Bar D6 Country Retreat
is not only a Great Place to Stay,
Another rooster came home with me today! Certain events led up to a cousin and I going to visit her mom, my husband’s aunt, his mother’s sister. These two sisters were very close and now only one survives. She is eighty six years old and is a very special lady.
Now Auntie lives on her own on a lake lot. It’s a wonderful home to visit, tucked into spruce trees, and there is an outside stairway that leads up to the main level. There, on this particular day at the foot of the stairway was a discarded rooster. I didn’t know he was discarded at the time but he certainly looked like he was on the way to the trash. Did I mention, these are not live roosters! They are symbolic roosters. I know now that they truly are symbolic..
Well, living on a farm as we do, where real roosters crow contentedly at will and strut their stuff for any and all to admire, there obviously is not a need to bring in fake ones! I know that. And perhaps as these pages take on a life of their own we won’t have to resort to telling tales of how these particular “symbols” have been acquired . . .
For some reason we have been the hosts and sole providers to an assortment of bantams and chickens, white turkeys, bronze turkeys, pheasants and even a pair of french hens and geese.
When the children were quite young we thought a trip to the hatchery was in order – so they would see where these tiny fragile one-day old chicks came from. There were thousands of these tiny wonders eagerly announcing their arrival. We were actually in the market for 100 chicks but our tour this day resulted in our family travelling home with an extra bonus of 50 babies that were not so vigorous – we were advised they were going to be disposed of, and . . . a pair of goslings.
Now those goslings were so darn cute I couldn’t refuse them and I just had to appeal to hubby’s softer side and convince him to let us bring them home too! Well then of course upon arrival home, we had to build a little fancy A-frame house and wire pen that the geese could call home. This was located right on the corner, at the top of our lane. I must note that these little goslings were extremely healthy and quickly outgrew that impressive A-frame and were quite capable of escaping their enclosure! Our children, especially our daughter recounts how stressful it was to get off the school bus and have this pair of geese there to meet them. The boys thought it was a hoot to chase them and have them flap their wings and in turn, chase them up the lane. But our daughter certainly did not as she ran screeching up the lane, coat and hair flying as she scrambled to hang on to some sort of dignity, along with her school books!
Our elder son liked to collect bantams and he acquired the pair of french hens. The french hens were beautiful and the bantam roosters could be very showy as well. Bantam hens were always the most wonderful birds, very devoted to their eggs and doting over their babies, always teaching them how to peck and preen. Should you ever have difficulty with a regular hen setting turn that litter over to a banty hen – they are “super nannies”!
However as mentioned, throughout those years
For a number of years, every fall hubby and I travelled to his wonderful sister and brother-in-law’s home in Kelowna – to can. Yes, in early September we spent our holiday canning in the Okanogan. And what fun we had. (We also played pool and indulged in some remarkable home-made wine!). Very sadly in late summer of 2001 Uncle Don passed away and although it seemed it wouldn’t be quite the same anymore, we continued this tradition with Don’s sister.
We made our pilgrimage once again. It felt different. But we were feeling our way, missing Uncle Don in the process. However busy hands and the tantalizing aroma of bubbling concoctions in the kettles, also has a way of helping to heal – and, the extent of our canning was growing. It takes many sealers to produce the spaghetti sauces, pesto, hot pepper jelly, salsa, dill pickles, tomatoes, peaches and pears that came out of that kitchen!
We needed more jars. So off we went – all three of us. Yes, all three of us! Hubby is not much of a shopper, but then generally these two gals don’t get sidetracked when on a mission. Well, we did this day. Home Hardware had a brilliant show of barnyard poultry displayed in the form of ornaments, pencil and napkin holders, sets of dishes, etc. We just “loved” them!
As my sister-in-law proceeded to gather up two sets of dishes, I acquired this fine rooster . . . I just had to have him. I could just see him in my kitchen – he was perfect.
As hubby gathered up the pre-determined boxes of sealers and was looking around for reinforcements to haul them up to the cashier, we very happily arrived with our treasures in tow.
“I thought we were coming for sealers,” says hubby. “What do you need that for?”
“I don’t need it”, says I. “I want it.”
