All Hallowed Anec-pics

As a celebration of the season –

enjoy the following digitally enhanced photos of our farm and those who “haunt” it, as well as the 38 stanza poem which captions the anecdotes and tales from the valley…

 

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As All Hallow’s Even approaches

The stories ’round Blue Bell’s base

Are told & retold countless times –

New Denmark’s spooks we face

Here in the leafless, misty vale

And on Blue Belldon Farm at large

It’s lately been fog and twilight’s twigs

All haunted souls in charge!

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When a window in our house

Becomes a gothic silhouette

We look for other ghostly signs

Wait! There’s an evil boy’s face there, yet!

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We think it looks like Richard

When just a young lad, LONG ago!

Was he possessed? Does he tap on glass?

And what is the meaning of the crow?

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When twilight hunkers in

And catches splashes of yellow and blue

The witches flying ‘long Rte. 3-80

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And when we go to Sunday church

(Ours is on the right)

We explore behind, the graveyard there

With distant hills in sight

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But, beside the many Danish names

Stands out an English one-

The famous Lucy Whitehead.

Like a witch, for all she’d done.

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For more upon her story,

See my writing back in March

About this mid-wife of the vale

And Lucy’s Gulch of pine and larch.

Her tale is rather haunting

Rather sad in such a way

Because she had to share her life

In a manner frowned upon today!

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When first she started out to help

She perhaps looked a bit like me

But she grew old and grey and ‘witchified’…

As she worked her magic and mid-wifery!

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Another sad and haunted soul

Doth haunt this valley’s mists

Her name is Greta Jensen

Of the Danish-settler’s lists

So pretty once was Greta

That the lumberjacks did swarm

To take her to the dances

And to admire her lovely form!

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But Greta drowned in Lake Edward

One cold October night

And she now returns in ghostly form

To give us all a fright!

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Speaking of frights, what else is there

That Rich and Jewels have seen?

Well, there’s a poltergeist out in the barn

Who’s nasty in the extreme…

He looks a lot like Richard, too!

As if he’d put on a cloak with dagger

But when he takes a swing at you,

You’d better backwards stagger!

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Whether we look east to rising sun,               (above)

Or west to violent sunset                     (below)

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The colours and swirls make us marvel,

‘Til the bats’ flights make us fret!

 

Besides bats, there are spiders,

Which hang just outside my panes

And my friend Anne shall keep away

Until I’ve rid them from our lanes…

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But I love the nature of their webs

And the flies they swallow down

Perhaps a few less insects

In Blue Belldon’s house to crown?

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While many ghosts appear as us,

Joy’s likeness to a crone

Who comes from Macbeth’s Scotland,

Like a moorland witch, alone,

Instead of in a threesome

Like those whose cauldron boiled

For the Aberdeenshire crofts

Is where her ancestors have toiled.

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And across the valley, as seen above

There’s often tramps and crones

Who are followed by familiars

Who expect to munch your bones.

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The dog is black as all the night

Like Baskerville’s Hounds of old

He’s huge and always growling

To approach, you’d be quite bold!

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A spell was put upon him, though

By the cat whose limpid eyes

Can well deceive the cunning

When the test-tubes mix their dyes!

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And, what frightening sight did Richard see

When chemicals passed o’er him?

Was there a ghost, or something worse?

The lighting was so dim…

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A spate of highwaywomen

Who robbed the travellers in the gulch

Have been apprehended on their rides

And the sheriff turned them into mulch

And then forced Julie to clean and polish

All the tack and livery

And indeed the boots of riders

Who passed by in revelry.

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There was a reason why he did this-

She was, he said, at fault, you see

For offering up the homestead

With her wealth of hospitality.

For when old ghosts and witches

Cross the paths of thieves and ghouls

The souls of the dead come forth in full

And those who welcome them are FOOLS!

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When lights emerge from valley mists

These aren’t fairies to open hearts to;

They are brutal monsters, like Shelley’s freak,

No matter how much they look like you!

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And when the cozy fireside’s warmth

Doth call you to its side

Don’t trust that poisons aren’t brewing there

Best leave the punch untried!

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For even the good-natured scarecrow

That may wink at you from our door

Can take on evil concepts

When the herbal brews do pour…

 

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And when organic artists

Who’ve come to Julie’s door in past

Can make their spooky offerings

In the crow’s tree come to last…

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Natural and Upcycling artists shown above: dead sunflowers and crows by Crows Nest Primitives, dream-catcher and feathers by Metis Caravan, framed crow etching by L’immaginaria, quilt by MiniMade, Misbehavin’ Raven pillow by Julie’s own Rustic Revivals, and photograph taken and enhanced by Yvonne Parsons.

