Welcome to the FBorFW Strip Archives. You can view an entire month's worth of archives at a time in this area.
Sunday July 1, 2012
I loved helium filled balloons. Once when I lost one just like in the cartoon above, my dad made it all better by buying me a bunch of them for my birthday. My friends and I played with them in the house during the party, but I was too selfish to let them each take one home. They were mine. My dad was disappointed in me for keeping them all and told me so. The next morning, as if a comeuppance was due, the once beautiful balloons were deflated and dulled, and had fallen halfway to the floor. I guess the helium leaked out over night -- but still, it was a lesson. Some things are just meant to be shared.
Monday July 2, 2012
My first husband, Doug, and I once left our house in the care of a friend. We were going on a road trip for a few weeks and he needed a place to stay. When we called to see if everything was ok, we could hear the sound of a party in the background. Our "friend" had let friends of his move in, and they were turning the place upside down! We cut our holiday short, came home, and threw out the lodger and his crew. Nothing was destroyed or stolen, but it took awhile to clean up. Sometimes generosity can bite you in the butt!
Tuesday July 3, 2012
Aaron wanted to take his transparent plastic space-gun with him to Winnipeg and did not want it to go out of his sight.
Wednesday July 4, 2012
This was long before the strict security measures of today. In Toronto, however, Aaron suddenly pointed the gun at a man in a uniform and we were immediately stopped, searched, and reprimanded for trying to bring a weapon onto the plane. It was funny, but we should have known better!
Thursday July 5, 2012
The toy gun was confiscated and Aaron hoped that some other kid would get to play with it. I'm sure this happened. Someone must take all of that "dangerous" stuff home!
Friday July 6, 2012
In the story, I had pity on the security guard and made him human. After all, it's a thankless job with guidelines that have to be met. The guard we encountered, however, took himself and his position a bit too seriously, and I wished I'd remembered what he looked like so I could draw a better likeness!
Saturday July 7, 2012
In reality, we boarded the plane without the guns, but I had kept a few toys, snacks, and surprises in my carry-on bag so the kids had plenty of stuff to entertain them en route. Woe to the parents of young children who don't bring something for them to do. I still travel with a small toy in my purse -- ready to give it to the one little kid I know will be bored to tears and sitting in a seat close to me!
Sunday July 8, 2012
Strips about littering were always well received. This one was made into a poster and was put up at a lake in Saskatchewan. It was also a limited edition print, which was given to volunteers who helped to clean up local beaches.
Monday July 9, 2012
This storyline came from a real life adventure, which I wanted to have fun with and share.
I used photographs of my sister in law, Beth and her husband, Don in order to get a likeness and although it's not easy for me to do caricatures, I managed to draw "Uncle Danny" so well, he was once recognized on the street in Winnipeg!
Tuesday July 10, 2012
Two prominent features of the prairies are the endless flat spaces and long, straight roads. A city person might wonder why cars and trucks cruise these roads at a snail's pace, but it's all part of the job. Farmers like to drive slowly and do their "crop-watching," while searching the horizon for rain. It often seemed that crop watching was more important than getting to where you were actually planning to go!
Wednesday July 11, 2012
I used photos of Beth and Don's house as reference, too. The older lady here is "Dan's" mother — she made few appearances after this.
Thursday July 12, 2012
Laura was a combination of Beth and Don's three daughters: Lauren, Chrissy, and Arli. It was much easier writing about one cousin in the strip than three!
Friday July 13, 2012
The real farm story began before Katie was born. Rod and I were newly married and Aaron was about three when we drove west from our home in Dundas, Ontario and became farm hands for the summer at Don and Beth's place in Miami, Manitoba. For Better or for Worse wasn't even an idea at the time. Rod was still in Dental school and we needed the work!
Saturday July 14, 2012
These sleeping arrangements were made up for the strip. As the hired hands, Rod, Aaron, and I shared a small white house across the road from the main farm. We had a lot to do and eventually, Rod's parents took pity on Aaron and took him back to Lynn Lake -- a much safer environment for a curious small boy.
