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Photos and story from the “Capturing Collective Memories” Library – The following historical piece was written by Lee Darrach (1916-2000), son of Hector Alexander Darrach (1883-1971). It offers us insight on how farms along the Clyde River supplemented their income by fishing on the Clyde River and adjoining West River.

Hector Darrach Home (1)

Hector and Ina Darrach’s Farm, Clyde River Road

Hector Alexander Darrach was born on his father’s farm in Clyde River on September 8, 1883. (editor’s note: his father’s farm is currently owned by Sidney Poritz.) His great grandfather, Duncan Darrach emigrated from Scotland to this country and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery, St. Catherines. His father, John Darrach and his grandfather, also called John, are buried in the Clyde River Presbyterian Church Cemetery.

The John Darrach Family

There were eleven children in this family: Florence Catherine, John Duncan, Neil Archibald, Frances Catherine, Daniel John, Lee Grant, Hector Alexander, Angus Fulford, Isobel Jane, Eldon J., Lillian May.

Florence married Samuel Ross, a building contractor and they settled in Dorchester, Mass. John married Beatrice MacDonald and they made their home in Quincy, Mass. Neil married Dicey MacLean and they settled on a farm in Clyde River. Frances married Frederick Beer and they made their home on the Bannockburn Road. Daniel never married and moved to Western Canada and worked on the railroad. Lee married Lottie Dixon from Bannockburn Road. He was a carpenter by trade. Hector married Ina Beer from Bannockburn Road and they made their home on a farm in Clyde River. Fulford was married twice, first to Ethel MacLaughlin from Clyde River and then to Ethel Berry from Nova Scotia. Eldon married Margaret MacPhee from New Haven and they made their home in Brandon, Manitoba. Isobel and Lillian died in their infancy.

Hector Darrach attended Clyde River school and as a young man purchased an adjoining farm to his father’s farm and married Ina Mary Beer, daughter of James Beer from Bannockburn Road.

The James Beer Family

There were six children in this family: Maggie Jane, Amy Ann, Saida Elizabeth, Frederick Boyd, Ina Mary and Mamie.

Maggie married William Younker and they made their home on a farm in Kingston. Amy married a Mr. Mayhew and they farmed in Clyde River. Saida married Wesley Hood and they settled on a farm in Cornwall. Frederick married Frances Darrach from Clyde River and they made their home in Bannockburn Road. Ina married Hector Darrach and they farmed in Clyde River. Mamie died at the age of two years in 1896. 

The Hector Darrach Family

Five children were born in this family: Hector ‘Ralph’, Margaret ‘Marie’, John James, Lee Daniel, and Amy ‘Joyce’.

Ralph was twice married, first to Jean MacLeod, from Milton and Della MacLeod from Long Creek. They farmed in St. Catherines. Marie married Wilfred Stretch from Long Creek and they made their home on a farm there. John married Marguerite Crosby and they farmed in Clyde River. Lee, the author of this biography, married Eleanor MacFadyen and they made their home in West Royalty. Lee worked for the Civil Service. Joyce married Norman MacKenzie from Long Creek and they settled on a farm there. Hector built a new house on his newly-acquired land and farmed there successfully for most of his life.

FARM LIFE

Growing up on this farm in the ‘twenties’ was little different from that experienced by others on adjacent farms. The completion of farm chores was required of us siblings. Weeding and harvesting of farm crops and caring for farm animals, all required hard and often tedious work.

If drudgery was a part of farm work during the summer, the autumn and winter months of the year were a far different story. The location of our farm at the confluence of the Clyde and West Rivers gave us the opportunity to participate in three off-farm activities that were of great interest to us as well as supplementing farm income. These activities were the oyster fishery, the smelt fishery and mud digging.

OYSTER FARMING

In the autumn of each year, oyster fishing dories would arrive at our shore to begin this annual fishery. Many farm owners and farm workers as well as fishers from as far away as Charlottetown participated. The Charlottetown fishers constructed shacks and ate and slept there during the fishing season that lasted for approximately two months.

Oysters were hand raked using oyster fishing tongues from and along the channels of the Clyde and West Rivers with the greatest effort being made during the low tides. At this time upwards to one hundred dories fishing these channels so close to each other that from a distance they appeared as a long black line.

At high tide the fishers could be observed at the shore culling their catches in their dories. What a delight it was on warm autumn days to watch these fishers work on their catches, to sample these delicious shellfish and to row a dory up and down the calm waters along the shore!

