Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rural Delivery

Uncle Bob had the rural mail route and made the deliveries in his Democrat - click to enlarge

I like our mechanic. Yesterday my minivan was at Corner Service for an oil change. Bradley always checks the tires as a matter of course, and though I knew one was low when I left our yard, he informed me that the right-rear one was, too.

I told him I have been tire-challenged for the past year or two, that it seems as if every time I drive two feet I end up with a flat tire. I am so exasperated about it that horses are starting to look like a more reliable option.

His response: "You’re driving on gravel roads all the time— it’s bound to happen, especially when the graders have been out.”

He makes it sound perfectly normal, as if I’m not cursed at all.

The photo above was taken "back in the day" at the Old Bartley Place. The outhouse and old house (it's been a barn for many many years) in the background are still there if I'm not mistaken. Someone is living in the yard again, I hear, after the farmhouse sat empty for so long. Emil knows this, so he is after me to drive out there and see what's what (we went to Margo this afternoon to visit Karen and he thought we should make a detour on the way home). He and I spent one summer in the house when he was three years old. I should dig up a photo of the "new" house, built by my great-grandparents in 1914.

Here we go— viewed from the driveway out front in 1991— moi with my rake or shovel, and Emil at the back of the house:

It would be nice to see Uncle Bob again.

He lived alone in this house for a good number of years and the family often gathered here when I was a kid. I can remember when the kitchen didn't have built-in cupboards, but instead a tall wooden cabinet that sat against the dining room wall, for dishes.

My great-grandparents lost a six-month-old baby boy while they lived in this house, to the Spanish flu that came through the area. Grandma was born in this house.

Grandma came out and helped me vacuum up all the dead moths before we moved ourselves in. A neighbour put rat poison in the dirt basement. I collaged the inside walls and door of the outhouse the summer my boy and I stayed. We had no running water. I heated dishwater on a campstove and prepared our meals that way too. It was a peaceful place; Emil and I both loved it.

Bird Life

They're back; this pair of Canada geese scouts around the dugout at the back of our yard.

They are probably the same ones that were here last year, but how would we know for sure? We're assuming.
Lots of birds have returned: crows, bald eagles, hawks, dark-eyed juncos, flocks of ducks flying over, and snowgeese, or maybe they were pelicans. I've heard of the arrival of robins and bluebirds, but not seen them. I rarely see bluebirds, and never yet in this yard. They seem to prefer the fencelines of pasture land. When the bright yellow American goldfinches get here, it will really feel like spring.