Oh, to be young again

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Granddaughter Mirabella in the Yukon Gold

I don’t like using the expression, but I guess I have to admit to “growing old.” I still feel perky enough after I get up with the sunrise, just before 6 a.m. here in Hope Ness, have my morning coffee or two, or three, and some toast or a bowl of cereal.

My daily “to do” list is longer than ever, so much so that there hasn’t been enough time and energy to do a daily post. I’m always anxious to get an early-morning start with the outside work. I know by mid-afternoon most of that once-boundless energy will be pretty well done for the day. Continue reading

On weeding the garden, here and there

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The well-tended potato plants are starting to bloom north of the border

There’s a lot to be said for growing a garden, especially one as big as mine here at Cathedral Drive Farm in Hope Ness, on the Bruce Peninsula, in Ontario, Canada. It’s like ballet, or any other creative discipline that requires your absolute devotion and attention for hours a day, every day. You can get lost in it, but not aimless. It can be an escape for a while from the world of cares and woe and discouraging news about how the future is likely to unfold; and these days it’s not very good at all.

And, yes, I am referring to the infernal T-word. Continue reading

My old friend is being reborn

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Mr. Massey before

There’s a mountain of work to do at Cathedral Drive Farm in Hope Ness these days: weed between the rows, hill the potatoes, spread straw mulch everywhere possible to hold the moisture in the soil and keep the clay-loam soil from baking to hard-pan in the sun, mow the hay, take the wild barn cat his morning dish of milk, prep the downstairs bedroom for painting . . . on and on it goes.

But I’ve got it down pat now: I take a few minutes in the morning after the indispensable two cups of coffee to write the daily to-do list; and then I proceed to ignore it as I just “keep on keeping on” with one thing at a time, or two or three, until the sun begins to set. And then I think it’s about time to see what’s going on in the world and the blogosphere.

But first, this day I went over to “The Shop” to see how Brent was getting on with the restoration of Mr. Massey, my world-famous, and one-of-a-kind, Massey-Harris 22 tractor.

Continue reading

Seeds of hope, rural roots

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Irish Cobbler potato plants looking good, June 7

Let’s look on the bright side again.

Let’s plant some seeds of hope.

Let’s do what we can, where we can, while we can.

Here at Cathedral Drive Farm, surrounded by Hope in reality and spirit, the garden is starting to look good. I can look out my second-floor office window and see multiple rows of sweet corn that a week ago emerged, including quite a bit of seed left over from last season. Continue reading

Yes, that’s snow

How’s the weather where you are?

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Better than here, I hope, especially if you’re a farmer trying to plant crops, or, like me, a market vegetable gardener.

This is April 26, 2016, southern Ontario, Canada, just south of the 45th Parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. And this snowstorm you’re seeing in these photos is not normal for this time of year. By this time I’ve usually been out in the garden for two weeks, cultivating the soil, and then planting some of the early, hardy crops like peas, definitely peas, beets, carrots, lettuce, and even potatoes. Continue reading

The inspirational Mr. Massey

What a guy, that Mr. Massey.

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Mr. Massey and I have a moment

He puts me to shame. While I’ve been off doing other things, including stuff like this, and generally spending way too much time trying to figure out where to start with a to-do list that’s always too long – and then getting all down and discouraged about it – he’s been patiently waiting for me to give him some attention. Continue reading

Hope Ness, early spring, 1908

Part 1 of 4:

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All that remains

Spring had arrived at last after a long, hard winter. The boy was sitting on the front steps of the small, wood-frame farm house. He turned his face toward the morning sun and, closing his eyes, gave himself to the pleasure of its warmth. The family wagon taking his parents to the village for the day had just disappeared around a bend in the road. It was wonderful to feel the warm glow of the sun again. But it was deceptive. There was still a chill in the air. His mother had reminded him to “take good care of your little sister, and make sure she stays buttoned up.” But he had allowed his mind to wander and he was thinking of other things, the sharp knife and the partially carved piece of fresh pine wood in his hands, and especially the splendid hawk circling high over the field at the edge of the woods.

Continue reading