October 27, 2008
Home and Away
Home and Away: More Tales of a Heritage Farm by Anny Scoones
Nonfiction - Autobiography/Essays
2006 TouchWood Editions
Finished on 10/15/08
Rating: 3/5 (Above Average)
Home And Away: More Tales of a Heritage Farm follows Anny Scoones' popular and best-selling first book, Home: Tales of a Heritage Farm that introduced readers to the historic Glamorgan Farm.
In Home and Away, Anny presents more stories about the joys and sorrows, excitements and mishaps, of living on the farm. She also takes readers farther afield, sharing with them her travels to other parts of Canada, to New York and to such places as Malaysia and Belarus. Her travel tales offer not only her keen observations on what she sees and experiences while away, but also her perspective from afar on the importance of having a place to return to that truly is home.
Anny has owned Glamorgan Farm since 2000. Located in North Saanich, B.C., it's one of the original farms and homesteads on Vancouver Island, established in 1870 by Richard John. She is restoring the historic structures and raising heritage breeds of livestock. The front meadows are gardened by an herb gardener and a group of mentally challenged adults who grow organic, heirloom varieties of flowers and produce.
Anny writes candidly and colourfully about real things, from visits with her family (she is the daughter of internationally acclaimed artists Molly Lamb Bobak and Bruno Bobak) to simple pleasures like arranging bowls of pears and hearing the owls in the woods at dusk. She writes about making bonfires, sitting with a dying horse, playing with a 700-pound sow and visiting the SPCA. Some of her tales are told with humour, some in sadness, but all tell the truth about living, observing and creating, whether at home or away.
ANNY SCOONES is a second-term councillor for the District of North Saanich, B.C., with a special interest in heritage and agriculture preservation; parks, trails and cycling paths; and architectural design and planning. She has a B.Ed. in history from the University of Victoria and a Diploma of Humanities in philosophy. At the time of writing, Anny had seven cats and four dogs, all from the SPCA. She continues to ride her Russian woolly horse, raise rare Gloucester Old Spot pigs and collect eggs from her many breeds of hens. Her greatest pleasure is to sit down by the fire in the living room, surrounded by books, candles, flowers, art, bowls of fruit and happy dogs, to think and enjoy being at home.
Last summer while vacation in the San Juan Islands, I decided to buy a few books from the local section of the bookstores we visited rather than some knick-knack or unnecessary souvenir. I fell in love with Tanner's Books in Sidney, B.C. and spent a long time roaming the aisles in search of just the right book to remind me of our holiday. With all the books I had waiting for me at home, I knew I didn't want to get something I could buy at my local B&N. I wanted a book written by an author from the region. My eye was immediately drawn to the gorgeous cover on Anny Scoones' Home and Away: More Tales of a Heritage Farm, and my search was over. Not surprising to many, this book wound up sitting on one of our living room tables for well over a year. The cover art is so pretty that I kept the book out to see any time I walked by on my way upstairs. Earlier this month, I decided the time had come. It would be just the sort of book I knew I'd need to have with me on another trip. A book of essays into which I could fall easily after a long, stressful day.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book, but I'm afraid it's not the sort that should be read from cover-to-cover. I got a bit bored with the writing and might have enjoyed it more had I read an essay or two every week or so. Nonetheless, I'm glad I finally got around to reading it and will return it to that living room table where I can have a bit of spring in the coming months of a long cold winter.
No remarkable passages to quote, but I thought I'd include a short snippet from the author's introduction:
The tradition of having my parents, Bruno and Molly Bobak, illustrate my writing continues. Mum and Dad were Canadian war artists, uniformed, and are now living in Fredericton. Dad sketches the New Brunswick countryside, often on some grassy riverbank, and Mum, her eyes failing, paints watercolours of flowers from their garden. Here on Glamorgan Farm, much of their art hangs on the walls of the old farmhouse (originally the farm workers' lodgings), and some of it is shared with you in this book.
I have bequeathed Glamorgan Farm to North Saanich as a heritage park although, as the years go by, I'd like to share its goodness sooner rather than later, and I hope my books assist me in this endeavour. Some of the stories in this book venture farther from home; they are memories of past homes and journeys. Others are stories inspired by this dear, weathered farm, which, in its gentle way, seems to provoke so many reflections on nature and the human spirit.