Saturday, October 20

Green Thumb Sunday

Join Green Thumb Sunday


I have joined Green Thumb Sunday. I have a little bit of a green thumb but figure that by joining I will learn a lot about plants. For starters, can anyone tell me what kind of plant this is? A friend gave it to me 4 years ago and for the first couple of years it only grew foliage. The last two years it has had flowers on it in the fall. She didn't know the name of the plant and I haven't been able to identify it. Any help would be appreciated.

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Farm News

Well, there isn't a lot of farm news this week. First, Tuesday when Brandon went it was really windy and cold. We did see the new baby chicks, but couldn't take any photos, as they are locked up tight under a heat lamp. There were 300 when they arrived and then they began to die. The problem was that the heat lamp wasn't low enough. They huddled together to try and stay warm and some of them were injured and some of them died from the cold.

We did get a few photos. Here's one of Brandon feeding King some hay out of his hand. He loves King and though he is a huge horse, he is a gentle giant.

Here's one of King and Quiet Riot. They are in the corral. King doesn't get to stay out long, as he likes to escape the confines of the corral and pasture.

This young bull loves hay and attention. He likes to have his photo taken and it seems like he posed for the camera.

We didn't stay long, as it was too cold.

Thursday it rained and I wondered if we should cancel the farm trip. Jordan begged to go. He loves the farm and hates to miss. It had stopped raining, so I decided to take him. After all, I worked on the farm in the rain when I was a child.

Just as we were getting near the farm, it started to rain. We went to the barn first, checked out the baby chicks, which were doing much better, saw King and the goats and then checked out the trampoline. It was wet, so that was a disappointment. Most of the animals were keeping out of sight and out of the rain. So that is all the news for now. Hope you enjoyed coming along.

Friday, October 19

October is Senior and Elders Month in Ontario

October is Senior and Elders Month in Ontario. Due to the case of Norma Stinson, who was abused by her nurses at the retirement home in which she lived, Ontario is looking more closely at how seniors are cared for. The story of Norma Stinson was a terrible tragedy. Norma was 87 years old and was kicked, slapped and stolen from. Her private care nurses discovered the abuse and moved Norma to another facility.

Without the staff of the new facility being aware of it, her nurses set up a video camera in her room. It caught the nurses there abusing Norma as well. When caught, they said that she kicked them and abused them and they were only retaliating. Norma's private nurses knew this was not so, as Norma couldn't lift her legs more than 6 inches. Norma's story was aired on W5 in the summer of 2005. Unfortunately, Norma has passed away since then.

How would we feel if our mothers or grandmothers were treated this way in a facility where they were paying thousands of dollars to be cared for? Where is the justice when the perpetrators were given a slap on the wrist for abusing a defenceless senior?

There's been a huge public cry in Ontario since Norma's story aired - and so there should be. Staff of retirement and nursing homes should be fired immediately if they so much as raise their voice to a senior. I know it can be frustrating when caring for elderly patients who kick, slap and punch the nurses who are responsible for their care, but often this is because the senior is retaliating in self defence.

I worked as a geriatric nurse in a nursing home and in private duty nursing. When I was a private duty nurse, I looked after a woman who was 101 years old. She kicked, slapped and, if you weren't watching, she would also bite. She had very few teeth, but knew exactly how to use the ones she did have. I could never figure out why she did this until one morning I arrived for work early.

As I walked toward the woman's private room, I heard shouting. The lady was crying out. I stood at the door and watched the night nurse pull the sheets off of the woman, grab her by the legs and turn her out of the bed. The woman hit the nurse and the nurse hit her back. I went ballistic and told the nurse to get out of the room. She did and I began to talk gently to the elderly woman. I laid her down and talked to her. I spoke in a gentle voice. I rubbed her legs that were always swollen.

Finally, she calmed down. I got her dressed, up in a chair and went to get her breakfast. I fed her, washed her face and combed her hair. I applied some lipstick. I told her how beautiful she was. She smiled, enjoying the praise. This lady had once been a social butterfly. I realized that she hated being trapped in a body that wouldn't work while her mind was as sharp as a tack.

