Photo: Jody Busk
My husband Colin has always been a farmer at heart. He grew up in the small town of Hardisty, Alberta, but spent many days out on his great-uncle’s and his grandparents’ farms, helping out from a young age. We still reside in Hardisty and for the last 12 years, we’ve lived on a three-acre lot. Recently, Colin purchased a 70-year-old Allis-Chalmers tractor from a good friend. It was in running order but had done little but sit and look pretty. Colin was in his glory when he took it off his friend’s hands. He uses it on a daily basis, even if it is only to drive in circles around the acreage or pull our mobile chicken coop from one spot to the next. He’s also dug out an old John Deere cultivator at his grandfather’s homestead and tried to use the almost 90-year-old piece of equipment to cultivate our garden! It still works—with a little bit of extra elbow grease.
Colin is now busy teaching our sons, Braxton and Brayden, about the history of farming in hopes that they too will appreciate what our grandfathers and great-grandfathers once had to do to live in this beautiful country. He takes the boys out to his uncle’s and cousin’s farms to help out with combine harvesting in the fall, working the cattle and sometimes helping with calving. Braxton and Brayden are both fascinated with farm life and the machines. Colin likes to talk about what his grandparents used to do on the farm and he loves the vintage tractors—they are simple, less electronic contraptions that are less likely to break down. One day, this old tractor will get a new paint job, but in the meantime, it’ll be cranked and enjoyed for many years to come!
Next, check out the true story of Ontario’s farmerettes—Canada’s forgotten wartime heroes.