Labour day

Well, there’ll be no combining again today. After a longer period of hot dry weather we’re getting what is often the September weather pattern. Some rain is followed by a few days of sun – just enough to get a person into combine mode again – and then another rain. The old timers like to tell us that in this area most of the combining used to be done in October. Let’s hope this year isn’t one of those!

It's going to rain again... An evening storm is brewing over a canola field. Farmers would like warm dry weather to harvest now. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

It's going to rain again... An evening storm is brewing over a canola field. Farmers would like warm dry weather to harvest now. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Some of the early crops came off last week. I got a good day in on Thursday – enough to familiarize myself with my John Deere 9600 combine again. It was a beautiful day – one of those where you think there’s no place you’d rather be than where you are – combining golden barley under blue Alberta skies.

We were taking off a neighbour’s organic barley. There was a good bit of chickweed underneath in one part of the field, so I quickly figured out how to use the header reverser again and to learn to listen to the rumbling underneath me.

Sophia, Irina and Diana Sheridan share a picnic lunch with me in the Centennial Rose Garden at Mr. V's, near Boyle, Alta. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Sophia, Irina and Diana Sheridan share a picnic lunch with me in the Centennial Rose Garden at Mr. V's, near Boyle, Alta. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Farmers seem to be pretty happy with the yields coming off. They’re definitely not spectacular – 40 bushels of peas/acre, 60 bushels of barley, 50 of wheat. Our area likes to see 70 bu/acre peas, 100 bu/acre barley, and 80 bu/acre wheat. But with this year’s weather patterns, we’re all just happy to have a crop there.

Yesterday I took a friend Diana and her two daughters on a tour through rural Alberta. It’s an annual ritual we started last year when Diana’s mother was here from Argentina. There are so many interesting roads and places close to us that we’ve never seen. We packed a picnic lunch and headed east. Valleys, rocky fields with bison and then again wide grain fields spelled each other off. The bush is just beginning to take on that yellow tinge of fall.

We are our lunch in the centennial rose garden of Mr. V’s, a tree and plant nursery and berry u-pick near Boyle, Alta. Then we spent quite some time wandering through their plantings of berries and shelterbelt trees.

Diana is excited to find blooming tamarisk at Mr. V's, a plant she is familiar with from Argentina. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Diana is excited to find blooming tamarisk at Mr. V's, a plant she is familiar with from Argentina. (Photo by Marianne Stamm)

Besides a sizeable u-pick operation of raspberries, saskatoons, and strawberries there were choke cherries, Nanking cherries, sand cherries, black currants, buffalo currents, champagne currents… Along one hedge there were various apple trees laden with fruit. We consumed a veritable fruit salad just tasting!

Mr. V’s has many fruit and ornamental trees and perennial plants that can’t be easily found otherwise. Check them out on their website at http://www.mrvs.net . I bought an American Linden tree, to commemorate Diana’s mom, who died in July of cancer. In Switzerland, a Linden tree is often planted in memory of someone.

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