Amy Russell-Coutts, Canada
Amy is a writer who aspires to always stay curious and interested in the world around her! Since graduating with an MA in English from Simon Fraser University, she’s taught college-level academic writing, entered the wild world of parenting, and has eagerly taken on writing projects that stretch her personally and professionally. She loves being outdoors, by the ocean or on a forest trail, and is always on the hunt for whatever beauty is around the corner. She also enjoys walking her dog, reading, and making unique things.
As a Story Terrace writer, Amy interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
Life and Love on My Grandparent’s Farm
When I was a child, especially around 7 or 8 years old, I reveled in the chance to visit my grandparent’s farm. It was five hours north of Regina, SK — the drive felt like it took forever — with the last bit of the journey along dusty gravel roads, our car shuddering with the uneven surface. It felt like dipping back in time when I visited the farm, to where my grandpa had cleared his land with the strength of his large hands. I always felt safe when my hand held his.
At the farm I was utterly free, and I roamed into mucky pastures to visit spring calves, or jumped across round hay bales, testing the limits of my courage. When I was hungry or thirsty I visited with my grandma while she baked pies, or made me a frozen upside-down Saskatoon berry “cake”. The milk was always fresh from that morning, the berries picked from nearby low-lying scrubby bushes.
Walking with my hand in his, Grandpa took me with him to the barn, where the cow stood bellowing, its udder nearly full. I sat nearby, usually cradling a kitten, while Grandpa perched on his wooden stool. Gently he grasped a teet, squeezed it downward, and the forcible spray of milk gushed into the pail at his feet. If lucky, a cat might catch a spray in its direction. I felt so content in the warmth of those earthy smells, the sweat and dirt and hay.
Getting older was hard because I began to see the fissures in this perfect place. Where I once innocently named calves and let them lick my cheek, I now accepted that this was an industry of life and death.
My grandparents aged and like all teenagers I was self-centered, barely cognizant of the gradual diminishment of my grandmother’s mind. Her Alzheimer’s affected her sense of calm; she would stand anxiously at the front door, watching us “kids” who rode the quad. On another day, she proclaimed she was an expectant mother. The humour was a thin veil atop the tragedy of a dwindling life.
Many years later, I now reflect on the pioneer life my grandparents committed to — the long hard winters on the prairie, the droves of spring-time bugs, the lack of security as farmers.
Mostly, though, I think of their love and commitment to their family, and to me.
Get in touch today to work with Amy!