By Pat Grotenhuis
Dancing in the barn, baking pies, catering and many great memories of farming alongside her husband Morley are just a sample of the stories Thelma Trask can tell.
This energetic mother of six and grandmother of 10 has been farming with her husband since their wedding 56 years ago, and before that, she taught school for two years. For her long-time commitment to farming, Trask was featured as the month of June in the 2013 Faces of Farming calendar produced by Farm & Food Care Ontario. Her page is sponsored by Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd.
Trask and her husband, who met at a corn roast during her tenure as a young teacher, have shared many good times.
“When we got married, Morley couldn’t dance. So, I taught him how to dance, during chore time, between the rows of cows in the barn,” she recalls with a laugh.
She also remembers that when she first met Morley, she asked a friend if she should spend time with the Trask boy. Less than two years later, they were married and a wooden rolling pin she received as a wedding gift all those years ago remains one of her most treasured possessions.
Trask always did a lot of baking, cooking and preserving on the farm, along with growing a large garden. Her passion for baking and commitment to helping with church functions led to her helping the church cater community events. Now Trask has a booming pie catering business, and since she began keeping track in May of 2001, she has baked over 5,000 pies for catering jobs, all made with the same old rolling pin.
“When I don’t have catering jobs lined up, I start baking pies for family and neighbours,” says Trask, who even brought a pie to the calendar photo shoot for the photographer!
Other hobbies Trask has include singing in the church choir and knitting blankets for babies born in the community. In addition to that, Trask just likes helping out whenever she can.
Raised on a dairy farm, Trask was used to hard work before she got married and moved to Morley’s family farm. She remembers as a girl milking the cows morning and night, before and after going to school.
“The tractors and equipment used to be much smaller, but we have always used the machinery and did the work ourselves,” says Trask. As times have changed on the farm from those early days of marriage, the barn has been changed to use new equipment and new methods.
Today, the family uses a modern robotic milking system to milk its cows. Robotic milking systems allow the cows to be milked when they want to be milked (up to four times each day), so their udders do not get as full between milkings. This can be a tool in improving cow health and cow comfort.
Today, almost six decades after moving there, Thelma still enjoys life on the farm alongside Morley, two of their sons, and now some of their grandsons. While much of the farm and barn work has been taken over by the younger generations, Thelma’s still responsible for managing the farm’s books.
“It’s nice to see the progress our sons and grandsons are making on the farm,” says Trask. “I wouldn’t want to be farming without our family’s help.”
To view a video interview with this farmer, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OiL_l81JXE&list=PLxl8ycqu125d-iqsZFnv_CxGVT7NAgDDc