The Old Cranberry Picker

by Sanford Trotterpicker

When my Dad was a young man, he had Roy Calwell of Coe Hill make him a Cranberry Picker. Roy made him this picker out of galvanized steel except for the tangs. He did a professional job of making it. At that time, all of the folk in the area lived off the land as much as possible. As the first wild berry crops came in season, they would be picked and preserved for the winter or whenever you needed dessert on the table.
Dad would take a scythe with him in the fall on horseback along with some of the older boys and go out in the west country to cut marsh hay and stake it to be sleigh hauled out in the winter when the barn got low in hay.
One of these marshes was back near Stick Lake, in the middle of Anstruther Township. This marsh also had a good supply of cranberries. This was the reason for the cranberry picker. They would fill two sugar bags with cranberries, tie them together and put them over the horses back to carry home.
Dad found a hiding place for the picker under a rock so they wouldn’t have to carry it out. He used this picker for 30 years then the 2nd World War came and everything changed. Dad moved away from the old home place to start up farming on better land in Smith Township outside of Lakefield but he kept the old home place for pasture. I think the sudden change was because four of his kids had gone to war.
Another 30 years went by and by then Dad had moved back to the old home place and sold the farm in Smith Township. He was getting old but could still get around good.
One day he came to ask me if I would take him back to Stick Lake so he could get his picker that he left there 30 years before.
In a few days we got ready with the old 8 N Ford* and a trailer and went in the west road off Eel’s Lake road, to a camp road that went south to Half Moon march, north of Stick Lake. We arrived there, then walked to Stick Lake and beyond to Stick Lake Marsh where the cranberry picker used to be.
Dad was doing well but said the country had changed a lot since he was there. He went looking for his picker and I went down to the march which was now like a lake as the beaver had dammed it up. No more cranberries. I started back up the hill and seen him coming carrying his picker! It must have been in a well sheltered place as it looked as good as new except for the ends of the tangs were rusty. I failed to ask Dad to show me where he hid it and have been sorry ever since. I still use that old picker whenever I find a good cranberry bog to pick in. I’ll leave it to my son and he can use it for another 100 years.

January 4, 1996
*8 N Ford was a tractor

Butterfly Count

17th Annual Petroglyphs Butterfly Count

by Martin Parker

monarchOn Saturday July 16, twenty-one butterfly enthusiast from Peterborough and elsewhere completed the 17th Annual Petroglyphs Butterfly Count. This count follows the protocol established by the North American Butterfly Association, and is just one of hundreds held annually cross the continent. The participants spent a combined total of 33 hours in the field, in ten different parties looking for and identifying butterflies. The day of the count was cloudy, with a slight breeze and very agreeable temperatures. The cloudy conditions resulted in some butterflies staying in cover.

The count compiler, Jerry Ball, wishes to thank all the participants who assisted. He noted the cloudy conditions on the day of the count resulted in reduced numbers as less were flying. The low numbers of Sulphur butterflies and absence of Cabbage White is linked to the lack of sunshine.

Ball noted that a total of 49 species of adult butterflies, representing 2,082 individuals were observed plus 7 American Lady caterpillars and 1 Monarch caterpillar. The highlight of the count, according to Ball, were the six species of hairstreaks found. These tiny butterflies are amongst the most spectacular in the region, and the varied habitats in the area of the Petroglyphs Butterfly Count results in a large diversity of species of hairstreaks.

The number of Monarchs was again low with only 4 being found. This contrasts with the 301 on the 2012 count and the 25 on last year’s count. The Monarchs had a good winter in Mexico, the rainy weather and flooding in Texas in April impacted the numbers of adults returning to Ontario. On the 2014 count, only 2 Monarchs were recorded.

