I’ve been silent for the last week or so, too busy to write. So  as a bit of introduction to this post, I travelled to Sechelt by bus on Friday to visit my sister and her husband for the Thanksgiving weekend. The bus trip is another story – but for now, I wanted to say something special for this holiday which is all about family connections, thankfulness for what we have not just today, as a festival, but thankfulness for our lives and how we live them.

In the morning, Heather and her husband went out to their exercising activities and left me home alone. I went rummaging in the basement, unfamiliar with their organization of household tools, looking for secateurs and a trowel. I found a sorry looking pair of secateur but not the trowel, and settled on a rake and a shovel to augment my weapons for the garden.

A bear has been sighted garnering all the fruit he can get from local yards and Heather’s is no exception. There were two calling cards left, one just beside a dwarf apple tree and another right in the vegetable beds. The bear is nocturnal, so we haven’t seen it, but it certainly has made itself felt. The low branches of the apple tree are perfect for fruit picking. If the bear gets there first, well, there is no apple crop for us! There is certain evidence that he has been helping himself.

Heather’s garden always needs an extra hand. I went down to the lane and dead headed the Dusty Miller that grows in a giant clump about three feet tall, and gave a hair cut to the Shasta Daisies that were looking bedraggled with their soggy looking brown buttons, seed heads, that wobbled top-heavy on their late autumn stems. The sorry-looking secateurs were very sharp and practical. Looks aren’t everything!

Next to the Shastas and the Dusty Miller, lavender was growing vigorously in a large round bush shape and I left it alone. It was providing a beautiful dusty colour and a lovely perfume. It’s flower heads stood evenly five inches above the leafy base and provided an interesting texture I wouldn’t have wanted to touch.

I took out a few aggressive branches of blackberry that seem to crop up everywhere, easily rooting themselves when they touch the ground, spreading and leaving spiky, wicked thorns for unsuspecting gardeners.

When Heather and her husband came home, I went in for a cup of tea and a bite of lunch with them. Then, once the turkey was safely cooking in the oven filled with a sage-y bread stuffing, I convinced Heather to come out into the garden with me to enjoy the autumn sunshine.
The forecast has been for rain five days straight. Saturday night the wind soughed down the chimney and rattled the plate glass windows. There was loud whistling and sighing in the house all night. The Weather Network had a wind warning for Sechelt with gusts of 80 kilometer gusts battering the coastal region. I woke several times during the night to the clap-trapping noise it produced.
Now the wind had abated, was calm even, and it was a shame to waste this lovely day inside.

As I explored the garden looking for easy things to do, I found a young Eucalyptus tree that had fallen over. . Heather had propped it up on the south side with a rope that held it firmly in place; but the wind had had the nerve to blow from the other direction and there was no support on the other side.

We brought the tree back upright. I held it in place and she brought bricks and large stones to anchor the base of the tree in a temporary fix. I’m always wondrous at her ability to improvise solutions in her garden.

Oak leaves had fallen in quantity in the previous night’s windy shake-up and the pine tree had released a carpet of rust coloured needles. The colours were lovely, but they needed to be raked. That’s an activity I like, so I tackled raking and she gave me help in bagging them for the yard waste garbage.

From the pile of pine needles, she began carefully separating them and cleaning them out. I didn’t get it.

“What are you doing with those?” I asked.

“Oh, the slugs don’t like to move over the pine needles,” she replied. I use them like a mulch around my strawberry plants so that the slugs won’t eat them. I’m taking out the fir needles because they have some kind of anti-growth in them.”

Heather is an informed gardener, unlike me. She has read a lot about it and knows many tricks of organically gardening. This was one I’d not heard of before. I like gardening for being in the fresh air and doing tasks that I feel are meditative and intrinsically pleasing, but I’m far from being knowledgeable about it. I learn a lot from her.

Then Heather moved away to do other things. I took the spade and rooted out some buttercup mallow that lives in profusion in the garden, taking over any free space to root and flourish. It chokes out other plants and I’m always happy to dig it out of the vegetable beds. It feels like I’m making progress somehow, though taking things out is not the really fun part of gardening.

We’d planned an hour exactly as our time in the garden. When an hour was gone by, we needed to put potatoes to bake in the oven and start preparation for the remainder of the Thanksgiving feast. Reluctantly we gathered our tools and put them away. The warm breeze, the fresh clean air and the bright autumn sun had been wonderful.

As the three of us sat down to dinner an hour later, dressed a little more formally than our earlier work-a-day attire, a glass of wine awaiting, and a meal to be truly thankful for, I counted my blessings. This is a dear, beloved sister and her husband is a fine and happy man. I’m lucky to have them in the circle of my life, and of my friendships.

Happy Thanksgiving.

8 Responses to “Thanksgiving”

  1. jolynna Says:

    What a beautiful, well written post.

    You took me there, out in the sunshine enjoying your sister’s company to the point where you were reluctant to have it end. Even for food.

    It sounds like it WAS a time of Thanksgiving.

  2. Kay Says:

    Thanks so much, Jolynna. I’m always happy when someone responds to my writing, picking up some of the beauty and simple pleasures I have from family and friends, down to earth activities and positive daily living.
    I hope you also had a great Thanksgiving, unless yours is yet to come…

  3. Chris Miller Says:

    Yes… there’s a bear wandering around loose, looking for the low hanging fruit .. in my life as well.

    But still — I do have my friends — and am very thankful for them.

  4. Kay Says:

    Am glad to hear from you, Chris! If that’s a figurative bear, then I hope it goes away, or at least shares some of the fruit with you.

  5. retro Says:

    This year my wife decided to have a dry run thanksgiving day to test out her recipes. We soaked the bird in a brine solution she got at William Sonoma it really kept it moist. OMG, the turkey was so good and I get to do it again in a few days!

  6. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Hi Retro,
    Our Canadian Thanksgiving day has come and gone, much earlier than yours. How did the new brine solution work out? I’ve never thought to do something like that.
    I apologized to my sister and brother-in-law once that they would be eating turkey for the entire week following Thanksgiving because I’d never be able to finish it on my own, once they left.
    I got a response that I wasn’t expecting. They lit up with smiles from ear to ear.

  7. Dave B Says:

    Ditto, this was a wonderful post and I have many fond memories of childhood hoildays when family was family and we were all close…

    Thanks, or should I say Thanksgiving because, it is a great day thanks to your story!


  8. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Thanks for your comments. Happiness is made up of an accumulation of quite ordinary things that we do to which we give extraordinary care, love, attention and above all, thankfulness.

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