Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Ihope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving. We were blessed with two this year. The one at the farm was especially enjoyable though because I had a chance to visit a place that was so much a part of my life.

We drove out on the logging road that eventually led to within about a mile of the farm. Years ago the only way to access the farm was by boat, or perhaps walking, which I did once. It was quite an ordeal that included wading streams, crossing muskegs and slogging my way over dangerously sticky mudflats. I was fortunate that I didn't get stuck on the flats or cross paths with a brown bear. Anyway, this trip only entailed having what few teeth I have left jarred almost loose by the potholes in the road. There were a couple of scary moments going across a couple of the bridges that spanned Game Creek too, but on a scale of one to ten, they wouldn't have warranted more than a five. After parking the car we walked down a well marked trail through a patch of old growth spruce and hemlock. This small stretch of woods serves as a buffer between the farm property and the surrounding area and I was happy to see that it was spared. In the years before the area was logged I had followed the trail up through the forest past several benches and into an area we called the third muskeg. Chris Austin, one of the young men from the farm accompanied me on the hunt and up on that muskeg I shot the largest buck I've ever seen up until then. It was quite the chore getting that deer back to the farm. A road back then would have been a welcome sight. As it was we took turns packing it on our backs all the way down the path for several miles until we reached the edge of the fields where we could pick it up with the farm's tractor. I sure couldn't perform such a feat of strength now. I'm not even sure I could walk empty handed all the way up to that third muskeg. Ah, to be young again.

Once we passed through the woods we broke out into the fields. Off in the distance I could see the house we'd built. It was somewhat difficult to make out. Down through the years the alders and blueberry brush had grown up around it. I'm afraid that one day they will reclaim the entire area and only the steel roofing and stove pipe will be left to testify that once a fine, proud house stood in that place. Though it's hard to tell now, it once was the nicest place on the farm. With a split level entry way that led to four bedrooms downstairs or to the living room, den, kitchen and greenhouse/balcony upstairs, it was quite large. The foundation was made up of the trees that we cut to make room for the house and all the framework came from our sawmill- rough cut green lumber that shrank as it aged and dried, leaving gaps in walls and floors. I bought all the other building materials in order to expedite the building process and avoid some of the problems that the other cabins experienced- those that used only the farm lumber for siding and flooring.

I crossed the slough out front and remembered the many trips I had to take to get our laundry water from it, ten gallons at a time up that hill. I dreaded laundry day, at least until we finally ran a water line from the Carey cabin to ours. That was a major feat in itself. Nothing came easily out there.

Just inside the woods at the base of the hill I saw the remnants of an old tire swing that the girls used to play on. The most simple things could be turned into fun. There was a small alder tree at the base of the hill that had been bent over that the kids used to straddle and use like a one sided teeter-totter. When you don't have much, you make do with what you have. In so many ways that simple life was good.

The upper picture shows the road that led between the fields/ barn/ dry house and the tabernacle. The buildings on the right weren't there when I lived at Game Creek. I think they use the one building to hang the animals they slaughter. They acquired quite a few more farm animals after we left. The small building on the left is the ladies outhouse. It's a two stall affair, much like the one I used to frequent, only this one is for the ladies only. I guess the men's is on the other side of camp. I don't doubt that it's more comfortable for all the parties involved to have separate accommodations, but I bet they don't have near the number of good stories any more.

The cabin on the left nestled in the hemlock trees, you can barely make out the roof line, is the one that our dear Sister Lydia used to live in. She was responsible for all mail in and out of the farm at the time and monitored the CB radio- the only link between the farm and the town house. She was pretty hefty and I think after she got stuck in the mud flats the second time refused to ever go to town again unless we were blessed with a high enough tide to bring a boat up to the edge of the farm. Her husband was one of the three men killed in the boating accident that occurred years ago in front of Gallagher's Flats. She passed on a few years back. She was an interesting gal, and though we weren't close friends, I would love to be able to sit down and reminisce with her about old times.

Anyway, that's what I've got for now. I wanted to share a few pictures of the farm with you as it is now and relive a few memories. Hope your Thanksgiving was memorable in a good way and if not, there's always next year.

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