Game Day!

Anyone who sees this title and feels excited to read what comes next, sorry. There’s a whole whack of snow everywhere outside and therefore I’m not in the mood today to motivate and inspire. Even if I was, this is for sure not the topic that would do it. I play games on my IPad every day and have gone through some lengthy addicitions with a few of them (Candy Crush comes to mind) but most of the time I download something, try it out, and then delete it, sometimes in a week or two, sometimes all on the same day. The ones that have gone the distance are Solitaire and Words2 and (drum roll here please….) Hay Day. Yes I am a closet farmer. I like the game so much I totally believe I do not need help.

Random View of ”Lins Mad Chickens”

If you have never played this game and you happen to listen to a conversation between two avid players, you will think they are lunatics. But what you think clearly does not matter to us.

The game starts off with a cute little house, a barn and a silo, some fields for planting crops, a roadside stand, a truck that makes deliveries, a boat you can load up with crates full of your produce. And then it just kind of mushrooms from there as you expand your farm with new land, cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, goats, trees, bushes, production buildings (39 of those last count) smelters and a mine, a fishing spot including ducks and lobsters, a town (grocery store, cinema, diner, beach cafe, bed and breakfast, spa, town hall) with a train station and an animal sanctuary (elephants, giraffes, gorillas, zebras, hippos, reindeer, arctic foxes) and a beach (which is kind of useless but fun to decorate in a bizarre fashion when you’re bored).

There are also pets to collect and feed. If you don’t feed them they just sleep until you get your shit together and produce some food for them. Horses, donkeys, dogs and puppies, cats and kittens, bunnies, guinea pigs and peacocks. There are squirrels that collect peanuts and bees that collect nectar. They have added a Valley where you make product deliveries and something called Farm Pass where you complete tasks for level points and rewards. Somewhere back in the middle of all this you can start up or join a neighborhood where you can chat with (complain to) and help out other like-minded farmers who share similar goals for their Hay Day experience. I’m trying to think what those goals are besides levelling up and the accumulation of massive amounts of useless decorations. Lofty aspirations for sure.

And finally, the reason that Tuesday is my intense Hay Day day of gaming self inflicted hell. There is a derby (with imaginary race horses and everything) where my neighbourhood competes with other same size and similar level neighbourhoods for trophies and rewards and it starts here in this part of the world on Tuesdays at 2:00 a.m. There are people from all over the world playing this game, and chatting going on in many different languages in many different time zones. I’ve been in a couple of hoods so close to home I was afraid I might accidentally meet some of the people in person around town because we made up a Facebook group as well, (long story for another time but one I will likely never bother telling you due to the severe boredom factor) but that all fell apart eventually and I lucked out accepting an invitation to Barnyard 10 where I’ve been for….a couple of years? Long time anyway. Half of our members live in Australia so there’s a 16 hour time difference. I farm with people from the future! They start the derby before I do, because I may be nuts but I’m not crazy enough to get up in the middle of the night for this. We are all seriously derby obsessed and focussed on coming in first with a perfect derby score. The derby lasts all week but if you want to place first, you all have to get that perfect score by completing all your top level tasks before anyone else does. A perfect score can end up in second or third place if you don’t get it fast enough. So day one is extremely intense. Because we all chose to make it so. I can’t remember exactly why because the trophies are kind of meaningless, but that’s the way it is, so there you go. Most derbys we finish before the end of day two. So the rest of the week I can concentrate on my real life where the excitement and drama pales in comparison.

If you reach the point where the pressure is too much you can always opt out of the derby and just farm like a normal person. Or, you know, pretending you’re a normal person. I have taken breaks from this game lots of times, some short, some very long. Once I decided to quit completely But there’s always something that brings me back. The last ”break” I took was to temporarily leave my current neighbourhood to join the one some of my family members had started up, so the weirdest break ever since I was still playing, but helping them out was so laid back and the opposite of intense that I stayed for way longer than I intended. Barnyard 10 kept inviting me back like they missed me or something. Then I took over my adult grandson’s farm in the family hood because he has way more important things going on in his life, took my original farm back to my other neighbourhood, and now have the best of both farming worlds with two farms. Double the ”work” but also double the fun.

