childhood, natural living, Parenting

First scary memory

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I took a self help course and they wanted to know  our first traumatizing event. What shaped us into who we are. I didn’t know what to say. My dad falling off a cliff, my mom passing away on Valentines for pete’s sake, or maybe all those other painful moments. So I focused on the ‘first time’ of the sentence. The first time I knew fear, bone chilling, teeth chattering fear. It is also when I met my stubborn, embarrassed self. The one who has difficulty admitting the need for anything I can’t do myself.

I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. Fall had already begun. The cool chilly nights. Darkness enveloping the world by dinner time. On this particular day a thunder and rain storm had begun to roll into the valley before we headed back up the mountain. A lighting bolt hit the mountain across the valley and started a fire. The hillside was bone dry  from the hot summer. It burst into flames spreading as only fire can. My father and the other men in the car needed to go to investigate. Apparently that could only be done by putting me in the hay barn alone in the dark to wait for their return. You can imagine how that went I am sure…

How many 6 year olds do you know that can wait alone in the dark watching a forest fire spread. I became certain he wasn’t returning. The fire monster surely had eaten him and I needed to do the only logical thing. Walk to the nearest home to find an adult. No flashlight, head lamps weren’t even a thing yet. Barely a sliver of moonlight to guide my little feet along the lane towards the road I needed to cross to find the nearest residence. I passed various paths and lanes that led to empty homes or sheds. My eyes had adjusted enough to see the large shapes looming out of the darkness. I was terrified a cougar or other creature would jump out and eat me or worse.

As I was walking along with the fingers of fear wrapped around me I began to think. I had left the barn. I had expressly disobeyed an order from my father. That became scarier than being alone in the dark. As a child you do not question your parents knowledge or authority. You blindly obey and follow with a deep love and devotion only a child feels for their parents. For our family is the centre of your life. So here I was a disobedient child far from the barn, far from home and to scared to knock on the door. Scared to walk out of the darkness to the warm yellow light beckoning from the porch.

Standing in the shadows I can see my friends home. The light beckoning thru the darkness to me. Yet how could I explain why I was there. I couldn’t very well say I had disobeyed. I didn’t know what to do. I was too scared to walk back to the barn. Too embarrassed to knock on their door. So I turned away and began down their long long driveway. Cold, scared, unsure of myself, and now worried about facing my father. I had no idea now where to walk to. It was my first taste of insecurity, fear, and embarrassment. I was at a total loss as to what to do besides blindly keep walking in the darkness.

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credit for midnight dreams photo used

Once I was back on the main road I began towards and elderly ladies home. She would know what to do. As I stumbled towards her lane a car pulled up. It was my father. He was so happy to have found me that the anger at my disobedience was overruled by his joy at finding me.

I now can understand his fear. The horrible feeling you have when you think you may have lost your child. Only a parent can understand the grip of dispare , the band of agony, the ray of hope that it’s not to late. That your child is safe and you just have to get to them. That fear is much worse than the fear I had as a little girl. It just would take me 30 years to realize that.

childhood, natural living, Parenting

Gardening of my childhood

Gardening was a very big part of my childhood. We grew and bought enough food to keep us thru the winter. We had orchards, vineyard, and a huge garden the size of most suburban yards. We froze, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables in four digit numbers. Our dehydrator was the size of a refrigerator with sliding screens from top to bottom. We even made fruit leather. We had two deep freezes, large army containers filled with beans we had grown, and a cold room filled top to bottom with single and double quart mason jars. And don’t get me started on our canner. It was a huge square metal tub on legs in the yard. It had wooden wracks on the bottom to keep the glass jars from touch the bottom and shattering from the heat. We built a large fire beneath and kept it burning all day for weeks on end. Canner is pictured below behind the jars of pears fresh out and cooling from their session. Thousands of pounds of peaches, apricots, pears, tomatoes, and home made applesauce were processed each summer.2272_139595780496_3427_n

We planted beans, corn, broccoli, brussel sprouts, you name it we grew it. No sprays or pesticides were used. All natural methods only. One particularly gross therefore memorable thing mom used was cannibalism. Okay maybe an explanation would be enlightening. These weird worms were eating the brussel sprouts so mom took a few cups of them and blended them up with a few other ingredients. Then she poured them around each plant. Apparently the worms wouldn’t eat their own kind. That memory is burned into my brain. Every time I use a blender I think of it. It was until recently when I got a margarita maker that I began to have slightly happy feelings for a blender that didn’t remind me of worms!

