BASTION MOUNTAIN RANCH - TALES OF A FARM FAMILY


My family lived on a Ranch full time from 1993 until 2015. We were a 5th generation family farm.
I am writing this blog to share my experiences living there. It is best to read the blog chronologically by going through the archives, starting with the introduction in January of 2010.
The blog starts with the arrival of my great-grandparents to the farm in 1947 and will follow the families to the present.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It Felt Love


"It Felt Love"
How did the rose
Ever Open Its heart
And give to this world
All its beauty?
It felt the encouragement
of light
Against its being,
Otherwise,
We all remain
Too frightened

Hafiz

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dreams


My father did love what he did on the farm. His sister told me that it was always his desire to move to Canada to farm. I am not sure when his grandfather would of told him of his plan to buy a farm and why my father had always been a part of that dream. My father graduated from agricultural school and almost immediately thereafter moved to Canada. He was 18 years old.
The picture shows my father sitting on the car with the pipe that unfortunately would become a permanent feature. He is at the school of agriculture with his classmates. He was a serious student as depicted by his notebooks from the time. One wonders how much of what he learned he was able to use on his grandfather's farm. The other picture portrays one of the farms my father worked on. Quite a contrast to the horses on the farm in Canada.
My father moved to Geneva when he was very young. His father had died and his mother decided to leave Montreal to live with her mother-in-law. Renee was about 24 years old and had three children under the age of six. They did grow up in the heart of the city but had exposure to the country when visiting his Uncle's summer home in Hermance, a small village outside of Geneva. The house bordered a river and a forest. My father did not however grow up with animals. The only animal I have seen as part of the family are rabbits which I think they used as food. It is my grandmother in the picture holding one of their baby rabbits. My father developed this passion for farming in this environment with the promise of a farm from his grandfather in Canada.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bound by the Beauty



"Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground". The poet Rumi

I am interested in what bound my greatgrandparents to this farm and then what drew the other members of the family to go and live with them here. My greatgrandmother cultivated a love of flowers. Here she is poised in front of one of the many flowering bushes around their new farmhouse. Many years later my grandmother created a large garden around her home which both she and her mother enjoyed. "Let the beauty we love be what we do".

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Beauty



I really appreciate the contrast between these two photos. There Caroline Fleurdelys stands before her beauty salon in Montreal. In any of her photos she is always impeccably groomed. For her whole life she had lived within cities, born in Switzerland and then moving to Montreal as a young mother.
June would of been a beautiful month to view their new farm. However a few months later they would of been plunged into winter. The other picture depicts Caroline moving between her house and shed. She looks quite burdened with the weight of her winter clothing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Nouveau Domain



The majority of the photos I am using in this blog were actually letters sent back to family in Switzerland. The photos thus far were sent by Charles and Caroline Fleur de Lys to my father and his mother, Renee. Each photo had on the back detailed descriptions of the photo. For example the picture of Charles Fleur de Lys in the barn describes what the barn is made of and what buildings were close to it. I can imagine that much of the equipment and buildings portrayed in these images appeared very rustic compared to the farms that my father had been working on in Switzerland. My father was just finishing his studies in agriculture and had done a number of practicum placements. These farms were well established with buildings of stone that had already stood for years. Charles explains that the wagon wheels are made of iron but all the rest is "leger mais respond a la job" - is light but does the job. I think he was well aware of how the new farm may appear to the family back in Switzerland and was trying to reassure them.
The other photo is of Charles Fleur de Lys newly arrived on the farm. The back of the photo announces "Papa visitant son nouveau domaine de 43 acres" - Papa visiting his new land of 43 acres.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Pioneers


Charles and Caroline Fleur-de-Lys standing in the hayfield.

Caroline Fleur-de-Lys

These pictures amaze me as they clearly show the age of my greatgrandparents with a view of all the work they have done behind them. I imagine they had some help (from neighbors?) however my father had not yet arrived on the farm. He would make his entrance in about a years time. There are pictures of my greatgrandfather (Charles Fleur de Lys)stacking hay in the barn so certainly they did do a lot of the farm work. As I have mentioned before their transportation was a small boat which was about a 40 minute ride to Sicamous. The boat was primarily used to transport cream to Sicamous. From Sicamous they could then travel by car to Salmon Arm which was about 14 miles.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Homestead

















The original homestead


The original homestead depicting the hay barn, a stable for the cows, root house, and tool shed. Our home, the "Herald House" was set where the farmhouse once stood. The tool shed survived until last winter when it finally collapsed under the snow.
I find it incredible to think that my greatgrandparents lived in these conditions at their ages. During the winter the house was so cold that water would freeze.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ferme Fleur de Lys
















The original farmhouse.

The Ranch began its life as the "Ferme Fleur de Lys". My greatgrandparents, Charles and Caroline Fleur de Lys, bought the property as a retirement project. my greatgrandfather was already well along in his years when he fell in love with the property. As the story goes he was working for the railway when he saw the farm from across the lake. My great grandmother left her work in Montreal where she operated and owned a beauty salon. I think she was hoping for some renovations on this 7 room house that her husband purchased but to my knowledge there were never any changes. My father was living in Switzerland at the time with his mother, sister and brother. The plans were for my father to join his grandparents on the farm within the year. My great grandparents left Montreal on a Saturday night the first of June and travelled for three nights and four days before they arrived at Sicamous. From Sicamous they took a boat across the lake to finally arrive at their new farm.