My sister and I just spent another weekend out at the farm, taking photos for our farm project. With the help of a gorgeous February morning, complete with hoarfrost, nice light and a blue skies, we were able to take much better photos and are both really happy with the results. As well, with so little snow on the ground, we went on a short hike each day, wandering through the pasture and visiting some favourite spots.
In terms of the farm, February isn’t much different from January, so we essentially took pictures of the same thing. Both of our brothers are busy with taking care of their cattle, so we joined Warren on his morning chores, and then visited Gordie’s maternity ward (the barn) to see a newly born calf. One thing that completely amazed me was their new method for spreading straw for bedding in the corrals. I remember helping with that when I still lived at home, and it took at least an hour (possibly longer) to spread a large round bale, forkful by forkful. With the help of their new machinery, they can do it in five minutes, using less straw than before.
On Saturday, my Mom, Elaine, Kato and I went for a hike in the river, walking up to our summer camping spot. Kato had a blast running all over the place, hoarfrost was covering all of the trees in the valley and we had fun looking at all of the tracks in the snow (lots of coyote, rabbit, squirrel and bird tracks—no deer that we could see). On that note, we usually only have coyotes around home, but apparently there are a couple of grey wolves in the area now. That could be a problem for those with livestock to protect.
Today, my sister and I went for a short walk to what our family calls ‘the big hill’ (there are actually bigger hills around, but this one is surrounded by flat fields, so it really sticks up out of the landscape). When I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time going on adventures with my dog, and the big hill was one of my most visited destinations. I’d start by walking out the back lane, then wander through the pasture to the dugout. I’d hang out there a while, throwing sticks into the water for my dog to fetch. Then I’d visit the horses, sometimes taking time to groom them all and then hopping up bareback on one of them so that I could sit awhile. Other times I’d walk to the marsh at the end of the pasture, looking for tadpoles, snails and such. Sometimes I’d check my trap-line (gophers — for which my Dad paid me 10 cents a tail), and then swing left towards the big hill. Once I got there, I’d run all the way to the top (to see if I still could) and then stand there in the wind checking out the view. Then I’d find my way back down to the hill to another dugout, where I liked to sit on one of the big rocks, throwing pebbles into the water. I used to be out for hours and loved the freedom to do so. I feel so lucky to have grown up in the country where I had space to roam.
As I reflect on this past weekend, I’m filled with happiness thinking of the goodness that is already resulting out of this farm project. We are only two months in and I’m loving that I not only have more time to wander the countryside, but also more time with my family, more time to visit and get a better sense of what their work is like now, and last, even some time to feel part of the community again. I feel lucky.