Sunday July 15, 2012
Here's an example of where I redrew the last panel for republication. If I suggested that spanking was a disciplinary tactic in our home, I got mail. Rarely did things get so out of hand! There were times, however, when a swat happened and was more of a blow to the ego than a sting on the behind. Still, any "violent" image was seriously frowned upon by my readers — who in the crafted and edited world of cartoons, preferred clever commentary to a loss of control.
Monday July 16, 2012
Beth and Don were raising pigs and I was amazed by their size. Some sows were huge. On the day we arrived, Beth (a veterinarian) was about to castrate 50 or so piglets. And I asked if I could help. I doffed my pink shorts and t-shirt, removed my hoop earrings, donned some overalls, and went to work. It was my job to catch and hold the piglets while Beth did the deed. Then I'd mark the ones who were finished and let them go. It was tiring but easy, and we were finished in no time. This made a good impression on my hard working sis-in-law -- and put fear into the hearts of the men!
Tuesday July 17, 2012
I soon learned not to look at the landscape for respite from our labour, but to look up instead. There is nothing more beautiful than a prairie sky! It goes on forever. The pink and purple sunsets, and brilliant stars in a cloudless sky made up for the featureless land around us. I soon understood why folks who live on the prairies love it so much.
Wednesday July 18, 2012
People in rural areas watched this series closely — to see if I'd "get it right". I soon got letters telling me that the bailing twine was going the wrong way in this illustration! No matter what you THINK you know, it's best to check your references!
Thursday July 19, 2012
Anyone who uses the word "farmer" in a derogatory way has no idea what the term means! A farmer is a biologist, a marketer, a mechanic, and a vet. Farmers have to plan ahead and be willing to work all day and all night in order to succeed in a world of unpredictable events.
Friday July 20, 2012
There was a single rooster on the farm and he had become downright mean. Don figured that the hens had all been eaten by pigs or other animals while they slept in the barn, so the old bird had nothing to do and took his frustrations out on everybody. We were told to wear boots and to use them if we had to — since the rooster would often pull a surprise attack. He frightened Aaron, who was low to the ground, so we figured we had a choice: get the rooster a partner or put him down.
Just about then, the washing machine died, so Beth and I set out to find a replacement. An ad in the paper took us to a neighbouring community. The folks who were selling their machine just happened to have some nice white hens, so we added the price of a fat one to the price of the washer, loaded them both into the back of the truck and drove home. The men folk had stopped for a beer and were standing in the yard when we returned. Beth held up the burlap sack with the hen in it and announced that the rooster's new mate had arrived.
If there was opportunity for a wager out on the farm, the guys were keen. How would the new lady be received? Beth and I said she'd be attacked as soon as she hit the floor. The guys were more circumspect. They bet ten bucks that the rooster would be a gentleman. He'd welcome her to the pig barn, show her around, and THEN get to courtin'. Beth carried the sack and hen to the barn. The upper half of the doorway was open and the rooster was resting on a hay bale just inside. Beth lowered the sack over the barrier and shook it gently. The hen bounced onto the straw with a startled "AWWWKKK?!" The rooster awoke and was instantly on her — wings flapping and legs astride. We told the guys to pay up.
For a few days after that, we saw the hen and rooster together. They pecked around the yard and seemed to be happy. Aaron found eggs in the sod pile — a sign that the marriage was successful — and then the hen disappeared. Like the rest of the chickens, she had simply vanished.
For awhile, the rooster looked for her and then he got mad. He attacked Aaron and then me. He flew at Don's face while he was putting out feed and that was the last straw. Beth and I were getting dinner ready when we saw Don take his rifle and go into the bush behind the barn. We heard a sharp crack and then he returned. He had solved the problem "the way it's done on the farm." The rooster was gone forever...but his story lingers on.
Saturday July 21, 2012
Regarding the disappearing hens: they were free-range birds, locked up in the barn only at night. We didn't know why, but they were gone. When asked if he knew for sure what had happened, Don smiled and said, "It's a pig-eat-chicken world." A quote worth repeating!
