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Where I Come From, Who I Am

By Melissa Monette

 

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Scott feeding the pigs at age 2. (Notice his hockey stick?)

        Imagine this:  You wake up.  It is 5:30 in the morning, the sun is just waking up and you crawl out of bed to start off this early spring day.  Your day begins as you walk outside to see three thousand acres of land in front for you but it is not just any land it is all your land.  You take a deep breath and can feel the in the beauty over take you.  The land may be enchanting but three thousand acres of land, two thousand pigs, two hundred cattle, thirty chickens and two horses do not maintain themselves.  There is work to be done and you must do it.  To many people, this dream would stop at the idea of all the work that must be done.  Most people probably would not want to think about the back breaking labor that goes into farming but for Ottawa 67's forward, Scott Sheppard the land and the things on it are what make this dream not really a dream at all.  This dream is his life and he does not have to imagine any of it because everyday he lives it. 

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Scott playing hockey on the pond behind the farm's barn at age 3.

Scott Sheppard was born and raised on his family's three thousand acre farm which is located about forty five minutes south of Hamilton.  Starting at an early age, Scott loved farming.  "I have grown up on the farm and I have always enjoyed doing everything involved with farming," Scott said.  The typical day on the Sheppard's farm begins around seven o'clock in the morning and goes until about an average of eight or nine o'clock in the evening.  In the springtime their days are extended, starting from around 5:30 in the morning and working until almost 11:30 at night. "In the spring we have to start working much earlier and we quit much later in the evening because we need to get all of the planting on the farm done in a certain range of time," Scott explained. Everything that the Sheppard's grow on their farm is either sold or used to feed themselves and their animals.

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Scott (age 3) playing hockey in the living room.

     Although Scott helps out his family with the farm, it is a lot of work for only a few people.  The Sheppard's have a hired man to help them.  "In the spring, it can get pretty crazy, and my uncle, who also has a farm, sometimes helps us and brings his hired man with him so that we can get it all done on time," Scott recalled.  Scott's uncle, John Sheppard, who lives down the road from Scott and his family, also has many animals including three thousand pigs.  Scott also has two sisters Lindsay, who is eighteen, and Becky, who is fifteen, who also help around the house and in the barn.  Scott's youngest sibling, Trevor, who is thirteen, helps in the fields and in the barns.  

     Scott's favorite tasks on the farm are Air-Drilling and Combining.  A combine is used to cut crops down and harvest them.  The machine holds the crops until they are emptied. Once they are collected they can be sold to the public.  This is normally done in the October.  Air-Drilling is when the seeds are planted.  The machine to do it is pulled behind a tractor.  Planting is done in the springtime.

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Scott at age 6, cutting grass.

          Even though Scott enjoys farming, obviously it is not his only love.  At the age of three Scott started to skate and play hockey.  The Sheppard's have a pond, which Scott would always go skating on.  "We encourage Scott in hockey and in farming.  He was born and raised on a farm but he definitely loves hockey.  Once he has gone as far as he can in hockey, I know that he wants to come back and help with the farm.  It's what he loves," said Debbie Sheppard, Scott's mother. 

      When he does finish with hockey and settles in with farming Scott hopes to some day take over his parent's farm.  "In the future, when my mother and father are done with the farm, I hope that I can take over and run it as well as they do," Scott admitted.  Scott will have lots of practice by the time his turn comes to run the farm on his own.  He currently has his own plot of land, which he runs all by himself.  His fifty acres grows beans, wheat, corn, hay and on occasion, oats. 

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Scott at age 12 on his first four-wheeler

Since planting is done in the springtime, Scott is able to plant and maintain his own crops on his land up until the end of August when he gets ready and leaves the farm for hockey.  Due to hockey, Scott has to rely on his family to harvest his crops.  "All you can do is plant and hope to God that something grows," Mrs. Sheppard laughed.  "Whatever he grows, we harvest for him and then sell it off as he tells us too.  The money made off of the sales is all his to live off of." 

This past year, Scott studied agriculture at the University of Guelph at their campus located in Kemptville.  Scott lived with a billet in Ottawa but everyday he makes the long drive to Kemptville to go to class.  "It's a pretty far drive but I like to be busy.  I want to study agriculture and get my degree.  It is important to me, so that I can know everything I possibly can about farming," Scott commented.  "After hockey it is what I want to do and I need to know who to do it the best I can."

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Scott (right) with teammates Brendan Bell and Matt Albiani at Scott's farm

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Scott showing his pig at Kemptville College's "Royal Fair"

To most people, farms and farm animals are fun to visit and explore.  To Scott, farming is the life that he was raised in and because of his parents and their encouragement, it is a life that he will stick too.  Not many people are willing to go out and work with animals and in fields everyday of their life.  It takes hard working, dedicated, persevering and patient people to make a farm work.  A farm could never be run alone and teamwork is one of the most important aspects to running a successful farm.  These are traits that all farmers need, but they are also traits that any great hockey player needs and Scott has proven that he can live up to both tasks.




























































































































THINK YOU MISSED A FEATURE?
Check out the past Freatures here:
Vince Grant: Finding Yourself by Melissa Monette
Peter Tsimikalis: My Big Fat Greek... EVERYTHING! by Melissa Monette
Carter Trevisani: Traveling Through Time by Melissa Monette
Adam Smyth: The Softer Side by Victoria Terris
Will Colbert: A Different Sort of Team by Melissa Monette
Matthew Albiani: Get Busy by Melissa Monette
Russ Moyer: Unbreakable by Melissa Monette
Pierre Mitsou: Dreams, Memories and Hockey by Melissa Monette