Saturday, September 20, 2008

Whisper Down the Wind

Striped Cavern Tomatoes

Sliced Yellow Mortgage Lifter (lower left)
Sliced Black Prince (upper right)

Today dawned cold, cloudy and dreary after the warmth and sunshine of the last 3 weeks. We shiver our way outside to check the plants and garden boat, but don't linger very long. Fall starts officially on Monday but here on the Island, it began today. Rain is in the forecast, will have to get Richard to put a tarp over the garden boat tonight to protect the tomatoes.

I decide to go out in the world and look for some fresh yeast, starting with the closest bakery. Well, that bakery turned out to only be a store front, the actual bakeshop being somewhere out in the country. The people working there - a woman of about my age and a younger fellow - looked at me as if they had never heard of such a thing as fresh yeast. Hmmmm, not an auspicious start to my search.

I decide to go and buy some whole grain to grind into flour from Alberni Health Market. That search at least is successful, although when I asked the woman behind the counter about fresh yeast, I really got a blank look. I am not deterred. After purchasing an apple peeler/parer/corer at Home Hardware, I check out a couple of other places for fresh yeast, but meet with failure. One place shows me a huge box of dry yeast. The last place at least knew what I was talking about. Maybe I'll just send Kelly money and have him express post me some. Who knew it was so hard to find? I decide to go home and phone some other places to see if they use it.

Back home from my foray by 2pm, I find an e-mail from Bente, saying she will drop by this afternoon. Hope I haven't missed her. I quickly tidy up a bit, take the dogs out, then turn the heater on to warm the air in the kitchen. Yes, it's THAT chilly.

Bente arrives just after 3pm and we enjoy a much needed hot cappuccino. I tell her of my dilemma trying to find yeast. She chastises me for not letting her know while she was in Denmark because she would have brought me some from there. She offers to check with the baker at Safeway for me, and I accept. Being a long time patron of the local Safeway, she knows the baker well. Hopefully she will have success. Yes, I could just keep using dry yeast, but Kelly says I won't believe the difference in using fresh yeast. I HAVE to try it.

After Bente leaves, the dogs and I again wander outdoors to the garden yard. Though the day is dull, the plants are beautiful, and I take my time, enjoying each one before the rains begin. At the garden boat, I check again to see if any of the other tomatoes are ripening. I am waiting for the Brandywine's and the Striped Caverns. I circumnavigate the boat a few times, then bend low on the starboard side to see if I haven't missed some tomatoes, perhaps hiding behind some leaves...

...I have! There, over there in the middle, behind the huge potato-leafed Pink Brandywine, down low, are 3.. no 4 Striped Cavern tomatoes ripening. I quickly move to the port side of the boat, again bend down low, reach waaaaaay in, move the leaves and...ah ha! There is one that is nearly ripe. I pick it.

Oh it is so pretty! A bright orange overlaid with green and gold, like a Christmas Ornament. Of course I have to photograph it. Then put it in the bowl with the ripening Bull's Heart and Black Prince Tomatoes. Can't wait to try them. If the weather remains cool and cloudy for too long, I will have to pick off the tomatoes and let them ripen indoors. Will monitor them carefully.

After dinner, I go out with the dogs to roll down the beach mats and the shower curtain on the garden boat. The dogs run to the far fence where they stand on their hind legs and sniff the air. It is cold and moist with the promise of rain, the breeze floating softly up from the creek. I watch them for a bit and think that the wind is bringing them the scents of some animal, either the bear or deer...maybe racoons. I carefully look around but see nothing - you know how I feel about bears. After chasing the dogs back indoors, Richard joins me in the yard with two small tarps for the garden boat. It takes us a bit, but finally we have successfully covered the plants under the bunk bed frame.

As I turn to retrieve my cane, Richard whispers something at me. I turn to look at him, puzzled, and he points to the other side of the fence, just beyond the boat. At first I don't see them in the gloom - it is twilight, after all. Then one of them moves and I can see all three, Mother Mule Deer and her twin fawns, eating windfall apples. That is what the scent was wafting on the wind. They are so close, and so unconcerned, knowing we will not hurt them. Richard speaks softly to them, tossing more apples over the fence. They twitch their ears at his words, and trot away a few feet. He keeps talking and tossing apples.

One of the fawns turns back towards him, looking at the apples he has thrown. Then with a flash of it's tail, it runs over to Mama and the twins bend their front legs and begin suddenly to suckle milk from her. I am in awe, never having seen fawns nursing before. As quickly as they start they are through, and wander back towards us for their apple treats.

My day is complete. What can possibly top a mother deer and her twins at twilight?

Not too much, methinks.

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