I was looking out my window this morning and watching surly clouds flying by. It was dull. The wind was howling and snow drifting. It was minus 12 C(15 F).
I was reminded of an activity from the mid forties when I was a child on a western Canadian farm.
Now urban people will get little out of the rest of this post. Anybody under 65 will not relate to it either. However, I'm going to tell my story. It's not fiction.This was life growing up in the mid forties. Sometimes when I look at this it seems unreal.
Western Canadian farmers faced tremendous odds of failure. In the thirties they couldn't sell their product. During the war they did not have gasoline so still worked their farms with horses. This was not a profitable venture. Many people stayed on their small farms as they could grow their own food and there were no jobs any where else.
Now back to this cold day. It was always on a day like this that my Dad would go for a load of hay. He had about 4 cows and 8 or 9 "young stock". He "put up hay" in the summer. This means that he found a meadow with grass to cut or dried up slough that had slough hay. As he was busy in the summer he stacked the hay where he cut it and would haul it home in the fall when he wasn't quite so busy..
When cold and snowy weather cut in he would start hauling hay. The cold snowy weather meant that his other outdoor work was finished. Snow meant that he could use his "bob sleigh". He put a hay rack on the sleigh and he was in business. The hay rack was about 6' by 10' and was suitable for hauling bulky hay and straw.
So my brother and I thought it was great to go with Dad. We were four or five so were of no value as far as work was concerned but it was great fun. So on a nasty day like today we would go for a load of hay. We liked bouncing along on the empty hay rack that the team was pulling. Dad would work hard loading the hay. We played in the snow and hay pile. Like all little kids we rolled around in the soft snow and hay. The ride home was pleasant as the hay was soft and we could snuggle in out of the wind. We also threw hay at each other and stuck it down our necks! You had to see who could put more hay on the other guy.
When we got home there was more great snow to play in and we stayed outside. On toward dark we would go in the house. Only after taking off our coats did we realize we were cold. Suddenly Mother discovered hay all over the floor and asked us how it got in our clothing. Of course, we didn't know. Five year old brains just aren't developed far enough to get it that if you put hay down somebodies neck it will sooner or later fall out. We were given a broom and ordered to clean the mess up.
So with childhood experience like this , It's no wonder I don't mind the cold. I think early child hood experiences influence our later life.
So we were having many hayrides for free. Today kids have to pay lots of money for a hay ride and it doesn't have nice hay to snuggle in and push down your brother's neck.
Now tell me honestly, how much could you relate to this type of life?
I wish I had pictures from those happy days.