Monday, July 18, 2011

the day in the life of a real farmer - well, sort of

I can't tell you how much I love the farm.  I'm pretty sure somewhere along the way I missed my calling to be a farm-girl.  Maybe I was born into the wrong family by mistake.
Okay, that really isn't true, but the farm is in my heart and soul - I love it there.
Every time I see a canola field, I want to take about 20 pictures.
Multiply that by the 327 canola fields we have seen in the past few days and that adds up to be....
it adds up to be a whole lot of pictures.
(it's morning, I don't want to think that hard..... if it were Eric, he would have calculated it at the same moment he wrote it)
Flax is another dandy - the feathery lavender crop.  Saw very few of those, and none within shooting range.  Bummer.

The highlight of our trip and definitely something we never could edit out was our too-infrequent visit to the Reimers in Alberta (I say that like there are only one family of Reimers in Alberta - don't be fooled, there are probably thousand!.... I'm just protecting their identity).
We LOVE the Reimers.
Combine that with a love for the farm and you have an essential, most absolutely enjoyable stop.
Warm, friendly generous people, good food, farm living - few things could be better than that.

We started the day with homemade bread, toasted, and spread with Mom Reimer's fabulous famous homemade strawberry jam.  Then it was off for quad (four wheeler) rides.

The kids had a great time doing just that but there was much, much more....

Now farmers are often thought of as “dumb old farmers”
Let me tell you, if they were dumb, they wouldn’t be farmers.
They are incredible business men who deal with ridiculous numbers, they have to live by faith (who knows what the weather is going to do to your crops), they can work crazy hours (when it is not raining, wind is down and the crops are dry, it is time to work regardless of what you would like to do).  Farming has got to be one of the most challenging occupations.

G took us for a trip to the grain elevators to deliver a crop.  As you will see, it was pretty darn fun for us - but behind that fun is all kinds of crazy hard work.  We'll just ignore that aspect right now and move on to the fun!
I felt kind of like we were doing an educational segment for some kids TV show as we went on this little journey....
We all loaded up in G's semi - complete with sleeper - so there was room for the kids and I to sit.
We drove along while I drilled G with questions about farming.  He may have thought I was some dumb city girl with all of my uninformed questions, but I could have kept going - I wanted to know it all.
We arrived and I was thrilled to be reminded that grain elevators are always situated by train tracks.  That  was something I actually did know, I just sort of didn't clue in.
I love prairie trains about as much as crop dusters.
The girls patiently posed for several pictures.
Lots of grain in those-there huge towers.
G drives the semi into the unloading area.  First they take a sample of his load.
We watched as a Hutterite farmer emptied his load first in front of us.  He just opened up the back and the grain starts pouring out into the hole in the floor.  Then he lifts up the load so it can all dump out.
Before we dump our load, G has to go into the office.  They aren't too thrilled that he brought in spring wheat - even though that was the request.... we were just a day late.
Then it is G's turn to unload.  His system is a little different.  He cranks open the bottom and the grain pours out.
We're empty and head out of the elevator area with a quick stop at another office.
The stop was long enough for a few pictures
and for everyone to have a turn "driving" the semi.
After we get back to the farm, G asks if we want to have a ride on a baler - to help make bales of hay.
We load up in the back of his truck (only slightly illegal) and head out to see B baling.
(Can you guess why it took me about 13 minutes to brush out Lucy's hair after the day was done?)
First we watch a little.
Then it was Lucy and Mia's turn to join B in the tractor.  B was super gracious and accommodating.
The baler, "pooping out" it's bale... at least that is Cade's version of it.
They made about 2 or 3 bales and then their turn was over.
Time for Cade and I to get in there.
It's probably not the most fun job on the farm, but there is an art to it.  B's pretty much got that (and everything else) figured out.
While G and B talked things over, we fooled around on some bales.

Bale sliding is pretty fun.

(as long as you don't mind hay up your shorts)
The four of them could not budge that bale.
After we essentially destroyed that bale of hay (the binding was coming off - sorry G and B!) we headed back.... with more wind in the hair.
After a hardy, absolutely delicious lunch of ham and mashed potatoes, a little nap (only for Eric and I unfortunately), we headed out to a camp ground in Tabor.
Lucy modeled the new hat G gave to Eric.
We had the best time at the campground.  Some of the Reimers and their friends were camping for the weekend.  
We got to be reunited with some more of the family, I got to see a wonderful friend from Briercrest - so good to catch up with her after 15 or so years, and we got to meet some absolutely fabulous new friends.
Can I just tell you that I wanted to stay there for a few days?  I could have hung out, talked and laughed with them all for a very very long time.  Even though four of them (plus the cutest little auburn haired 2-year-old boy and his 3 month old red-headed sister.... whom I got to snuggle with for a long old time) we had never met before, we felt like we had known them a long time once we left. 
 I love people like that.

But alas, we did have to leave the next day, so we headed out around 9:45 - 10:00 p.m.
I mention the time because you will note in the picture that it is still not dark out.
Gotta love those long days of summer.
The day ended with a beautiful harvest moon.
It would be hard to end a day more perfectly as far as I am concerned: low-hanging, huge orange full moon.  Breathtaking.
It could have only been properly captured outside of a car, but I got kind of a fun one from inside, purposely taken to blur the building.
It wasn't too orange anymore at this point, but still gorgeous.
We snuck into the house when we got back, threw in a few loads of laundry and climbed into bed.

Normally I would say that they are the type of people who would give you the shirt off their backs, but actually, they would give you their hats off their heads - literally.
G had given Eric a hat and I was quite jealous of it.  As we were saying goodbye Eric asked if he had anymore of those and told him about my whininess (they get a lot of free hats, I guess, from farm product companies).  He didn’t have anymore there, so he gave me the hat he was wearing!
Mine is better because I has a bit of Reimer soil and sweat on it. 
I think it will help me in my quest to be a true farm girl.
In perfect Raimer fashion we were sent on our way with chips, soda (sorry - pop, in these parts), three kinds of cookies, mini apple pies (mennonite term is pershky) and rhubarb tarts just for me!!  
Licking my lips.
Oh, don't worry, they offered plenty more than that - that was what we convinced them to reduce it too.  If we took all they offered there would hardly be any room to sit!

One little note:
We packed up on Saturday morning and I all of a sudden remembered that I bought gifts in Ecuador for these wonderful friends.
Mom Reimer was the only lady around so I gave her her gift and wrote a note to K asking her to distribute the rest for me.  Only I forgot to include two very important women - the wives of two of the guys.  Sheesh.
Because, of course, I'm a moron.
Now, granted, one I never met.  But the other, well, we even went to the outhouse together (you will agree, naturally, that women like to travel in packs to the bathroom... usually we think in terms of a nicely scented room with music being played in it, but really outhouses work just fine - trust me)..  If that doesn't bond two women together, I don't know what will.  But I forgot her none-the-less.
I am trying to not beat myself over the head about it and remember 

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