I’m assuming if you have read this far you are now shaking your head in confusion wondering what could possibly make all of this FUN. Well the big thing for me is not the competing or the levels or the rewards, it’s the organization and the rearranging of everything so it all works efficiently and smoothly and looks good. Really. If I couldn’t move everything around all the time, I would not be playing. The smaller farm I took over is perfect for this because it’s growing and every time there’s an expansion I have to change where things go. I can spend an entire morning rearranging all of it. Or little tiny parts of it. Or preparing room for what happens next. Or rethinking what I just did because it’s stupid and won’t work. I do this with my living room in real life, and other parts of the house if I can stop farming long enough to get to them.

Okay! What have I missed telling you that you could easily live without ever hearing? My second farm is called ”Margaret’s Icky Biscuits” for my mother who made the most delicious food ever and always apologized for how it turned out. All my farm pets are named for characters from Shakespeare. My reindeer on my first farm are Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew. See? Totally fun. Totally. Not even kidding. I swear. You should try it. Or avoid it at all costs. You’re welcome.

Farming for a Living

There’s no such thing as a slow news day in a small town.  Not when you have long-term residents willing to tell you their story and dig up a couple of old photos to go with it.

This “news” article was published in the People section of the Port Elgin Beacon Times on July 28, 1999 when my dad was 85.  There are a few mistakes in it, the funniest one being where they say our youngest sister is “Barbara” which isn’t even close to her real name.  That’s okay, she likes to remain anonymous.

Dad was the 8th of 10 children, not 9, but his youngest brother died in a bicycle accident when he was just a boy.  Maybe dad chose to skip over that part.

Hope you enjoy this little slice of history.
image
image
image
image
image
I lived here until I was 5 or 6 so my memories of it are vague. There was a hand pump in the kitchen for water, and we had baths in a big wash tub on the kitchen floor. The next farm-house we lived in had hot and cold running water and a bath tub upstairs. Now if people have fewer than four bathrooms in a house they are likely to complain. How times change.

Sweet Land, the Movie

SweetLand

Let us hope that we are preceded in this world by a love story.  That’s a rather beautiful sentiment, isn’t it?

This is the synopsis from IMDb:

When Lars Torviks grandmother Inge dies in 2004, he is faced with a decision to sell the family farm on which she lived since 1920, or cling to the legacy of the land. Seeking advice, he turns to the memory of Inge and the stories that she passed on to him.

Inge arrives in Minnesota in 1920 to marry a young Norwegian farmer named Olaf. Her German heritage and lack of official immigration papers make her an object of suspicion in the small town, and she and Olaf are forbidden to marry. Alone and adrift, Inge goes to live with the family of Olafs friend and neighbor Frandsen and his wife Brownie, where she learns the English language, American ways, and a hard-won independence.

Inge and Olaf slowly come to know each other, and against the backdrop of endless farmland and cathedral skies they fall in love, a man and a woman united by the elemental forces of nature. Still unable to marry, they live together openly, despite the scorn of the neighbors and the disapproval of the local minister. But when his friend Frandsens farm is threatened by foreclosure, Olaf takes a stand, and the community unites around the young couple, finally accepting Inge as one of their own. 

I also read, after watching the movie, that most of the Norwegian and German (which of course sounded fine to me) was made up by the actors during filming and is complete gibberish with terrible accents.  I guess that’s why there’s no sub-titles for those parts!  And if you’re paying any kind of attention at all you will notice that Inge and Olaf harvest a gigantic field of corn and when they get it back to the barn it turns into wheat.

Oh well.  It’s a love story.  The details don’t really matter.  I think Elizabeth Reaser is amazing in this. You can skip to part four for the trailer, because if you play all six parts of this YouTube video, you won’t have time to watch the actual movie!  I’m still going to recommend it though.  It isn’t perfect, but there are beautiful scenes that will stay with you for a long time.