MY STORY - chapter 7

My Story - Chapter 7

We bought a little 2 acre "farm" south of Denver. Christer was working in the Denver office for a small oil company. (he would later switch companies a couple of times) I was really into the Homesteading of the 70's and wanted to provide healthy foods for my family. So we planted a huge garden, got chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, horses and dairy cows. (and briefly geese, but that's another story) Apparently I didn't have enough to keep me busy. We really loved all the animals, especially the chickens and cows. They provided the ingredients for all the delicious foods we loved. The personalities of our cows were as loyal and loving as the dog. It was really hard to milk twice a day, but looking back, it was a nice quiet time for me, just me and the cow. Christer milked mornings before going to the office and I milked the evening shift. The ducks were great fun and their eggs are phenomenal !! And there is nothing like a homegrown turkey on the Thanksgiving table.

I made all of our food from scratch or grew it in the garden. Making our own butter, cheese,  yogurt & ice cream helped to use up the huge volume of milk coming from the barn every day, twice a day ! I baked all of our bread, even ground the flour from wheat. I canned hundreds of quarts of fruits and veggies. And as usual, we rebuilt the house. There were only two bedroom upstairs and we needed at least 3 bedrooms. The house had a full unfinished basement. We built out two more bedrooms, a bathroom, family room, my sewing room and a milk/canning  kitchen down there.

We made the move from Calgary to Denver in August of 1980, (over my birthday..... AGAIN). The following February we found out I was pregnant !!!  Out of the blue !!  Wow, not what we expected nor planned on. I had a few issues after our son was born, so after a couple of years of trying, I was told it wasn't very likely that it would ever happen again. Not what we expected to hear after my first two were so unexpectedly easy. When we moved from Calgary, we got rid of all the baby stuff !! Now we would be starting all over again, like it was the first time !! My issues were still present and it made for a very difficult pregnancy, requiring bed rest for most of the pregnancy. It dragged on and on and on !!! Finally, our second daughter, our "bonus baby", was born two months after the original due date. Yep, doctor confirmed it, she was a much longer gestation than the average, weeks longer.  UGH !!  Weekly fetal tests revealed her lungs weren't ready for her to be born yet.  Way back in those days they just let you wait it out until the baby was ready on it's own. She was a healthy 9 + pound baby. (I had 2 like that !!) And she would be our last.

Milking the cows with a baby was an interesting experience. By the time she was two and walking around, she was clambering under and around the cow while I did the milking. It was a good life and I really enjoyed it. My sewing reflected it too. I made lots of stuffed animals and wooden toys to sell, mostly farm animals. Making clothing took up the majority of my sewing time and projects. I made jeans for my son, complete with rivets at the pockets, and special buttons for the top of the zipper. I learned to do the top stitching to look just like a pair of purchased jeans. I made all his shirts and jeans for his first grade year. I had been making all of both my kids clothes for their whole lives. Our youngest was no different. I made lots of cute frilly outfits for her and matching outfits for both girls. I remember in particular an outfit I made for her one spring that to this day is probably the most favorite I have ever made. I called it "the little Bo Peep" outfit. It was a darling pattern from Enchanted Forest INC., the "Little Darlings" line for McCall"s.  I still have the pattern and still love it.  (Maybe I'll make it a couple more times for my two youngest granddaughters)

It was a very busy life, but we enjoyed it. We enjoyed all the animals. The kids complained about the chores, of course but they loved playing with the animals too. We loved riding the horses. The kids enjoyed the local 4H club with their rabbits. And I took pottery classes from a local potter. We thought we would spend many years there and started an addition to the house. But sadly, all good things always come to an end. Suddenly one day, the company Christer worked for announced that they were closing the Denver office and moving us to Alaska !!!!!  We were blown away !! We had just a few short weeks to get everything done and ready to make the biggest move we had ever made. How fast can you liquidate a farm full of animals?!?!!

WOW !! AGAIN WOW !!!  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would move to Alaska.  However, oddly enough, my parents were stationed with the Air Force in Alaska when they were first married. That is where I was conceived. A surreal thought;  kind of like the salmon going home to span.