October Gardens

Our eldest granddaughter said on her last visit, "Can we go and see the garden?" They'd helped me plant it, after all, and they wanted to see what was happening there.

"Sure," I said. And the two older ones ran off to the backyard to see how things looked.

They came back and the eldest said, "The plants are dying."

"That's what happens end of the summer."

She thought about it.

"Still some tomatoes though." And there are carrots yet too. I gave them what I had last picked. They each popped one in their mouth, their eyes showing that they enjoyed the flavour.

DSCF1463.JPGA handful of tiny tomatoes that I picked this afternoon

DSCF1462.JPGStill some tiny tomatoes on the plant

DSCF1461.JPGAnd carrots in the ground. I'll get the girls to help me pull those next time they come.

Today I thought it worthwhile to take some pictures of the remaining garden plants that are still alive. The cucumbers and most of the zucchini plants have withered to a few stems here and there. Not so pretty.

DSCF1459.JPGThe morning glories are not so glorious now. There are still a few flowers in the morning. I'll enjoy them until the frost gets the last blooms. I'm beginning to pick the seed pods off to save for next year. Hard brown pods that crinkle under my fingers when I squeeze them. The seeds fall out in my hands, and I package them and give many away to friends and family.

DSCF1449.JPGThe chrysanthemums are quite lovely now and I have them in various colours

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Even the flowers have changed. The gaillardia have fewer flowers ...

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and the scented geranium leaves are changing to a delightful red.

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DSCF1447.JPG The sedum we dug up from my parents' farm last fall has changed colour. The bees are still buzzing around the plants with blooms so I was careful not to disturb them.

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The old shrubs we had in the front garden were not doing as well this year. It was time to replace them. Here's one, along with part of my shadow that it's hard to avoid at this time of day.

DSCF1448.JPGI'll soon put away the fairy garden until next spring and my granddaughters and I will collect the pretty stones from the pebble path that my granddaughters helped install in the spring.

Thus the garden blooms and fades, blooms and fades, according to the time of year and the plants' habits. Before long we will have coloured leaves too. Some have only a hint of colour now, but that too will come.

And next spring, we'll start all over again.


Launching Harry's Trees

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Two little girls who attended the launch with their Mom, Rachel (photo credit: Mary Pfaff)

Just over a week ago, after much preparation and promotion, I launched my children's picture book, Harry's Trees. My general market version of the book rolled off the press in mid-June just when many people were thinking of summer vacation, and so I decided to wait until September for the launch. Deb Schurink at the Tavistock Library offered to host the event when I asked if it might be possible. After all it was our home town and part of the influence in my father's life and the book.

I wrote the first edition with my family in mind, especially my grandchildren and great nieces and nephews that they would someday know one of their great grandfather's passions. That edition came off the press in early January and my siblings already have their copies.

What happened from there was amazing. People who saw the book envisioned possibilities in the manuscript and art for a wider market, and so once Good Grief People was off the press--another book I'd been working on as a co-author--it was time to get Harry's Trees going again. I hired the team at Angel Hope Publishing to look after the paperwork involved in registering the book, the ISBN, and alterations to match the typical picture book on the market. The art and the story remained the same.

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My friend Liz, the book seller for the event (photo credit: Mary Pfaff)

On Saturday, September 16th, my husband and I arrived at the hometown library, me with hopes of many people coming to the launch. I asked my friend Liz to handle book sales and she was happy to do so. Many members of my family came, Mom, three of my sisters, my daughters, sons-in-law and three of our five grandchildren. I had invited them to help me celebrate the book. Others came too, including two people I'd never met who were intrigued and curious.

Of course, I was delighted that the book's illustrator, Maja Wisor, could join us with her friend Mike. My publisher, Glynis Belec, of Angel Hope Publishing had hoped to be there but had a previous engagement. She was there with us in spirit.

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DSCF1433.JPGShowing pictures from the book, beautifully illustrated by my artist, Maja Wisor, who was also attending. A beautiful, bright setting in that library.

