Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Eight Miles High ~ Again!

Yes, I'm eight miles high again!
Off into the wild blue yonder!

© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

My access to the internet will be hit or miss.
Thus, I have to take a break from posting on my blog.

If I get on-line, I'll come visiting.
If I get an unexpected chunk of time, I might even post ~
But I can't make any promises.

Have a wonderful next few weeks!
I'll be back soon!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Lac Seul Sojourn: We're All Fine Here

How quickly the unexpected and unfamiliar can become normal.
Such was the case with my mother and we five children
at the Garrick family's log cabin at Two Point River on Lac Seul.

On Thursday, June 22, 1961
My mother wrote to her mother-in-law, Myrtle MacBeath:

We are all fine in Lac Seul.  It is beautiful here,
and the children are having a marvelous time.
We find all kinds of turtles on the beach.

Adult Western Painted Turtle

I want to thank you for the lovely sunsuit
you sent me for my birthday.

It fits me fine and is the only cool thing
I have to wear when it is hot.

My Mother (in her new sunsuit) 
with Bertie (playing in the sand)
Somewhere on Lac Seul, Northwestern Ontario, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

The children all loved the pudding you sent them.
Donnie and Barbie took theirs to bed with them.

The Imaginary World  (List of Ice Creams and Desserts)
The Imaginary World  (Jello Box (Canada) w/ car coins - front)

I have two sauce pans of rhubarb cooking now that the children picked this morning.
Louise made a cake yesterday and iced it with icing sugar and fruit cocktail.

The boys, Fritz and John, are very good to us.  They are 22 and 37.
They wired the house for us and brought me up an icebox and radio.

Mrs. Daley, the minister's wife,
has been very good to us.
She loaned me a lot of linen, a coffee pot,
the list is endless.

Mrs. Daley and Fritz Garrick
Two Point on Lac Seul, Northwestern Ontario, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Well, Sunday we went up to the reserve to church.
The Indians are much different here than in Lansdowne House.
They dress the same as we do.

There is a lot of intermarriage here.  Fritz and John are half-breeds.
Their mother is Indian and doesn't speak any English.
(The boys just caught a trout bigger than Roberta).
She is a very nice person, though, and very fond of the children.

Donnie (7) with John (22) and the Big Trout
Outside the Fish House
Two Point, Lac Seul, Northwestern Ontario, Canada 
June 1961
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I must close now, for the boys are going to Hudson and will mail this.

With love,
Hudson, Municipality of Sioux Lookout

I've never forgotten the generosity of the Garricks and the Daleys:
People who had so little, but who didn't hesitate to help
my mother and we five children abruptly dropped in their midst.

My mother managed quite well in Two Point after the initial shock of finding herself there.
We kids flourished in the warm and caring attention of the Garrick boys and Kokum.

Six o'clock often found several of us waiting on the dock
for Fritz and John's fishing boat to return,
as we anticipated an evening of croquet and stories with them
until our mother dragged us off to bed.

Many times I was lulled to sleep by the sound of Fritz, and sometimes John,
chatting with my mother at the kitchen table
over a last cup of coffee or two before calling it a night.

The Garrick's fish camp contained a number of grey-weathered outbuildings,
some of which we didn't enter.
One was a workshop that contained a generator which the Garricks used 
to provide intermittent electricity for the workshop and their home.

When Fritz and John "wired" the log cabin for us,
they strung an electrical line across the field to our cabin from their home.

We never knew when we would have power,
but it was rarely for more than an hour or two at a time.
Whenever we did and Mom could catch us,
she would made us sit down on the floor in the front room
and listen to a classical music record on a record player
Dad had brought Mom when he came for a visit.

Fortunately, the radio ran on batteries,
and I listened to it every moment I could.
It brought us the news of the outside world;
but more importantly, it brought the Hit Parade.
Pat Boone's Moody River became the soundtrack for my Lac Seul sojourn. 