Total Count Results:
Swallowtails – Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 3
Sulphurs & Whites – Mustard White 1; Clouded Sulphur 7; Orange Sulphur 2, Pink-edged Sulphur 2
Coppers. Hairstreaks & Blues – Bog Copper 20; Coral Hairstreak 35; Acadian Hairstreak 35′ Edward’s Hairstreak 6; Banded Hairstreak 2; Striped Hairstreak 2; Gray Hairstreak 5; Eastern Tailed Blue 3′ ‘Spring’ Spring Azure 1; ‘Summer’ Spring Azure 6
Brush-footed Butterflies – Great Spangled Fritillary 28; Aphrodite Fritillary 8; Atlantis Fritillary 1; Silver-bordered Fritillary 2; Meadow Fritillary 2; Pearl Crescent 139; Northern Crescent 258; Tawny Crescent 1; Eastern Comma 1; Gray Comma 1; American Lady 9; White Admiral 7; Northern Pearly-eye 13; Eyed Brown 92; Appalachian Brown 3; Little Wood-Satyr 2; Common Wood-Nymph 36; Monarch 4
Skippers – Silver-spotted Skipper 3; Juvenal’s Duskywing 4; Columbine Duskywing 46; Least Skipper 20; European Skipper 78; Peck’s Skipper 19; Tawny-edged Skipper 5; Crossline Skipper 1; Long Dash 9; Northern Broken-Dash 12; Little Glassywing 19; Delaware Skipper 61; Mulberry Wing 79; Broad-winged Skipper 118; Dion Skipper 22; Dun Skipper 845.
Unidentified – Speyeria (Fritillary) species 4
Caterpillars – American Lady 7, Monarch 1

The participant’s registration fees to the North American Butterfly Association were paid from the income received from the PFN Legacy Fund, started with the Rhea Bringeman Bequest.

On The Farm

by Rachel Conlin

wool2I sink my fingers into the wool on Cocoa’s back. Although his wool is not long now, it feels good and thick with nice crimp, strong and healthy with good sheen. We’re pleased with this and the rest of our flocks’ health. It means the sheep will be prepared for a long winter ahead and it also means lots of wool for me to work with in the coming year!
It’s late summer now, but by the time Cocoa and our other sheep are sheared in May, they will have grown beautiful fleece coats in a range of colours, crimps and lengths. Their wool will grow thick and insulate them against wet and cold in the coming winter. Once the heat of a new spring arrives, they’ll be more than ready to be free of their fleece which averages about 7 to 10 lbs. in weight depending on the size and breed of the sheep.

Seeing all the fleeces inspires me, but along with the inspiration comes the physical work. Once the shearing is complete, I skirt the wool, which means cutting out the heavily vegetated and nasty bits. I then wash the wool. It is done by hand in very hot water without agitation. If you drive by our farmhouse in May, you’re likely to see an assortment of 45 gallon garbage pails across our lawn. We don’t generate that much trash, they’re actually full of wool in varying degrees of washing. The wool is heavy when wet, but the anticipation of ‘creating’ drives me. Once washed, and this can easily take 3 to 5 washes per fleece, I lay them out to dry in the sun. Once dried, I bag up all the wool ready to be picked. Picking involves pulling the fibres apart to release bits of vegetation and help loosen the fibres so they may be carded. Although this process is not physically hard to do, it is very time consuming….a good opportunity for pondering. The next step is carding the wool, which get the fibres going in one direction making spinning easier. Then the real fun begins.
I learned to spin wool after we’d had our sheep a few years. A very thoughtful lady heard we had sheep and taught me to spin on a traditional wheel. I will appreciate her kindness forever. I was hooked! I literally spun wool at every opportunity on an old fashioned wheel, which was a challenge, until my husband surprised me with the best gift ever; a new travelling spinning wheel! The next step was to incorporate an imaginative flair into my new skill, and so I began making unusual yarns, yarns with beads, feathers, buttons and whatever else I could find. I began experimenting with colours and dying as well as spinning technics. I have found numerous uses for wool from using it in conjunction with soaps for bathing to drying laundry to insulation to mulch to footwear & clothing to floor coverings: it truly is a pure, natural, renewable resource! Wool has become my passion.wool3
I put my arms around Cocoas neck. He is a big, gentle ram whose face resembles more of a camel than a sheep. He has big, floppy rabbit like ears and large brown eyes. I love Cocoa and his beautiful wool. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful to him and our other sheep for providing me with so much inspiration.
You can view Rachel’s wool creations during the Apsley Autumn Studio Tour on Sept. 17 & 18 at Irish Hills Farm, Apsley.

