Lot 294 – 1921 to 2021
I am sending you a photo of the land pre-empted from the Crown in 1921 by Robert McPherson,
part of the Southern Okanagan Lands Project. This land was managed by the McPherson and Evans families for a century.
The land was formed by the erosion of Testalinda Creek over a very long period of time and contains rocks and brown soil. The lands were sagebrush and rock, first cleared by horse and slip, rocks were used to build the basement for the house which was built, plantings with trees thirty feet apart and in between, cantaloupe, watermelon, tobacco and vegetables were planted.
Pruning and brush were moved by horse and page wire to a burn pile.
Irrigated first by ditches (rills) from a gravity fed system, which over time the water moved the top soils from the upper end of the land to the lower end. A pump and 2 inch sprinkler system were moved by hand. Cultivation at first was by a horse drawn cultivator. In about 1945 a tractor and disc were later used. Hand hoes were replaced by a Trump manufactured tree tiller. In later years, chemicals were used to remove weeds. Gramoxone which was highly poisonous and then Glufosate which is primarily ammonia were used.
Grass was always grown in between the rows of trees, mowed down when 4+6 inches high to provide fibre for the soil. Security of the land is of source important, but the real need was for the fertility of the soil.
Jean McPherson, who’s mother’s maiden name was Carmichael who was a decedent of Theodore Kruger of Osoyoos and Dave Evans were married in 1956. They moved into the lower house near the river. The river was flooding much of the flat and was then changed by the construction of the River Channel. This allowed us to purchase seven acres east of the old river and put in a irrigation pump. We cleared all of the 13 acres and used the wood to heat the house.
The lands at Road 15 produced peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries, pears and apples. The large apple trees were Newton, Winesap, Staymen and Common Delicious. These varieties were injured by a very cold winter in the 1970’s and we began re-planting with semi-dwarf trees.
Dave was hired by Morrie Thomas as the Auctioneer’s Clerk and then began learning the cattle business. Livestock were raised under the original brand MY which was then change to have a rail over top of the MY and then OX (Oxbow Herefords).
The cattle were summered in Myers Flats, Nine Mile Creek, Johnston Creek and another area near Rock Creek. Hereford breeding was curtailed by changes of inspections in meat packing plants in favor of smaller Black Angus. We also kept saddle horses.
In 1970 we built a 10 foot lift for Robert, my son, to use and we also built a heavy duty round bail mover. We also built a machine, similar to a girrette as well as a modified 10 foot girrette, and an 18 foot trailer to move the bins and hay.
Around 1975, myself, Robert and his cousin, Mark Evans who were teenagers at the time, built a large quansit shop and started the business called Testalinda Equipment and imported tractor parts from A and I Products.
In 1988 we began re-building engines for Ford tractors.
I feel very fortunate to have farmed in the Testalinda area.