MOODY RIVER ~ Pat Boone (1961)
You Tube ~ MrRJDB1969

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Eastern Passage, Across from Tiverton
Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


1.  Adult Western Painted Turtle:
     My mother was likely referring to the Western Painted Turtle.  This turtle is found primarily in
     Northwestern Ontario, in rivers, lakes, ponds, and marshes with muddy bottoms and basking sites.

Female Western Painted Turtle

2.  Rhubarb:
     Rhubarb is a herbaceous perennial that has been cultivated in many areas in Canada.  It can run
     wild like a weed.  As a kid I often found it growing around abandoned homesteads in Nova Scotia.
     We picked its reddish green stalks for free.  My mother cooked them with sugar and water to make
     stewed rhubarb for a dessert, sometimes serving it with whipped cream.  I make a rhubarb and
     strawberry crisp that Terry loves.  It kills me to spend $3 to $4 for rhubarb that I used to pick
     for free.
Rhubarb Stalks and Plants

3.  Pudding:
     A gift of boxes of pudding from Nana was a big deal, because our family had few pennies to spare
     for such luxuries at this time in our lives.  The pudding she sent was Jell-o Instant Pudding which
     required no cooking.  She may also have sent a box or two of Royal Instant Pudding.  This always
     tickled we girls, because we delighted in tormenting our brother Roy by calling him "Royal
     Instant Pudding."  Although Roy enjoyed the pudding, he did not enjoy the teasing.  Roy's actual
     name is Royal, hence the niggling with "Royal Instant Pudding."

4.  Hudson:
     Hudson is an unincorporated community about 17 miles (26.8 kilometers) from Sioux Lookout.
     Located on Lost Lake on the English River, it is included in the municipality of Sioux Lookout.
     Historically Hudson has depended on its sawmill and tourism.  The mill has repeatedly been
     bought and sold, open and closed.  The Garricks had a small home in Hudson.  One day, when
     I was twelve, I sold a lot of Girl Guide cookies in the Hudson sawmill.  Wikipedia

5.  Reserve/Church:
     The "reserve" refers to the Lac Seul First Nation's treaty lands given to them as a signatory to
      the 1873 Treaty 3 between the Ojibwa First Nations and Queen Victoria.  Wikipedia 

       "Church" was likely Saint Mary's Anglican Church.  lacseul.firstnation
      Mrs. Daley was probably the Anglican priest's wife.

6.  Half-Breeds:
     Today this term is derogatory.  Fifty years ago, in Canada, it referred to someone who was of
     mixed First Nations and European ancestry.  Métis is the correct term, and Canada's Métis people
     were recognized in the Constitution Act of 1982 as one of Canada's aboriginal people.  Wikipedia
     Thanks to Debra (She Who Seeks) for giving me helpful insight into the complicated legal
     and colloquial Métis terminology (See her comment below).  Fritz and John thought of themselves
     as Métis, rather than Ojibwa; but, their roots are Anglo-Métis rather than the French Métis.

7.  Fritz and John's Mother:
     I only ever heard Fritz and John's mother referred to as "Kokum" which means "Grandmother"
     in Ojibway.  She understood English, but refused to speak it, and her sons understood Ojibway
     but refused to speak it.  Fritz told me toward the end of his life that his mother's grandfather
     was a Scot with the last name of Wesley who was the manager of a Hudson's Bay post on James
     Bay.  I haven't been able to track down any information on him yet.  Kokum was very kind to us.
     She never allowed us to take her picture.

For Map Lovers Like Me:
Location of Lansdowne House, Nakina, and Sioux Lookout
Northern Ontario, Canada

Lac Seul
Northern Canada
Google Maps  Map Data 2018

Location of Hudson and Sioux Lookout
Northwestern Ontario, Canada
Google Maps  Map Data 2018

Distance Between Hudson and Sioux Lookout
Northwestern Ontario, Canada
Google Maps 2018  Map Data 2018

The Métis Nation of Ontario and Its Nine Regions
Region 1 is the Northwest Métis Council and includes the Métis of Lac Seul.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

IWSG: Tuesday, July 3, 2018 ~ Writing Goals

It's the first Tuesday of the month,
and we're posting today
because tomorrow is July 4th.

