Monday, September 07, 2015

Our visit to the farm again -- after 14 years

I just returned from a visit in August to Fiddlehead after 14 years away. I travelled there in the company of Timo my son, his wife Julie, and their 16 year old son, Elliot.

Walking up the same road brought so many memories. I could remember every stone, every log, every tree. It really looked the same. But the difference was in the light that streamed across the road, because of the clear-cutting which had chewed out huge chunks of the forest, just beyond the fringe of trees we remembered.

Linda on the big bridge. The road is the same except for all the light from the clearcutting

We found the Meditation House, which is one of two remaining structures. People had written their names recently on stones, and left them in there. The other remaining structure is a wood-shed, now used by hikers as a camping shelter. The only other building that was saved was Liisa's house, that was traded to a contractor who moved it down to the dock, along with our power system.


the meditation hut has survived, though logs over the creek are rotting

Liisa's house was moved onto our original dock

Most of the surrounding area has reverted back to nature. There was a lot of evidence of bears, who had moved into the remains of the orchard. They were having a fine time with the apples.

The orchard struggling against planted pine trees

And the site where the Dining Room/Kitchen had been was a large quarry which the logging company had made, for use on their roads. A large logging road went through the middle of the farm, and through the garden.

The dining room site was used as a quarry

Without the buildings it was very difficult to orient oneself -- to the barn field, and to my house. We were thrashing through the trees trying to find where our house had been, and we found water pipes and power pipes and pieces of the roof, so we knew we were in the right spot.

The mill now lives on my window sill
Like an archaeologist, Julie leaned down and picked something up out of the debris. She had found our "Foley Mill". This was the tool we used for making apple-sauce: a strainer that had a crank that you turned to separate the pits and the skin from the apple. We fed the pulp to the pigs.  The mill was rusted, crumpled and partially melted by the fire. It was so significant to me because I had made gallons of apple sauce, using it, from those wonderful old trees. The orchard is disappearing, being deliberately overgrown by fir trees planted by the new owners. We took the mill out with us. Now it lives in the window that look outs on my garden (where the ceramic Gnome is still pissing), past my potting studio, and out to the hills of the Cowichan Valley. To me the  bent shape of the ruined mill looks like a smile.


A fence being reclaimed by the land



Nancy Strider said...

Linda and I are in conversation about going back to Fiddlehead this coming summer.

Paul O'Doherty said...

If I can get there I will!