September 2017

Monday 4th. Father Roger made some tomato juice from garden tomatoes today.

I asked a guest how she’d enjoyed her long weekend here. ‘Not long enough’, she said. Others stopping by, or staying: gentlemen of the road; New Englanders reconnecting with Canadian roots; people from Northern NB returning to rediscover a monastery from their childhood.

Tuesday 5th. Father Innocent went to Moncton today to pick up an order of potter’s clay, managing also a visit to a sick friend in the hospital, and stopping in on Brother Henry, sorting out once again which of Henry’s TV remotes does what.

Wednesday 6th. Mass was offered this morning for the success of the General Chapter in Assisi. With superiors away, we are six monks in the house while across the road, six sisters.

Thursday 7th. Full moon last night, heavy rain.

Brother Léo sets the dehumidifier in the guest house. After he leaves, someone changes things, the dehumidifier overflows, he cleans it up, he sets the dehumidifier. After he leaves…

Friday 8th. Feast of the Birth of Mary. Sixty-four years ago today Brother Léo entered community here. He is still struck by the string of circumstances which suddenly changed his life. At the time, in his mid-twenties, it all seemed part of what would be a brief last act to his life’s story.

Saturday 9th. In Dieppe today Brother Henry was having a good day, in terms of his Parkinson’s. With his walker he made his way outside and along the path that circles the complex he lives in. Later, it was advance storm watch time on CNN, Anderson Cooper standing on a quiet-enough wharf.

Sunday 10th. Of an afternoon, at the end of the front lawn you can see a car, or cars. Unknown people visiting the grotto: down the stairs, which we rarely see. Their other moment is somehow reassuring.

Monday 11th. Loving friends in a neighbouring province decided to raise some money to help pay for reconstruction after the fire here, passing the hat at a recent family reunion.

Times are changing: usually Monday there’s nobody in the guesthouse. Today, several guests arrived. A couple from the Oka, Qc area cruised in to the parking lot and had a look at things without leaving the vehicle (store was not open yet.)

Tuesday 12th. John bought us some Poutine Rapée, for lunch.

The new crosses in the cemetery were loaded back onto the little trailer and taken back to the carpentry shop. Next step: painting the bases. The crosses’ bases are of a sort typically used to hold up fence posts, or patio decks.

Wednesday 13th. The geo-thermal crew are here doing maintenance of the heating system. Hoses, tiny ladders; it’s a bit mysterious. Outside, Maurice Gallant has been cutting lawn while the farm crew bring in a cut of bright green grass sileage, packing it down in its bunker.

Wednesday 13th. A young lady wants to rent half of what was originally our #3 chicken barn, the long grey barn near the road, so she can raise dairy goats. Apparently, the market is good for goat meat or milk. This is a go. The other half of the building, we’ll continue to use as an auxiliary heifer barn.

Thursday 14th. Some of our neighbours are wondering: are there many apples on your trees? The answer is yes, there are many apples. However, the leaves this year kind of hide them. It is a nice feeling to walk through a quiet apple orchard. The Ford Fiesta of the Orchard’s Keeper was resting quietly under a tree, two ladders protruding from the trunk.

Friday 15th. Dom Bede sent us greetings from Assisi for our patronal feast day, Our Lady of Calvary, and we had roast beef for lunch.

Father Roger has been sorting out pension situations with the federal government this week. It sometimes involves more than one government department.

Saturday 16th.  Roxy had her first calf, a bull. Big, roughly the color of a golden retriever. The average lately has been two calvings a week. Steve tries to time the births so that there are not too many in a row. In their special calving area, the expectant mothers are on friendly terms with the barn cats, who rest on the hay that is the cows’ food.

Sunday 17th. Brother Stephan played us some Bach at lunch via You Tube, Scott Ross. As we ate, I was trying to guess the composer and guessed wrong.

Monday 18th. Brother Léo says that Vigils (3:40 AM) is his favourite Office of the day. It’s the longest Office of the day but he finds, relative to some very brief Offices, the time flies.

Tuesday 19th. Searching for something on our website, I realised we are now reviewed on Google. Four out of five stars. One review. Mentions the architecture here being a draw, which years ago did not seem to be the case. Googling Abbaye Val Notre-Dame reveals their rating. Their 8-year old, nature-ensconced monastery speaks to people, and much comes out in the reviews.

Wednesday 20th. It was Brother Henry’s 78th birthday today, and he greeted the new day and year with a smile. He had one cake at lunch and before evening the Matchett sisters arrived with a second cake. Also today, Henry learned that his sister and her husband in Florida were doing well, post-hurricane evacuation.

Thursday 21st. Although a bunker has been filled with silage, and covered over with a tough plastic sheet, there’s a bit more silage to bring in. Some on the farm thought they should peel back the plastic and add to what’s in the bunker, but that would also mean re-compressing it with the tractor’s wheels, et cetera so the option of a pile on the ground next to the bunker was chosen.

It was the last day of summer today, and construction workers returned to the site of the new repair shop, which so far has not developed beyond its wooden frame.

Friday 22nd. It was a cooler morning, Father Clovis had a thick jacket on as he went out to the orchard. He has a sort of pomme-acolyte here with him, a good-natured friend, and it’s nice to see them together.

Saturday 23rd. We heard from Dom Bede in Assisi. The rare occasion there’s a chance, Bede manages to cycle in Assisi, making solo visits to the holy places. Sounds as well from his note as though the spaghetti at the Chapter is good.

Sunday 24th. The metal roof of the repair-shop is now almost finished. An old friend visited our cemetery; to pray, and ask spiritual help from Father Adrien and Dom Maurice, who are buried there. It seemed strange not to have Bede with us for lunch Sunday, as we headed into yet another sunny afternoon.

Monday 25th.  A former monk knew how to clean the windows in our rooms, installed a few years back. They swivel, one section at a time so that you can wash the outside from inside. I wish I had gotten around to asking him how to do this.

Tuesday 26th.  A supplier we don’t see too often was by the farm today. A Christian, he exudes a spirit of peace and freedom which, coupled with country living/work, makes for a pretty happy person.

Wednesday 27th. Drop in temperatures (to normal), bit of lightning and rain, and now the cloudy pre-dawn presents not the stars we’ve been getting treated to, but modest sky glow from Rogersville: so modest you have to wonder, is it the lights from town?

Thursday 28th. A sole goose was honking, hidden on the lake this evening. I think he was saying: “fellas, we’re soon going to have to get organised.”

With our apples, Simone made an Amish Cheddar-Apple bread, adding in other fresh produce from our garden.

Friday 29th. Rémi’s daughter has been in to help out a bit on the farm, as three farm hands are mostly away this week for family, or to go hunting.

Glic gave the chapel a good vacuuming this week. Part of what collects is tiny debris from the Lauds Office books which are slowly falling apart.

Saturday 30th. There are many geese on the lake now. As the afternoon wore on, they floated further and further away down the lake.

In the dairy barn, Roger Gallant and Lucien have built new feed rails along the feeding alley. What we had was enough for all but one cow, Maryrose, obsessed with squeezing under it, which somehow she did, then outside at night, which she did not seem to like. Until she forgot and slipped out again.