My wife, Glenda, and I have enjoyed an adventurous life and it all started back in 1973. On August 5, 1973, this article written by Jerry Bledsoe was published in the Mount Airy Times where our good friend, RJ Berrier, was editor. It is interesting to look back on the article after over 43 years have passed. Many of the actual details of our adventures can be filled in by our books, especially A Taste for the Wild - Canada's Maritimes. There you can find out the story of why we did not end up living in Newfoundland. Some pictures of our time in Nova Scotia are available in this album and additional pictures of our over ten years on the farm in New Brunswick are in this album. More memories from our time in Canada can be found at this website, The Canada I Miss. Here is Mr. Bledsoe's article with some of the errors from the original article corrected.
They'll Start Their New Life By Pioneering In A New Land
Glenda Haymore smiled.
"I've really led a very sheltered life," she said.
Glenda Haymore is 24, bright and attractive. She studied child development at UNC-G, and since she graduated two years ago, she has been working in the university's demonstration nursery and living in a modern new apartment at Guilford College. If you'd told her a couple of months ago that she would suddenly give this up to tend cows in 40-below Canadian winters, she might well have laughed at you.
But, of course, she hadn't reckoned with David Sobotta then.
Like Glenda, David Sobotta is 24 and very bright. They are both from Mount Airy, although they had not met each other until June 9. But when they did meet...
"Well, it was just one of those magical things," a friend of Glenda has said.
That, however, is getting a bit ahead of the story.
David Sobotta went away to study history at Harvard. A lot of people, especially his parents, assumed that he would go on to law school and become a Harvard lawyer. "Everyone had sort of intended for me to be a lawyer," he said. "I never did think about it."
He had been thinking about something far removed from that, in fact. Instead of wrestling with law books and lawyers, David Sobotta was thinking of a more basic challenge. Man again nature. That sort of thing.
Finally Decided on Nova Scotia
In his last two years of college, he had started looking for some land. He wanted to make sure that it was well away from the centers of civilization, and he began his search in the Northwest, then went on up into Alaska. But the place he finally decided on was Nova Scotia. It was a beautiful place, and he had found 340 acres with a 200-year-old shingled house on the Bay of Fundy that he could get cheap. He bought it as soon he graduated from college and stunned his family by telling that he was going to be a Canadian farmer instead of a Harvard lawyer.
Three friends from college went with him to work the place at first. Two did not last long. The third married the village school teacher, settled down across the road from his farm and still helps him with it.
The plan was to raise cattle (he has 150 acres of pasture), but after he bought the farm equipment that he had to have, he only had enough money for seven cattle. There are now several more and he has made enough money to pay some taxes. "Fortunately it doesn't take a lot of money to live in Nova Scotia," he says.
He has learned a lot in the last two years. With help from his friends he ripped out the insides of the old house and started to restore it. He has put up hay for his cattle, grown vegetables and put them up for his larder, raised pigs, butchered them and cured the meat, butchered a steer and even netted herring to salt away for winter. Until he went to Nova Scotia, he'd never had any experience with anything like that.
"We pretty much learned as we went along from the neighbors," he says. "They're friendly people."
There aren't a lot of neighbors of course. David figures maybe 12 or 15 within three miles of his place. But then his farm in St. Croix Cove, is only about 10 miles from Bridgetown which has about 1,500 people.
"We aren't isolated from the world," David was saying.
"Just about," said Glenda, barely audible.
"I was just teasing," she said quickly.
"After all," he said the nearest grocery store is only 10 miles away."
If you are thinking that Glenda may have a vested interest in this place, you are right. In early June, David went to Massachusetts for a friend's wedding and decided to come home to visit for a week. His mother told him that she knew this nice girl, Glenda Haymore, she wanted him to meet, and he said, well sure.
They had lobsters for dinner, and they got to talking about David's place, and later he showed her slides, and they both knew right away. It took them only four days to make the decision. They were going to get married.
In early July, Glenda went to Nova Scotia to look over the place, a sort of just-to-make-sure trip. After all, as she said, she'd led a sheltered life. Nothing in her experience had prepared her to do battle with the elements. But the place was beautiful and captivating and she was convinced.
Their wedding was at 2 p.m. Saturday at Holly Springs Baptist Church in Mount Airy. They planned to leave immediately after the ceremony for Nova Scotia.
The Friday night before the wedding they sat in Glenda's old apartment awaiting the arrival at the airport of David's friend from across the road in Nova Scotia, and talking about their plans for the future. Those plans may include moving on from their place in Nova Scotia, although they have no current plans for selling it. David has worked too hard on it, especially on the house, to get rid of it quickly, and besides, the value of the land has already doubled since he bought it and maybe even tripled.
But David has it in his mind that he would like to pioneer a little and anyway, it's getting a little crowded for him in Nova Scotia. He'd like to go up to Newfoundland and homestead in virgin territory, build a house and clear the land and make it produce. Why"
"Oh, just sort of a challenge." He paused. "Even fewer people." And he looked at Glenda and smiled. "We haven't really made that decision yet."
"All I had to promise," she said, "was that I'd go and look at Newfoundland at least twice. Give it a chance."