My mother kept track of all my early milestones in a Baby Book, along with locks of my blonde hair and black and white snap shots taken with her trusty box Brownie, a camera she used for over twenty years.
My height, my weight, the colour of my eyes (blue), the date of my first tooth, my first solid food, my first step are all faithfully noted. (One of the privileges of being the first-born.)
Among my first words was “pliggy”. Mum tells me that as a two-year old one of my morning rituals was to go out on the back step with some scraps and call “Here pliggy, pliggy” to the pigs and feed them. I had no concern about walking among these animals taller than myself.
I have no actual memories of living on the farm. What I have are the stories Mum told me about those early years. For example, my first injury.
Here’s a picture of my Dad (2nd from right) and three of his buddies leaning against a vehicle used for winter transport before cars were common. It is basically a small shed on runners. Note the wagon tongue for hitching the horses, the snow-covered roof and even a chimney protruding through it.
Yes, this little roofed shed on skis contained a working wood stove. Passengers sat on wooden benches around the stove to enjoy the ride in heated comfort.
We were riding in a vehicle like this when it overturned on a snowdrift and I banged my head against the stove. I can only assume it was a short enough trip or a mild enough day that the stove was not lit for I could have been badly burned. As it was I escaped with only a bruise.