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Early Morning Countryside

August 25, 2013


Previous posts have highlighted the natural beauty of the Bruce Peninsula and the Niagara Escarpment that lie just a few a few kilometers north of the farm. However, the local rural countryside, though not perhaps as dramatic as the Peninsula, has its own subtle beauty.  This beauty is especially evident on an early morning August ride with a hint of fall in the air….


The Sauble River, just upstream of the farm. Though muddy and slow-moving, it’s a healthy watercourse that supports a diverse wildlife population.


Example: a turtle forages for its breakfast under a clump of floating algae. This beast was nearly the size of a dinner plate – some research will be needed to see if its species can be determined.


Back in the 1800s, when England was granting farm acreages to settlers, most of southern Ontario was carved up into a vast geometric grid of land concessions. As this land opened up, hypothetical grid lines on a map became real access roads, still used today: dead straight and often (though not always) monotonous.


Two horses trot towards me in their pasture, hoping perhaps for a treat. Biting flies have been fierce this year, hence the masks they both wear to protect their eyes (they can see through them). Horses are expensive. They’re “hay vacuums” as my friend says and their vet bills can be enormous. But despite this, the majority of farms seem to keep a few – apparently just for the love of them.

farm for sale

“Farm for Sale” signs are not an uncommon sight up here. The kids of most local farmers have no interest in taking on the family business. So when farmers retire, most properties go up for sale and their fates can vary . Many will be absorbed by existing cash crop operations to produce corn and soy (a.k.a. industrial agriculture). Others though may be bought (or rented) by a trickle of young people interested in small-scale farming, or by the growing Mennonite community.


And speaking of corn and soy, a large field of each hugs a rise of land…


… and a heron departing a roadside pond with its breakfast near these fields reminds me it’s time to return home for mine.

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