Remember the sights, smells, and sounds of summer?

From our September 2015 issue

By June Chamberland – Prince George, B.C.

I’ve been sitting outside in the warm sunshine, reminiscing about the “good old days” on the farm in Manitoba.

I recall the tinkling of cow bells from out on our quarter section of land as they eat their last bit of grass before bedding down for the night.

Other sounds that come to mind are the croaking frogs down in the slough, filled with water from the spring; beautiful robins singing happily in tall leafy poplars by the road; the baaing of the lambs for their mothers; and the call of the whip-poor-will.

Thinking of the smells, I recall the sweet fragrance of white blossoms of Saskatoon bushes and chokecherry trees all down the road from our place early in the spring. Towards the end of the school year, there were pink wild roses with their fragrant aromas.

Dad built a little log house on one-half of the foundation that had once held our grandpa’s large house. It had burnt down. On the other half of the foundation at one time, mom had a flower garden.

Kids tried eating different things

She had all kinds of mixed flowers: poppies, bachelor’s-buttons, baby’s breath, California poppies, and the sweet-smelling mignonette. In time, some purple Hesperus took over and the whole area was filled with lovely mauve flowers. The smell was heavenly, to say the least.

There was also the smell of fresh hay drying from the slough. We had one tiny slough. Dad named “Slough in the Bush” and it was filled with wild mint and hay.

As children, we tried eating many different things. Pulling the cowslip blossoms from their stems, we sucked the nectar from the end of the flower. We ate rose petals in spring and in the fall, we ate the outside of the ripened rosehips. I still do this.

We’d pull out blades of grass and chew on the white end and spruce gum was another thing we tried. I guess as a very young man my dad chewed spruce gum. Wild berries were eaten whenever we could. We ate these while walking home from school until our mouths were black or brown from their juice.

As kids, we’d go to the granary and eat handfuls of ‘shorts,’ a type of husk from a grain and made into meal. This would be fed to pigs and chickens. One thing we tried a few times was to lick the cows’ white salt block.

Lit up the night sky

Fireflies were really something to see on a summer’s night as they flitted to and fro, their lights twinkling on and off. It was quite the spectacle.

Lightning storms were incredible for us kids. We’d watch the lightning crackle down through the sky or across it, and when there was sheet lightning it was even more awesome. The yard, field, and everything around was lit up almost as light as day, although the thunder rolling and crashing could be scary at times.

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