Saturday, October 24, 2009
I snip the last of the dried roses into an overflowing potpourri basket and wonder what I will do with these lovely reminders of summer. Will I make wreaths? Where will I find the vines for them if I manage to realize my aspirations (which doesn't happen too often lately)?
Still, - a glorious wreath of dried roses and lovely red hips with a bright velvet bow would be quite delectable and inviting....
Autumn is gathering the days in, - the time between dawn and dusk diminishes and with All Hallow's Eve upon us the excitement of Christmas hovers just around life's next corner.
These are busy days. I make applesauce with my new shiny colander, and yesterday a jar of beautiful amber apple juice to refresh breakfast, an apple cake chock-a-block with raisins and walnuts for a Celebration of Life reception and a batch of orange muffins (which are so easy you seem to be popping them into the oven seconds after the thought of making them occurred to you.
In the blender you whirl up one whole orange, cut into quarters, 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of raisins, 1 egg and 1/2 cup of oil.
You mix this gently with 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 cup of sugar which you have combined in a bowl.
Into a 350F oven they go for about 20 or 25 minutes. A lovely light muffin for tea time.
It has been a fly away week. It was Thursday when we made the trip to Penticton for the Class of '42 luncheon. The scenery was glorious on the drive over, - we seemed to be encased in the glowing shades of autumn.
There is only a smidgin of the Class of 42 still living close by, - and indeed, only a very few more elsewhere.
For twenty years, after the fortieth anniversary, this class met annually for a happy weekend of friendship and remembrance, some coming 3,000 miles from the Eastern Maritimes.
Somewhere in the last ten years the reunions became an evening out as energy dwindled and the ability to travel diminished. Now we meet quarterly for lunch!
This is Charles's Class of '42 but they open their hearts to spouses and I have many dear friends amongst them.
The talk is comfortable - there is no vying for position as there might have been in early years. There are no illusions, - there is laughter and friendship and remembrances and occasionally now sorrow at the news of deaths or disabilities.
And so it goes, - the air is still this morning. The leaves are falling gently on their own volition. Within October's brightness and beauty and bustle I find interwoven a faint gossamer thread of melancholy.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The lovely line of golden pear trees has been removed by the farmer, and so it is now just a memory, but it seems that that is what this posting was about in great part - memories.
O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather.
October's poplars are flaming torches
lighting the way to winter.
- Nova Bair
In this case it is a Sunset Maple, but just below us is a straight line of pears, which reach like golden torches to the sky.
Many years ago, in the 1960’s and 70’s, we owned the orchard just across the highway from the land these trees stand on. At its eastern end was a block of magnificent old pear trees, and I remember one autumn in particular when the leaves on these trees turned golden, scarlet, subtle and luminous shades of green, soft yellows and glowing earth tones. What a gorgeous tapestry it was.
We pastured sheep amongst the trees on this property. The apple trees were old, - gnarled
Macintosh and red and striped Delicious. It was more like a park than an orchard. The sheep cropped the grass and lent a pastoral air to the land.
The sheep were a family enterprise, - everybody participated, right down to the littlest ones feeding the occasional orphan lambs with bottles. But the Shepherd and the Shepherd’s Border Collie, Candy, were the ones who had most rapport with the flock. Candy arrived in the Shepherd’s pocket one day, to the children’s delight. The Shepherd trained her well, and they made an extraordinary team.
At one time we had four hundred ewes, and lambing time was a mixture of pleasurable anticipation, as we picked out the ewes who were liable to lamb that night by observing them at feeding time, and intense maternity activity in the hours to follow. The Shepherd calmed the sheep, just by walking into the barn and speaking to them, and Candy kept vigil at the door.
The flock were not the most profitable venture, but we had some sheep all the time we were on the farm, and they were the part of farming that brought us the most satisfaction and delight. And sometimes frustration. I have a cameo of trying to herd a recalcitrant ewe back to where she belonged without the help of the dog, tears and rage vying for dominance..
