Monday, June 25, 2018

A Summer Vacation Memory by A.M.Westerling

I love camping. If you’ve been reading my posts here at the Canadian Historical Brides Blogspot at all, you know I’ve mentioned camping from time to time. I have my parents to thank for that. They were avid campers as well and with our little trailer in tow, they took us on the most amazing adventures up and down the west coast of the US and Canada. Everywhere from the Redwoods in northern California, up through Oregon and Washington and even one year a ferry ride from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert.

But my favorite family camping memories were the trips we took to Pacific Rim National Park, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. In those days, the only road access was over a restricted logging road from Port Alberni out to the coast. Restricted logging meant you had to complete the trip either before 8 am or after 5 pm. We’d leave spot on 5 pm and it was a harrowing 3 hour trip on a rugged (and I mean rugged) gravel (barely) road. Think potholes the size of moon craters and Texas pea gravel (which in oil field slang means large rocks the size of your fist).

The reward was at the other end. We’d hit the small patch of paved highway linking Ucluelet and Tofino, turn north and a few miles up the road we’d get our first glimpse of Long Beach. The unforgettable sight immediately erased the weariness of days of travel to get there.

We camped on the beach right up against the driftwood, tossed there by winter storms long passed. Coastal rain didn’t faze my Dutch mom and dad - my dad strung tarps and plastic sheeting everywhere. Not the prettiest but we were warm and dry, which is the main thing when out camping. 

My three siblings and I would paddle in the (cold!) waves and when the tide was low, explore the little island nudging the beach.(You can see it in the above picture.) We’d watch orcas in the bay, or find a sunny sheltered spot among the driftwood to read. 

On particularly miserable rainy days, the whole family would pile in the station wagon and head into Tofino where my mom bought fresh salmon and shrimps right off the docks, direct from the fishermen.

And we’d hike, either beach combing right out our door, or on rain forest trails in search of ship wrecks on remote beaches. 

There was always time to explore the tidal pools, fascinating mini worlds that only came to life when the tide was low. 

Wherever we hiked, we’d leave a trail of peanut shells – the snack of choice! 
I could go on and on as the memories keep cascading but I think you get the idea. After a few years, camping on the beach was banned so we moved on to other adventures but I’ll never forgot those trips.

The pictures I’ve shared are from a vacation with our boys – a lot has changed since those early years but the natural beauty still remains.

We also took our boys to Barkerville. The ghost town impressed me so much, I went back with my husband a second time and we plan to visit it again sometime soon. That’s why I chose it as the setting for my contribution to the Canadian Historical Brides Collection! I enjoyed writing it, I hope you enjoy it too. 😀

Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Tlicho Raven Story, A Tale For Our Times

Here is a Tlicho Raven Story, based on the one told by Johnny Mantla to Allice Legat and reported in her “Walking the Land, Feeding the Fire.”

Once a very long ago, soon after the beginning, the animals lived like people. They had villages together, hunted and fished together and married one another. Not only that, they hunted and ate everything—and, for the sake of the story, other “villagers” must not have been on the menu.

Raven could fly and see everything, so he was always well fed. The other animals came to rely on him for news of the caribou on their yearly walk-about, and other important things hunters needed to know. In time, he became responsible to the others, whose feet could not leave the ground. Raven and Wolf were brothers-in-law; Raven’s sister had married to Wolf and Wolf’s sister was married to Raven. Both Wolf and Raven were  Ka’owae and each had many followers.  Wolf was a mighty hunter and provided plenty of food and so he had many followers who ate up all the caribou he brought to camp quickly.

Raven, though, was more powerful than Wolf, because he flew everywhere and could see everything for miles around. He brought back information that everyone used to hunt. He was The indispensable man!

Then, one year, the caribou did not come and the village was starving. Raven and Wolf met as usual and sat down to speak with one another. Wolf said, “My wife, your sister, and everyone else in this village us starving. We can hardly move around we are so weak and hungry. Have you seen the caribou? Have you seen any game for us to hunt in all your flying around?”

Raven replied that he hadn’t seen any caribou or any other game. “We are all in the same predicament,” he said.

