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Winter is coming

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Winter is coming


This is how winter here at Chilcotin Holidays is something drastically different to that in the city. It was a time that took me directly out of my comfort zone and replaced it with a harsher environment that depended on me taking personal responsibility. Alongside the team I was proud to be part of, we winterized the ranch and I grew as a result.


Being from the suburbs of a large city back in England, winter was not something that required much preparation on my part. The roads were gritted and the heating was turned up, this was simply it. No responsibility had to be taken. No duties were there for me either. This was the modern way of living I was accustomed to, the ranch however was vastly different. Here at Chilcotin Holidays however, preparing for winter was not only a duty of mine, it was essential to the survival of everyone here.


I was first requested to prepare the ranch for winter on a clear day with brilliant sunshine. This of course caught me off guard and I was curious as to why. I was completely out of my element. winterizing was an alien concept to me, nothing ever had to be done back home. However, the ranch depended upon me and my fellow interns to winterize the ranch in preparation for the harsh winters to come. With an extensive list of duties I began my task of preparing for the winter.


This was a genuinely eye-opening and evolutionary process for me. I was dismantling the garden hoses and clearing them of water to avoid their freezing. Afterwards I was to insulate the taps to avoid the same thing. Furthermore, I was asked to dig quite large trenches around the base of the barn and shop. These were required to avoid water gathering by the buildings and leading to damage. But what these tasks all share is how essential they were to the ranch and those here. Should I have neglected any of them or done them with little conviction, this would have dire consequences on the ranch. This was not the city where responsibility was absent, this was a ranch that needed me to embrace my responsibility or let the ranch face the effects.


A notable example of such responsibility was to collect and chop wood. The furnace and many stoves across the ranch would be the only source of warmth during the freezing winter here. There would be no electrical heating as there had in the city. Keeping warm and so surviving was directly the team and I’s responsibility. Collecting wood and keeping check of the supply of it was our only way to keep warm. Unlike in the city, there was no other way. This would not simply sort itself out for us. It was down to the team alone. This taught me so much about responsibility and how devotion and commitment must go hand-in-hand with it. Wood had to be collected, chopped and then the fires maintained. Ignoring any of these would be disastrous. 


So I spent many hours over the weeks collecting wood to then chop it and divide it between all the buildings of the ranch. Each had to be accounted for. Should anyone’s supply of wood dwindle, it was my responsibility to ensure there was more. This was a part of winterizing the ranch. A constant and vital part of it.


Every morning someone of the team would ensure the basement furnace was burning and throughout the day the team would work together to ensure this kept burning. Placing a log or two on the fire as you passed through the basement became a team responsibility. We all knew how important this was and doing so was a positive influence on all of us.


Alongside my peers we worked closely as a team in all aspects of winterizing the ranch. This included surveying all our progress whilst also ensuring it was completed to the standard required. 99% was not an option. Together we operated as an effective, devoted and hardworking team. 


As the weeks passed and the weather of course became colder and snow fell, I was able to witness how my hard work and those of my peers had paid off. The ranch functioned smoothly and without any complications. Nothing was left damaged by ice, the ranch was warm and the livestock was surviving the winter. Through the commitment to responsibility, the team and I had effectively winterized the ranch. In doing so I have gained a lot of experience in adapting, responsibility and have been enlightened to how important it is to take said responsibility and work as a team. Nothing teaches this more than spending winter in a remote location without the ‘comforts’ of the city.



Jacob – England