Then we know it’s time for innocence

To stand protected in the gloom

Of Blue Bell’s darkening shadow

As October draws to doom.

 

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Julie may keep on writing

Her tales of olden memories

Of souls that lost the struggle

And of crows hidden in the trees…

But we all know the photos

Only speak of half the tale;

That the words that may be written

Next to the TRUTH, may often pale…

 

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For the hauntings will continue

In the valley of the Danes

Where Blue Bell first was settled

With cries of horror and blood stains!

 

 

   (Not really, children – I made it all up.   It’s a lovely tranquil valley. Richard and his chainsaw are the only things to be concerned about… to watch him on his famous invisible one, which is much safer, see:

 

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… That Time Has Tried

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My grandmother (McKenzie) enjoyed framing and reframing things that touched her, made her nostalgic or happy. Every season or so, on different walls, a new item would pop up.  This was always one of my favourites. From an old tea-towel with calendar below, she cut off the top because she loved the old barn in winter (as do I – it reminds me a lot of the red barn her husband and I built together for my pony when I was 10!) and she loved the verse, which is of course what that whole side of the family thinks about “old things.”

“I like old things that time has tried

And proven strong and good and true

I like old things, they have a depth

Unknown by anything that’s new.”

Simple. Straight-to-the-point and exactly what my china-collecting, antique-refinishing, old-book-reading family has believed for many generations.  And I’m so glad this love of characterful items and buildings has been passed on to me.  However, when something CAN’T be genuinely antique or old, I’m not beyond having a good replica, to make me pretend the charm of the originals is within and about me.  And that’s the case for the lovely additions you’ll see next:

This week we got the 2nd piece-de-resistance of my Blue Belldon kitchen.  Twenty-five years ago, on my first farm, I had an 80-year-old cookstove brought in that I loved, but never got around to hooking it up due to the certification and repairs and insurance.  Plus, it was a monster, which is fine – if you have the room.  The kitchen at Blue Belldon is much smaller and thus needed what I remembered both the Elmira and Heartland companies offered: a small replicated model called “Sweet Heart”.  So, I’ve been keeping my eye open for a used one, and sure enough, just on the eve of a trip to Fredericton (2 hours away) there it was! It’s only about 30 years old and barely used.  And right in Fredericton!  So Richard and I both loved it at first sight, and bless him, he made a special trip down a few days later and brought it home.  It isn’t hooked up yet, but this time, once all the renos. behind it are complete, it DEFINITELY will be.  I enjoy baking my bread every 2nd day – but it will be heaven and TASTE like heaven, doing it on this new/old stove. (The photo to the right, taken 25 years ago, was on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen, just below a photo of Alanis Morissette… but that’s all a very long story indeed. You’ll have to pay extra for the facts behind THAT tale! )

Another “replica”, if you like, is the very trendy ‘barn door’.  In the summer, I found one in the barn that had been left by the original owners.  I needed a door to separate Mom/Joy’s upstairs from our downstairs living quarters, but I needed it to have a window to let light in to the darkest part of our pantry/hallway/mud-room.  So when I found this in the rafters, I was delighted.  Pulled it down myself and repainted the one side to match the kitchen ( “replicating” the chippy-paint so popular with shabby chic lovers at the moment, whereas the other side, in Mom’s entry, is actually REAL chippy paint, and likely LEAD paint – so I’ve left it alone for now. Will likely get it professionally refinished down to the bare wood at some point).  So, having that door installed in the kitchen pantry has made me pleased (a start at getting rid of the god-awful 1970s dark-stained hollow doors! that do NOT fit in to a country property! The upstairs -and the one I removed from there and put on our downstairs master bedroom, are lovely original old doors, but the downstairs was FULL of those 1970s things.)  But what about a door from the hallway into the living room?  There is no space for a door that opens, so we found the perfect solution again: a “barn door kit” at Kent Lumber!  Because Fixer-Upper-type shows have made this recently such a popular and trendy ( trendy? ME?) addition to houses of any type today, we lucked out.  Richard installed it, I stained it, and we think it looks great and is a feature! (Besides being handy to close for privacy for guests on our davenport, to keep heat in from the fireplace when we’re trying to be restful and cozy, and to keep dog and cat OFF the davenport during their sneaky night-time hours!) Click on each photo to make larger:

And lastly, Richard the wood-working wunderkind has finished the one side of the library shelves I wanted in the living room (other side of fireplace will be done similarly “in due course”, I’m told!)  to hold all my antique books and some of the pottery for our dining room (also in the living room) dishes.  Isn’t it marvelous?