The first picture I posted on here was of me barely 3 years old. I was holding giant potato that I had helped to plant that spring. I was so tiny that the way mom taught me was one two potato. You see my feet were so tiny I would take two toe to heel steps then drop a potato. Rows upon rows of them.

We grew giant fields of corn, delicious sweet juicy corn. On the way back up the mountain for lunch the others in the car would be husking them tossing the husks out the window as we drove. The pot of water would be boiling and ready for the husked cobs when we arrived.

My cousins came to visit once when I was about 10 or so. They had never scene a lifestyle like ours much less a garden. They had no idea that corn came from a plant in the field. I remember feeling quite sad for them to not know this. Running thru the rows of vegetable, sneaking a pea off the vine or a carrot from the earth and eating it to me was as important to my childhood as breathing air.

One taste I remember clearly once coming to the world is the taste of tin. Yes, I meant to say tin! I had never had processed or canned food from a grocery store really. The first time I tried peaches from a can I was so disappointed that I never bought them again. They didn’t taste sweet like a peach, they were hard almost with a crunch, after the sugary sweet of the glucose the tang of tin long remained on my tongue. When I had my children I canned peaches to use for baby food as I didn’t want to use the sickly sweet fruit and baby food available at the time.

childhood, natural living

Dreaming of snow

When I was little I loved snow. I loved everything about it. Falling backwards to make an angel. The careful gentle reverse crab move trying to get up without leaving a mark. Lying back and watching the beautiful flakes swirl around me landing on my nose my eyelashes my tongue.

When the snow was wet enough getting on my knees and rolling my snowball into a giant chair or snowman base. Jumping off our roof into the big pile left from clearing the roof and road. Till I knocked the wind out of myself. Then I stopped jumping off the roof. One time we even dug an igloo into the giant pile of snow from clearing all the roads.
But best of all was the sledding. I could sled almost sled all the way to the bottom of the mountain we lived on. Dad would wax the bobsled runners and we’d be off. It was always a discussion which way was best for speed and control. To lay down or sit up. I liked sitting so I could see better as the snow didn’t blow into my face blinding me. The set back was that steering with my feet was difficult. Part of the trouble may have been I was six or younger and dressed as the abominable snowman in all my snow gear.

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Once I got to the first corner where our road began to slope downhill I would give a little run and flop down on my belly. The trick was to go fast enough that I wouldn’t slow to a stop when the road flattened out. But not so fast that I would slide off the road into the ditch. There were steep twists and turns followed by a couple long straight stretches that flattened out before declining again into sharp corners. The speed needed to make it thru most of the flat was terrifying on the corners. I usually had to walk two spots no matter how bravely I sped around corners and downhill.

One time dad and I went together and tried to make it the whole way. Mom was working at the bottom with some of the ladies. If I had to guess I’d say they were carting sheep wool for quilting. Best childhood quilt – love that one. Anyway she was not impressed to find me with him crying and bleeding with my face a terrible ice rash from wiping out on suicide corner. That last corner at the end before the nice long lazy stretch was a killer. No matter what transportation being used. We wiped out badly and I lost a good bit of facial skin that day. I don’t recall using the bobsled again after that. Not sure if they disappeared or just that we moved the next year to the hottest valley in BC.

childhood, Free thinking, natural living, Uncategorized

My first home

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The first home I lived in was up on the side of a mountain. About a mile up a curvy bumpy dirt road with a corner dubbed ‘suicide corner’. I remember my dad driving the volvo backwards up the hill the entire mile or two with people sitting on the hood and bumper to give traction when the roads were really bad.

The view I grew up with those first few years had a big part in shaping my love of nature. I will always remember the lush green valley with the river snaking thru it like a path to the world. Few house were visible as far as the eye could see. Even now decades later there are few houses or farms to be seen in that valley. Untouched beautiful nature.

I must have been almost 6 when the phone lines were installed. I sat and bounced waiting and watching as each telephone pole came closer and closer up the mountain side. Imagine my excitement to lift the receiver and put my chubby little finger in the dial turning it round back all the way to the number I needed. Hearing the sound as it turned round back to start ready for me to spin it to the next number. It was so exciting to be able to call my best friend the lived at the bottom of the mountain. Sometimes I would carefully lift the phone to see if someone else was on the party line.

Our house was a big three story cedar home with large windows over looking the valley.  Scorch marks burnt into the large beams from when a fire started from the wood furnace threatening to burn the house to the ground.   There was a great stone hearth to sit by with a roaring fire on the cool winter evenings. I have fond memories of playing at that hearth.  My mother would sit at the old singer sewing machine across the room from the fireplace. Her back to the room her gaze looking out at the valley. I wonder what her thoughts were as she would sit and sew with me laying at her feet.