Of course a scowl crossed his face. It must be a male thing. He never has “got it” – just doesn’t understand the fact that sometimes (and I know I am not the only female that feels this way!), a particular something catches a woman’s eye and she knows it will always bring such pleasure while carrying out those dreary household chores – it’s like bottling sunshine!
Body language is an amazing tool. The male/female tug-a-war was taking place right there in the store. Hmm . . . I was winning this one. I knew I wanted that rooster. He knew I wanted that foolish piece of pottery, but he wasn’t happy. Why? Go figure. Like I said . . . He just didn’t get it.
Was there a little tension in the car as we drove home? Hubby didn’t say anything. Us gals had lots to chat about. When we arrived back to continue our canning chores, I did insist: “I will look after that rooster, thank you very much.” He would have probably dropped it out of spite! Oops?
We ‘re not into lengthy squabbles, so it wasn’t long before he was making fun of my $500.00 purchase ?? ($49.95 plus all those B.C. taxes), and we were making much of “male attitude”! We also knew, in former times hubby would have had an ally. Uncle Don would have been very understanding . . .
Life does move on and in spite of sadness there are wonderful memories, and I guess for us at that time, it would be the start of a new era . . .
and, little did I know. . . I had my first rooster!
Around and around in a slow circle he travelled. A little man in his first pair of glasses just turning three visits our farm, and doesn’t know which forward step to take. The three barnyard bunnies capture his attention for a brief moment but, “No, wait a second.” “What are those?” This young lad has never seen a turkey. The incessant chatter of Tom the turkey cannot be ignored. “But . . . Wait a minute.” “What’s this?” Princess, the hen turkey walks right up. “Please pet me.” “Hello.” “How do you do?”
Oh dear, a rooster just crows. Such funny little colourful roosters with feathered feet. Oh, ho! Look across the yard. What are those? Ponies and horses are looking my way. He looks up at his Dad, who smiles and patiently takes his hand. And so begins that first visit to the farm and all those farm animals in bedtime stories come to life.
A mama pig. . . “My how big she is.” And, now we see a pen with lots of little brown hens, and so we pay a visit to the hen house to gather eggs.
Every day Daddy takes his little son to the hen house to then report: “there’s four, two, six eggs to gather in the chicken coop.
Here is a big brown bull. His name is Sam. And two black angus cows with big round eyes, and the miniature ponies are just the right size for little people. They nicker and whinny for those apples falling from that tree over there. Dad reaches up and picks one and eats it right there, and Mom shows how apples are fed to ponies.
“Hey! Look at me!” “Right up here with my Dad, sitting on this big, green John Deere tractor.” “It feels pretty great up here!”
I had some trouble with that tractor! There were no guests on our farm that day.
And, . . . that was a good thing. When all is said and done, I suppose I have to admit that the whole situation kind of got out of control. First of all, the independent woman in me kind of took over. And, when my son fired that comment at me, well you know, it’s that woman thing! I know, at least now I recognize, that the challenge was thrown out and I took the bait . . .
My youngest, #3 son, can just rattle my chain and wind up this old top like no one else in the family can. And I would suggest that he does it to bring out the “best in me”, I’m sure! He’s the one we see most often, and it’s funny – I never see enough of him. Every time he “toodles” into the yard with that revving old Toyota truck, I’m just hoping he’s got time to stop and visit awhile. However at the time, he had been working aggressively putting in double time, at his job, working the night shift and putting in as many daylight hours as he could at home, to get some land worked and landscaping done around the new home he and his wife had recently had built, which is located not far from us. As a matter of fact he had been hurrying over a lot to just grab tools or parts, fire up the tractor, hook up to machinery, whatever was required to get the job done that day and with a quick wave, he departed. And, so often when he returned the tractor he didn’t pause to ask where that tractor should be parked so it wouldn’t be in the way.
Well, prior to this my little “tractor episode”, son had again, just popped in. I decided to amble across the yard and very discreetly suggest that perhaps next time when he parked the tractor, he could park it in a better location. “Like, not in front of the pump house”. I suggested.
Do you suppose he took the time to think “I wonder what’s got her tail in a knot this morning?” Or was it just that he wondered what this had to do with the importance of his day? Who knows? But, I did recall what he fired back at me. “Well, you know how to drive the tractor!”
