Sarah, or 'Taunte Zara' as we all knew her, was a strong, independent woman who loved agriculture. At the age of 30, at her father's passing, she became "farm boss" of the family farm located at Kronsgart, south of Plum Coulee, Manitoba. She strictly managed the farm finances and controlled all aspects of the farm operation. Her sharp mind, strong work ethic, and deep faith in God gave her the strength she needed to run the large farm and guide it through many tough years which included The Great Depression of the 1930's.
Zara never married and instead devoted herself to the land, the garden, and the purebred stock of red short horn cattle, horses, and other farm animals. The barn, one of the largest in its day, was built in 1912 when local friends and family came together for a community barn raising on the family homestead. The farm work was done with horses until 1923 when the first tractor was purchased. Zara took great pride in the land, cattle and horses. To expand and improve the breeding stock, purebred horses were purchased 2000 kms away in Kentucky. Travelling by train, they rode home in the boxcar alongside the horses to ensure they were fed and cared for on the long trip home.
Zara believed she could do extraordinary things and she did. Her grit and determination led her to become one of Canada's first women in agriculture at a time when Canada did not yet recognize women as "persons". In her retirement, her sharp mind still needed to know crop yields, commodity prices, and the goings on of the Canadian Wheat Board. She had a great interest in politics and kept up with current events, freely sharing her strong opinions on political and cultural issues. She loved a good debate and was quite the character! On her 100th birthday she said she still didn't feel old, and easily recalled good memories of her life on the farm. Her faith in God never wavered and she lived a full life to the age of 102, spanning three centuries.
Zara's Garden honours the legacy of our "Taunte Zara".
We hope her story will inspire you to a greater connection with agriculture - growing your own food, stopping to smell the roses, farming/gardening with passion, and practicing good stewardship of the land and water for future generations.
"Taunte Zara" Bergmann 1898 - 2000
(Zara's barn & garden pictured above)
ADDITIONAL HISTORICAL INFORMATION... Our great-great grandfather, Johann W. Falk immigrated to Canada (from the Ukraine) in 1874 at the age of 10. At 23, he married his sweetheart Anna and they had one son - Johann B Falk. Two years later, Johann W. was struck by lightning, leaving Anna a widow and their 1 year old son, Johann B, fatherless. Three years later, Anna remarried Peter Bergmann. He was also widowed, caring for 3 young sons after his wife passed from tuberculosis. Together, Peter and Anna welcomed 10 more children in the next 20 years. Johann B kept his father's name - Falk, and enjoyed life with his 13 Bergmann step-siblings. One of those siblings was Taunte Zara. We enjoyed chatting with her in the years before she passed and were always amazed at her keen recollections on a century of farm life. A long life, very well lived.