Getting back to blogging slowly, as we are still frantically busy with garden, guests and special events (this time fun ones, NOT ones I’m responsible for organizing!) We’ve had someone staying with us here at Blue Belldon every 2nd week since the beginning of May, and this is going on until just after Thanksgiving… We love having guests, though – especially when they pitch in and help with the garden and animals, as many have been doing!
Here’s a summary in photos (the caption for each photo is directly below it) of some of the goin’s-on since July 1st. I will be touching on many of these things in more detail, in postings of their own, AND offering some gardening and preserving ideas I’ve come up with this year in the next 4 or 5 blog postings, but for today, just relax and enjoy:
Starting from July 1st, (written about previously) when we sang with the mass choir and also The (New) New Denmark Minstrels (the little group I’ve been trying to keep together and train to sing in three part harmony!), this is how the summer has gone. Above, finishing “Ida May”, which has become a well-complimented ditty that I wrote with guitar accompaniment about the lady who settled our farm. That’s Mom directly to my left, and Richard’s the only man wearing a white shirt.
Richard and I have spent a lot of time in the early summer harrowing our pastures and planting timothy in the top meadow.
We then had neighbours come to cut and rake the hay, and friend Zeb behind us and ‘down the marsh’ helped get the bales in. Chevy, as always, seems unconcerned by any goings-on.
Chevy’s big head and body will be taking in a lot of hay this year, as well as the beet pulp we’ve discovered we need to feed him to keep weight on!
Despite rain, cold and constant black flies, Mom/Joy has worked hard getting the garden weeded and was also in charge of all the flowers. Zeb’s Mom, Pierrette has also helped us plant more wildflowers around the farm, and we hope next year might be even more beautiful in various spots!
Just a few of the wildflowers and also the scarlet runner beans I plant for quick and dependable climbers (around the wagon wheel). Also, this summer I let the cilantro and borage grow in the garden to their full heights and flowering as the bees LOVE this and help cross-pollinate our veg. The wonderful weeding job has been primarily done by Mom, as I was down with strep for most of July. Her friend Shirley Robinson helped quite a lot as well in July, and Richard did go through the paths with the rototiller also… (taking out a freshly planted row of carrots as he went, of course).
Here’s the wildflowers we’ve cut for various vases recently, as well as some lunch veg. Spinach had to be replanted a 3 rd time as we love it so much, and the first two didn’t ‘take’ due to heavy rains in June. Ontario readers may be surprised to learn we are JUST NOW, in Sept., getting some ripened tomatoes!
Earlier than last year (we also had a two-week drought in early August! Crazy year!) we had to start picking apples. I’ll have another blog post on all the things we ‘ve done with ours and a neighbour’s apples this year, but Richard had fun experimenting with ‘toys’ to peel and core them!
Smitty has had to go back on the chain for most of the summer, as he still bites through washing line cord and certainly through rope, and if not tied up, chases cars and people on the road (and still may possibly bite them and neighbours coming over to visit!) He does have access to porch and lawn, shade and sun, and of course – those beautiful views, plus one of us is walking past him for a pat nearly every 20 minutes or so, so don’t feel TOO sorry for his pathetic-looking mug! (Thanks to Leanne for the photo!)
On one of Mom’s doctors’ appointments in Fredericton (2 hours from here) we did stop in the lovely village of Hartland as a bit of sight-seeing and to see the world’s longest covered bridge…
Any other touristy-stuff was just done by Mom, as Richard and I can’t really get away:
Richard did get away for several days in July to take his car down to the Atlantic Nationals in Moncton, a show he and his brother have often visited ( once with me, also, 10 years ago…) Both the main street of the city as well as the largest park are FULL of over 2,000 old vehicles. This is NOT a good way to help one live self-sufficiently and organically, helping nature to help you… but it IS a passion of Richard’s…
Richard left the farm for 5 days to drive 3 hours to Moncton in his ’73 Chevy Nova to enter his dream-car-show, the Atlantic Nationals. People drive their old vehicles from as far as the Yukon to enter this, so Richard and his brother Jean-Marc (who used to own the Nova) had a wonderful time. Richard stands proudly by his beast (the reason our horse is also named “Chevy” and the goat’s named “Cammie” because Richard USED to own a Camaro as well)
Zeb also likes to help the Nova get polished, and Leanne, from Scotland, missed out getting taken for a car ride last year (the car was in pieces at that point) so last week Richard made sure both young folk had a tour of New Denmark in it:
Chevy of course IS a beast, as Sydney’s visit shows… He likes to stand like a statue when small children are around, so he doesn’t accidentally trod their toes (no such consideration for adults, of course!) Both Sydney and Leanne (now a professional horse trainer, an addition to the days we both took pony treks out in the highlands of Scotland together!) had a good time keeping Chev in shape for the winter months, when Richard will really be using him out in the bush!
Not to be outdone, of course, Cammie has to get in on all the action as well:
above, Leanne from Scotland, (I’m her adopted ‘Mither’), me in a selfie that’s tricky to get with a squirming goat!, Sydney my nephew and Cammie showing off.
Of course, it isn’t just about hard work and fun with the livestock. While Leanne was here we picked an entire tree of crab-apples, and she and Richard both helped me prepare them (in various prep ways!) for the same things I did last year with them: crabapple sauce, crabapple juice (great in smoothies!), crabapple jelly and something new I tried because we got sick of quartering them and had some fairly big ones on the south-west side of the tree: Spicy Pickled Crabapples. (mmmmmm….!!!) Various food preserving methods will be written up later in the season for anyone interested. But of course we also have the usual peas and beans to work on gradually throughout August, so it’s all hands on deck for THAT! (About 40 recycled bags and containers in the deep freeze with all of those at present). Right now we are starting on the edamame, (7 rows of it!) and because we all love those so much, we’re looking at various ways of preserving and eating them. FULL of protein!
