August 17, 2009: Fort St. John, B.C.

Robert and I are ‘up north’ again for a few days – my brother Fred asked us to come and help him put up his second crop silage. I got to do the raking with a tractor without a cab. I could take in the whole rolling Peace River scenery and let the sun tan my skin – just like in a convertible.

Fred Lehmann brings home a load of silage with his twin daughters Alexandra and Christina. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Fred Lehmann brings home a load of silage with his twin daughters Alexandra and Christina. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

It was a beautiful weekend for the North Peace Fall Fair yesterday. The annual fair was an important part of my summer as a child growing up. I remember spending the morning digging potatoes and carrots from my own garden, agonizing over which four potatoes would look best together, which six peas curved just right so the judge would give me first.

Stephanie Lehmann shows her now clean calf Wanda at the North Peace Fall Fair. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Stephanie Lehmann shows her now clean calf Wanda at the North Peace Fall Fair. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

That’s one of the few things that haven’t changed much since I was young. Now it’s my nieces and nephews that steam up the kitchen baking bread and cookies for the junior exhibitions, or spend hours grooming their calf until the hair lies just right for the show ring.

Poor Stephanie! She’d worked so hard the evening before to get Wanda looking perfect. When she went to get the calf the next morning Wanda looked like she fell into the manure pit.

Timothy Wenger shows his earnings from his prize-winning grain sheaves at the fall fair to his uncle Robert. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Timothy Wenger shows his earnings from his prize-winning grain sheaves at the fall fair to his uncle Robert. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

So it was back to work all over again. I was there to watch her in the show ring. She did alright for a first time. She didn’t get first, but not last either.

My three sisters competed with each other for the best canned pickles, saskatoons and raspberry juice. They’re carrying on the legacy of our mother, who taught us how to preserve the bounty of summer, and then to show it off at the fair.

Fred’s wife Madlene won third at the women’s nail driving competition, Fred tried his hand at hand sawing logs, and everyone enjoyed the tractor pull and heavy horse pull.

My rancher sister Helen and husband Dave Harris served beef-on-a-bun and ran out of beef just as the crowd dispersed. It was a very successful weekend for everyone!

A thick crop of second cut grass gave Robert and Don some grief unplugging the chopper. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

A thick crop of second cut grass gave Robert and Don some grief unplugging the chopper. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

And Fred got his silage pit covered late Saturday night. So he’s happy too. He’s especially happy at his second cut grass. He got more the second time from one field than the first cut.

Cecil Lake was a happy exception to the drought plaguing so much of Alberta and the Peace River area of B.C. They received enough rain at the right times so things look pretty good.

I’m happy for them after the massive drought they had last year. Everyone needs a break now and then.

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