Last night we felt a reminder of things to come (winter). Originally published more than 30 years ago in November of '88, this column is reminiscent of that same.
Part of November already gone and the list of things that must be done before freeze-up lengthens out like Plastic Man making his way through a keyhole.
Some progress shows on the former-garage-soon-to-be-chicken-house. One afternoon I came home from wherever I had been to discover that my nearest and dearest had taken saw and hammer in hand and closed the whole back of the thing in. Frankly, this is one of the most hopeful signs I have seen in twenty-eight (almost twenty-nine) years of marriage.
Not only that, a few days later she had tar-papered the whole structure and suddenly it gave every indication of being a possible cackle-cabin. Possible, that is, if the dogs can be persuaded to give it up. It is the biggest doghouse they have ever seen, and since we have yet to hang a door in the opening we cut, they can go in and come out at will.
This column seems the very antithesis of the system that passed through the Maritimes earlier this week. Originally published in August of 2007, we have edited slightly for content, and hope you enjoy as always.
As we proceed through another year, dropping metaphorical pebbles along the way to mark where we have been – even though we will never be there again – we’ve come to that centre-point in the summer when the birds that serenaded us a while back have fallen silent. The hay in the fields, thanks to our neighbour, is cut and baled and this year’s bounty of peas from the garden is over – unless, for the first time ever, the late-planted Wandos might surprise us with the late bounty they are apparently famous for. The cicadas, in one of their lesser years, sing in the heat of the day to remind us that Labour Day, the beginning of the school year, and the approach of fall are just over the horizon.
In the evening now, when I go out to close up the chickens and give the dog his last walk before bedtime, the sky is no longer a luminous blue to the west, and Venus, so splendid for the last few months against that velvety blue, has followed the sun down behind the hill. Saturn too has gone after the sun, having appeared for a brief evening or two in July quite close to Venus, a mysterious conjunction with, for once, a vertiginous sense of three dimensions in the sky. Venus – earth-sized and closer – was brilliant; the immense mass of distant Saturn a barely-noticeable pin-prick of dim light in the distance.
Yes... we've been absent for some time due to 'technical difficulties,' summer vacations, busy schedules and the like. This column conjures images of summer's past and was originally published in September of 1992. As always... please enjoy it as much as we did.
Here we are, Labour Day past and gone and it just didn't seem right this year.
Labour Day is one of those gloomy holidays which isn't so much a holiday as a warning. After this, Labour Day says “forget about holidays” and – this far north, anyway – “forget about summer.” Summer may have a couple more weeks running time according to the almanac, but Labour Day might just as well be the official kiss-off.
We all know what comes after Labour Day, right? School. Shades of the prison house about to close and all that. At least, that's the way it has always been. This year the poor teachers, my wife included, were shut away on the 31st of August and classes actually began gearing up on the 2nd of September. My school days are behind me, but the thought of starting school before Labour Day sends a chill down the spine.
Words & Images
We moved to our farm in Sussex, New Brunswick from Toronto in 1977, only moving away in 2014.