I can't say that this lady never slapped, punched or bit another nurse. She did. What I did find out was that if you treated her kindly and with love, she responded positively. She wanted to be treated with dignity and respect.

If you know a senior citizen who is being abused by a family member or a health care professional, please report it. After all, someday you will be a senior and when that day comes, it will be you at the mercy of the perpetrators.

Wow! A Beautiful Award

Grams from over at gave me this beautiful Wonder Women award. I am speechless, overwhelmed and honored. Thank you, Grams.

I really want to pass this award along to a few very special women that I have met here.

Granny of Roc Rebel Granny.

These women are all exceptional in their positive outlook on life. They are devoted to family and friends. Congratulations, Ladies. Hope you enjoy the award.

Show and Tell Friday

I just signed up for Show and TellFriday at There's No Place Like Home. It sounded like a lot of fun so I thought I'd give it a try.

The photo at the top of this article shows one of the headvases that I collect. I received my first one from Grandma in 1962. She brought it to me when I was in the hospital recuperating from an appendectomy. This is a picture of the ladyheadvase. She is perfect except for one tiny flake of paint that is missing from her eye. She has her complete pearl necklace and earrings. When Grandma brought her to the hospital, she was filled with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. These headvases were manufactured in Japan (mostly) during the 50s and 60s. They were mainly sold in florist shops.

It's rare to have a headvase that is almost 50 years old in such good condition. Most have chips, cracks or hairlines and often the jewelry is missing. She was made by Relpo and is porcelain.

I also have a Nancy Pew baby headvase. It is not my favorite, though Nancy Pew's headvases are very popular. It is more of a ceramic type of material which is very thin.

I have other headvases as well. Most are made of porcelain. Those are the ones I like the most. I don't have a big collection, but the one that Grandma gave me is my most prized, of course.

I hope you enjoyed having a look at these beautiful headvases. Many people all over the world collect them and to find one in great condition is a very rare occurrence.

Links to Asperger's Syndrome Information

A blogging friend here asked me if I could provide her with some links on Asperger's Syndrome information. There is a lot of information on the subject online. One of the best sources is Tony Attwood's site. Attwood is one of the world's leading professionals on the disorder.

This is interesting.

I have ordered books from Kingsley Publishing and they have a large range of books and videos. They also have books that help teach kids about their Aspergers.

Lisa and the Lacemaker is a great read, as are Blue Bottle Mystery and Buster and the Amazing Daisy. There are also new ones out that help children understand their disorder. A particularly good book for younger kids is Who Took My Shoe? For other great titles for kids that deal with Aspergers Syndrome, check here.

Be sure to check out Children's Disability Information.

Some good information here. It explains exactly what Asperger's Syndrome is.

Hans Asperger recognized the disorder in 1944. Unfortunately the information took 50 years to make it to North America. Today there are many adults that haven't been diagnosed. This makes it very difficult to have successful relationships, keep jobs and function in society.

If you are in need of more information, please let me know. I'm always glad to help out.

Thursday, October 18

Thankful Thursday

I enjoy participating in Thankful Thursday. These are the things I am thankful for this week.

1. For a beautiful autumn day - the fragrance of leaves, a little sun, a little cloud and for a little while, the soft drizzle of rain.

2. For the fact that my husband's sleep apnea has remained the same over the last two years. It is something that he will always have, but it hasn't gotten any worse.

3. I am thankful that my grandsons live close by and that I can spend time with them often.

4. For my neighbor who is a single woman and a great friend. We support each other through thick and thin and talk almost daily.

5. For the many blessings I've received this week from the friends I have made here.

For all these things I am thankful.

Sara Emma Edmonds

In honor of Women's History Month, an accounting of a Canadian woman who left her mark on the US during the Civil War.

Sarah Emma Edmonds was born in Nova Scotia, in 1842. Her early childhood was marred by the fact that her father resented her because she wasn't a boy. Things were so bad, that eventually Emma ran away from home. She fled to the United States.