Add a Clothes Line-Save Money

It took two years of my wife asking me to install a clothes line before I actually did it. What was the trade secret that finally convinced me. As most of you know I am the owner of Apsley Plus Home Services an Appliance Heating and Air Condition company . One day it hit me with a Big Bang that my customers are willing to pay big bucks to install hydronic heating systems to use the sun’s free energy to heat their homes and domestic hot water, yet my wife is asking me to spend peanuts and I am resisting. It didn’t take long after that bang on the head to run to our local hardware store and buy all I needed to install our very own clothes line.
Here is the secret! An electric dryers uses 240 volts and consumes 27 amps to operate. In our trade that translates to about 6,400 watts (240 x 27) Hydro charges us on kilowatt hours. Dividing 6,400 by 1000 and then multiply by hours the appliance is in use, one gets the kilowatt hour (kWh) . A basic drying cycle takes about an hour, which means one drying cycle will use 6.4kWh of energy. Take this 6.4kWh times an average of 10 cents per kWh that comes to about 64 cents per load. It does not seem much until you realize one does about four loads a week for about a six to seven months in a year. All of a sudden you are now saving dollars instead of cents. This does not take into consideration the saving on the wear and tear on the dryers were an average repair can be about $150.00.
Don’t wait for the big hammer to hit you. Go out and install a clothes line . You still have a few months of good sun shine or as I like to say “free energy from the sun”. A couple of things to keep in mind when installing a clothes line. Make sure that it is long enough to at least hang one full wash load. High enough so bed sheets don’t scrape the ground. Use double wheel pulleys to keep both lines together. If you don’t like the stiffness of line-dried clothes, especially towels you can give them a quick spin in the dryer for five minutes with your favourite softener on the cool setting. Oh yes for those speciality items which you don’t want anybody to see my recommendation is hang them between the sheets.

Apsley called to Serve

First of a three part series

100 Years Ago in World War 1

By Sheelagh (Lean) Hysenaj

warThe majority of the Apsley soldiers who enlisted over the winter of 1915-1916 completed their basic training by May 1916. The 93rd Battalion from Peterborough consisted of 500 men from the communities of Apsley, Havelock, Lakefield, Norwood and Peterborough. On May 29, 1916 the battalion departed Peterborough on “Special Train #1” from the Grand Trunk Rail Station in Peterborough. The battalion travelled by train to Halifax where they boarded the Ship “Empress of England” and will arrive in England where they will complete their training and then be deployed to France.

In May 1915, WW1 was continuing to escalate as the one year anniversary of the beginning of the war was approaching. Trench warfare had begun on the Western Front, German Zeppelin raids on British mainland had begun, poison gas was being used by the Germans on both the Western and Eastern Fronts in Europe and German submarines were sinking and destroying vessels carrying civilians, hospital personnel and military.
The Allied Armies were losing battles and sustaining high casualties so it was recognized by the Allies that more soldiers were needed which initiated recruitment campaigns across Canada. These campaigns in 1915 targeted (see poster at right) rural communities across Canada where the young men had acquired a variety of skills, including a variety of trades (lumbermen, construction, blacksmith), they were strong and healthy, resilient to living in harsh conditions and were skilled using a gun. Most of the men in Apsley enlisted late 1915 to early 1916. They received basic training during the winter of 1916 in Apsley and in May 1916 left Peterborough together with other local battalions arriving in England July 1916.

There were several pairs of brothers from the Apsley community who enlisted in World War I. According to the Peterborough Examiner Newspaper June 9, 2014 there were 35 sets of brothers from Peterborough County who enlisted in the CEF. The men who lost their lives overseas were buried in cemeteries distributed throughout the battle zones of France. Some men returned to recuperate and died of their injuries in Canada. For the men who survived the war, there are very few records and it is hoped that they had fulfilling and rewarding lives.

