Tuesday, March 31, 2020

This and That

March 31st, 2020

The last day of March, and this diffident month has 

gone out like a gentleman!!

A nice day, - sunny and fraught with the promise of spring.  

Green grass, - five small tulips, one daffodil 

and a lawn awash with violets.

Just as I finished my lunch

my son-in-law came to tell me

that there were deer in the meadow 

across from the back yard fence.

If I still moved "in a flash"

I would have been out the door that quickly.

But even though I moved more slowly

there they were...

two lovely dark deer

I am not sure why their coats are dark

but it probably has something to do with

the season.

They had come up from the dry creek bed,

through the bushes that line their home ---

wherein the sap rises

and the bushes are beginning

to have that lovely rosy spring glow.

I have been told that there is a little fawn, as well

but I have not seen him/her yet.

Just as I have not seen a Robin this spring...

Lots of chickadees, but I watch in vain

for a sweet red breast.

My son tell me that the orchard is full of them,

up on the hill.

I remember that Charles and I used to watch them in the spring,

as they crowded into the fruit trees

where the fermented apples hung, unpicked.

So I suppose that's where they are now!!!

Tippling at the bar!

(This, of course, is a more sedate robin
but I was not able to get a picture of the rowdy sippers)

When Bruce and I came in

I was faced with half a dozen tea towels

which had been washed and pressed

and their hems turned up with a hot iron,

but still lacking the stitching to ensure

the hems stayed in place!!!

Here they are off the loom

and stretched out in the hallway,

flanked by the rest of the winter's weaving

and before they were cut apart.

I started hemming while I watched the news

but was soon dissuaded from this

as the news, as usual,  was so depressing.

It pays only to indulge in the

news the bulbs and the new flowers bring, - 

that spring is approaching as usual

and despite how we mess things up

nature will have her way with us, eventually!

Take care 

in spite of all the weirdness

it is still a wonderful world!!

And we still have fickle April to advance

us into May, that glorious month........

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Remembering Callie 

My evening companion

who curled up beside me

with one paw on the computer........

who had been our dear furry cat

ever since she was a kitten

and David, our grandson, brought her to us

as a Christmas present, fifteen years ago.

She stopped eating a few days ago,

and then, the other night as I went to bed.

 I stopped to stay goodnight to her.

A few minutes after I had pulled up the covers

I felt her presence on the bedside mat;

leaned over and patted her head.

She mewed, softly, and we both went to sleep...

Unfortunately, she  didn't wake up,

and in the morning I gathered her dear furry body

in my arms, wrapped her in a towel

and laid her in a basket.

Our youngest son dug her grave.

We buried her at the end of the long flower bed,

and soon I will plant a white rose

over the spot where she is buried.

I am missing her, around my feet,

nestled in beside me in the easy chair,

and in the evening, here, lying on my desk,

next to me....

We had such a nice friendship,

a sweet understanding!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

A lovely day, weatherwise!

Sun shone, sky was a beautiful clear blue, -

with a touch of sun-lit clouds to complement 

and all sorts of little stubs poking their way through the black earth. -

scarlet, green  and white -

all promising to reach up and blossom into

daffodils,tulips,  anemones, iris

and the gorgeous shades of white, pink and wine

that the peony buds are hiding.

Callie, Bruce and I went out into the garden

for a while this afternoon.

(Unfortunately we missed the family of deer

that have taken up residence in the creek bed across the meadow,

but my daughter told me about them,)

five beautiful and elegant creatures enjoying the bits of new grass

I will watch more carefully tomorrow.

Bruce was his usual inquisitive self

but Callie found a spot in the sun where she could stretch out.

She is not well these days, and I fear

that she might be the first to succumb to old age,

here in the Old Folks Home.

Two sixteen year olds among the animals,

(which is getting elderly for dogs and cats - not ancient, but elderly)

And then there is the ninety five year old

who keeps things in order, more or less!!

We all keep busy and active, -

Bruce spends his time guarding the window and the front garden

from stray cats who come to investigate

the bird feeders - best barker in the neighborhood!

Callie is busy searching for well hidden spots

to hide in, where I can't find her without a half hour search, -

or when she deigns to come out of hiding in answer to my call.