(photo credit: Len Wilker)

A social time followed the storytelling, with refreshments provided by the library staff.

DSCN3468.JPGLong-time school friends, taking a few moments to pose and share some laughter (Photo Len Wilker)

All in all it was a good day and Harry's Trees was suitably launched to the world.


Many Conversations

image14.JPG Today I wrote for The Word Guild as I do once a month. We are an organization of writers and editors who are Christian. Here's my post:

September 8th to10th was our hometown fall fair-- the place we loved to go with our parents when we were children, the weekend after Labour Day and when we were back in school after the summer. We looked forward to the parade, rides in the midway, eating caramel corn, and seeing our school friends. Incidentally, it was also the place where my parents met when they were young adults, at the Friday night dance.
This year, as an author with a new book, Harry's Trees, I'd signed up early and paid for a table where I could meet people of my hometown community. I had other books too, but my new picture book rose to the top in interest. Probably helped by articles in the Tavistock Gazette, the Ontario Farmer and Oxford Review and people who knew my Dad and his inspiration for this book.
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Read more here.
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IMG_2479.JPGphoto by W. Fuhr with thanks

The Tavistock Fall Fair

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I signed up months ago to rent a table at the Tavistock Fall Fair. I'd sell my books, especially the two newest ones, Harry's Trees and Good Grief People, as well as the others in which I'd had a part. And I'd see people I know. After all, it was one of the notable events of the year during my childhood. People come back year after year. This was my second time coming as an author.

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This year's theme was Scarecrows and there were quite a few of them hanging around the arena.

image7.JPGimage4.JPGimage6.JPGBut there was much more to see. Silent auction, exhibits of fruit, vegetables, corn stalks, baking, canning and needlework. For activities, there was much to choose from, including Bubble Soccer, Baby Show, Children's Pet Show, Lawnmower Races, Fair Ambassador contest, Antique Cars, and livestock contests and horses.

image2.JPGThese giant pumpkins stood right next to my table. People kept asking how much they weighed and we wondered how many pies could be made from them. Maybe they'd only be used for seed for the next year, especially that giant yellow one.

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Display by a community group

image12.JPGimage13.JPGDisplays by Women's Institute groups. I didn't get to the curling rink this time to see the 4-H dispays.

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Commercial displays, such as the Horticultural Society (above)

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The Tavistock and District Historical Society

image3.JPGThe young lady on the left, named Hannah, was busy much of the weekend painting faces. Her cousin demonstrates one such creation.

image5.JPGMy table with books

image15.JPGNeedlework, including sewn items such as this beautiful little smocked dresses. Ruth R. takes first prize every year.

image16.JPGKnitting. I didn't have time to look these over to see a top winner but there surely were a number of lovely items.

image9.JPGAnd of course the Silent Auction that raises money for the Agricultural Society, so the fair can keep going year after year. It's a monumental feat for Kim and her crew. If I try to list them I may miss some hard-working volunteer, so I won't do that, only to say it's like an army of people who help in some way, either setting up, supervising bidding sheets, counting the bids, and take down each year. I helped with that last year and got a glimpse into how much effort it really takes.

image10.JPGSuzanne surveying the bids, making sure pages are properly marked.

image17.JPGPhoto display. Only a few can win, but there were so many worthy entries in different categories that it would be hard to choose.

image14.JPGAnd quilt competitions too. I found this one rather interesting, made mostly of denim.

I didn't get to the children's displays, but I did see results of some talented artists who'd submitted their work.

An agricultural fair involves planning, set-up and the creativity of a community to make a good series of events all wrapped into one package. I've been on the judging side but not the setting up. Once all the exhibits are in place, people pin the work up on boards and set up the baking in their closed-in boxes. And outdoors, there were bleachers to set up for people wanting to watch the horse judging and the tug of war. And selling tickets for the midway too.

