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.