Sunday July 22, 2012
What I wanted to say here, was — Michael had a kind heart. He wanted to cheer up an elderly neighbour, but was embarrassed by his own actions and played down the gift by saying the flowers were something his mother wanted to get rid of. I don't think the punch line worked too well and this strip sort of missed the mark. Sometimes the hardest thing about describing a situation like this is...well, describing a situation like this!!
Monday July 23, 2012
I asked Don to let me know when one of the sows was having her piglets so I could be there to watch. What I learned was babies of all kinds come when they're ready, and it's often very late at night!
Tuesday July 24, 2012
I dressed fast, got my boots on, found a flashlight, and followed Don out to the barn. Don was often alone when "farrowing" took place and was glad to have the company. This was a wonderful opportunity to attend an actual birth — my own experience having been clouded by anaesthetic, excitement and pain.
Wednesday July 25, 2012
The sow in labour walked around the pen, her babies visibly squirming in her belly. When her contractions came, her belly became firm and smooth. She'd lie down and pant for awhile, then get up and wait for the next one. It wasn't the most comfortable place to be — but still, we were waiting for a miracle.
Thursday July 26, 2012
There were two pig barns on Donnie and Beth's farm. One was for farrowing and had the "honeymoon suite" at the back. The boar was brought here when his services were needed. The rest of the stalls were like a maternity ward. It, too, was clean and well ventilated. The babies came at all hours of the night and watching a sow give birth was interesting. Her tummy ripples, she lies down and SQUIRT! Out pops a piggie. Don would wipe it off on the straw and put it aside so mom wouldn't step or roll on it and the process would begin again. The thing that struck me was how fast these babies were born. I struggled and snorted for hours to produce my offspring. This "pop 'em out" method just didn't seem fair!
Friday July 27, 2012
Once the piglets recovered from their ordeal, they quickly lined up for dinner. Teats were evenly spaced, and there was enough milk to go around, but they still scrambled over each other to get into position — the stronger ones shoving the weaker ones aside. Mother pig didn't get involved. She just lay there. One of the piglets had a small hernia and would eventually be mauled by its siblings, so Don decided to hand feed her. I thought this was a sweet gesture until he said she'd make a great roast when she fattened up. Surprisingly, I still like pork!
Saturday July 28, 2012
The day Aaron was found playing in a grain bin the guys were preparing to empty, was the day my in-laws took him home with them. If we hadn't spotted him in time, he could easily have drowned in the seed or been caught in the auger. I was unprepared for so many dangers. On a farm, you have to be vigilant and prepared for just about anything!
Sunday July 29, 2012
Lynn Lake parties were always well attended. To celebrate summer one year, a soiree was given by one of the teachers. Guests all thought to bring plenty of libation for the event but little actual sustenance. Sheena, our hostess, had prepared munchies and some packaged, hot hors d'ouvres, but eventually folks, well into the sauce, wanted to eat something substantial and were starting to gnaw at their napkins.
I wandered into Sheena's kitchen, hoping to find more food and I noticed a giant, open bag of dog kibble in the corner. I took one of her fancy serving bowls, filled it with kibble, and joined her as she walked about the room offering munchies and dip. Deep in conversation, guests readily dug unto the bowls, tossed the contents into their mouths, and went on talking. At least five people had eaten the kibble before Paul Bergan, the music teacher, piped up: "Hey!!! That tastes like dog food!" -- I was caught. I thought the prank would go down well, but food would have gone down better! Several of us ran home, emptied our fridges, and a grand potluck ensued. Folks still remember that party, but only Paul admits he ate kibble.
Monday July 30, 2012
One morning, I awoke to a strange noise. I looked out the window to see the wheat field parting like the red sea. In a cloud of dust, smoke, and flying chaff, Freddy Parkinson (Don's brother-in-law and neighbour) was driving towards the house on an old snowmobile. He roared into the yard and then calmly announced that he'd come for coffee.
Tuesday July 31, 2012
Beth and Don had a hired man who rarely spoke — but when he did, it was about crops and weather...and nothing else!