I particularly remember the Biso family from Charlottetown, Thomas and his two sons Wilfred and Peter.  Although Thomas was one of the older fishers, he could rake more oysters than most others despite a permanent injury to one of his hands.

Some Friday nights my father would drive the Biso family to their home on Riley’s Lane, Charlottetown. Sitting in the back seat of the Model T Ford on that trip to Charlottetown, despite the cold, was the most interesting time of the week. Mrs. Biso would have sausage sizzling on the coal fired stove and these along with “store bought” bread provided a welcome change to our usual humble fare of “home made” bread and potatoes.

Every week Charles Earl of Earl Fisheries from Charlottetown with his helper, a Mr. MacRae, would arrive at our farm yard with their truck to buy the oyster catches which were taken up from the shore in bags. The oysters were emptied into a “measuring” barrel provided by Mr. Earl.  Mr. MacRae who was a powerfully built man would shake the barrel as the oysters were being dumped in much to the displeasure of the fishers who could see their returns for their hard week’s work diminish with each shake of the barrel.  They received ten dollars for each barrel. Experienced fishers could rake in excess of one barrel of oysters each day.

SMELT FISHERY

The fishing of smelts was carried out on the Clyde and West Rivers commencing each season as soon as the ice formed – usually about Christmas time.

Each ”enterprise” laid claim to one or two of the same “berths” year after year and their claims were usually respected by the other “enterprises”. Each “enterprise” usually consisted of one fisher, two brothers, or a father and son. The spacing between each “berth” was laid down by “regulation”.

Disputes over “berths” were not uncommon. Clayton Shaw, the fishery officer from Charlottetown, would be summoned to arbitrate between disputing parties.

Smelt fishing nets were constructed of twine with a mesh size fine enough to retain the fish and were commonly referred to as  “bag” nets. The mouth of the net when open and held in place was rectangular in shape and measured approximately twenty feet by eight feet. The bag and trap extended back from the mouth some twenty to thirty feet. The far end of the trap could be opened to allow the catch to be removed from the net.

The net was held in position in the channel of the river by two large poles each fitted with two iron slip rings and sharpened on the large end of each. Two holes were then made in the ice the width of the net apart. The top and bottom of the mouth of the nets were fastened to the slip rings, the poles placed through the holes in the ice, and firmly anchored in the mud of the riverbed. Much smaller poles called “set” poles were then fastened to the bottom slip rings thus enabling the mouth of the net to be opened and closed from the surface of the ice. A narrow opening in the ice between the two poles was made to allow the net to be placed in the water and to be hauled out of the water to remove the fish from the trap of the net.

When the net was not “set”, the mouth was held closed by fastening the bottom slip ring to the top slip ring at either end of the net. To set the net, the set pole, which was fastened to each of the bottom slip rings, was pushed downward.

The net was set at low tide by opening the mouth of the net to fish the incoming tide. The mouth was left open for three to four hours and then closed by pulling up the set poles. The net was hauled out through the narrow opening in the ice and the catch removed from the trap. The net would then be placed back in the water and would be set again on the next tide.

Catches varied from a few pounds to a few hundred pounds. At our “enterprise” which involved two “berths”, the catch would be taken by horse and sleigh to the farmyard and spread on ice until frozen. They were then graded and packed into containers for shipment to the Fulton Fish Market in New York City. Prices varied from five to ten cents per pound.

Because of the nature of tides, smelt fishing was carried on at various times of the day or night. During the nighttime, the sight of the fishers with their lanterns moving from their homes to their berths on the river to set or haul their nets was not easily forgotten.

MUSSEL MUD DIGGING

During the latter months of the winter season when the ice was at its thickest the mud digger would be hauled out over the ice to the channel of the West River. A hole would be cut in the thick ice to allow the heavy iron “fork” to be lowered to the mussel bed at the bottom of the channel. By means of a capstan and cable, the fork with its load of mud would be raised to the surface of the ice and deposited into a waiting wood sleigh. Power to the capstan was supplied by horsepower. It was so interesting to watch the horse as he circled the capstan, cutting into the ice with his iron clad shoes making a circular path that became ever deeper as the work progressed.

The mud was transported by horse and sleigh to local farms as well as to farms miles away.

