Life up North
We moved to the “Great White North” as they call it coming on 5 years ago. Our move was inspired by a lack of financial stability; the times were that the economy was in a recession.
We lived on an Island, a large Island that would take you a good day to drive from one end to the other and we lived in the south end in a Government city that was well known for its Tourism industry.
We had always had the horses and it was a struggle some months to keep everything afloat. With young children, animals and one income something had to change yet we desired a lifestyle that was nothing like what we were currently in.
No longer did we want city life, we had always talked about being in the country that “Country Life” was what we sought out. Freedom of neighbours and our own piece of land to get our hands dirty, this is where we wanted to be.
We knew innately that our children would benefit from this lifestyle, to be able to be children and do what children do best. Be full of imagination and freedom to run and explore. What a luxury for us to consider having the horses close and other animals to learn from.
This was the life we desired.
We dreamed and dreamed till it was so; the recession gave us the push to get out of the comfort zone and act, first for survival. Money is a commodity needed in order to purchase basics for survival. Then there is choice of how you chose to be, we chose a farm.
The push was a good one; it took us clear to the other side of the Province and north. We would find ourselves away from all that we knew or were familiar with. Our family bond grew stronger.
We had left behind family, friends, familiarity. No longer were we in a climate that was unpredictable with rain yet was predictably moderate. We soon learned that we were now on nature’s time and we really had to tune into her news feed to keep up to speed so to speak.
I arrived in the middle of December with the children and the horses. No one knew what to expect and once we got settled we knew we were no longer in Kansas as Dorothy would have said.
The ground was laden with heavy snow, the air was dry and cold, and we were further into nature’s territory than we had ever been camping. This was a clear moment for me; I knew that the North would help you figure out who you were. Long were allot of the conveniences I grew up with, first being water. There was no turning on taps and letting them run for unlimited amounts of time because the pipe let the water flow. I had to form a relationship with the cistern, a large culvert that is cemented under ground that holds your reserve of water after the water truck hauls it to you. We learned quickly to conserve water, limit allot of daily water consumption in a way we absolutely took for granted on the Island.
Now relying on water to be hauled in you also had to work with nature, snow has to be cleared to make for easy access for the truck and no matter how cold the temps, priorities change quickly and pushing snow can quickly become the most important thing on your list for the day.
Second on the list of winter priorities is keeping warm. Since it is common to be in the negative double digits, body warmth is another key to survival. I remember being in high school and learning a pyramid diagram with the layout of a humans most basic needs and the North has reinforced that shelter, food, and water are your first blocks and that transportation and a snow shovel are a close second.
I am so great-full for every struggle and dilemma we have had to work through since being here. They usually arise in the winter as the cold and snow keep you on your toes. Winter makes you appreciate life; it makes you appreciate any conveniences that are presented to you.
I have learned to listen to the seasonal cues, to slow down and watch the animals and to respect what nature tells me as she will determine how the next 6 months for me can go.
I have a good understanding that when the leaves are falling all must be in order as the snow will soon being upon us again. I watch for the migratory birds to fly above me and the changing bird breeds as summer bird’s leave and winter birds return. Animals like the Moose that travel further away in the summer to have their young return to their areas, set by the many generations set forth before them. We all become more intone with instinct.
Material objects need to be picked up and placed away for it can be a long time till you see it again. Once the blanket of snow returns and the temps freeze it into place, unless you have a good idea where something is there can be a good chunk of time till you find it next.
It is important for us to not only prepare for our animals and ourselves yet we offer food to our local wild birds. This years snow is a few weeks early and we have received more snow in the past 2 weeks than we did in the entire winter last year. Allot are caught off guard and I have noticed a difference in the birds behaviours.
Being on the farm sets your priorities as they should be. Family first as your all that you have and then every thing else will fall into place.