Eventually we planted rutabagas as a ground crop, - seven miles of rutabagas, - up one row and down the next. It was a labour intensive operation, but it was also a time of free spirits and “hippies” who turned their backs on established lives and sought the wonders and adventures of the open road. A lot of them found their way to us, and in particular a University Art Professor who had chosen the alternate style of living, and seemed to be a mentor to all the young people who traveled with him. We learned a lot from these people, and grew especially fond of some of them. Some of our children were at a vulnerable age, and took to smoking the funny cigarettes that were so prevalent at the time and contributed so much to the way of life. It is hard to judge the ambivalent influence these children of the New Age had on our family, but they came back year after year and were a great help to us.
Our farm ran parallel to the highway, and it was not hard to judge the influence the topless turnip workers had on the community driving by!!!!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
N is for Nomads
a note of interest, - one in three of Iran's nomadic homes has a Cell phone.
The desert-born may yearn for desert places,
The yellow drifting sand, possessive sun,
As seamen crave the wide untrammeled spaces
Between the continents to which they run.
But I was born where woods and waters mingle
A land of contrasts pleasant to the eye,
Where cultured fields and intervening dingle*
With wrinkled unkempt mountain ranges vie.
Yet desert-born and I alike will face
What Time must bring us in its tireless flight, -
Obscurity or glory or disgrace, -
The unexpected star, - the sudden night!
* an Irish term denoting a 'fort', such as were found in this country in early years.
This poem Nomads is by The Prospector, and that is all I can tell you about it, or the author, except that it is on the last page of a book of western poetry entitle 'Lonely Trails', covered in red leather, well thumbed, belonging to my husband, printed in Victoria, B.C. some time in the first half of the last century and containing other poems of local interest in this valley and the Okanagan.
Perhaps somebody out there knows the identity of The Prospector?
Sunday, October 18, 2009
A trip to Grace Church
I murmured a soft goodnight to the man who was engrossed in a game of Free Cell.
He turned and said, "Will we go to church in Hedley in the morning?"
Hmmmm - will we go to church in Hedley in the morning? The service starts at 9 a.m.. I hesitate, but then rise early to get ready and be on time.
We breakfast to a beautiful sunrise and soon we are on the road.....
Grace Methodist Church in the old gold mining town of Hedley was built in 1902, which is a long time for a church to be around and functioning in the west.
I have posted pictures of the road to Hedley before, but not at this season of the year when the colours are glorious along the river.
Click on the mosaic to see the pictures more clearly.....
We followed the Similkameen up the valley; Charles, with one eye on the road and the other scanning for interesting photo ops. He pointed out Crater Mountain in the far distance, and the cleft in the mountains where the Ashnola river comes into the Similkameen. In the sunlight the trees seemed to have revived some of their clear, splendid colours after Jack Frost's disastrous visit.
As we approached Hedley to the left just off the road was a very tall pole with a platform on the top of it, cradling either an eagle's nest, or an osprey's. We concluded that it had been moved off a power pole for safety.
Down the hill and into the old town of Hedley, we circled around by ancient buildings and new improvements, pulling up to the church just before 9 a.m.
Only to find the service starts at 9.30. - but the pastor was there, - as I opened the door he was preparing for the service, and gave us such a hearty welcome we were happy to have the extra time to talk to him. An old friend, and lots of catching up to do. A wood fire burned cheerily in one corner of the church and a few of the pews held comfy looking pillows, which we were careful not to confiscate. One must be wary where one sits when visiting a church lest someone comes in and looks down their nose at you, because you are in 'their place'!
A different type of service from what we are used to, - lots of singing and good solid bible instruction. We did Colossians this morning. The pews were hard and upright, but the compassion and spirit in the church was comfortable, friendly and palpable.
They have an absolutely delicious organ, donated by a friend of the church, and the pastor's wife makes lovely music. My fingers itched to play it.....
We stayed for coffee, but not for an invitation to lunch, - keeping in mind the little dog at home and his needs for regular business trips.
I took a picture of the river from the same spot that Charles had photographed it in 1942 - it is in the collage. As we neared home we passed the covered red bridge, newly clad in bright red, but an ancient structure that has served the valley well for almost a hundred years.
Rolling down the main street we peered into a dozen fruit stands, - it is the time of the pumpkin. Look for them piled around the stands and lining the road.
A lovely Sunday morning. The service ended with the chorus of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. Just perfect!