Over The Back Fence

Sep 14th, 2018 | By | Category: Over The Back Fence

The Farm Scene

There is no comparison between farming in the ‘30s and farming today. Especially when it comes to the simple tractor!

We spoke with Murray Lowry, owner of M&P Farm Equipment located on highway #29 between Carleton Place and Almonte, to ask what the cost of a tractor would be today. Of course, there are many variables, starting at the low end of around $20,000 to $40,000. Back in the lean Depression years, a farmer could get the same machine for around $2,000.

Today, the farmer who wants some upgrades plans on spending anywhere from $100,000 to $400,000.

So what could that higher price buy you? Air conditioning, music, communication systems, and the “big one” a GPS. With a GPS, the farmer can map out his whole field, set the system, and sit back and relax. The tractor will steer itself, do the entire field, and be out in measurement by not more than 1/4 of an inch!

It goes without saying that this elite of tractors is a prized piece of machinery, and of course, doesn’t sell as quickly as the tractor in the mid-price range. Made by Deutz-Fahr, it is one of the companies M&P deals with, along with companies that have been around for more than 100 years. Names like Massey-Harris and John Deere come to mind.

M&P Farm Equipment is located on a Lowry farm that has been in the family for more than 140 years!

Who Said What …

“I think we were opposites, but we understood each other, and we knew when to back off when the other was insistent.  We’d work it out.  Although we yelled a lot, we rarely walked away mad.”

– Frank Shuster in 1993 on his
relationship with partner Johnny Wayne.

Funny You Should Ask

Q: The time has come. I have decided to give up my home and move to a retirement home in Ottawa, but the choices are overwhelming. How do I decide what would be best for me?

A: As someone who has been there, done that, I think I can give you a few tips. Yes, there are many choices in Ottawa.

First of all, I would suggest that you decide what part of the city you want to move to and find the retirement residences in that area. First make a visual assessment. From the outside, does it look like the home would want to live in? If you want lots of greenery, trees and lawns and outside sitting space, you may want to pass on those sitting directly on the street. However, most retirement communities compensate in other ways.

Once you find something that has outside appeal for you, go inside and “feel” the atmosphere. Arrange for a tour of the spaces available.  Don’t talk money until you like what you see. Most places offer a weekend retreat so that you can get the feel of the place – take them up on their offer.

Once that visit is over, you’ve had the food, you’ve slept in the room, it either appeals to you or it doesn’t, now is the time to talk money.

If it is possible, always take a member of your family with you, make notes and take names and numbers of those you have spoken with.

And always look and compare other retirement homes … don’t make a decision after your first visit … you may go back. This a big move, but a good one when you reach the point you want to be looked after with all the amenities, and no worries. Good luck!

Remember When …

September was a bumper month for Canada over the last 100 years.  Turning the clock back to 1911 for instance, Sir Robert Borden, in a September election, unseated Sir Wilfred Laurier for the top position in the country. He became Prime Minister on the 11th with 134 seats compared with Laurier’s 87.

He won on the issue which is making headlines today – free trade with the United States.

A few years later, on Sept. 21, Canada Post Office issued the first Air Mail Stamp. It cost a “five Penny Brown”.

Still in September, the first Central Exposition was held in the Nation’s Capital, highlighted in the new Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne. The date was Sept. 21, 1896.

Where Is It Now? 

The Last Spike

There were last spikes a-plenty on Nov. 7, 1885 when the end of the construction of the CPR was marked at a Craigellachie, BC ceremony.

A silver spike was made for the ceremony but was never used.  There were also two iron spikes. The first was bent when Donald Smith attempted to drive it into the ground; the second was put into the earth but didn’t stay in place very long.

The bent spike was retrieved as a souvenir by Smith, who had a portion shaved off and ringed with diamonds as a gift for his wife although other accounts say other women also received jewellry made from the spike. The spike that went into the ground was later removed and presented to the president of the CPR.

The spike that was bent is part of the collection at the Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa. It is four to five-inches long, is cracked and clearly shows where pieces were removed for jewelry. The silver spike was mounted on a marble base and was in Toronto and owned by descendants of the family of Cornelius Van Horne, president of the CPR and general manager of the railway’s construction. To this day, no one knows the whereabouts of the spike that was driven into the ground, but some sources say it is owned by someone in the Yukon Territory.

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