Thank God I’m a country boy!

Dances With Words - Nick Wolochatiuk
Thank God I’m a country boy!
(Photo : Seaway News)

Actually, I don’t thank God. I give thanks to my Uncle John that I became a country boy. During the several years my father was in a tuberculosis sanitarium, my avid trout fisherman uncle took me away from the urban life of Toronto and into contact with the nature of the Credit River, Caledon Hills, and the Niagara Escarpment. It was there I came into contact with the area’s tumbling waters, mysterious forests, rock walls and isolated homes scattered along winding gravel roads.

After thirty-five years of big city living, I was confronted with becoming a country boy. I learned how to deal with a chainsaw to clear an opening in the forest for our new home. I discovered that snow removal wasn’t done in fifteen minutes with a shovel. In my Glengarry home, it took an hour of trudging behind a snow blower to get our long, steep driveway passable enough to get to the closest village, five kilometers away. A push mower had been more than enough to do our city lawn, as it was no bigger than our Sorauren Avenue living room, but I eventually caved in and bought a ride-on to keep our country greenery from going to hay. Well water was of questionable purity and availability. The septic bed tried to cope with our waste.


COUNTRY DREAM – This is my representation of an idyllic rural life-style that I once had: secluded, serene, simple, self-sufficient and sylvan. (drawing by Nick Wolochatiuk)

The firewood provided by the forest heated our home for 26 years. During the 21-day power outage of the Ice Storm of 1998, our wood stoves kept us cozy. Our large woodshed was full of cut, stacked and dried oak, maple and elm. (These days, a store-bought bundle that a little old lady can easily carry costs ten dollars.) Thanks to judicious culling, pruning and felling of dead, diseased and overcrowded trees, our forest was in better condition than when we purchased it.

We even cleared, tilled, fertilized, watered and weeded some land to grow vegetables. I reckon our harvest of tomatoes and cucumbers cost at least twenty-dollars a pound, value of labour not included.

For various reasons, I am no longer a country boy as far as the address on mydriver’s licence address. However, sojourns in the Adirondacks keep my John Denver spirit and skills alive.

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