Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bringing everyone up to speed....

So I decided that maybe a blog isn't such a bad idea. Dad had suggested this when I first came out here, but I figured I wouldn't have much to say - however now I know people are praying for me and for the farmers out here in the west, so I figure this is a good way to update everyone on things happening in the province, as well as what I've been up to!

First all, just to bring everyone up to date:

I arrived in Melfort, Saskatchewan May 1st. Mom flew out with me, and we landed in Saskatoon and then drove out to Melfort (about 2 hrs northeast of saskatoon). We spent Saturday afternoon buying the essentials and getting settled, and then on Sunday after church, we drove around the countryside, going out to Prince Albert, which is about 45mins/1hr from Melfort, and the 3 largest city in Saskatchewan (pretty sure at least!).

Monday I started my coop job at the Melfort Research Farm. I love it there so far! My coworkers are fabulous, the research is interesting, and who doesn't love a job that allows you to be outside all the time (except when its raining...). I work with variety development, and this year we planted spring wheat, barley, oats, canola, flax, peas, beans, sunflowers, and even some canary seed and hemp. Lots to learn with all the non- Ontario crops! We are currently preparing for "Fields Day" which allows for farmers and researchers in the surrounding area to come tour the farm and see what research is being done and some of the new varieties, as well as learn more about diseases affecting their crops. This year this event will also be combined with the 75th anniversary of the Melfort Research Farm.

The weather, as most people are aware, has been pretty horrendous and rather depressing so far this spring. The first week (while Mom was still here with me), we had rain, and even some snow flurries! About my second/third week, the weather was super nice for about 2 weeks, and we were able to get all our seeding done at the research farm. Unfortunately this week and a half or two weeks was just enough for the farmers' fields to dry up, and most were only able to get 1/3 of their acres in - when we're talking farms of 5000+ acres, that means there is still a lot to be seeded!!

Since May long weekend we've had A LOT of rain. The last few weeks have been better as most days are nice, however, it tends to rain at night. This past friday, I had ridden my bike to work. Just before 4pm, one of my coworkers offered me a ride home because he had heard there were tornado warnings for our area. 45 minutes later when I was safe at home, I was super thankful for that ride!! About 10-15 mins after I would have made it home with my bike, the winds were picking up. Then the rain, thunder, and lightening began. Then came the hail. I have never seen such a bad storm! Pictures on the weather network showed flooded streets - and one of the greenhouse owners just outside of town said that they had had 2.3'' of rain over a half hour! Obviously not the whole area received that much rain - but you get the picture -- It's been a wet summer thus far! The past few nights have included some more thundershowers as well. The last few days we've been discovering more of the damage the hail caused- some plots have been knocked down - thankfully it's still early in the growth stage, so maybe some will rebound, but we will have to wait and see.

I've been told that this is a totally uncharacteristic summer for Saskatchewan -- the Tourism Saskatchewan website says "summers are usually warm and dry..... we average the most sunshine of any Canadian province...." - not so much this year. Lots of flooding, esp in the southern parts of the province has kept farmers from planting, and drowned out some of the seed that was planted. After these hail storms it will be interesting to see what is left to harvest. I'm not even positive at this point what percentage of the fields are seeded, and what percentage have begun to grow. Hopefully things end up better than expected!

On that note, please pray for the farmers out here in the west - I'm sure it's very discouraging for them to see this weather and to worry about what harvest will bring.

Besides the weather and the damper it puts on things, I am so far very much enjoying my time out here! It has been refreshing, I have learned a lot about myself, and am learning a lot about the crops out here!

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