The bounty from the river provided provender to our household. The clam and oyster chowders and the pan-fried smelts made many delicious meals. Waterfowl were abundant during the autumn months on these rivers and creeks. These waterfowl afforded recreation as well as meat for the table. It is somewhat ironic that in our affluent society these foods, which were free for the taking, are now considered a luxury not affordable by people of average income.

Looking back over the years the memories of growing up on the Darrach farm are fading now but things will never be the same.  It is very unlikely that oyster and smelt fishing and mud digging will ever again be carried out on these rivers. But fond memories of these farm activities will still remain.

Many years have now passed and upon reflection I think the poet John Bannister Tabb expresses my feelings best in his poem entitled “Childhood”.

Childhood

Old Sorrow, I shall meet again,
And Joy, perchance – but never, never,
Happy Childhood, shall we twain
See each other’s face forever!

And yet I would not call thee back
Dear Childhood, lest the sight of me,
Thine old companion, on the rack
Of Age, should sadden even thee.

– John Bannister Tabb (1845-1909)

Jon Darrach Collection 108

Aerial view of Hector and Ina Darrach’s farm – house and buildings are no longer there.

 

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Shaw (1)After spending summers with her grandparents in St. Catherine’s, Judy Shaw always wanted to live in Prince Edward Island. Upon her recent retirement, she finally had the chance. This past year, she moved to the home that was built for Walter and Margaret Shaw in 1922-23 where she undertook a larger-than-expected job of renovating a place full of family memories. The design of the house is based on a home her grandmother Margaret fell in love with while working as a nurse in Boston.

A little history of the Shaw family…
Judy offered us a brief genealogy of the Shaw family since their arrival in Prince Edward Island. It was Malcolm Shaw and Catherine Livingstone who originally emigrated from the Isle of Mull, Scotland, somewhere around 1806. Malcolm soon started the Shaw Cemetery that later became the St. Catherine’s Cemetery and is now maintained by the community. The original house was 300 yards above the cemetery overlooking the Elliot River, now the West River. She believes it stood within the clump of trees that you now see by the cemetery. Malcolm’s son, Donald Shaw, came over to PEI after he finished school in Scotland. Donald was Walter Shaw’s grandfather. Donald and his wife had 13 children. Their youngest son Alex inherited the farm, as his five older brothers went to the US to fight in the American Civil War. One brother died at Gettysburg, another was wounded at Gettysburg and later died in prisoner-of-war camp, another became a famous heavyweight boxer and lived in Florida, and another brother went to California for the Gold Rush. One of the brothers returned to PEI and lived in a cabin near the homestead.

Alex Shaw and his wife had six children. Alex worked in the courthouse and assisted people in drawing up wills, working out of an office in Bonshaw. The irony of his chosen profession was that he then died without a will. Alex was responsible for where Dunedin Bridge is located. After his death, the farm was left with his wife and six children. They included William (Guy) and Walter who both remained in PEI. Their four sisters went to the Boston area as was popular with young girls in those days. One sister was killed in a train accident, another sister was killed in a car accident, one became successful in Florida, and another sister, Aunt Jean, lived in Plymouth. After Jean died, much of her furniture came back to the farm. The farm property was split in half between Guy and W.R. (Walter). Guy lived in the green house at the top of the hill that the family was born in, and Walter and his wife Margaret built their new house on their portion of land. The two properties were each sold in the early 1930s and moved through various owners, but Walter Shaw bought them both back in the later 30s and they have been in Shaw family ever since.

Renovating the family homestead…
Judy thought her renovation might take a month or so. When the moving company called her to say her furniture had arrived in PEI, she panicked. At that time, the home was almost completely torn apart in the midst of renovation. It was more work than she had anticipated. She was keen to have family input and to respect the original house and its memories. Judy had always considered this home a community place and wanted the blessing of the St. Catherine’s community. She didn’t want to make any changes that the residents would see as taking away the character of the place. She felt lucky that many of the people who worked on the house were local people, and each of them had a story about her grandfather.

Judy set out some design priorities as she approached the renovation. She wanted to keep the warmth of the place and was highly protective of the threshold in the kitchen to the point that each of workers clearly understood, “don’t touch the threshold.” She wanted to refinish the original staircase, douglas fir trim and wooden floors. Her grandmother always had a wood stove in the kitchen. She could not keep the original one, as it did not meet fire regulations, so she purchased a new wood stove for the same spot. She had hoped to maintain the original wood box in the back porch, but as the area was updated, she felt that a new wood box was in order. She also wanted to refurbish the original kitchen door and restore her grandmother’s gardens.

