A Sea of Barley


I have always loved the sea.  Being land bound Albertans who love the sea – we have made a commitment to try and see the sea at least once every year.  We love the Oregon Coast, Vancouver island, Hawaii and North Carolina.  It was unrealistic to think that we could get land by the sea within an hour and a half from Calgary but the Shire did deliver a sea of barley.  The barley waves and flows in the wind like a golden sea.  When we sit on the porch of the cabin the wind in the poplar trees also delivers the sounds of the sea.  Ok it isn’t a beach and it isn’t really the sea but it is still overwhelming beautiful.

Every weekend when we would head out to our cabin the fields would look a little different.  The green plants slowly changed to golden straw.  Then one weekend around mid October the local farmer had come while we were in Calgary – and he had harvested the barley.  It was suddenly 40 acres of stubble.  The sea was gone. We lease the land out for a percentage of the profits and the money raised pays the property taxes which was an unexpected benefit of buying such a large piece of recreation property.  Having an interest in the profits has made us more invested in the weather.  We now share in the farmers’ concerns about too much snow or too little rain.  Farmers are at the mercy of the weather.  We wanted the farm experience and that includes sharing in the economic risks that farming involves.

This year (our second crop) we switched to a local hobby farmer because the local farmer who had farmed our land for over 35 years was ready to start to slow down and ease into retirement.  The new farmer decided to plant hay.  It was a very dry summer with almost no rain at all until the early fall.  The hay grew in spite of the near drought conditions.  It formed a green sea of waving grass.  Late in the summer the hay was cultivated and rolled into round hay rolls that scattered the land.  We are hopeful that the economics of hay was at least as successful as the sea of barley the year before.

While we love our fields we did still have a vacation in North Carolina this summer – to see the sea.



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