by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate
Growing up, I always heard about the family vacations my friends were going on. Trips to Florida to escape the snow, flights to other parts of Canada or the world for a relaxing escape, and weekend getaways were talked about on a regular basis, but the conversations were always hard for me to join.
Don’t get me wrong…my parents did take us on the occasional vacation. It was just very different for us than for my friends. If we wanted to go away, it took a lot of planning. Someone had to be hired to take care of the farm. That person had to be trained so they knew how to do the chores, and even if we did get away, there were calls at least twice per day between my dad and whoever was in charge at the farm to make sure everything was going well. If things started going wrong, our trips were sometimes cut short to get back home and solve the problem.
We were fortunate when it came to finding help. Until I was in high school, my grandmother was still out working on the farm, so she knew how to do most of the chores. She had a younger brother who would come out to help her, and he normally brought his sons too. By high school, Grandma and her brother were cutting back and the farm was growing, so some of our family would stay behind to take care of chores.
Growing up, trips that involved flights were out of the question. It is much easier to pack a car up and head home than it is to change a flight. Most of our family vacations were spent in Quebec, visiting my great grandma and other family members. If we had time, we would sometimes go camping for a few nights on our way there or back. Nothing was ever planned in advance, though. It saved us from disappointment if suddenly we could not get away.
When I was six, we went to the Maritimes on our biggest family trip. Many farm families are not as lucky as we were, and find it hard to get away at all.
I know we will have trouble taking family vacations now, too. My husband barely ever misses chores, so all of our events are planned between chores during the day, or after night chores. Is it worth it? Yes! We would not trade our farm life for being able to take vacations and see new places. I do hope we will be able to take the boys on small trips, whether they are during the day or overnight. I know, though, that a family can spend quality time together at home on the farm or camping only a few hours away from home just as easily as they can on a big trip far away from home. That is a gift my parents gave me which I would like to share with my children.
The travel bug does bite sometimes. I think back to the study tours I did in high school and university when we went to places like Spain, Morocco, Costa Rica and Belize, and how great it was to see another culture. I hope one day to be able to let my family experience another culture too. However, only time will tell if that will happen for us as a family, or if our children will eventually go on their own.
Posted by FFC on May 31st, 2011 :: Filed under Animal health,Family vs factory farming,Farm life
Tags :: agriculture, animal care, animal welfare, animals, Canada, farm, Farmers
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