Emma adapted well to life in her new country. So much so, that when the Civil War broke out she wanted to enlist. Emma was living in Flint, Michigan at the time. When the first call went out for Union enlistment, Emma went into action. She dressed in men's clothing, cut her hair and took the name of Frank Thompson. No medical was required to enlist in those days, but it took four attempts before she was successful. On April 25, 1861, Emma was sworn in as a male nurse in the Second Volunteers of the United States Army. She was sent to Washington for training. Her unit was then sent to join McClellan in Virginia. Emma was assigned to the hospital unit of the Second Michigan Volunteers.
McClellan sent out word that he was looking for a spy. Private Frank Thompson (Emma) volunteered for the position. She studied local geography, weaponry, military strategy and military personalities. When McClellan interviewed her, he was so impressed with her knowledge that he immediately gave her the job.

Emma needed a disguise. She decided to enlist in the Confederate Army as a black man. The wife of a local chaplain helped her dye her skin with silver nitrate. She dressed in men's clothing, wore a minstrel's wig, and called herself, "Cuff."

When Emma reached the Confederate front, she was assigned to work on the ramparts that were being built by local black men. At the end of the day her hands were bloody and blistered. She switched jobs with a slave. The second day she worked in the kitchen. She learned the size of the army, how many weapons they had, and learned of the "Quaker Guns" (logs painted black to look like cannons from a distance) that the Confederates planned to use at Yorktown.

The next day Emma was assigned picket duty. She escaped and rejoined the Union Army. The information she took back impressed McClellan. He gave her a personal interview. She then returned to her duties as a male nurse.

Two month later, Emma received orders to return to the Confederate lines. She knew she couldn't return as "Cuff," since he was a deserter. She assumed the identity of an Iris peddler woman. Her name was Bridge O' Shea.

Emma had no trouble getting into the Confederate camp. She sold her wares and kept her ears open. She returned to McClellan with information after being wounded while making her escape. She had helped herself to a beautiful horse that she named Rebel.

The Second Michigan was sent to the Shenandoah Valley. Frank Thompson's skill as a nurse and spy proceeded her. When she arrived, General Sherman issued orders for her to resume her job as spy.

Emma used her disguise as "Cuff" several times while spying. In August 1862, she used the disguise of a black mammy. She took the job of laundress in the Confederate camp. While sorting clothes, she discovered official documents in an officer's coat. She took the papers and went back to the Union lines. Her commanding officer was delighted with the find.

Emma's unit was transferred again at the end of 1862. This time they joined the Ninth Corps, under the command of General Ambrose Burnside, who was camped near Louisville, Kentucky. Once again Private Thompson's accomplishments proceeded Emma. Her spying missions continued.

Emma assumed the identity of Charles Mayberry, a young man with Southern sympathies. She went to Louisville to identify the Southern spy network. Emma was again successful. She returned unit and was immediately transferred to serve under the command of General Ulysses Grant, who was preparing for the Battle of Vicksburg.

Under Grant's command, Emma worked long hours in her role as male nurse. Then, disaster struck. Emma had malaria. If she sought medical attention, her true identity would be revealed. She went to Cairo, Illinois, assumed her true identity and entered a private hospital for treatment. When she was well, she would return to her unit.

Upon her release from hospital, Emma was walking past the post office when she saw an army bulletin. It was a list of deserters. On the list was the name of Private Frank Thompson.

Emma used the last of her money to buy a train ticket to Washington. Once there, she was hired as a nurse. She worked there until the end of the war.

Emma, disguised as Private Thompson, had successfully completed eleven spying missions. After the war, she wrote a book about her escapades. "Nurse and Spy of the Union Army" sold thousands of copies. Emma gave the profits to the United States War Relief Fund and returned to Canada.

In her native land, Emma met Linus Seeyle. They married and moved to Cleveland, Ohio. The couple raised three sons.

