I’m reading the early stories of Wallace Stegner; so far they’ve mostly taken place in the hardscrabble farmland of southwest Saskatchewan, where he spent part of his youth, and they’re as grim as life there must have been (though lightened by the irrepressible spirits of his young viewpoint characters). The latest, the 1940 “Butcher Bird,” has a number of words and phrases of LH interest. On the first page, the boy reflects on the possibilities of the weather: “If it was rain everything would be fine, his father would hum under his breath getting breakfast, maybe let him drive the stoneboat or ride the mare down to Larsen’s for mail.” Stoneboat? Turns out it’s (per the OED, entry from 1917) “U.S. (chiefly north.) and Canad. A flat-bottomed sled used for transporting or removing stones, and for other purposes.” The first and last citations:
1859 N. P. Willis Convalescent 75 A stone-boat would run glibly over such a shallow snow!
1962 J. Onslow Bowler-hatted Cowboy viii. 79 A stone-boat is best described as a heavy wooden sled, on which can be hauled rocks and stones..dead cows, sick cows, or other heavy objects.
The earlier sense (dating back to c. 1336) is “A boat for transporting stones”; there’s no indication of how it got transferred to the new sense.
There are a couple of odd expressions used by the boy’s brutal father and presumably peculiar to him: “I hope to whisk in your piskers” and “Just thinking about [X] gives me the pleefer.” And the title of the story is itself interesting; it’s a regional expression for the shrike (as the boy’s mother explains to an English neighbor, “They kill all sorts of things, snakes and gophers and other birds”), and the OED dates it back to 1668 (Bp. J. Wilkins Ess. Real Char. 146 “Lanius or Butcher bird, is of three several kinds”), in the etymology saying “Compare French bouchari ‘un des noms vulgaires de la pie-grièche.’”