I'm so sad tonight, very very sad.
As I stood and watered my as yet unplanted grape plants I thought of the funny little man who came to our farm 2 summers ago to buy our strawberries. He came because he read we were now "spray free" and he wanted our product.
He found we also had pickling cukes and he came back.
And then we couldn't get rid of him.
Mr. Ernie Scarbossa. A man with a life long love affair with food, gardening, cooking and preserving. A man who wanted to teach us all he knew as if he knew. He brought me his strawberry wine....truly scrumptious. He swore it was only possible because we were spray free. He brought me his bread and butter pickles. Instant love on my part. It is now part of my pickle season routine. His recipe. He brought pickles, zuchinni relish, anti pasto, garlic bread (never never had better....and he told me his secret - my lips are sealed - for now), chicken cacciatorie, red wine, cucumber relish....and he had so much knowledge to share. He had my mum and I up to his place to show us how to make his zuchinni relish and would barely let us do anything. He was very precise in how he cuts, brines, sterlizes and cans. He brings in California grapes every year and helped us start our own wine in the fall. He showed us how to put gouda cheese into the wine dregs and make some undescribably good cheese.....He gave us pointers in our garden and with our garlic. I entered some of his pickles in the fall fair; he won.
He has gardened his whole life and hated chemicals. He swore to me that one year his garden didn't grow because the compost he was given had herbicides in it....
He grew up and lived alone near us in the tiny town of Cumberland but recently moved because the strata wouldn't let him build a canning storage hut and wanted him to put away some of his tomatoes, rosemary and grapes from his front steps. He is 78 years old and never married.
Such a funny little man. So much knowledge to impart and sometimes so, dare I say it, annoying. We have a Scarbossa-ism in our house. We would say something like, "Do you think we should make some pickles?" And he'd say, "No! No! Let's make some pickles" And go into a long description of what we should do, how and when. Now when we are goofing around use his "No! No!......." - a positive negative....
He gave me some grape plants in the fall and I still hadn't planted them when he came to get his strawberries this year. (To my horror!)
He said he would be back on the first overcast day and we would plant them together.
He didn't come, I did wonder.
Today a mutual friend came with some very sad news....
He had an aneurysm between his knee and foot and had his lower let amputated. He was recovering nicely and with his positive outlook was looking forward to getting on his foot again. And then the superbug hit him. He is now lying in isolation in the Nanaimo Hospital fighting this antibiotic resistant bug that the HOSPITAL gave him. I am so scared that the outlook is not good. I am so angry.
Here are the pharmaceutical companies that he avoided his whole life coming to bite HIM in the butt. The feedlot animals being over medicated creating bugs that are going to be the death of us. So far they only take on the weak.
When is power, profit and the almighty dollar no longer going to be the motivation for government policy?
The sentence itself is an oxymoron. It's kind of like trying to think about where the universe ends...
Cheers Ernie, I am thinking of you - I hope you feel my love.