In terms of what Judy wanted to change, she wished for more modern conveniences like a brighter kitchen, windows that opened, a few more closets, a laundry and bathroom area off the back porch and a more open-style living room.

All new electrical wiring was required. As for heating, the house had an old furnace needing replacement and one huge vent that went up through the center of the house which meant that while the furnace was going, walking across the vent could render one airborne. There had to be a whole new vent system installed, so appropriate head space in the basement was sacrificed in favour of comfortable warmth in each room. When they cut the hole for the vent in the living room, they discovered four ceilings. They removed the lower ceilings, opened up the room and added support beams that are stained to look like they had always been there.

Judy confessed the tearing apart phase was difficult. Her instruction to all workers was “think before you cut”. She jokes now that there was some finger-pointing by the workers as to whom actually was responsible for cutting holes. She said that sometimes she had to leave the house while the was work was being carried out.

The home had different varieties of wood flooring throughout that were refinished. The bathrooms had to be updated. The fireplace and mantle featuring black walnut from a tree on the property was sympathetically restored. The kitchen door was refinished after painstakingly removal of multiple layers of paint and stain. It had been the original outside door before the back porch was added.

The front of the house was in the most disrepair and she didn’t want to lose its basic style. She has simplified the design and is very pleased with the result. There are huge windows on what was the outdoor front porch that is now winterized.

She feels all the effort has been worth it. Local St. Catherine’s native Reigh MacNevin, who attended her presentation, was the contractor on the job. Judy said that he was great to work with and remained calm throughout the project. Judy did all the painting and when she ran out of steam, Sheila, Ray’s wife, would drop over to help, which renewed her fortitude.

The home is now bright and the wonderful warmth that she so desired to maintain is there. She enjoys spectacular views from the kitchen bay window and is happy with the rooms throughout the home, although there is still a bit more work to be achieved. The back porch that features a cathedral ceiling will be painted the colour of Island mud which Judy thinks is appropriate for a mudroom in PEI.

“Memories are what make the renovation of a family home difficult,” Judy says. When her parents came down this past Christmas, to Judy’s relief, her father, who was born in the home, said, “I just think this is great” and spent many hours sitting in the now winterized front room fondly looking out toward the country road and across the fields toward the West and Clyde Rivers.

Interesting things found in the house during renovations included a bottle of lineament and a 1921 issue of Grain News in perfect condition.

Walter’s 1966 Chrysler car…
Judy has received calls every year about buying her grandfather’s old car. Her cousin in Nova Scotia owns the 1966 Chrysler that was stored on the property for 34 years. He came to retrieve the heritage auto this past summer with the plan to restore it and drive it back to his son’s wedding in Keppoch this summer.

The gardens…
The gardens will be Judy’s 2014 project. She has loved gardening all her life, so she looks forward to this Spring. The first job will be sowing grass seed to eliminate the mud further to construction work. She wants an old-fashioned cottage garden that will respect the essence of her grandmother’s gardens. Someone in the audience asked about the goldfish pond. She said the old goldfish pond was falling in and has already been filled with soil. The area will become an outdoor seating spot. People recalled the beautiful pond that was covered over in the winter while her grandparents stayed in the city, and how it was interesting to find out in Spring how the goldfish had weathered the cold months.

The barn…
The men in the audience were keen to know what the plans were for the barn. Judy said it is a beautiful barn with a root cellar underneath. One half of barn is in good shape but where the cattle were is in worse condition. Lawson Drake mentioned that Walter’s barn was the envy of many farmers in the area. Judy’s motivation in renovating the barn is to get some sheep. She owns a border collie, so she thinks it would further enrich their lives on the homestead to tend to a small flock. Judy is a graduate of agriculture who thinks the time has come to embark on a practical experience of farming.

A community treasure…
Many people in the audience had wonderful, humorous stories and expressed their grand affection for her grandparents and spoke about entertaining visits to their home. Others remembered how trips through St. Catherine’s meant slowing down by the Shaw property to enjoy the beautiful home and gardens.

Judy, we wish you many happy years in your home and we appreciate your achievements in restoring this homestead and your contribution to preserving your family’s history and the rich history of the area. As one audience member stated, “We look forward to you returning to tell us about the renovations to the barn and gardens another year.”

