Friday, July 23, 2010

Field Day, Melfort Research Farm 75th Anniversary, and the Parade!

Hey all! I'm sorry it's been a while since my last post - the last month has for the most part been a pretty basic month of work and just relaxing weekends. I did make it out to the lake one Sunday afternoon with some friends from church, which was super nice!

The past week has been a bit busier, starting with last Friday when I went on a bit of a road trip for work to Scott, Sk, which is about 2 hours on the west side of Saskatoon (I'm currently 2 hours northeast of saskatoon). It was the Scott Research Station's 100th anniversary, and so a few of us went to the farm for the celebration, taking tours of some of their research plots - it was a great day and I learned a lot! Plus it was really great to see more of Saskatchewan -- now I guess I just need to make it more north and I will have covered a lot of the the province!

This week we had our own celebration. On Wednesday, we had the annual field day for our farm - local farmers and staff from other research stations come to the farm for a tour of our crops (which includes various speakers who talk about the various crops, diseases, and techniques to help farmers see what research is being done in the area). It's also a great day for farmers and researchers alike to just get together and socialize, discuss their farms, share ideas, etc. This year was special as it is the Melfort Research Farm's 75th anniversary, and so in the afternoon we had a special ceremony to celebrate this milestone. Overall it was a very successful day - the weather was good for the most part, with the only downpour of rain coming near the close of the tours.

Some "highlights":
- we, the staff at the farm, were convinced to sing O Canada bilingually for the ceremony -- this may not seem like a big deal, but Sask is not such a bilingual ended up working out but was definitely an issue debated over at the farm!
- as part of the 75th anniversary, the research farm entered a float into the parade today (this parade kicks off the Melfort Exhibition/Fair which is this weekend). Once again, a beautiful day for a parade!
- today I had my first "bakery sub" - the bakery here is AMAZING!!!!! I should have had one of these before, but as I usually bring my lunch to work, haven't really had a chance to yet. As these have been raved about at work since I started, it was about time I had one!!! And I'm super glad that I did!

I guess the greatest highlight of this past few weeks is that we're getting more and more sunny days! It's been pretty warm the last few -- and I biked every day this week (though there was one night where I just got a ride home because it had been raining and the next morning we had to be at work early, so I just left my bike at work....) so that I believe is a first for the summer!

Overall, things are going really well! Some of you who I have talked to over the past month may know that I've been kinda homesick these past few weeks -- it's a weird balance of loving my job and the people here but at the same time hating missing out on everything back home! The good news is, as much as I would love to be in Ontario with everyone, things are really great here. This past week esp has been really good for boosting my confidence! I'm slowly connecting more with people here and just falling in love with the province (don't worry, Ontario is where I want to go back to -- and all you wonderful people there!) I can often stand in the field at work, look at the sky and the crops and just smile -- it's super beautiful, esp with everything flowering.

Well that's all I can really think of to update you guys with now! Thanks for reading (I know this one wasn't overly exciting). I'm looking forward to seeing what the fair has to offer this weekend as well as excited for my friend Henri to stop in on his way back to ontario next weekend!

Hope you all are well and that we get to talk soon!

love, Holly

Monday, July 5, 2010

Road Trip to Southern Saskatchewan... and some more storms!

Well, the one thing that has most certainly not changed since my last post is the weather. We've had a couple of nice days, but almost all end (and today the whole day) with a storm. As today was one of the first days in a little bit that it has kept us indoors during the work day (usually we manage to get out to the field and not get stuck despite getting rain every night), it was somewhat depressing - not a great way to start the Monday after a long weekend. The rest of the week isn't looking much better either... so I guess we'll see what happens!

Thankfully I missed out on some of the rain Melfort received this weekend as I took advantage of having a long weekend (having worked Thursday in lieu of Friday) and took a road trip. Friday morning I travelled down to Regina with a couple from work, where they stayed to cheer their grandson on in a soccer tournament and I rented a car. After receiving a nice tour of the legislature building as well as the universities (the University of Regina and the First Nations University), I was on my way, heading west to Moosejaw.

First of all, I could drive across the prairies all day. Everyone always warns you that they are boring - not so! Fields of canola flowering, wheat heading, hay being baled, cows and buffalo grazing -- all make a very pretty picture! Also, for those who think of the Prairies as just being flat and dry -- my experience this weekend: there are some BEAUTIFUL valleys in the Prairies, and I also learned this weekend that Saskatchewan has the most bodies of water per unit area in Canada -- and not just this year due to flooding! So the hour drive to Moosejaw passed quickly.

Once in Moosejaw, I went to the see Passage to Freedom tour at the Moosejaw tunnels - this is one of those things labelled "must see" in Moosejaw. This particular tour tells the story of the immigration of the Chinese people to Canada and how horribly they were treated. I must admit it is one of the first times I've felt truly ashamed to be Canada - in a land where we now know so much freedom and such a high degree of multiculturalism, it's hard to believe that we were once so cruel.

After this quick stop in Moosejaw, I began the 2 hour drive to Swift Current, where I spent all of Saturday. In the morning I did more driving around, but in the afternoon I headed to the fairgrounds to see the rodeo. I think this is where it hit me that there are some true cowboys out west! A very entertaining show!
Saturday night there were supposed to be a couple of concerts, one of which was the main reason I headed to Swift Current : the Christian country band, High Valley. However, due to a major thunderstorm (which once again included a little bit of hail and a huge downpour!) the concerts were moved inside, thus delaying them by about 1.5 hrs. Soo worth the wait though! Both bands were sooo great! and now I am eagerly awaiting the release of High Valley's new CD in september.
A super fantastic fireworks show/act concluded the night - soo spectacular once again! A really really great night!

Sunday morning I began my trip back to Regina, heading out early so I could take the long way back. I headed further south to change the scenery from that of the sides of the trans canada highway, and saw some beautiful farms, fields, and cattle. I was also able to take a small detour to Dog River, where the show Corner Gas was filmed. Then I headed back to Regina for some last minute pics, dropped off the car, and headed north back to Melfort. A very successful road trip indeed!

For those of you who have heard of the tornado that came through Saskatchewan this past weekend, it hit relatively close to home. On the way back from Regina we were actually able to see some of the damage done in Kawacatoose, a First Nations reserve about 2 hours south of melfort. It is now thought to have been an F3 tornado (scale out of 5), with winds from about 250 -330 km/h. Bins had been picked up and dropped out in fields, trees cut off as if a bush wacker had gone through and was clear cutting. Roofs were off houses. Thankfully no one was killed or seriously injured though.

I know I'm probably forgetting something from the excitement of the last few days, but for now, that's a brief outline of what I have been up to lately. Please pray for sunshine, as well as safety in all of these heavy rains, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. On the way to Regina I learned that approximately 75% of the farmland has been seeded in Saskatchewan - though this was higher than I expected, it still leaves about 5 million acres unseeded, much of that in the Melfort and surrounding area (southern sask seemed to have more land seeded). With this more extreme wet weather though the crop that has been seeded is fighting to survive, so please continue to pray for farmers and their families in this stressful time. Thanks!