Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wind: Part One

 . . . like a tumbling tumbleweed!

Wherein We Prove That Wind and Little Kids Aren't A Good Mix . . .

The wind blows in Southern Alberta.
And I don't mean blows in the modern 'that really stinks' way.
Although it's true.
No, I mean blows in the old-fashioned 'wind is really strong' way.
Because it blows.
From the West.
And constantly.
One never quite gets used to it.
Even when one is raised with it.
It's . . . irritating.
People try to cope.
They make jokes about it.
Like the farmer getting out of bed hours earlier than usual, telling his wife that he needs the extra time to drive to the next province because that's where his land has drifted to.
Or being able to tell how old a person is by the direction and angle of their leaning.
Wind is a part of living on the prairies.
You just do the best you can.
When my husby and I lived in our first home, a mobile one, we were careful to park it East to West, instead of North to South.
That gave our home a marginally better chance of not being rolled.
But our bedroom was in the West end of our trailer. Where the wind was the strongest.
All day, the trailer would buck in the wind.
And all night.
We never slept.
One time, the wind was so strong that Grant came home from work, put a hand under our little, built-on entryway, and lifted.
The little four by four room took off like a box kite.
Or Dorothy's house.
But there, all similarities end.
It didn't quite make it to Kansas.
And, though it might have taken out a gopher or two, there were no red slippers sticking out from beneath it when we found it later, about a mile away, happily sitting in the middle of the field.
Yes. The wind is strong.
Case in point . . .
I had been to town with my four kids, ages 6, 5, 2 and 0.
We pulled up to our little home.
I should point out, here, that our little home stood at the top of a small hill, clearly exposed to the prevailing breezes.
Which were . . . prevailing.
We got out of the car.
The older two boys made a bee-line for the house.
No sense in standing out in the open to be pummelled by God's natural sand-blaster.
I unbuckled my two-year-old, Duffy, and lifted him from the car, then turned and unclasped the baby's car seat.
Then I turned back and reached for Duffy's hand.
I missed.
He was eager to get to the house and was already following his two big brothers.
He got to the front of the car when a big gust of wind knocked him flat.
But it didn't stop with that.
Instead, it continued to blow, rolling him over and over, across the yard.
“Mommy!” he shrieked.
I didn't dare set the baby down for fear of the same thing happening to her, so I ran after him as fast as I could, still lugging the car seat.
It was like a scene out of a movie.
Little boy doing a tumbleweed impression while his mother, hampered by yet another child (with carrier), runs after him.
I'm sure I saw Charlie Chaplin do something similar.
I managed to catch my son.
Sometime before he reached Saskatchewan.
He was shaken up and dusty, but otherwise unharmed.
We grow them tough in the prairies.
Now we'll just have to work on growing them heavier.


  1. That's an awesome story! Sounds just like something I could see myself doing. We had bad wind yesterday and my 3 yo toughed through it for a while then you could see the terror on his face as he feared the same fate of your son.

  2. Have you considered planting some hardy trees for a windbreak? lol. I think I can see the potential for a new product called "life line" a sturdy cable from parking space to house with little zip line holders on it.

  3. OMG That's scary!
    You need to have true grit to survive in such conditions.
    But on the other hand with a wind mill, you could have free energy if the house could be made of bricks and attached to the ground that is lol

    I always wonder why farmers don't plant more trees to break the wind.
    I guess it makes it harder to cut the hay and hay is needed more than trees. But then depending on the trees Birch and Maple give off great sap which can be used.

  4. That is crazy!! I don't think I would like it. During storms it gets windy here and I hate it. Tall trees and hard winds make me nervous!! Thanks again for stopping by NOBH!! :)


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