a visit with farmer marn

i recently met marnie at the barn where i ride once a week. we were chatting in the tack room, and as we polished our bridles after our lesson this week, i mentioned that my boys were growing and selling herbs this year as a small business endeavour. she suggested we come and visit her on her farm, and take any extra herbs she might have.

i took her up on her offer, as we would be in the area today and had some time before picking up our daughter from work. we spent about an hour this afternoon visiting her 50-acre property.

she showed us around. 3 empty paddocks now growing hay, plus more acreage at the back, leased to farmers. the original barn housing 2 horse stalls, once home to horses but now empty. she was sad about that. the barn was rebuilt more recently by mennonites. an apple orchard. bee hives. a lovely little herb and veggie garden, accessed through a wooden gate. perennial flowers and landscaping around her 1850 home. the home which she has improved on over the years, transforming it from “condemned and derelict” to a charming and inviting home echoing the character of its original features. you could hardly tell the new parts of the house from the old. covered porch. exposed beams. dormer bedroom. country kitchen. original plank flooring.

i can only imagine how much time, thought and care went into its transformation. never mind the cost. never mind the upkeep.

she showed us around her garden, giving us tarragon, italian onion, lovage (tastes like celery), lemon balm, chives, dill, ferns and i can’t remember what else. she also shared her knowledge of the various plants, their history, the soil. she shared her thoughts on rural living and how it has changed over the years. about farm corporations taking over without consideration for the land. taking. depleting. moving on to the next farm. and yet she remains, as she said she will until something pulls her away.

we took a photo in front of her home. you’ll have to imagine it, as it feels too personal to share here. she is standing there smiling, holding a pot of transplanted herbs, my sons next to her, the older one holding a trowel, the younger one holding a large spade (which the older one complained about wanting to hold. it never ends with siblings, does it.) … and the large black dog, max, somewhere in the shade of the trees behind them. her home, lovingly restored, as a backdrop. we joked that it was a little american gothic. but happier. *camera click*

the new herbs are now snug in our garden beds.

thanks for sharing with us, farmer marn.

Lovage - a perennial herb brought here by pioneers, very similar in taste and smell to celery. a little more spicy.

Lovage – a perennial herb brought here by pioneers, very similar in taste and smell to celery. a little more spicy.

Posted in canadiana, green thumb, thinking out loud, you made it so | Leave a comment

snow in june

a little bittersweet isn’t it? the first day of summer marks the longest day of the year. so hooray for summer’s arrival! but you better enjoy every moment, because tomorrow, the days get incrementally shorter and shorter, collectively dragging the northern hemisphere towards a long and bitter winter. (can someone get me a drink? my cup is half empty it seems)…

speaking of winter, the other day i had to do a double take. i was hiking along a trail with my pup [insert gratuitous puppy photo here, who isn’t much of a puppy anymore]…

when i came across what looked like snowdrifts on the ground…

it is actually “fluff” most likely from cottonwood and poplar trees. some trees just drop their seeds below them, but some seeds need sun to germinate and will not grow in the shade of their parent’s canopy. so these pretty, fluffy things are a rather ingenious way to carry the seed far away, floating great distances on a breeze.

today also happens to be father’s day. happy father’s day to all the dads who raise their children to rise above and reach the greatest distances in life.

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and the winner of the craft fail book giveaway is…


thanks to everyone who entered!

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is this thing on? (an announcement, giveaway, and a word or two about failure)

well folks. it has been a while. but my blog is finally fixed and i’m here with some exciting news. i believe it is every writer’s (and hence blogger’s) dream to be forever immortalized in print. yes, it has finally happened to yours truly. i have been written about in a book with its very own ISBN!

here it is, see?

what? oh. you want to see the actual book?

well, never mind that. that’s just superfluous, and i don’t want to be flaunting my fame. just take my word for it. in a nutshell, the published tome expounds on my virtues as a talented craftard (that’s the combination of the words crafter+wizard). it will be available in libraries forevermore for future generations to reference and glean my creative wisdom and knowledge.

what do you mean “show the book already”? haven’t we built a trust over the years, you and i? you don’t need to actually see the book to believe it do you?

ok, ok. no need to get all unsubscribey on me, bossy boots.

if you must know, i’ll share the book.

you see, after years of sharing all of my crafting successes, my life’s work has been forever immortalized for…failure.

and to add insult to injury, the book’s author, heather mann, sent me an extra copy to give away. like this is something i want to actually share with the world.

(i really don’t get it. ONE disaster. ONE bad idea gone horribly wrong amongst hundreds of incredible, inspiring creations, and IT is the one that gets published!)


all kidding aside, because this is serious stuff folks… i am thrilled for heather’s new book, and tickled that my failed craft submission was included amongst other spectacular failures. the book, like the craft fail website, is a funny, often cringe-worthy look at how our good crafty intentions can go horribly wrong. and ultimately (this is my favourite part) it is a reminder that failure is an intrinsic part of the creative process. thank you heather, for celebrating this process and for reminding us that we’re not alone when our creations don’t go quite as planned…or don’t look quite the same as those photos on pinterest promised.

to be entered into the draw for this book, please comment below before march 1st 2015 (include your email, it will not be published — unlike my craft failure, which was published in all its glossy, full-colour glory). you can tweet about it, share it on Facebook, jump through all those hoops other bloggers make you do to enter their giveaways, but it won’t get you any more chances to win. sorry. this is how i roll here at i made it so, you should know this by now. i’ll choose a name at random and announce the winner here eventually. i may decide to send the book to the winner too. if i must.

Posted in books, featured! | 12 Comments

final harvests and collecting seeds

harvesting the last of the veggies these days, and collecting the seeds for next year.

autumn arrives tomorrow.

there is something very satisfying about the cycle of things and all that this season brings.


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Posted in green thumb | 4 Comments