Though happy with her husband and children, Emma hated the fact that she'd been branded a deserter. She petitioned the War Department. On July 5, 1884, Congress granted her an Honorable Discharge. She received a bonus for her work as a spy and received a pension of $12.00 a month. Emma was now completely happy. She spent her remaining years in La Porte, Texas. She died on September 5, 1889. She was buried in the military section of Washington Cemetery in Houston. She is the only woman to become a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.

A Special Treat from Pepperlady

Pepperlady presented me with this You're a treat award. It was started by Hootin' Anni and is being passed along. Thank you, Pepperlady for this lovely Halloween award. I'm honored.

Which Hundred Acre Wood Character Are You?

I was over at Melanies paying a visit and she had posted this game on her blog. I thought it might be fun to find out which of the Hundred Acre Wood characters I was, so I clicked the link and this is the results:

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

If you decide to play the game, please post a comment and let me know which character you are. Have fun with it. Many blessing for the day.

Wednesday, October 17

October: Women's History Month in Canada

October is both Autism Awareness Month and Women's History Month in Canada. In 1992, the Canadian Government ruled that in October, Canadians would recognize the achievements of Canadian Women in history. Over the years, women have left their mark on Canadian society. The theme this year is Celebrating Immigrant Women in Canada. Women's History Month includes Persons Day, which is celebrated on October 18th - the day when women were recognized as persons way back in 1918.

Through the years I have studied Canadian women in history. I'd like to introduce you to a few of the women that deserve recognition during Women's History Month.

Nellie McClung - She was one of the leading women in Canada's suffragette movement. She was determined that women would be recognized as persons and be allowed to own property and cast their ballots in elections.

E. Cora Hind - The first woman in Canada to hold the title of Agricultural Reporter. Cora first worked for the Manitoba Free Press. She was also involved in reform and women's issues.

Victoria Callihoo - A Native Canadian who was born and raised on the Canadian prairie in Alberta. Victoria was half Cree and half French. She died in 1966 at the age of 105. Her life had spanned more than a century and she had seen many changes. From riding on the prairie in a Red River Cart while hunting buffalo with her native relatives to listening to the radio in her old age, Victoria adapted to her surroundings as she aged.

Ann Harvey - Ann was raised in Newfoundland. She's credited with helping her father, brother and their dog rescue shipwrecked immigrants who were headed to Quebec. Their ship sank in the Atlantic Ocean, which is treacherous at any time of the year. The rescue took place between July 12 and 15, 1828. A decade later, another ship, the Rankin, floundered in the same area. Ann helped rescue 25 passengers from the wreck.

Major Margaret C. MacDonald - Major MacDonaldwas Matron-in-Chief of the Canadian Nursing Service during the First World War.

Helen Harrison - This woman flew bombers across the Atlantic during the Second World War.

Lucy Maud Montgomerey - The Canadian author who wrote the Anne of Green Gables series. Montgomerey lived in Prince Edward Island. Visitors flock from all over the globe to see the little house that was described in the books.

Roberta Bondar - She became the first Canadian women and the first neurologist in space. She was aboard the Discovery space shuttle in 1992.

Laura Secord - A feisty little woman, Laura lived in Queenston Heights in 1812. When the Americans invaded, Laura hiked through woods and swamps to warn the Canadian troops who drove the Americans back to their side of the Niagara River.

Pauline Johnson - A Native American poetess who was the child of a Mohawk chief and a non-native woman. Her career as a recitalist began in 1892. She toured both Canada and the US reciting and writing poetry. Pauline's best-known poem is The Song My Paddle Sings. Pauline died in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 7, 1913. She was buried in Stanley Park, where she loved to go and spend her time in solitude. Pauline died of breast cancer. A memorial stone has been erected in her honor.

These are just a few of the women who have changed the course of Canadian history. I hope you enjoyed meeting all of them.

Please Pray for Kristen's Babies

I was visiting Grandma Dawn when I saw the ultra sound photo above. I followed the link to Mama's So Called Life. The story that I read about the babies in the ultra sound touched my heart. Please pray for Kristen's babies and visit her blog to read this amazing story.

