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Animal Power on Story Net

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Dorothy Phillips delved into her ancestors' diaries for


Animal Power

Recording Date:- 03-03-2013

Storyteller:- Jane Allen

Province:- Quebec

Language:- English

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Dorothy Phillips delved into her ancestors' diaries for

Dorothy Phillips delved into her ancestors' diaries for insight into the old rhythms of life around Gaspé Bay before the coming, in the early 1900s, of what she termed "the new way" and on up to the "fast way" that opened the second half of the 20th century.

For the better part of two hundred years, barnyard animals figured centrally in the lives of most Gaspesians and they loom endearingly in Phillips' 2010 collection of writings, entitled Twelve Stories of Farm Animals and An Account of How They and Their people Lived from the 1700s tothe 1960s.

Born in 1926, Phillips is a retired school teacher and historian with deep roots in this part of Quebec, which her family has farmed since the 1860s. In this selection, she offers sketches of her homesteading forbears and their neighbours as they bend to chores cultivating fields, mending fences andminding livestock - often with hand-made tools.

Horses were indispensable members of each and every farming household prior to 1960 and caring for their well-being was of paramount importance. in summers, Phillips records, when the heavy ploughing and seeding was complete, the farmers at Gaspé Bay grazed their animals in the lush marshland that grew round the mouths of the Dartmouth, York and St. john Rivers.

By custom, the marshlands were recognized as the common property of all the Bay's landholders.

Narrated by Jane Allen.
Produced for StoryNet by Karen Molson.