A Good Home, Country Homes, Country Living, Country roads, Faith, Family, Following your dreams, Frederick Farncomb, Fruit trees, Gardens, Heritage Homes, historic neighborhoods, Home, Home Decor, Homes, Life in canada

Joyful Times at Ebor House – Pt. 4 in the Ebor House series

You don’t really own an old house: you take care of it for the next generation.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Room over kitchen

That’s what Ron has done. And as we walked through the rooms of his home, I felt his deep connection to it.

Blog Photo - Ebor House curved staircase

Blog Photo - Ebor House Daughter's Bedroom

“I ‘get’ the house,” he said. “And I also feel a connection with the family who lived here.”

“What’s the spirit of this home like?” I asked.

Blog Photo - Ebor House ron sits on table

“The house is very nurturing. Not just for me, but also my friends who visit. It’s a very nurturing home.”

Blog Photo - Ebor House Ron pats Bebo

“But there were also tragedies”, I said. “Doesn’t that affect the house’s vibe?”

Ron replied: “Most old houses have seen tragedy. But this was also a very happy home. Over the years there were births, christenings, weddings, dinner parties, children playing, picnics on the lawns…  And I feel that joy here.”

**

Acres of land surrounded the Farncomb family home. Fruit, berries and vegetables grew in their garden in the early to mid-1900’s.

I imagine summer days at Ebor House. Children sent to pick cherries and having fun doing it….

Blog Photo - Bond Head Kids cherry-picking at Newcstle

Adults picking raspberries a bit more intently….

Blog Photo - Bond Head people Raspberry picking

A family member trying to teach the pet dog new tricks.

check credit for this photo
B & W Photos from the Jack Gordon and Cecil Carveth collections, Newcastle Village and District Historical Society

And I imagine wedding parties.

A newspaper story about a wedding at Ebor House in the 1890’s said:

Blog Photo - Ebor House Front 2

After the service, which was performed by the rector, the Rev. Canon Farncomb, the wedding party were entertained at a dejeuner given by the bride’s sister, Mrs. Alfred Farncomb, wife of Newcastle’s popular physician.

Blog Photo - Ebor House Living room reverse

“… The bride was a picture in her traveling costume of broadcloth, the chapeau stitched and trimmed with grey wings and tie to match. The wedding presents were costly and numerous. A great deal of silver came from friends in England.

“Among the gifts was a massive loving cup, lined with gold, upon which was engraved the family crest, it being an heirloom for many generations: a solid silver teapot, tables, dessert and tea spoons, a silver soup tureen from Dr. and Mrs. Tom Farncomb (Trenton) , a handsome china dinner set from Dr. and Mrs. Alfred Farncomb (Newcastle).”

Blog Photo - Ebor House dining Room4

And another story about another Farncomb wedding:

Blog Photo - Ebor House and Church Entrance

“….There were vases of pink and white carnations and antirrhinum on the altar and the coloured rays of the afternoon sun streaming through the stained glass windows of nave and chancel made the scene one of entrancing loveliness. ….

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…The bride, given in marriage by her uncle… wore a princess dress of white satin brocaded with lilies of the valley in velvet. She wore a long net veil and carried a bouquet of white lilies and carnations. She wore a gold locket, a gift of the groom….

A reception was held at Ebor House, ancestral home of the bride’s maternal forbears.”

Blog Photo - Ebor House Entrance lookign to lawn 3

Faith and family were important to the Farncombs. Church was a family-affair. Frederick and Jane’s son John was the rector at St. George’s,  Alfred taught Sunday school, and Alfred’s wife Hannah was the church organist.

But no family is immune to tragedy. Despite all the success and influence, all the joyful family events, all the involvement with their church,  the Farncombs also experienced heartbreaking sorrow.

**

Next: An event that tested even the strongest faith.

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A Good Home, Fruit trees, Garden, Winter

My Fig Tree in Winter

Our fig tree will make it through winter

With the help of a neat little trick

Or else it will have to dash indoors

Before winter gives it a lick

*

The first time we buried our fig tree

Uncertain that it would survive

Was October,  weeks before winter

And the fig tree was still much alive

*

Google Images
Google Images

We covered her up with earth matter

Top soil and leaves and some twigs

And buried her into the garden

In hopes that next spring we’d have figs

*

All winter we looked through the window

At the spot where the fig tree once stood

Hoping she’d survive the cold weather

With ice, snow and soil for a hood

*Blog Photo - Fig tree

In May we uncovered her branches

Lifted her out of her trench

So shocked by her clear resurrection

We sat ourselves down on a bench

Blog Photo - Fruiting Fig Tree*

This winter has been a tough business

The snow is determined to fall

And just when I think it is over

I find it’s not finished at all

*

Snow stands in piles out my window

Blows in when I open my door

It sticks to my shoes like a layer

And deposits itself on my floor

*

The fig tree and I are both immigrants

From lands that are sunny and bright

Though fig did not come here willingly

While I chose this country so white

*

But fig will be sheltered this winter

Protected and ready to bear

While I slip and slide on the sidewalk

And try to pretend I’ve no fear.

