Our own Green Acres fascinates many

“Green Acres,” one of my all-time favourite TV series, got a timely flashback the other night. Starring Eve Gabor, who was nobody’s idea of a farm girl, the show coincided with summer’s arrival and my own experiences.
Let’s say it comes close to bringing tears to my eyes when Eva’s citified husband stuns her with his farm purchase and then takes pride in bringing her to her new home–a rundown shanty which, on first sight, makes even their small dog run back to the car.
My wife, Emily, also almost refused to enter the River Road home which I had found in the Times and decided to investigate with too little background for the rural life. But our place was only two miles outside town, completely cleared of bush and, when I coaxed her inside, the big brick house proved to be marvelously well-kept.
The fact that it had been raising 12 kids would not endear it to most but their mother was a charmer and soon had us feeling at home. I should have remembered the advice of our police chief, Louis Camirand, who said if you want more children, then move into a house that had lots before you came.
So here it was, and before long, we had two more of our own–making four to help us use the five bedrooms, care for the chickens, bring in kitchen wood, and milk the cows.
After the auction sale to clear the way for us, we got busy and stayed that way for more than 40 years. Changing the appearance of everything around and learning to keep cattle by the hundreds.
Our modest beginning included only two milk cows, a Shetland pony, and small flock of sheep from Emily’s uncle’s place in Chapple, along with his old tractor and few bits of machinery.
We also bred Irish setters enough for all Canada.
But soon we were in over our heads as our bank manager, Alan Tibbetts Sr., stood behind us and our new neighbours taught us about making so much hay I still have nightmares about handling yardfulls of square bales. This may partially account for my limping today. Many other farmers don’t walk well anymore, either.
As we branched out to include other farms in our ranching endeavours, we continued to supplement our income with downtown employment so we never became completely rural, and found out that in this district that idea is hardly possible.
The papermill always subsidized a lot of farmers who also could turn shift work to their advantage, frequently trading shifts to obtain more daylight hours for their farming.
So now we are thinking of selling the old place since Emily passed away last summer and the kids have all moved out. Yet you know, I still feel welcome there and it won’t be right to go through another haying time without jumping on a tractor.
Some of the neighbours are going at it already this week, and praying for less rain for a while, but already starting to look over their gardens for fresh vegetables which were a big thing for us.
Almost everyone else has turned to the lakes for the summer but there are lots who will go fishing only when their farming permits and trust to their luck, which is where it is all at.
Our own luck, at times, was sensational, you could say. We kept our health through a lot of years, never lacked for something to do, or worried about putting good food on the table because those features of farming are almost guaranteed.
Our farm profits did not show up that well at the bank, but I will still argue with those who say there is no money in farming. I know better, I always say, because I put it there.
So if town life bores you and the winters send you south, come see me for the major alternative. There is another guarantee in farming: it’s easy to become so busy that you can’t bother with anything else.
But remember also, you can relax quietly all you want on the farm where conditions are ideal, especially at my place. There’s lots of fish swimming past, a friendly American golf course is only a stone’s throw away at the bottom of my fields, and recreational opportunities abound.
We’ve built in a lot of comforts, including a large gas fireplace and a hot tub and sunroom and deck for entertainment, and everything is at arm’s reach.
If you insist on farming, though, like Eva Gabor’s husband and me, well just help yourself!
• • •
Rudy Gustafson’s son-in-law, Chris Boyer, won’t be flying his passengers to Asia from now on, having landed a promotion for North American Service.
Rudy, though, has a problem with the heavy transportation passing his home on the river. He believes a bylaw should be enforced to cut down the after-dark pulpwood hauling and its noise.
It was much quieter in his neighbourhood when the logs arrived by water.
• • •
Say, aren’t we getting a treat this early summer from our flower growers around town.
Besides showing us lilacs, spirea, snowballs, and other bushes fantastically full of blossoms, they have been displaying tulips, peonies, iris, etc. in such numbers as to make the Hollanders among us feel right at home.
• • •
When Jerome Cousineau put down his pool cue after the Sister Kennedy Centre tournament, he had to admit the opponent who gave him most trouble on his run to the top was a lady, Mildred Bedard.
She also is among the busiest volunteer workers there.
Ralph Langmuir was runner-up.
• • •
Toolie Kawulia brings us up to date on the tale of the late Johnny Coward’s hockey sweater. Friends of Johnny will remember his Olympic ring being the only one in town since he won it in 1936 with England’s national team (composed largely of Canadians).
Well, our Minneapolis author, Don Gillmor, acquired the sweater for Bobby Peters, who recently made the U.S. Hall of Legends for his college coaching and other contributions to the hockey world.
Incidentally, there is growing excitement over Mike Allison’s plan to coach a junior team here. Next month brings up the hockey school operated by Dave and Mike Allison.
• • •
A teacher got the wrong answer during her lesson in blood circulation. After noting that blood going to the head when a person is upside down can turn the face red, she asked why the blood doesn’t do to her feet when she is standing upright.
One small student shouted right away: “Cause your fee ain’t empty!”

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