It takes a community working together. Well done,Tavistock Agricultural Society.


Meeting the Unexpected

20690441_1507429269323088_6211029367913706768_o.jpgEach month I write for The Word Guild blog. Here's an excerpt from that post.

This morning was planned months in advance--Tea and Tales, at The Enabling Gardens in Guelph. I was on deck with Jay Wilson, who is no stranger to theatre, with his puppet Prometheus. That the story telling was happening outdoors was just one of the features, in the beautiful Riverside Park in that fair city.
Several things have come into play over the last month and a half. One, that the crowd of seniors and others has multiplied over previous years so that there have been a hundred or more at any one telling. Maybe celebrating the 10th anniversary of Tea and Tales had something to do with it, or that the organizer, Brian Holstein, and his crew from Guelph Storytelling Guild did a lot of work to advertise the events. It may be the first year that they used Facebook, but they also put up posters around town and promoted it to Baden Guild, of which I am a member, and any other people they knew who might be interested in the event.
Read more here.

Once upon a story in a special garden- Tea and Tales

Each year the Guelph Storytelling Guild puts on Tea and Tales. This is the tenth anniversary of the event and the audience has grown immensely this year.

On Friday, August 11th, I shared the outdoor storytelling stage with Jay Wilson. Audience members gathered in the beautiful Enabling Gardens at Riverside Park in Guelph, Ontario.

20819503_1507429292656419_938068779677144180_o.jpgBruce Shapka, one of the photographers catches the scene from a distance. Thanks to Bruce and Brian Holstein for the photos.

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Our host, Brian Holstein (right) introduces an aboriginal gentleman who offers a blessing on our telling, with a gentle reminder that we tell on lands that belong to the native community.

20746132_1507429615989720_2694895943118611890_o.jpgJay with his popular Prometheus puppet

20785686_1507429182656430_8024466112530866324_o.jpgJay telling his historical tale of some early Guelph residents

20690441_1507429269323088_6211029367913706768_o.jpgan engaged audience

20746392_1507429412656407_4712193761164002143_o.jpg And now it's my turn to tell.

20819139_1507429685989713_3417727734592359326_o.jpgCurious that a rabbit should hop out of the bushes during my story. I paused while people in the front row watch it hop by and then resumed with my story.

20819542_1507429439323071_3885483355132077912_o.jpgReally into the story here. Didn't know I looked so serious. We did have light moments.

20690442_1507429492656399_4343858425956547308_o.jpgUmbrellas popping open and I'm slightly under the tree canopy.

Nearing the end of the telling.

20690034_1507429742656374_4293034605679090869_o.jpgA lighter story but more drizzle. I finished my last one under the shelter of an umbrella, thanks to Jay's assistant.

The rain let up as audience members folded up their lawn chairs and left. On my way home, we had more rain, but it held off for more of the telling. For that I we were all glad.


Through the locks

On our holiday in the Kawarthas with our family, we had a day on the lake.

DSCF1398.JPGThe girls are old enough to help at the locks by putting out the buoy or pulling it back in, also holding on to the rope around the cable as the water level changes.

DSCF1399.JPGthe gate opens and we wait our turn to proceed through

DSCF1401.JPGEverybody ready?

DSCF1402.JPGWater level is dropping. We go down slowly, ready for the level of the next lake. We're in capable hands, the crew monitoring the locks, and our driver, Dave.

DSCF1403.JPGLearning the geography of this place

DSCF1404.JPGThe girls learn about reading a map as their Dad points out where we are and where we'll go

DSCF1405.JPGThe legend of the Lovesick Lock, aptly named for a rejected lover

DSCF1407.JPGPosing on a log.

We had our picnic here and a family pose.

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DSCF1412.JPGLock managers here at Lovesick Lock. One says it's a great summer job. She loves being out of doors.

