We spent two nights with Glen and Edna Wasmuth at their working farm on the prairie to the south of Battleford. The land has been in the family for over 100 years and the original homestead is now kept as a small museum.
The homestead is in a very peaceful location surrounded by the wide open spaces of the prairie. There is no light at night, so on a clear night there are good views of the stars. It is a delightful wooden building. We had a top floor room + bathroom with private access. Everything was spacious, clean and comfortable and there was an abundant supply of good towels. There was a microwave, kettle, coffeemaker and fridge. A good breakfast is provided downstairs, we had ours with the family perhaps because we make early starts.
Just down the road is the old school, which closed 40 years ago. We were given the key and told we could go and have a look. It was late in the evening and definitely spooky. The kids desks – assorted sizes and shapes – were lined up in the school room facing the blackboard and teacher’s desk, which still had the strap in the drawer. Cupboards were around the edges of the room. Down in the basement was the cast iron stove still with coal in the coal hole and all the broken desks. Toilets were still there. The girls had flush toilets but the boys were a hole in the floor of the basement. Outside was the remains of the baseball pitch. We could almost see the ghosts.
Next morning we were taken for a ride by Glen in a beautifully restored 1931 Dodge. This was the first car he had bought and he courted Edna in it. We were taken to see the original homestead with restored 1908 house and blacksmith’s shop. We were shown one of the original 1906 iron survey pegs still in place, the ruts from a pre-survey wagon trail and a huge pile of stones, which was cleared from the land by First Nations or labourers were paid by the ‘cord’ of stones (pile of stones one yard square).
This is a marvellous place to stop and we were genuinely sorry to leave and highly recommended to anyone wanting to sample a little of life on the prairie proper.
Our pictures are here.
A report of our five week trip to Canada can be read here.
I have also written a series of detailed reports for Silver Travel.