When my plane touched down after midnight in Ottawa, the air was muggy and hot. The first hot humid day they’d had this year. My parents picked me up in their RV as they’d just come back from touring Prince Edward Island. My dad drove us back to the farm and we arrived around four in the morning after seeing numerous raccoons and other creatures by the road. We pulled up the dirt road off a dirt road and down the long driveway to the old farmhouse and when I climbed out of the RV, the first thing I saw in the darkness was fireflies. I’ve never seen fireflies! What magic those little beetles are!
The next day was beautiful and sunny and my old friend the wind kept the humidity and the mosquitoes away. My parents had a couple appointments in town so I spent the morning wandering around the farm –through the fields and to the edges of the old growth forests. It is gorgeous here. The farm is on top of a mountain with rolling mountains all around, but to this BC girl they are more akin to short rolling hills covered in hardwood trees. My parents have 83 acres which consist of three large hay fields, a large grassy area by the old farmhouse, with the original heritage barn and other outbuildings, and about 40 acres of untouched forest in the back. The land is peppered with heirloom apple trees and old farm machinery – some meant to be hooked up to horses, and some to ancient tractors. I didn’t see the deer or black bears during my wanderings through wood and field, but I did see monarch butterflies, tons of dragonflies, a dead cicada, many small birds, and some wild turkeys.
The farm had been in the same family since the earth was first broken. The driveway, which is long enough to be considered a road, was named after them. They were the local barn builders in the area and many of the barns built by that family are still standing on other farms, although many have fallen apart from disuse. My parents are the first outside of that family to own the farm. It’s the way it is in rural Ontario. When the old folks pass on, their city-dwelling children and grandchildren want nothing to do with the family farm and sell it off.
My parents turned it back into a working farm again, renovated the farmhouse, and fixed up the original outbuildings with a little help from the Foxfire books I gifted my dad for his 50th birthday years back. They had cattle, pigs, and chickens, but after my father’s car accident he wasn’t able to take care of them without causing himself great pain, so now they will only keep a couple animals on a seasonal basis for meat. He still takes good care of his hay fields though and makes sure to tap his sugar maples every winter to make maple syrup from scratch over a fire outdoors.
As my parents just got back from travelling like I have been, we’ve just been relaxing at the farm. Me and mom have been out in the vegetable garden, and my father has been mowing the grass grown tall while he was away hiding snakes and mice. We’ve been taking turns cooking delicious homemade meals for each other and rewatching Bones from the beginning in the evenings while my mom knits. It feels so good to spend time with my parents in their own domain and to feel so much love from people I love so much in return.
It’s also been good to see my childhood cat TC. He’s an old old man now, but still just as beautiful and just as mischievous and food-stealing. He remembers me well and keeps sitting on my lap, sleeping on my bed, and going for walks with me. I love that old cat. Tomorrow we’re off to Ottawa for my Poppa’s 81st birthday. He just got out of the hospital last week in a feat of lucky timing on his part. I’m looking forward to seeing my grandparents as well as all of my many aunts, uncles, and cousins. My grandparents are about to become great grandparents for the second time! The big family keeps getting bigger.
I’ll be getting up to more mischief while I’m here and I’ll blog about it as I do. My parents finally have high speed internet since a cellphone tower was built a year ago so I can blog during my visit now that I don’t have to deal with pesky dial-up.