Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Farm Weeds Book of Clippings

This blog post tells about a large book, approximately 4 centimeters thick, that was given to me about 10 years ago by my Aunt Dodie.  It is called "Farm Weeds" and at the bottom of the cover it says Department of Agriculture Canada and the year 1906.  The original book was written by George Clark and James Fletcher and the 53 illustrations were done by Norman Criddle.  The front cover has an image of a burdock and the back is of purslane.  It likely belonged to my great grandfather, James Sinclair for use on his farm north of Oak River.

New editions of this book were released in 1909 and 1923 and the entire book can be read online here on Peel's Prairie Provinces Website though the University of Alberta library.  The original version was even reprinted in 2000.  A quote from page five says it was written at the direction of the Minister of Agriculture of the time, S.A. Fisher, due to
"considerable losses of the farmers of the western provinces owing to the presence of such a large percentage of foul weeds in the bountiful crop of 1905" (p.5)
Online searches for this book found a few well worn copies for sale at $60 and even $90.  They were unsold, mind you but still hard to believe it could be worth that much.  I say "could be" because when you open the book, you see...

 the weed book was used for a scrapbook and notebook!  The pages are mostly covered with clippings from the newspapers of the 20's and 30's.  There are mostly poems and lyrics to songs both well known and never heard before. 

The handwritten song "Little Sister's Gone To Sleep" would have been especially meaningful since the Sinclair family lost an infant daughter Wilhelmina in 1896.

It was compiled by my great aunt, Ellen Sinclair as is indicated inside the front cover, who never married but lived on the home farm all her life.  The poem below in her handwriting sums up her generous hospitality with the tea kettle always on and buns and sweets for all her guests.

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