Summer offers a variety of fun and memories for this country girl
Iím looking forward to another wonderful summer in Rocky View County.
The weather promises to be warm and the sky a stunning shade of blue only seen on the prairie. Days off spent near lakes, in the mountains and in small towns are looming.
This year, I am looking forward to rodeos, festivals and parades around the region. Itís nice to see families out enjoying the sunny, warm days while the weather is good.
With the kidsí activities winding down and school letting out, I am looking forward to a break from making lunches, early-morning shuttles and late-night homework projects.
Itís time to sit outdoors on the patio with a friend and a glass of white wine in the afternoon, light a campfire in the backyard to roast marshmallows after dark or go for long walks in the cool evening air.
This is my favourite time of the year, always has been.
As a child, my early summer birthday had me looking forward to cake, presents and friends.
When I got a little older, horseback riding and biking with friends and staying up late were favourite pastimes during the summer months.
I remember going outdoors in the early morning, heading down to the ďcrickĒ where my siblings and I would catch minnows and skip rocks. We would stay out until the growling in our stomachs was audible.
My little brother and I built teepees, tents and treehouses Ė often spending the night in our trash-to-treasure constructions.
My adolescent memories of summer include weeks spent counselling at camp, meeting hundreds of kids and taking part in summer activities such as canoeing, campfire building, beach time and arts and crafts.
I look back on those experiences with great pleasure, the friends I met have lasted a lifetime.
But it wasnít all leisure.
A good portion of my summer was spent getting projects done around the farm. Fixing fences, picking rocks and cleaning out stalls were regular activities.
I remember dragging the hose out to the pig pens on hot summer days to make a wallow for the hogs. You really havenít lived until you have seen a herd of sows, weighing in at more than 300 pounds, frolicking in the stream of water from a hose while gleefully tossing mud in the air with their snouts.
My dad hated to see his four children waste their time, so many projects were invented for us to use up our school-free hours. Several of these day-long jobs turned into favourite memories.
An oft-repeated family story consists of myself, at age 14, backing the old, green Chevy stick shift into the grainery. For the record, cleaning chopped oats off the ground can really cut into your plans of reading in the hammock.
One of my fondest memories took place out in the pasture when my little brother and I got between a cow and her baby while shovelling manure out of the aforementioned green Chevy, the vehicle I learned to drive in.
Running for our lives, we cleared the fence before the cow caught up. However, it was my little brotherís misfortune to land on a hornetís nest. Being the clown he was, he entertained me during the walk back to the house with his exaggerated limping, moaning and rubbing of his hindquarters, which received a beating from the angry insects.
I still laugh when I think of it.
I hated the tedious work involved in tending to our giant garden, which was filled with potatoes, beans, peas, carrots, onions, turnips and beets and all the salad-makings your heart could desire.
It seemed to stretch on as far as the eye could see, so when mom asked us to weed the garden or hill the spuds, there was an audible collective groan. The worst chore? Picking and shelling peas. Hours and hours of work for nine cups of peas Ė not worth it.
I look back to those seemingly endless chores with many fond memories. I also attribute those carefree days to helping shape me to the person I am today.
I hope all of you get out to some summer time community events, spend time in your yards and gardens with friends and find lots of projects for your progeny. Itís going to be a great Ė if short - summer.