Friday, February 26, 2016

Stacked all the convenient spots where I might be beguiled into sitting for just a wee while....

All the books I am reading, - and beside them the Ukulele which pleases me these days...

I am almost ready for my debut!  I contemplate making a sound recording with my ipad to send to far off family members, just as soon as I get Buffalo Girls coming out under the light of the silvery moon at a steady pace.  No hesitation between the C chord and the G7, and the right foot stomping in a nice rhythmic accompaniment.

I would take a 'selfie' but that is beyond my concentration!

About the books....

I was browsing through Amazon and found a new book (to me) by Horatio Clare, whose 'Running for the Hills' was so memorably enjoyable; a tale of his family and growing up on a sheep farm in Wales.
This is the story of his search for a bird on the 'edge of extinction' , the Slender-billed curlew; Orison for a Curlew.  The cover comments condense the contents of the book, but they only hint at the beautiful writing within.

"The Slender-billed curlew, numenius tenuirostris 'the slim beak of the new moon', is one of the world's rarest birds.  It once bred in Siberia and wintered in the Mediterranean basin, passing through the wetlands and estuaries of Italy, Greece, the Balkans and Central Asia.  Today the Slender-billed curlew only exists as a rumour, a ghost species surrounded by unconfirmed sightings and speculation.  The only certainty is that it now stands on the edge of extinction.........Orison for a Curlew journeys through a fractured Europe in search of the Slender-billed curlew, following the bird's migratory path on an adyssey that takes us into the lives of the men and women who have fought to save the landscapes to which the bird belongs."

The phrase ' a fractured Europe' opened my eyes to the state that Greece and more especially the Balkans, are now in.  But apart from that I was fascinated by the search, the passion of the people concerned with this possible extinction of a beautiful bird in the face of hunting, loss of breeding grounds, and 'human pressure on the wetland migration spots'.  Philip Hoare comments on the back cover "what Horatio Clare demonstrates, even beyond his undoubted gifts as writer, is his basic humanity", and I found this to be true.

Amongst all the sadness of this loss of species and beauty there is some lovely writing....."Now the land becomes dreamy, sunflowers hanging burned heads like choirs of the penitent dead"

I am getting close to the end of this book, and will probably turn back to the beginning and read it all over again..

In addition to this book that has so caught my imagination I also keep close at hand my gardening notebook and the West Coast Seed catalogue, and Jan Karon's 'Patches of Godlight' containing Father Tim's collection of heart-worthy quotes (from the Mitford Years Series)...

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, 
Old time is still a-flying 
 Robert  Herrick, Church of England. poet, 1591-1674)

And Ted Kooser's  'The Wheeling Year' - his own little Field Book in which he has included 'sketches and landscapes studies made out of words'   that carry one through the year and is comforting to have close by.  It is as beautiful book, - each small essay full of awareness and memories that touch the heart.
One day tells its tale to another.   Psalm 19

One of our sons brought me Mark Steyn's  "After America" which I know I will find despondent as I am well aware that Steyn has little optimism about the future of western civilization unless we pull up our socks.  I am inclined to agree with him, and I know Charles was of a like mind!

The garden tells me that soon I will be reading in the back garden, rather than cosied up under the lamplight at night, indoors.

Out there the bulbs are pushing through the ground with wild abandon, while indoors I have a sweet white amaryllis opening to the sunlight, when the sun deigns to shine.....

Life is good....

Monday, February 22, 2016

Grist Mill

ABC Wednesday
February 24th, 2016

The letter is G for the Grist Mill in Keremeos

Established by Barrington Price, an English Immigrant to British Columbia, 
and opened on August 21st, 1877,

The Grist Mill was of great benefit to local farmers, ranchers and native people,  saving them the long journey to Colville, Washington to have their grain processed into flour.

It continued in business until 1890, when trade declined and the site became a home, and the mill machinery building eventually a chicken house, with all the mill parts dismantled and left in a heap.

In 1979 the property was purchased by the British Columbia Heritage Trust as a last surviving example of pioneer settlement mills in B.C.

Restoration of the basic power system and machinery has resulted in flour once again being produced in the old mill - but for different economic reasons....

The Mill is now a Heritage Site and Tourist Attraction, and the grinding of grain part of a tour of the

It has been expanded into Gardens and a tea room, with the usual Gift Shop selling items peculiar to the historical attraction and the development of heritage sites such as a field of wheat harvested in the old ways of the 19th century, local honey and hand crafts, cards and momentos, etc. etc.

There is a kitchen, where things are done in the old fashioned way, - spinning days, an ancient pump organ. and the local Museum Society is most supportive.

The Grist Mill is an integrate part of the community, - there are Apple Days, a return to the growing of Zucca Melons which was an early project of the newly restored Mill, wonderful musical evenings during the summer months, outdoors under the chestnut trees, - and an inventive co-operation between the Grist Mill and local wineries to add to the various well attended events.

In 1997, when Charles' Lancaster crew all came to visit western Canada, we took them to the Grist Mill and had a lovely time......

For more entertaining Gs visit here at ABC Wednesday, with Gratitude to Roger, Denise and all Great helpers.