For some reason I am thinking allot about my childhood. The things I did and the life I had. I wasn’t much of a farmers daughter. I was more interested in city life and what I could be doing there instead of being out in the country roaming the field.
It was a quiet life. Full of ups and downs. This is just my recollections of life for me. These recollections will be different for someone else. We all have our own memories put into place as how we thought things went.
I was the youngest in the family. The last to leave the roost. Once I was out on my own married with a man to look after me the farm was sold. Now these days hearing something like that will make you wonder. I am a girl. Not suppose to be looking after themselves. That is one of the ideals of my family unit. The men in the family had the jobs or maybe took over the family farm and the girls in the family where expected to get married, raise families and look after the roost. Now mind you it all did work like that.
My oldest brother, who is 17 years older then me, stayed on the farm to help until dad decided it was time to sell. He was asked if he wanted to take over the farm, but didn’t want the bookkeeping part of it. Doing the chores and such was all he wanted, but not the paperwork and such that went with it. So alas the farm would not long be in our name. He was content to be a farmers hand but not the ownership of it. When mom and dad moved to Mitchell Bob joined them for a bit. Went to work with Brickman tiling. He did this for two years and then the in-cling came to pack up the his truck and head west. Head to nothing in particular. Just head west and see what would happen. He made a good life for himself there. Always had a job to keep himself going.
My second brother, who is fifteen years older then me, decided that the farm life was not for him either. He decided to travel the world. He had been on boats salmon fishing in B.C. He had also traveled the world. We had letters come from him in so many exotic places. Well these where exotic places to my young self. Hitchhiking and working his way around Asia and Europe. Telling stories about India and Turkey. My mother had a map in her bedroom and every time we got a letter from Ron she would put a pin in the map to show where he was then. His traveling was soon over as he became ill and had to come home for a bit. That did not stop his travels. I think he was back over there again for a bit before he settled back here in Ontario for a bit. I don’t think I was that old yet when he was gone. My memories of him, when I was younger, were the letters mom got. Him coming home on a motorcycle I really wanted to have a ride on. In later years he lived in Toronto and eventually made his way to B.C. where he made a good life for himself and his family.i hear Ron talk about his travels now. Says he would have not changed anything that he had done, but to do something like that now would be darn scary.
My oldest sister who is ten years older then me, was another who had left the roost while I was still young. She married soon after high school and raised a beautiful family on their farm near Shakespeare. I would stay for a holiday once in awhile when my parents decided to take a holiday someplace. Her son and daughter where just a few years younger then me.
My youngest sister is six years older then me. I would say she was the rebel of the family. Not in the way that she would get in trouble, but just to get what she wanted in life. I loved her for her strength to be able to get out in the world and do what she wanted in life. She was bent on determined that she was going to go to school and make a career for herself. Yes she did it. She worked every summer to pay for her schooling. Work hard to get this.. I was too young to understand most of what was going on between dad and my sister, but I could see it wasn’t good. She lived the life she wanted to though. Has a family of her own and happy with what she choose in life.
Now there is me. The brat in the family. There where things I was not able to do because my older siblings and done and had made nothing of these things. Being the youngest though I did get things that my older siblings did not. I did not do much in the way of farmwork. Well there is kinda a reason for that. Dad got me out in the field one day to help by driving the tractor while he was on the wagon. Had never been driving the tractor before. He would say now lift up easy on this and press down on that and you would go forward. I tried that and dad went from the front of the wagon to the back of the wagon in not time. So we tried again. Clutch out move forward with this. Stall. After three or four times and him landing on his butt on the wagon I was sent back up to the house. Some of you will know the look on his face. He waited for Bob to get done the chores so that he could get the bailing done. I think I was only on the tractor one other time. Bob would walk up to the front, climb up on the tractor and put the clutch where it need to be. Put the other gear in very low. And let the tractor guide along very slowly while everyone picked up rocks. He would climb back up on the tractor and stop the tractor when it needed to be. That was my extent of farm work. So my life was a bit easier then the rest of the family. So that is why I was known as the brat.
most of the time i would ride in the wagon when the bailing was going on. then as the bails piled up i would climb to the back and ride on the top of th bails. being up there was the best part of the ride. next time the wagon went back i was on it agin. just to ride on the top bales on the way home.
Well I was a cute brat though. Only for a couple of years then I became four eyes. And my pop bottle glasses.
My extent of farming life was taming the barn cats. Someone was definably not happy about that. They were suppose to be mousers not tame cats. But I went about taming a few. I had a couple of very special ones. They would follow me anywhere I went. Sat with me on the porch and loved me unconditionally.
Another of my pastimes was coming out to the barn at milking time. I would go and sit on the steps in the milking parlour. A couple of my cats where there too. As Bob milked the cows he would aim a teet my way and try to spray me with some milk. Never got me but the cats sure enjoyed. They would get up on hind legs just to get some fresh milk being sprayed my way. I would wait in the milking parlour for dad to come down from the hay loft from feeding the cows
I would watch Bob milking the cows. He would open the door from the pen. A cow would walk in to the first open gate.. Bob would shut the back gate to close the cow in. Feed some chop to the cow. Clean the teets and then put the milker on. Go to the next gate. Open the back then open the door. Another cow would walk in and take her place in the cage. The back gate would be closed, feed some chop to her clean her teets and put on the milker. He then went to the third cage and the process would go again. Then he would go back to the first cow. Take off the milker, put some antiseptic on the teets and open the front gate to let the cow out. The cow would wander out the other door and down the hall to the outside world again. Then Bob would close the front gate and open the back gate. Open the door at the back and let in another cow. The same process would go on again until all 30 to 40th head of cattle where milked.
the reason for me being in the barn was I liked being with Bob, but another very special reason was because the calves had to be fed. They were so cute. You hold a pail in front of them and they came rushing to get something to eat. Milk and some milk powder or chop. I am not sure but I always wanted to help to feed them. Always wanted to hold the pail and let them come and feed. The thing was you had to feed them one at a time and dad kept shooing the others away so one could eat. Then he would let another in and shoo the other away. I just wanted them all to come and eat. They would have barreled me down though. I didn’t think of those things though.
Then there was feeding time for the cats and the dog. When the milking was all done a pail of milk was brought out to the two dishes sitting in the barn. I had a special call for them. They all came a running from out of the woodwork. We had so many cats and no I didn’t tame them all, but I loved them all the same.
Well for the brat of the family I didn’t have much extent to helping on the farm, but I loved it all the same and wouldn’t change it for the world.