Heritage: Our Manitoba Farmhouse

by Annie Coleman (Kerr) Sexton, published in Stanton Stats March 10, 1994. The house described was on the homestead Section 4-4-22 a mile and a half north of Whitewater Lake in Manitoba.

[Father] built a small house [with] not the best of lumber, [and] between the two walls he put groat, [which] was a mixture of sand and lime. It was warm but often seeped through the cracks in the boards. There were two windows and a door on the south side and one window on the north. There was a small pantry on the west side and stairs in the north west corner.

Upstairs there were three very small bedrooms, each with a small window. One was kept as and called the “spare room” and Mother did her best to keep it pretty.

A trap door in the floor led to an earth cellar. During the early years they were persecuted with bed bugs, a menace in the country. Father often had to get up at night and go around spearing them. After trying many things, they found Insect Powder a remedy. Mother had a life long dread of them. . .

When finances got better, Father added a lean-to kitchen and a bedroom large enough for two beds. Much later he added another lean-to to the kitchen. Lean-to’s were his idea of architecture.

Somehow Mother managed to get wall paper. That same paper stayed on for years. She always had window sills full of potted plants, mostly geraniums. I don’t remember the curtains except there were window shades.

In [the] early days she sewed whatever rags she had into long strips and when she had enough she got a woman to weave them in to a rag carpet. That was on the floor of what we called the “other room.”

The “other room” was then very important. Piece by piece Mother managed to get odd bits of furniture. Father bought an organ. We had enlarged pictures of Kerr grandparents and grandmother Noonan on the walls. The “other room” was heated with a big heater with Ising glass sides and it was fueled with soft coal.

With a real good fire that Ising glass would have glowed so nice, but, it never did [because] Mother never allowed anyone else to fuel the stoves and she was most careful of coal. A long string of pipes went from the stove, across the room and through the upstairs. The upstairs never suffered from heat. The heater was moved in the summer to an outside shop.