Scratchings in the Dirt


I’m grumpy this morning.  I got up early to work in the garden before going to work (haha – catch that? Work before work??).  I’ve always loved working outside in the early morning (once I actually get out there, that is – my bed is awfully comfy!) – the quiet, the birds singing, the ducks floating on the dugout, the sun coming up and warming the earth, everything green and peaceful.  Today all I seemed to notice was the noise of trucks on Pipeline Road.  Oil traffic, pipeline traffic, but probably not a lot of farm traffic.  Later, as I pulled out of the driveway, I again saw the annoying stakes for the new well that is going in right across from our yard – on our neighbour’s land, but it is a horizontal drill and will go under our farm.  You know, like, where our water well is.  The same company was supposed to drill on our land, too, down-wind on the other side of the farm (another horizontal drill going under our farm, and well), but I guess we raised too much fuss over silly little things like noise, and air and water quality.  Silly us.  So the neighbours get a big fat cheque and we get a lawyer’s bill.  Silly, silly us.  I’m not blaming the neighbours.  Perhaps you didn’t know that oil producers can pretty much drill wherever and whenever they like.  Well, they can.  And they do.

I guess I’m just feeling a little conflicted.  I’m all for progress, and I know the world needs oil (mostly because we’re not too interested in checking out other forms of energy!).  But I’d really like the world to get that oil in another place, in someone else’s backyard.  Or on our land that is farther from our house.  Yes, that would be best.  Because we moved here for a reason.  Clem’s grandfather broke the land we farm, and there have been Schraefels on this land for over a hundred years.  When life was getting too crazy in the city, we knew it was time to bring our little boys out here and give them the freedom we had when we were growing up.  It was so quiet then – I remember them being able to ride their bikes for a mile or more and we didn’t have to worry about them.  Now we can’t even take a walk down our road without fear of being run over or choking on dust from the oil traffic. (And let’s not even get started on the roads when it rains and the 4x4s have lots of fun!!)  That makes me sad.  I really did hope that our boys would have the opportunity to raise their children in this peaceful little spot.  Alas, I do not think it is meant to be.  I’m not really sure if any of them even want to farm, but if they do, it will be a different way of life than they will remember.

And so it’s off to work I go, to pay for the private school Derek wants to attend (because our small population – bigger farms, transient oil workers, etc, etc – can’t offer the educational opportunities he desires), and for the new vehicle I need to navigate our lovely roads (did I mention there’s lots of oil traffic?).

Hmpff.  Progress.

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