Today, as always, members
of the Insecure Writer's Support Group
will share their writing struggles
and writing successes
and offer their encouragement
and support to fellow writers.
Next month we will be back to posting
on the first Wednesday of the month.

To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are volunteering today,
along with IWSG founder Alex Cavanaugh are:
Nicki Elson,  Juneta Key, Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne.  

I hope you have a chance to visit today's hosts and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate a visit and an encouraging comment.


Every month the IWSG poses a question
that members can answer with advice, insight,
a personal experience, or a story in their IWSG posts.

Or, the question can inspire members
if they aren't sure what to write about on IWSG Day.

Remember the question is optional.
This month's featured question is:

What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?


Happy July 4th to all the American members of the IWSG.
My husband Terry and I are on the road today,
heading for the mountains to celebrate the holiday with family.

Throughout my life I have had an ultimate writing goal
of publishing a memoir about the time my family lived
among the Ojibwa in northern Ontario when I was a young girl.

Life interfered, and I was unable to pursue this goal until I retired.
Now I'm well underway with my memoir.

Red-Winged Blackbird on the Move
Along Piney Creek 
Aurora, Colorado, USA
June 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I also have a novel set in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in the works,
and I have been taking photographs for a children's nature book
about a stretch of Piney Creek near my home.

Snow in June
Female Cottonwoods Releasing Their Seeds
Along Piney Creek 
Aurora, Colorado, USA
June 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Beyond that, I can't see.

Of necessity, this post is brief.
Wishing everyone a great IWSG Day.
I look forward to reading about everyone's writing goals!
Happy writing in July!

A Prairie Dog on Guard
Along Piney Creek 
Aurora, Colorado, USA
June 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Hidden in Tall Grasses
Mule Deer Bucks with Velvet-Covered Antlers
Along Piney Creek 
Aurora, Colorado, USA
June 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Friday, June 29, 2018

Lac Seul Sojourn

As long as I live I will remember my mother's sudden stop
outside the cabin in Lac Seul that was our unexpected new home,
and her tired, baffled question,
"Why is all that heavy wire nailed over the windows?"

Nor will I forget Fritz's answer, "To keep the bears out."

I think that was the lowest point for my mother in a very long time.
Her shoulders sagged, and then she squared them and walked into the tiny cabin,
a shouldering of determination I have seen her do at difficult times in her life.

My Mother in More Carefree Days
Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada
Circa 1947
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

The "Boys" set our suitcases in the middle of the front room.
Fritz showed us around,
while John grabbed two buckets and went to the lake get us water.

The small front room contained a cot to the right of the door
under two wire-covered windows,
one above the head of the cot to the right of the door
and one in the adjacent wall.
The only other piece of furniture in the room
was a small, tall table between the door and the cot.

Across the narrow room a door led to the biggest room in the cabin,
a bedroom with an iron bunk bed, a double bed, and a crib
lined up along the back wall of the cabin.
The crib tucked under the one wire-covered window on the far left side of the room.
Unlike the living room, the walls were unfinished.
The logs of the cabin were nailed to the backs of visible studs,
and the gaps between the logs were filled with a mortar-like chinking. 

There was no debating who had the crib (Bertie)
and who shared the double bed (Donnie and Barbie).
Roy and I shared the bunk bed.
I have no memory of how I won out with the top bunk;
but I did, and I had it the entire summer.

Roy sometimes kicked the bottom of my bunk out of sheer devilment,
but I had the perfect object for revenge: 
a small, scraggily wolfskin with yellow glass eyes
that I bought for 25¢ at the Hudson's Bay early on in our Lac Seul sojourn.

I'd dangle that wolfskin by its tail from the top bunk in the dark of the night,
carefully move the body over sleeping Roy's face,
and tickle his nose with the wolf's cold one.
When he woke with a scream, I'd yank it back and stuff it under my blankets.
Revenge can be so satisfying.