Author’s note: It is my plan to tour the Shaw family homestead and gardens when this tireless winter has passed and capture the historical beauty of this family and community place.

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Lawson (1)For a man who thinks he’s become a little rusty as a presenter, confessing he had given up public speaking some time ago, he certainly still knows how to fill a room and keep us hanging on his every word. Dr. Lawson Drake spoke about changes in farming, and with the room full, including many farmers, he did not raise himself up as an expert by any means. But what Lawson may be best at is observing life. He would have honed that skill as a biologist and inspired students with his passion for understanding living things.

He had a good start in life having been raised in the heavenly spot of Meadow Bank with its grand views of the West and Clyde Rivers and surrounding communities of St. Catherine’s and Clyde River. He could see how things were interdependent and, when managed well, the land could provide sustenance and sustainability for its rural communities. He may have gone on to achieve his doctorate, but I suspect it was to more fully understand the wonder that surrounded him each day. And with his gift of speech, he passes that sense of wonderment to us, despite his modesty.

Lawson began his talk highlighting that although PEI had been exporting products throughout its history, the last century saw farm acreage increase from a typical 100 acres to anywhere up to 1000 acres to accommodate larger production. Along with that, the number of farmers has decreased and, with those remaining, they specialized as dairy, potato, hog, poultry or beef farmers.

Changes in rural community life led to a disappearance of grist mills, blacksmith shops, general merchants, cheese factories, district dairies, local schools, and country doctors. Traditions like working bees where people banded together with their neighbours and those from other communities to complete the harvest and when schools began the year in mid-August so they could close for two weeks at peak harvest for children to go potato picking are now part of history.

Lawson posed these questions, “Did the changes in agriculture cause the changes in community life or was it the other way around? Or were both of these changes part of a larger evolutionary shift?”

He showed slides featuring pen and ink drawings from Meacham’s 1880 Atlas which give us an image of what farm life looked like 135 years ago, not unlike the farm where he grew up. He was a little skeptical that the properties of those days would be so neatly fenced and suggested the drawings portrayed an idealized view.

He offered a handout with a list of words and phrases that were common in his farm boy vocabulary, reflecting early farming days and now considered rare words almost forgotten by some and, for others, not even known. These words passed out of usage with changes in farming.

The first word was “Alsike”, a variety of clover, which he used to describe a typical crop rotation in earlier days. The first year of a rotation, a field would be ploughed and planted with a root vegetable like potatoes, turnips or mangels. In the second year, a grain would be planted like barley, oats, wheat, mixed grain and under sewn with three kinds of clover along with a grass like Timothy. A new meadow referred to the first cut of hay that you took from that planting, rich in clovers…coarse red clover, fibrous alsike and short and sweet white clover. In the next year, the Timothy grass would take over and be cut for one or two years in the rotation. In the following year, the field would be used as pasture or maybe ploughed to begin another rotation.

Fields of four to five acres featuring different crops and five or six-year rotation patterns are in the past. Where there were once several crops grown in succession before returning to the same crop, now, typical crop rotations are two or three years before replanting the initial crop.

He continued by asking the audience to suggest words from the list to discuss:

  • A barrack was a structure consisting of a roof supported by four poles which was used to store and protect hay. Barns were not large in those days, so a supplemental structure was required.
  • A mow “pronounced like cow” was an area in a barn open from the floor to the roof which stored hay.
  • Black leaf 40 was derived from tobacco and 40% nicotine sulphate, basically a powerful tobacco juice. It was used to treat lice on hens. Farmers would sprinkle a few drops in the hens’ nests and the warmth of the their bodies evaporated the juice, the fumes flowing up over them and exterminating the lice.
  • Humpty-dumpty was a container that held 2.5 dozen eggs and featured special separators to protect them from breaking.
  • A firkin is a 9-gallon container or small barrel used to store butter typically in the cellar during the winter months when cows’ milk production fell off.
  • For the full list of rare words, click here.

He finished off his talk with an excerpt from an “old reader”, a book of English literature from his school days that so eloquently describes the technique or art of using a scythe, authored by Hillaire Belloc in The Mowing of a Field, detailing the skill and pride taken in being a farmer. You can read the except, click here.

