Monday, July 9, 2012
COUNTYKATE'S THOUGHTS ON JULY
Hello again from CountyKate in Ontario, Canada! I thought I would elaborate on my last blog, it seemed well received, the description of my drive around some of the lovely waterside areas of Prince Edward County.
First though, an idea of the days of winter, a memory now, shed like a cloak Hold on, you might be saying, it is July now after all!
Our seasons here, the jokers say, are winter and July, and its almost true. Our summer season begins in the last days of June; many of our High School and University students, anxious to earn credits and cash for future schooling, become the backbone of all our tourist attractions - Marineland at Niagara; Wild Water Kingdom; African Lion Safari; Black Creek Pioneer Village, and many others.
So let us dwell on summer; we are almost catapulted into it, after a cool, damp June, but the farmers have benefited - they have already made the first crop of hay - and have ploughed, seeded and fertilized.
Driving around, you can see the results already - undulating fields of waving cereal crops - barley, wheat and corn. There's a green, leafy crop visible now, Maize, for animal feed. Knee high now, it will be high as an 'elephants eye' by September, ready in time for pumpkin picking, and children’s mazes!
I remember lovely Cary Grant, getting lost in the cornstalks, in North by Northwest. Maybe you remember Mel Gibson’s kids being lured in by Aliens or Superman flying through the corn stalks.
We still reminisce about our son in law, running into the cornfield after a flyaway kite, followed by his faithful Boxer dog, and in moments we had lost sight of him, and he had lost his sense of direction! It took an hour, with kids climbing trees, fences and rooftops to try to see him, then he emerged, grinning, dusty and confused, some waysaway down the field!
Already, the farmers have put out their produce stands; the first offerings are strawberries, dark, shiny and sweet, along with peas in their pods and new potatoes. We taught our then five year old granddaughter to pop open the pods, suspicious at first, but then delighted by what she found inside!
I remember my mum, at this time of year, having dirt ingrained fingertips, from scraping new potatoes!
Musn't forget the carrots and tiny beets!
And then there is the other aspect of July and August - school has finished for two months - and 'everyone' goes Up North, to their cottages, trailers or boat. Who are these affluent people, loosely referred to as 'everyone’? On the whole, they are people who live in our cities, and who either do own, or else rent, a cottage or trailer, or go camping (watch out for bears!) near one of our beautiful Ontario Lakes. Maybe they want to 'go back to their roots' for a while. We have none of these toys ourselves, but we enjoy them all the same when we visit our daughter, in her holiday trailer.
So July is here. Steaming hot days; why only a week or so ago it was still chilly at night and I worried for my. perennials pushing up through the hard soil. The first to break through are the pale green spears of Solomon’s Seal, within a couple of weeks they bare elegant, arching branches, with creamy bells hanging under each leaf. They are ready for the bees to stuff their heads into, searching for nectar. Next to follow is Catnip, the blue spikes attracting bees, as well, and oh joy! the Hummingbirds.
We have kept the squirrels and chipmunks supplied all winter, with peanuts and sunflower seeds. Kept company by the raucous Blue Jays, our winter is entertaining! Opportunists, all of them.
Feeding the birds in winter
Squirrel trapped in allegedly squirrel-proof bird-feeder!
Chipmunk in bird-feeder!
Then as if you are reciting the color wheel, the other species arrive, singly, pairs or in arrogant gangs, like the American Goldfinches, though they sing a sweet song all day. The Ruby throated Hummingbird; golden Baltimore Orioles, red breasted American Robins; Blackcapped Chickadees; Dark Eyed Juncos; four species of woodpeckers - the fifth variety is too big for the feeders, I hear him knocking on trees and our fence posts!
Iridescent Grackles, Redwing tipped Blackbirds; and of course, more Blue Jays, this time masquerading as the Boys of Summer! There are Red Tailed Hawks; Buff colored Mourning Doves and Sparrows, all fed.
Then suddenly the garden is quiet, just mummy sparrow feeding babies as big as herself, and clever, crafty black crows, who have taught themselves to lift the cover on the swimming pool, and sip the water underneath! Maybe Mr Toad is there again, staring back!
Silence has descended too, over the fields and garden, no more need to mow twice a week. Farmers are awaiting a drenching rain, to swell and ripen crops
Now I need to find the jars for jam and pickle making, they must be sterilized and ready. We need to find the camping chairs, for extended stays at estate auctions, to have roadside picnics beside a river, or for when we visit the kids at their trailer.
So, in an eight foot wide, thirty foot long trailer, 8 people, children and dog can muster, to eat and sleep. There is a shower room, but you have to sit on the loo to use the shower. There is a kitchen area, but only one person can use it; we eat outside a lot. Sleeping, a real juggling act. Hmmmm... I wonder whose turn it is to sleep on kitchen table that becomes a bed, this year.
And what do you do at the trailer or cottage? I start to piece together quilt tops, ready for quilting in winter. I read, do crafts, paint. Or else I sits and I dreams.