Wolf kept his counsel. He watched his old friend Raven, who was began telling a story to the others, to distract them from their hunger. Wolf thought Raven seemed very comfortable and pleased with himself.  While Raven was the center of attention, Wolf called some kids over and asked them to sneak a look into Raven’s traveling pack. “I think there is some meat in there,” he said.

The kids did as they were told and Raven never saw them. They came back to Wolf very upset, saying that Raven did have dried caribou in his traveling pack.

After he’d finished his story, Raven excused himself saying it was late and he must go home now. Wolf agreed and Raven left.

After he'd gone, Wolf asked two men with strong ink’on  (spirit power) to follow Raven. They watched him fly until sunrise. It became very hard for them to see, but one, who’d rubbed charcoal on his lids, had strong magic and could still see Raven landing at his village. And what else did he see? All the caribou they’d been waiting for, trapped behind a snow fence!

Wolf sent for Fox and told him he must travel to Raven’s home, set fire to his tail, and leap in among the caribou. The caribou, who panicked at the smell of smoke, would jump right over the snow fence and run away. They’d even forget how much they hated the feel of snow on their bellies in their haste to get away.  (This is why the tip of the fox’s tail in now black.)

Well, Raven was very angry when that happened. He’d become greedy and proud and imagined all the caribou were his.

Wolf and the others came and told Raven how wrong he was. “We are here in this land to help one another, all of us living here together. Were you willing to let your sister, my wife,  starve?“

Wolf and the other villagers put Raven in the middle of the circle and lectured him sternly. This was serious; people had come close to death! It was well known that those who hide or steal food from the group can be cast out. Everyone took turns telling how they and their families had suffered from Raven’s greed.

A decision had to be made about Raven. Some wanted to shun him, but Wolf, who was Ka’owae said, “Raven, from now on, you will only eat dead animals. People will live around you, but you will eat their garbage. Your power is gone; you can no longer kill for your food.”

And so that is how Raven lives today. He drinks the dirty water others pour away. When garbage is tossed out, he eats it. It is a humiliating and pitiful way for a once great hunter to live.

Johnny Mantla finished his story by saying: “That is how powerful Ka’owae were in the old days. They are the ones who are supposed to take care of the people, but even Ka’owae can become lose their way and grow greedy. When this happens, the people can no longer depend on them. People who do not think about others should not be followed."

~~Juliet Waldron

See all my historical novels @

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Vacations by Katherine Pym


Ferryland Mansion where the Kirkes lived in the 17th century

I would like to go to Ferryland, Newfoundland/Labrador, and see the archaeological dig there of the manor house and plantation Sir David and Lady Sara lived in for several years. Sir David was recalled to London for crimes against Parliament he did not commit whilst living in Ferryland and never returned but Lady Sara did. She made a very successful go of it and as a result, she is considered the foremost female entrepreneur of Canada.

Archeological dig of the colony of Avalon
There was also litigation against Sir David by the Baltimore family, who said the Kirkes were interlopers when in fact their sire abandoned the colony as too cold and inhospitable. The family sailed to Maryland, where the weather was more temperate and made it a Roman Catholic colony.  

Sir David took over the Colony of Avalon from Lord Baltimore, but the advertisements of Ferryland and its museum say little about  it...

More of the site

...or of David and Sara, the work they did to make a success of this beautiful new land. 

That’s why I want to go there, to see if it is a bias toward Baltimore, and if so, why not mention the Kirkes, who in my mind hold tighter sway on the site.

I’d also like to see Pillars of Avalon in their gift shop. After all, it’s real history of a real place, which should be attended to.

But news is coming from that location the museum is not doing well. They are suffering from a lack of funds. They may be gone before I can find my way to the site, which would be an arduous trip, over several airplane hops across the vast territory of our lands. 

And there you have it.

NOTE: Interesting articles below for your perusal. 

Many thanks to Wikicommons Public Domain

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Remembering the Military History of New Brunswick

Fort Howe, protection from the American War of Independence.

In researching my novel set in New Brunswick, Canada, in the eighteenth century, I needed a fort for my heroine’s father to be stationed. Several forts had been built around the Bay of Fundy coast. Unfortunately, none have survived. The French constructed forts during the seventeenth century when France occupied the area they’d named New France.

