Rus Articles Journal

Canada. Wildfires, waterways. Episode 7.

(A fragment from the Canadian book of E. Kolyer about the woods, the fires, floods and other disasters - and how to resist to them)

... So, I wrote the long letter to Department of protection of water resources of department of land and forest grounds. Having depicted the situation which developed around a stream Meldram I emphasized the confidence that repair of the beaver dams located in the remote places of the top part of a stream and an irrigation of the marshy soil would become the only fruitful solution. We undertook to perform independently all work, without asking anybody for the help and without demanding remuneration for work if the department authorizes our undertaking and will provide protection of the dammed water after repair of dams. It would be silly to begin work if before it is finished, farmers take away the dammed water.

the Letter left, and soon we received the answer:

“… We consider that nothing Meldram will give your plan for increase in an annual amount of water in a stream“.

So also declared to us - politely, briefly and cold. Formal reply, usual for all similar cases. Here is how the department of protection of water resources “encouraged“ us.

But if the letter also spoiled our mood for any moment, it did not unsettle us. There was one person whom we could address for support, and Lilian reminded me of him.

- Why don`t you acquaint Mr. Muna with the project? - she when we digested refusal of the ministry offered.

- Charlie Mun! - I raised eyebrows. - Devil take it, Charlie Mun! - And I ran from a table to a door and back. - And why is also not present?!

Charlie Mun was the largest land owner in the valley. Its farm was one of half-dozen of farms scattered on the lower Chilkotin`s pastures. He slightly stooped when walking as he is to aged people, approaching the seventh ten, especially when fifty of them are given to hard, but honest work. The Englishman on the birth, Charlie Mun arrived to Chilkotin at the end of the 19th century and began to work at one of farms for thirty dollars a month and harch. Having begun with such modest activity, over time he created something like the small cattle breeding empire where in 1931 there were already three thousand heads of hertfordsky cattle and several thousands of acres of the processed and fenced earth. the success it was obliged by

not to a happy occurence, but to a hard work, sober mind and ability it is good to conduct economy. It had

the unlimited right for local water resources - nobody could receive water here while requirements Muna were not met.

Here this farmer also addressed we for support which to us could not - or did not want - to render department of protection of water resources.

I led it to absolutely other result!

“What you did there, at stream sources, - Mun in response to our letter reported, - it will not be able to worsen a situation here, in the valley. I always considered that extermination of beavers is the main reason for that stalemate to which we got. My opinion is as follows: begin what you conceived. Let`s look what from this will leave“.

At that moment us quite suited his answer. If the largest land owner blessed our undertaking - what still to wish us? Unless only, that the Almighty sent snow winter and rainy summer!

Subsequently snow winters appeared more than enough. But all this time we had to live somehow on something. And we had no other sources of existence, except the wood. Its gifts were not rich - but the wood generously shared with us what had.

The ingenuity became a keynote of all our life. We tried to use everything that came into the view practically.

Meat of deer went to us to food, and the skin served as material for clothes.

the Skin of the deer got at a pond in the wood still hung highly on a tree where coyotes could not get it. It badly smelled. On a skin blood lumps were baked, and on them larvae of flies crept. But the skin did not suffer from it. After we with Lilian scraped out her, there were some crumbs of meat, but it was insufficiently even for insects.

in thought watched Some time of Lilian at a skin, and then reminded me: Vizi have no

- footwear.

Thinking that continuation will not follow, I was silent, interrogatively looking at Lilian, but it right there added:

- I will try to tan a cervine skin. - It was told by such tone as if to tan a skin did not make any work. - Also I will make couple of moccasins for Vizi, - she told also simply.

- And you sometime tanned skins? - skeptically I asked, without doubting that I will receive the negative answer. there is no

- but Lala … And I saw how it did it.

- Ah, Lala!. It was told

by such tone that Lilian on a face had an expression of obstinacy, and her chin was slightly pushed forward.

of Poluzakryv of an eye, I zabubnit:

- Lala placed a drag-net for smoky black grouses, and they came across there. She dug out a root of a wild sunflower the perfected stick and fried it on coals as we fried potato …

Ya slightly slightly opened eyes.

- As you think, you could catch a smoky black grouse *?

- If it was required, - she parried. Then I told

conciliatory tone:

- Of course, you could. But now is not present smoky black grouses, only white partridges and a dijackpot **. And I can kill them with a shot from a rifle.

- At Lala was not rifles. Only a drag-net, - and, having stated it, Lilian suddenly was softened and smiled.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

* the Smoky black grouse (Dendragopus) - types of this sort are found in the woods of the western mountainous areas of Canada. Large dark-the male, gray with bluish outflow, has body length more than 50 cm

** Canadian a dijackpot (Canachites canadensis) - is externally similar to a hazel grouse, but is more dark and larger than it (length of a body of 38 cm). meets in northern fir forests of North America. It is very trustful - she can be killed with a stone or a bludgeon. Unfortunately, as soon as in places of its dwelling people appear, it disappears.


Having used change of her mood, I amicably offered:

- Tomorrow we will begin to tan skin as it was done by Lala, but you should direct me. I did not see how Lala processed skins.

Appeared, it is not so difficult. We wetted a skin in a tank with warm water and left there for three days. Then hung up it on the cleared log and scratched out wool, the remains of meat and dirt the knife made of an edge of an old sickle. As a result the skin became almost snowy - white.

after that we took it two days in dense soapsuds and then dried up. Now it was possible to grease it with fat. Lala used for this purpose bear fat which we did not have, and it was necessary to grease a skin with precious lard.

