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Farmette whirlwind

It's a rainy and mild(ish) day at the famette - 12C. Rob and I are a bit sore from all the yard cleanup we were doing yesterday ahead of the inevitable onset of the cold season. Broke in my new gloves by collecting, for the umpteenth time, black walnuts from the ground and raking around various trees that seemed to drop ALL their leaves in a single day. While we invested in a bagger for the back of the John Deere tractor - and it has been a saviour for our backs - there are still areas where we need to go old school and gather the detritus by hand.

The black walnuts were especially active - with big CRASHES and THUDs every time more of the green projectiles fell from the branches. The leaves were coming down in clumps, too. Our wee orange tabby Calvin - who insisted on being out with me - ran TOWARDS the noise - which kind of gave me pause, picturing a comatose kitten laid out flat under the thinning canopy. Luckily, he survived, as did I.

Anyhow, we were left with a heck of a mess that we're still trying to work through - although not today with the rain. When the lime-sized nuts from the trees decay on the ground, they leave a nice gooey black mess - hence the hue of my spanky new gloves.

There's lots to catch up on, so here's the Coles notes version:

We had a wonderful, though a bit sombre, Thanksgiving over at sister Sandy's. Missing among the gathering was her father-in-law Cliff, who had died of pancreatic cancer just a week before.

He was a kind man who always generously pitched in to help with all the various projects around the Thornton house. He was also a well-respected businessman in Meaford, where we're going to his celebration of life this afternoon.

Also missing was Maya, the beautiful golden retriever that came into the Thornton family as a puppy about a decade ago - when Rachel and Erin were little too. She was always up for a belly rub, and had a permanent tail-wag for whoever was in proximity. Marlie, who's in the picture, is her younger, exuberant sister.

Last weekend, we had a girls' weekend in Stratford. Actually in just 24 hours, we visited, drank a lot of wine, attended Billy Elliot the musical (fantastic and highly recommended), had a scrumptious meal at Foster's Inn, listened to some classic rock (live band) at Molly Bloom's, and bought up a whack of fresh produce and cheese at the farmers' market in the downtown square. Whew. I'm exhausted just writing about it. These ladies - Leanne, Sandy, Karen and I - have an absolute hoot when we're together and can, ahem, let our hair down.

Anyhow, that's the whirlwind I've been in for the last couple of weeks. Fresh air, hard work, family and friends. It's a good life. Until next week.

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