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Title: McIlrath, James L to McIlrath, John, 1893
CollectionThe McIlrath Letters: A family history in letters from New Zealand to Ireland (1860-1915) [Bassett, McKee et al.]
SenderMcIlrath, James L
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginLakeside, Canterbury, New Zealand
DestinationKillinchy, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientMcIlrath, John
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count539
Genrenewspapers, weather, local economy, family
January 23rd 1893

Dear Brother John
I received yours of the 7th Nov. on Christmas Eve also a newspaper
and a week after another paper we are getting them very regularly
now. I enjoy them very much. I am sending you the Xmas number
of the Canterbury Times and William the New Year number. When
you read them you can exchange with each other. There may be
something in them to interest some of you but I don't care much for
them. We are now in the middle of Harvest and a very unfavourable
one so far. We had a very wet backward Spring and dry summer and
the beginning of last week when the grain was about ripe we got three
days rain, then on Saturday and Sunday we got a howling Nor-wester,
a regular Hurricane. They are the ruin of this otherwise fine climate.
They burn up the grass so that if a lighted match was thrown down
the whole district would be on fire and woe betide the ripe grain.
Had it not been that the grain was soft with the wet it would have
completely thrashed it, we escaped with little loss. I doubt if the
promise of seedtime and harvest included N.Z. Prices is going to
be low the cause I believe is overproduction and that by too much
machinery. It is quite common now here on large farms for one man
with a three furrow plough to turn six acres, also one man or good boy
cut and tie ten acres (we do that ourselves) and then the thrashing
machine owner growls if he cant get through 100 bushels per hour. The price now for thrashing is threepence per bushel (I have paid
seven pence in the early days). To be a small outlandish place the
people here have great ideas. On looking over what I have wrote I
find I have not half said what I intended and my paper about full
so that at the risk of you having to pay extra postage I must put in a
little slip to say that we were glad to hear that you were all well and
that you may long remain so, also that we are all in good health only
my knee prevents me from enjoying myself as I would wish. I never
yet mustered courage enough to go to Hamilton, over 40 miles is a
long drive and by train I think it is worse. I would have three miles
to drive, 32 by rail to Ch.Ch. stop there from 10 o'clock to 4 o'clock
and the 45 miles by rail again (so it is so level we can almost see each
other's place and yet so inconvenient). They are all well we hear from
them regularly, I often wonder William will never write it may be
my fault but this last few years I have been all upset and little but bad
news to write which is said to be worse than no news.
However give him, Mrs and family my warmest, kindest wishes and
(excuse being last) accept same for yourself. I remain your affectionate
though afflicted brother James
I was short of room after all, bye bye.