Lawson brought along an old newspaper clipping that he received from Roy Jewell featuring a Clyde River School Fair held on September 11th, 1928, where pupils from Meadow Bank, Kingston and Clyde River exhibited agriculture products, handcrafts and baking that were judged by a Miss Maszard, Mr. Edward MacPhail and Mr. Walter Shaw. Agricultural exhibits included oats, wheat, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, beets, turnips, mangels, carrots, cabbage, sweet peas, crab apples and plums. Crafts included sewing, crocheting, embroidered linen, milking stool, nail box, hammer handle. Animals included livestock and chickens. Plants included potted geraniums, mixed flowers, tree leaves and weeds. There were also categories for drawings and writings. The list of winners are well-known names that in many cases represent parents or grandparents of those currently living in the area.

Thank you, Lawson, for an entertaining and thoughtful presentation that reminds us of how farming deeply connected our neighbouring communities.

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This past week, the 13th Annual North American Agroforestry Conference took place in Prince Edward Island and, as part of their program, delegates were offered local tours that included Don Northcott’s farm in Clyde River. One hundred people from places like U.S., Germany, France and provinces across Canada learned about the innovative research and development that Don’s company Phytocultures is carrying out in Clyde River.

Don and his team led the tour through research plots to allow visitors to taste some of the early Haskap berries that will be ready in another week or so. Don sees this as an opportunity to expand his network of contacts as he builds his Haskap operation.

Phytocultures is a horticultural company that has been specializing in Haskap genetics and propagation since the berry’s North American introduction in collaboration with the University of Saskatchewan. Haskaps originated in Japan and the Japanese refer to them as “longevity berries” for their nutritional benefits, offering at least twice the antioxidants as blueberries.

Phytocultures has established a five-variety research plot of Haskap berries. By profiling these new varieties of Haskaps, their goal is to identify critical production and management techniques to aid in crop development, offer production recommendations to producers, determine traits for commercialization and develop a new berry industry. Specific research includes:

  • New variety development for hardiness, yield, taste, harvesting ease and insect and disease resistance
  • Variety profiles for maximum growth performance
  • Selecting a plantation site
  • Pest management
  • Pollination
  • Harvest technology

As Don says, “In apple, strawberry, and grape crops, we know the diseases and we know the particular problems each variety tends to have, the harvest issues, which variety needs fertilizer when, what pests are an issue and how to control weeds. For Haskaps, it is still an open book. There are no sources of information that can be used to answer questions like when to fertilize the plants for best growth and to produce the best berry. We are trying with our production plot to develop initial information to profile the crop and become the go-to source for growing Haskaps.”

“This is a new berry for North America, so it is important that varieties be developed that will meet requirements for commercial production. Our company wants to develop top-performing, volume varieties to wholesale nurseries and berry producers while providing them with the research expertise to support their success.”

Phytocultures’ current production inventory for Haskap plants already exceeds 150,000 plants annually. Big selling features of Haskaps are the plants can easily withstand Spring frosts, be grown further north and produce the first fresh berry of the season in late June. Also, the berries taste good!

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JoyFit has been running now for almost 5 months on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 6:15 to 7:00 a.m. The average number of participants ranges from 8-12. A few folks have not missed a morning yet. They are a dedicated group and they include: Jo-Ann MacPhail, Valerie Docherty, Melody Sider, Bev Farrer, Gloria Sauve, David Sider, Stephanie Sider, and Kerrilee York. Why do they keep at it?

“Deborah is great to always have variety to our routines/exercises and it’s never the same class twice. So it keeps things fun and motivating. She has such a warm, fun personality which makes her the perfect fit for this role as instructor,” says Kerrilee York.

Deborah Christie, the JoyFit Instructor, is currently a teacher at Queen Charlotte Intermediate School. She has 26 years experience teaching health and physical education. In August 2013, she will be working towards a Fitness Instructor Certification under the leadership of Revelation Wellness, a non-profit ministry dedicated to educating and inspiring people to enjoy a healthy life, both from a physical and spiritual perspective.

The last thing you want when you are exercising is to be self-critical. Deborah doesn’t allow that. She is always telling them how great they are and saying things to lift their spirits along with their knees and arms. She tells them she is going to make Clyde River the fittest community on PEI!

When the weather gets warmer, Deborah is planning to have to some classes outside overlooking the river, so pretty soon the residents of Burnside Community Care Home will be able to see them across the way, if they are up that early.