I once again we lowered a skin in soapsuds to clear it of fat. After that the skin was required to be stretched properly.

We tied its edges to a strong wooden frame and pulled ropes until they did not become hard as violin strings. Then were taken the whole day, patiently pounding all skin. At the same time used the stone fixed in the split stick with keen edges.

After such processing a skin became soft and flexible as the thinnest velvet. And now it was ready for fumigating.

to receive exactly so much smoke how many it is necessary, I dug a hole, made fire there and covered fire with fir cones. Having constructed over a hole a construction in the form of a wigwam and having pulled on it a skin, we closed it body cloths. the skin accepted

In several hours of fumigating zolotisto - a brown shade, and it was possible to do gloves, moccasins or a coat of it. Lilian`s

worked on moccasins for the son of the whole two days, but already from the first stitches it was visible that they will be good.

- Now my turn, - I told. - When you sew couple of moccasins to me? Lilian`s

darted the estimating glance at the skin remains.

- Should be made for Vizi couple more of mittens. And then already for moccasins there will not be enough skin.

- I Should kill still a deer, - I answered. Lilian`s

inspected stone pots with meat and shook the head:

- we have a lot more meat. So far we do not need a deer. Wait until at us venison comes to an end. Then you will kill a deer and I will make to you moccasins.

Not who other as Lilian with an ingenuity peculiar to it thought up as it is favorable to use fish - skvo.

We sat three together on the bank of the lake and watched how fish laps in water. It was much. It seemed that about one fish is the share of each foot of a surface of the water. Suddenly Lilian declared


- to us should grow up for itself vegetables.

- Vegetables?! - I knocked about the earth with a boot sock. - On this earth and without fertilizers which - what hay we, perhaps, will also grow up, but only not vegetables!

- And still I am going to part a flower bed, - without being confused, it continued. - That for the house without flower bed!

Here I burst out laughing.

- Well of course, at us roses, orchids, gladioluses and anything will blossom! But think only - not to mention height (and we are at the height about three and a half thousand feet above sea level, and frosts happen here nearly an every month) - the soil is so fruitless here that … I doubt whether you on it will grow up at least one potato. And if it works well, it would be of the size of a makhonky ball. Lilian`s

stamped a leg.

- We will grow up potato here, and besides good! And besides, we will have carrots and beet, peas and cabbage … Really to you it is not clear that here it is all about fertilizer?

- It is all about fertilizer, - I imitated and continued:

- In - the first, from us it is very far to places where fertilizers are on sale. In - the second if we could also reach there, such purchase is too expensive for us. Of course, by next spring at us in a shed some amount of horse manure will be gathered, but …

- All the same have not enough of it, - interrupted me Lilian. And then, having pointed to the lake, added: - Here where all fertilizer which is necessary for us, and besides - the best!

“Lake, fertilizer“ - is absolutely unclear. But Lilian only rocked the head:

- Fish - skvo!

Now it sounded not so strange.

- Ah the hell to whom it could come to mind! You thought up something? Lilian`s

sat down and for about a minute kept silent, enjoying the triumph - and only then continued:

- in the Spring when they leave the lake and will go up a stream to places of spawning, we will be able to catch them the whole bags. And then we will spread out them in several layers on the earth and we will plow up with the soil. And then we will be able to grow up almost all vegetables necessary for us.

never came to my mind that fish - skvo can be used as fertilizer. Lilian somehow tried to roast her, but did not leave this invention of absolutely nothing. Not that that very much is tasteless - just in it there were so many sharp bones that it was possible to manage to starve to death until you separate them from meat.

Lilian weaved Next spring out of cords a big fishing net, and when fish - skvo moved to places of spawning, we constructed a stone dam in line with a stream, having left an opening in the middle. Lilian held a network at this “muzzle“, we with Vizi rose above and then went by wading back, to a dam, striking with sticks water and shouting. We stumbled about slippery stones and fell in water, but we managed to drive the whole pack of fishes into a trap.

When collected a lot of fish ashore, we loaded with it jute bags and moved on the earth acre cleared of the wood. Then covered the soil with a layer of fish and plowed up it.

after crops a ground stank Three weeks all around, but when the smell disappeared, through the dark friable soil young shoots began to make the way - and to the middle of summer we had a kitchen garden to which any gardener raising vegetables for sale would envy! Lala never mentioned

fishes - skvo as in their her time was almost not. But then a lot of trout was found! Lala told how Indians threw the fishing nets through the narrow mouth of a stream Meldram and pulled out them the next morning heavy from fat pink trout.

Is later when we examined coast of a stream in search of traces of a mink and other fur animals, more than once we met the remains of wooden rafts which inflated from water on which Indians swam once.

But all this was in times, gold for beavers, when lakes shallowed and every summer the fast cold stream ran through dams, and in a stream from its sources to the mouth always as much as necessary freshened flowing water.

After destruction of beavers and impoverishment of water-supplies in dams the stream shoaled and the course in many places dried up it. The pure cool current disappeared - and the trout died. With disappearance of a trout fish - skvo bred, having captivated a vacant place.

Once in the evening, having settled down on a bryovnyshka at a hut and thinking all of the same, I carelessly asked Lilian:

- As you think whether there will come day when we with you are able to go down to a stream, to throw a rod and to pull out many trout? Lilian`s

combed hair, accurately braiding them for the night. And having only finished this work and having quite satisfied it with results, she at last answered:

- Yes, if return beavers.

in tone of the answer forced me to look at Something more attentively on it and to tell:

- You really think that beavers will sometime return? She answered with

to me with deep gravity:

- Of course and. And unless you it do not think?


The translation from English under A. Ryabokon`s edition