Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Old McDonald had a farm, ee-i-ee-i-o.
And on this farm he had a reunion, ee-i-ee-i-o...
In 1910, Old McDonald (aka, my great-grandfather) moved his family from rural Ontario to very rural Saskatchewan. 100 years later, just over 100 of his descendants returned the farm for a great big family reunion!
(the keen-eyed among you will notice that the cake says MacDonald, even though I'm a Mc... this is a much debated issue in the family - my grandfather was one of 9 kids, half of whom decided that they should be Macs, not Mcs, and changed their name accordingly... no one really knows why, although I suspect it had something to do with the Protestant/Catholic associations with each name... But we've seen the original land deeds, and my great-grandfather was definitely a Mc!)

The reunions actually happen every year (I went at least 3 times as a kid), but this year was special because it marks the 100-year anniversary of our family owning the farm. More than 100 of us showed up to the celebration, although I can assure you that this is a mere fraction of the whole group.
The farm is in a little tiny town in rural Saskatchewan, about 50 miles south of Saskatoon. In the 20's it was a booming place, with as many as 6 grain elevators, two hotels, and a garage run by my great-uncles! Nowadays, its a little smaller... after a recent population boom, the population has soared to a grand total of 80 people!
The first thing you notice in the prairies is how flat everything is. I find it a little disturbing sometimes - there's just too much sky!

Here's a view of the farm from out in the fields, to give you an idea of how it looked in the old days:
The barn is almost original - the first barn burnt down very shortly after it was built, this is the replacement.
Rumour has it that the cost to replace the barn took up the money that was supposed to go towards a new house. So great-granny Hannah had to raise all her kids in this one little farmhouse
(you can see the corner of the new house in behind the old one)

One of the oddest things about old farms is how no one really takes away the old things... they just get left on the property, where they slowly fall to pieces.
Old cars..
Old buildings...
Old possessions...

Sometimes the old things are re-vamped and put to a new use. In Outlook, the next town over from the farm, there is an old rail bridge that was built in 1912. The tracks were removed in the late 80's, and then in the early 2000's they decided to turn it into the SkyTrail.
Now its part of the Trans-Canada Trail, a hiking trail that goes right across the country. The bridge is 3000 feet long, and stands 150 feet above the South Saskatchewan River. And trust me, the view is amazing!


Elizabeth said...

Wow, it is beautiful out there!!

Tiffany said...

Makes me miss the prairies!