I knew no other place as a kid. Alberta was my home. My extended family was very large with 8 on my father's side and 11 living on my mother's. I knew all my cousins and we got together quite often. Kids went to weddings and funerals in those days. Death was something we were not afraid of, though I am sure we totally did not understand it. In my mother's religion, Greek Orthodox or Ukrainian Orthodox, everyone kissed the dead body goodbye. We got into trouble for playing tag in the graveyard because it was disrespectful of the dead!
There were mosquitos and flies and winter was very cold with much more snow than there is now. Those were things we never really thought about. They were just part of everyday life. My parents and everyone we knew grew big gardens and the kids helped out with every stage of them. We were forgiven when it came to my mother's flower beds though. She took care of those herself with pride.
So, when I came back to Alberta, none of the hardships even occurred to me. I am not that far from where I grew up so the climate is very similar. It is cold in the winter. There are copious amounts of large, ugly, disgusting (can you tell I dislike them immensely) mosquitos and the flies are sometimes a black carpet. Thank goodness for my ducks! In White Rock, where I lived for most of 50 years, there were no mosquitos or flies. Sidewalk cafes abound with completely open sliding windows or doors that fold back so the outside is the inside and vice versa. Screens were really not necessary on windows either.
I am a night person and often was in the garden until 11 or midnight. I want to do that here but I would get eaten alive. Even going to round up the sheep around 9 pm, I wear a nylon jacket, gloves and long pants all year long! I even bought a hat with a built in mosquito net! I cannot stand those little buggers. Most people are hardly bothered by mosquito bites, but I swell up like a bee sting and the bite lasts 2 weeks. So I try hard not to get mosquito bites. And I have a war on with the flies in the house. No pesticides are ever used on the farm, except once when the ants colonized and huge ants were on the house in such numbers, it was black and crawling, and they were coming in. I hosed them down several times and they were right back in minutes. I still feel bad about the pesticide, but sanity got in the way of sense. Anyhow, I digress. I cannot garden in the evening, let alone til midnight.
But I cannot garden in the afternoon either because it is too hot and the flies are incessant. I have not tried the morning and likely won't since I don't normally do mornings. I realize now, that what I accepted so innocently as child was a very hard climate to live in. My farm is paradise, beautiful, with a pond, a stream, lots of glorious, fragrant green trees, fungi to eat (if I only knew which was safe), meadows and blue sky. And mosquitos. And flies. And snow. And cold. And hot summers. Alberta is hard. Unless I find a way to accept what it has to offer, I have to go find me a more ameliorative climate. That was always the plan anyhow, but I have mixed feelings about leaving this place, despite all the hardships. Alberta is where I was born, but it isn't my home. Not yet, it isn't, anyhow. Maybe.....