steve veerman yukon farmer of four decades

Thanks to Peter Percival for the following information and interesting, colourful story: That's Steve Veerman on the tractor with Mount Lorne in the background.

Thanks to Peter Percival for the following information and interesting, colourful story:

That’s Steve Veerman on the tractor with Mount Lorne in the background.

Steve and Margret Veerman’s hardscrabble farm was located on the Carcross Road across from the abandoned Robinson Road House, which is now a Yukon Historic Site.

During cold and wet weather, Steve’s small herd of cattle often took shelter in the old Road House outbuildings.

Steve started raising pigs in log pens sometime in the late ‘40s. He probably also got into cattle about the same time.

They had lots of trouble with bears – black, brown and grizzlies. In fact, Margret told my neighbour, Grant Lortie, that Steve had shot 50-plus over the years. In an interview with Grant in 1984 she said, “Constant vigilance and good marksmanship kept us in business.” That was only part of it; her office job at Territorial Supply (as I recall the International Harvester dealership) would have provided most of the hard cash. Note the IH logo on Steve’s cap.

Feed for the pigs was mainly food leftovers from the US (later Canadian) Army and Air Force mess halls, with some scraps from local Whitehorse restaurants thrown in. All cooked as a mash in a “cannibal-sized missionary” pig-scalding pot the aroma of which must have been a great bear attractant.

Steve told me that when the mess halls closed in the mid ‘60s he got out of pigs because at the price they were fetching he could not afford to feed them.

By the time I got to know Steve in the early ‘70s, his cattle were all open-range fed and so inbred that they were shrunken in size. In the fall of 1974 or ‘75, at the time Steve was finally “shutting her down” (slaughtering his herd), I made the big mistake of buying a full (well, small) half steer. I did the butchering myself. The fat was yellow and the meat tasted like willow bark. I sure wished I had got a moose that year!

While Steve raised pigs and cows, Margret raised a “rank herd” of stray cats. Their house was really a small four-room tarpaper shack. And there were cats everywhere. Every horizontal space, from above eye level to the floor, had a cat perched or lying on it. One afternoon at tea, I counted 37 of the most motley array one could imagine – from one old, scarred tomcat to new-born kittens and everything in between.

When Tommy Stinson was drilling a well for Steve, at a time when Steve was considering buying a well-used second-hand IH bulldozer, Tommy told him he didn’t need more junk equipment, but he certainly could use a good cat skinner. Steve never caught the joke, but Margret did – and no more tea for Tommy.

Bill Sinclair is one of the Yukon’s best-kept artistic secrets. His portraits of Yukon First Nation elders and our Colourful Five Per Cent pioneers are wonderfully stunning!

The 1994 painting by William (Bill) C. Sinclair will be auctioned Friday evening, October 21, at Lorne Mountain Community Centre at a fundraiser dinner and concert for the Mt. Lorne Volunteer Fire Department.

Anyone with information about this subject, please write Jim Robb: The Colourful Five Per Cent Scrapbook – Can You Identify? c/o the Yukon News, 211 Wood Street, Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 2E4, or email through the News website, www.yukon-news.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

The now empty lot at 410 Cook Street in Whitehorse on Jan. 19. As developers move forward with plans for a housing development that would feature 16 micro-units, they are asking city council for a zoning change that would reduce the number of required parking spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Developer asks for zoning change

Would reduce the number of required parking spaces

The Liard First Nation is preparing to enter negotiations for self-governance with the territorial and federal governments. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
Liard First Nation preparing to enter self-governance negotiations with Yukon, federal governments

Chief Stephen Charlie seeking an agreement separate from “dead end” UFA

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 20, 2021

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Most Read