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  1. Stone Fences

From the recording The River

The old stones fences throughout the Ottawa Valley inspire me, and there's nothing quite like the fences on the old farms along the Opeongo Colonization Road that runs from Farrell’s Landing on the Ottawa River near Renfrew to Opeongo Lake west of Barry's Bay. What I see in these fences is the decades of determination and hard work that European settlers had to endure in the late 1800s to turn forested stony hills into marginal farmland. With many farms long since abandoned, forests now occupy the fields, with moss-covered stone fences permanently marking this period of development of the Ottawa Valley.

Lyrics

Stone Fences, Marc Audet

Arrived with hope, from distant lands
Promise of wealth, grown from this land
Forests to await, and stones to pile
Sheds to build, well to install

I toil for you
I sweat for you
I bleed for you, from this land
I will make do
I must come through
I sing for you, from this land

First winter was hard, barely a barn
One horse and two cows, potatoes and lard
Faith was strong, and help was nearby
No rest for the wary, forever must try

I toil for you
I sweat for you
I bleed for you, from this land
I will make do
I must come through
I sing for you, from this land

Five years on land, most fields had been cleared
Stone fences were small, crops were sincere
Children were growing, and soon they would work
Eight backs in the field, with horses of worth

I toil for you
I sweat for you
I bleed for you, from this land
I will make do
I must come through
I sing for you, from this land

Twenty years on, the fences were tall
Crops were secure, the farm had most all
Prosperity, it came and went
With the floods and the droughts, of lands mostly spent

I toil for you
I sweat for you
I bleed for you, from this land
I will make do
I must come through
I sing for you, from this land

A century gone by, the fields are at rest
Houses collapsed, the tools are of rust
Trees have reclaimed, the lands of sod
But the stone fences stand, marking the cross

I toil for you
I sweat for you
I bleed for you, from this land
I will make do
I must come through
I sing for you, from this land