DSCF1408.JPGRunning down the path

DSCN3322.JPGWe explored the island too. Careful steps. (L. Wilker)

DSCN3323.JPGLooking to the right at the waterway (L. Wilker)

DSCN3330.JPGNot sure what this was used for (L. Wilker)

The path was rugged on the island and we soon turned back toward the lock.

DSCN3331.JPGOur daughter took a picture of her Dad

DSCN3339.JPGLearning how the lock works (L. Wilker)

DSCN3342.JPG(L. Wilker)

Knowing there is prediction for a storm out at Burleigh, our driver makes a small circle on the lake and turns back to Lovesick Lock and we'll be on our way back.

DSCN3344.JPG Just enjoying the ride (L. Wilker)

By the time we reached Buckhorn the clouds were gathering. Our cameras were safely stowed when the rain began as we left the lock. Dave parked the boat on the other side of the lock on Buckhorn Lake and we hustled into The Mainstreet Landing Restaurant to get out of the rain and have a small snack before heading off again. The girls had the ice cream they hoped for and I had a hot drink, then we were off again across the lake toward the resort.

We reached the boat dock just ahead of the rain and hopped on the golf cart and were in the trailer before it rained too hard. Glad to get into dry clothes and warm up, we had a nap or rest, and the girls played some video games.

The next day my husband and I were on our way back home. The end of this summer's get-away. Thanks to our hosts, Laura and Dave.


Visiting Naturally Speaking Toastmasters

On vacation in the Kawarthas, we'd be in easy driving time to Peterborough. Since I'd been to that club last year while in the area, and the summer before, I sent a message ahead of time about visiting. Johnathan replied, "We'd love to have you come." I made plans to be there for the Tuesday noon hour, their regular Toastmasters meeting time at Empress Gardens.

It was a full meeting with several other guests besides my husband and myself. Two speakers, Tammy Goddard and Stacie Tasker, worked from the CC manual and interestingly the same project, #2. Both speeches were well organized and of interest to the audience, and I especially appreciated how Tammy used a particular example throughout for her theme on meeting the expectations of a client. Stacie spoke on organizing the work space, something she is quite familiar with in her work.

Our theme of the day, under direction of Toastmaster Lorie Gill, was survival, and Brenda McMurray, the grammarian, chose our word of the day--acumen. Table Topics Master Jay Schiller had prepared a challenging Table Topics session that elicited impromtpu speeches with great thought and sometimes humour too.

With an hour of meeting time, or not quite an hour, the meeting has to be well organized and run in a timely fashion. This club does it, and they work well together. Before everyone left, I asked President Lisa Bakowsky if we might get a group photo, a request she relayed to the Toastmaster. Thus I have a photo, taken by my husband of me with the group and their banner.

Thank you for making us feel so welcome.

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Another vacation in the Kawarthas

Oh, for a summer holiday, especially in the Kawarthas with our family. We'd been waiting for it, planning for it and packing those last two days before we left. That was between wrapping up work at my desk.

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We arrived on a Saturday noon in time to unpack groceries and gear and get a bite of lunch. We did some relaxing those first two days and then my daughter packed a picnic lunch and we went to the zoo in Peterborough. One of our daughter's friends was going and taking her two girls as well, so that made it extra exciting.

We met them in the playground where there are many opportunities to climb, slide and ride high on a swing.

DSCF1352.JPG The four children enjoyed the playground area and after a bit we were off to see the animals.

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DSCF1360.JPGWe had a perfect day for the zoo, warm and sunny.

DSCF1361.JPGDSCF1362.JPGpeacocks

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and one perched up high. See the long tail feathers hanging down?

None of them showed off their plumage by spreading their tails that day.

DSCF1365.JPG The monkeys, one of the childrens' favourite.

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DSCF1370.JPGA photo opp where all the girls could pose

DSCN3284.JPGMy husband got a better photo of the camel than me, so here it is.

DSCF1372.JPGChecking the map to see where we are. Our daughter and her friend decided to take different directions for the next little while and meet up in the picnic area afterwards.