Somehow she appears!!!


I have yet to find her hiding place....

but she spends a lot

of time in the weaving room.

keeping me company

The lady who regards herself as The Boss

is often at the loom, -

sometimes when she should be

sweeping and dusting!!

But we are all happy with what we choose to do,

and look forward to April,

when the little scarlet buds of the peonies send up green shoots

and the lilac tree bursts forth in bloom.

In the meantime we stay close to home to avoid COVID-19

and content ourselves with telephone chats.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

March 17th, 2020

The days march along

(unintended pun) 

And we have now reached St. Patrick's Day

which was always acknowledged in our family

in honour of my mother-in-law's "O'Callahan"relationship.

The smidgin of Irish always added

a little bit of spice to our life,

Charles having inherited much of the

Irish charm and wit.

And that Irish diplomacy that makes it possible

to tell a man to go to hell in such as way that

he looks forward to the trip......

I have great fondness for such Irish authors

as John O'Donahue, Chris Arthur and

Seamus Heaney.

I find many pencil marks in my copy of

Chris Arthur's "Irish Nocturnes" -

a wonderful book of essays...

"thought provoking and immensely readable"

it says on the back cover.

I have given away my copy of his "Irish Willow"

thinking that I would immediately replace it...

(and I shall)

 Kennedy in the Literary Review says of his writing

"sheer pleasure, a swim through the waters of
consciousness of a man clearly fluent and knowledgeable in the
essay form, full of information and opinion,
fact and personal observation, a book that rewards
in many ways, virtually in every sentence."

In an essay on memory Arthur makes this observation...

"one of the most hurtful aspects of growing old is the
recognition that one's memory is failing, and it can no longer be
relied upon to cup and transport its precious cargo as securely
as it once did.......... Forgetting a face, a name, an occasion
and knowing that it has slipped invisibly from memory
into nothingness, is to feel the breath of finitude close upon us,
offering a foretaste of our certain future........"

Well, if we are going to be just history then it does behoove us

to make the story comforting and just a little inspiring.


Time to go to bed now, but I will hopefully awaken

in the morning and be diligent about this task

of making good and meaningful memories for other people, ---

to those who come after us

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

March 11th, 2020

I am nursing a cold!

Not a bad cold, - but not one that I would be happy to pass on, either.

Family who come to say hello stand well back, in the doorway.

Others phone - "How you doing, Mum?  If there anything you need?"

Smart thing to do,  and no, there isn't anything I need.

The flavour that permeates the house comes from the dab of Vicks, 
melting away in a simmering pot.

Every once in a while I get up and go and weave a bit, 
to keep my creative juices flowing.

Otherwise I sit and read, blow my nose, and listen to music!!!

I am well into re-reading Loren Eiseley  (The Immense Journey)

and the music I listen to is anything that comes over the TV music channel.

I would like to once again hear Hauser and Luca on the DVD I have, - 
"Two Cellos"

but I have been there before, - switching around from TV to DVD, 
and it isn't always successful!! 

 I have to be strong and hearty to deal with it if things go wrong!

This is not the morning for it, with the box of kleenex handy, 
the heating pad warm on my back and 
the tea, honey and lemon my favoured beverage.  

I am loath to leave my nest in the easy chair.

A miserable day outside!!

If I have to be in keeping with the weather
this is the day for it!!!!

Tomorrow may be sunny
and perhaps my nose will stop dripping
in concert with the rain outside, today.

Then I will go out in the garden with Bruce and Callie
and see how the daffodils are progressing

and if the crocus are in bloom 

Thursday, March 05, 2020

March 5th, 2020

Bicycles, etc.

 I was sitting despondently at the breakfast table,
wondering what I could concoct that would return me to my usual
everyday energetic and cheerful self,
despite my stiff neck!!!

In order to distract myself from said stiff neck, and the blues that accompany it,
my thoughts turned to early days, when I was full of pep and bounce!!!!

As I contemplated those days a boy rode by on a bike, on his way to school,
and I remembered, nostalgically, the bicycle that was part of my early teens,
and my transportation to school, a mile or so away, 
there being no school buses in those days....the Thirties, Depression Years.

