This history-making book gives readers a rare look at a mostly forgotten but dramatically important reality: rural life in the twentieth century. It is a selection of Gwendoline P. Clarke's colourful, richly detailed and heart-warming newspaper columns about day-to-day life on the one hundred acres she and her husband, “Partner, ” farmed near Milton, Ontario.
Gwen filed her stories weekly to the Acton Free Press
from April 1929 to August 1962 — years that drew her and her fellow Canadians into world-changing and nation-building events: the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War and the ups and downs of the economy, of which farming was always a central part. While keenly concerned by those events — especially the Second World War, with her son fighting overseas and her English relatives toughing out Hitler's bombing raids — Gwen never failed to entertain her readers with her stories of:
GWENDOLINE P. CLARKE
- milking, calving, feeding the chickens, planting and threshing
- the rise and fall of egg and milk prices
- trips to the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto
- the vicissitudes of every weather pattern the country could throw their way
- changes in farming technology, from horse-drawn plough to oil-burning and then gas-powered tractors and from hand milking to the wonders of the milking machine
- and the slow and rare acquisition of modern conveniences, from buggy to car, oil lamps to electricity, and crackly radio to flickering black-and-white TV
moved from England to Canada as a War Bride with her husband after the First World War. Besides being a columnist for the Acton Free Press
, she wrote articles for various Canadian and English newspapers and magazines and reported on Halton County Council meetings for the Milton and Acton papers. Gwendoline Clarke was a faithful and active member of the Scotch Block Women's Institute and an early advocate for the preservation of timberlands and local flora and fauna.