Grey Wolf Fur Skin

The last room was the kitchen, which we entered from the front room.
A cast iron wood stove stood to the left of the door
and a large kitchen table with chairs to the right.
A back door beyond the table led outside.
Upper cupboards and lower cupboards with a countertop lined the end wall of the cabin.
Windows on three sides made the kitchen the brightest in our three roomed-cabin.

Our one source of light was a hurricane lamp
which Fritz had showed Mom how to light by the time John returned with water.

The Boys left and took with them all the excitement of a wild day.
Here we were, but we didn't know where,
just a cabin in the bush somewhere out of Sioux by plane and boat.

Somewhere out of Sioux by Plane
Lac Seul, Northwestern Ontario, Canada
Summer 1976
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

My mother slapped together some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
while I mixed a pitcher of Kool-Aid.
Then she made up five beds while we ate our cold supper.
My younger sisters were practically falling asleep over their plates,
slowly biting and chewing their sandwiches
and sipping their Kool-Aid without a word.

As soon as my mother had Bertie in her crib,
she shepherded a cranky Donnie and Barbie to and from the outhouse.
It stood a hundred feet or so up the gentle slope from the kitchen door,
a short walk on a rough path.

My younger sisters were none too thrilled about sharing
a smelly, two-holed outhouse buzzing with flies.
Fortunately it had a roll of toilet paper and a flyswatter.

With Donnie and Barbie tucked in for the night,
Mom ordered Roy and me to bed early;
and, one by one, we made our reluctant trips up the hill to the outhouse,
grumbling that we had to go to bed before sunset.

A knock at the front door startled me, just as I was drifting off to sleep.
Mom opened the door, and Fritz entered from the small enclosed porch carrying a shotgun.

"I know you're worried about bears," he said.
"They're not likely to bother you, but I thought you'd feel safer with this."

I fell asleep as Fritz was showing my mother
how to fire the shotgun:
"Don't worry about aiming carefully.
Just point and shoot,
because the shot sprays."  

Fritz Garrick
Lac Seul, Summer 1961
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Mom often said that she didn't sleep a wink that night,
but I know that wasn't true.
The inevitable happened, and in the middle of the night,
I woke up having to go to the bathroom.

I was scared to death at the thought of trekking to the outhouse in the dark;
but the more I tried to convince myself that I didn't have to go,
the more I needed to go.
Finally desperation drove me out of my bunk.

I tiptoed into the front room.
Mom was sound asleep on the cot with Gretchen curled up at her feet.
The shotgun lay on the floor under the edge of the cot.
Gretchen gave me the once-over as I crept by,
stretching, yawning, and closing her eyes.

I slipped out the kitchen door, kept my head down, and streaked for the outhouse.
I stopped halfway up the path.
Although it was a moonless night, to my surprise, I could see the rough path.

I looked up.  A million stars gleamed brightly,
and northern lights shimmered in red and green curtains rippling in the sky.
I turned around and saw the aurora's reflections moving on the surface of Lac Seul, 
and a cloudy band of light, the Milky Way, glowed toward the south.

The Milky Way (left) and the Glow of Northern Lights (right)
Algonquin Park in North-Central Ontario, Canada
September 2014
Flickr ~ Malcom Park   License

I raced up to the outhouse wondering if a bear was lurking about.
The good thing about an outhouse in the middle of night
in the middle of the bush is that you can leave the door open.

I remember debating with myself:
Is it better to leave the door open so I can see a bear coming?
Is it better to close the door so the bear can't see me in the outhouse?

Beauty won.  I sided with the open door.

The stars and aurora weren't the only lights.
Hundreds of fireflies winked on and off
in the rough fields around our dark cabin and the Garrick's dark home.

The enchantment of the warm summer night lured me out to a grassy patch on the hill
where I sat down and drank in the beauty of the stars, the northern lights, and the fireflies.
The aurora teased me with dancing shafts of red and green
that reached for me on the hill, pulled up, and dove for me again.
The light spoke to me in crackles and buzzes and held me in its elemental spell.

