Our friends Sarah and David bought a farm in Prince Edward County a year ago. It is called Noble Farm. It was owned by the Noble family who were apparently noble farmers. Their farm faces East Lake just up the road from Sandbanks Provincial Park. It is just beautiful. We look forward to seeing what becomes of the out building destined to become Sarah’s painting studio and also David’s dream of a market garden which is well under way. Thanks Sarah and David for showing us around your property and welcoming us to the county. We are sure that Noble Farm will remain just that in your care!
Archives for June 2014
Eenie, Meenie and Miney are chickens. They are beautiful Australorp chickens and they are possibly the most spoiled chickens we will ever know. Our friends John and Lily treat them with love, respect and devotion. Each morning Chef John prepares a delicious breakfast of chopped fresh parsley, tomatoes, steamed corn and meal worms. He tosses this dish like you would a salad. The chickens devour it. He has a special chicken prep kitchen in his studio. One day Lily came home with some groceries that included a watermelon especially for the chickens as a treat. And boy did they like it! John has built them what some of his chicken owner friends refer to as the Hilton of chicken coops. It is everything a chicken could want and more. We were very fortunate to be recipients of Eenie and Meenie’s eggs which were delicious and nutritious.
This visit has been a long time coming. Our friends John and Lily gave up city life nine years ago to transform what was once a rural Ontario abattoir into a modernist country home. They have painstakingly renovated a building that most of us would not have even contemplated. We intended to stay a night or two and stayed four nights. They were consummate hosts even organizing a get-together with other old Toronto artist friends, Brian and Evelyn. Brian and Evelyn also gave up city life to make a home and raise their daughter in Belleville.
John acted as tour guide one day showing us some of his favourite haunts in Prince Edward County. We enjoyed lunch at the County Cider Company overlooking the vineyards and lake. We visited his old workplace, Fifth Town Cheese, saw some of his restoration work at the Regent Theatre in Picton and met the lovely Kate and Jenny at Zest Kitchen Store also in Picton.
On Friday while John met up with some of his neighbours for a ‘chicken chat’ we visited a flea market in Bloomfield, Norman Hardie Winery and Rosehall Run Winery, had lunch at Tall Poppies in Wellington and then stopped in on our friends Sarah and David at Noble Farm. On the road leading to their farm we encountered a road block that included girls in bikinis. Christian insisted we stop! Turned out there was a very large snapping turtle in the middle of the road and the teens were afraid it would get hit by a car so first Christian to the rescue and then an older fella with a long carpenter’s level ultimately pushed it to safety. Boy was it angry! That evening we were invited to Games Night at the Athol Community Centre where we met John and Lily’s friends and community.
Van Morrison and Gibb was in esteemed company as John and Lily have a Raycraft 1950s era trailer complete with full size kitchen and a working porcelain toilet. Our home on wheels felt a little wanting after seeing this gem of tourist travel.
We are grateful to John and Lily for inviting us to enjoy their home and amazing property. The great food, wonderful company, late nights and fresh air made this #folkstop really memorable. But one of the most endearing aspects of this stay was getting to spend time with John and Lily’s chickens – Eenie, Meenie and Miney. More on them in the next post!
We left Toronto, the home of our family, friends and our STUFF a week ago. These are the last faces we saw as we rolled off down Gilmour Avenue. By the time we roll back into town at the end of August they will be well and truly ensconced in university life… Kenzie at Cornel in Ithaca, NY and Jack at University of Victoria in BC. We’ll miss you two cuties but don’t worry we’ll visit! That’s the best part about having a home on wheels.
We couldn’t leave Ontario without visiting our dear friends Nobuyo and Michael and their son, Hermann one more time. And so we spent a couple of nights at Eigensinn Farm. As always we had way too much fun. The visit was punctuated by a turkey named Joe and one of the dearest women in the world, Nobuyo’s mom, who we all refer to as Okka. In between there were the curious drop-by city dwellers wanting to check out the farm and the chef, a trip to buy feed for the animals, a little fishing on Pike Lake to catch a pike as an arrival treat for Michael’s mother-in-law, Okka, and some laundry.
Michael inherited a pet turkey last year who goes by the name ‘Turkey Joe.’ This turkey is large. He is persistent. He follows or circles you while making the sound of an opening and closing umbrella. In short, he is intimidating. Because he chooses to chase and bite most women on the bum we have the impression that he is attracted more to men. He seemed to develop quite an attraction to Christian this visit. There are a few photos here which illustrate his amorous affections but the photos do NOT accurately describe the situation we witnessed that evening. It was a little gross to be honest. And I did suggest that Christian should shower before retiring to our bed in the van for the night.
As for Okka, she arrived from Okinawa, Japan on the second evening of our visit. This is a journey that is roughly 24 hours door to door, probably longer. She is 80ish and has made this journey on her own for the past few years. She arrived full of good cheer and with suitcases full of goodies like seaweed, octopus (caught by her son), sea snails, spicy artisanal crackers, Awamori (Okinawan Sake), Mos Burgers for Hermann and much more. We are always so happy to see her and were delighted to be able to see her before we left on our journey. She will be here for the next couple of months gardening, ironing and helping out at Haisai and Eigensinn. It is easy to see where Nobuyo gets her good humour, love of family and friends, generosity and desire to feed everyone that enters her home. We hope her stay is as wonderful as always and with an excess of Oh Henry bars (a secret pleasure she discovered last summer).
