A Good Home, April Freeze, Birds, Garden, Snow

The Frozen North

Photos by Hamlin Grange

We’ve had all kinds of weather in the last four days: wind, rain, snow, freezin’ rain. Then more snow and freezin’ rain and wind again.

Hamlin froze his tush off to get these photos today!

Blog Photo - Cardinal in Snow

We hear the birds singing loudly — though methinks it sounds more like complaining today. Who can blame them?

Blog Photo - Dove in Freezing weather 3

This wall must be warm, because a dove has taken refuge on the climbing ivy branches just outside our window. We’re so sorry for him/her that we almost opened the window and said “Come on in!”

Blog Photo - Dove in Freezing weather

Our snowdrops are encased in ice.

Blog Photo - Frozen snowdrops1

The frog, we imagine, is playing a requiem for Spring, because it sure feels like Spring has died and Winter is resurrected.

Blog Photo - Frozen Frog

The poor daffodil buds, about to bloom, have frozen too.

Blog Photo - Frozen daffodils

Blog Photo - Frozen garden ornament

Blog Photo - Frozen Bench 2

In our eagerness for Spring, we put out the warm-weather table and chairs days ago.

Blog Photo - Frozen Deck

Blog Photo - Frozen chair2

The laugh’s on us for forgetting it’s April in Canada. They don’t call our country The Frozen North for nothin’.

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A Good Home, Animals, Birds, Country Living, Ducks, Gardens, Gardens and Wildlife, Garlic

Wonders Never Cease

Every so often, I wish I had a well-behaved garden.

The kind where everything does what I want, when I want.

Where flowers don’t stray into lawns and lawns don’t stray into flowerbeds, and the strong wind didn’t break one of the arches on the arbour my dear husband so carefully built.

Blog Photo - Garden Circle

But this I know:

Real gardens offer up surprises each week, each day and sometimes, each hour.

Blog Photo - Hollyhock Mutant

Like flowers blooming in unexpected colours.

Blog Photo - Peony Rust

And interesting visitors.

Like this large bird in the apple tree.

Blog Photo - Bird in tree

And wild rabbits.

Blog Photo - Rabbit cleans self

Cleaning themselves without a care in the world.

Blog Photo - Bird Scratches self

Like this mother duck, with her ducklings.

Blog Photo - Duck Family

She must have squeezed herself under the fence.

Blog Photo - Ant and Moth

This ant, dragging a dead moth many times its size. It took the moth way across the verandah.

Blog Photo - Farmhouse Doorway

This beet, expected to be dark red, is somehow orange.

Blog Photo - Orange Beets

A single squash. It’s from a vine that strayed from our neighbours’ squash plantation.

Blog Photo - Squash on our side of fence

“It’s yours”, he says. The thing will grow to almost half my height. No kidding.

Blog Photo - Squash 2

These onions, because they delight and surprise me each late summer.

Blog Photo - Onions

And the garlic, just because the sight of them when newly harvested always surprises me.

Blog Photo - Garlic 2

The sight of our daughter’s little doggie, coming around the corner at full speed. Well, sort of.

Blog Photo - Doggie Runs

And this shadow “selfie”, which I didn’t know was there till I downloaded it and nearly jumped in surprise.

Blog Photo - Shadow takes photo

Gardens: places of surprise and discovery.

**

Dedicated to all gardeners, everywhere.

A Good Home, Anglican Church, Architectural Conservancy, Art, Artist, Authors, Beautiful Neighborhoods, Birds, Bond Head, Canadian History, Canadian life, Canadians, Country Homes, Country Living, Country roads, Episcopalian Church, Family, Family Stories, Famous Places, Frederick Farncomb, Furniture, Heritage Homes, historic neighborhoods, Historical Society, Homes, Interior Design, John Farncomb, Life in canada, Newcastle, Newcastle Historical Society, Restoration Award, Restoring old houses, The Farncombs of Bond Head

Loving and Leaving Ebor House – Pt. 6 – Conclusion

Ron Coffin did such a great job restoring Ebor House that he was honoured for it.

Blog Photo - Ebor House MBedroom other view

He received the Newcastle Village and District Historical Society’s Preservation Award in 2011.
Blog Photo - Ebor House Master Bedroom

He also opened the house to the community on a recent architectural conservancy day and 600 visitors came.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Library

A pianist played beautiful music.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Living room reverse

The visitors toured the grand old house, admiring the furnishings and paintings, old and new.

Painting by George Forgie
Painting by George Forgie

Ron has invested untold time, love and money into his home.