On the corner of Alberta Avenue and 92nd street there lived an older couple
dear to our family, - "Grandad" and "Granny" Green.
Grandad had a bicycle shop, and Granny had a heart of gold!

It was not just shiny new bikes that Grandad sold, - 
he was a whiz at putting together old parts and pieces, and with a magic wand.
a few screws and a fresh coat of paint
he produced bikes that all could afford in those 
economically tight years.

Mine cost $5.00, and was named "Bonaparte"
in honour of the way he came into being!
I think that Granny's Golden Heart probably influenced the price!

Besides school Bonaparte took me on many a cycle ride, 
one in particular with my dear friend and kindred spirit, N.K.
- on this adventure out Oliver way from Edmonton.

We took our knitting -
I believe I was making a sweater for my father, 
which he wore as a vest as I never did finish the sleeves.

Bonaparte was passed on to my sister (five years younger)
who also used it for school.  I wish I had a picture..
he was such a sturdy steed!!!

Where his "Bones" eventually laid I do not know.

I got involved with an Air Force officer, - married him and left home
for adventures in another province of Canada.

Our transportation there was a 1933 yellow wire-wheeled Chev Coupe!


We were so young!

Sunday, March 01, 2020


Came in like a lamb.......

A sunny day

the snow remaining morphed into 

snow white clouds languidly strolling

across a brilliant blue sky,

and Bruce and I went out and picked a few

of the delicate blossoms on the hellebores,

It is said that tomorrow will be sunny.

the grass will be greener,

maybe a few violets will open their lovely petals....

and the robins are back!!!

Can Spring be far behind???

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ash Wednesday
February 26th, 2020

The sun is shining again today, and the sky is that lovely soft blue
of spring time.....

The catkins outside my window are growing fatter and a little more lush,
marking the time as spring steps closer 
and the sun grows warmer.

I think to ask someone to bring the summertime table and chair out 
of its winter hibernation in the garden shed,
so I can take my book and a cup of tea outside
and contemplate the garden, and the hellebores, still covered with snow.

It is Ash Wednesday!

I see the cars gathered around the Roman Catholic Church
and lament that there is no service across the street
in the Anglican Church....
no ashen crosses on our forehead
but still, the day causes me to meditate a bit on Lent;
its meaning and what it accomplishes
in the lives of those who commit to those forty days.

I wonder if the days of Lent, before its Christian origin,
were observed as a time of purification,
or if the fasting that is part of Lent
arose because of a lack of food after a hard winter
and before summertime filled the larder again?

In place of a quiet service
I read parts of T.S. Eliot's long poem
"Ash Wednesday"
and think about Lenten Days and how best to make
them meaningful, and rich in their sparseness

And I listen to Stjepan Hauser  and Luka Sulic
and their beautiful rendition of  "Benedictus"
once again!!!

Monday, February 24, 2020

February 24th, 2020


The first day of the last week of Faint February, and I spent it firstly
at the loom,  beaming on a towel warp, - then at the end of the Hoover, purging rugs,
and lastly in an easy chair, reading, and listening to music.

I have no guarantee that March will be a better month, - it does not have
a good reputation here in the Similkameen, but surely it will have
more character than February, which has been so dull and uninspiring!!!

The one big snowfall we had has not melted away in the sunshine,
but rather has turned to large solid ridges of snow that line the village
roads and make parking very difficult.

Not that I am parking anywhere, since I have not driven since my
license expired a few months ago, and I am not brave enough
to go to the nearest city and take a driving test to renew it.....
somehow I don't think the license inspectors are too
interested in helping the aged to roam the streets in a motorized vehicle,
and so I plan on gaily joining the horde of cart drivers
in this retirement village, with Charles' big blue machine.

As to what I am reading....  I am enjoying
Alexander McCall Smith's new book - "The Department of
Sensitive Crimes"  which I find a delight to read...

from the dust cover.....

Alan Bradley (bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce series) says
"with astonishing heart and mind, Alexander McCall Smith
launches a bold and original series.  With The
Department of Sensitive Crimes, he invents a new
and compassionate genre:  I didn't know whether to
laugh or cry, but in the end I did both.

aside - the Flavia de Luce series is also a delight to read.....

