Harvesting oats back in the 1940s.

Harvesting oats back in the 1940s.

Farming long ago meant threshing your oats

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region

We’re not likely to witness this scene again, but 70 plus years ago, in 1940, it was pretty commonplace. Driving up Church Road today, this picture would be on your left, after you passed the intersection with Throup Road. This was the farm of Ralph Strong, who had married Jessie Cains, a granddaughter of the Charters family.

Threshing crews would move about the region, from Metchosin, Milnes Landing, Sooke and Otter Point, taking the responsibility in turn for threshing the grain from the major farms that produced feed for their own dairy cattle to hold them over the winter.  The men sweated and strained as they did the lifting and toting and feeding of sheaves into the maw of the machine in the dusty barnyard.  Meanwhile the women pulled roasts and pies out of the ovens of their woodstoves. The crews needed to be well fed to keep their energy renewed, and besides a robust lunch were given tea and pie breaks morning and afternoon so they could work till dusk.

This threshing outfit was operated by William Arden of Metchosin, kin of Eustace Arden who became the first lighthouse keeper at Sheringham Point, and for whom Eustace Road is named in downtown Sooke.  Ralph and Jessie Strong raised a son Wilf who married Margaret Lorimer, only daughter in the distinguished Lorimer family of North Sooke.

After the Strong family tenure on this property, it was purchased by John “Jake” Acreman who farmed there with his wife Loretta Moore for many years. When the Acremans moved to a spread where they could expand their cattle ranching at Elk Meadows, north of Campbell River, this land was developed into housing.  I wonder, would the dozens of residents who live at “The Ponds” today, believe that their home looked like this a few decades ago?

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said a lack of experienced crew members and the inability to detect navigational errors is what led to a Sooke search and rescue boat running aground in February 2019. (Twitter / @VicJRCC_CCCOS)
TSB: Sooke search and rescue boat crash caused by ‘misinterpretation of navigational information’

Crew members were lacking experience and unable to detect navigational errors

The intersection of Highway 14 and Grant Road was closed after Tuesday night’s windstorm. (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke makes progress on storm cleanup

Crews clear tons of debris from fallen trees to rocks

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

Staff at Artemis Place Secondary were shocked to find that one of the student-built greenhouses on the campus was stolen overnight on Jan. 11. (Artemis Place Society/Facebook)
Saanich school hopes to catch greenhouse thief red-handed

Student-built greenhouses stolen from Artemis Place Secondary on Jan. 11

Jail cell - Reporter file photo
Two of Greater Victoria’s most notorious teenaged killers have parole privileges extended

Derik Lord gets overnight privileges while Kelly Ellard’s are extended

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Seiners fill the waters between Comox and Nanoose Bay during roe herring fishery. file photo, Pacific Wild
Quota debate heats up on the eve of Vancouver Island herring fishery

Industry and conservationists weigh in how much catch should be allowed as DFO decision coming soon

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open to Jan. 15

Most Read