Marguerite: That fir tree over there, that’s the fir tree. The root cellar was by the end of that fence there, and the house would have been where some of the classrooms are over there. And that would be the barnyard that was huge at one time, and there was a garden and more fruit trees and Maureen, Malcolm, we’re standing on what now, do you think?
Malcolm: Close to the barn.
Maureen: There’s the trail going down.
Marguerite: There’s where the house burned down, the old house.
Marguerite: There was an orchard over here somewhere, and there was a shed, a bigger one, with chickens at the top.
Maureen: And the pigs underneath.
Marguerite: And I remember with my grandmother, going underneath. The pigs were no longer under there but it was all rooted out, and you had to go around the hens. It was free range then, you know. Free range, they’re going anywhere and they lay their eggs anywhere.
Jim: Any you have to go chase down the eggs, an Easter egg hunt every day.
Marguerite: And we’d chase down the eggs to where that one was laying her eggs, to be able to set on them when she gets broody. I don’t know if you guys remember, on the clothesline would be a pillow case and a chicken in it! She wanted them to lay eggs right away because they sold the eggs for a living, too. I think it was about here where they killed the pigs. And you’d hear the screaming. But we all love bacon, don’t we? Just don’t name it, the pig. And there would be the barn just over here. They actually were pretty close together.
Maureen: It felt like a long way to me!
Malcolm: It was quite a long way.
Marguerite: And they hired people, the Pentlatch people who have been absorbed by the Komoks band, they used to be over just the other side of the Tsolum River, they used to come and work on the farm here too. It went back into farm land, you give and take, provide for other people as well, as the farm grew. And then wherever we can pick up the old wagon trail that shows you… remembering at the end of Fifth Street it just came straight right in here, through the yard.
Maureen: It was fenced on both sides because they had the garden behind the house on one side, and then the flats going down where we were able to watch the pigs. That’s where we walked; we would walk through here and then end up there.
Marguerite: That’s the wagon road that would end at the Lake Trail out there by the bicycle shop.
So is this your personal kind of wagon road, or would this be…
Marguerite: The main road to Bevan, the wagon road to Bevan. And the horses pulled it until cars came in and then – everything’s changed you know!
Marguerite: Okay, all of you run and go down here. There’s a trail down to the little creek. If you meet us down there we can get over to the other section.
Going through here, you’ve got to realize it was bush and the devil’s club, every time you tried to get someplace there was devil’s club and you ever try to handle a devil’s club? So we didn’t really get down into the bushes as much as we thought – but if we had somebody from the city, Courtenay, we would love to take them out and say “Oh, just hang onto this bush”.
Jim: So in terms of the flume itself, as far as I can figure out, this is the remnants of it right here. It would go out towards where Lake Trail road is now and then make almost a right-angle bend and go down, right through where the intersection at Lake Trail and Willemar is. And then down behind where the City Works yard is on McPhee, and the old folks home. You can still see a little piece of the flume there, the ditch under the railway tracks. And then down to where the millpond was.
Marguerite: I think it would have gone almost immediately by the school or just in a bit.
Jim: So, just to get the water across this valley, there would have been a wooden trestle going across here, a log trestle with a wood chute carrying the water across.
Marguerite: And on one of the maps it’s like a railroad track and the measurements are there.
Jim: I don’t know if there was a fire and things burned down. I haven’t found any of the wood structure at any time in here.
Maureen: It’s not the Roman aqueduct you know.
Jim: No, they didn’t use enough stone building up there so it’s not too permanent.
Q: How many hours do you think this would have taken them, or how many months or years?
Jim: This is a lot of ditch digging. It would be more than a weekend project even with 100 people doing it! I can’t imagine it myself, though it would have been a great community-building exercise.
That’s all by volunteer work, people power, and they had a lot of work to do at their own place without coming here and doing this.
A great sense of community, doing these kinds of things together.