COONES – Thomas and Johnbrothers
Tom and his twin brother John (photo on left) were born in Apsley on August 23, 1892 and were the sons of Benjamin Franklin Coones (one of the original owners of Uwanacumbak in Williams Bay) and Emma Lucy Wilson. They enlisted in December of 1915 and received their basic training with other Apsley recruits during the winter of 1916 prior to going to England.
They fought together at Vimy Ridge where Thomas died in action on April 9, 1917. In a letter written by John to his cousin Ella Brown in Apsley on April 19th, he described losing his brother. “Well, Ella, I lost my dear brother Tom in the battle of Vimy Ridge, but never mind Ella he was a good soldier and died honourably for his country, on the blood-stained battlefields of France. He died easy, right in my sight, in fact, right at my feet….I miss him, but I’m proud of him. He fought faithfully unto death….Here I am, fighting away, but don’t worry, I will do all I can to keep up courage. I will…..Oh, I forgot to tell you that Tom got your box the day before he was killed, and we were sitting eating the contents among nearly a whole Canadian army, and he said to me “this is just before the battle ………” and it was quite true. He was killed the next morning” Source: Coones-Wilson Family Genealogy.
John remained overseas until the end of the war and returned to Apsley and owned the Barber Shop on the main street. Adjoining the Barber Shop was a room with a pool table and behind the shop was an ice rink. John never married himself, but was the witness for several of his friend’s marriages after the war. John died in 1976 and is buried in the Union Cemetery in Apsley.

Winterize your Trailer

by Mike Del Mastro

Del Mastro RV Center in Peterborough 705-742-1150

Fall is a great time of the year in the country. The bugs are gone and the trees are beautiful. It’s a time to really enjoy the great outdoors especially in the Apsley area.
Fall is also the time of year you need to decide if your camping season is over. Parking your rv for the winter requires some preventive measures so it will be ready to use next spring. You’ll also be glad you did it when you don’t have costly repair bills due to the damaging results of winter. Now the question is how do you prepare it for winter, and who will be doing it? If you’re a do it yourself type and you enjoy performing the routine maintenance on your rv, not to mention saving a few dollars, before you get started there are a few items you will need to have. These items can be found in most rv parts stores:
Non-toxic rv antifreeze (the amount depends on the layout and length of your plumbing lines).
2 gallons will do for most rv’s
A water heater by-pass kit, if not already installed.
A wand to clean out holding tanks.
A water pump converter kit, or tubing to connect to the inlet side of the water pump.
Basic hand tools to remove drain plugs.
Now we can winterize the rv water system to protect it from freezing. Be sure to read your owners manuals for unit specific winterizing guidelines. Follow the steps below that apply to your rv.

If you have any inline water filters remove and bypass before starting.
Drain the fresh water holding tank.
Drain and flush the gray and black holding tanks.
Drain the water heater. Remove the drain plug and open the pressure relief valve. Caution (never drain the water heater when it is hot or under pressure)
Open all hot and cold faucets; don’t forget the toilet valve and outside shower.
Locate and open the low point drain lines. There will be one for the hot and cold water lines. Using the water pump will help force water out, but turn it off as soon as the system is drained.
Recap all drains and close all faucets.
By-pass the water heater. If you do not have a by-pass kit installed the water heater will fill up with antifreeze before it goes through the water lines, wasting six gallons of antifreeze. Plus it is hard to get the antifreeze odour out of the hot water tank in the spring.