His response triggered a chain reaction that I now in my sanity, can’t quite believe. But, it happened. And just this way . . .
On that particular peaceful, warm and sunny morning I was on a mission. As he was leaving for work, my man had mentioned that he had forgotten to water the ponies when doing morning chores. He further commented, “Oh they’ll probably be fine until I get home.” Ha! He also knows how to play me like a fiddle. Wouldn’t that be just fine, I thought. On such a day as this, when I knew it was going to be a warm one! I couldn’t see those ponies go without water for the day, and even if there was a little left in the bottom of their trough, it would be warm and scummy, and besides I always water them better! I swish out the bottom and hose down the sides and dump that big trough and start all over again, with nice fresh clear water.
If you knew hubby and I, you would know an ordinary conversation like this would have to turn into a bit of squabbling back and forth – him not knowing of course, what is going on in my righteous and creative mind.
“Oh hon”, says I. “I’ll fill it up.”
“Oh no, that’s not necessary. The hose won’t reach with the tractor sitting there in front of the pump house. I’ll do it when I get home.”
“Oh like I don’t know how to bring the hose through, under the tractor??”
It still won’t reach.” Says he.
“Well, we’ll see. Bye luv, you’re going to be late.” Kisses and hugs. Oh yeah, lots of smiles. Away he goes. Got to love that man.
I did not realize yet that I was on a mission. I simply carried out my morning chore routine and then went out and cleaned out that water trough and then proceeded to hook up the hose, going around the tractor first and screwing the end into the hydrant located in the pump house. I thought that distance looked shorter. Then I drug that heavy old garden hose across the yard and came up short, about eight feet!
Well, well, well. Remember my son’s challenge? Mrs. Independent me. Do I know how to drive the tractor? Well, sort of. Don showed me once. When we bought this fancy John Deere monster tractor, all shiny and new I climbed up on with him. We were so pleased with ourselves. We’d got such a good deal. It had a cab, a radio, and air conditioning. He showed me how the windows worked. Opened them. Closed them. And, he showed me how all the levers worked. What causes the bucket to go up and down, how to go forward and backward, and I recalled, most importantly what raises the equipment behind it to go up and down. And, on this particular morning, recalling that was very important, because the tractor was sitting, parked right there, in front of the pump house. And, it was hooked up to the disc.
Not a moment was lost.
I did all the right things. Up went the disc. Wasn’t I pleased with myself? I proceeded to back it around that cement pad, and attempted to back it up where it should have been in the first place. But, oh ho, it jack-knifed toward the pad. I simply drove ahead, aligning myself to drive straight back and as I again backed up, again it immediately turned back on itself. “Hmm,” I thought. I’ve backed up a fair amount and I’m pretty good at it. Although I haven’t backed up trailers or equipment a whole bunch but I figgered I knew the concept and this was silly. I took a big breath and thought, “if these guys can back this stuff up and park it, so can I.” And, I pulled way forward and tried again. Same thing. I did it again. Same thing. I then became a woman possessed. I pulled forward each, time giving myself more room and back I’d go, each time with the same results. It’s a very good thing we have a large yard!
Now, I have a lot of try in me. But eventually, in exasperation, I just had to cry uncle. I pulled the tractor way up to the wood shed, that was the only route left to me to straighten everything out. Then, I jumped off the tractor to go back to my original task of taking the garden hose across to the water trough. As I crossed the yard I could see the garden hose was cut in half! Oh wow! I thought I must have caught it on something as I had manoeuvred around the yard at least forty times . . .
This story should end here. But unfortunately it didn’t.
I was disgusted. I took a couple of buckets of water over to the ponies. Then I thought I’d better bite the bullet and call my man to briefly explain, and make sure he brought home what was required to repair the hose. He wasn’t prepared to accept a brief explanation. “What do you mean you cut the hose?” And . . . “How could you do that!” were his first words. I really wasn’t in the mood to discuss it. “I just did, and I’m only calling to let you know cuz I know you’ll need a coupling or something to repair it. And, I don’t want to discuss it.” “Good bye.” And I went on with my day . . . weeding.
