Monday, August 16, 2010

Bringing in the Barley

The worst part of the post-chemo agony seems to be over. So much so that John was up to a “regular workday” on Saturday. He took a trip out to Bowen Island to help with the farm chores. There was much heavy lifting since Aaron and the others were busy moving sandbags for a retaining wall. I expect John was not up to that much effort, however, so went off to check the barley that had grown up in the cast-off mulch from previous cleanups.

Refusing to give up, the stalks had taken advantage of the rich soil and pushed themselves up into patches of nicely ripened barley. John said that he cut off much of the “harvest” and piled the sheaves into stooks much as peasant farmers have done for centuries. Some of the grains were already dry enough to fall into his hands and he discovered how a little hand-rubbing could break off the husk. The wind was not strong enough to blow off the chaff in an efficient manner but he was certainly pleased with the opportunity to re-enact this time honoured tradition. “There is too much bran in the grain to make barley soup” he added.

Wilma and Gary are back in Vancouver again. They will be around for John’s final chemotherapy treatment on Thursday and will fill in for Patty when she heads off to attend a family wedding in the east. I expect he will miss her soups, ointments, experiments, comfort, and support.

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