Snail trails and pumpkins

Whistle and I have spent a lot of time together lately. On Monday, we went grocery shopping at the big box store. On our way, we stopped at the Laity Farm Pumpkin patch so that I could take photos of the pumpkins. I was quite disappointed – they were more green that I would have liked and most had dirt attached. I’m a city girl. In my view, a pumpkin cones from a large cardboard box sitting in front of the neighbourhood grocery store and it is orange.

This year, ghost pumpkins are a new rage. Lord knows what DNA they’ve bent to get a pumpkin with a white skin; but I’ve been told that they carve up like ordinary ones AND at night, when you put a candle inside them, the glow orange!!!!
I bought one thinking that I would make fresh pumpkin pie for Canadian Thanksgiving dinner, but as it turned out, there were several guests who did not want pumpkin pie. Besides, I think I told you that we had Mrs. Stepford’s wonderful baked apples, and so the white pumpkin still sits on my kitchen counter waiting for Hallowe’en perhaps.

If I was disappointed with the pumpkins, I was definitely not definitely not disappointed with the visit to the Pumpkin Patch. The Laity Farm has lots of different things for children to do – pumpkin carving is only part of it. There is a wagon ride that takes the children around the farm area devoted to “the Patch”.  Besides, there are trails to walk through where small wooden sheds have been converted into a turn of the last Century pioneer village with a jail, a school house, and various other shops. On each of these, the front door and a big window are open so that you can see the furniture and some life-sized stuffed dolls – the school teacher, the jailer, a felon, the store keeper and other early settler noteworthies.

There are pony rides for children and a corn maze. In the barn there are some specialty breeds of chicken, duck and turkey. There is a petting area for rabbits,  lambs and goats. There are other animals to see, including two emu who strut and run on their stilt like legs in their wire fenced compound.

It was a beautiful sunny day. There were about 100 cars and perhaps double that number wandering through. I took a lot of pictures of their folk art figures. Some were copies of well known Disney characters like Snow White, but many seemed to be creations of the Laity family. These were mostly free standing plywood shaped like the animal and painted with rather homey faces.

We must have spent an hour there before the crowds really got to us – we are both being hermitish – and we went on our way.

Lately, we’ve been trying to batch our chores so that we use less gas in the car. We had worked up a thirst and so we went to the Corporate Coffee Cafe to imbibe before we got groceries. We sat on the patio, despite it being late October since the day had heated up to nineteen degrees. (We learned later on the six o’clock news, that Hugh, in Ottawa, was undergoing a 15 cm snow storm).

Next, we purchased our few groceries, then went to the craft store where I was looking for some fittings for the back of paintings. I didn’t find them but I found some craft supplies that I do use, and they were on sale. Carpe Diem, I understand, for the female gender translates  When something is on sale, you must buy it, or forever pay full price, so of course I indulged.

Next we had a stop at the Post Office to mail a much-prized family tree to one of my family correspondents who is digging deeply into family history, as am I. Then we were off to the bank, I to make a withdrawal, and Whistler to pay his medical insurance.

We’ve been spending a lot of time together and we’ve become comfortable friends, despite the generational difference. He could be my son; he’s twenty five years younger than I am. Yet, we have a similar outlook on life and similar sense of cynicism to societal foibles. We’ve both got a quirky sense of humour, too.

It was thus that he began to poke at my lack of tidiness and organization; and without a hesitation, began to chide his own.

“I can’t say that I’m any tidier.” he chuckled. “The trunk of the car is proof; but I could blame that on you, Aunt Kay, and Aunt Lizbet.”

I lifted an eyebrow, wondering how I possibly could be to blame for the state of his car trunk.

He turned to me and laughed as he proceeded to lay out his case>
“You asked me to take that plant up to Lizbet when I was last going through Nelson, ” he said.

“Yes?” I said, waiting for the connection.

“Well, I took it up as you asked me to do. Somehow it still had a few bugs and slugs on it. The slug dropped off and was exploring the carpet. It did a full circuit, leaving it’s slime trail on the carpet and it dried and turned all shiny, silvery. Now I have to clean it up. “
“What?” I cried. “You’re complaining about having company in the car on your way to Nelson?” It’s a long journey. We provided you with someone to talk to!”

“Besides, that poor slug had never been out of the garden before. We gave him an opportunity to see the world. I bet he never thought he would have a holiday like that, travelling the best roads of British Columbia, all the way up to Nelson. He must have been in Seventh Heaven.”

“Well, he didn’t make it up to Nelson alive,” replied Whistler. ” He might have gotten to Heaven, but it definitely was not Seventh Heaven.”

Here was news indeed.

“When we got to Lizbet’s house, she found the poor thing. He had travelled right up to the back window shelf and must have fried in the heat.

“We’ll be getting complaints from the slug huggers,” I chuckled.

“Can you imagine his surprise, if he had made it?” I asked Whistler.

“You mean, he wakes up on a lush and tropical grassy morning on the Wet Coast, then finds he’s been jiggled and wiggled out of his bed in the back of a major transport vehicle (my trunk) and then finds he’s travelled all the way to the Kootenays where winter is setting in and the frost covers the dried grasses during the night. And him without his fur coat!”

We were approaching home. It was the end of our foolery. Whistler shifted his attention to his driving as he shifted down into first gear as he slowed then turned left across the busy street into the driveway.

We were home from our chores and the slug was forgotten.


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