Fall is here

Fall is here, and though winter is well on its way, I like fall. It is a season that has always been a busy one for me. I suppose it is because, unlike Peter Rabbit who was born and bred in a briar patch, I was born and bred in the garden.
As most of you readers already know, my parents were market gardeners, having spent 37 consecutive years vending on the Guelph Farmers Market.
Though multiple crop gardening for food production has followed in the footsteps of large corporate farming, with mono crops and humongous acreage, I still enjoy having, and dickering around in, what was once called a kitchen garden right in my own back yard. But, I must admit, being a conservationist at heart, that my gardening habits have changed much over the years. I suppose you could say I have closely approached the status of being a lazy gardener.
I must admit that, though over the years my garden has shrunk in size, I still harvest a considerable amount from the smaller area used. I simply plant, closer together, in small patches, as opposed to rows, and I hoe less, by  mulching heavily, pulling the tiny weeds by hand directly after a rain. This is a job both the Little Lady and I enjoyed doing, barefoot, early in the morning. The lack of shoes allows one to feel through and among the crowded vegies without tramping them to smithereens.
Though I no longer have my Little Lady by my side I still enjoy doing the volunteer projects that we both have been involved in over many years. A couple of weeks ago, our Greenspaces group  hosted a very successful  birdhouse workshop out at the Burdette Gallery, where over twenty five smiling children went  home hugging a species specific bluebird house, which they had put together themselves, to hang up in their very own back yard. The cost of this project was greatly subsidized by Wayne Baguley, a sales representative of Royal LePage Brokerage. Both Wayne and Samantha of the gallery deserve a  hats off salute for their consideration of both family oriented fun and environment.
     The week just prior to that, at the Art Centre in Elora, a few of our members tackled the installation of fifty or more additional recycled posts, courtesy of Centre Wellington Hydro,  which now completes a butterfly shaped retaining wall of a butterfly garden. This we hope to plant with species specific host plants, to the many native butterflies, in the coming spring.
     And this past week this same Greenspaces group, in conjunction with members of the Elora Cataract Trailway played host to twenty students from The Rockway Mennonite School of Kitchener. And let me tell you these kids know how to work. In less than three hours, with happy smiles, they helped plant and mulch, on the most difficult sloping  terrain, 150 sizable potted trees, along the lower trail between Fergus and  the overpass at Aboyne.
     The trees, of about 16 species, were nature sown rescued seedlings, from various garden locations, which were potted and grown on in the Little Lady’s and my back yard. The excellent pails of mulch,(well aged horse manure) one to each tree, was courtesy of Travis Hall Equestrian Centre.
       In these past weeks, to many and all, a great deal of thanks has been earned by these environment conscious people. I know the environment will thank you, with its future beauty, the birds and the bees and the butterflies will thank you, for their future food supply, and I definitely thank you for your collective co-ordinated efforts. You all know who you are so consider yourselves, each and every one of you, individually hugged., and hugged again. Thanks a bunch! Thanks a bundle! Thanks a bagful!
Take care, ’cause we care.

Barrie Hopkins