We will miss our friends!!!
This visit has been a long time coming. Our friends Lise and Steve the Potter (yes, Steve is a talented potter! and so named by our mutual friends, Michael and Nobuyo) have extended invitations to visit their home countless times over the years and we finally accepted their most recent gracious offer. They recently moved into a new home in the village of Red Wing where they enjoy a really incredible view of the Beaver Valley. They basically live in the Tuscany of Ontario. We walked through their soon to be dripping with apples orchard, enjoyed the view from their deck while barbequeing and then were treated to a delicious meal while watching the bats flit to and fro outside the dining room as the sun dipped into the horizon. Once again we were offered a bed, this time a king size with a view of the Valley and our own bathroom. How could we resist, seriously?! We slept long and well. When we awoke it was Father’s Day and Steve and Lise were struggling with the assembly of two Muskoka chairs… so, the other father helped with assembly after which the fathers sat on the deck in the assembled chairs to drink Lise’s special smoothies while enjoying the sun and landscape. On this gloriously beautiful summer day we walked the country roads, down to the river, through the hamlet, up a highway and back to their lovely home for a beautiful brunch. Thank you so much Lise and Steve, Gibby (the dog) and Stretchy Pants/Sketchy (the cat)! When we once again have a home ‘not on wheels’ we would love to attempt to repay your hospitality!
We left Amherstburg, making a quick stop at the Mailloux’s farm stand on Alma Street to buy some fresh asparagus and cucumbers for our hosts – Elia and Margot. We then made our way to the royal city** of Guelph, Ontario where they now make their home at the intersection of Neeve and Toronto Streets. Elia and Margot slaved away in advance of our visit and prepared a very delicious dinner for us comprising of pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw and grilled asparagus followed by ice cream topped with rhubarb compote while we watched a sign-painting documentary. We had planned on sleeping in the van parked in their driveway but alas we were offered a room with a comfy mattress which we happily accepted. (We decided that if we are offered a bed during our travels we will accept.) Also, the temperature went down to the single digits during the night! After a great night’s sleep Elia made us coffee to kickstart the day and then we all paid a visit to the Guelph Farmer’s Market which is reason enough to choose to live in Guelph. After that we walked over to the Carden Street Bistro for a really delicious brunch, saw where Margot works (Rawlicious), shopped for some essential licorice at the Dutch Toko shop, collected our things back at their house and prepared to hit the road again. We had such a lovely visit. Elia and Margot are royally good hosts. We can’t wait to visit again soon.
** The name Guelph comes from the Italian Guelfo and the Bavarian-Germanic Welf. It is a reference to the reigning British monarch at the time Guelph was founded, King George IV, whose family was from the House of Hanover, a younger branch of the House of Welf.
After picking up and moving Harriet’s new big girl bed on Sunday (with Annie and Harriet) Harriet spent some time exploring Van Morrison and Gibb. She quickly made herself comfortable (once the van was parked and not moving!) by sitting on a pillow and covering herself with an alpaca blanket. Afterwards she looked through all the cabinets and fridge quite thoroughly, reorganizing as she saw fit. She was especially fond of the fridge – putting things in, taking things out; not all of these things normally reside in a fridge ie. socks. She did some sweeping, pretended to drink tea from a tin mug, bossed her Grampy around, entertained us to no end.
What everyone knows is this: on May 9th we sold and moved out of our home in Toronto. What you may not know is that Julie’s sister Tina and her husband Mark cleared out and painted Jakob’s (our nephew) old bedroom so that we could move our furnishings into this room. Our bed, bedside tables and lamps, dresser, bookshelf and even a couple of large photos that hung in our living room and dining room now fill this room. Because of their exceptional generosity we have a pied-a-terre in Toronto filled with our own personal comforts. For a month they have allowed us to be a daily part of their family life. We have had the great fortune to be entertained every single day by our one-of-a-kind funny as-all-get-out, smart and über talented golfing nephew; to tag along to three pre-prom parties and to be part of our drop-dead gorgeous niece Mackenzie’s high school prom; to celebrate said niece’s 18th (wow! how did that happen already?!) birthday; to enjoy numerous family meals together; to spend really special time together. Thank you Tina, Mark, Mackenzie and Jakob – we love you!!
Julie’s Dad: we spent five days in May at his house in Amherstburg cleaning, fixing and transforming the van. This meant taking over the dining and living rooms which were essentially transformed into a factory/ sewing sweat shop. Dad was unfazed. He has happily provided us with quality and dependable storage for our valued belongings. Thank you for your patience and for being so easy going. We love you!
Most of our belongings are in a storage facility. The rest are, aside from Dad’s in Amherstburg and Tina and Mark’s house in Toronto with our friends – Lori and Dave, Erica and George, Mike, Liz and Kieran. Thank you all – what would we do without you?! Hopefully you can enjoy some of the items you are so kindly storing in our absence!
Last week Julie enrolled in the shifters.ca course with her amazing instructor Carlos. My eyes filled with tears as she tore off in the little red sportscar which I learned upon her return has 6 speeds AND reverse! We’re really excited to get Julie behind the wheel of the Westy and this is the best way to do it! We drove to the West Toronto neighbourhood of Baby Point, a swanky neighbourhood of mansions; private tennis clubs and most importantly quiet carless streets. Julie did amazingly as she navigated the polo shirts and BMWs. I’m a proud, proud, backseat driver. I love you Julie.