It is not really of significant interest that triple 08 marks the date of this particular publication – that’s just the way it happened to happen.

But what is a milestone in the life of my memory is the fact that this very article, which you are now reading, is the first to begin my 25th year of scribing my wandering thoughts  on a weekly basis. Only 51 more to go and I will have completed a full 25 years of freelancing a column for The Wellington Advertiser. Not so bad when you come to think of it, even if I do so say myself.

This past week turned out to be another fun week for me. It all started out with being able to shift the last of my young canaries, which I raised just short of 100 this year, out to the outdoor flight. They had  reached the age which also freed me of the thrice daily  feedings, and the daily cleaning out of each and every individual cage. This is something I enjoy doing, but when the weather gets warm and favourable, I like to get outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

As it turned out, thanks to a friend who faithfully, without fail, comes over and looks after my collection of birds for me, I was able to get away for a few days. Of course I went north to Markdale to enjoy the company of my two, dirt-bike happy, grandchildren – both boys – the younger of which turned 14 while I was there. My goal was to help out with general care and  maintenance at the farm, which in my case happens to be updating the many flower beds and mowing just short of two acres of lawn. I know this sounds like a lot of work to some, but to me it is fun. Over the years I have learned  how to plant low-maintenance, environment friendly gardens with native perennials, which take minimal care and look good all summer and fall.

They also attract birds, bees, and butterflies, in untold numbers, and while I mowed the lawn this past week two families of newly fledged bluebirds, from houses we put up last year, flew down and followed me while grass cutting. The scattering insects, exposed by the mowing, had a similarity of an ice-cream outlet to my grandchildren. In addition, a pair of meadowlarks, not often seen now in this part of the country due to the early cutting of hay-fields where they nest, repeatedly sang as they fed their young on the uncut hill field back of the barn.

My son’s family farm corners a cross road. Their front porch is situated facing the early morning rising sun, on the inside corner of a 12-acre field. Two straight line lanes, with well spaced trees of about 20 year vintage, greet visitors from each  road. It is these trees that have kept me busy for the last couple of years. It was suggested by my Little Lady, on their initial purchase of the farm, that in order to prevent damage to the trees while mowing the grass, we circle each with a flowerbed of low maintenance perennials.

Because of their wind resistant low profile and winter hardiness, though not native, the Hosta was chosen. So, once again at the suggestion of the Little Lady, we gave them at Christmas a gift certificate for 100 potted Hosta plants, which we grow in our back yard, to be planted in the spring. So now folks, you know what mischief I have been up to. Two more years and the trees of each lane – their yard and front lawn included – will have a beautiful ring of Hosta plants around each.

Let me tell you folks, their place is starting to look as it should, but if you saw the before and after pictures, you would think the possibility was just not there. Next on their to-do list is a regulation dirt bike trail on the back field hills in order to keep area youths off the roads by giving them a place to learn the rules, practice new skills, and have fun.

If you think, for one moment, that I am not proud of what they are doing, you are wrong, wrong, and wrong.

Take care, ‘cause we care.


Barrie Hopkins