tuscany in harrow

July 14, 2012 diario/journal, harrow

1st entry – harrow 2012

The sentinels line the drive; stand guard against the invading maize. In Tuscany they would claim cypress heritage, but here in Harrow they pledge allegiance to the arborvitae. The setting sun exaggerates their height. And these giants bar the stalks that march in goose-step through the land-grant fields, from reaching the driveway, from reaching the house.

They’re the markers I look for when I scan the horizon while driving north on Erie Road. They’re the beacons in a sea of corn. They tell me I’ve reached land – Lynn-and-Rainer’s farm.

It’s odd to write about Harrow, Ontario and reference Tuscany. But the beauty I associate with that Renaissance state is mirrored in this languid landscape, in this new world of Upper Canada, in these tall sentinels that border Lynn-and-Rainer’s farm. In Tuscany the rolling hills provide the privacy and the cypress the boundaries, in Harrow the genetically modified corn wraps the property in its green arms keeping out the rest.

Bet the British never thought that some old Italian immigrant would compare the land-grant fields they doled out to the land of Botticelli. Bet those early settlers never thought that the daughter of Portuguese itinerants would own their manor homestead. Bet those early Canadians never pictured a bunch of immigrants – German, Portuguese and Italian – sitting on the porch talking and talking into the night and never thinking about working the fields.


July 15, 2012 diario/journal, harrow

last entry – harrow 2012

I woke up Saturday morning to this scene. Actually, after they realized I had no food and meowing didn’t change the fact, they abandoned their whining and went to sit in the morning sun. Immediately their cat-eyes were at half-mast. (The orange tabby was too rambunctious to sleep and she had an itch to scratch.)

Rainer told a gruesome story – a couple days earlier he was woken up in the middle of the night by loud screeches. He went downstairs, opened the door to see a coyote on the porch, one of the mother-cats in its mouth and blood all over the cement flooring. Startled, the coyote ran back into the corn, but not before leaving behind two dead kittens and the recently mothered cat half dead. Lynn helped the dying cat out of her misery. But the two remaining kittens, from that litter, are now orphaned. (The greys are from the litter whose mother was killed by the coyote.)

Lynn and Rainer feed and interact with the feral cats on the property. This pride is healthy, free of fleas and almost not-feral. They are great fun to watch. The kittens do all the silly things you expect, but their behavior is exaggerated given that there are over ten of them. (The kittens are from three mothers.)