We drove through the prairie fields of Southern Alberta (seeing Tyson’s first hare!) to eventually reach the gravel road leading to the Miltow Colony. We rolled up to the last row of houses that look much like military bunkhouses, got out of our van, and were greeted by Sam, the financial manager of the colony. We didn’t see anyone else yet but we were intrigued. Sam is a round-faced, gentle-looking man. He, and all the men as we were going to see, wore black coats, black pants, and black hats that add a few inches to their height.
He beckoned us inside where we sat on a steel bench in a room with a desk, a couple of metal chairs, and a wooden clock on the wall. They offered us pork sausage and juice boxes that we accepted as two girls about our age entered the room. Michelle and Lorna were beautiful, smiling girls who, like all the other women, wore black and white polka dot headscarves, black coats, and striped skirts that went down to their black shoes. They all did their hair in a centre part with tight rolls away from their faces. Michelle was our main guide for our tour of the colony but we quickly discovered that everything happens in groups. Especially tours with outside people.
In these days we saw, learned, and experienced so much. It is so interesting how self-sufficient they are. Michelle, and the troupe of girls that we accumulated, toured us through everything: the smoke house; the butchery/meat preparation building; the chicken, cow, and pig pens; the grade school which is taught by government teachers; the greenhouse; the kitchen; the church; the ‘lagoon’ where they capture the methane to power the pig buildings; the composter; the carpentry, blacksmith, and mechanic workshops.
We were invited for dinner so we stayed and then we asked if we could stay overnight, in our van, in the heated mechanic shop, so that we could filter our oil faster in the morning. They were definitely comfortable, but curious, about our van and about us staying.
I got to know a few of the girls enough to love their individual personalities. They were happy people and we were happy spending the day with them.
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