Install a water pump converter kit, or disconnect the inlet side of the water pump (the line coming from the fresh water holding tank). Connect a piece of clear tubing to the inlet side of the pump and put the other end into a one gallon container of non-toxic rv antifreeze. Turn the water pump on and pressurize the system. Starting with the closest faucet, slowly open the hot and then cold valves until antifreeze appears. Replace the antifreeze container as required. Repeat this process on all faucets from the closest to the farthest away. Don’t forget the outside shower, if equipped.
Flush the toilet until antifreeze appears.
Turn the water pump off and open a faucet to release the pressure. Go outside to the city water inlet. Remove the small screen over the inlet and push in on the valve with a small screwdriver until you see antifreeze. Replace the screen.
Pour a cupful of antifreeze down each drain. Pour a couple of cups in the toilet and flush into the holding tank.
If your water heater has an electric heating element make sure it is turned off. This will protect the element if the unit is plugged in while being stored. Make sure all the faucets are closed. Consult your owner manuals for winterizing icemakers and washing machines.
Last but not least this is a good time to get up on your roof and check the seals around all the seams and vents and the condition of the vent covers water leaks are the greatest danger to your rv. If you have a slide out room make sure the roof is clear of any debris like leaves and branches as this will bunch up when you bring the slide out in and cause the seals to not contact properly

The unit is winterized.

Should I Incorporate?

This is an often asked question and sometimes new businesses incorporate right away but find out later that they should have waited. There are three main entities
SOLE PROPRIETOR or PARTNERSHIPS – one or in the case of partnerships more than one person operating a business without forming a corporation, the income is taxed in the hands of the owner on their personal tax return as self-employed income due June 15th each year (any taxes owing are due April 30th or by installments if required).
You are taxed at the personal tax rates along with any other taxable income you have personally. The lowest personal tax rates range from 20% on first $41,536 graduating to 34% to $86,176, graduating up to 44% up to $140,388 and over this 46.4% to 53.5%. If the business has losses in the first start up years you can use these losses to offset any other taxable income you may have personally.
As the sole owner or partnership you can be personally sued without limit. In a partnership situation without a formal agreement you may find that one partner can leave the partnership and leave the other with all the debt as well. Make sure you have a legal partnership agreement.
Easy to set up and less expensive at tax preparation time, rates depend on the work involved, the more organized you are the less it will cost. Preparation of personal tax with business schedule usually starts at $150 and up; an income and expense report is required but not a balance sheet for filing.
Closing a self-employed entity is relatively simple and can be done by you.
INCORPORATION – is a separate entity from the owner(s) , shares are issued to the principal owners and you are paid either as an employee with T4 income when you take money from the corporation or by dividends. The biggest hurtle here for some is the money in the corporation belongs to the corporation and you can’t take money out unless you have previously lent the money and are being paid back or you take it as payroll or dividends. You as the owner are separate from the corporation and you have to think of it that way. In general, you cannot borrow from the corporation unless you pay interest at rates set by CRA.
The corporation if it qualifies for the small business deduction can enjoy a marginal tax rate of roughly 15% (Ont) for taxable profits up to $500,000. Remember though when you take this profit out as wages or dividends it will be taxed in your hands personally so eventually the government does get their tax dollars. The advantage is you can control when and how you take your money to your best advantage, there can also be great advantages for succession planning when selling or transferring shares of a corporation and take advantage of qualifying small business shares capital gains exemption of $ 800,000.
Note: Dividends paid to shareholders are taxed on personal return at a lower rate because they are paid out of after tax dollars from the corporation but when you combine the corporate rate and your dividend tax rate (depending on income level) they generally work out the same.
If the corporation incurs losses they cannot be used to offset personal income, they stay in the corporation and are carried forward or carried back (rules apply)
You can limit your liability by incorporating and this is one of the main reasons for incorporating but you as a principal of the corporation are personally responsible for most government liabilities such as GST and Payroll taxes withheld and most business bank loans must be personally guaranteed.
Costs of incorporating range from $750 to $1500 and year end preparations and filing usually start at $1500 per year. There is more administrative work and costs generally in an incorporated company, keeping good records is always very important but as a corporation you will be under more scrutiny from CRA , you must provide balance sheet and income and expense statements each year and must keep a minute book up to date each year.
Closing down a corporation is also expensive and takes professional accounting and legal advice
In very general terms a small business should usually start out by not incorporating right away, especially if you anticipate losses in the early years and if the business and will likely only earn enough profit to meet your personal financial needs. In other words if you are going to be taking all of the money earned out of the business to live on then the advantage of going incorporated to save tax dollars has now been negated because you will have to take the same amount of money out as T4 income or dividends to sustain your personal living expenses so the corporation will either have no profit (if T4 issued) or will pay tax on the profit (if Dividends paid out) and then you will pay tax on the dividends personally.
The main advantage of incorporation then, if you are taking all of the profits out of the business, will be the limiting of the liability and that has to be determined by the risk of being sued or the business going bankrupt and does not mean that you cannot be personally sued if you are the principal owner and found to be negligent in some way. Be insured.
Generally the time to incorporate to save tax dollars is when you have more profits in the corporation than you need personally so you can leave money in the corporation to grow the business and structure what you take out and how you take it to your best tax advantage.

