I’ve always considered myself a farmer’s daughter, though my dad left the family farm and turned to engineering instead. He kept that farming spirit alive in my brothers and I, letting us raise a variety of animals on our small acreage, teaching us how to recognize the crops we drove past, instilling in us the values that he grew up with.
Even now, as I drive through the farm country around our small town, I find myself scanning the fields. Noting what’s planted there—canola, barley, oats, flax, wheat, corn, potatoes. How ripe the crops are. How they are growing, whether tall and lush or weedy and thin.
I love seeing the patchwork quilt designs that spread across the hills as each crop has different colours or rests in different stages of harvest. The striped field that has been swatched but not yet combined. The polka-dotted hay field that has been baled. The smooth, even field just about to ripen.
Canola is one of my favourite crops—always so bright and cheery and easy to pick out from miles away. It’s a common crop across Alberta. This year, farmers up north were talking about the dry spring and the fact that the canola wasn’t sprouting. Despite that, we saw lots of yellow fields as we drove around the province.
The weekend that we moved, a hail storm ripped across the province. Power was out in several areas for several hours. We were staying at my in-laws’, as they had helped us move, and waited for the weather to clear before driving our moving trailer to our new home. As we passed some fields, I was surprised to see that they were already cut. Then I realized that, in the time since we’d seen them last, the farmer couldn’t have harvest them. The hail had totally decimated the fields. And yet my uncle’s fields, a few miles north, were spared any damage at all.
This fall, I’m grateful to all the farmers across our country who work hard, with uncertain weather and changing markets, to grow crops that feed families. I’m glad I’m a farmer’s daughter.