The other book I am reading is another of Robert McFarlane's.
This time, instead of the Underworld,  he "accounts legendary
mountain ascents with vivid descriptions of his own forays
into wild, high landscapes". Great Book!!

Within it he quotes Keats...

"I stood tiptoe upon a little hill
...I gazed a while and felt as light and free
as though the fanning wings of Mercury
had played upon my heels.  I was light-hearted
and many pleasures to my vision started...."

The music I listened to was Hauser the cellist.

Absolutely gorgeous!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Signs to get your Hopes Up

The sun shone all day

The sky was blue, with nary a cloud

I am sure the catkins

on the tree outside my window

are just a little fatter...

just a little longer.....

the village plowman came along

and moved the snow

along the edge of the road

into mighty white mountains,

awaiting removal.

Along the creek

that follows the meadow out back

the aura of rosy pink and green

is stronger still in the trees and bushes

that line it.

In the bathtub

the buds on a bouquet of forsythia sticks

(brought by my youngest son)

begin to swell

(imperceptibly, but still....in a week

they will be showing golden.)

Hope springs eternal!!!!!

Spring is on its way 

if she would just quit lollygagging around

and making come hither eyes

on that swing!!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Winter doldrums.......

Still in February!!!

It seems to go on, and on, and on.......dreary and sunless

(except for small exceptions)!

The snow along the road is dirty

and where it is piled up to make room for traffic

it is inclined to raise despair in those who are looking

for patches of green grass, that promise spring, eventually!!!

Even with one day added for Leap Year

 February still has the shortest span of all the other months, - 

and yet the calendar moves so slowly.

I know that before the last great dump of snow

the tulips were beginning to poke through,

And then the ground froze solid

and heaven only knows what the poor dears are doing now!!!

If I were terribly energetic I would take advantage of these days,

(house-bound and confined)

to go through drawers and tidy them,

to fill great black plastic bags for the Bargain Centre

and leave the house  sophisticated in its simplicity.....

Or I could sort through snapshots

(of which I am sure we have close to a trillion)

and pass them on to various branches of the family......

Or I could fill the freezer with baking

and have a dozen loaves of bread on handto see me through

 March and April.....

But instead I linger through breakfast,

watch curling on the television,

play music, and leaf through handwovens mags,

thinking I will find inspiration.

I do a bit of reading

"The Department of Sensitive Crimes" by McCall Smith

and "Mountains of the Mind" by Robert McFarlane

more for entertainment than to improve my mind,

but nothing seems to lift the lethargy

and February just seems to linger on (and on and on).

Maybe I will plant a few seeds

in little square boxes

and when they send their lovely green shoots

through the earth

Spring will seem closer.....

Or I could put a pale green silken scarf

on the loom, to remind me of the colours

of Spring.

A dear son has offered to bring me Forsythia Sticks

from the garden on the hill,

and when their golden blooms come out

they will complement the lovely amaryllis

that still graces the plant window, since Christmas!!

Well, 'patience is a virtue'I will try to cultivate it,

and soon I will just have the winds of March

and the showers of April

to whine about,

unless I decide to enjoy life as it is.....

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Tribute

February 12th, 2020

Considering the date, - which marks the anniversary
of the birth of my beloved husband,
here are a few words to mark
his extraordinary contributions to all those things
he became involved in
during  his life here in this valley.

Charles Lincoln Finch
February 12th, 1924 – November 16th, 2012

A Tribute

In the first decade of the 20th century a number of Yukon gold miners and entrepreneurs heard of land being sold in the beautiful Okanagan Valley for $100.00 dollars an acre, and sight unseen they invested, with the intention of planting orchards.

Vincent Finch arrived from the Yukon in 1910 and was soon joined by his son Albion.  In 1913 Sidney Finch was persuaded to leave Hoodsport and the family business at Finch Creek to help for a few weeks on the newly planted orchards, but his stay was extended for almost seventy years when he also bought orchard property.  He married Violet Hunter, but within two years she died from tuberculosis.

In 1920 Sidney married Mabel O’Callaghan, a young widow with two children, Hazel and Tom.  Their first son, Gordon, was born in 1922, and Charles, their second son, on February 12th, 1924.  A daughter, Wenonah, completed the family two years later.