We checked out the fountain before parting. The air was quite warm by this time so the children trailed their fingers in water.

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Then the children they saw the hill and they just couldn't resist. They had to climb up and roll down (video) , not once but at least twice.

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We headed back in the direction of the picnic area seeing things along the way.

DSCF1377.JPGthe dall sheep with their large curvy horns

DSCF1378.JPGand caught my husband taking a photo too

We never did see the otters. They do like to hide and I think we missed seeing them in the pool last time as well.

DSCF1380.JPGOne turkey sitting in the tree...

This could be part of a song. Truly, I didn't know turkeys climbed but maybe there's a ramp somewhere in the pen.

DSCF1381.JPGWe brought water bottles along to keep up our fluids in the heat

DSCF1382.JPGOpen to getting her picture taken... and ready for a picnic lunch under the trees where it's a bit cooler

DSCF1384.JPG and we're ready to eat.

DSCF1386.JPGThose seagulls are bold, just waiting for people to drop their food. This one came pretty close.

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Then the splash pad, fun and very important on a hot day. Our girls couldn't wait. This is where my daughter's friends found us.

On our way out, after getting cooled off, we hit the playground area again. We had a short time as there was a prediction of rain. The clouds built overhead.

The girls had three turns on the big green slide they love.

DSCF1389.JPGNo time to pose. Got to go up and do it again.

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DSCF1392.JPGand one poses

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It's a long way back up the stairs but we're watching the clouds and rain. One last bit on the equipment and then it started to rain. Big drops and just a few at first. We hurried to the truck and by that time it was getting pretty wet, especially for the Mom who had to buckle her children into seat belts.

Thus ended our day at the zoo. We headed back to the trailer, with a grocery store stop along the way.

Come back again to see the next holiday post.


July 23rd- Maranatha Lutheran Church annual picnic

Each summer, Maranatha Lutheran Church holds its annual picnic at Hillside Park in Waterloo. Maranatha is a small congregation with a committed group of members, mainly of Carribbean descent. As a member of St Philip Lutheran, sister congregation in the Eastern Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), we were glad to be invited and we were looking forward to the day.

DSCF1298.JPGClosing hymn of worship service

DSCF1299.JPGOur accompanist, organist and accordion player, Ubaldo.

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Under the picnic shelter and a sky that threatened rain earlier in the morning

DSCF1301.JPGled by Rev. JR Bestvater

DSCF1302.JPGMore members, present and past, of Maranatha, including Pastor Peter and daughter Hanne Kuhnert

DSCF1303.JPGPastor checking out the food lined up for lunch. We're waiting for the barbecue to catch up

DSCF1305.JPGPastor Peter Kuhnert, past minister of the Maranatha congregation, was either delegated or volunteered to supervise the barbecue

DSCF1306 (2).JPGWomen of Maranatha lined up to serve the food. It was so tasty!

Our friends, Ron and Doris Tuckett, came to join us for the picnic, and Ron met a former coworker whom he hadn't seen in a long time

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More people arrived, filling the tables, visiting, and enjoying the food.

And we were entertained by people representing three steel bands

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(Wait for video to load)

DSCF1310.JPGI don't remember all their names, but they certainly played well together

DSCF1315.JPGThen for the games. Pastor Peter and his daughter Hanne, joined in the fun.

DSCF1318.JPGSecond round of the sack race

DSCF1323.JPGDraganna catching the water balloon

DSCF1327.JPGArlene, stretching to catch, and she got it

DSCF1329.JPGWith balloons being tossed continually, there was little time to zoom in on anyone. A few people got very wet when the balloons finally burst, but those who played had a lot of fun, sometimes holding as many as three balloons at a time.

DSCF1335.JPGa couple who volunteered to have their photo taken

The weather cooperated and people were engaged in friendly conversation on a summer afternoon. It was a successful picnic. Thanks to Maranatha for hosting. Good food, good company and fun.