We left Jasper smothered in snow, and drove off to Grande Prairie. I was concerned we wouldn’t get to see any wild mountain sheep, but no chance of that… barely out of Jasper, and there was a herd all over the road, and everyone had stopped to wait for them. Got to stop too, and take pictures, while the sheep just ambled across the road, unconcerned.
Saw another herd on the road 10 minutes along, then another herd a wee way after, up on the rocks. Saw a couple of eagles, and some mule deer peeping out of the trees, but that was pretty much it, and the rest of the drive was simply trees, trees, lakes and snow. For about four hours.
Grande Prairie is a sizeable town though, and we are staying on a cute little farm just north of it.
We get to help feed/clean/milk/move the numerous cows, calves,pigs, chickens, rabbits, emus, turkeys, geese, rabbits. Give food, hay, water, bottles of milk. The calves are the cutest.
Last night the heating system broke, so it was pretty cold inside, and even more so outside (-30). I had all the blankets I could find on the bed, which made it very cozy.
The first night working we froze, running around outside in the dark was pretty darn cold. Milking the cows by hand is nice though, very warm. Some of the cows live in a barn, and mostly we look after those, and the cows who are about to give birth, and mums and calves recently born. The barn is all steamy inside, with the breath and heat from the cows. There are often ice crystals growing all across the inside of the roof and doors. The cows that live outside often have ice crystals on them, or snow, if it has been snowing.
Bottle feeding the calves is fun. The next time outside, they provided us with quilted overalls, which are the most amazing snuggly things (like onesies, but are appropriate to wear outside). Keeps me nice and warm, and just have to have a scarf for over my face, and everything is good.
We have to give water to the cows twice a day, and only as much as they will drink; if we leave the water in their buckets, it is well frozen by the time we come back in the evening/morning. Chilly. If it freezes in the buckets, you have to spend a while getting the solid hunk of ice out.
The emus, chickens and geese provide eggs, but by the time we get them they are usually frozen. Still good for in pancakes though.
We always had lovely sunsets, with soft pastel colours, and occasional bright oranges.
I got very excited when we arrived, as there is a treadmill! The most exciting thing!!!! I got to run, which was fantastic, run without feeling like your insides are freezing every time you breathe. Never thought I’d see the day where I would be excited about a treadmill.
We have changed all our plans now, after a couple of crazy planning days, and are leaving Grande Prairie in a few days, to drive back to Vancouver.