Things are quieter here now.
The kids, one big and one little are back in school.
Sales and production have slowed and not as many people stop by. My summer help is gone.
The days settle into a routine. I get Mollie on the bus, feed "my guys"-that's 24 chickens, 5 cats, 4 ducks, 2 bunnies, 1 pig, and walk the puppies Ellie and Darwin. It's a big event for them, they can't wait.
We head down the road, past Liz's house and they look expectantly for Pepe, her dog. He runs around his fenced in yard, barking, howling and greeting I guess. When they know they've been seen, they fix their gaze straight ahead, with the occasional sniff and tug when good things cross their paths. You know. Dead frogs, poop and such. Things that they find immensely appealing.
We turn down Sideroad 42. There is no sign.
I've only recently found out it has a name. I always call it the gravel road, and it is great for walking. Fields and bush outline it, and a mere 5 houses at the far end.
I often sing to my dogs as we walk. I have a whole repetoire of puppy songs.
Like this, for example:
"If you see the puppies now
You would just say Holy Cow
Puppies they are just so fine
I got mine at the store for 249 !"
The tails seem to wag a bit more and the pace picks up when I sing my puppy songs. That of course could be my imagination. Of course neither of them are from a store, nor were they $249. They are fine if the songs fudge the facts a bit.
I hit the business mode when we get home. It's Thursday and I know I'll hear from Kevin today. I can pretty much start picking before I hear from him. I know his order and I know he's game to try other things.
Kevin is Chef Kevin Maniaci from On the Twenty in Jordan. Week in and week out for years he phones and I get his order together. He's a great guy to deal with and my most loyal customer. He doesn't make a big splash out of the fact he buys as much as he can from local growers, he just does it.
I appreciate that. Too many chefs talk the talk, but don't walk the walk.
Today it's the microgreens, sturdy greens (like kale, chard, spigiarello), carrots, beets and arugula.
As I pick I'm swarmed by my chickens. They are curious. "What's she doing? Is there something we can EAT?" As I pull the beets and put them in my bushel, they start pulling them out and munching on the greens.
When I look at my watch I realize I have to make a dash to Winger school to watch the Remembrance Day ceremony. Mollie has been chosen to wave the big Canadian flag and I wouldn't miss it for the world. I stuff a few tissues in my pocket. I'll be emotional and "weepy" as my girls call it.
It's nice. Really nice. To hear those sweet young voices recite Flanders Fields is touching. But none of us know, do we? My dad knew those times. He was in the war. They tell us to remember. But my dad just wanted to forget and he didn't talk much about it.
When I'm leaving a friend down the road offers to bring his tractor down to plough up the garden. That sounds good, once things are out of the ground I'll take him up on that offer.
After lunch I'm in the garden again, pulling the beets and digging the carrots.
I wonder-what will it be like out here next year? The school whose yard borders on my garden has just sold on Monday. I used to get a bit (ha!) upset when the kids would climb the fence and run through my freshly planted field.
But when the school closed it's doors for good a year and a half ago because of declining enrolment, September seemed sad. I liked hearing the kids laugh and whoop it up. It's pretty darn quiet without them.
I have a feeling my new neighbours won't be kids. Time will tell.
It is such a gorgeous day. I take a minute to water the greenhouse crops, then see a van slowing down in front of the house. By the time I get up to the house, Roger my Rooster has gone to investigate the new arrival.
It's Irena. I only know her because she is a fellow gardener. She's 94 years old.
She's looking for Snow apples, but mine are all gone. Eaten.
I ask her if she wants to try some walnuts and crack one open for her.
They are really good this year, and she agrees.
"I'll take 3 pounds, Linda. I'm going to do some baking and they'll be good for that"
I bag them and weigh them. She fishes for her money, and pulls out a toonie. I wave it away...I've got lots, but she tries to insist. She wants to do something for me if I won't take the money. I tell her just come back and visit.
Every time she drives away, I wonder if I'll see her again. I hope I do.
When Mollie hopes off the school bus, the order is done.
We feed "the guys", gather the eggs. She asks me a hundred times if I liked the concert. "Mom, how would you rate it on a scale of one to a hundred" Of course I rate it one hundred, but she's convinced it can't be quite that. We settle on ninety nine.
I have more grey hairs on my head than I did years ago when I was a social worker. I'm older. But the grey hairs must have been inside me then, strangling my heart, making me tense and terse as I did a job I believed in less and less.
Peace of mind.