Falling Through the Ice – Farm Life in the 30s

Falling Through the Ice – Farm Life in the 30s



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As a child I always used to try and listen to “grownup stories” sitting on a back staircase hoping no one would ever notice me. This story of growing up on an Iron Hill farm has stayed with me through all my years and I will never ever forget it.



“I used to hate the Spring,” he said to my parents one afternoon at our home on Albert Street in Cowansville, Quebec.

The ice on the ponds and lakes would grow thin and then one day there was no more give.  Each day that the sun got warmer it got worse and the ice would just break with any sort of weight. Sometimes some of the farm animals would be standing on that very ice and go through and we just couldn’t save them. One day I saw a couple of them out on  the semi-frozen deep pond and I tried to get them to move as my heart could not take anymore loss.

The animals moved off in time, but I did not, and I thought I was going to drown when I went through that ice in no time. Even though there wasn’t a soul around I began to scream for help. All that screaming created pressure on my chest which made things a lot worse, and I just kept beating around in that ice and water until I felt myself begin to sink. In essence the pond wasn’t really that deep–but how do your hoist yourself up on thin ice that got slippery as it became wet.

I began to break the ice away with my hands and grabbed the edge and tried to float. I finally got one arm on the edge of the ice and I wondered how much longer I could last. With one arm out on the ice some how I pulled myself out. I lay on the ice with my face lying flat on the ice exhausted. I got up and ran to the farm and kept running and running so I would not get colder knowing it could have been the final moments of my life.

Stories like this should remind us how fragile life was and still is. Farming was not just a hobby and to those who work in acres and not in hours we thank you.



Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)


Related reading:

Farming Could be a Dangerous Business in Lanark County? Who Do You Know?

Falling Through the Ice- One Reason Indoor Rinks Were Created

Did Farming Pay in 1879?

Old McRostie Had a Farm in Carleton Place





About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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