Every summer we took two weeks and went to visit my Auntie who lived on a horse farm a couple of hours outside Toronto. We'd bring all our old clothes because everything we took with us got dirty, torn, destroyed and anything else that could happen to clothes.
Auntie Simone lived with her husband Fred, her five dogs (sometimes more, sometimes less), four horses, a pig, a few chickens and two sons. I loved going to the farm. My cousins are both a couple of years younger than I am and they were a lot of fun to grow up with. Seth and Sammy. They were both skinny boys with orange hair and freckles. They didn't look like anyone else in teh gene pool so of course they were mercilessly teased about it, but they're both really easy going and never took it to heart.
As soon as we got there they would both come running from god-knows-where, dirty and smelly and we'd run off and they'd give me a tour of anything that had changed. On the farm, nothing ever changed too drastically. They might get a new piece of farm equipment or one year the big old oak tree down by the river had been hit by lightening and cracked right down the center, one half laying over the river like a bridge. Or the neighbor's cow swould have just had their calves calf and we'd watch them with their mothers.
There were a lot of snakes on the farm. Sammy and Seth liked to chop them in half. Even though I hate snakes I still hated to see them kill them like that. Most of the time they treated animals with a peaceful coexistence and respect, even though they are the biggest meat eaters I've ever seen in my life.
Auntie Simone always had a HUGE vegetable garden and would load us down with fresh zucchinis and squash and tomatos and carrots when we'd leave. We'd feast on those for two weeks afterwards.
Their house was pretty big. The barn was absolutely ginormous. We'd jump from the eaves into the big barrels of hay below, and play with the barn cats. I liked the house a lot, because it had a lot of windows and it was great sleeping in the summer with the winodws oepn. No cars or traffic. It was very still, very quiet, and the sky was incredibly black. It also had a really welcoming smell, like fresh baked bread or pies.
I'd often ride the horses until it got too hot out. Then we'd take a break and eat a big lunch on the picnic table under the trees in the ack yard. In the aternoon I'd go and help the boys with whatever chores they were assigned to do. They used to get $5 allowance a week and I was always jealous of that. But they worked really hard and did a lot on the farm.
I never really got to know my uncle Fred very well. He was usually up very early and got home prety late. And never spoke that much to begin with. He died of a stroke he suffered while out in the field one day when I was 15. He loved my Auntie though. He'd come into the kitchen and pick her up and say something funny like "papa bear is coming to get mama bear!" I think my mother was jealous and often would go and sit on the porch until dinner was ready. My Aunt was really devastated when he died. I didn't know that until when my mom died and she came to stay with me for a few days. She told me all these stories about how silly he was and how he was always doign nice things for her. Despite being a rough around the edges farm boy.
I always thought livign on the farm was exciting, romantic. I never stayed too long long so I didn't see the fear of a bad season, or the worry of animals being sick or the pain of losing them, the hard work. To me it was a time to go run and be a wild child with my cousins. Put on a pair of jeans and go get dirty. Work hard, eat a lot. Always come home to a family.