Search This Blog

Follow by Email

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Farm Journal

I’m going to start reading the annual Farmer’s Almanac online. They seem to be more accurate than the weekly weather forecast. The Almanac predicted a 30-degree summer and they were right. They said it was going to be a wet fall – with 23 days of rain in September I’d say they were right on the money.
Now the Almanac is calling for a cold, dry winter. Not the winter of choice for a farmer. Actually, I don’t know anyone who would appreciate that kind of winter. Snow insulates and so, much as we complain about it, it’s a good thing. And it gives us something to play in and keeps the snowplow operators happy.
If it’s a dry winter, our water to the barn will freeze. Like it did two years ago. I had to haul buckets of water out to the cows twice a day – have you any idea how much those things drink?? More than once I would stagger out to the barnyard under the weight of two full water buckets only to have an impatient Betty knock me on my butt into the snow.
Many farmers keep a farm journal to keep track of the weather patterns and what they do around the farm each season. Quite often it was the farmwife who did the writing in years past, as she typically spent more time in the house. On the Fisher farm, this Accidental Farmwife column tends to be our farm journal. We look up past issues in my scrapbook to see when we let the rams out, when we medicated the sheep last, etc. I do have another book for writing down important dates and of course we have the lambing journals for marking down who gave birth to whom, etc.
I would love to get my hands on some authentic old farm journals. They must be awe-inspiring reads. Much like my childhood fascination with the Little House on the Prairie book series, detailing the hard life of the pioneers, I think stories about the lives of farmers in Eastern Ontario at the end of the 19th century would be equally impressive.
My Farmer has documented life through a collection of lists. He has a clipboard with the attendance list, menu and details of every family Thanksgiving dinner he has hosted for the past several years. Many times the Farmer will refer to the clipboard before he uses the phonebook. I learned a long time ago not to mess with the clipboard of lists.
As I flip back through the aging sheets of looseleaf, I notice that the list of attendees at the family gatherings has shifted recently so that the younger generation under the “kids” heading shows more names than the “adults”. Soon we will be over-run with young people.
Just last week the Farmer became a great-uncle. That is just one step away from grandfather, as far as I’m concerned. Of course, our kids are still pretty young, with POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION (the emphasis was for their benefit, not that they ever read my column ;) to complete before they consider marriage or parenthood. But when they do eventually (ten years from now!) add a name or two to our “kids” list on the clipboard, we will welcome the little gaffers with real Thanksgiving.

No comments: