Woman of the West

Looking in from my Front Porch

Each morning, I enjoy my coffee and look out at the view from the front porch of my home, overlooking the vast Alberta prairies consisting of rolling farmers’ fields and cattle grazing. I often wonder what other farmers and ranchers see, feel, and smell when they look out thier front porches, and how each view differentiates across each province, and even around the globe.

In Alberta, we are truly blessed to have some of the most fertile soil in North America. In Central Alberta, our soil mainly consists of fluvian lacustrine soil or black chernozem soil, according to Ross McKenzie, a retired soil scientist and consultant. In some places, the soil horizon reveals ripples left at the bottom of ancient lakes throughout the province. 

This  got me thinking, ‘Who and what was here on this land, long before myself and the surrounding farm families?’. 

My boyfriend, Marvin, and I live on a multi-generational family farm operation east of Airdrie, Alta.. I truly find this fascinating, but I can sense the pride and care that he and his family take into running the farm/ranch like a well-oiled machine. 

That same sense of pride can be said for almost every neighbour. Here, many farms and ranches have been passed down and formed a community in itself. From our great-great-grandparents on down, our parents went to school and church together. They all grew up in these communities. 

When I first started to bring Marvin around, I told my Grandma Becker his last name, and she knew exactly who he was — from his grandparents, stemming back to her family. They all grew up in the same farming community. The family names hold a legacy around here, which we carry forward with great pride. 

What I physically see when I look out my front porch are the coulees surrounding our home while the bulls graze in the lush, green grass and the grain fields roll as far as the eye can see. But in an emotional sense, I see the blood, sweat and tears that has been poured into this land for generations, with farmers and ranchers maintaining their land for future generations to succeed in this evolving world. 

Story and photos by Chelsey Becker