On the farm by Glenn Ells
I’m writing this on Aug. 9, as another good summer week on the farm draws to a close. Rain is forecast for tonight and tomorrow, so José is applying a protective sulfur spray to the grape plants. We have seen a bit of powdery mildew on the pumpkins and don’t want it spreading to the grape plants.
It has been ideal for winter wheat harvesting and most of those fields in this area have been gathered and stored. The straw, in large round bails, is rapidly being stored and will be used later for bedding in poultry and over livestock enterprises.
I was looking in my brother’s publication today and noticed that it was on Aug. 11, 1947 that my grandfather passed away. I was 13 at that time and was enjoying time with my close friend, the late Colin Chase, at the Chase cottage in Halls Harbour. Dad arrived on Aug. 10 with the half-ton truck and thus ended my vacation and my boyhood.
Grandfather was on a hospital bed in the parlour and had suffered a stroke. I was taken in to see him and Nan, his second wife, asked him to squeeze her hand if he knew that Glenn had come to see him. She turned to me and said that the hand squeeze had happened. It was too much for me and I fled to my private place under the grapevine and had a good cry. My parents didn’t force me to attend the funeral, for which I was grateful. That was 66 years ago, but those memories and feelings still come back clearly.
It soon became evident that Grandfather’s horse was now my horse, and most of the one-horse jobs on the farm were now my jobs. I remember the hayraking very well, especially when Jerry was switching his tail at horseflies and captured one rein just before getting bit and taking off with a startled boy hanging on and hoping to regain control.
Lots of changes have happened on the farm scene since then. The old grapevine has gone and the icehouse it climbed on has been moved. Now I’m living on what was our neighbour’s across the road’s farm and my son is developing a vineyard where an apple orchard used to be.
Where will climate change and technology take us in the next 66 years?