Caution to reader, all of the information provided is in general terms directed at small businesses and will not apply to all, professional advice should be sought on any business set up.

Accurate Accounting & Tax Services
Susan Northey 705 656 1200

Ask your Pharmacists…

This is the third installment in the series on Over the Counter pain relievers. After covering acetaminophen in July and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories in August, I will use the September issue to focus on acetylsalicylic acid, also known as ASA or Aspirin®.
ASA is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory but because of its unique qualities in comparison to other NSAIDs I have chosen to discuss it on its own.
Acetylsalicylic acid reduces fever and relieves mild to moderate pain and reduces swelling. However, its most common use today is as a “blood thinner” to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Safe use of Acetylsalicylic Acid (ASA)
· Do not give to children or teenagers less than 18 years old unless recommended by healthcare provider. This is especially important if they have the chickenpox, or a cold or the flu since ASA increases the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but serious illness, in these cases.
· Take with full glass of water (250ml) and do not lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking. This reduces the risk of heartburn and stomach upset.
· Your doctor may prescribe a “low dose” Aspirin® to reduce your risk of strokes and heart attacks. Do not take more than the recommended dose. More is not better and just increases your risk of adverse effects.
· Do not self-medicate with daily ASA. Talk to your healthcare provider who can decide if the benefits outweigh the risks.
· Enteric coated ASA may cause less stomach upset and is the formulation used most often for daily administration. Because the enteric coated product takes longer to absorb it may take longer to relieve pain and is not used when fast relief is needed.
· If you think you are having a heart attack Call 911! You may be told to crush and chew 2-4 Low dose Aspirins®. The reason it is important to crush and chew and not just swallow is because the beneficial effects on platelets happen quicker when the ASA is chewed.
· Do not take ASA is you are allergic to it.
· Side effects of ASA include upset stomach, heartburn, easy bruising and bleeding, and dizziness. Signs of serious internal bleeding include black, tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, and severe stomach pain. Spitting up blood or blood in urine needs to be investigated as well.
· Daily use of alcohol increases the risk of stomach bleeding
· ASA use is not recommended during pregnancy or breast feeding
· Do not use ASA with other medications that increase risk of bleeding unless recommended by your healthcare provider. These medications include warfarin, Pradaxa®, Xarelto®, clopidrogel, ibuprofen and naproxen.
If you have any questions regarding the safe use of acetylsalicylic acid consult with a pharmacist or healthcare practitioner. What you don’t know can hurt you.

Nancy Wiechenthal is a pharmacist and co-owner of North Hastings Family Pharmacy in Bancroft, Ontario. Her opinions expressed in the Apsley Backroads are published for educational and informational purposes only, and are not intended as a diagnosis, treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Trash to Treasure

by Pam Miller

chairWell folks – would you just look at the beauty of this pressed back rocker! Rob found this at the old 504 dump about 30 years ago. It was painted with layer upon layer of paint – the most recent colour being red and white. It had one broken rocker and the other woefully in bad shape.
Rob – being Rob – brought the poor thing home – and proceeded to turn it into the beautiful rocker that it is today. We have rocked our grand kids in it as i am sure many moms, dads, and grandparents did before us.
It came to us from someone’s home in Apsley – does anyone recognize it?

