Malvina, the 80s
Malvina – 30 years in and around our house in farm country, 1970-2001.
We loved it – the views, the summer pace, the gardens, plentiful blueberries, river swimming and of course, friends, both on our road and in and nearby villages. The kids grew up there – and so did we.
Searching for peace and quiet, Michael and I entertained idealized notions popular then of moving back-to-the land – not to farm, but to work in Lennoxville or Sherbrooke, about an hour away. One 3-week winter stay in the isolation of Malvina took care of that! And the house became our summer spot.
We named our place on the hill after its location in a valley a few kilometers beyond the town of St Malo, Quebec. Settled by colonists in the 1860s, Malvina once boasted a post office, a 1-room schoolhouse, a railway station, hotel and about 8 farms. Logging and dairy farming were key. Only 4 farms remained when we came on the scene, in the fall of 1970.
The house, ramshackle barns and 50 acres had not been a working farm with animals for several years. Before Medicare came into effect on July 1, 1968, the family was forced to sell 1 cow to pay for the emergency cesarean birth of their 9th child, and thus, could no longer meet their milk quota. The farmer went to work at a cedar fence-post factory in nearby Sawyerville. Eventually, the family relocated to St Venant de Paquette, just down the road, when their older kids and families began avoiding winter visits due to the steep Malvina hill.
Information about St Malo and Malvina, Quebec: http://www.saint-malo.ca/fr/decouvrir/histoire.php