In the late 1850s and early 1860s, farms dotted the landscape throughout the Victoria area. Just north of Esquimalt Harbour was a large farm of almost 400 acres. In addition, many settlers in Victoria kept their own cows and chickens as well as vegetable gardens. Druggists sold seeds for vegetables such as turnips and cabbage.
Sometimes there was conflict between neighbours such as the case of ‘Cows vs. Cabbage’ reported by the British Colonist newspaper on June 9, 1864:
Cows vs. Cabbages
Mr. Myers of Fort Street complained yesterday to the stipendary Magistrate that two cows had broken into his garden and had devoured 400 or so cabbages. He had detained one of the animals and had complained to the owner of the other, whom he knew, but who had refused any compensation, telling him he might take a pail of milk every time he caught her in his garden. Mr. Wood [Magistrate] said the custom here seemed to be to allow animals to run at large, and he was afraid he could do nothing for him. His [Myers] best plan would be to milk the cow he had detained until the owner sent for it.
Mr. Myers wrote to the paper the next day to set the record straight:
“…the Magistrate [advised] to sue the owners of the cows for damages, a course I shall certainly pursue in respect to the owner of one of the cows (the owner of the other having compensated me).
Coincidentally, the following notice appeared in the newspaper that same day:
Grazing to Let.
The Grass on a Farm of About 100 acres near Mount Tolmie and within two miles of Victoria suitable for grazing Cattle and Sheep TO LET, with immediate possession for one or more years.
Apply to Mr. Weissenburger Land Agent, Government Street