Shay’s Woods

A novel by R. Richard Anderson

Alfred knew he was in trouble, he had stayed to long at grandpa’s again. But on his mind were other things, he had to stop and help grandpa and grandma who lived on the farm next to them, bring in the firewood, bring in the water to boil overnight, then there were the shadows. As he walked down the lonely country road to go home, he was always leery of the shadows in Shay’s woods.
Yes it was spring, probably in March, the snow was slowly melting and the road was spongy with mud. But Shay’s woods he hated it. He watched as the trees seemed to lean toward him as he walked by. As he passed by the woods, the shadows from the setting sun bounced off the cedar rails, across the cedar trees and on the road, Alfred felt uncomfortable. It was a large bird flying through the trees not cawing or screeching, just flying, moving left, right, right, left, following Alfred as he walked slowly down the road.
His pace quickened a bit, as he felt he had to get away as soon as he could. There always seemed be a whirlwind of leaves, whether it was from the bird flying or the wind he couldn’t hear or couldn’t see, it always seemed to be something moving in Shay’s woods.
Finally Alfred arrived home. As he walked thru the gate and up the steps he knew he was very late. The early spring snow had been dusted from the front porch steps.
The firewood for overnight was stacked on the porch in the wood box. Pushing open the door he was greeted
by his dog Power, they called him. Why he never knew because he was an older dog, a little bit heavy, but at the same time pretended he was a playful pup.
Alfred entered the room and removed his coat, scarf and his muddy boots, and looked towards his mother, Sarah who was standing at the kitchen sink. His eyes glanced to the right and spotted his father, Don sitting at the table. His supper half eaten. To break the silence and nobody saying hello, Alfred held up a basket and said, “Look Dad, Nana sent down fresh biscuits and her strawberry jam. Mom can warm then up in the oven and we can have them for dessert.”
Alfreda’s father never acknowledged the biscuits, the jam or worst of all Alfred; not even a grunt, he just kept his head down eating from the plate. Alfred glanced back at his mother, he knew by the look on her face and by the cross frown on his father he was in trouble.
Alfred’s mother quietly turned from where she was standing at the kitchen sink, “ Alfred will you please eat your supper, it is getting cold.”
When Alfred pulled the chair out and sat down opposite his father, he turned and said, “Nana and Grandpa, they both say hi Dad and they are doing well. You know they appreciate me coming in to help.”
The first recognition for the evening was a grunt from his father, his head slowly raised from the plate, looking Alfred square in the face he said “Every day you go to Nan and Grandpa after school is alright, they need your help but you are staying later and later. Are you sure it is Nana and Grandpa , are you sure it is the chores that you are doing? Or tell me Alfred is it that sweet little blond girl Peggy Sue, who stays there until her parents come and pick her and her brother up from school? But it is late and you have to go past Shay’s woods.”
Stopping in mid flight with his fork from plate to mouth, Alfred looked at his dad, “What is the matter with coming by Shay’s woods?” he asked, “Oh sure it’s creepy, but it has been creepy ever since I walked by it. Alfred’s father spoke “You know the story. Shay is a bitter man and he had a curse put on the woods years ago. He had somebody special come in and they cursed the woods and his land, and anybody that goes by it or touched his property could end up under great harm. You know the rules, you know what it is. You are to be home early after helping Nana and Grandpa and for heaven sake stay away from Shay’s woods!”
“Alfred do you want to wash up and get your homework done and then maybe read a bit and go off to bed.” his mother said. Alfred remembered what he had been told by his grandparents about Mr. Shay’s woods. About how Mr. Shay had lost his wife early and everything seemed to be wrong in his life and he decided to turn bitter against everyone and bitter he turned. According to all the men who came to help with the harvesting of the hay and oats, they begrudged going to help Shay because he never returned the favour. But they had to help him because it was their job as neighbours in the country to do it. If anybody went near the property they would be slowly dragged into the woods and never seen again.
The next morning Alfred’s father drove him to Grandpa’s in the wagon, he said, “he had work to do but he had to have a chat with Grandpa.”
There he met Peggy Sue and her brother Gordon, and they left to go to school. As Peggy Sue and Gordon’s mother worked in the village and she took them to the school and let them off but she had to stay at work and they had to walk back to Grandpa and Grandma’s and would stay there until their Mom and Dad came and picked them up in the buggy.
The next day when Alfred , Peggy Sue and Gordon stayed at Grandpa’s and Alfred did the chores, Alfred knew he had stayed to long. Heaven’s he thought I am going to get it again.
This time as he walked home he was looking in the woods and he was thinking about the curse he heard about last night, it seemed the trees had taken on a more anonymous position as before. It seemed that the whole woods had moved closer to the road and it seemed that the large bird that flew around in the woods all the time had become faster and was flying what looked to be more meaner.

