Saturday, March 17, 2012

Finishing up my tale......

            A lot of years have passed since our time in Shelburne, and returning to the valley meant deciding just exactly what we were going to do with the acreage we had bought.  Thankfully, the only animals we had were cats.

            It was decided that we would grow apple trees, so Boss did a lot of studying up on a varieties, root stock, clearing land, planting and harvesting.  There were about 20 trees already on the property, the big old fashion trees, where you needed really tall ladders and arms three feet long in order to get all the apples off the top of the trees.

            Most of these trees were spy trees, meaning they were the last ones to be picked. Oh, the days of the men, picking, atop the ladders, putting some in their basket and dropping the bad ones, and the women picking the lower branches, at first, and then picking up the drops, which were hidden in the snow, all the while trying to evade the shower of apples falling from above. Ah, the days of wet knees, frozen fingers and bruised heads and shoulders. These trees were eventually cut down to make way for the new orchards. How sad. Not!!

            As time passed, land was cleared, and orchards were planted, in 1984, 1986 and 1991. We planted strawberries, then more strawberries, and dried Jacob Cattle beans on any land that was semi-cleared of rocks. We hired the young people in the community to help with the hoeing, the planting and the harvesting of the various crops. I wrote about those days in a haphazard kind of way, but I can remember rereading the notes, and then disposing of them, because I didn’t want anyone to read my words of desperation and frustration after I my death, which I assumed was imminent. Through all these years, Boss was still flying on a regular basis. It always seemed to be when harvest of berries was on. He of course worked around 5 days a week, when he wasn’t away. Guess who was left to call the pickers, pick them up, help them pick and take them home?  I wore so many hats in those years, that if I was paid for each “job” I would be a millionaire several times over, and living on a south sea island, sifting sand through my toes and drinking a Pina Collada, while reading my favourite novel. What was that song the Everly Brothers sang? Oh yes, Dream, Dream, Dream. WAKE UP!!!!! 

            I was a Guide leader for 11 years, and a Sunday School teacher, while all the above was going on. I can remember several summers where I would be in the strawberry field the first part of July, then go to guide camp for a week, come home and go help a neighbour pick his raspberries, help out at Vacation Bible School, then start apples in September.

            I often wonder how I ever got through the months. Perhaps it was because I had a lot of laughs with my guides who were kind enough to work with me, even though it meant a few strawberries in the head. I stood my ground, or rather, sat my ground.

            I continued to pick apples even after my diagnosis of fibromyalgia, but it was pretty painful at times and I was always weary.  I enjoyed the folks in the orchard. We always had a fun time. When my first granddaughter came along I was happy to leave the orchard and become baby sitter to Rae and then Lindsay, as Dawn became the orchard worker and berry picker. In the past few years I have been "Timmy's On Wheels", taking coffee and snacks to the pickers. When I worked in the orchard, Boss would always say, "Why don't you take a break, and go make the coffee!" Yeah, uh huh! Bless the breaks. It was also a "break" to make lunch and supper too. Yeah! Uh huh!

            That pretty well brings this trip down memory lane up to date. I’ve left out a lot, but some things are better left unsaid.  When Heather went off to university, Boss retired from the armed forces, and in his “retirement” became a full time farmer.

            Thus ends this look back on the crazy life I have led. I started out as a city girl from Ontario, and a teacher, and ended up living on a “mountain” in Nova Scotia, as a farm wife +, wondering what is next for me. What ever it is, it better include a Pina Collada......or at least a cold lemonade.

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