View From The Glen

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


This is the time of year when living in the country means the possibility of scurrying mice trying to sneak past the cats and get inside.

Perhaps I wouldn't mind so much if they were all as cute as this...painted by Grace, who sees mice through the rainbow-coloured glasses of a 5 year old.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fall Rituals

Seriously though, fall is my favourite season. And more than any other season, there are certain rituals which must be entertained before the leaves drop.

  1. Broccoli and Cheddar Soup – when I was younger I’d make a big batch on a sunny Saturday and then head out for a walk through the old streets of Halifax where the big trees and stately homes made an enticing backdrop. Then I’d come home to my flat and eat the soup with some warm crusty rolls and real butter. Today, I go for a hike through my own fields, or walk down nearby Butternut Lane under a maple canopy. The soup just tastes better after a couple of hours in the fresh air.
  2. The Library – I do go to the library the rest of the year, but my visits pick up in earnest in the fall (mostly because I am in town waiting for cubs or beavers to finish at least once a week). I used to live in a small town where I could walk to the library and loved that feeling of walking home, a stack of books under my arm. Now we drive, but when possible I like to take a walk around the village afterwards.
  3. Garden Detritus – Putting the garden in is a delight; tending it is rewarding; and there is something very satisfying about putting it to bed too. Cutting back the flowers, dividing where necessary, and tilling the vegetable garden under into clean dark rows. An afternoon of this is always followed by a cup of coffee – liberally laced with Baileys) outside in the lawn chairs before they too are put away for the season.
  4. Bonfire – the kids love this one. Piling up all the straggly pieces left over from the yard clean up and having a family bonfire complete with potatoes baked in their jackets and liberal sprinklings of salt. Because it’s dark earlier, it’s great to sit and watch the sparks fly, until it gets too cold even with a blanket.
  5. Games Night – Sunday evening. Dinner cleared away. A log on the fire. A family game of Scrabble. Or any game. Or a jigsaw puzzle. Just not – please – not Candy Land. (Thankfully even Grace has outgrown that one for the most part. Who says 5-year-olds can’t play Scrabble?)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fighting a cliche ... and losing!

I can’t help it. I’ve steeled myself for days not to say it. It’s trite. It’s cliché. But it’s impossible for me not to say…

… isn’t this a great time of year – the crisp air, the rich colours, the smell of woodsmoke in the evenings…I love fall, all of it, even the thin frost that came and saw off what was left of my tomatoes and basil (thus putting an end to my nightly bruschetta snack). Fall is the season when I feel alive again after the heat of summer, a time to don colourful chunky knit sweaters and cozy up to a sweet apple log fire on a Saturday night. It’s a short season (in this northern part of the world), and perhaps all the more glorious for that.

Whew. Got that off my mind. I’ve been deliberately not blogging because I knew I wouldn’t be able to not say a word and nonchalantly write about other things while my mind screams out “Autumn, Autumn, Autumn.” So the decision to just go ahead and say it was a relief.

Why make such an issue of it? Because everyone says the same things this time of year, and frankly it drives me nuts when everywhere you turn writers are churning out messages of autumn splendour. I vowed never to use the terms “crisp air” or “rich vibrant colour” again, and swore not to rave on about apples, sweaters and fireplaces.

What can I say? I am no match for Mother Nature, and she wins.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The End Of Summer

And what a nice summer it was.

From the Medieval Festival in Upper Canada Village...
To picnics in the back yard...

And don't forget lazing in the hammock...

Goodbye, summer. Until 2009!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

World of Possibility

We were all up early to catch the school bus this first day of school. The bags were all neatly packed yesterday, names marked on binders and supplies, lunches made, and clothes picked out. Anna was excited, Erik accepting, Grace ungracious about the beginning of a new year, but they were all up and ready to go well before 7:25, and I think they’re secretly pleased to be heading back to their respective grades (2, 3 and Senior K) after a summer of fun and freedom. And as they planned and organized for this morning, I hid a few smiles. They each wanted things to be perfect in their own way for their first day back, and I had to remind myself that this is a big deal for them. A new year. New teachers. New opportunities.

With everything ready I went to bed reasonably early – and found myself unable to sleep. Not so much due to excitement, though I was excited for them. But the first day of school is a big deal for parents too. We want everything to go well – the year ahead will change and grow our children in so many ways, and some of it will be beyond our control. And so we focus on what is in our control – we buy the duo-tangs in trendy colours, splurge on that great outfit, and pack their favourite lunch for the first day back. In short, we do all that we can to make their first day perfect.

And on this last evening, with everything done that can be done, we lie awake hovering at the door of opportunity, knowing that tomorrow anything is possible.