Farm Tales

Living on a farm with animals is special. We live on a popular trail used by people on foot and on their bicycle. With our pig corral right on the side of the road many people stop to look, often taking pictures. When they see us most people are eager to start a conversation. They either ask questions or want to share with us that it brings back memories, since they grew up on, or near, a farm.
Biking has become so popular that many people from urban areas cycle along trail s through more rural areas. These people sometimes do not know a sheep from a goat or a goose from a duck and any animal with horns is assumed to be a male.

Although I got my teacher’s certificate in the Netherlands, I was not comfortable in front of a classroom with children. But I have always loved teaching, passing on information, skills and knowledge.
Writing about my experiences on the farm therefore made sense to me. Farm Tales is a book with short stories, some funny, some sad, but most with some educational information and also memories of past family hobby farming on the Saanich Peninsula.

 

…Newly married my husband and I arrived in Canada in April 1965. We bought a VW van in Toronto and drove from Ontario to Victoria, where Frans had been living for about six months. I had never in my life seen so much snow, so many frozen lakes, monumental mountains and long stretches of empty highway. Near Hope the highway was gone due to a landslide and we drove over a gravel road that was a temporary detour. What a country! It wasn’t until we neared Vancouver that nature showed some gentle greenery. Victoria was showing off with an abundance of blooming bulbs and blossoming trees against a backdrop of blue skies and snow capped mountains in the far distance. It almost looked fake, like a painted scene on a theater stage…

 

…Our farm has become a tourist attraction ever since the section of the Lochside Drive where we live has become part of the Lochside Trail. Many people pass by on foot, bicycle or on horseback. And many local people make it their destination, either to look at the pigs, or bring them their kitchen scraps or surplus apples…

 

…A farm without a dog is inconceivable. Of the dogs we have had over the years Jake remains my favorite. Mostly I think because he was the first dog I considered mine more than my husband’s…

 

…The boys’ favorite was Misha. She was old, patient and very forgiving and it was Misha Frans had chosen to teach the boys how to milk. And Dean, the boy next door. His name is still above one of the hooks for barn coveralls. The coveralls were purchased from Victoria Linen Supply. They supplied and cleaned coveralls for garages and when these were replaced, the old coveralls were sold cheaply. They came in different sizes and colours and I always chose a red one…

Read an excerpt here