Friday, August 22, 2014

Volunteering Can Bring Surprises


       I am active in my community. I volunteer and serve on various boards and committees.

        I am a board member of a group which is providing some funding for another group's  project. The second group likes to do projects which are different and hopes that by demonstration they can influence the city to carry out projects which are much more environmentally sensitive. The group's name says it all.. Rethink Red Deer!

        The other day I volunteered to go on a walk to look at a piece of property for which they have a rehabilitation plan. The area is an old farm yard. The city has expanded and taken this land into it's boundary. They have also bought the property to hold for development. The farmer rents this land from the city. There was a cattle operation on the property so it's like many abandoned farmsteads...incredibly weedy. A stream meanders through the property. All native riparian species have disappeared long ago.

A very pleasant stream worth some restoration

The stream winds through the weed patch

No native plants are left


There's lots of overgrown grass
     The farm stead has been turned into community gardens. The gardeners are extremely fortunate as it's perfect gardening soil. 

    As we wandered though the property we saw what we guessed was the farmer repairing some machinery. Well, let's walk over and meet the farmer and introduce ourselves. At first, I didn't think he heard us so I repeated myself. I got a sound which certainly wasn't a word. We tried to ask for some background information about the area. We did get some one word answers but nothing else was volunteered. By this time we knew we were not welcome. He then wanted to know what we were doing. We told him about the project. Again there was a sort of grunt of some kind. By this time I thought we should maybe get out of there so I said, "Nice talking to you!" and we left.

    It was certainly one of the frostiest conversations I have had for a long time. It was a surprise for our group to run into such a reception. Nothing had warned us that there might be a negative reception.
   
    So volunteers have to watch out where they step or they could get a surprise. We are dealing with the city so have permission to enter the property and make plans. I suppose the farmer may not be happy as he may have had enough of dealing with city officials
   

29 comments:

  1. I hope you don't travel to these places, pretty though they are, without a companion or having left word where you're going. Better safe than sorry. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Oh I don't think the guy was that kind of nut at all. He was just unfriendly and there was nothing I was going to do to make him friendly.

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  2. It must be hard for the farmer to just have people wandering on to what used to be his land. On the other hand, it sounds like you have some good ideas about how to manage the property.

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    1. I think you're right about the farmer being upset about people on his land. It must be hard to let go.

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  3. It sounds as if you had a lucky escape.

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    1. No, the guy was not a nut case. He was just miserable and unfriendly.

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  4. Not everyone likes interventions. The intentions were good, but maybe the man was not knowing people were coming.

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    1. I'm sure you're right. He'd lost control of his property after it had been sold.

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  5. You're such a nice man, too. Good idea to skedaddle. People are dreadfully afraid of change, aren't they? Also, government projects, and we know how some of those go! Good for you, though. It's a shame all the critters and native plants are gone.

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    1. It must be difficult to let go of a farmstead that's been in your family for three generations.

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  6. Moving boundaries is not always receptive to all, apparently he felt it maybe shouldn't have happened.

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    1. There's a lot of hard feelings over annexations.

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  7. Oh, my. He must not be happy that things will be changing. That is a pretty stream, though. Sorry to hear all the native plants are gone. Maybe they can be replanted.

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    1. I think some of the plants will be replanted. The land is planned for a park many years later.

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  8. I suppose that, looking from the farmer's point of view, it must be difficult especially if he didn't want to sell in the first place. On the other hand perhaps he was just anti-social.

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    1. He was certainly anti social. On the other hand, I think it would be hard to let go of your farm.

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  9. it certainly sounds like this was not a deal that farmer wanted to make.

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    1. He was certainly very wary of what we represented.

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  10. Curmudgeons are everywhere. What dreary lives they must have, unless they find true joy in their grumpy state.

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    1. You have the perfect word to describe this guy.

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  11. Perhaps he was just suspicious. He doesn't know who you are, and has probably never heard of your group. Still. He could have been a little friendlier. That doesn't take much effort.

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    1. He was suspicious and also very unfriendly.

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  12. Yes, we never do know what the situation fully is until we talk to everyone. He may not want to lose his rental land or he may have other personal issues in his life that have made him angry about life.

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    1. He was not going to lose and y rental land. I think he was just a very miserable person.

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  13. Oh my...I suppose the farmer is being squeezed out of some pasture land:(

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  14. I think his cattle operation was finished before the land was annexed by the city. It must be hard to let go of a family farm.

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  15. I can empathize with that farmer...I agree with a comment above: it's best to go with a companion or group of people.

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  16. And here I thought ALL Canadians were the nicest people on earth.

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