Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 19 > Page 41 - Books of Intrest - Scottish Country Life

Page 41 - Books of Intrest - Scottish Country Life

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1978/6/1 (349 reads)

Photos from SCOTTISH COUNTRY LIFS;Irish 'Shearer, Nannie Egan;processing grain for human consumption with a knocking-stone;using an S-shaped scythe. Scottish Country Life. Alexander Fenton is the Curator of the Country Life Section, National Museum of Antiquities of'Scot? land. He presents here an extraordinarily detailed account of daily country life, often step-by-step methods of how various operations were carried out: the making of lazy beds, plowing and broadcasting seed, threshing, milling the grain • and the e- merging daily life of the farming commun? ity. "This book is concerned with the ma? terial culture of the countryside • the ob? jects people made and used, the ways in which they used them, the houses in which they lived.... The period covered is basi? cally the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, when the rhythm of everyday ex? istence was still controlled by the local envirohm.ent.. . . If this book has an under? lying purpose, it is to seek to look at the actualities of local and national his? tory at particular moments in time, through the eyes and hands and skills of the people of the period." M'ie were particularly interested in this book as a source of information about what the early Scottish settlers to Cape Breton brought with them in the form of practical knowledge. We often speak of them as fac? ing an entirely new life and developing as they went along the skills required to live successfully in this place. While there is no question that the dense for? ests and harsh climate made them develop new tools and methods, it is clear from this book that those people had the oppor? tunity of bringing a great deal of useful information with them. We are astounded to see, for example, an 1828 farm in Loch Lomond (the photo is in Beyond the Heb? rides) • clearly the home of someone who has life pretty well under control. That control does not come easy • it is, among other things, the result of having come here to a certain extent informed. Scot? tish Country Life details some of the in? formation they possessed. They had exper? ience of highly acidic soils and an appre? ciation of the value of ashes and seaweed. They brought the caschrom (foot plow) and the quern • and in this book you get to see these tools and hov/ they were used. V??'e have a chance to know, often in detail, how they did what they did and what changes in economics and tools rendered in terms of trades (decline of the thresher- man and rise of the joiner and blacksmith). Reading this, we have to remember that this is Scotland, not Cape Breton; but clearly this book will help in an appre? ciation of the rural accomplishment of Cape Breton. The book is well illustrated, a number of the photos particularly valuable: women pulling the harrow, a man crushing barley with an enormous hammer, carts and house interiors • and the faces of those who did the work. At $23.95 the price is too high to recom? mend this book to the general reader, but it should certainly be available in li? braries. Scottish Country Life by Alexan? der Fenton is distributed in Canada by MacMillan of Canada and can be ordered through your bookstore. C n Cape Breton • A Bibliography (Halifax, Nova Scotia Department of Education, 1978 coil bound, 114 pages) is a listing of publica? tions relating to Cape Breton by Brian Tennyson of the College of Cape Breton. The work should prove a valuable addition to any Novascotiana reference shelf. The bibliography includes postgraduate theses but excludes newspaper articles, unpublished manuscripts and items which are highly technical in nature. The 1352 entries (many of which are brief? ly annotated) are listed alphabetically by author under the following headings: Gen? eral, Early History, French Regime, Brit? ish Regime, Canadian Regime, Local, Relig? ious, Literary. An index is included. Copies may be purchased from the Nova Sco? tia Government Bookstore, P. 0. Box 637?? Halifax, N. S. B3J 2T3. The price is $2.70. Payment should accompany orders, and cheques should be made payable to the Min? ister of Finance, Nova Scotia. Cape Breton's Magazine/41
Cape Breton's Magazine
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