Update: Good news!!! Kristen has been informed that her babies are going to be fine. However, I will still keep her in my prayers. Twins can be a challenge.

Tuesday, October 16

October: Autism Awareness Month in Canada

In Canada, October is Autism awareness month. It's important to make people aware of those who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder. My oldest grandson, Brandon is one of these children. He has been officially identified with Pervasive Development Disorder. In other words he has Asperger's Syndrome. If you have never heard of Asperger's Syndrome, click here. The information found on this page is just the tip of the iceberg. You can find additional information at Autism Society Canada.

It is said that children and adults (not diagnosed as children) look at things much differently than most people. Compare it to us looking at a tapestry. We see the entire thing. A person who has Asperger's Syndrome, sees every single thread. They often hear background noise before noise in the forefront. They have a different outlook on things. They have trouble trusting at times. They don't like change. These are just some of the problems that those with Asperger's experience.

Brandon has come a very long way in the last four years. He had a very difficult time when he was younger. He had no social skills, could not communicate well, didn't understand body language and would not look you in the eye. Though he still lacks social skills, he communicates better, can understand most body language and will almost always look you in the eye. There is an odd time that he has to be reminded. All of these things had to be taught to him. We played games with him to learn him facial expressions and other body language. We had to pump him for information because he didn't know how to express himself. However, all of our work paid off. Some kids aren't so lucky.

Brandon has what is called "high functioning" autism. He does very well academically, with outstanding marks in most subjects. However, if he can't "get" something, it is very difficult for him. Then suddenly when he does "get" it, it's like a light is turned on. Once he knows something, he doesn't forget it. However, he is very hard on himself because he thinks that he should accomplish perfection and as we all know, this is impossible. Aspies, as children who suffer from Asperger's are called, have a difficult time when they can't get things right the first time.

There are different levels of Asperger's Syndrome. Brandon's is a mild case so they inform us. However, he has trouble controlling his emotions. When he is excited, he moves constantly. When he is thinking or a little down, he is silent. When he gets upset, he goes off by himself. He likes quiet time to think. When he gets angry, which isn't often, he gets very angry. He does things that are annoying at times, like repeating himself. He will say something to someone and then whisper it to himself. Sometimes he makes noises that he may or may not know he's making.

Brandon started animal therapy in March. He goes once a week and it has done him a world of good. The counsellor at the farm says that he is almost ready to step-up a level. He is learning to control his emotions, make friends and work as part of a team. He loves the animals and enjoys going to the farm. It's something he looks forward to. He's held baby goats in his lap, picked up a kitten that was only 24 hours old and held a baby chick. He has learned to climb a fence, get on and off of a trampoline and a host of other things that he couldn't do in March of this year.

Brandon doesn't like sports. He has poor motor skills and doesn't always put proper emphasis on words when he's speaking. However, since attending the farm, these skills have greatly improved.

I'm telling you all this to emphasize how much children with Asperger's Syndrome and Autism need people to support and love them. The child that is throwing a temper in the doctor's office may have Asperger's Syndrome. It may not be a temper tantrum at all - possibly that child's emotions are so overwhelming that he is having a meltdown. These can last anywhere from a few seconds to hours. Please, don't be quick to judge.

Tony Attwood is one of the most knowlegeable doctors in the world on the subject of Asperger's Syndrome. Be sure to visit his website to learn more about this invisible disability.

Note: Asperger's Syndrome is found in both males and females, though it is more predominant in males. Many children who were once thought of as geeks or as being weird probably had some form of Asperger's Syndrome, though not many were diagnosed before the early 90s in North America.

Another Beautiful Award

The Community Blogger Award celebrates people who reach out, and make the blogger community a better one. I have been presented with this beautiful award byDenise over at Shortybears Place . Thank you, Denise. I am truly honored.

I followed Denise's link and found that this award was created by Cellobella's at Sultana Blog. If you click on the blog name, you can read why she created the award.

I would like to present this award to the following people:

Renie at Renie Burghardt's World. Renie and I have been friends for about 9 years now and she has been an inspiration to me. She was also the very first person to welcome me here.

