Posts filed under ‘country living’
Today is Family Day in Ontario and several other provinces of Canada. Steckle Heritage Farm, a heritage farm within Kitchener city limits, hosted a day for families to have fun and spend time together. I’ll tell this story from a preschooler’s perspective, for all the young children who visited there today.
Mommy and Daddy had a day off.
We put on our snowsuits and mittens and went to a farm. I waited to see the animals.
Grandma and Papa are coming too. We will see them there.
Matt says hello.
The big barn. Let’s go!
Mommy helped me make a bird feeder. We’ll put it in a tree to feed the birds.
My little sister wanted one too. We got a pine cone on a ribbon for her too.
We went outside again. The snow is deep.
I walked with Papa to see the ponies. My fingers were cold, so Grandma helped me to put on my mittens.
Mommy, Daddy, and my little sister found the ponies too.
The ponies were hungry. They wanted some lunch.
We went into the barn again. I wanted to see the animals.
Here are the bunnies. They wiggled their noses and stayed still.
A baby goat said hello.
More little goats. See, they have water. They need a drink.
A little calf having a rest.
A wooly sheep in his winter coat. Does it keep him warm?
Krista said, “Blossom sometimes grumbles,” and she made the sound.
Kala* showed us a black pig. We said hello. My sister liked him too.
And roosters too. They go cock-a-doodle-doo!
Walking in the snow. Little sister is getting tired.
One more game. Little sister puts the bean bags through the holes.
I play hula hoop.
Mommy says, “It’s time to go home.”
We walk to our car, but little sister is tired so Mommy carries her.
Bye, farm, we had fun!
@ Photos and text by C. Wilker
In February 2012, I attended the Steckle Farm Family Fun Event as a guest storyteller. Many things were planned: toboganning on the hills around the farm as well as seeing the animals. Only thing, there was little snow last winter. A few days before, we got snow, and those winter events could go ahead. The staff at the farm were delighted.
The sheep came close to the fence so the children could reach out and ruffle their heavy winter coats.
Two small children I happen to know were attracted to the bunnies in the barn.
The miniature ponies in their heavy winter coats
Staff member, Krista, leading the calf from the shelter
Fun on the hills with tobogans and sleds, then hot chocolate afterwards
And me, in between stories, with my coat on. Families kept coming and going at many intervals and the fireplace kept going out. It was so cold outdoors and in the Honey House
The heritage barn, parts of it date back over 100 years
Saturday Snapshot meme hosted by At Home With Books. Post a photo, suitable for all eyes, that you or a family member have taken. Link it to the hosting blog and then go and see all the other photos linked there.
It’s that gardening time of year when the markets are filled with fresh fruits and vegetables from people’s gardens and orchards. I love to go to market at this time of year and also pick produce from my own garden.
Today I posted over at Canadian Writers Who Are Christian about this very topic. Go and read my post there and also the posts of other Canadian writers. My title today is All Things Bright and Beautful.
Fruits of my garden
On Monday, February 20th, I was a guest storyteller at Steckle Heritage Farm for their Winter Fun Day. Though we haven’t had much snow, we were blessed with some just the day before so families were able to go tobogganing as well.
For more about Winter Fun Day, see http://storygal.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/steckle-heritage-farm-winter-fun-day-and-storytelling-too/
At Home With Books To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see.
This year Steckle Heritage Farm staff introduced a new celebration to their yearly events—Winter Fun Day. Family Day, February 20th, would be a good day to add a new celebration, staff thought, and while winter weather has been an “on an off affair” this year, the likelihood of having snow had to make them a little concerned. But it snowed after all. Matt Cook said when he saw the snow coming at 2 am on Sunday morning, he went outside to celebrate it. “I did a happy dance.”
Winter Fun Day was advertised as Old Fashioned Fun, going back and celebrating the simple joys. Steve Sinclair had the fire blazing in the hearth of the Honey House when I arrived.
The event was well attended with families, dressed in winter wear, showing up to go for rides down the hill in toboggans. They saw the animals, inside the barn and out, did some crafts, had hot chocolate and treats, and many came to listen to stories in the Honey House. The attendance far exceeded the staff’s expectations and a camera man was on hand from CTV to take some clips as well. You can see it here.
Here are some photos from that day, including a photo of me telling stories in the Honey House:
The miniature ponies
Krista Cressman-Buck (below) with Jasmine, the sheep…
…then leading Stanley, one of the calves, out of the shelter
Barn on Steckle Farm (below), some of which dates back to 1891 during the time of John and Esther Steckle, original owners of the farm
and a rooster too.
