.


DSCF7562 The tools and equipment people used for harvest in the 1840s  may seem primitive as compared to twelve-row ploughs and tractors with stereos in them, but they did the job. A lot of manual labour was required. Lest anyone think that a modern farm is easy,  there is still need for manual labour.



DSCF7565Another exhibit piece but the sign was cut off. Anyone know what this is for?





A tool to cut straw and corn


There were many other exhibits, models and pictures of equipment used to harvest crops and presses and other equipment to grind the grain into flour. It was important also to keep the dust from the grain to a minimum.

The young man showing us around, whose picture I didn’t get, was very patient with the children who happened to be there at the same time. They asked a lot of questions and he answered them well, demonstrating things that he could. The children had a ride on the cart that took them to the weigh scale. They were surprised by the weight.




Back down the path and looking across the bridge and path. Quite a picture. I took few notes at the mill, but it was interesting nonetheless, and we were ready to go out for a proper meal. It had been hours, but it had been a good visit.




DSCF7568The welcome sign at the village gate


Thank you to Elizabeth King, Administrative and Volunteer Coordinator, for posting my links on the village’s blog and to all the  staff and volunteers who make this a living museum. I hope that my posts encourage others to come and visit the village as an option on their summer vacation.


Photos © C. and L. Wilker





July 29, 2014 at 3:40 pm 2 comments

More of our visit to Lang Pioneer Village

Truly, one can spend a whole day at this village and still come away wanting to know more.

The  Menie General Store in Lang Pioneer Village has  a little bit of everything. The building also served as the local post office.

Are we also going that way with our super centres and one-stop shopping?


DSCF7510outside the General Store (1899)




Here  people of the community could purchase groceries, household items, gifts, toys, even lace. Probably much more. There was so much to see in this building.

Inside, the smiling faces of (l to r) Audrey and Danielle, ready to help a customer and tell them what they have on hand. (Click on photo if it doesn`t open right away)






The schoolhouse, where the children received their education (1880s–1950s). Families were mainly Scots, English and Irish in this representative community.






Here teacher and school guide, Hayley, teaches an actual lesson to children visiting the village. The teacher would write the lessons on the board and the children would write the answer on their slates. Strict discipline was meted out and parents tended to back up the teacher on punishment. The desks facing front blackboard were similar to my one-room school, only our picture of the Queen was here.

Interesting to see that it shows Queen Victoria’s family and not just Her Majesty by herself. And I remember having coloured chalk and single desks.
Then on to the blacksmith’s shop




Steve, the blacksmith, answering a question of a young boy about the coal used in the forge. Coal that was used in the blacksmith’s shop as well as in furnaces to heat people’s homes, a step beyond the fireplace or hearth  in the home.



Steve and his assistant, Joseph,  doing their work with hot metal. This place could get pretty hot. Would it be welcome on a cold winter day?


At S. W. Lowry Weaver’s Shop, we saw looms for making fabric and the guide, Marie, worked alongside her helpers, Hannah 1 and Hannah 2. I collected only first names after I got permission to take photos. This building was also known as Jacquard Loom Interpretive Centre.



Marie cutting strips of fabric for the girl’s braiding project.




Threads on the loom and a completed project.





This is the second place where the students share a name and interest. Hannah 1 and Hannah 2. They’re braiding a cord to sew on a purse they have woven. It will look pretty. Good work, girls.



Back to the hotel now for some tea and cookies. We got talking to a family who were seated at the long dining room table about what they liked best about the village. The weavery and blacksmith’s place were the young people’s favourite. We talked about the wide variance in teaching methods too and I said that the dunce cap was likely not very helpful, though perhaps some of their discipline might not be a bad thing.

Our tea and ginger cookies were delicious, by the way. Thank you, girls.




Here are the lovely young ladies, Sophie 1 and Sophie 2, who took our order, served us and posed in the dining room afterwards. As it turns out, Sophie 2, on the right, is connected to the Milburn Family somewhere back in her family line. Her mother is also a “friend” on Facebook. It’s a small world after all.




Glen Aida Methodist Church (1898)


A simple worship house on the outside



Inside the church. See the pump organ on the left? Not an extreme amount of detail added outside of woodwork, but what’s there served the congregation well. I don’t know if they had cloth banners for the seasons of the church year or altar cloths. Perhaps they did.




Douro Town Hall where council meetings would be held and voting.




And a commemoration of local authors, among them Susannah Moodie and Catherine Parr Trail who were also earlier immigrants, along with their husbands. Reminded me of the storytelling duo Carol Leigh Wehking and Glenna Janzen performing their version of the women’s stories awhile ago.


DSCF7542Another desk of the period inside the town hall.



We had covered most of the village by this point, except for the lumberman’s shanty and the mill, which I’ll save for the next post, lest this one become too long.


Photos by C. and L. Wilker.  Thank you to all guides and volunteers in the village who gave permission to have their photo taken so that I could post on my blog.


July 25, 2014 at 1:49 pm 2 comments

Older Posts Newer Posts

Twitter Updates

Top Canadian Blogs - Top Blogs

Book title

debi riley

The Creative Zone for Making Art

Shot By Sarah


Janice L. Dick

Tansy & Thistle Press: faith, fiction, forum

LEANNE COLE - The Photographer's Mentor

Fine Art Photographer ~ Daring to be Different

SIMPLY LIFE with Kathleen Gibson

Just another weblog

I Like It!

Just another weblog

Whatever He Says

Just another weblog

Baden Storytellers' Guild

Continuing the Tradition of Oral Storytelling


thoughts on faith and fiction


Garden adventures and advice...

Promises of Home

Stories of British Home Children, written, compiled and edited by Rose McCormick Brandon