England took possession in 1763 after the Seven Years War (also called the French and Indian War) and built their own forts.

 I traveled to the port city of Saint John in New Brunswick in May 2017, and discovered a lone block house on a hill behind the town. Thus, I ferreted out the history.

 In 1777, Brigade-Major Gilfred Studholme was sent to Parr Town (future Saint John) to ensure the settlement’s security. Two years before the American colonies to the south had erupted in rebellion against Britain. American privateers were raiding the harbor and encampments up the St John River.

On the limestone knoll that overlooked the harbor, Studholme’s detachment along with local inhabitants built Fort Howe, named for General William Howe, commander of the North American British forces.

The fort was surrounded by a palisade of massive, pointed wooden logs. A blockhouse sat on the west side with a barracks and residences in the center. The Royal Fencible Americans, Studholme’s regiment, manned the blockhouse on the eastern side. The coastal end of the Appalachian Mountains formed a part of the fortifications. Fort Howe provided security, and doled out food during starvation conditions, for the area.

 Even the famous—or infamous—Benedict Arnold, traitor to some, hero to others, lived at the fort in the later 1780s. General Arnold had started out on the American side, but then, feeling underappreciated, and underpaid, he joined the British forces.

 A fire destroyed Fort Howe in 1819. Two hundred years later I stood on the isolated hill where a plaque commemorates the fort. A reconstructed Block House is the only evidence a great fort once existed here.

 I incorporate life at the fort in my novel, On a Stormy Primeval Shore:

In 1784, Englishwoman Amelia Latimer sails to the new colony of New Brunswick in faraway Canada. She’s to marry a man chosen by her soldier father. Amelia is repulsed by her betrothed, and refuses to marry him. She is attracted to a handsome Acadian trader, Gilbert, a man beneath her in status. Gilbert must fight the incursion of English Loyalists from the American war to hold onto his land and heritage. Will he and Amelia find peace when events seek to destroy their love and lives.

E-book and paperback are available at Amazon and All Markets

For more information on me and my books, please visit my website:
Diane Scott Lewis grew up in California, traveled the world with the navy, edited for magazines and an on-line publisher. She lives with her husband in Pennsylvania.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

I Remember When....... by Victoria Chatham

For the month of June, we are repeating a topic that proved very popular this time last year. We all have our memories, but which ones stand out the most for you? Mine revolves around my first formal riding lesson on a pretty, dapple-grey pony called Greybird.  

My parents could never understand where my passion for horses came from. Neither of them was interested in the creatures that decorated the edges of my school notebooks and galloped through my dreams at night. I sat on my first pony when I was about five-years-old. We used to go to Cornwall to spend summers with my aunt and uncle and I was on the beach with the ponies every day. I walked behind the rides with a basket picking up after them, I fed them handfuls of hay and at the end of the day got to ride one back to the stables. There was never any question about where I was or what I was doing, and I loved those summers.  

Moving around as we did meant that we often were living nowhere near any riding stables but when I was eight-years-old we moved to Pembroke Dock, in South Wales. Here, as luck had it, I found a riding stable but, I think in an effort to discourage me, my parents insisted I earned my riding money by doing chores. I cleaned my dad’s army boots and the brass buttons on his uniform. I dusted and swept and dried dishes for my mum. I became an early recycler by collecting empty beer bottles but don’t recall now how much I got paid for the empties, probably one penny per bottle, but it all added up to the five shillings required for an actual riding lesson.

So, on a brilliant Saturday afternoon with the sun shining out of a clear blue sky, the grass in
the paddock beside a Norman church long and very green, and with Pembroke Castle across the river in the background, I was taught how to properly mount a saddled pony (very different to the handfuls of mane required to assist in hoisting myself onto a pony’s bare back) and everything that came after.

That day is as clear now as it ever was and, yes, I am still as passionate about horses as I was then. These days though, my riding is restricted to a gentle trail ride or two every summer. The days of dressage and what show jumping (never my favourite riding activity) I did are in the past but I still think and dream about horses and, because I write historical fiction, include them in every story I write.