Friday, October 5, 2012
FALL HAS COME TO PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY ONTARIO
The summer comes to an abrupt end, here on The County, with the Labour Day Long Weekend on the first of September, followed by commencement of school. Over that weekend, traditionally, the cottages, trailers and campgrounds are closed up for winter, not to be reopened, again traditionally, until May 24 as we call it; actually the Victoria Day Long Weekend.
lAST VISIT TO THE SUMMER HOME
Everything must be packed away, in critter proof containers, inside and outside of the property, but people forget, or underestimate, the ability of the animals, and it’s not always done tightly enough.
How did a mouse, one winter, get inside a corked bottle of olive oil for instance, and why? To flavour the oil for future cooking? Many are the summer toys, removed from 'secure' wrappings, found to have mice or chipmunks nested in them, for warmth and hibernation. I had dried flower arrangements rearranged one year, into nest shaped bundles, and my hubby had his golf club covers, made lovingly by his daughters from old socks, chewed to blazes by mice!
Another routine in late August, is to clean and inspect the school buses, for another nine months of abuse - sorry, use, and to make sure the engines are in perfect running order. All the equipment must be checked - the blunted axe, for checking tire pressure; the seats mended, windows realigned; all the lights, brakes and automatic doors, all must operate smoothly.
I like kids and I love driving. To operate a huge yellow bus gives a great feeling of power, but I was warned in training ' just because you have the power to stop traffic ' don't get cocky. Its very tempting though, to stop a police car in his tracks, when he is doing his coffee run!
I thought it would be an easy job, pickups and drop- offs. What else? I've mended broken dollies, wiped dirty faces, cleaned up vomit, played with dogs, refused hockey sticks - it might be a weapon - accepted presents and generally been accepted as a 'good un' by the community.
So, the buses are up and running, no unpleasant weather yet, but the trees are definitely turning orange and red, a sure sign Fall or Autumn is approaching. We Spring Forward and Fall Back here, and will do so in early November.
Now is the run-up to Halloween, which you either love or hate. A contrived festival now, who really remembers it for All Hallows Eve, when Spirits walk amongst us? Now it’s the time when ' ghosties and ghoulies and long legged beasties' run riot through our neighbourhoods, which are decked out in gravestones, swirling mist and eerie shrieks. Children don costumes and walk from door to door, with their parents in costume as well, taking treats from householders. The parents dress up too; even the ladies in the bank don demure dresses, and the school crossing guard becomes a werewolf for the day!
Even the cat wants to be dressed up!
But nature plays her part too; there are fields full of orange pumpkins, some already picked and put on display in the farmers’ stands.
Not a monster caterpillar - just wrapped hay bales
There is a gamut of scarecrows, and witches decorating homes and stores, mum plants everywhere, and multi colored tomatoes, carrots and beets, and even purple potatoes.
Varieties of gourds are on display too - the Swan Neck, and many smaller, knobbly shapes and colors.
The contest pumpkins are on show too, only reaching 1500 lbs this year, because of the drought, not the normal 2500lbs we expect!
Fall colors deepen, light fades to darkness much earlier now, and the day after Halloween, when the ghosties have returned to the tomb, we begin the preparations for Christmas!
Visualise National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and you have the picture. Huge balls of lights are rolled from garages, to untangle and display – can’t wait!
I’m placing some lovely photos of Fall color in this blog, obtained at risk to life and limb. I parked alongside a beautiful old church in Picton, and attempted to walk up the short, steep grassy slope to the footpath.
Carrying my camera, wearing my new slide type backless sandals, my foot slipped out of the slide, tossing me backwards, and flinging my camera over the white picket fence to rattle down amongst the tombstones.
I came to rest on my back, facing the wrong way, half under my car, shoeless and feeling stupid. I lay there, stunned, aware of many curtains twitching along the street, but no one came to help. Probably as embarrassed as I was, watching the vision of me sliding backwards, arms flailing, camera whirling through the air, crashing to earth, partly in a puddle, and lying there as if I meant to do it.
I heaved myself upright, replaced my shoes, and walked, sensibly, up the steps provided. I found my camera against an ancient tombstone, dedicated to Captain Tripp, lost at sea in a violent storm. Hmm.
I took some lovely pictures, and drove home, but it was not until I tried to walk to my door, that I realised I had torn ligaments or tendons in my calf, and needed a walking stick for three weeks.
It’s possible, next time I blog, the first snow will have fallen. October to May, it has lain in frozen drifts in sheltered places, though most has gone by late March. My garden will sleep again until the end of May, my bird and chipmunk visitors will clamour for sustenance all those months and I will continue to write , paint and quilt too.