222 THE PIONEERS OF OLD ONTARIO
"Wild turkeys were still more numerous. We sowed our first wheat among the stumps from which the trunks had been cut and burned. Next morning, after the sowing, it seemed as if there was a turkey on each stump. Some of the birds were big fellows, too. I have shot some that weighed thirty pounds, and in the fall, after the walnuts had fallen, they were rolling fat. Once I came up with a flock in a hollow; they (lid not see me but had been alarmed by my approach, and all crowded togther. I got six of them with one shot.
"Pigeons were the most numerous of all. Sometimes it seemed as if a new-sown field was blue with the hosts of them. The first herald of their approach would be a darkening of the sky, and, when in full flight, masses of them would stretch as far as one could see in either direction. They nested in a grove over the river, and just before the young squabs were ready to fly settlers would shake them off the limbs by the dozen. They were then considered in the best condition.
`But the game was far from being all profit. Clearings were small, and what wheat was produced in the early days sold at fifty cents per bushel. In many cases the crop, scanty at best, was almost wholly destroyed between the ravages of deer, racoons, and wild fowl; a serious thing for settlers who were nearly all desperately poor. Some of them, who had been helped out from the old country, had not a second coat to their backs. One year was particularly hard, and a few of the people were obliged to dig up the seed potatoes they had planted for food.