Come first, Sit next to me, Then ask again, I'll tell you then.
Note: Although located on my photography site, the intent of this blog, in addition to providing details about my photography, is to provide a place for sharing stories and musings. As such, it will occasionally contain entries that are not directly related to my photography and also photographs that have not been taken by me.
January 13, 2018 • Leave a Comment
The blowing snow today reminded me of a photograph that I took a few years ago of horses out in the snow.
The horses were gone at our farm by the time that my memories start. I've only heard the occasional mention of them from my dad and his sisters. Stories of how my great uncle wore out the seats of his pants while my grandfather wore out the knees in his; The implication being that my great uncle drove the horses more often. Another memory, of my dad's, was of riding through the snow on a sled taking milk cans out to be picked up. Perhaps there would be more if I had taken the time to ask.
Remnants of those days could still be found in my childhood. In the barn, well used horse collars and harness pieces hung on pegs. In the machine shed, shafts and pieces of machinery left over from conversion for use with the tractors could be found in the upstairs loft.
Although that era ended before my time, my photography provided an opportunity to learn from some friends a bit about what working with horses may have been like. Tim and Kevin Shanahan of Woodslee were showing Belgian horses and occasionally needed photographs to post on their web page or send to interested buyers. In addition to taking individual horse photos, over the years I was able to photograph farrier work, harnessing, and also travel to competitions and shows with them.
Being around these huge, strong animals provided me with a small insight into the hard work farming and clearing land was. At the same time, how quiet it must have been and how close to the land one must have felt. I like to think that my great grandfather's living on the farm was more by choice than by necessity. Considering that he came from London England, I think that was likely the case.
Looking back over the assessment notices I found that in 1878 there were two horses on our farm. That number increased to three in 1895 and subsequently to four in 1903. It's also interesting to see the number of cleared acres change from twenty acres to forty five acres as the years went by. I wonder if the timing of that increase in cleared land is tied the ages of my grandfather and his brothers.
I wish that there were more photographs, journals, and stories of that time. I find it hard to imagine that there was more acreage in forest than there was in cultivation when my great grandfather purchased the farm one hundred and forty years ago.
December 31, 2017 • Leave a Comment
Each morning, when I get dressed, I put on a pendant with the words "Be Ye Glad" on it. It's a reminder of the past two years of dealing with cancer and of how fortunate I am to be where I am today.
The pendant, with a tree of life symbol, actually comes with the text "I'm Still Standing". I had the pendant customized with the title words of a song recently covered by Chris Rupp. Although the song's context was not intended for my situation, (Michael Kelly Blanchard's inspiration was global events in the late 1970's. The Iranian hostage crisis; the Cambodian genocide;), I found a few of the lines, combined with Chris Rupp's harmonies spoke to me.
I frequently extract lines out of context from lyrics, poetry, books, and scenes from movies when something in that instant touches me. Perhaps it's the still photographer coming out in me. The frames of life move by quickly. Sometimes we need to pause the story, or stop the moving images for a closer look. I must say though, that it results in people questioning my taste in literature, music, and movies where they see the whole and I am only looking at a moment.
There are a few lines in this song, (totally out of context), that I connect with in addition of course to the main theme, "Be Ye Glad"
From the 2nd verse:
... outside there are faces of friends.
And from the last verse:
And there is no disease or no struggle,
So, as 2017 draws to a close and we look forward to a new year I hope that everyone can join with me in remembering "Be Ye Glad"
Chris Rupp's version can be found on YouTube here Be Ye Glad or on iTunes.(Incidentally, Chris sings all of the harmonies himself.)
I was pleased that Pearl at PearlTwinkle.etsy.com was so accommodating in customizing the pendant for me.
One further anecdote, when I reviewed the opening sentence of this entry "Each morning, when I get dressed ...", I noticed that I had mistakenly typed "Be Ye Clad" rather than "Be Ye Glad". :) I suppose it is just as relevant though, so, a wish for the new year. "Be Ye Clad" :)
December 24, 2017 • 1 Comment
10 centimeters (4 inches) of snow is predicted for this Christmas Eve which brings up concerns over driving conditions to and from family gatherings. So, I just wanted to say, (in a deep voice), "Now when I was your age ..."
I believe that this was the snowstorm where my dad (Percy) cleared a path from my grandfather's house down our road to the Oldcastle Side Road that had already been cleared by the snow plow so that he was able to go to work. North Talbot Road, Oldcastle, Sandwich South, Ontario, Canada circa 1960s
The snow had drifted too deep in front of our house to be cleared by our Ferguson tractor, but he was able to drive through it and clear a path from our neighbor (Harold Robinson) to Walker Road so that he could get to a specialist's appointment. Interestingly, he met up with someone else on a tractor that was clearing a path on the other side of Walker Road. I had a great time watching the double snow plow when it arrived,backing up and then accelerating into the snow drift in front of our house until it finally was able to get through.
December 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment
There is something appealing about barns in winter, especially I think, if you grew up in a farming community.
The barns that I knew are now mostly in varying degrees of deterioration. It seems that once the livestock is longer present, the upkeep is no longer important. The interiors, divided into stalls and pens, high lofts for hay and straw, bins for grain, are not suited for today's cash crop farm corporations where the need has changed to storing big equipment. We are losing something from a picturesque point of view as the farm buildings are replaced by industrial style utilitarian sheds. Perhaps that is why the winter scene has so much feeling. In our minds we can still feel the warmth, hear the quite sounds of the livestock, and see the shadows in dimly lighted mows; Memories of when the barn was a living part of our lives.
December 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment
The welcome statement to my blog is a quote from a friend of mine, Beşire Tokgöz, in Istanbul. She was asked a question by a friend on social media that she preferred to answer in person. She replied "Önce gel, Yanıma otur, Sonra bir daha sor, Anlatırım o zaman". I don't know how good the translation from Turkish actually is, but I found it to be quite poetic.
Come first, Sit next to me, Then ask again, I'll tell you then.
Beşire has graciously allowed me use it for the introduction to my blog.
Thank you, Beşire
© James Frith Photography