The leaves seemed to be restless for some reason although it was spring and the leaves were budding out on the branches. It was there that Alfred suddenly noticed from the corner of his eye, a large branch swaying and suddenly crashed to the ground.
Startled, Alfred started to walk a little faster. His feet moved along the dirt road that was drying from the spring mud, he noticed that the branches were moving with the wind, as if they were reaching out to touch him and pull him toward the property. He became more terrified, then he became a lot more terrified, the branches seemed to be swinging down at him, they seemed to be moving on the road, Alfred did not know if it was his eyes that were playing tricks on him.
After the crashing of the large branch the bird went into a frenzy, powerful wings moving rapidly swooping toward the end of the woods and then swooping back into the woods. Not screeching but more like a howl. Alfred then moved at a faster pace as he tried to get out of where the shadow of branches were moving on the road. It was then that he noticed that the leaves were turning in to a whirlwind. The whirl wind became more violent and the leaves picked up more and more and they headed toward the cedar rail fence. Normally the whirlwind would stop at the fence and fall but today as Alfred cleared the shadow of the woods and into the clearing on the road, the leaves cleared the fence, continued down thru the ditch, up on the road and rolled around Alfred covering him completely.
Alfred could take it no more, almost in tears and literately in fear of his life, his heart started to beat faster. He ran and he ran like the wind.
As he moved farther away from the woods and closer to his house he heard the footsteps and then the heavy panting. The panting became heavier, more laboured and deeper as he went. The footsteps heavier, drawing near.
Alfred could see the gate of the house, normally he would have to go around and open the gate, but tonight he cleared the gate. He ran up the path, stumbled up the stairs, and into the house, opening the door and slammed it shut. Leaning against it, and panted heavily.

Startled, his mother and said “Good heavens, Alfred ! What is going on?”
“Nothing Mom, Nothing!” Alfred replied. “ I just wanted to get home earlier.”
Alfred slowly made his way across to the table and put his books down, “Where is Dad?” he asked.
“Your Dad is still in the barn looking after the new calves. He wants you to fill the wood box.” his Mother said.
Alfred said , “Do I have to go out tonight. Can Dad not help me do it?”
“No Alfred” his mother said, “Go stack the wood and bring a few cuts in so we have it for the stove. And for heaven’s sake, let your dog in.”
Alfred said “dog?”
Alfred’s mother said “yes the dog has been scratching at the door since you shut it in his face.”
Alfred opened the door. The dog heavily panting entered thru the door and give him a sidewards glance and went over to his water dish, drinking three or four heavy mouthfuls of water and then the dog laid down.
“Has the dog been down in the barn with dad?” Alfred asked.
“No.” Mom replied, “The dog has been behind you ever since you left Shay’s woods on a dead run. What in the world happened?”
Alfred look at the dog and looked out at the woods, the branches were still swaying in the wind and Alfred could see the moon coming up and giving the woods a eerie look.
Alfred said, “I will wait until Dad comes, we can bring the wood in together. I want to talk to him.”
Alfred’s Mother said “Very well, but supper will be a few minutes.”
As Alfred looked out the window and opened the door, heading to the barn, he turned to his mother and said “When I get older, I am buying Shay’s farm and I am cutting the woods down, there will be no trees left, no birds, no leaves. Then looking back at the dog, I will also have a dog very well trained to walk beside me where I can see him!”

Edited ELJ Anderson

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