Bob Cuerrier or Farmer Bob as you may know him has been working for years on releasing a polished version of his book, and now it is for sale on Amazon and it’s called The Canadian Bushwacker: A Lifetime in The Wilderness.
“The kernel of it started many years ago when I wrote for The Goulaigan,” Cuerrier says.
“You have lots of time to think when you are working on the farm, discing and plowing. I think I have been the equivalent to around the world while staring at a horse’s behind.”
This is where Cuerrier would think back to his times in the bush and start mapping out stories in his head. When he was in between sleigh rides in the winter he would start to write the stories down.
Because Farmer Bob wasn’t always known as that. He worked in the bush for years and even owned two different stores in the Sault before he got back into farming, a life he grew up with.
“I became progressively more and more amused by my writing that I decided to keep it going,” he says.
He noticed that he lived life “on a historical hinge,” as he calls it.
He would see the old timers bunked up in their cabins waiting for the end and noticed they too “lived life on a historical hinge.” This gave him ample material for writing.
Mainly because he found it completely more romantic than life today. Even with all the bugs and dampness.
In his early 20s he began building camps on spec for trappers, loggers and prospectors.
“I had a bucksaw, an axe and bunch of rusty old tools and the old timers were amused by this,” he says.
“They took me under their wing because I used dogs instead of snow machines, a bucksaw instead of a chainsaw… candles instead of propane.”
“I ate more partridge than I like to think about.”
After four years in the bush he was “bushed” as he says, fed up with flies, blisters, being dirty and sleeping beside a stump.
He then took on using his bush skills to do the decor of a general store called Ogidaki Mountain General Store.
After that he opened up Wildflowers, a ladies-wear store, where he even wrote scripts, choreographed and designed fashion shows.
From there he transitioned back into farming, “which is what I always wanted to do,” he says. He didn’t start with anything up at Mockingbird Hill Farm, where he is today. He wanted to build it.
“This land is my art on a large canvas,” he says.
This is where, like I said before, the infancy of The Canadian Bushwacker started in written form.
But Bob doesn’t fancy himself as a writer. He calls himself “a word butcher.” But his personality allows the stories to be amusing and something great to shine through.
You may have seen copies of what were really rough drafts of his book before.
From those copies he has received calls from people all over the country or down in the States who wanted to talk about it. Some of them, “bush people,” too.
This only encouraged him to refine the book more into what it has become today.
It’s no Thoreau, though Bob says. “We both have an appreciation for the bush but we have 100 per cent different way of saying it.”
“It’s like we are looking at nature through different windows. It is brutally hard work… but over all the hardships and misery, I never lost sight of the romance.”
The book has taken 15 years from its first inceptions to where it is today.
“I was never in a hurry. I took the horse-drawn approach.”
And it has also been a great hobby and entertainment for him.
He also wanted to note that Sally Melville, Mike Cristillo and Suzanne Cristillo (Shoust) were integral to its success as a book today.
It is just over 200 pages and has been getting rave reviews so far.
“Robert Cuerrier welcomes us into his family as he regales us with the candid, whimsical tales of his life as a bushman. Cuerrier’s love for the Canadian wilderness, and his ability to capture its essence in prose, makes for a uniquely insightful read.”
“Cuerrier, through his real life tales, captures the hardships, the flesh-and-blood experiences of his own family and various other characters who call the rugged Algoma Railway wilderness their home.”
“Storytelling is a craft; the storyteller entertains us, giving us glimpses into lives and cultures different from our own. But the best stories transcend time and place; we see their relevance to our time and our place. Robert Cuerrier is a master at his craft; integrating traditional Metis culture with modern elements, his stories both amuse and inform while giving us new ways of looking at and thinking about our own time and place. BUSHWACKER should be required reading for any student of literature.”
And the reviews continue.
Buy your copy today and see a slice of life that lives “on a historical hinge!”