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Friday, April 20, 2012

Stacey Loewen (Pt 2) - Transcript

August 2010 Archives, Living Out Loud
Friday August 27, 2010
Farewell to the farm, back to the land
… when Stacey Loewen’s father died, one of the most precious things he left behind was his daily diary of life on the farm …
            transcribed (see Pt 1)

Photo link:  JMeyersForeman Photography, Biggar, SK, © jmeyersforeman

CBC:    Stacey Loewen was raised on a family farm in Saskatchewan, not in the fertile south but way up north on hard rocky land.   This is where her family made a tough and precarious living.  It all came to an end some years ago when Stacey’s father died.  Today, Stacey’s early memories of her father are snapshots from her childhood.
Stacey:  I see my father standing below the combine with his arms stretched open testing my childlike faith.  We sang “You are my Sunshine” round and round the field until the last rays of sun fade…
CBC:  When Stacey’s father died, one of the most precious things he left behind was his hand-written account of life on the farm.
(actor's voice, Mr. Loewen):  Thursday, June 28th
Sunny and Hot
Stacey:  I’ve never kept a journal for long…
Dug stones in the summerfallow
never more than for a few weeks. 
Took out one big one I couldn’t get off
But my father wrote every day without fail. 
Rapeseed dropped $6.50 yesterday
My mother has saved a stack of those.
It’s hard to read the journal – row upon row of my father’s scoping scrawl
Cemented the gutters
– something more of a wind-driven wheat field than lines of legible text. 
… there was a barn there…
that building was used for grain storage…
No mention of disappointment,...  joy, …. Of any emotion whatsoever.
Wednesday, May 15, 1974
Finished spraying fertilizer at 10 am.
In the afternoon, I deep-tillaged, broke a shank.
Then at 4 pm, the fan-belt broke, 
so I made a trip to North Battleford.
If there’s some big meaning to be found
Tuesday, June 11, 1974
– it’s buried deep below the surface. 
Finished seeding the barley.
Worked 40 acres of stubble that’s infested with wild oats.
Quit at midnight.

… Went to see John Gable in the evening to see about laying blocks for the church cistern.
Temperature went down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Monday, May 29
My father picked rocks off the fields each spring,
Filled in the holes back of the corals in front of the big steel buildings…
rocks buried under soil, deep below the surface and buried them in the low lying areas
Went to a prayer meeting in the evening…
… it created the illusion of a land that had been level for centuries.
There was a good turnout.
I was born in harvest time.  Autumn has always been my favorite season.  My father in the field combining… my mother hauling grain back to the yard … husking the corn, shelling the peas… my father’s voice over the CB radio… a casserole hot from the oven, wrapped in towels to keep it warm… we took it out to the field and ate a picnic perched on the combine shaft.
After supper my parents working long into the night – rushing to get the crop off before an early frost.
We kids sneaking out of bed watching forbidden late night tv shows.
Sunday, June 17th
Cloudy and showery and the forecast is the same for tomorrow.
Have flea beetle damage,
But in this cool damp weather, I can’t find any.
Last night there was a tornado went through.
The crops are hailed flat.
The crop hailed out – a bumper crop…  
a birth … and a death … a natural cycle.  
Next year it will be better.
Friday, September 6, 1991

Keep working…
Cloudy periods…
keep writing…
Combined canola all day.
What a job!
Quit at 4 am.
February 6th, 1992, my father underwent brain surgery – a malignant brain tumor growing in his left lobe.  He spent much of his time in hospital, but for brief periods of time he was allowed to come home.
I went for a walk.
I did bookwork on the computer.
The June morning that my father died… I’m in the hospital alone with my father … I see the scarr that runs down the left side of his skull… the bristling black hair has begun to poke up around the curved incision… His hair is surprisingly soft…
I turned the cows in with the bull.
as deceiving as a thistle’s spikey flower… its harmless as a single tent caterpillar at summer’s end.  And I know, as I knew that long ago summer, that this damaged horizon will be restored once more… the natural cycle… there is always next spring.
I’m Stacey Loewen in Montreal.

Image courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan (c) Randy Widdis.

 Note:  This transcript is made for research purposes only -- it may not be reproduced, published or reused in any way without permission of CBC-1, who retains all copyrights to the original broadcast and interview. 

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