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The built-in floor-to-ceiling library shelves Richard built for our living/dining room.

Here are some additional lovely shots from this past week. Be sure and see the bottom of the Thanksgiving Thermals post as well, for more from that particular lovely weekend of scenery and fellowship.

And lastly, for this week – now that a lot of the pressure of getting renos. done before fall visitors, and getting the harvest in, Richard’s catching some ‘zzzzzzzzzz’s on the chaise longue.  Remember what I said at the beginning:  “I LIKE old things that time has tried…”

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Demo. Day

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My share of the bath room reno., before the wall demo. More of this room’s reno. and redecorating under the title Before and After, Rustic Restroom (search for it, or scroll through post titles).
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Then Richard got into the closet, and starting bashing the wall out into the powder room.
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I had partially painted parts of the powder room to match the bath/laundry room side, in preparation for this DEMO. DAY bash-through…

Captions are underneath each of these “After” photos of the powder-room/toilet side. Click to enlarge and read if you wish!

Thanksgiving Thermals

side-porchabove, taken today from our side porch 

Warmth – inside and out

Richard’s birthday is Oct. 1, my favourite month in the year, and even better since moving to the mountains! Wow!  The vistas are unbelievable now that colour has popped everywhere and we’ve been having glorious summer temps by day and cool , relaxing evenings.  Mom/Joy gave Richard a pair of long-johns for his birthday, and some other things to keep him warm all winter.  But prior to that he’s been wearing my old aerobics pants under his jeans to work 13 hour days in the neighbour’s potato barn.  He chose this, of course, at the height of our own busy farm season, primarily to meet more of the community and to get away from my nagging.

But now his whole family is coming up from Saint John for the weekend, and we are in full swing making and baking and thawing… Thanksgiving Self-Sufficient Menu:

An organic turkey bred and raised at the bottom of the valley (27 pounder!)

Green Beans from our garden, baked  with maple nut granola,

Carrot Salad (carrots, pumpkin seeds and parsley all home-grown,  dressing is cider vinegar made from our orchard and honey made from the clover field by our neighbour with the turkeys!)

Potatoes from the fields in which Richard’s been working

Pickled Beets and Sweet cukes from our garden,

home-baked bread in the stuffing

To drink?  Our own warm apple cider, of course!

AND for dessert: maple and oak-leaf gingerbread cookies with maple butter icing,  apple crisp from our apples and pumpkin pie made from my very first pumpkin!   We’ll have my toast to my ‘home’-country of England by pouring Bird’s warm custard over these delicacies.

Mmmmmmm………… Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy these photos, with captions, as this blog’s piece de resistance!

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October Dawn (about the time Richard left for the potato fields)
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Smitty and Kitty stay warm by the oven while October dinners bake. 200 year old crazy quilt is THICK and warm!
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Richard, with his ego (swelled head) helping with harvest
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our sedum picked 10 days ago, sitting in water, is still as fresh and bright as the day we put them in the containers!
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Welcome to Blue Belldon Farm (see beginning of blog) the Because Why category for the many reasons we chose this name for our farm
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WEIGHT-WORTHY WUTHERING HEIGHTS… Another early morning in October, this time with fog and mist worthy of Wuthering Heights and my old ‘stompin’ grounds’ on the Yorkshire Moors…
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Our park-like side of the farm, called the Birch Grove
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The front of the laneway
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The new barn door in our living room, with crabapple twigs and their tiny dried apples and leaves (lightly sprayed with PUMP hair-spray to keep them on!)
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This is the 3rd of a succession of lamps/candleabras I’ve made for above dining tables. Made with tin-punched angel-food cake tins and wire/eggcups/metal tart tins. This is a completely original idea and it is NOT on google at present, so if it starts appearing, I’ll know I’ve a ‘leak’ among my blog-readers!
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The cornucopia and gourds (plus one of our tiny sweet corns!) ready for the feast…
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A neighbour who is also a florist dropped this off last night – a tiny landscaped fairy house! Delightful!
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From my kitchen window. Thanks to the local clover honey-maker (going in the carrot salad) and to Mom/Joy for once again cleaning the copper to a shiny autumnal warmth.

 

ADDING SOME PHOTOS OF THE THANKSGIVING GUESTS/MEAL, ETC., INCL. THE 27 LB. TURKEY FROM OUR NEIGHBOURS FARM :