Tina at Tina's Odds and Ends. Tina and I have been friends about the same length of time as Renie and I. She has been a true friend and we have been constantly in touch to help each other over the hills and through the valleys of life.

Kathleen Marie at The Open Window. Kathleen Marie and I met recently and her blog inspires me.

Peggy at Hidden Haven Homestead. I love Peggy's blog. She always brings brightness into my day.

Paula at On A Rainy Night. I enjoy her visiting her blog and hope to get to know her better.

Michele at Writing the Cyber Highway. Michele has been a regular visitor to my blog since I started blogging here recently. Michele is another source of inspiration to me.

Granny at Roc Rebel Granny. Granny is also a great inspiration to me. I visit her blog often and always enjoy what she has to say.

Morning Glory at Seeds From My Garden. Her postings brighten my days.

I was also going to present it to Hootin' Anni who has been so kind to me since I came here. She already has the award so I give her Honorable Mention. The same goes for Talk to Grams.

Thanks everyone for touching my life in a special way.

A Beautiful Award from Ruth

Ruth at Me, My Life, My Garden is presenting this award to "Quite simply it is those that have a generous and giving nature. Those who care about others. Those who have a kind word to say or a broad shoulder to lean on in the times that others need that. Those who display the "Spirit of Christmas". Thank you, Ruth.

The award originated at Santa's Community Blog. I am honored. It's beautiful.

If you display the "Spirit of Christmas" you are more than welcome to take a copy of the award. The code can be picked up here.

Monday, October 15

Canada's Endangered Animals

Canada has dozens of animals and birds that are threatened or endangered. In 2006, thirty-two more species were added to the Endangered Species List. Today 13 species are extinct and 521 are endangered. 75% of the endangered species are threatened because of loss of their habitat.

Species at Risk

Of the 521 species at risk, 41 are data deficient, 13 are extinct, 22 are extirpated, 151 are concerned species, 136 are threatened and 212 are endangered. Some of the endangered species in Canada include bison, whooping cranes, Banff snail, burrowing owl, kangaroo rat, Peregrine falcon, polar bear, woodland caribou, Peary caribou, bull trout, piping plover, swift fox, white pelican, trumpeter swan, black-footed ferret, grey whale, Eskimo curlew, eastern cougar, common green turtle and a wide range of others too numerous to list.


Species that Canada has lost forever include birds such as the great auk, the passenger pigeon and the Labrador duck. Fish lost to extinction are the blue walleye, longjaw cisco, Banff longnose dace and the deepwater cisco. The only extinct mammal to this point is the sea mink, but the woodland caribou population is diminishing at an alarming rate.

Golden and bald eagles, as well as the sedgewren, caspian tern, horned greb and the red-headed woodpecker are species of special concern. Wouldn't it be sad if all of these species disappeared from Canada and were not a part of the Earth in future generations?

Canadian Wildlife Federation

The goal of the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is "to foster grass roots wildlife conservation." They encourage each person living in this country to take-on Community Wildlife Habitat Projects. CWF is dedicated "to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world."


Build a Toad House


* Terra cotta flower pot with saucer.
* Trowel.
* Earth colored paint - greens, browns etc.
*Paint brush.


* Apply a design with the paint on the sides and bottom of the flower pot.
* Allow to dry thoroughly.
* Lay the pot on its side in a sheltered area of your yard.
* Use the trowel to bury the pot halfway into the soil.
* Line the bottom of the flower pot with dead leaves.
* Place the saucer out of view of the flower pot house and fill with clean water.
* Avoid the area for a few days and then check to see if Mr. or Mrs. Toad has moved in. If not, try moving the flower pot house to another location.


Use a battery-operated night light near Mr. Toad's house. This attracts all kinds of lip smackin' treats for Mr. Toad to enjoy. Moths and other insects that Mr. Toad enjoys will be drawn to the light to provide a healthy snack.

Attracting Wildlife to Your Yard

If you wish to attract wildlife to your yard, it is imperative that you supply shelter, a source of food and water and space. This will draw a wide range of animal and bird species to your yard.


