“A family culture offers a framework for your children to thrive, a sense of identity, values to uphold, and traditions to honor. Creating a family culture takes sacrifice, intentionality, and constant re-evaluation, as your children grow, priorities change, or things fall away from the difficulty of day to day living. But your family was made for more than simply plugging in to a one-size-fits all system. You were made to be wild and free.”Ainsley Arment
Welcome to this space where I get to tell you our families story in a snapshot.
In early 2010 I visited the Lakeland College in Vermilion, AB, I met this tall lanky kid who wore 20x jeans, an old belt buckle and a "cowboy up" cross around his neck. He sported John Deere attire and sat outside in the sunshine drinking beer + playing music for everyone else to enjoy off the tiniest laptop. He talked to me like a lady, had the goofiest smile and bought me a Pepsi just in case I was thirsty, cause "he was going to the concession anyways." We exchanged numbers and kept in contact almost everyday after I had gone back to Manitoba for the summer before I would attend Lakeland college myself that fall. Even though I had only met the boy in person for one weekend, I felt like I knew him entirely through our all hour text conversations and was heartbroken when he told me he couldn't talk to me anymore because he "had a girlfriend." I thought about that boy everyday and out of the blue a few weeks later, I got a text that read "what do you want in life?" In which I responded "I want lots of babies, the opportunity to farm + a happy family." I received a message back saying "I'm breaking up with my girlfriend, I think I'm supposed to marry you."
Those two kids barely out in the big ole world for two seconds got engaged at 19 + 20 with plans for their future as big as one can dream + a twinkle in their eyes. Fast forward a few years to August 2013: we've now surpassed a few dances, a few keystone lights, a few rodeos and a lot of miles travelled between the Lakeland College and Mayerthorpe, AB, those two kids got married at the ages of 22 + 23 and were told by many that they wouldn't make it.
To be honest there were times when we didn't know if we would make it either but with each hardship, heartache and headache that lands in our laps, we somehow not only make it but we grow stronger. That kind of resilience is true testament to a relationship that will not only last but prosper. We are both the kind of people that like being told we won't be able to do something, just so that we have the opportunity to prove that we can. Although just a snapshot I hope that helps you to understand how I met my life partner, my Chad Trigg.
We bought the Backwoods Buffalo Ranch in October of 2013, with a few hundred dollars in our bank account, a huge student loan + now a mortgage bigger than any financial institution should have granted two kids. The land hadn't been inhabited for years, meant to be a weekend getaway for a couple from the city, who in their prime ran 100 head of bison on the half section. The grass in the yard was like a field, the house was a one bedroom inside a shop that was infested with flies and the corrals, cross fences and landscaping were non-existent. It didn't look like much to the eye of many, but to us it looked like an opportunity to own, expand and build on the dreams of the 19 + 20 year old kids.
We were not new to farming as we were both raised on beef + horse operations but we knew nothing about bison but had all the exterior fencing and a handling system that was left with the property: so we threw the idea around + in the winter of 2014 the land now known as Backwoods once again became home to a small herd of plains bison.
Glimpsing back on my childhood I was always an animal collector, so when my Dad asked if I would like to take on the top mares from his breeding program along with his stallion... I couldn't resist. Although having a large herd of quarter horses that weren't guaranteed to pay for their keep financially wasn't on the top of Chads dream list for the ranch, pursuing happiness in life and in marriage is on his list + he knew how much my heart was set on the idea. So in March of 2014 just months before the mares would foal, Backwoods also became the home to the herd we now call the BWB Quarter Horses.
We added many small and large farm animals throughout the last few years; Chickens, Ducks, Turkeys, Pot Belly Pigs, Goats, Butcher Pigs, a Dairy cow, a bottle calf, two Cane Corsos, a small dog named Rooster, a plethora of cats + a fish named Grandpa.
Although we continued to grow and build our ranch through infrastructure and livestock we were having trouble adding the thing to the ranch we wanted most- a baby. We tried to conceive for many years and it didn't come easily to us, it felt like we had tried everything and it still wasn't happening. In the fall of 2015 we aligned ourselves with a health + wellness company which changed how we nourished our bodies, our mentality and our outlook on life + in January of 2016 we found out we were expecting our first daughter.
We had a textbook pregnancy, I worked every single day all summer for another local bison rancher cutting meat + working farmers markets. On September 26, 2016, after a not so textbook delivery which we share about in another post, we welcomed Oakley Elsie Trigg into our lives and we finally got to experience what it felt like to be alive.
It was absolutely amazing finally becoming a family of three and just when we didn't think things could possibly get any better + we had merely started life with our Oakley, we found out we were expecting our second baby- a girl, who was due to arrive early April 2018.
We had another incredible pregnancy with glowing skin and perfect ultra sounds. We were concerned about what it would be like to have two under two, how to maneuver throughout the grocery store with an infant and a toddler + wondered what our sleeping arrangement would look like since Oakley was still co-sleeping with us. We never imagined that we would walk into our routine doctors appointment at 39+3 weeks pregnant to find out that our beautiful second daughter Willa Hain Trigg, had gone to sleep less than 24 hours prior, only to wake in the arms of the angels. We welcomed our beautiful blonde haired daughter into the world on April 3, 2018, we loved on her, we held her, we kissed her, we took photos with her + we promised to make her proud. We let her know that her sister and her future siblings would know all about their beautiful sister who lived among the stars. Then sadly we had to leave the hospital with empty arms, questioning hearts and a hurt within our beings only humans who have lost a child can even fathom.
Life after loss is unexplainable to individuals who thankfully have never had to experience it. Grief comes in waves and you never know when you may get blind sided by it. We do our best to navigate through each day + share openly about our journey in order to keep the memories of our Willa Bird as real and as raw as the day she was born.
In late August of 2018 only a mere 4 months after losing Willa, we found out that we were expecting again, our rainbow is due to arrive in the middle of April, 2019. This has been the worst pregnancy of the three, it has been extremely stressful + scary. Its confusing to be happy and to be grieving all at the same time. I live for tiny kicks and spend a lot of time at the hospital for routine testing. We won't feel completely rest assured until this sweet babe is in our arms- and that my friends, will be the moment that the Backwoods Ranch will be able to breathe again.
We always imagined that we would inhabit Backwoods and that we would grow + change it in ways that were unimaginable- the unimaginable but realistic thing is- Backwoods has grown and changed us more in 6 years than our descendants may change it in decades to come.
Our life thus far has been a breath taking, eye opening, beautiful adventure with as many ups and downs as the Backwoods hills and as many changes as the ebb and flow of the Backwoods river. We are thankful, proud, motivated and inspired by how far we've come + by how far we've yet to go.
You never know what may happen when someone hands you a Pepsi- my advice: accept it with a smile + a twinkle in your eye.
This is us, this is Backwoods + we are making it.
Laurie, Chad, Oakley, Willa + Baby Trigg