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, January 23, 2016

SNOW DAY THOUGHTS

Snow Day Thoughts


Last weekend on the Ranch was a white out. It snowed heavily all day on Sunday, the world closed in as travel although possible, was not particularly safe. Friends in town that were going to come and visit cancelled. The day became long and quiet. 
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I often reflect on my great grandparents who were the first of our family to settle on this land in 1947. Winters were long for them as well, but especially in the early years as it was a  challenge to meet even the most basic needs such as heat. The original farm house would allow water to freeze overnight. There were further disadvantaged by their age as they were well into their 60s when they relocated from Montreal to Canoe Point. The first winter they were alone on the farm, and then thankfully my father was able to immigrate from Switzerland to assist them. 
On a winter day my great grandparents looked out at the same view over the lake as our home is built on the footprint of the original farmhouse. 
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Winter 1947-48, the original farmhouse
The farmhouse in winter
My Greatgrandmother Caroline making her way into the woodshed.
I am thankful for our warm house and vehicles with good tires enabling me to get into town fairly quickly, even on the worst of winter days. The isolation that my family experienced in the early years was challenging. The majority of their family was back in Switzerland with the only form of communication being telegram and letter. The delay to receive even the most urgent news underscored the huge geographical distance between loved ones. Telegrams were not very efficient as demonstrated by the tragic passing of my grandmother’s son in a car crash outside of Geneva. The first telegram stated he was in a car accident which led the family to believe he was still alive. There was such a  long passage of time before the telegraph arrived giving news of his death that it was impossible to even think of attending the funeral in time. 
The lack of contact from afar did create greater intimacy between the neighbours on Canoe Point. There are so many stories of the kindness shown between neighbours as well as great social events. People knew what friend was approaching by the sound of the boat motor, and later once the road was built, all vehicles were easily recognizable. The bonds between neighbours helped to ease the pain of missing family and friends across the sea. 
It would be extremely difficult for me to go back to the written word delivered on the blue airline paper. I write regularly by email to family in Switzerland and New Zealand. The news of births and deaths arrive instantly, allowing us to grieve or celebrate together. 
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The onion skin thin sheets of airline paper, letters written by my father back to his sister in Switzerland, nestled by computer, the main form of communication I use to communicate to family overseas. 
I also very much appreciate the ease of travel today which closes the distance between people. As I write this my oldest son is in Toronto visiting family, and my daughter and I are preparing to head to Switzerland. 
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Harbour in Hermance, Switzerland.




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