I haven’t been able to add anything to my journal until now. We have been so busy. It is the end of June and many things have happened since I last took my pen in hand. First of all, Elizabeth and William are betrothed to be wed at harvest time. William is working part time on clearing the land for their cabin on the north corner of our acreage. Father has given them ten acres to put up a house and a barn. Most of those acres are treed, so William comes home dreadfully tired. When he has cleared a space, there will be a cabin and barn raising bee.
This will be our first family wedding here in Upper Canada. Evvy and I are so excited. Mother has ordered some fine spun cotton dimity for our new dresses. Father thinks it is a terrible waste of money and that our best Sabbath dresses are quite presentable, but Mother told him that we are quickly out-growing our clothing, which is quite true. My summer shifts barely cover my ankles and Evvy has worn through the elbows of her summer jacket.
The biggest news of all is that the president of the United States has declared war on Britain and so William has joined the militia, much against Mother’s wishes. Father has agreed to it. He says that William is quite old enough to bear arms if necessary and that he himself would be severely chastised by the neighbours if he was seen to be holding back his able-bodied son. Mother just shakes her head sadly and sheds a tear for Elizabeth.
Evvy and I are kept busy looking after the eider ducks and the geese. We had twelve ducks but a fox got two of them and Mother is determined not to lose any more. She has been saving eider down for quite some time to make pillows for my bridal trunk, but now she has decided to give two fluffy pillows to Elizabeth and William instead. I don’t mind. The way things have been lately, I don’t expect to marry for some time hence.
Robert and Arthur Randall have both enlisted and war is all they talk about lately. Whenever they come by to visit it is to talk to William about drills, and gun powder and making musket balls. I might just as well be a timepiece on the mantle or a plant on the window sill for all the attention they pay me now.
Evvy and I are constantly reminded by Mother to wear our straw hats over our cotton bonnets to keep the sun off our faces. She is very worried that we will get sunburnt and our skin will dry out which she says is very unattractive. The problem is that our straw hats are constantly blowing off in the wind no matter how many hat pins we stick into them. Have you ever tried to run after a duck or a goose in a petticoat with one hand holding your hat down on your head? It is no easy task. Men have it so much easier in their trousers.
Whoever first described a goose as “silly” certainly had it to rights. They are forever wandering off and getting themselves into ridiculous situations. I tried to rescue a goose yesterday that was completely mired in muck. All it did was flap its wings at me and snap its bill. I got covered in mud head to toe, which of course, Arthur witnessed. He found it very droll and laughed heartily. I was not amused, especially as the object of my attempted salvation, extracted herself from the mud and waddled off, leaving me plop in the puddle. Arthur helped me up, guffawing the whole time and it was more than I could do not to slap his insolent face! Why didn’t he help me before I got so dirty? He is no gentleman!
You know, if there were enough geese with a sense of direction, you could arm the whole countryside with them and we’d never need to shoot a musket. We could just set the whole gaggle of them squawking, flapping and biting at the enemy. Oh, I know that I’m just being as silly as a goose myself, but I am so tired of herding them out of the garden and away from poor Molly, our cow. I’m also furious at Arthur for laughing at me!
Mother says that I must control my temper and learn patience or no man will want me for a wife. Father just smiles and tells me that I should know better than to challenge a goose having a mud bath.
Good night, Janetta. Evvy and I must go wash up before bedtime. Mother doesn’t like it, but now Father and William sleep with their muskets under their beds.
Author’s Note: I would love some feedback about this journal. Please add a comment after reading it. Thank you. – Mollie