Richard had his car show, and I (Rustic Revivals) had a show in Plaster Rock at the end of August as well. It was fun to have a bigger booth space than ever before, and even be right beside the big log house that is the tourist information booth! (Yup, that’s right, there’s Richard in the background, heavily engrossed in a Steve Berry or Clive Cussler).
While Chevy may be the Pot of Gold (I did own a pony named that once, we called her “Potsy” and she starred with my “Rainbow the Clown” when I did that professionally for a few years) at the end of this lovely rainbow, a dream really did come true for me right after this:
Got to meet long-time hero of mine, Ron Turcotte (above). Ron is from the area, and not only had his first racetrack rides on the famous Canadian horse Northern Dancer, but rode to fame as the exclusive jockey for Secretariat, piloting him around to be the first winner of the Triple Crown (all 3 tough races!) in 25 years, AND winning the Belmont by an unprecedented (and un-dreamed-of, even!) 31 lengths! Ron was part of the CBC documentary on New Denmark a few weeks ago, with Jonny Harris’ Still Standing:
In the first photo, above, Mom seems to be the centre of attention of all the CBC cameras and mics, whilst she unconcernedly munches a Danish sausage from our local butcher, Ron Hansen. However, they are really rushing to keep on top of Jonny himself, as seen in the second photo, and Mom keeps a close eye on the activities, as she’s been watching Still Standing on her laptop of an evening lately (remember, we have no television services). Three out of the four ladies behind the Danish Delicacies table have all sung with Richard and myself at some point, showing you what a truly small community we are!
Leanne snapped this shot of the New Denmark museum’s barn a few weeks ago, ready for Jonny to come out and do his locally-based hilarity. And there’s Jonny with our own Megan Bach, Miss New Denmark (see my previous posts on the crazy times of the beauty pageant: Hill-billy Hootenany: Purty Pals and Gingham Gals as well as Founder’s Day Festivities) . The New Denmark episode will be airing on CBC next spring (Season 4). I’ll be sure to let you all know in advance! If you hear Jonny singing Frere Jacques in Danish, I was the one who got to write it out phonetically for him!
T R E E S were an important part of our summer, of course – (above, my brother-in-law Boyd, with my sister Jennifer) —-not just climbing them to pick fruit, but lying under them in the hammock, (not much time for that, but our guests enjoyed!) BUILDING in them as well, swinging in them AND, for Richard and Leanne, zip-lining through them!
I helped Sydney build a tree-house out in the birch grove, and will treasure this photo Mom took of us. He didn’t get to enjoy the platform-sitting (with his book) for very long before he was whisked away, but we all hope he’ll be back to enjoy other Blue Belldon summers with us. My sister Jennifer probably isn’t so keen on this next photo, as it’s no doubt reminiscent of me ordering her about throughout our childhoods and constantly explaining how to do things, whilst she actually DOES them. (Tree-climbing used to be one of my favourite things, but with my bad knees now, it’s simply out of the question, so Jen had to go up and fix a few things Sydney didn’t quite make strong enough!) :
I love the above shot of a summer day at Blue Belldon Farm, with a tire swing we erected for Sydney, and Chevy and Cammie grazing in the distance… and alongside the house – here comes the nephew with a ladder to help with the tree-house-building!
And below is a shot of Richard and Leanne practicing to do their zip-line through the trees and across the gorge. I didn’t go to watch, as there were many beans to pick and crab-apples to can, so Mom didn’t get a shot of Richard actually on the line going across the Grand Falls gorge, a mistake about which she has yet to stop hearing!
For the last month and a half, we’ve been rehearsing in our ‘meeting room’ for the skit I wrote for the 100th anniversary of our church this past Saturday night. Here are neighbours, Peter Jensen, Barb Christensen, Richard, Zeb (played Ned Kram, which spells Denmark backwards) and myself. I won’t show you the skit being performed until I do a whole blog post on the fun we had Saturday night, but to give you a tantalizing look, what is Mom doing in a toga? Helping me with costume-fittings!
And here’s a few more teases:
above (clockwise) Me in the wings with Zeb, me with Miss New Denmark, spinning the wheel Richard made for the Pastors’ Trivia Challenge I ‘forced’ them to do (or so our Pastor Ralph will have you believe) me playing for the New Denmark Minstrels, and Richard singing a solo I wrote for him about the building of our church on the hill… Thanks to Mom for snapping these. Leanne was the official photographer for the night, so, as she’s just arrived back in Scotland, we’ll wait a few more days for her pics.
Most people think of the Maritime provinces as having lots of sun and sand involved in a summer. Obviously, when you live inland in the mountains, that isn’t the case! But Mom and Shirley got to see some sand with Jennifer’s family in P.E.I., and Richard saw some on the coast over by Moncton at the car show. We felt badly that we were too busy to get Leanne to see some (although being from Aberdeen area and working on an oil rig, she hardly needs to see more ocean!). However, yesterday a friend of Pierrette’s and Zeb’s, Yolanda, kindly drove her all the way to the Bay of Fundy so she could see the amazing tide-work and pad about in the sand. Good-bye, Summer, ‘we hardly knew ya!’