Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

Where the Alien Spaceships Will Land

By Cam Mather

Ahhhh, fall!

I can finally breath again. Oh I was breathing in July, just way too fast because it was way too hot. And dry.

As usual we get sidetracked in the garden and we forgot to enjoy our property this summer. We have 150 acres. We used to say we “own” 150 acres, but now we try and think of it as “being temporary guardians” of 150 acres. And it’s pretty awesome.

Our land is mostly treed, other than the 3 cleared acres around the house. There are a number of ponds. One of the ponds is a bog. For many years there was floating bridge over the bog, which meant that horse and carriages, and later cars, had to drive over a bridge of big floating logs strapped together. Eventually they got tired of things falling off the bridge, and in the 1940s the township got permission to put a road around the bog and on our property. This is great because the old road, long abandoned, is perfect for us to walk on, and for me to use when I want to get the truck into the bush to haul out the firewood that I cut in the winter.

Now that the heat and humidity and bugs have disappeared we’re back to walking the property regularly. And Jasper the Energizer Doggy is thrilled about this. We walked it a few times with him on the leash until we were sure that he would stay with us. Now we let him run, but we whistle him back before he gets too far out of sight. Young border collies have one speed – FULL THROTTLE! Jasper has trouble walking. He just runs everywhere. And our woods are full of bears and deer and coyotes and foxes and just innumerable scents for him to pick up and follow.

I much prefer walking Jasper in the woods, as opposed to walking him on the road. When we walk along the road we have to keep him on a leash and trying to control this crazy, energetic, enthusiastic dog is giving me major shin splints! It doesn’t matter how often we watch “Caesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer” and try to emulate his miraculous techniques, Jasper just chomps at the bit when you ask him to walk on a leash. You have to walk with your body basically on a negative 15% slant to offset his pulling. He has so much energy I think he could pull our truck loaded with firewood to town and back. Now when I see those images of dogs pulling sleds in the north I understand, the dogs really just want to do to it!

Yesterday Jasper took us on a detour from our usual route through the bush to a large open area. Our woods are growing on shallow soil on top of Precambrian rock, that at one time was lava when the world was a big hot mass of magma. In some places this granite rises above the soil and forms great outcrops.

The one Jasper led us to is really big. It’s quite amazing. The lichens and moss are trying to reclaim it, but you know you’re standing on one big solid mass of rock that goes a long, long way down. I always fantasize that sooner or later I’m going to come across a big gold seam exposed somewhere on our property. Ya, I know. It’s a pretty far-fetched fantasy!

I believe these big rock outcroppings probably have great magnetic and other properties since some of the exposed rock in the area has orange stains where rain has leeched out the iron. Not too far from us in Marlbank there is a group of people who moved here because of the properties of the rock. They believed that these properties would guide spaceships in for their landing on our planet. And this group would be ready to be the first to check out the ships. I’m not sure if they still subscribe to this belief, but I do know that they now make beeswax candles that sell for a lot of money, so apparently they’ve decided fiat dollars are worth having until the great landing.

There is a large rock outcropping behind our house. Jean (the woman we bought the house from) tells us that her partner Gary Farmer used to spend time here. He is a native Canadian and felt a real connection to this part of the property.

I have not stood on this outcropping in the woods at night, but I have stood on several others at night. To get the maximum effect of staring at the stars I’d have to use a flashlight to find it, which kind of loses some of the appeal. But the big rock in front of our house works just as well. And I’m assuming I want to be near the house so I can phone both “Entertainment Tonight” and “The National Enquirer” when the spaceship does finally land.

Standing on this rock on a moonless, cloudless night is really quite an amazing experience. It is just a hugely humbling experience. So many billions and billions of stars. After reading Steven Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’ I have a new appreciation for how long it’s taken the light that I’m seeing as stars to reach me. It’s a really long, long time. A mind-boggling amount of time. Some of it may even have been from near the start of the whole big bang. But what was happening before the big bang? And is there other intelligent life out there?

I loved Carl Sagan’s “Contact” which was made into a movie with Jodie Foster looking for other life in the universe. As I recall there’s a line that goes something like, “Well if it is just us in the universe, it seems like an awful waste of space.” Because there is a lot of space out there. And I suppose if they are looking for a place to land, there are lots of mall parking lots with way more space than some of our humble rock outcroppings.

But they are welcome to come here. From meeting bears in our backyard to watching calves being born to putting up wind turbines, life in our little homestead has been one new experience after another. We’ll just add meeting aliens to the list. Man I hope they like scrambled eggs for breakfast because with 8 ladies laying in the coop these days, we’re eating a bunch of them. Oh, and Mr. Little Green Man, those hash browns, yea, I grew the potatoes and the onions! Sooo tasty! Not bad for an earthling, eh!



  1. Robert

    Jasper may have other talents. There have been almost a dozen small gold mines within a hundred miles of you in that same Precambrian rock. Keep your eyes open the next time he leads you off into the woods because there just might be gold in those hills!

  2. Katie

    I played with a Ouija board behind the house in the middle of the night and it was TERRIFYING. You should try!

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