(9:06) Peggy – So was Lloyd there in the winter?

(9:08) Ann – Oh yes, year round.

(9:10) Peggy – I was just so little, I don’t remember.

(9:14) Ann – He was a big man, six feet four.

(9:19) Connie – He had to special order his shoes.

(9:20) Ann – Yes, because size 12 wouldn’t fit him so he had to special order them in.

(9:27) Peggy – So Connie was he the one that would pick you up?

(9:30) Connie – Yeah, he was so big. Like Lloyd was huge. I don’t know how old I was, but he would put his hand down and you could sit on it and he would lift you up and put you on his shoulder. It was like being on a big tower. It was neat you know because you could ride around there and see everything because he was so tall. He was really a neat guy, Lloyd was.

(9:50) Peggy- I remember, was it when Slim came out that they would race? I would get on one guy’s shoulders and you would get on the other guys shoulder.

(10:00) Connie – And I probably won every time right?

(10:01) Peggy – I bet it was Slim. The guys, they were young guys of course at the time. They would put us on their shoulders and they would race to the house and jump over the fence on the way because it was faster.

(10:15) Ann – The fence wasn’t that high.

(10:16) Peggy – No it couldn’t have been for Slim because he wasn’t nearly as tall…

(10:27) Rod – Well, it sounds like you really enjoyed the ranch life.

(10:29) Ann – Oh yes. It was fantastic. I guess we were really bushed you know because you hardly ever saw anybody. You looked so forward to the horse shoers coming…

(10:48) Rod – It was a sign of spring too I guess.

(10:52) Connie – The adults might have looked forward to the horse shoers coming out, but the kids didn’t, because we hid! We were scared to death of people! We hid under the bed, or behind the door.

(11:02) Peggy – Or under the verandah, that was a good place.

(11:06) Ann – Yeah, if we saw a big dust coming up…like you could see across the hay field and down the road, it was a gravel road. If you saw a big dust bowl you knew that somebody was coming. “Come on Peggy, get under the verandah, somebody is coming!”

(11:27) Connie – I remember that!

Photo from Ann Dixon’s book Silent Partners: Wives of National Park Wardens

(11:32) Rod – So that road would have been a lot more primitive than it is now, but were you able to get out in the wintertime on the road if you really had to?

(11:45) Ann – If we phoned Banff or called them on the two way radio, they would send a caterpillar out to open the road if you had to get out for medical reasons. But not too often for groceries because we took in a big supply in the fall. I used to bake my own bread and I still do. I would get two or three hundred pound sacks of flour. You know, the flour in the spring when it had aged, it made the best bread. You hardly had to use any yeast, it was just so light and fluffy. Isn’t that interesting? And now we get it at the store. I still have my recipe for homemade yeast cakes, used when I ran out of the other yeast.

(12:40) Connie – We didn’t have a fridge and mom used to can wild meat and chickens. She was so proud when she could get a whole chicken in one jar.

(12:49) Peggy – You got pretty good at it and you still make bread.

(12:57) Connie – I don’t!

(12:59) Rod – What about the horses? Did Fred have a favorite horse?

(13:05) Ann – Well we had a horse that we called Old Monty. He was gentle so the kids could ride Old Monty. Of course Fred rode him too. But he did a lot of work in the winter time him and Lloyd did a lot of work. They brought big logs in.

(13:38) Rod – Skidded them in for firewood.

(13:41) Ann – Yeah, for the big heater in the front room. It was an airtight and you had to put a couple of big logs in it at night to hold it overnight. We had that one and then we had the woodstove in the kitchen.

Fred Dixon and Lloyd Waikle piling logs – Photo courtesy of Ann Dixon

Fred Dixon Hauling Logs – Photo courtesy of Ann Dixon

(14:06) Rod – Now wasn’t there a chimney fire at some point during your stay at the ranch?

(14:11) Ann – Yes, and Lloyd has told us that after burning wood for so long the creosol built up in chimneys and sometimes it would catch fire. So one time it did catch fire and the only people there was us and Lloyd. I write about it in the book (Silent Partners).

(14:39) Rod – Was that in the main house?

(14:41) Ann – Yes and that was a log house that had been there for years. There was a front room and a kitchen and two bedrooms in it.

