How Is It I’m Still Alive

Farm life is a little tougher than suburban life

Colleen Millsteed
6 min readJul 4, 2022

A young girl standing in frint of two farm trucks.
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Some of my fondest memories of my father are the times he and I would spend out on the farm together, but I do have to wonder how it is I’m still alive.

When I was twelve / thirteen years of age, I would often go out to the farm with my father during school holidays. I was there to help Dad and I learnt some great lessons in life, from the time spent out there.

Our farm was a wheat farm and didn’t have suitable accommodation to live on the property, so we lived in the closest small town.

The accommodation was a tin shack, just big enough for a cupboard, kerosene fridge, dining table, chair, old bench car seat and a wood stove. The dining table became a single bed for Dad at night, with a mattress hosted on top of it. My bed was the old car seat in front of the wood stove.

The stove had to be lit every day as it was the only means of cooking — my job — breakfast and dinner. Lunch was a sandwich of some kind, so we didn’t need the fire lit.

There was no electricity or plumbing to the property, therefore no toilet facilities, either inside or out. The toilet consisted of a shovel and a roll of toilet paper, pick a direction and dig a hole. I think you get the gist of the rest.

Dad would spend the days on the tractor, plowing the fields or the harvester, at harvest time. I often would ride along with him but I’d have to stand as their was only room for the driver to be seated. At the time I was known to fall asleep anywhere, and you guessed it, I would sleep standing up, while Dad went around and around each paddock, for hours on end.

How I didn’t fall while asleep has Dad and I both beat — but thankfully I didn’t, I’m still alive today.

As the paddocks where a considerable distance from the tin shack, Dad taught me to drive at this age. The first car he taught me in was an old, steering column, automatic.

One morning he put me behind the wheel in the running automatic and got me to drive him to the paddock he was working in that day. My first driving lesson of approximately ten minutes. Once we arrived he told me to turn around, head back to the shack on my own and then at…

Colleen Millsteed

Top Writer in Poetry. I’m a Finance Manager with a love of both numbers and words.