Time Wednesday, Aug 23 2017 


For something which is completely inexorable and steady, time has a curiously elastic feel somehow.  How long ago was it, really, when I looked out on the view above and the spring crocus were coming up on the edge of the field in all their colors?  Did it seem then that summer would last?  When I was taking my nap just now, how long ago was it that I was lying in the same bed and listening to the milk man come with his glass bottles, on a summer morning just like the one which we had this morning?  Last week? When was that?


The fall asters tell me that summer is all but over, and that autumn – perhaps the loveliest time of year – is just about to come.  For our young people, perhaps a surer sign is that the school busses are out on the roads, learning their routes.  For others, it is time to break out the canning jars and work on the peaches again.  Another year has rolled around, and much has changed.  And yet, and yet… I look out across the hills, or just across the Keeping Room to my piano, and I wonder.  Just what has changed?  But change, like time, is everywhere and always.

Perhaps the psalmist says it best, as paraphrased here by Isaac Watts:

A thousand ages in thy sight are like an evening gone, short as the watch which ends the night before the rising sun.

Time like an ever-rolling stream bears all its sons away; they fly forgotten as a dream flies at the opening day.


Now Sunday, Aug 20 2017 

I was sitting peacefully in a canoe the other day, in a quiet backwater cove of a small lake.  Not really thinking about much of anything at all.

Then for some reason a song came into my head, which I’ve often listened to and thought some about, but I’m not sure I ever really made sense of it for myself: Lennon-McCartney’s “Let it Be”, but not their version; the one Joan Baez did.  And I realized that it did make sense, finally – some 44 years after I first heard it (I’m a little slow at times).

It is so important to be where you are, who you are, when you are there.  A thought which has been expressed often enough – it’s hardly original with me (there are innumerable songs along those lines – some better, some much worse, including one of mine!).  But now is where you are.  What has been, has been; it has informed who you are and how you got to now, but it is only something to be remembered.  Fondly, one hopes, but only remembered.  Tomorrow is yet to come, and will be when it does, but…

Let it Be.  Take today, and be alive in it, for it is the only reality we have.

B natural… Friday, Aug 18 2017 

My sister recently acquired a new washing machine.  There was a time when washing machines just stopped when they were done.  For that matter, there was a time when one had to watch the washing machine…  What was I saying?  Oh yes.  Then washing machines, or some of them, had a little bell.  Not much later, they went “beep” when they were done.  Not this new one.  I’m told that it plays a jolly little tune when it’s finished.

All of which got me to thinking in a disorganised way of the various artificial sounds we hear, more or less all the time or at least part of the time.  There is, in many places, a gentle background hum which we never notice, or rarely notice, from our electric power.  In North America, that turns out to be a slightly flat B natural tone (in Europe, it’s a slightly flat A flat).  The vacuum cleaner which is running in the background is an F sharp.  The other day a string trimmer was running outside; it is more musically ambitious, being a chord of C sharp and G sharp.  Telephones used to be a pretty formidable bell (ours still is) but now they, too, can be had which beep or play tunes — almost any tune.  Sometimes in the middle of a concert…  Then there is traffic, which usually isn’t a specific tone.

Some artificial sounds can be pleasant, of course — music is, but I’m not thinking of that.  A tractor, for instance, in the distance working a field, or a distant propeller airplane.

But how often are we able to be in a place which doesn’t have those sounds?  And listen to the natural sounds?  Perhaps the wind in the trees — or waves on a shore?  Or a brook?  Or birds?  Or busy insects?  A chipmunk, busily finding things in the leaves?  It’s not easy to do.

It’s worth taking the trouble to find quiet in our lives, and then listen to that quiet.

Norman Rockwell? Sunday, Aug 13 2017 

We were sitting on our kitchen steps this evening in the sunset light, looking out over the fields and listening — courtesy of a cell’ ‘phone! — to a country village band concert. The enormous contrast between what we read in the news and what we see and live crossed our minds. Yes, there is hatred and violence in the world, and we must all try as best we can to not take any part in it, and to help others to remove themselves from it. And yes, there is sorrow in the world. But… there is also beauty and joy and friendship, and neighbours. We can focus on the one — or on the other. Let us all try to focus on the beauty and joy, and on our loved ones and our friends and our neighbours, this evening and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Bzzzzz… Sunday, Aug 6 2017 


The objective of the exercise was to prune the weigela and some roses and a few other bushes.  This was somewhat interrupted when some of the local fauna took objection.  If you look carefully in the center of the photo, you will see…

A paper wasp nest. Not the largest we have had, but good sized.  Paper wasps are, we are told, a beneficial insect in the garden, as they like to eat caterpillars, beetle larvae, and other sundry critters which munch on the vegetables.    They are said to be relatively non-aggressive (unlike yellow jackets, which are very aggressive!), but they also don’t like to be disturbed.  So… the pruning got put off to another day.

We’ve also had them under porches, which interferes with painting… country life!

Just so no one is confused Saturday, Aug 5 2017 

The original author of the blog here, chiming in. From now on posts will be by another person who is as close to this place as I. The point of this blog has always been the place, not the author, not the names of the people. I hope the new author continues to write and I hope that the many followers continue to enjoy.

My work both in writing and around the farm has shifted substantially and blog posts simply don’t fit in at the moment, for a number of reasons.

Mowing Friday, Aug 4 2017 

is one of those things which most folks possessed of (or by) a lawn have to do from time to time. Most of the time it is a chore of varying pleasure, depending somewhat on what one is using to to do the mowing. Mowing a paddock, however, has some real entertainment value. Swallows and field mice. The swallows are best, and it is just a joy to watch them making high speed passes over the area, sometimes beside one as one goes along, sometimes just in front, sometimes high overhead. They are wonderful graceful aerial acrobats. The fact that they are just after the bugs which the mower kicks up is more or less irrelevant. The field mice are just good humour. They don’t really like being mowed over, of course (though it doesn’t seem to hurt them) and so one sees them from time to time, dashing madly for cover, and one can’t help but at least chuckle.

We might get wet… Wednesday, Aug 2 2017 

We have always enjoyed, perhaps a little perversely, watching thunderstorms come up across the meadow.  Sometimes they produce a real drenching — sometimes they don’t amount to anything at all, and go grumbling away somewhere else.  Wait and see what this one does.


Haying Monday, Jul 31 2017 

There is something very satisfying about haying. Yes, it is hot and dusty work, but at the end of the day, when the hay is cut and picked up and in the barn, one can look back and be content, and know that one has accomplished something.

Of course the technology has changed a bit in the century plus we’ve been haying this field, but the contentment is the same!


And where Saturday, Jul 29 2017 

might I ask did the summer go?  Apologies and all that to those who’ve been wondering — but we’ve been just a bit busy and distracted down on the farm lately.  Sorry… We’ll try to get back to it, but we’re not guaranteeing that we’ll make much sense!

But enjoy the sunset, late in July…

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