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By Stan Gordon
I was born in 1947 youngest of ten of a working farm. Our farm was located in Saskatchewan near Saskatoon. We had a mixed farm consisting of grain and dairy all done with old machinery and by hand. My dad had a tractor, a Farmall A which was used mostly to run the thrashing machine, a seed drill and for plowing. I remember locals used to help each other and threshing was done from daylight to after dark, one farm to another until all farms were done.
I was 8 years old when we moved from the family farm so was to young to experience any of the hard work preformed by other family members. My two older brothers and myself used to go to school in a horse and buggy, 5 miles each way. Talk about " riding in a one horse open sleigh" it was cold in the winter.
We moved thousands of miles away from the family farm, my parents finally deserving to retire to the easier life, we moved to the west coast of British Columbia to a suburb of the city. Farming didn't leave my blood, I was still a farmer. About a quarter of a mile away were hobby acreage’s. One of these acreage’s had a couple of horses and a couple of beef cattle with calves. Unknowingly to the owner I was about to play with these calves. I made halters of rope and taught them to lead, ( I bet you the owner never realized how well they led). I took the calves home and played with them leading them all over the neighborhood. I used to take them back before nightfall so the owner would not find out. Once when taking one of the calves back I crossed through my neighbors yard and the calf fell through the septic- tank almost to the point of drowning. Being only 10 years old I needed help to get the calf out, neighbors came to my rescue. After getting it out I just hosed it off and took it back to its home.
When I was a little older I acquired some baby chicks and raised chickens and sold eggs to help pay for some of the feed. I did that until the age of 17 when I finished school. My first steady job was with a abbitor where I worked with animals again. I worked there 6 years and left due to cutbacks in production, left there with sadness.
By the time I was 21 I was married and owned my own property about 1/2 acre. I raised rabbits there for the first two years. I decided to play farmer again and decided to plant a garden. My garden was 80 feet by 140 feet. First thing I had to do was to break the soil. I rented a Ford tractor and a plow from a rental center.
After plowing and planting I was not satisfied to only rent a tractor, so I bought a old David Bradley 4 wheel garden tractor with a plow, disc, and a cultivator as attachments. After using that a few years the tractor gave up the ghost and I bought another garden tractor, a Gravely 2 wheel tractor with attachments. I eventually quit gardening and the grass took over.
A couple of years later while visiting my in-laws one evening a Welsh pony showed up on the front lawn. I caught the pony and notified the police and the local pound that I had found this pony and the owner could claim it at my residence 1 1/2 miles away. I made a halter bridle from rope and rode the pony home at 12:30 AM. Boy did I get looks at that time of the day. There was lots of grass for the pony to eat on our 1/2 acre.
Next few days were glorious time for the neighbor kids, every- one had free rides including my son 8 years old. About a week passed and the owner came to claim the pony. I discovered the owner was trying to sell the pony . I knew the pony was good with kids so I bought him. By the end of the summer the kids couldn't be bothered with the pony anymore. I decided if the pony was going to be around he may as well be used for something. I broke the pony to drive and purchased a single harness and a sulky cart and drove him. Now where I worked was about 3 miles away and they owned 52 acres and about 45 acres of it was uncared for hay. I decided the pony could earn his keep so I drove him to and from work daily unhitching him and letting him pasture all day while I worked.
I then decided this was fun so I looked around for a second pony to drive as a team. I lucked out finding another pony and another person who had a 4 wheel wagon built for a small team that was looking for a sulky cart, I traded even. Bought a used team harness and I was away. This lasted for about two years when I decided we did not have enough property , we sold that and purchased a 1 acre parcel with 2 adjoining acres I could use for free. Now I decided it was too expensive to buy hay for the ponies so sold them and bought a Guernsey milk cow. Now I had to milk the cow morning and night getting 3 to 4 gallons a milking. We sold milk to locals ( illegally) and what we had left over I separated the cream and made butter. We still had too much milk left over I bought some calves and some pigs. There was still enough room in the barn for chickens, ducks, and geese which I bought and sold every week at a auction. Again we did not have enough property so I sold the property and rented 5 1/2 acres where I acquired more cattle and poultry.
Only a year went by and the owner sold the property so had to move to a city lot no animals, boy did I ever miss the country life.
It took 10 years to acquire acreage again, this time it is 170 miles away, only 11 acres half usable the other half is steep mountain. When I retire I am going to hobby farm again. We had the property for about 7 years and again the farm bug bit me again. I needed a tractor, I found a 8N tractor in great shape and bought it. Now I needed implements, I purchased a plow, rear blade, sickle mower, and harrows. Since then I acquired a rototiller, rear scoop , and a broadcaster seeder. I'm back farming, I planted some fall rye in my field and plan on building the soil up and later planting alfalfa to sell to help pay the taxes on the property.
I would love to be full time farmer, but I know if I could afford to farm fulltime I would not have to work. I love farming and I know farming will always be in my blood to some degree.