First Cows

By Linda C Butler

I live in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, an area known for its dairy industry and I see cows and pay no attention to them.  However, it was different when I was a young girl as I grew up in Snow Lake in Northern Manitoba and never saw a cow until I was nine years old.

There was no livestock in Snow Lake as the landscape consists mostly of spruce trees, muskeg, rocky outcrops and lakes. There was a ghost town, Herb Lake, close to where we lived, and in the 1930s there had been a dairy and some people raised chicken and geese.  Horses were common in those early years, as they were used for hauling firewood and fishing before mechanized vehicles. When we moved to Snow Lake in 1950, there were only a few remaining horses in the surrounding area.  I started school with the Dick and Jane readers and learned about life on the farm, but in real life, I had no idea of what a farm was like.

When I was nine, and Brian was six, we went on our first holiday.  Dad had a vehicle for the store business and we drove the 30 miles to the nearest railway station at Wekusko.  From there we travelled by train to The Pas.  He arranged for a car and we embarked on our first road trip.

Driving south from The Pas, Dad noticed a cow in the field and he stopped so that Brian and I could see it.  It was the very first cow we had ever seen, and even though it was some distance away, we were spellbound as we watched it graze.

We continued driving and came to a second farm.  This time there was a cow closer to the roadway and Dad again stopped so we could observe it.  Brian and I were having a wonderful time and we got back into the car waiting in anticipation for the next cow.

A short time later, Brian called out: “Another cow Dad!” however, Dad did not slow down.

Brian responded:  “Dad, we’re missing the cow.”

Dad, who had grown up on a farm, kept driving and replied: “You’ll have to watch from the window.  We can’t stop for every cow.”

We were disappointed that Dad would not stop, but we passed other cows and it was an exciting day.  Our two-week holiday continued and we spent most of the driving time watching for cows  When the vacation was over, we returned home with cherished memories about the many cows we had seen.

(c) Linda C Butler 2013


About Linda C Butler

I write pioneer stories from the Herb Lake Ghost Town. Please do not re-blog this material or re-publish without my permission.
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