Salt Spring Island Archives

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Jack Smith (1918-)

Mr. Smith briefly describes his parents' dairy farm and transportation on the Island and to Victoria around 1920-1930.

Accession Number 989.031.043 Interviewer
Date Feb. 1, 1986 Location Cassette tapes box File #24 to File #48 Shelf 8C
Media Audio CD
ID 38 Location unknown




Unknown Speaker 0:00
So, I'm talking, it's clear. Okay. My name is Jack Smith. I was born on Salt Spring 1918 April 15. I lived on a farm, which is now that probably you all know, the bowling alley. This farm is owned by my father. And he came out from the old country approximately in 19 104 when they started the farm. And he went in, especially for purebred Europe because we had also one bull to bred Jersey

Unknown Speaker 0:46
called Dougie. And as you know, all Jersey animals, mostly the rolls are extremely dangerous. And we used to have some pretty unpleasant experiences with all this bull. He got out of his pen one time and we had to go out with a rifle. One person stood holding the rifle on him while the other one went up to snap the Bull Ring with the bar, which is not an easy thing to do. However, to go back to the farm part of it, we started the dairy farm and delivered milk balls from Ganges up the Ganges Hill apart, we have to be to be in favor not too far out down to the canal road around there, down Bettis Road, also to the stores. And in those days, we had quite a considerable number of customers. And we did quite well at least my dad did quite well. And we let off the farm completely. That it also grown on the farm

Unknown Speaker 2:14
and of course all our own meat, chickens, pigs, horses, you name them, we had them. And I remember we had the two team horses. And in Ganges we had a they had a blacksmith shop owned by old bill McAfee. And I think it's a way to make everything wants to build. All I know is it was Mr. McAfee to me. And so anyway, where I used to have to take the horses down to get shot. And that was quite a little trip. I'd lifted up put on the back of one of the teams. And I couldn't put my legs across the bat because those are too big. My legs weren't or as was. And we got on I got on there. And then when I got down to the blacksmith shop, which was quite a long tedious little slump some stuff to go down and they never gallop too shy during the name of a very good origin. And when we got down there then of course old Mackay had to reach up and take me off in there because that's a long way down the ground. I guess I would probably six seven. And otherwise you'd be gun shot you put back on. Oh. And I remember the days when we used to go out hauling hay. In the summertime in the hot weather. It was really warm out there. We had to work from early in the morning, you know, right through to 10 o'clock at night to get the hay yet as much as we could. And that was a long, tedious effort. For us, we filled the old barn with no problem there and we had some very, very good

Unknown Speaker 4:14
products to shut this thing off. Well, that's all I can talk. I'd like to go back to

Unknown Speaker 4:28
about 1927 2829 probably before that, I would say right back about 1924 In my time. I remember the African toilet wants to get from Ganges to fall through fall for the cross Toots to Sydney in those days. We'd have to Get up about maybe six in the morning and leave our homes and take taking two driven down to forefoot harbor where we all want this was by taxi and the taxi was owned by a gentleman by the name of Frank cloth. And you knows it used to cost anywhere from $5 or $6 Didn't matter, you know, price was no object in those days where if you wanted a taxi, you know, there was no set there. It just depended on the driver how he felt. If the roads were the roads were bad, I'll tell you that. And if he found the roads very bad, and we don't want us doing a lot of harm to my car, I think I'll charge you body guards, you know, just depending. And so anyway, when we got down there, there would be a launch, as we call it, small boat to take us over to Sydney. One was owned by Alaska fellow by the name of lassitude, Walter Lasseter, and another one was owned by a chap by the name of Pollock, if I remember correctly, we did scramble aboard this little boat get stuffed down into the cabin. And also in the get cabin was an old engine used usually in the East hope for Vivianne are something a one liner, they go puff puff puff puff. Or if you were lucky, you might get two cylinders that make it make it go just a little faster. But it would take anything up to two hours to get from Wolford Harvard to Sydney in those days, and I could get rough out there. And the smell of gas fumes in that tiny little cabin with a bunch of people sitting around. Well, I was always glad to get to our destination. And then we get on to what they call the Sydney flyer that was a long touring car. And in the wintertime, it was cold. They used to have these curtains on the side we go as we call it flying along the road about 3040 miles an hour at the outside that was top speed and the curtains would be flapping in the wind would be blowing in your face and you'd be freezing to death. But the time he got into Victoria, you you'd be looking forward to getting to a hotel room where you could get warm. And by that time we were probably pretty hungry too because you didn't need on the boat and you didn't need on the on the bus going in. So it was a long drawn out journey. Rotten affair. And then I was just looking it up and in 1930 there was the old site tech brought out by Gavin Moore who started and he sold shares company and 1930 with the first trip and from Swartz Bay to to Fulford harbour What a relief that was to be able to drive your car and drive onto the ferry I think the ferry only carried about 10 or 12 cars but email last night you get on this thing and come across and comfort style. And of course as you know from there on in is built up and built up until Mr. Bennett took over and that's Bill Bennett's father and then we got the good very certainly we'll get very service. He certainly can't complain. Charge on what a very 25 cents per head. And I can't remember what the car rate was. I think it was probably around $1 or $1.25 that would bring the car and drive on the variable pricing. Well, why should they do time today? I can't renew remember that. I have a fine. Oh yes. Oh yes. Your boy that was a treat, to be able to get to Victoria and do your shopping and come back home one day. That was really something. Yes, those are the days and of course our roads were not very pleasant. They did a lot of ground flying around with dust in the summertime mud and the wintertime, no.

Unknown Speaker 10:03
And things have changed a lot. Yes, quite a few, the item is picking up them. But I remember when I was a kid,

Unknown Speaker 10:18
I used to go to my uncle's place, which is about the north side of the aisle for Christmas, this was before, weren't very many cars on the road in those days, and he had an old model T. And that was quite a bit of a journey going out there in the snow. And it was cold and Maltese and you put along and hope for the best. And all of a sudden, you get a follow up in the middle of this somewhere around St. Mary's lake, there was hardly any room for two cars to pass, or you just hope that you wouldn't see another car. And there again, it was quite a little effort. But people didn't mind it in those days. Nowadays, gosh, if you haven't got a plus vehicle to drive around, then you're here.

Unknown Speaker 11:12
You can't walk to shut this thing off. Like you're gonna get the food for me. We also had

Unknown Speaker 11:26
several fruit trees on the farm. We had peach trees, we had plum trees, we had all kinds of apple trees to see when the northern spy the the yellow transparent, and to the promise with the eight phones, the owner of the red foam, I forget the name of it. And we're prunes, prune trees, and peach trees. 123 go right up the whole side of our house, you could take beautiful peaches from the top picker window. And they're huge, you know, and we're beautiful. And what we used to do, and all the farmers around here, down there, and Fruitvale, which was down on Scott road, they had a big fruit farm down there. And just about every farmer on the island had fruit of some sort. So there again, when the CPR booth came in the unloading time was unknown, unloading freight, in the Ganges Harbor. And in those days, it was all done by hand truck, not by forklifts or anything like that. rd. And they used to, they had two wheels on the front that used to push the thing. And they weren't light. And they load those little trucks up and they run like lasers to get up the ramp and the tide was low, they have a hard time getting up there. And then somebody come along and push or pull as the case may be to help to get up. And they'd unload all their equipment. And then they start loading the freight on. Well, this would take anything up to two hours. Okay, with all especially in the fruit seeds. There was so much and eggs was another thing that was sent off file. And all this stuff had to be loaded and loaded carefully. Because the apples would bruise very easily the teachers with the ruse, so they had to be careful. And there was a big market in this on this island in those days for fruit. Then what happened after quite a while after I guess, logging came in. And I remember when it was about suiting to different logging of this was that that's not a very long ago. And a lot of the farmers Well Guess I'll go logging there you go the fruit trees and they let them go and of course, today the if you have run I suppose you have noticed tell the truth trees are all rocking, you know, rocking and all old growth and they've never been groomed properly in that manner. So of course that's why we have so much left but the in the old days it was terrific.