I might have sat there till dawn outshone the aurora,
but crazy laughter broke out on the water near the fish house,
answered by quavering laughter across the cove.
Other voices erupted in eerie wails and shrill yodels,
raising the hairs on my arms and sending a chill down my back.

I froze where I sat and stopped breathing;
then I realized what I was hearing:
the haunting voices of loons calling to each other on the water.
I had heard loons before, but never such a variety of calls nor in the middle of the night.

Night Loon
Algonquin Park in North-Central Ontario, Canada
September 2014
Flickr ~ KSI Photography   License

Reluctantly I stood and walked back to our dark, stuffy cabin,
tiptoed past my sleeping mother and Gretchen,
and scrambled up into my bunk in our crowded bedroom.

Two nights before I had fallen to sleep in Lansdowne House.
One night before a pervert had molested me in a train car full of people.
This night I heard the chatter of the northern lights and a chorus of loons,
in a place I had never heard of until we flew in earlier in the day.
It was a long time before the voices and images swirling
in my overwrought brain stilled, and I could escape into sleep.

Northern Lights, Canada
June 2013
Flickr ~ Dustin Gaffke   License

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Point Prim, Near Digby
Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


1.  Post Referred To:  TLL: Life Disrupted

2.  The Boys:
     Fritz (37) and John (22) Garrick, whose family cabin we were renting:  They were commercial
     fishermen on Lac Seul.

3.  Sioux:  Local people often referred to Sioux Lookout as "Sioux."

4.  The Milky Way:
      The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System.  The band of light we see is
      multitudes of stars that the naked eye cannot distinguish among.  Our galaxy is a barred spiral
      galaxy, and our Solar System is located within the disc about 26,000 light years from the
      Galactic Center.  Wikipedia

The Milky Way
Kilsyth, Ontario, Canada
September 2013
Flickr ~ Northern Lights Graffiti   License

5.  Fireflies (Lightning Bugs):
     These are winged beetles that uses bioluminescence to attack mates or prey.  Their light is a "cold"
      light with no infrared or ultraviolet frequencies.  The yellow, green, or pale red bioluminescence
      is chemically produced from the beetle's lower abdomen.  Wikipedia

You Tube ~ National Geographic

6.  Post Referred To:  The Pervert and the Sandwich Man

For Map Lovers Like Me:

Location of Two Point
Somewhere on Lac Seul
around the question mark 
Also Lac Seul, Sioux Lookout, and Lansdowne House
Northern Ontario, Canada

Lac Seul
Northern Canada
Google Maps  Map Data 2018

Lac Seul near Ear Falls, Ontario, Canada  2012

Friday, June 22, 2018

Where the Boys Are

Obviously, I didn't publish a northern post last night as I had hoped.

Peek-a-boo!  I See You!
Three Bucks Enjoying the Last Day of Spring
Along Piney Creek, Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
June 20, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I'm okay.
I just got carried away with getting our home ready to sell
in case we move to Arizona in the near future.
I keep forgetting that I am not twenty-eight or thirty-eight
and that I can't burn the candle at both ends.

I was feeling great and pushed too hard physically,
so my body reminded me that time has marched on carrying me with it.

On Wednesday I took a long walk in the open space along Piney Creek.
The riparian environment was green, fecund, and alive with birdsong,
the perfect antidote for a sore body and a tired mind.

Rampant construction in our area has banished the antelope 
and has displaced or strongly stressed other living things.
This spring I've been searching for the mule deer I've observed for years,
and I've found little evidence of them:
footprints crossing mud, a patch of flattened grass, stripped bones by the creek; 
so I was filled with delight when I discovered where the boys are.

On Alert in the Green Grass
Three Muley Bucks
Along Piney Creek, Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
June 20, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Three bucks with velvety antlers rested in cool and shaded grasses
near bullrushes in one of the marshy areas along Piney Creek.
I walked on and when I returned, they were stirring.

I've got my eyes on you, sister!
Three Muley Bucks
Along Piney Creek, Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
June 20, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

The mule deer and I parted ways and went on
about our business on a perfect afternoon.

