Calendar Talk | 01

I grew up on a farm in St-Pascal Baylon. Of course country life meant a lot of work. There were the daily chores: feeding the animals, cleaning the barn and the dairy equipment. Then there were the seasonal jobs such as planting and harvesting the garden and the fields. Hay was probably one of the most demanding job of all as the timing was crucial for the quality of the final product and weather was not always cooperating. Rain at any time in the process: cutting, raking or pick up could diminish the quality of the winter food for the cows or even completely spoil it. Too ripe and dry meant little nutrient throughout winter. Too green and humid risked causing rotting from inside the bales and in some extreme cases fire.

I did not like house work, yet being the only girl with 3 brothers, it was expected of me. Whenever I had a chance I would escape to the barn. I loved to spend times with the animals. Of course there were the cows, a horse, pigs, rabbits, ducks, chickens, a dog and various cats. I also loved to play in the hay loft, building tunnels and forts. It was my secret kingdom.

While a lot about farm life was tedious and repetitious, there was nevertheless a sense of freedom. Lot of time was spent outdoor. I still remember very young walking in the fields to pick up the oat bundles. Later I would drive the tractor (I was the girl after all, hard work on the wagons was reserved to the boys). It was in itself very monotonous work going up and down the field always at the same speed with the hum of the tractor and whatever implement was behind as my only companion. I remember finding it boring until I realized how it allowed me to dream. It was like nature was calling me. I fancied that one day, I would be the one living in communion with the land on the farm.

There was of course a cultural element, it was the land of my fathers. But more than that it was, the sanctuary of my youth. I grew up scared of life and the world. On the farm, surrounded by nature and animals, I felt safe. At the same time, I knew the farm could be a wonderful place where to help people reconnect with nature and themselves. I thought it could become an oasis of peace as city life encroached more and more into rural areas.

Yes, that actually is the only dream I ever had: to one day, go back to the farm and live there happy ever after. Well that dream was short lived. It did not work out, and a few years after fixing the old barn I moved out. It was the hardest thing I ever did.

There are many instances of acts of God such as droughts, floods, fires or lightning which have destroyed barns, machines and livestock or farming accidents that took the lives of loved ones. But there is also too many human inflicted tragedies where families are broken apart by greed or insensitivity to the needs of others. Many farms have been sold to the highest bidder rather than considering the desires of family members. Some were passed on to one of the siblings with no regards for the others, no discussion, no choices or chances for compromises offered.

Despite all of that, there are still some beautiful stories to be told. There are legacies that are passed on, and if not always in the family, to stranger that value the past, and what it stands for. This is what this calendar is all about. Whenever our work schedules permitted, we traveled up and down the roads of the Clarence-Rockland to discover these old barns. Often, we were able to get the shot from the road and therefore did not meet the owners. In other instances, we needed to go in the driveway or in fields to get a better angle. We then talked with the people and that is when things got interesting and took a lot of time! Most people were so excited to share stories related to the old barns, proud that someone was interested in a part of their history that we often ended up staying a lot longer than planned.

Hoping you will also enjoy this adventure! Talk to you soon!

Vieille grange au coin de Rollin et Baseline. Acheté en 1949 par Osias Rollin qui l’opère jusqu’en 1958, lorsqu’il la vend à son fils Gaëtan. Bien que le terrain a été vendu récemment, M. Rollin appartient toujours la vieille grange qui avait été rénovée en 2011.
Grange au coin de Baseline et Caron, appartenait à Réjean Filion, acheté par Bernard Sanscartier.
Ferme Réjean Chartrand (anciennement Presley), chemin Rollin entre la route 174 et le chemin Baseline.
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One Comment

  1. Joe oliveras January 4, 2019 at 8:59 pm #

    Hi Lynne,
    I too grew up on farms from the age of about 3 till I was 9. The first was Mr. Brickford’s farm on Pink Road in Aylmer, where my parents rented the West half of the ground floor. We had recently moved from Montreal where, us being refugees, we were not well received. The Brickford’s were very kind to us. I developed a close friendship with their son Kenny who was about my age.

    The Lloyd’s lived across the road in a bungalow and when their sister-in-law who lived in a farm adjacent to their home passed, they rented the farm to my parents as it had been deeded to them. Yes, the farm was haunted so my sister claimed but if it was, the ghost never bothered me. Mrs. Lloyd’s brother kept a small office in the back of the house, above the garage and accessed by it. He was a fascinating man and used to show me all sorts of old neat things. He had an old fridge and I remember he kept a folded package in there that contained bear eyes. Neat huh?? Both the Brickford’s and Lloyd’s farms and bungalow no longer exist. They were bought out by Nortel where they built a manufacturing facility.

    It was around 1956 that a farm became available on he corner of Perry and Pink Roads in Aylmer and my parents bought it. To me, that was heaven. I recall laying on the sloped roof of our doghouse and spending hours just watching the clouds and trying to make out animals and faces. So, when it was time for me to start school, well that was like a kick in the pants for me as I did not want to go. I played hooky and boy did I play hooky. I missed 105 of attendance and the Truancy officer came around three times to talk to my parents. My parents argued that I took the bus every morning but what they didn’t see was that I would walk to the end of our long Lilac filled driveway and when the bus came, I would hide in the Lilacs until it left. Then I would make my way down to the barns and spend the whole day there. Life was good. Needless to say, I flunked grade one. Now how many people can lay claim to fame with that statement? We lived there until 1960 whereby my parents had to sell the farm but that is another story in itself. I should write a book.

    I can honestly say that I grew up in my formative years on farms along with the pigs, chickens, geese and turkeys. Oh the memories!! :-)