Shelter can be found in woodpiles, brush, rock piles and deciduous trees. These provide species with shelter from the sun, wind, rain and snow.


Plant shrubs and bushes that provide berries, nuts and seeds. Grasses and native wildflowers, as well as other types of flowers provide a source of food for all types of birds and insects.


Set out several bowls of water, install a birdbath, a fountain or install a garden pond so wildlife species that live in or visit your yard will have a source of clean water. Water should be changed daily in order to prevent species from drinking dirty water.


Be sure there are layers of vegetation throughout your yard - trees of different heights, grass of different heights, ground cover, wildflowers and a variety of shrubs. These provide room for species to live side by side without being overcrowded.

These are just a few of the things that you can do to prevent the decline of habitat for wildlife. It's imperative that all species be maintained in order to keep the Earth in a healthy balance.


Albert Einstein made the statement "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live." He was speaking in regard to the symbiotic relationship of all life on the planet. All part of a huge interconnected ecosystem, each element playing a role dependant on many other elements all working in concert creating the symphony of life. Should any part of the global body suffer, so does the whole body.

The above note is a quote from the website of Richard Thomas. To learn more about bees and their importance to the Earth and mankind, click on his name to read his article.

Sunday, October 14

Autumn on the Farm

I grew up on a farm in southern Ontario. Though the farm was always a busy place, the busiest time of all was autumn harvest. In late September or early October the Harvest Moon would appear, riding low in the night sky. This was a sign that frost could hit at any time and the autumn harvest had arrived.

September in Ontario meant back to school. It was a time of renewing new friendships. As soon as we arrived home from our day of learning, we were expected to change into our work clothes and head out to the fields. In those days we had no fancy farm equipment. The men would dig hills of potatoes with a flat-tined fork and leave them lying on top of the ground. The women and children would follow behind with burlap sacks. We'd pick up the potatoes, clean the dirt off and put them into the sack. When the bag was full, we'd tie it and put it on the wagon. When the wagon was full, the team of horses would pull it to the barn and the sacks of potatoes would be stored in the root cellar.

I can remember working many nights in the fields, our only light being the Harvest Moon. Every family member donned a warm coat, a pair of boots and gloves and worked in the damp, chilly air to assure every potato, squash, carrot, turnip, beet and parsnip was gathered. Pumpkins were harvested last. A touch of frost only enhanced their delicious taste. Once all the crops were safely in the root cellar, they were covered with fresh straw for insulation against the cold. Then, and only then, could we relax and concentrate on other things.

The harvest was essential to having food for the table during the long winter months. After the vegetables were harvested, it was time to provide meat for the table. Hogs and cattle were slaughtered and the meat hung in the smokehouse to cure. Chickens, ducks and geese were killed and plucked. Chicken feathers were of no use, but goose and duck down were used to make new feather ticks for the beds. Any excess was sold at market along with the chickens, ducks, geese, butter and eggs that were in excess of what we needed. These brought in money for essentials that couldn't be grown, such as coffee, tea, flour and salt. Grandma always set a little cash aside in order to buy Christmas gifts.

I remember too hunting for pheasants and Mallard ducks with my Dad and grandfather. At that time a hunting licence wasn't needed to hunt on your own property. Dad taught us to provide food for the table by hunting. When each of us kids turned 14, we were taught how to use a rifle and shotgun properly. Many a night Dad, my brother and I would hunt rabbits to supplement the winter meat supply. It was always nice when there was a full moon reflecting off the snow because we were able to see where we were going. However, there was a drawback to this as well. The rabbits could also see us. However, we always managed to get a rabbit or two and Mom would make a delicious rabbit stew.

Today, each autumn when I see the Harvest Moon riding low in the sky on a chilly fall night, I think back to those days of long ago. Those were different times - good times - times of autumn on the farm.

Below is a picture that Mom took of the pumpkins amongst the wheat sheaves. This is something that is not seen anymore and I value this photo greatly.