For Lorne Tyacke, farming is more than a vocation—it’s a way of life and a family tradition.
His father also grew up on a farm, and when he returned to Canada after the Second World War, he bought his own patch of land near Melfort, Sask. Tyacke was born shortly after.
Growing up on a farm then was a very different experience than today.
“We had no running water and we didn’t have power, so we used the old coil lamps and gas lamps,” he remembers. “We had to bring wood in for the fire and we had a barrel in the kitchen where we melted snow and ice for water.”
Electricity and running water came to the farm in the early 1960s, when Tyacke was in high school. After he graduated, he moved to British Columbia and became an electrician, but he did not stay away for long.
“In 1974, my dad said that if I wanted the farm, I’d better come back, so I did,” he says. “I enjoyed growing up on the farm, I liked the lifestyle, and I wanted to raise my family there.”
After he moved back, Tyacke and his father shared in the farming duties until his father retired.
“My father worked with me, but he let me take the reins and make the decisions,” he says. Tyacke continued to do electrical work on the side so that he could expand and improve the farm, which now sits at 1,200 acres. About half of the land is used to grow wheat, barley, canola and oats, while the other half is dedicated to Tyacke’s cows and horses.
A typical day on the farm begins at 7 a.m. with breakfast and then a check on the livestock. Depending on the time of year, Tyacke could spend the day planting crops, birthing calves, bringing in the harvest, stockpiling supplies for winter or doing maintenance—there is always something to do.
“Farming takes up 365 days a year,” he laughs.
When Tyacke isn’t working on the farm, he can often be found at the Melfort Corps. Though he went to Sunday school as a child, it was the untimely death of his first wife in 1990 that brought him to faith.
“Losing my wife made me start searching for answers,” he says. “Shortly after she died, I decided it was time to look for God.”
Tyacke did not need to look far. His daughter, Angela, had been involved with The Salvation Army for a long time. After attending Sunday school with a neighbour, she went to Beaver Creek Camp for several years, first as a camper and then a staff member. Seeing her faith, Tyacke was deeply moved and he started attending the Melfort Corps, where she was an active member. A graduate of Booth University College, his daughter, Captain Angela Bradbury, is now a corps officer with her husband, Justin, at Southlands Community Church in Winnipeg.
Going to church helped Tyacke make peace with his wife’s death.
“It settled my inner feeling,” he says. “I learned that I could talk to God.”
Attending a Salvation Army corps also brought Tyacke back into contact with Janice, an acquaintance he had known for most of his life. The two fell in love and were married at the Melfort Corps in 1994.
Today, both Tyacke and Janice are active members of the corps. Tyacke does all of the church’s electrical maintenance, helps with other renovations and has been a member of the corps council for the past five years. Whenever opportunities to volunteer at the church arise, Tyacke and Janice are quick to join in.
Home on the farm, faith is an integral part of their life. For Tyacke, being a farmer goes hand-in-hand with being a Christian.
“I think farming is God’s work,” he says. “We’re helping to feed the world, and there are a lot of needy mouths out there.”
Yet he readily admits that farming presents many challenges. Unco-operative weather can ruin a crop and a poor market can create financial difficulties. But Tyacke says his faith carries him through.
“It has made it easier for me to live with some of the hardships,” he says. “It helps me take the bad times with the good.”
In more than 50 years of farming, Tyacke has had many ups and downs, but he is happy with the direction his life has taken.
“It’s been a good life,” he says. “Not always easy, but good.”