“This place has nurtured me. Not just me but others too. One friend stayed here in the winter, healing from an accident. It’s nurtured her.”

The children are grown up. Ron says it’s time to leave. Ebor House is too big for one person.

He looks around at rooms sparkling with sunshine, beauty and a strong sense of well-being.  He tells me yet another story about the house and the Farncombs. He calls each family member by first name.

I say:  “You don’t sound like a man who’s selling this house.”

He says he is.  

“I truly believe the house is looking for a buyer, rather than a person looking for this house. It’s a very special place.  Last evening four of us had a wonderful supper under the trees and at the end of our meal we were visited by one of the hawks that have decided to call this place home this year.  Just magical!”

Blog Photo - Ebor House back lawn

**

As for me?

It started when I got lost a few weeks ago and saw this house.

I wanted to know more.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Front 2

But the single discovery that kept me searching was the August 1901 New York Times story about the drowning of the two Farncomb boys.

My heart sank when I read it.

A parent myself, I wanted – perhaps even needed –  to know that things turned out well for the family.

Of course — since this is real life and not a fairy tale — they did and they didn’t.

**

The Farncomb family survived and, over the decades, many thrived.

John and Jane and the boys were not forgotten.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Entrance and Stairs

But life must go on, at least after a while.

And so it did.

Farncomb descendants became successful in Canadian business, education, law, medicine and other fields such as literature and media.

They still own property in Bond Head, and still have influence. In 2002, one descendant (among other residents) protested against a plan to change the name of a local street. He argued it made no sense. He also pointed out that Farncombs had lived there for 150 years. And that he owned much of the land in the area.

His side won.

Blog Photo - Bond Head main street

**

My interest in a house became a story about other people’s lives.

I double-checked each finding, then begged homeowner Ron and Myno Van Dyke, secretary of the local historical society, to read some of what I’d written. I thank them.

I conclude the series knowing I’ve done my best to make it fair, factual — and kind. But I know there is much more to the story of Ebor House and its families than I’ve written here.

**

This story is dedicated to the descendants of Frederick and Jane Farncomb.

**

POST-SCRIPT: EBOR HOUSE HAS NEW OWNERS — OR PERHAPS I SHOULD CALL THEM ‘NEW STEWARDS’.  I WISH THEM JOYFUL TIMES IN THIS  EXCEPTIONAL HOME.

Thanks to: Newcastle Village and District Historical Society; Library and Archives Canada; Archives of the City of London, England; Trinity College, Port Hope; Canadian Anglican Church;  St. George’s, Newcastle; the Canadian Encyclopaedia; The New York Times and several other Canadian and American newspapers; and other sources. Some photos of Ebor House came from Promise First Realty’s website.

A Good Home, Birds, Flowering shrubs, Flowers, Garden, Gardening, Joyful Moments, Life in canada, Lifestyle, Nature, Non-fiction writing

In A Dark Garden

Have you ever walked in an early-morning garden after the rain?  

It’s dark, fresh, cool. And quiet. Even the birds are still taking cover.

Blog Photo - Rainy Peonies

Blog Photo - Rainy Day Lily leaves

Everything’s drenched.

Blog Photo - Rainy Rhodo Bloom

You squint at something pink  in the darkness….

Blog Photo - Rainy Columbines in dark

… ah, columbines. And you think how wise this first clematis bloom is, so nicely sheltered against a wall.

Blog Photo - Rainy but sheltered clematis

You’re lost in admiring this flowering shrub.

Blog Photo - Rainy Garden with Flowering shrubs

Its branches are so rain-heavy, they’re almost touching the ground.

Blog Photo - Rainy Branches over Hosta

You’re wearing sensible shoes, so your feet don’t get wet. But next thing you know, you brush against a wet branch.

Blog Photo - Rainy Burning Bush Leaf

And another.

Blog Photo - Rainy Pine needles

Turning away, you almost collide with a horse.

Blog Photo - Rainy Horse Weathervane

Your hair, face, nose and shirt get wet.

But the air is cool on your skin. Fresh and earthy to the breath.

Blog Photo - Rainy Yellow hosta

And one intrepid bird starts to sing.

Blog Photo - Rainy birdbath

You softly walk around in the dark garden, thankful to be alive.

To hear, see, feel,  smell, almost touch this morning.

And to take a few pictures, even though you once failed photography.

Twice.

Dedicated to all early risers, including my beloved husband who takes care of our garden and takes much better photos than these.