Sharing The Land

My family is privileged to live in a gorgeous location overlooking the Sturgeon River valley. People find themselves naturally drawn to the spot, and I’m happy to share it with them.

I’ve always told my boys, “You must never turn this place into a fortress.” We’ve had to put up a few fences over the years, especially now that the City of St.Albert surrounds us, but we’ve never had to worry too much about defending our territory. Our land stretches down to the riverbank, so hikers often pass through our property. I think of them as guests, and the vast majority behaves that way.

In my experience, if you expect the best of people, you’re rarely disappointed. Treat folks with respect, and they tend to return the favour. And, as always, when you do have a problem, keep it in perspective.

In the old days, young people would occasionally drive up into our field, looking for a quiet place to drink a beer or two. We’d walk over to them, and as we approached, we could see them bracing for an angry lecture. “We don’t mind you being up here,” we’d tell them. “Just don’t let things get too wild and take your garbage with you when you leave.” We rarely saw a scrap of garbage and had few troubles.

One of our neighbours had a more serious problem with trespassers. He kept a large gasoline drum up in his field, and unknown culprits had been driving their cars up there for nocturnal refueling. He decided to teach them a lesson. He left his sharp-spiked harrows up there in the grass, with the prongs facing up. In the dark, there was no way the thieves would notice it, and two flat tires, or maybe even four, would teach them a lesson, he reasoned.

Did the trap work? Well, yes, but not exactly as he intended. The following spring, he accidently drove his own tractor over the harrows. After paying for the repairs, he decided simply to move the gasoline barrel to where he could see it from the house. Sure enough, the thefts stopped.

Aggression almost invariably backfires, and what goes around comes around. I truly believe that if you do your best to generate good will, you’ll see it reflected in others.

-Lois Hole I'll Never Marry A Farmer