(14:53) Rod – That must have been pretty scary when that happened?

(14:55) Ann – Yeah, it was.

(14:58) Rod – Was it in the winter?

(15:02) Ann – I am not sure. I think it was in the winter or in the fall maybe when we had been burning wood a lot…

(15:15) Rod – So how did you put it out?

(15:16) Ann – Well Fred got the ladder. First of all I threw my sewing machine out. I had a sewing machine there and that was the first thing I threw out because it was just like my right arm. I couldn’t do without a sewing machine.

(15:35) Peggy – She made all our clothes…

(15:39) Connie – Was that a treadle mom, a treadle machine? Because we didn’t have electricity.

(15:53) Peggy – Yeah, it was an old treadle. She made all our clothes, even our coats.

(15:58) Ann – Anyway, I called Fred when I saw this happening and he was down at the barn. So he ran up and he got the ladder. He put the ladder up against the house, on the side where the chimney was and I carried buckets of water to him. He put the fire out with the water.

(16:27) Rod – Water from the nearby creek there?

(16:29) Ann – No, water from the well house. We had a well house not too far from the main house. But you had to pump.

(16:42) Peggy – Pump it and carry it with buckets even up to the kitchen.

(16:48) Rod – But you got it under control before any major damage. That’s great.

(16:55) Ann – And Lloyd, I don’t remember where Lloyd was when that happened. But anyway, Fred and I did it.

(17:10) Peggy – You probably took us out with the sewing machine. She probably thought that we were as good as the sewing machine! Took us out to guard the sewing machine probably!

(17:23) Rod – You don’t remember a favorite horse that Fred had? He liked them all I guess.

(17:30) Ann – Old Monty was one. He was an old favorite.

(17:33) Peggy – And us kids rode Monty sometimes, he was a real gentle one.

(17:39) Rod – Well didn’t Fred and Slim like the Morgan horse? Didn’t they have a Morgan stud there for some time.

(17:51) Peggy – That was later I think. Didn’t the Morgan come later when Slim was there…You guys didn’t have a Morgan stud, I don’t think.

(18:12) Ann – I’ve got a picture of a big horse that we had, a stud.

(18:16) Peggy – See they had to be part heavy horse too sometimes. Like it had to be a big footed, good travelling horse. At one point didn’t they bring in some black mares? Some RCMP black mares.

(18:29) Rod – That started back then right?

(18:31) Ann – They were trying to get some kind of a black horse for the queen at that time.

(18:40) Rod – That would have been a thoroughbred or a thoroughbred cross probably.

(18:43) Ann – I guess so.

(18:50) Rod – So what was one of the things that Fred liked least about being at the ranch? Wasn’t there a time when a number of horses were removed from the ranch?

(19:00) Ann – Yeah. Those horses you know, they got to be just like family, even the little colts. Then one day head office radioed out and said that they had to shoot the oldest ones. Of course the oldest ones were the ones that you liked the best. At that time it was in the fall, going into winter and Glen Fagan and Edith were stationed at Indianhead, 28 miles on a trail from the ranch. They had to cross two rivers. So usually in the winter they would come out. He came out to the ranch when the government decided that these horses should be shot. They would have to skin them and use the hides for mending and repair work, or whatever in the shop in Banff. Well, it was a pretty hard thing to do, even for Glen you know. He had his favorite horses too. But it was really hard on Fred, really hard.

(20:43) Peggy – Do you remember about how many horses they had to shoot?

(20:47) Ann – I think there were about seven or eight really old ones. And that is a lot of skinning. Then they took the hides into Banff, or they came out and got them. I just forget. Into the repair place in Banff. When they got them tanned and ready for use, they couldn’t use them. The hides were too thin. The leather wasn’t worth anything. They just could not use it, it was too thin. So Fred felt really bad about that, for what he had done, shot the horses and then skinned them.

(21:54) Rod – It must have been a very difficult time.

(21:57) Ann – Skinning your old friends.

(22:10) Rod – What were some of your other roles at the ranch? You mentioned that you had to cook for the crew there a number of times.

(22:21) Ann – They had a haying crew in the spring that would come out. There wasn’t usually that many. Mickey Gilmar was one and his brother, his name was Bill Gilmar.

(22:45) Rod – Did they do that haying every year?