Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

So Much Bravado

Despite living beside a rural, dirt road, we haven’t had as many ‘incidents’ as one might think. That’s not to say we’re okay with any, yet there haven’t been as many as there could’ve been. On occasion, there have been things stolen or vandalized. A couple of times, horses have been ridden without permission. Then there’s what I think, is way up amongst the worst thing someone could do, opening a gate. Opening gates to set livestock of any kind loose, shows a complete disregard for the animal or people. The potential for injury is very high and makes me wonder if those who intentionally open gates, contemplate the harm they could be responsible for.
There was a time that I would’ve started up a snowmobile to do a quick check of the fencelines, but not the morning after finding the mares out. Instead, I went for a walk down the windswept, hard-packed snow, covering the dirt road. I didn’t have to walk far. The field entrance gate had been opened. Well … that certainly explained how the mares had escaped. There was no way they could resist the lure of an open gate and bit of kicking up the heels, good times.
Stepping off the road, I practically lost a leg in deep snow. With no choice but to forge on, I pushed snow all the way to the downed, electric gate. It was a bit of work, but certainly not as bad as it could have been. At least, I didn’t have to repair a bunch of fence. This was a simple fix.
The memory of slogging through the deep snow, prompted another, deep snow time, not that uncommon a thing, when one lives on the Canadian prairies. The first many winters, after hubby and I bought our farm, were ones of snow. So, so much snow. The kind of snow that is noteworthy and difficult to deal with. Our second fall on the farm, the snow fell deep. One day, it was hovering around freezing and there was nothing. The next, it was well past our knees. As cold as snow is, the thick, white blanket insulated the ground beneath and sheltered the new hayfield we’d planted that spring. It hadn’t been easy to get rid of fifty-five acres of Canadian thistle and we looked forward to a fine crop, the next year. Snow continued to fall and pile up as Christmas approached, further sheltering our fragile, future plants.
In the early years, we used to back the truck in from the front road, after the day’s work. It had been a slow day and early finish. Hubby took his semi to the shop in Winnipeg to work on it. I headed home with the tandem, dump truck. Backing in, I suddenly noticed something in the side mirrors that made no sense, no sense at all. It appeared that there was a tractor out in our field. Stopping the truck, I got out to take a better look. Sure enough, there was a tractor in our field. Two of them, as a matter of fact and one was pulling a big trailer. It shocked me that anyone would go onto a private field, without permission. I could see what they were doing. They were taking the old railroad ties that were piled along the back of our property. After quickly parking the truck, I ran into the house and called hubby. I told him what was going on. His advice to me was to hop on one of our snowmobiles and kick them off our land. That was all the encouragement I needed, as I already had the same idea in my head.
Hurriedly donning insulated coveralls, I managed to get hubby’s machine started. It’s not easy to pull start some of the older machines, especially hubby’s. Still, his was blocking the path to mine, so it was the quick option. Away I went. Furious at the gall of the trespassers, I was ready to give them a piece of my mind. Roaring alongside the tractor that was loading the trailer, I stood on the running boards and hoped I appeared as formidable as I felt. Whatever impression I was trying to make, swiftly dissipated when I stepped off the machine and promptly sank to the hip in deep, soft snow. Pulling myself back onto the running snowmobile, I made my second mistake. I shut off the machine, to hear and be heard over the sound. I swiftly regained the action. There’s no way to describe how the two men made me feel, other than to say that they gave me the creeps. The expression in their eyes was lecherous and I had the strongest sense that I had to get out of there. Still, I had to keep up my air of bravado.
“This is private property, and you’re damaging the crop that’s planted. I want you both to turn around immediately and get off, before you do further damage.”
“Who’s going to make us,” he had the gall to say with a creepy laugh, “you?”
“Yes me,” reaching down, I took hold of the handlebar grip as he moved towards me. Chalk it up to adrenalin, but I pulled and that ever so hard to start machine, fired up with one pull. Just before he was close enough to touch me, I squeezed the throttle and the machine leapt into action. Now safely out of harms way, my bravado returned, full force. Hesitating, I twisted to face them again, “I already called the cops, so you’d better be gone or you’ll have them to deal with.”
They didn’t call my bluff. By the time I reached the back yard, they were out of the field and headed away down the dirt road. I hadn’t called the cops, but they hadn’t known that. Bravado wins again.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB