Fall reminds me that farming is more than a job. Farmers enjoy all the wonders and beauty of nature while sitting on the combine or while taking a break, which we can do whenever we wish. As farmers, we never have to punch a clock. For sure every day brings new challenges, but the land and beauty of nature helps put us at ease. That is why, after people have done it all — chased after the dollars, got involved in the greed — they often yearn to go back to the country.
As farmers, we learn to accept disasters, gather the pieces and carry on. We learn to help our neighbours, especially when they are in trouble. We learn to work together. Maybe now, that is slowly being lost, but in my time it was an unwritten law. It should not matter who has the biggest combine or the best bins or the nicest crop. What matters is that we can stop for a chat or help our neighbours, especially if they are sick or had a bad breakdown, and we won’t give him a big bill afterwards.
That was what country life — farming — was all about. We learned to work together and play together. It seems we are slowly losing both. We hardly have time to enjoy all the nice things of the season.
Our dances were great. Our funerals are still attended by many. Our memories are cherished. Why? Because that is what happens when we care for each other. We do have a good life, even if we think we are poor.
For me, nature’s beauty is always cherished and as stewards of the land, most of us care for our environment. Just yesterday for a few miles I followed a big truck with oilfield equipment on it. Every few seconds something flew out of the window. I guess it was lunchtime. In our neighbourhood, we stop to pick up garbage along the roadside so it would look pretty for everyone. We pick up lost tools, and try to find the owner. Most of us still have that old country mentality, and I hope I will always have it.
The best things in life never change: Be good to one another. Enjoy the sunrise. Work hard. And play hard. The country life is my life. And what makes it the best life is when we live by the one rule that says it all. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto to you.”
John Kapicki farms near Andrew, Alta. To order his book “Trials and Tribulations of a Prairie Farmer,” call John at 1-780-365-2398.