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AHA workshops and retreats

Alison Hart & Associates (AHA) are hosting a series of workshops and retreats this fall from the [ ... ]

SingFest PEI 2018

October 20 is World Singing Day and PEI will celebrate with at a week-long celebration called SingFe [ ... ]

The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson

Myrtle by Jodee SamuelsonOn this frozen winter morning with the north wind urging me to stay indoors, I decide to step out and visit some elder residents of the Cove, Charles and Myrtle MacNevin.

Charles MacNevin was born here, in the house where he has lived out his 84 years. I meet him coming out the door on his way to fetch firewood. “That’s okay, I can do it later,” he insists as he ushers me into the back porch. Myrtle is in the kitchen at the McClary kitchen range, deftly poking in foot-long chunks of split hardwood. “This stove is as old as I am,” she says. “I couldn’t do without it.” The oven door is open, a kettle hisses quietly, various clocks tick gently in the background. I step into the past.

So, I ask, what was winter like in days gone by?

Myrtle: “Snow, deep snow!”

Charles: “The roads weren’t open, everyone traveled on the fields and rivers. You had to be careful on the ice because of all the springs. Mostly you knew where they were, and of course the ice was bushed [marked with small trees frozen into the ice], but even so the ice could get thin. Maybe we went to town once a week, over the fields and down the river. We’d haul in a load of potatoes, or hay for the livery stables—there were quite a few in town those days. While you did your errands you’d leave your horse at the stable and they’d feed it a bite of hay, so those places always needed hay.”

Myrtle: “Charles could get a hot dinner at the livery stable, in the house. The wife cooked the meals and the husband looked after the horses.”

What about your daily routines?

Charles: “In the morning the water in the kettle might be frozen. First thing was to get the stove going, then feed the animals. Breakfast was after that. Oatmeal porridge, bread and molasses, tea and milk. We only milked one cow in winter, the others were dried up till they calved in spring.”

Myrtle: “We always had plenty of milk. And meat and potatoes, carrots and pickles and everything. See these carrots? I’m making copper pennies with them. They’re still good, but in the spring when carrots started to sprout, most people used to throw them out. Charles’s mother lived with us until she died at 98, and she showed me how to make copper pennies with old carrots. You slice them in rounds, boil them and put them in vinegar and spices. They’re some good! My own mother died when I was eight so I didn’t learn much cooking. Charles’s mother taught me everything.”

Charles: “And of course there was threshing that went on all winter, barley and oats. Everyone helped each other, one farm one week, another the next. No one kept track.”

Our conversation rolls on and on. The clocks ticks, time passes, but we do not keep track.

Events Calendar

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Some Upcoming Events

PEI’s Famous Five

October 30
UPEI In 1993, women held five of the most influential positions in the province of Prince [ ... ]

Forage PEI

First annual food industry symposium in Charlottetown October 18 & 19
Various locations Forag [ ... ]

Bookmark readings

Celebrities and authors in Charlottetown and November November 7, 12 & 14 Charlottetown’s in [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Triple threat

Profile: Emma Fugate by Jane Ledwell Emma Fugate has three different business cards: “One for my [ ... ]

Destiny Best

Release date on World Suicide Prevention Day Local singer/songwriter Destiny Best is tapping into h [ ... ]

FIN Film Fest winners

FIN Atlantic International Film Festival is an eight-day celebration of film, media and music from t [ ... ]