Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 47

Arable Farming in the East Cascade Region

Arable Farming in the East Cascade Region.

As might be expected in a mountainous country, the quantity of obviously attractive arable land is small, when compared with the whole area of the region. This is saying what might be said of Scotland, and other mountainous yet populous countries. The arable land in British Columbia is immense, compared with the present farming population. It is to be found principally in valleys of greater or less breadth bounded by hills. These valleys are so numerous that the total quantity of arable land mounts up to not a few acres. Every year shows us more land fit for tillage, and wherever the soil has been cultivated, it has been found highly productive. I have already said that irrigation is generally necessary in the East Cascade Region (see p. 56). Very good, some say the best, grass, and also in several places, excellent soil are on the high lands and even mountain tops. In these places you descend from crops and pastures among the clouds, to sterile-looking hills and benches.

Causes not yet quite understood seem to check here, in some degree, the ordinary effect of altitude upon farming. A good deal probably depends on aspect. The moist Pacific Ocean winds-blowing inland above the surface winds may modify greatly the climate of the highlands. At all events the fact is, that any visitor to the province may see fine grass and good grain growing (of course with some risk) on Pavilion Mountain 4000 feet above the sea-level; excellent grain growing and harvested, also cabbages, carrots, turnips, and potatoes, elsewhere at 2700 feet; vegetables of all kinds and grain exuberantly at 2000 feet. Jack Frost, it is true, comes occasionally, and his vagaries are noticeable, for instance potatoes have been cut off at 1200 feet, in one part sooner than at 2400 feet in a not distant part of the same district. The Chilcotin Plain or Plateau, averaging, it is said, 2000 to 2500 feet high, has been free from frost, when valleys in the West Cascade Region, very much lower, have had everything cut off. Another peculiarity is that low bottoms, page 62 in some places, are subject to night frosts, when the slopes that border them will be found to be free.

The fanner must leave behind him preconceived notions, and go to school again in some matters, with Dame Nature for his teacher. It is not an easy matter to select a farm where there are great differences of altitude within a few miles. We are, however, slowly learning more and more about the country. It improves the more we know of it.

The greater part of the southern portion of the East Cascade Region (say the portion between the Fraser and Columbia Rivers, and bounded on the north by the Horsefly District, and on the south by the American Boundary Line), is highly favoured, and has been proved by practical farmers to be in many places good under irrigation, for tillage, and in most places unequalled for grazing.

This region comprises the fine "Thompson country," so often referred to in the evidence before the English House of Commons Committee in 1857, upon the Hudson's Bay Company's affairs.

The comparative absence of trees, and greater dryness of the atmosphere, strike the traveller at once, who, from the West Cascade Region, enters this portion of the East Cascade Region. In the best parts of the latter, there are rolling hills and table-lands, sometimes stretching out for a great distance, diversified by green hillocks clothed above a certain height with trees, showing where moisture, descending as rain or snow, has been caught from the west winds. The whole tract is well watered, in the intervals between the hills by streamlets; in the level depressions by small lakes; while the groves and scattered trees afford a grateful shade by day, and a shelter by night.