Saturday, October 17, 2009

This Land is Our Land

As we left British Columbia and our summer on the boat, the view from the Sydney Harbor was spectacular. The next part of our journey is a trip across the continent where we are daily reminded of our great diversity. We left Olympia on October 4 early in the morning on a spectacular fall day.
Our first stop was Manson where we lunched with dear Maria and Lia and had dinner with old friends. The excitement of harvest was everywhere. Bob harvested grapes as others harvested apples. Our thanks to Nicki and John for their hospitality and how wonderful it was to see the Castrodales and the Barkleys for dinner. Happy Birthday to Kristina.
The next part of our journey took us to Bozeman, Montana where we were reminded how early winter can come in the foothills .
Doug spent his first six years on the family farm in North Dakota. As we spent the night with the farmer, Charlie Shope, who bought the land from Doug's dad. Charlie's stories, the wheat, the cattle and the oil rigs made North Dakota come alive for us. Doug's grandfather lost part of his land to the flooding of the area through a new dam. The trees he planted on Aunt Sarah's farm still stand.
Next we went to Gimli which is in Manitoba. Early in the 20th Century the Canadian government gave the Icelanders the right to establish their own government in Manitoba. The first settlers arrived in the 1880s. My family settled their in the 1920s but times were hard and they left a few years later. Several years ago my mother's family were reunited with a sister who remained in Gimli and her two children, Judy and Gary. We visited Aunt Violet in the assisted living - how much she resembles her sisters and her mother. The picture of Gary and me bears some family resemblence.
Our good friends, Mary Lee and Jerry hail from Wisonsin and we were privledged to spend several days in the 1905 farm house where she lives on the dairy farm her brother and his son work. It has been in her family for 6 generations. Our wonderful visit was cut short a day by several inches of snow and more in the forecast. Winter comes early to the prairie states.

I don't know what kind of farm people we might have been had we stayed on the prairie in either Doug's North Dakota or my Manitoba. But our lives would have been very different that much is certain.