Despite the economic difficulties the depression brought it was a wonderful place to raise a family, with the lake close by, the surrounding hills where one could hike and hunt and fish, and a community of young farming people in a similar situation with young families and friendships that have continued throughout their lives. 

Charles took the bus into Penticton for his schooling, along with other Benchland children.  He attended his last class reunion in June of 2012, but they had been held annually since the 40th anniversary in 1982.

There was music in the home. – violin, fiddle, piano and tuba (which Charles played in the School Band)  which was to instill in him a great fondness for music and singing.  In the home in which his own children were raised there were two very large speakers which carried phonograph music through open windows into the orchard (where everyone was picking or hoeing or planting) and fostered this appreciation in his own children.

At the age of eighteen Charles enlisted in the RCAF, and while undergoing training at ITS in Edmonton met his future wife, Hildred Thompson.  He went on to High River, and then to Curry Field in Calgary, where he was awarded his wings

On arriving in the UK Charles received further training on heavy aircraft, and eventually with his crew joined an RAF Squadron, # 170, at Helmswell where he was a Lancaster Pilot carrying out operations over Germany.  

His half brother, Tom had died in the Falaise Gap, and In March of 1945 his second brother was killed at a Battle in the Hochwald Forest.  Charles was withdrawn from duty and arrived in New York on the 1st of May, a few days before the war ended.  He and Hildred were married in Edmonton on May 12th. 1945.

After five years in Penticton, and three children later, the family moved on to the Cawston Bench and the Fairview Heights Irrigation District, a VLA project for Veterans.  Charles worked with PFRA setting up the project and then acted as Secretary-Manager and Bailiff for a few years, after which he joined with many of the other veterans working in the logging industry and in local sawmills until the orchards they had planted came into production. The younger three children of the family of six were born during this time.

Charles had a clear vision and a keen sense of awareness of the consequences of actions and events, as well as a serious commitment to his citizenship, and these qualities lent themselves well to a leadership role in many of the activities he became involved in, - the Cawston Board of Trade, as Chair of two Centennial Committees, ten years as School Board Chair and a driving force behind the formation of Okanagan College in which he spent six years as a persistent Chair of the College Council in the face of the many parochial difficulties they dealt with in establishing the College.

In the field of Agriculture he became active in the B.C. Federation of Agriculture, and because of augmenting the orchard income with a large flock of sheep he spent some years as Chair of the B.C. Sheep and Wool Commission, the B.C. Sheep Breeder’s Co-operative and as a Director on the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers.

He was active in the Canadian Legion and was twice President of Branch 192 in Keremeos, with a Lifetime membership award.

He will be sadly missed as the strong voice who called out the names of The Fallen in two World Wars at Remembrance Day Services in Keremeos.

For a while in the 1980’s Charles went adventuring as an Independent Trucker in a wonderful old Kenworth, but in 1987 he and Hildred retired to Keremeos and a life of weaving (to which he contributed wonderful and innovative additions to the looms) golfing, camping, bridge and fishing with old friends.

They took advantage of the leisure time to visit England, France and Holland for two Squadron reunions and to visit Charles’ brothers’ graves in Europe. 

During the war the crew who flew with Charles had formed a strong bond, as was the case with so many other men who faced danger in the skies together.  In 1997 they traveled to Canada for a reunion in the West, motoring from Calgary through the Rockies to Keremeos and on to Vancouver.

In the early 1990’s Charles spearheaded renewed activity in the Similkameen Branch of the Okanagan Historical Society and during this time, while he was President, the Annual OHS picnic was held at the Pow-Wow grounds on First Nation’s land in the Ashnola River Valley. 

Shortly after the family moved to Cawston Charles had suffered polio in probably the last of the great epidemics before the Salk Vaccine, and this came back to haunt him in his final years when he was stricken with neuropathy, greatly affecting his mobility.  He found some solace in his involvement with the Senior Singers at the OAP in Keremeos, where I am sure his quirky smile, his endearing way of putting people at ease and his nice tenor voice are missed, - there and by those who loved him so.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Snow in the Similkameen

My thoughts on the current
dump of snow!!!

