She knew the details of the transaction; the wagon had been purchased in 1953 for $3 from their neighbour to the south. She wasn’t sure why her husband had needed it but she knew it had been parked in its current location for many decades. Her eyes followed the proceedings with interest as we prepared to pick up and move this piece of her past. Her son had been pretty adamant about not selling off everything when they had downsized many years ago and so an old Mercury Truck remained as did the wagon. It stood where once the pig pen had been. To the south a beautiful little orchard is surrounded by Caragana trees that her husband had planted back in 1944. She’s not able to garden much anymore so her caring son has moved raspberries close to the house so she can still have a taste of the fruit. The yard is meticulously cared for but lacks the flowers it once hosted for age has taken her mobility. It has left her mind clear and she is thankful for the bounties in her life such as the time she spends with her son. Hard working women don’t slow down easy and you can sense that she finds aging difficult.
The wagon hasn’t fared so well over the years but earlier in its life it had been a gathering place for children to play. Now the elements have taken a toll on the wood and whether it would survive the move or not remained to be seen. But a child from its younger days was up for the challenge of moving it and had the tractor ready to go with a set of custom designed forks and some temporary moving beams. This young man is no stranger to hard work as he started young when his father died early when he was 5. He has repaired or replaced practically every piece of their homestead and takes a great deal of pride in his work. We know this because professionally he is a skilled carpentry that my husband has had the pleasure of working with for several years. His ready smile and helping hand is something you can count on.
It is obvious that those are some superior skills on the tractor as this piece of a beer bottle remained intact on the wheel. Perhaps it wasn’t just as children that the wagon had been a hiding place as obviously someone had drunk a brew near here! The metal appears rigid but the wood is slowly decomposing so it remains to be seen how well it will transport now that the lift is over and it’s safely ready to find a new home. With heartfelt thanks we head out of the yard onto the harsh realities of Saskatchewan grid roads.
It took a significant length of time to drive home as it required several stops to pick up wooden pieces that had shaken loose. We used an extra strap across the top to try to keep the box from shifting right off. I am sure there were several drivers who weren’t really happy to be behind us today as we rambled along. It was a beautiful day for a drive and we spotted several lovely old barns and had some quality time together in the vehicle. We are so fortunate that our friend Peter continues to be supportive of our crazy endeavours and loan us the equipment that we need to make it all happen.
There was a lengthy conversation upon arriving home about where the wagon was going to live. Our long-term plan was to fill it with tubs and grow flowers in it but as you can see this isn’t going to be a reality any time soon as the box has pretty much deteriorated. We successfully set it down and then picked it up again to turn the wheels so that a “new” part can be on the ground. So seems it can’t be super functional at this time we set it where it will be a stunning back drop for sunset pictures. The sunset tonight wasn’t as stellar as I had been hoping for but you can see that it will live up to its expectations in that location.
Now it seemed like we were on a roll so we might as well move a second wagon. We had pulled an old one out of a slough on our property in the fall and left it there waiting for the right time and equipment to move it up to the yard. We used the same beams and the same technique to pick it up and set it on the trailer. The hay-field full of rodent holes was a bit of a tough drive but eventually we ended up back in the yard. So for the second time today we had to have a lengthy discussion about where to put this wagon.
Once the decision was made we then had to prepare the site as we had a pile of top soil where it was going to live. So Ron started the bobcat back up and moved it all which then entailed starting up the tractor to till it all. Once we had that done we set it down and did the final ground work around it. I was very happy to be able to plant some poppy seeds that a friend had given to me all around and under the wagon. As you can see it has no box and is really just the frame so the concept is that the flowers will just grow up through it. The problem there is that I don’t have much of a green thumb but am eternally optimist that “this year” is the year our flowers will look good. We would actually like to put down the garden rock path through here to a bench and plant some prairie roses, lilies and irises so if you live close by and are thinning out any prairie hardy plants be sure to give us a call or an email.
We are very blessed to have received such a historical piece and we will enjoy looking at it for decades to come. There is a chance that someday when time is more plentiful and the major projects are done that we might even turn our hand to a restoration project there but as it stands the beauty is still evident.
Bernie and Ron