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Jessie being interviewed by CBC's Sarah Fraser (Photo credit: CBC)

Jessie being interviewed by CBC’s Sarah Fraser (Photo credit: CBC)

Jessie and friends have sold close to 1000 cookbooks within a few days of the campaign being featured on CBC. Her friends created a Facebook page that now has over 400 members. It keeps getting better, though. The Parkdale-Sherwood Lions Club has offered to cover the cost to produce the first thousand books, so they are closing in on $10,000 in proceeds for the Palliative Care Unit.

The cookbook entitled “Granny’s Secrets: Favourite Recipes from McCrady’s Shore Acres” was written by Jessie’s mother-in-law Cassie McCrady who was famous for her home-cooked meals at McCrady’s Shore Acres.

The whole idea for a campaign started when Jessie offered Palliative Care Dr. Mirielle LeCours some rhubarb and then she asked her if she wanted a recipe. Dr. LeCours said she wanted one of Jessie’s own recipes. Jessie delivered her an entire cookbook and then the staff wanted copies.

Jessie, your Clyde River friends are so proud of your spirit and leadership. And we have a strong feeling that this story will just keep getting better. But, Jessie, make sure to take your naps!

If you want to order a cookbook, you can call Tracy (Palliative Care office) at 368-4781. The price is $10.

To watch Jessie’s CBC interview, click here.

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Credit: Guardian Photo

Credit: Guardian Photo

Reprinted from The Guardian, June 8th, 2013 – by Dave Stewart – Alan MacPhee of Hartsville was ministering in the community for 15 years when he sensed another calling.

The beef farmer was moving a bale of hay one day when it came to him — he wanted to combine his love for helping people with his desire to go into business. Soon, he will open the doors on his new venture — the Burnside Community Care home in Clyde River.

“Business was always something interesting, in my mind,’’ MacPhee said in an interview as a construction crew worked not far away getting the 40-bed, three-floor home ready.

“I remember I was driving up in the field in the fall with a round bale of hay when I thought I have to make a move here. Personally, I felt it was time for a change.’’

So, he stepped down as minister of a parish in Hartsville.

He quotes scripture (Hebrews 11:8) to convey what he felt at the time he knew his life was moving in a new direction.

“There is a scripture that talks about Abraham. It says ‘He went out, not knowing where he was going’. He had a sense of calling. I didn’t know where I was going but I did have the sense that it was time to move on.’’

MacPhee had a partner who was interested in investing in the community care facility with him but that partner wants to stay silent.

“As far as most of the day-to-day stuff, I carry the ball.’’

So, MacPhee started looking into community care facilities. He met with the owners of the Andrews facilities in Charlottetown and Stratford and toured similar facilities in Tignish and Eldon.

Burnside will have 40 beds, featuring both single- and double-bed rooms. The building, which sits directly beside Burnside Presbyterian Church in Clyde River, has three levels, wheelchair accessible showers, dining room, community room, a chapel, beauty salon, activity room and two lounges.

The outside will feature a courtyard, screened-in deck, veranda, walking trail and a garden.

MacPhee thinks the top floor will be dedicated to assisted living or independent living.

“They’ll have a nurse call, availability to any of our programs and they can have the menu.’’

MacPhee says lots of effort will be put into decoration to bring as much life to the place as possible. That includes buying just the right furniture, drapes and bed spreads.

“When I walk into one of these rooms I’m always thinking ‘Would I be happy here?’ I’m trying to make a place that gives people independence, gives them freedom and is a place that is interesting.’’

In other words, he doesn’t want residents to feel like they’re living in a community care facility. He wants them to feel like they just moved into a new community.

“I want a sense of community. We go through various stages (in life) and when you come to the stage of being a senior it’s a difficult stage a lot of the time. It’s a stage of change.’’

As for staffing needs, MacPhee is getting plenty of interest. So far, he’s hired about six people, including a cook, resident care worker, licensed practical nurse and a registered nurse.

“We have those but we foresee in the fall we’ll probably be hiring again so we’ll be looking for more people (but) we want good people who have great attitudes. This is going to a creative place to live and we want a positive sense of community.’’

As for the name of the facility, Burnside just happens to be the name of the adjacent church and in Scottish means ‘by the river’.

“We just thought (Burnside) was a good fit all around.’’

For more information, contact MacPhee at 621-0284 or 394-1241 and by email at a.macphee@pei.sympatico.ca.

Visit The Guardian website at www.theguardian.pe.ca

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