Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Old MacDonald's Farm...really

a despondent garage supported by grapevines
Lakelands - the MacDonald's resort I worked at in the early 1960's
photo courtesy PEC Museum & Archives, thanks Krista
 I recently  returned from a lovely week's camping at Sandbanks Provincial Park. The wooded campground I stayed in was on Keith MacDonald's farm.

I recall our dad's excitement as he took us on a tour of the developing campgrounds, back in the 70's or 80's. From farm fields and sugar bush were carved reasonably private wooded sites (with electical boxes discretely placed at intervals - no, I am too old to sleep on the rocks and pinecones, my little trailer needs a plug-in) connected by winding roadlets.

So much history in this former homestead.
Had a great chat with a farmhand, baling soybean straw
History, theirs and mine. At one time MacDonald's ran a family resort on the lakefront property across from the house, with a view of the Outlet beach. One summer, my first job was to sweep shadflies from the exterior and does one do that? The job I recall most is washing dishes in the deep steel sinks. But what I really remember was evenings with the girls (all older and wiser than I) at Martins, a local hangout. Dancing to the jukebox, evading the attentions of the boys of summer. Being a teenager for a rare time in my life.
Original farm lane, now on park property

The old farmhouse is being examined for heritage pedigree - brick and fieldstone foundation
beneath the 'improving' 1970's stucco 
Today, the resort is long gone. Only a flagstone path through the lawn leads to the site of the old lodge. The crumbling breakwater recalls moonlight nights by the lake. The screened porch, the dining room with all the windows, the memorable chocolate sauce that the cook made, and shared with even the girls...can that really have happened, in this same life-time?
Behind the house, a most photogenic door. Could this be the privy?

I had a great 'jaw' with a farmer, who has worked for the farm for 12 years. Because although the farm is Provincial Park now, with the occasional brown sign asserting ownership of trails, the wonderful light soil is still cultivated on some sort of lease. I was curious about the round bales being loaded - straw, not oat or wheat - my suspicions born out, soybean! This year, we'll need all the bedding we can get.

Further along Co.Rd. 12, a plaque with the MacDonald pedigree
basks in the lakeside sun

The view from the house, across the road to the site of the former lodge
A scion of the family still lives further along the lakeshore road. Someone (perhaps the family member Keith, who became an MPP) has set up a plaque honouring the family's settlement history in the area.

They settled, they cleared forest and built prosperous farms.

Irony...the farmhand tells me that soon, the lease will expire, and the fields of corn, winter wheat already planted in anticipation of next spring, and those soybeans, will be replanted...into trees.
An evocative farm building...similar to the one we summer girls converted to
a dorm by judicious use of hairspray and Buddy Holly

No comments:

Post a Comment