When whoever is in charge

of weather and all its accoutrements

was faced with an overload of snow

and was looking for a place to dump it,

I'll be darned if they didn't choose

The Similkameen!!

...and it is still snowing!!!

Inclined to make everything look

pure and white and virginal -----

but is that the vision we are really

looking for as we peer

around for spring!

Somewhere under this beautiful

white coverlet

the daffodils are poking their

promising green spears.

The forecast is for sun on Sunday

(appropriate but is it something you would stake your life on!)

Bruce doesn't linger long

over the necessary bathroom events,

and Callie just turns her back

on the cat door and heads for the litter box!!!

Can you blame them???

Enough of this weather forecasting...

I am off to weave!

The Windhover, (label on my woven goods)

Friday, January 31, 2020

A Reminder

Lurking on your doorstep

clutching a clock

here to remind you

it's time to say "WHITE RABBIT'

if you want February 

to be kind to you......

It may be a short month

but it can be a pretty sharp one

if it forgets that it's

a harbinger of spring

and sends frost to crisp the snow drop

and ice the daffodil.

In any case -

it is wise to pay homage

to the White Rabbit

and keep an eye out for

the first violet

and the willows

that grow along the creek

at the other side of the meadow,

out back;

when their tips turn rosy......

And there is a lovely

green aura around the

tops of the bare tree branches.

Nothing dramatic, -

just the most gentle of remnders

that the sap is rising,

and spring returns...

as always!!

     Tom Thomson - Canadian - one of Seven

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The end of January

Three apple pies in the oven

and I have a wonderful feeling of accomplishment, ----

and total exhaustion

that demands I sit in the easy chair

with the back heater at full blast

and a cup of coffee by my side!!!

If I were a little bit younger

I am sure I would have put those pies in the oven

with a great flourish

and probably gone down the hall

to wind a warp, or do something else,

equally as creative.

However, Callie thought it was a good idea

to cosy up in the easy chair...

she bears her age well, but I have to remember

that her fifteen years probably equals my ninety-five

and we both find great comfort in a bit of rest!!!

We will give the oven twenty minutes

to accomplish its magic 

and then go and readjust the pie positions.....

by that time we should be re-charged!!!!!

I am listening to Hauser and his cellist friend

as they play pieces from "Two Cellos"

and it doesn't seem to matter that the sun

is not shining this morning,

and that the forsythia

is not yet in bloom....

The Benedictus will rest in my head

for the rest of the day..........

and on into February, which will be so welcome

when it does arrive...

It seems to me I have made this observation before!

Am I becoming obsessed????

Friday, January 24, 2020

January 24th, 2020

Oh look, we're getting close to the end of January, 

and February looms invitingly,

(if you ignore the pictures of previous February storms and concentrate on SPRING,

 hiding in the hills, peering down at the valley,

 and making plans to visit)

This COULD be a picture of me.

It is very reminiscent of my early morning coffee, 

and the musings that accompany it.

Today I went out!

Probably for the first time since Christmas.

It has been snowy, and icy,

and dangerous for ancient ladies

who rely on a cane!

And it wasn't a great adventure, either.

My son-in-law drove me to the pharmacy

where I indulged myself

with a fresh supply of Tylenol for Arthritis,

some of that magic stuff you spray

on your neck, when you can't find a

comfortable way to arrange the pillows, in bed.

How our shopping lists change with age!!!

No lipstick, or eye shadow

or fancy soaps!!!

I did buy some shampoo

but only the old familiar Dove!

For Christmas I was given a beautiful bottle

of liquid soap,

daringly scented and in such a sweet container,

but I haven't yet run into the occasion

when I would be tempted to use it.

If the messy snow and water and ice

soon disappears

I plan to get my outdoor walker out of the garden shed

and make a little foray

around the garden

to see if by some miracle the daffodils

are poking through the tips of their lovely green shards.

In the morning I think I might go and inspect

the bucket of bulbs from last year

and see if there are some I can plant in the south window.

My amaryllis bloomed

(I think I posted a picture of it somewhere)

These blooms have withered and faded

but I see there is a small swelling and a tiny shoot

that maybe promises

another flower.

When February arrives I am going to hang

my Spring Sign on the fence,

and hope that it serves as a Welcome!!!