I'm grateful for the foresight and funding that preserved this open space,
a refuge for wild animals and plants and for me.

Moving On
Three Muley Bucks
Along Piney Creek, Aurora, Colorado, U.S.A.
June 20, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

See you next time ~ older and hopefully wiser.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Lansdowne Letters: No Post This Week

So sorry, but I am unable to post this week.
It's had it's challenges.
I'll be back next week!

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Lansdowne Letters: An Artist at Work

Sometimes it is painful for me to read my father's words,
especially when he writes about dreams he didn't fulfill.
His year in Lansdowne House allowed him to paint,
and paint he did, like I never saw him before or after.

He and my mother both loved to paint,
but they rarely had time to indulge in their artistry.
The responsibility of raising five children, continuing their own educations,
and the demands of their careers crowded out most of their personal time.
I am always humbled by the sacrifices they made to realize their dream
of sending all five of us to Acadia where they had met in a Paul Jones dance.

My Parents at an Acadia Dance
(Dad has the black bow tie.)
Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada
Circa 1947
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

On Thursday, June 22, 1961
My father wrote to his mother:

I hope that the six pictures that I am sending you don't cause you too much trouble.
I sent them to you mainly because I wanted you to see
what I have been doing in the painting line.

I want you to do something for me, Mother.
I want you to enter these six pictures, and the one of the church
that I gave to you, in the art competition at Old Home Week.
You can find out how you go about entering the pictures in the exhibition.

The Little Log Church of England Church
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Painting by Donald MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Perhaps I am conceited, but I want to enter them all.
I just want to find out how they stack up against the work of other amateur painters.
Perhaps I won't win any prizes, although I think
The Nine Spruce Trees should win a first in any exhibition of amateur paintings.

I don't expect you to hang them in your living room,
for I know that you won't have the room.
Besides I wouldn't want you to have to take down
all your own pictures to make room for mine.
It would be different, if I was sending them to you to keep, but I am not.
I will want them all back in the fall, as soon as I am settled in Sioux Lookout.

I am going to continue painting, and when I have a selection of good paintings,
I am going to see if I can interest any commercial outlet
in handling some for sale on a commission basis.

What I said about another picture for your birthday still goes.
I will paint you one at Sioux Lookout.
If there is one in this group that particularly appeals to you,
and it isn't already promised to Sara or Roy, let me know,
and I would consider giving it to you, although I'd rather paint
you another because these are all sort of a matched set from Lansdowne House.

Besides, as I said before, I am anxious to build up an accumulation of paintings,
in case I ever do get a chance to sell some.
I would stand a better chance if I had a large selection.

Please let me know immediately what condition they arrived in,
and also let me know what you and the rest of the family think about them.
I guess I will have almost a little one man show of paintings from Lansdowne House, eh?

Whiteout on Attawapiskat Lake
My Favorite Painting of Dad's
which hangs in my living room
Fall of 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I haven't had any school in my school for the last two days,
because the electricians have been in wiring the school.
They finished today at noon, and I was going to have school at one thirty,
but on my way over, I upset the cotton pickin' canoe.

This is the second time I have done this since I came up here,
but at least the water was much warmer today.
I have acquired a reputation as a damned poor canoe driver.
The Indians all line up to see what difficulties I am going to get into next.

I don't know what happened today, for the water was dead calm.
I guess I just put too much weight on the paddle, one swish, and I was swimming.

This is the strip of water Dad crossed to get to and from his school.
(Note the bush plane at the Hudson's Bay Company dock.)
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Fall of 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Well, I must sign off now and get a letter off
to my deserted family on the Indian reservation.
Oh well, I will be with them in another eight days.
In fact, one week from tonight I'll be out in Nakina
catching the train for Sioux Lookout.

I wish that I could be on the Island sometime this summer,
but I guess that this will be impossible.
This move to Sioux Lookout will be quite expensive,
and I won't have too much to spare for gadding around.