The Honey House, location of storytelling, is one of the stone outbuildings, part of the heritage features of the farm. Some of these buildings date between 1833 and 1845.
After months of writing and editing, submissions, waiting, and more editing, my book is out. Once Upon a Sandbox is a narrative in prose and poety about life on a family farm in the 50s and 60s.
If you’ve grown up in a rural area, you will identify with many of my family’s experiences. If you’ve grown up in a city or a small town, you’ll appreciate the need to work together to get essential chores done. You will laugh at the antics of children and pets, understand the ties of family, as well as learning about the challenges and rewards of living on the land. Come and join me on a voyage of memories.
I’ll post updates here as book signings and events are planned. For more information or to purchase a book, please contact me.
Our cookbook came off the press and was shipped last October; we had it in time for our family Christmas dinner in late November. And though most of the books had already been distributed, a good deal of buzz travelled around the room that day as people turned pages in a copy for the first time, as they leaned in together to point out their recipes, some of which had been used for our Christmas potluck dinner that day.
Our cookbook is more than a cookbook; it’s a piece of history. In it are photos of family groups, their children and grandchildren, all descendants of the late William and Ardena Herlick, my maternal grandparents. The gathering of material, pictures, recipes and stories took a great deal of time and extra prodding, but those who contributed are pleased, as are those who now have a copy.
My cousins and I thought a cookbook would a good way to record our history. The project took longer, as many do, and became more detailed than even I could imagine. But eventually, this writer, editor, and project manager, along with my most helpful assistant, Peggy, got the project together and off to press.
Even months after, I’m hearing, ” I like that recipe.” Then someone answering, “It’s in the cookbook.”
I’ve tried a few new recipes from the book too, some that have become new favourites. My mother, who has always enjoyed trying new recipes, is also delighted with the recipes and also for the history of her family that it represents, and that the project concluded in such a pleasing way.
My mother and her siblings grew up in the country on a farm in a time when money was often scarce, when their parents stretched every resource they had to feed and clothe their eight children, making the best use their large garden produce and the cattle, pigs and chicken they raised for food. The depression was a challenging time, but my mother said they were protected from many harsh realities of that period.
As a member of the next generation, I sought to frame much of what I had learned and that my cousins and I had experienced in our growing up years, values and learning that our parents passed on. As it relates to our gathering around the table for meals and times of celebration with one another:
“We recognized our blessings, one, that we have never gone hungry, but also that our family has been blessed with so many good cooks, men and women who know how to take good quality meat, fruit and vegetables and create a tasty meal, and a family who, when we gather as an extended family, fills the table with home-cooked goodness.” -from Introduction to More, Please!
The story is not over, of course; succeeding generations will write that part. Yet I hope, in time, they will take out their well-used copy of More, Please! and look at the pictures and stories once again, even if they choose to use only a few of the recipes within.
If you, the reader, should take on such a project, we wish you the best in your endeavour.
I borrowed Timothy Findley’s book From Stone Orchard from our local library.
It seems that both Findley and his friend Bill Whitehead were looking for a place in the country— away from the big city of Toronto where their careers had been focused, Findley’s in acting and beginning to write, and Bill’s in research biology and in acting, an interesting combination in my mind at least.
Findley opens the book with “We found it because we had lost our way.”
Lost? Who was lost? That made me want to read on. No longer was my research just research. It had become interesting reading.
Since Findley and Whitehead were starting new careers, they were looking for something “affordable” and found a real estate dealer whose definition of “affordable” met theirs. Since they could write just about anywhere, they bought a small acreage with an old house on a small farm near Cannington, Ontario.
They named the place Stone Orchard, due to the prolific crop of stones they harvested at every turn. As they tamed overgrown bushes, scythed the lawn down to a usual height, tore down old fences, they learned about the hard work of pioneers and original settlers when they arrived in that place. They also learned to appreciate that there were muscles they had never used after taking scythe in hand to cut the long grass around the house.
Findley’s writing style is definitely literary, but it’s also entertaining and beautiful prose. He writes about the changes to the house and the landscape around it, and how they have grown with it. “After twenty years or so, we came to live in the splendour of “After”— and it’s hard to know which we loved most.”
I could tell you more, but that would spoil the reading for you. Why not borrow it from your library and find out for yourself? Meanwhile back to the book which I now must finish reading.