We don't have many photos of Marion when she was a child. Frankly it was always hard to get a shot of her as she would avoid the camera her whole life You can see her in the back row on the top step second from the left. She was the only daugher to John (Jack) and Ellen Hay. She was the middle child to older brother John and baby brother Bill. Marion was close to her Mom. She told us stories about how warm and welcoming her Mother was, how there was always coffee on the stove and enough food to go round for any guest who showed up at the door. There was a lovely story of her mom teachering Marion how to make biscuits. They of course cooked on a wood stove. Marion said her Mom got the recipe from a lady down the road who made the best fluffiest biscuits. So Marion and her Mom went about making biscuits. They turned out fine but rather flat. Not anything like the neighbours. So the next day her Mom took Marion by the hand and they walked over to the neighbours to watch her make biscuits. The neighbour was surprised as she had taken great care in copying out the recipe. The process was the same until the neighbour dipped her cup into the fresh bucket of milk. Marion's Mom said "Ah you didn't tell me to use the cream off the top you just said milk". Off home they went to make the perfect biscuit. It was those stories that Marion told us of her mother that became our only memories of our Grandmother Hay. When Grandma Hay died Marion was only 13. Marion had known her mother was sick but didn't realise until she over heard a friend's mother talking about her mother dying that her mother was going to leave her. When Marion's mother died she had to take took over the huge job of running the house. It's hard to imagine how a 13 year old girl could have handled that workload. She continued to go to school and finished high school, but at the same time making sure all the meals were cooked and the house was clean and the laundry was done for her father, our father Bill and later her father's brother Big Bill. They didn't have electrity, there was a hand pump for water in the kitchen and all cooking was done on a wood stove.
When our Mom and Dad got married near the end of the war, Mom told us that Dad had explained to her that he owed his upbringing to Marion and that if she needed help they would have to be there for her. Frankly Marion was alway there for our family. She always was giving.
Marion looked after her father, Granpa Hay until he had a stoke. Marion would have been about 43 years old then and she had never worked outside of the family home. This kind of a change this late in life might have broken someone else, Marion just did what she had to do to look after herself and make a future on her own. Marion moved in with her cousin Molly and went back to school refreshing her secretarial skills. After getting her skills up to scatch, now in her mid 40's she moved out into her first bachelor apartment on Cartier Street in Ottawa and her first full time job as a public servant.
I've always wanted a real stone wall fence. It is not a project you can finish on a weekend so while work was still occupying my time I wasn't going to tackle this dream. Now I don't have work as an excuse and so this weekend I started building my stone fence. I did my research, thank you Pinterest and found out what has to be done to build a dry stone wall.
Step one dig a ditch.
Your ditch has to be about 8 inches deep and about 2 feet wide. My property is solid clay so this time of year is the best time to be digging. Another couple of weeks later the clay would be rock hard and almost impossible to dig.
Step 2 start placing your rocks.
The last couple of weeks I've been collecting rocks from around the property. We live in Lanark County where rocks are the most prolific crop in any field. The blades of the John Deere lawn mower are always finding rocks sticking up through the grass so we have started digging up the worst offenders.
Step 3.....Keep stacking rocks uptil you hit the 2 foot mark. That's as high a jump I want. I plan to have a rail over the top.
That's as far as I got today. I ran out of rocks so tomorrow I'll have to go out and gather more. The project continues.