I will have to buy quite a bit of new clothes for myself,
as my old ones have just about had it
Now that I have a job of this nature, I will be expected to dress quite well.

Poor Sally, I'll have to get lots of clothes for her also.
She has nothing but rags, and it will be important to have my wife well dressed also.
I am not, however, going to go hog wild or anything like that.
I am just going to buy what is absolutely necessary.

Sally and Don MacBeath
at Their Honeymoon Cottage
Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, Early September, 1948
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Be sure and write me as soon as you receive the pictures.
I guess you may as well send your letters
in care of General Delivery, Sioux Lookout,
till I get a definite address in Sioux Lookout.

Don't send anymore to Lansdowne House.
No, the answer to this letter please send to General Delivery, Nakina,
and then all future letters to General Delivery, Sioux Lookout.

Bye Now,
Looking Toward the Father's Island
Dad canoed back and forth across the water at least twice a day.
A bush plane is pulled into the beach on the island.
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Photo by Father Maurice Ouimet
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

My father continued to paint for a few more years, 
but then the responsibilities of his teaching and administrative career
consumed too much of his energy and time.

Sometimes I feel heartsick at the thought that when my father retired
he was so sick from emphysema and a missing lung
that he couldn't take up painting again.
Other times I take comfort in my memories of the pleasure he had when he did paint.

Whenever he painted, my father had an audience.
Roy and I watched keenly, looking over his hunched shoulders
as he whistled tunelessly
and sketched on his canvas with a soft charcoal pencil
or applied paint from his palette with broad strokes or fine, sure touches.

As Dad squeezed squiggles of paint onto his palette,
he would tell us their exotic names:
burnt umber, ultramarine blue, zinc white, and cadmium yellow.

Out of six or seven blobs of color Dad could mix an array of colors,
and he always warned us against using too much white when mixing colors.
He would add a little linseed oil to bind the paint
or a dribble of turpentine to thin it, and he was off and running.

Dad talked to us about line and perspective
and showed us the secrets of light and shadow,
answering our pesky questions
until his patience ran out and he shooed us away.

Playing with Color and Perspective
Winter on Attawapiskat Lake
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Painting by Donald MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Whatever my busy mother was doing, she would interrupt frequently
to evaluate my father's progress and to encourage him.

My younger sisters Donnie and Barbie stood back a little,
Donnie peeking shyly at Dad's canvas,
and Barbie watching Dad's brush strokes with a discerning eye.

As for toddling Bertie, we kept her well away from Dad and his painting.
The blobs of glorious color and the little tin pots
of linseed oil and turpentine enticed her tiny fingers,
a disaster waiting to happen if she succeeded in reaching Dad's palette.

I have many incredible memories of time spent with my father,
but surely watching him paint are some of the best.

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Point Prim, Near Digby
Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


1.  Paul Jones Dance:
     This a mixer dance that has several variations.  In Nova Scotia the women would form
     an inner circle facing out, and the men would form an outer circle facing in.  When the music
     started, the men would circle in one direction, and the women in the opposite.  When the music
     stopped, each man and woman facing each other would dance together, until the music stopped
     and the circles formed anew.

2.  Letter of June 22nd:
     I've included a few details from a similar letter my father wrote to his mother on June 17th.

3.  Old Home Week:
     Old Home Week has been celebrated in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, since 1888.
     It includes livestock shows, handicraft and produce displays, a midway carnival, and harness

4.  The Nine Spruce Trees:
     I wish I knew where this painting ended up.  Dad was very fond of it.  

5.  Dad's Other Dunking:   TLL: The Inevitable Happens.

6.  The Indian Reservation:
     Dad was referring to Two Point, Lac Seul where we were staying in a log cabin belonging to
     the Garrick family.
7.  The Island:
      Prince Edward Island

For Map Lovers Like Me:
Location of Lansdowne House, Nakina, and Sioux Lookout
Northern Ontario, Canada

Lac Seul
Northern Canada
Google Maps  Map Data 2018

To See a Photo of Lac Seul Click Here