Why hello everyone! I am back from my big city adventure! Toronto was amazing and I will definitely be going back for other projects, but for now, the farm is still my home. Before flying out to collaborate with the great minds at Tapestry Opera, I spent two weeks on the farm conversing with my goats and sheep. By no means are these two groups comparable intellectually or in any way really, but both interactions challenged me and made me happy. You would suspect that there was a certain level of culture shock when I arrived in Toronto; there were very few trees, extremely tall buildings, and people! So many people! Surprisingly, I managed to navigate this expansive city with relative ease. So how is it that I manage to get lost on my own property all the time?
One of the projects I was doing in Toronto gave me the opportunity to play with these guys everyday!
During our first round of haying this summer my dad did some silly things. If you know my father at all you will know that he is a total workaholic. He was concerned about getting the haying done and decided to move a load of bales by himself. A load consists of a 16X6 trailer stacked four or five layers high with 50 pound bales. To move it alone is ridiculous.
Needless to say the next morning he woke up with his left arm in excruciating pain. He couldn’t really do anything that one needs to be able to do as a functioning human being. But even without the use of his left arm, he was determined to continue and put it in a sling and got on the tractor to finish the haying process, despite our protests. He kept on saying that he was on a schedule; after the hay is cut, it must sit for a day, then turned and left for a few hours, then baled. His injury was not going to stop him from keeping to his plan.
Ernest and his sling
With dad on the tractor and mom working at clearing a path with the other tractor, I was left to help my nana and watch the dogs and goats. While herding the goats out of the neighbour’s yard for the hundredth time, a car drove into our driveway and, when questioned, the man in the car asked to speak with my dad. I asked if he would mind waiting and that I would go find him. In the Lower Mainland, “hold on a sec, I’ll just go get him” might mean calling up the stairs or out the back door. On our property it means getting on the ATV and riding around 80 acres to locate a large cloud of dust that is masking the tractor. 15 minutes later I found my dad and his sling and told him that there was someone to see him. He was confused but got off the tractor to get on the ATV. The bouncing from the tractor had made his arm much worse and I could tell he was experiencing a lot of discomfort. The hospital was definitely the next place my dad needed to be.
I brought him back to the man, only to discover that the man actually wanted to see my mom. So, once again, I got on the ATV to search for my mother. This proved to be a more difficult task because my mom was in the forested part of our property. I followed what I thought to be a path until I could not go any further with the ATV. I left the vehicle and started walking through bush towards what I knew to be the sound of our tractor’s engine. I would like to say that I was totally in control and knew where I was going, but in truth I was very lost.
Now, I’ve been lost on my property before and normally I keep a pretty cool head, but I was mighty scared this time around for a few reasons:
– The day before, my parents had seen a black bear and her cub in our field.
– A cougar had been spotted recently in the area.
– I didn’t have a gun or my ATV. Rooky mistakes.
Various gruesome scenarios played in my head, only to be combatted by logical reasoning. I maintained composure as I pushed through bush and branch, until I came upon a clearing. This clearing was surrounded by bramble bushes and, in the grass, imprints of large bodies were very clearly outlined. Well, it is safe to say my hysteria began at that moment.
I started running through the bramble bushes, shredding every uncovered patch of skin, only stopping to confirm where the tractor engine sounds were originating from. Finally, I found the tractor and my mother who was happily going down her path, deaf to anything that was happening outside of her noisy bubble. I was standing 3 feet away from her, screaming at the top of my lungs for her to stop, without any effect. After a few minutes of yelling and much jumping around, she finally turned off the tractor. I explained to her the situation and the reason why I looked as if I had gone through a blender, and we both headed back to the house where, after the man left, we convinced my extremely stubborn father to stop haying and go to the doctor. Humming and hawing ensued but he eventually went, only to discover that he had overused his arms so much that he had developed Calcific Tendinitis in his rotator cuff. They sent him away with a variety of “happy pills” and a warning to take it easy, which of course he did not listen to. Thankfully my brother, some of his friends, my mom and I were able to finish the majority of the work.
I have realized a few things from this experience. First of all, the traits I have inherited from my dad are dangerous and potentially self-destructive. Second of all, never leave the ATV anywhere you can’t locate easily (super fun trying to find it after this whole adventure ended). And finally, getting lost on a farm is much easier than in a city.