A time of remembrance

2 Sep

If previous years are any indication, the little stone church in Dunvegan will be packed to the rafters this coming Sunday, September 6th. This is the date when the kirk holds its annual Memorial Sunday service — a bittersweet time of remembrance when family and friends from both near and far return to the hamlet to commemorate loved ones buried in the Dunvegan graveyard.

Worship will commence at 11 AM with Rev. Julia Apps Douglas officiating. Following the service, a lunch will be available in the church hall for just $8.00 per person (children 5 and under are free). Proceeds from this fundraiser will go towards maintenance of the graveyard.

A cloak of many colours

And when family and friends from here and away do attend Memorial Sunday, there is a small treat in store for them. The lovely little cottage on the east side of Church Street, kitty-corner from the church hall, is sporting a brand new cloak of many colours. Using a warm, inviting palette, the home’s proud owners, Sylvain Boicy and Hélène McIntyre from Ottawa, have transformed the structure with a multi-colour paint scheme reminiscent of Victorian-period homes. It’s a breath of fresh air and the couple is to be congratulated for their contribution to the community’s well being. As Sean Burgess, who lives next door in the old brick schoolhouse, remarked to me, “they are two of the finest neighbours one could hope to have.”

Horse breeder chooses Dunvegan

While we’re on the subject of neighbours, I ran into Laurie Maus and Bob Garner at the Museum’s Volunteer Appreciation BBQ on Sunday. Amongst other news (which I will get to shortly), Laurie told me that Terry and I have new neighbours to the east.

We’ve known for a while that the owners of the former Grier property, Louise Vininsky and Mike Ferron, wanted to sell. And when I saw the surveyors from Alexandria a few weeks ago, I figured something was afoot. Laurie confirmed this on Sunday — the 100 acres fronting on Dunvegan Road, together with the house, riding arena and assorted out-buildings has been severed and sold.

As Laurie and Bob used to raise Canadian horses, they are well acquainted with the buyer, having met her at various Canadian horse events. They told me our new neighbour’s name is Marie Josée Proulx, but is known in horse circles as MJ.

She and her daughter, Kellyanne Proulx-Page, are moving their operation, CanaDream Farm, from the Eastern Townships. Laurie tells me MJ breeds lovely, top-quality Dutch Warmblood and Canadian horses. Welcome to Dunvegan, MJ and Kellyanne!

Many kitchens make light work

As I mentioned a week or so ago, Barb Newman needs donations of homemade jams, jellies, pickles, baked goods, fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc. for the Museum’s fundraising Harvest Sale Tent at the Fall Festival, September 13. Without YOUR generosity, the table at the Harvest Tent will be bare and their cash boxes empty.

The whole idea here is to share the load. If lots of folks each donate a few items, the tent will be overflowing in no time at all.

The point I made last year was to focus on your specialty… be it cookies, pies, bread, preserves, a small basket of tomatoes or beans, a bag of freshly dug potatoes… and make that your contribution. Many hands make light work.

Please call Barb @ 613-527-1944 if you’re willing to donate. It all goes to a great cause, preserving our local heritage.

PS: I just spoke with Barb and she says that she can use all the home baking she can get. “It always goes, says Barb. “Pies and bread are always popular, but I’ll take anything.”

Don’t wake the scarecrow

For some the word “scarecrow” conjures up an image from the classic Wizard of Oz movie. For me, the haunting song Don’t wake the scarecrow by the Felice Brothers pops into my head.

However, the association that organizers of the Museum’s Fall Festival hope readers will make is the new “Scarecrow Contest” they’re introducing this year. It’s open to children ages 12 and under. There is only one rule. Your ‘crow must be fashioned using a stick no more than 18 inches high. The idea behind the stick is so the entries can be stuck in the ground for judging and display purposes. Aside from that, the sky’s the limit!

Baa… baa…rare sheep

Next week, I’ll get into a more detailed description of what lies in store for this year’s edition of Dunvegan’s Harvest Fall Festival. However, in today’s column, I wanted to feature a new exhibitor: the Heritage Livestock Club Of Eastern Ontario.

The Heritage Livestock Club Of Eastern Ontario (HLSCEO) is a group of likeminded individuals dedicated to the preservation of… you guessed it… heritage livestock.

This same group — of which Dunvegan’s Laurie Maus and Bob Garner are founding members — had a tent-sized display at the Williamstown Fair back in August. And it was a huge hit.

Laurie tells me that she and Bob will be bringing some of their heritage stock down to the Festival. The couple has registered Tunis rams and eight Tunis ewes, in addition to their purebred North Country Cheviot ewes and ram and some Cheviot/Tunis cross ewes. They also plan to bring a few Partridge Chantecler chickens and a Silver Grey Dorking rooster for the HLSCEO display.

I spent a few minutes at yesterday’s “volunteer thank you” event learning the finer points of sheep-sourced meat. According to Laurie, the Tunis breed is the “wagyu beef” of the sheep world… succulent, flavourful and delicious. I also learned about proper sheep meat nomenclature.

Sheep under one year of age is considered “lamb.” Between one and two years, it is considered “hogget”, a term I had never heard before. And over two years, it is called “mutton” and (this was news to me) the term mutton applies to both older ewes and rams.

Laurie said she can’t tell the difference between lamb and hogget, except for the size of the cuts. “We eat as much mutton as we do lamb and love it,” says Laurie. “I find it better than lamb for spiced dishes such as curries or tagines where the spices will overpower the flavour of the lamb.”

As a final note for all you fibre arts freaks out there, the Heritage Livestock Club will be displaying fleeces from Tunis, North Country Cheviots, Shropshire and, hopefully, Cotswold sheep. The aim of this exercise is to demonstrate that wool is NOT all the same.

If heritage breeds hold any interest for you, on September 15th, Laurie will be giving a class at the Encore Education Centre on Hobby Farming with Heritage Livestock at the Farm.  For more information, contact Encore at 613-525-1008.

The Battle of Glengarry grows

I’m amazed at how far the two-day reenactment event at the Museum has come over the past five years. Here is just one of the enhancements that will be added when the Battle of Glengarry returns to Dunvegan.

Saturday, September 26th will feature the “Story of a Glengarry Soldier” as told by his grandmother. Storyteller, Lesley Orr, will portray the young soldier’s grandmother and will lift the dry words of history off the page and transport you back in time.

Senior cadets from the “57 Glengarrians Army Cadet Corps” in Vankleek Hill will assist her. The cadets will take turns playing the role of Lesley’s grandson as she weaves her tale. This corps of cadets has been working closely with the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles Living History Organization and Parks Canada to resurrect the locally raised 1812 regiment.