October 5, 2010
Celebration Time: Part Two
This past weekend we were invited to a friend's nut picking party. Our friend has a few acres just outside of town, with a grove of several hazelnut trees, the produce of which she was happy to share this year. This is hazelnut growing territory and we use several pounds a year in homemade granola and other baking. My husband works on Saturdays so we didn't arrive at the party until almost twilight. As I performed the necessary social rituals with various guests, my husband and youngest daughter took their pails to the grove and combed the ground for nuts. When our daughter tired of harvesting I joined my husband and picked out the small brown smooth-shelled nuts plentiful among the leaves and mushrooms. We gathered two pailsful before it became too dark to see the ground. After the delicious potluck meal of spicy chile and focaccia bread, various salads, home grown pears, cheese, and moist pumpkin cake enjoyed out of doors, a large bonfire was made by our hosts down in an open part of the property. Marshmallows were roasted with the longest sticks ever seen for that purpose, and later on our hosts brought out a pot of hot apple cider that had been simmering away with whole nutmeg. I think my husband and I enjoyed the evening even more since we had both endured a long, tough day with our noses to the grindstone, and we both felt released from cares which had, just an hour or two before, seemed all-consuming.
Next weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and a time for further celebration. We hope the weather will be fine as we will go to the farm of some dear friends and stuff ourselves with roasted turkey, scalloped potatoes, the last of the garden veggies and pumpkin pie and then go for a long walk all around the fields, just like we did last year.
My friend Alistair, in his comment to my last post, asked me to list the top five posts of which I was the most proud. Since I knew Al's assignment would take me some time, I thought I would make it part of my next post: this one. I scrolled down through my seventy posts of the past year and narrowed my list down to about fifteen. I let that list 'sit' for a few days and now I look at it trying to choose just five. It's difficult because I am enough of an amateur to feel rather attached to all fifteen posts and to not want to deny any of them the spotlight. They are like my little children after all, and having created them I don't want to play favourites. However, I have decided to get on with the job and just select a cross-section of posts to highlight.
1. "I Had a Farm in Africa..." was one of my first posts and written from notes and thoughts I had about the family of my friend, author Antonia Banyard, who did and does have a farm in Africa. Toni and I grew up together and her family seemed incredibly exotic to me, and incredibly classy.
2. The Turning Point is the story of how I woke up one day to the fact that my children needed more from me than just 'survival' parenting. It's also the story of my family living and growing together for five years at a rustic outdoor education lodge on Vancouver Island.
3. Bridges and Tunnels is about the geography of my province of British Columbia, about a favourite spot we like to visit, and on a particular day, how that place made me think of some difficult times we were going through as a family.
4. A Child's Christmas in the Kootenays is a post about my childhood in Nelson. My family did not have a car. We walked and hiked and biked everywhere and were incredibly fit, and I tell of one Christmas when we went out in the deep snow, on Christmas night, to go sledding.
5. A Trip from Bountiful is a sort of journalistic piece about two Fundamentalist Mormon girls I met at college. This post garnered the most comments I've ever received and the most attention overall. I try not to judge the young women, who were training to be teachers for their polygamist community of Bountiful, but simply present them in relation to my own experience back then of being a young college student with all the choices in the world and a future of bright possiblilities before me.