BASTION MOUNTAIN RANCH - TALES OF A FARM FAMILY


My family lived on a Ranch full time from 1993 until 2015. We were a 5th generation family farm.
I am writing this blog to share my experiences living there. It is best to read the blog chronologically by going through the archives, starting with the introduction in January of 2010.
The blog starts with the arrival of my great-grandparents to the farm in 1947 and will follow the families to the present.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The newlyweds set sail

The newly weds left for their honeymoon on September 29 1962.  This was the very beginning of the jet era and liners were still the dominant form of travel.  By the late 1960s the great liners of the day were supplanted by airliners.  The liners responded to the competition by becoming cruise ships offering more generous cabins and other amenities.  Travel to New Zealand was offered by the P&O Orient Lines, the flag ships being the Oriana and the Canberra.  They were the largest ships placed on the route by any shipping line of any nationality.  Travel to Australia and the Far East had not yet received much competition from airliners due to the great distances involved.  The trip to New Zealand took between 21 to 28 days.
The Oriana
The Canberra

Eddy found the ship to be very small and the trip long.  The weather was not inspring and Betty was sick most of the time.  Eddy was never skilled in the art of doing nothing and not an avid reader so the voyage would of been tedious.  He reported that there was not much space on the decks but did find the drinks to be cheap and the cigarettes about half the price.

Eddy trying to relax, most likely on the deck of the Canberra

The trip was relieved with two ports of calls, Honolulu and Fiji.  This was Eddy's first long departure from the farm since he arrived on the Ferme Fleur de Lys at 18 years of age, for over 12 years he had been living on the ranch.  The newlyweds spent almost a year in New Zealand.  Eddy was given work in a meat packing plant which, according to his sister, he did not like at all.  He never lost his interest in the activities on the ranch; asking after the animals and the various projects underway.  There was a lot of interest in the progress the government was making on the road and where the blasting was taking place. Eddy had a fondness for blasting; the sudden transformation of the landscape that would take place with a detonation.  The other compelling interest was how far down the road the power had made it's way as the home on the ranch was still on it's own power plant which was causing some trouble.  There were reminders to close gates and drain water pipes and concern as to the whereabout of the cows.  The cows were still on open range and would wander far up Bastion Mountain, slowly making their way down to the barns as winter drew near. 


The first snow fall usually would bring the cows off Bastion Mountain and home for the winter

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Recipe for Dandelion Wine

I have translated from French the infamous dandelion wine that presided at Eddy and Betty's wedding. The recipe is from Renee's collection.  The original copy of the recipe was cut up by my daughter who wanted to make a snowflake from it when she was about five years old.

Dandelion Wine
One litre of dandelion flowers (the flowers have to be cut before they go to seed otherwise they make the wine bitter)
5 litres of water
1/2 kilo of raisins
6 cups of sugar
one lemon cut into little pieces
2 oranges cut into little pieces

Prepare three days in advance: 1/4 kilo of raisins in 1 litre of warm water, keep for three days in a warm spot.

Put the dandelion flowers in a big pot and add the water.  Boil for 10 minutes. When the flowers have boiled I pass the liquid through a cheesecloth or very thin cotton into another pot.  While the liquid is still warm I add the raisin mixture that was prepared three days in advance and all the rest of the fruits and ingredients.
Stir the mixture once a day for 15 days.  Then let the mixture rest for 2 days before putting it into bottles.
Do not close the bottles too tightly right away or they could burst.  Let the wine rest one or two months then use a siphon to take the residue from the bottom. This can be repeated if necessary.  After put the wine in bottles.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Signs of the Times

The original farm house was abandoned around the time of Carlo's death.  Caroline, Renee, Gus and Eddy moved into another cabin on the property and this eventually became Gus and Renee's house.  It was this house that received the improvements of electricity, running water and a furnace.  Over time the original farm house sank into the ground until Eddy eventually pushed it over with the bulldozer and it was burnt.
 Work begins on transforming the cabin into a house.

 The cabin became a three bedroom house with a full basement and attic. 


The "Naef" house would stay exactly like this with very few changes over the years until 2001 when my brother, David, moved to the farm.  The house was then transformed into a post a beam style with the generous assistance of Gus and the labour of friends, including my husband Brent who put in many volunteer hours. 
The houses on the farm adapted to the additions and departures of family members.  Eddy and Betty would require their own home, and a site was chosen at the opposite end of the farm.  They would start construction of the house soon after their honeymoon in New Zealand.