Saturday, November 01, 2008

Oh Halloween, oh Halloween......

First, in my childhood, there were the cold, dark nights when Granny Green provided costumes for our foray into the neighbourhood, looking for 'Halloween Apples'....a luxury in the Depression Days. I can't ever remember receiving candy on those ghostly nights, but there was always an air of excitement and adventure.

In answer to an old Winnipegger who queried the origin of asking for 'Halloween Apples' this is the response he received.

"In Ireland, great bonfires were lit throughout the breadth of the land. Young children in their guises were gladly received by their neighbors with some 'fruit apples and nuts' for the 'Halloween Party', whilst their older male siblings played innocent pranks on bewildered victims."

When I married and came to the Okanagan Valley it would have been carrying coals to Newcastle to go around the countryside pleading for apples, and so our children grew up gathering candy and treats, and the only apples they received were the ones that Verna Sladen candied.

Husband tells tales of pushing over outhouses, booby-trapping mail boxes, leaving parcels in the middle of the road and snaking them off with a rope when a car would stop to investigate.....

If our own children threw eggs or got into mischief I have yet to hear about it, but sometimes it takes many, many years for mothers to become privy to the details of such escapades.

When we moved to town and the grandchildren were Trick or Treating age we really became involved. Black candles, lots of Jack o'Lanterns, the witches cloak, hat, boots and broom lying across a verandah chair while she was in refreshing herself with a bath - Husband dressed as a wizard and I as a witch, and thoroughly enjoying the little pirates and princesses and ghosts who came to call on us.

When the grandchildren had finished their Halloween wanderings they came for hot chocolate and the great investigation of loot! They were grand evenings.......

We went to a dress-up Halloween party last night, and as a group of children and parents passed us on the street one little girl with pink tutu dragging, holding tight to her Dad's hand, caused a small lump in the throat.....

Husband is no longer as eager to 'dress-up' and so he was happy to wear his Air Force cap and a sweat shirt with an Avro Lancaster on the front and a sign saying 'in for refit' on the back. I dug out the old familiar witches hat and we had a lovely time for a little while. Until we got tired, and it was time to come home to the dog, the cat and our nightly game of cards, - good place for the old folks to be on All Hallow's Eve.

Some spooky pictures - we are happily related to the green faced witch!!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The hills are more sombre now, and the colours more subdued.

The flaming reds have faded and the golds have lost their glow.

The transition is gentle as the garden sighs quietly, turns over, pulls up the covers and closes her eyes.

When we walk in the morning it is still dark and the clouds shutter the dawn light that just a few days ago lit the tops of the hills. It is so calm, - so still. The leaves drift breathlessly. It is almost as if the world is waiting to start breathing again.

A few days ago we went down into the orchard and picked some abandoned Golden Delicious that were ripe and mellowing on the bottom branches. I took the camera, and strolled contentedly through the trees.

The small red apples from a pretty yellow seedling were nestled at its feet in the cool grass. The sun shone through the shadowy tunnel of trees, intensifying with light the shades of the leaves and lending a sweet translucence to them. Above, the top branches sketched wine and plum tracings against the bright blue of the October sky.

A precious cameo to take into the coming winter.....

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Mouse, - a mouse....

I have no inkling of what is happening in the nether parts of the kitchen pantry. I am happily a-bed, relishing the thoughts of a day with no great demands.

A leisurely breakfast, a visit with D over coffee, some time in the garden - lovely!!!

The other occupant of the bed rose quietly (as is his sweet wont) about half an hour ago. I lie dozing contentedly, with only the smallest of 'get-up' nigglings.

Eventually I slip out of bed,- wash, dress, open the bedroom door and start down the hall, completely at ease in my mind and happily looking forward to the day.


Half way down the hall I realize all is not well. There are mounds of boxes, the bread machine, soup pots and bowls for mixing bread and cookies, glass jelly jars (some full, some empty, the big coffee maker - all the things that reside in storage on the pantry floor, now piled in the middle of the kitchen floor.

So - Husband looks a little sheepish, but determined. A little anxious, but defiant in the face of my fire cracker reaction to this mayhem in the kitchen.

The cat has caught a mouse. The cat does not eat mice, but plays happily with them - the game of cat and mouse, and occasionally the mouse wins....

Out of her paws, skittering across the floor, under the pantry door and along the wall to safety in the far corner behind a box of old and treasured recipes that moved here from the old house and now await sorting.

I screech a little - not at the mouse, but a fair amount of adrenalin accompanies my response to all this early morning activity and the disheveled state between me and the coffee.

A box with old silverware clatters to the floor. Voices are raised (a trifle) and the dear old dog awakens, startled. A major distraction that requires immediate attention.

Husband keeps the mouse at bay and barricades the door to the pantry, all the while calling the cat. Now sweetly, now in great frustration!!! I take the dog out into the early morning darkness. The stars shine brightly. The young moon tenderly carries the old moon across the sky in her arms. Calm descends upon me, and dog and I return to the house.

Together Husband and I man the pantry door, - he armed with the broomstick and with determination in his heart. The pantry floor is cleared of all boxes except the one behind which the mouse has found shelter. Heart pounding, - puir wee beastie...

The sortie is successful, and the mouse removed to the outdoors. The lazy cat is nowhere to be seen......

I sweep the pantry floor. Husband and I discuss the whys and wherefores of some of the stored items. He is successful in banishing the wet garbage pail and one box of empty jelly jars, but I am victorious in the matter of the old, precious recipe box.

I fill a pail with hot water and soap, - wash the pantry floor, return the bread maker, the various pots and bowls and coffee makers etc. etc. to their rightful places. By SIX THIRTY A.M. the kitchen area is secure and serene again. The excitement is over and breakfast about to begin.

It all keeps life interesting and marriage sharp and sweet.