What a great time of the year it is to go out for a drive around our spectacular country side in all directions, catching the glorious colours and aromas of the autumn season, while waving and cheering for our hardy farmers out in the fields with their magnificent machines taking off what hopefully will be bountiful crops that can soon be stored away safely in those massive elevators and bins.
As has always been the case at this time of the year the days are getting shorter, there is a definite nip in the air and no matter how old or wise we may be, no one will ever know when dear old Mother Nature and Jack Frost will combine their forces and rudely raise the curtain on another winter. Along with our devoted farmers, most families are dashing out into our community gardens in the traditional worry and flurry of getting down and dirty in a team effort to dig their spuds, harvest their veggies, and clean up and store away all the fruits and leftovers of their labour that began way back in the spring.
Whether you may want to admit it or not one of our favourite passtimes as kids at this time of the year was sneaking around and raiding the neighbourhood gardens to sample some fresh-shelled peas, radishes, and munchy carrots. We then converged on the local berry patches to sample all those juicy treats that usually resulted in a belly-ache and getting grounded for missing supper. Most of us as kids will remember that even though we whined and came up with lots of excuses we were always recruited to assist our parents with the harvest of our precious garden patches, while for those out on the farms there will be many long hours helping with the crops, the garden, and of course the usual daily chores. Of course none of that has changed much as everyone usually looks forward to gathering the potatoes, shelling peas (no nibbling), and then later joining mom in the kitchen helping to preserve and freeze all sorts of healthy goodies that will take us through the long winter.
Sadly, for many our gardening days are done, but we can still look forward to the bountiful samples kindly offered by our friends and neighbours (just a hint), as well as making a weekly trip to the community farmers markets, or dickering with the Taber corn guy on the corner. I so fondly remember that it was always a real treat working for the local newspaper during the harvest season, because so many of our excited town and county “green thumbs” would bring in their over-grown wild and weird shaped turnips, carrots, potatoes, sunflowers, that were perfect for a photo in the next issue, which was awarded with bragging rights around the neighbourhood and coffee shops. Meanwhile deep in the district pumpkin patches some magnificent specimens are being neutered and pampered just in time for those spooky Oct. 31 occasions. At this time of the year we will always hope for some extended nice weather so that the crops can ripen before those big noisy machines converge on the fields and gather another excellent crop.
Speaking of records our Ponoka district farmers and local gardeners have had a long-standing reputation and proud tradition for producing great crops for countless decades of harvests. Just a few examples: from the lush and fertile soil of the early 1900s N.A. Wiltse harvested a crop of oats that yielded 100 bushels to the acre, wheat that weighed in at 40 pounds a bushel, and rye that stood 75 inches tall. In the days that William Ledgerwood produced a 25 pound turnip and Jacob Beck turned out barrels full of cabbages that weighed up to 45 pounds, the going prices for all the months of hard work were 35 cents a bushel for grains, 13 cents a pound for butter, and five to six cents a pound for dressed beef.
May your 2019 crops be bountiful in field and garden, town and country, and then be showered every evening by the traditional celebration blaze of the aurora borealis (northern lights).
Some great bumper stickers
Young at heart … slightly older in other places.
I’m speeding because I have to get there before I forget where I’m going.
At my age “getting any” means sleep and “happy hour” is a nap.
Goodbye tension … hello pension.
Live it each day like it’s your last … because one day you’ll get it right.
Be nice to your kid … they will choose your nursing home.
The only trouble with retirement … you never get a day off.
Senility isn’t bad … I wrap my own Christmas presents, I never watch re-runs, I can hide my own Easter eggs, and I get to meet new people every day.
Support bingo … keep grandma off the street.
Please get out and enjoy each and every day, book an extra tee time, and start planning your family winter calendar, because it will eventually arrive. As always, have a great week, all of you.