Original Photos by Hamlin Grange

A Good Home, Apples, Autumn, Cooking, Fruit trees, Garden, Homes, Raccoons and fruit trees, Squirrels and Apple trees

Apples and Critters

Blog - Pond and trees

Photos by Hamlin Grange

Way out of reach is where the biggest, sweetest fruit always grow. The sweetest guava hangs way out over the middle of a deep pond.  The perfect apples are at the top of the tree.

And far below them you stand, wishing you had wings.

That’s what I’m thinking as I gaze up at a bunch of apples near the top of our big old apple tree. A heritage variety, Wolf River, this tree and the one next to it are well over a hundred years old, taller than our two-storey farmhouse, and still going strong. When ripe, the apples are as big as grapefruit, fragrant, with an unusual spicy-sweet-tart taste. Perfect for pies.

Last year, there were hundreds of ripening apples to choose from: enough for birds, squirrels and humans to peacefully share.

Blog Apple tree 2

But these trees only bear heavily every other year. Since this is their “off year”, it’s a race against the wildlife to get at the fruit first.

If we’re lucky, the wind blows some off the trees in early October. These windfall apples aren’t ripe, but make delicious filling for crepes. Just cut off the bruised parts, slice up the rest and drop it into a hot pot, along with brown sugar, cinnamon and butter.  But the very best and biggest apples are those that ripen on the tree.  Just two of them could make one pie.

Blog - apples in bowl

“I’ll use the tall ladder to get them all in a week or so”, my husband says.

“It won’t be tall enough,” I reply.

“Don’t worry,” says my brave guy. “I’ll use the tall ladder, AND a long stick.”

Several days later, I go outside and look straight up at the treetop. The apples are still there, but something doesn’t look right, somehow. It’s like there’s a big dark bundle right above a bunch of apples.

Blog - Squirrel nest above apples

“You should go take a look,” I tell my husband when I come back inside the house.

He goes outside. He comes back and says: “That’s the biggest squirrel nest I’ve ever seen.”

It figures. If you’re a squirrel who likes apples, it makes perfect sense to build your home right at the source of your food.

Squirrels have to eat, after all. But …

“You little creeps!” I hear myself yelling up at the nest.

On the Internet, I learn that squirrels are notorious criminals. They steal pears, peaches and apples. They build their nests right in the trees and get to the fruit before the humans can. This makes fruit tree owners so furious, some have become criminals themselves – moving from trapping to illegally shooting the squirrels. It’s war out there.

Meanwhile, our apples have stopped falling. The remaining ones get bigger and riper every day. I can’t understand why the squirrels haven’t got them yet.

Blog - close up of Squirrel nest

Or my husband, for that matter.  There’s no sign of a ladder or stick, or a husband getting ready to pick apples.

But — what if the squirrels have been watching the apples just like we have? Just biding their time? What if they gang up on my poor husband when he’s tottering on a tall ladder, aiming a long stick at the apples right below their nest?

“Let’s just pick the ones you can reach with the stick,” I say one early evening.

Surprisingly, he’s able to pick most of the apples, except for the ones nearest to the squirrel nest. He looks up into the tree, eyeing that bunch wistfully.

Blog - Ripening apples in tree

“They’re perfect apples,” he says, shaking his head. “Just perfect. Pity…”

We decide to leave them to the squirrels and be thankful for the ones we already have. I’m packing the apples into a basket, when I hear, “What the hell…!”

And an instant after that: “There’s a raccoon up there,” he says, pointing, voice raised. “An enormous raccoon.”

He’s right. It is huge. A grey-black thing, all fur and eyes and tail, looking remarkably comfortable, almost curled around a tree branch. Seems there’s more than squirrels eyeing those apples.

Blog - Rocky Raccoon

We decide to leave him be.  Meanwhile, you oughta see what the folks on the Internet have to say about raccoons. Yep: it’s war out there…

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/fruit/msg0505493426684.html