I simmered for a couple of hours and got quite a bit of weeding done, when along came number “3” son! He quietly walked over and commented . . . “forgot to lift up the disc, didn’t you!” I looked up. Those were fighting words.
“What do you mean, I forgot to lift up the disc? Of course I lifted the disc. I knew exactly how to lift up the disc.”
“Well,” said he. “How do you explain those marks all over the yard?”
“What marks?” I fumed as I jumped up and marched out into the yard. I then looked down. Over the entire yard I could see evenly spaced grooves. That didn’t make sense. I knew I had lifted the disc.
“I’ll show you,” I stated. “Come with me.” And we both marched over and climbed aboard that tractor.
I went through the routine, and proceeded to back up.
“Wait a minute,” says Son #3. “You’re in road gear. No one can back up equipment in road gear!”
“Hmm, so that was the problem.” We corrected that problem, as he motioned to let him take over and park appropriately.
“No,” says I. “Let me do it. I want to know I can do it myself.”
“Aren’t you going to lift the bucket?” He looks at me questioning.
A light bulb moment! “Oh, my Lord,” I cried as I slapped my forehead with the palm of my hand. “I forgot to lift the bucket! No wonder I cut the hose in half!”
The whole sad tale is not over yet.
Don arrived home and bemoaned the fact that I had severed the only 200 ft. garden hose of this fine quality, in the entire country. Not only that, he discovered that by not lifting the bucket, I had created a sprinkler hose out of about sixteen feet of it! By then he was slowly shaking his head and not looking to pleased about losing that much of the hose length. It was time for me to go back to my weeding.
It wasn’t really very long before my personal repairman returned with the hose end in hand, preparing to fill the water trough.
“Whew, that didn’t take long” I offered as I cheerily looked up. He still didn’t look very pleased.
Well, it appeared that I had failed to disconnect the hose from the hydrant prior to my frenzied performance. During the back and forward, to and fro of my nightmare experience, I had pulled and tugged at the hydrant, breaking the supporting framework surrounding the top part of that solid pipe installed way down in the depths of our water supply. What Don didn’t know and what I now feared to discover, was whether I had in fact pulled the whole thing apart . . .
Some stories have a happy ending. And thankfully this one does. For some inexplicable reason, the water continues to flow, as it should. I didn’t have a pipe lying on the ground, accompanying the severed garden hose. And there wasn’t a gusher rising in the background to celebrate my idiocy. Go figure!
Life had become even more interesting now,
Children love the animals and the freedom to spend some time roaming and exploring. Some people come to simply relax for a weekend, others come to experience the country, to enjoy the walking trails, bird watch, or simply wander the farmyard and the flower gardens in summer. Others are visiting friends or family in the area , or have chosen our location as it is convenient for attending anniversaries and weddings. Animal friends have accompanied our guests, and groups of friends, team members, wedding couples, or simply someone finding our location convenient for overnight lodging, comprise the many visitors.
We thank those wonderful guests who have taken time to write in our guest book.
Following is an example of those words that encourage
“Such a cozy place . . . great breakfast & kind hosts!”
“This is a wonderful little hideaway . . . We especially loved the little scurrying bunnies!”
“A wonderful experience and superb hospitality. . . The turkeys even escorted us to the main house one morning . . . “
“What a beautiful place. Such a lovely, peaceful country haven. Your hospitality & wonderful conversation made us feel so welcome that you can be sure we will return . . .”
“. . . Thank you ever so much for the extra stop for us. The flowers are perfect. The food tastes great & is so artfully arranged. All the candles and fireplace made everything so romantic. We couldn’t have had a more special wedding night . . .
“. . . Thanks for all the extra effort (i.e. muffins, cookies & wonderfully “cozy” sheets. You make it feel so much like home. The Cottage is absolutely perfect. I can’t wait to come back. . . .”
“Hey guys, it’s great when something is as great as you remembered it . . . “
“. . . you let us play with the horses, Float really warmed up to me, it felt great to be with the horses and Tandy really liked us . . . I felt like an olden day Princess . . . Spice was always wanting to cuddle up with me. Tandy always showed us where everything was. You Rock J “
thoroughly enjoy this new experience and appreciate all
those heartfelt comments.
we not look forward to the years ahead and to the
possibility of . . .