There is something invigorating about walking across the yard in December and January and hearing “crunch, crunch” under your footsteps. It is not quite so invigorating to hear in July! There have been many droughts in our farming years, but this one is one of the worst, if not the worst. It brings to mind the findings of Captain John Palliser when he explored and surveyed this part of the prairies in the late 1850’s. His report to the British Parliament in 1863 stated that: “This region was too arid for subsistence agriculture.” Yes, we are part of the infamous Palliser Triangle – lush when the rains come, but parched when they do not!
The dry conditions contributed to what could have been a major disaster had it not been for prompt response. This past Monday, a local farmer quickly realized that his haybine had sparked a flame in his hayfield. He immediately called 911 and fire trucks were dispatched from Hanna and Craigmyle. The fire, which began in Starland County, rapidly spread onto adjoining Special Areas property due to the northwest wind. The Craigmyle fire truck was first on the scene, but quickly ran out of water and awaited the arrival of the Hanna Fire Department who arrived with three units. Shortly after, the Craigmyle Hutterite Colony, the Starland Hutterite Colony and a local farmer, who I have not been able to identify, arrived with water tanks to assist the fire trucks. In the end, the fire encompassed close to 20 acres and burned up a number of bales, but could have been so much worse.
Kudos to both fire departments, both colonies, the unidentified farmer and the locals who turned up with fire extinguishers, scoop shovels and other tools to help contain this near disaster.
Our community was fortunate that a number of the members of the Craigmyle Volunteer Fire Department were available to respond to this call. However, this volunteer department is desperately short of firefighters. Folk from inside and outside the hamlet are strongly encouraged to call Fire Chief Brent Olmstead at 403-854-6508 to see if you can help the Fire Department in any way. Today, the average age of the volunteers is 50+ and although volunteers of any age are welcome, younger folk are definitely encouraged to become part of this valuable community service. Just remember, you never know when you will need this service!
I had the recent pleasure of accompanying good friends to Dani Dooley’s Lily Farm east of Drumheller. Dani shared with us her most amazing display of lilies, as well as her other gardens. If you are interested in learning about the great variety and horticulture of lilies or purchasing some, you need to plan to make a trip to this wonderful place.
I am deeply saddened to report the recent and unexpected passing of Sandra Smyth of Red Deer. Sandra was a long time very active member of the Victor, Craig- myle and Delia communities. She was the “brainstorm” behind the Victor Swinging Stitches 4-H Club, which eventually expanded into the Craigmyle – Delia 4-H Multi Club, which was a driving force for youth in the 1980’s. Condolences go out to Terry, Lorraine, John and their families at this time, as well as the extended Knowles family. Sandra’s life will be remembered at a gathering in Red Deer on July 31.
Birthday geetings go out to Vern Hanson on July 29; Grace Koppenol and Taylor Olmstead on July 31; Shaelyn Eggins on August 2; Raelene Minchau on August 3 and Herb McDonough on August 5. Happy Anniversary to Brian and Leanne Blades on July 31 and Keven and Norma Jean Minchau on August 1. Have a great day!