Farm Warming

The day of the Farm Warming dawned very wet. But the weather up here changes very quickly and by lunch time, the sun was out and the weather was perfect for an outdoor party!

People started arriving before 1 pm and kept coming and going for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I rented 2 portable restrooms for the event as I knew my septic tank wouldn’t be able to handle 100+ people. My Amish neighbour Marianne baked all the mini butter tarts and pies the day before, and I had helpers that Saturday to help prep vegetables for appetizers. We blanched 10 lbs of local asparagus (around 200 stems!), sliced up prosciutto from one of the meat vendors at the Keady market, diced up feta cheese, minced chives and green onions and grated cheddar cheese. Then, after the Saturday day visitors/helpers left, I started my 5 double rolling batches of honey oatmeal bread. Luckily for me, each batch only requires about 2 hours of rising in total, so I did take the last set of loaves out of the oven by 10 pm. While all this food prep was going on indoors, Robb dressed all the tables in the barn and the drive shed so they’d be ready for the next day.

A basket of biodegradable cups for drinks.

On Sunday, all the appetizers were assembled. I prepared 5 appetizers, a cucumber, feta & grape tomato skewer/stack, asparagus with spicy prosciutto, homemade honey oatmeal bread with honey butter and an assortment of Ontario cheeses, mini butter tarts from my neighbour, and mini cheddar and chive scones.

Cucumber, feta & grape tomato skewers on a tray of hosta leaves

I saved baking the cheddar and chive scones for Sunday as they taste best the day they’re baked. Some people arrived in the midst of the baking, so they got to get scones straight from the oven!

Cheddar & chive mini scones

I led guests on a tour of the barn, drive shed, animal yard and vegetable plot.

Tour in front of the 3/4 acre vegetable field, at the time, planted with carrots, parsnips, beats, beans, salad mix, spinach, tomatoes, hot peppers, peppers & eggplant.

The front of a tomato row, starting with the heirloom variety ‘Black Krim’.

The tour ended with the house as I especially wanted people to see the newly renovated guest suite, so they knew they’d have a comfortable stay on future visits!

The newly renovated guest room…yes, it’s the same room as in previous posts where I was insulating and drywalling.

Around 3:30ish (I think…I didn’t really keep track of time that day), we all gathered in the barn for the informal farm blessing. Jen and Victoria from my Mississauga church, MCBC, led us in singing 3 songs in our Chinese baptist church tradition, and then I read ‘Two Tramps in Mud Time’ by Robert Frost. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have read the whole poem as it’s not that short. The clincher is the last stanza:

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed every really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

Anyone who’s received some sort of handcrafted gift from me over the years probably has that stanza written somewhere on their gift. It’s been a favourite ever since I discovered it while reading Madeleine L’Engle books. It pretty much sums up the reason why I started on this farm quest and am continuing on this journey into farming.

Everyone gathered in the barn for the farm blessing.

After the farm blessing, I gave another tour of the farm and a bbq dinner was served, courtesy of Andrew and bbq help from the Barnabas fellowship from MCBC.

Three table top grills on the go with burgers, wieners, ribs and chicken wings!

People relaxing over dinner in the yard between the barn and the drive shed.

Amish pies for dessert!

The weather held for the entire event, and we did start a bonfire and roasted marshmallows and made some S’mores. All in all, the day turned out beautifully!

Thank you to all those who came to the farm warming! And a special thanks to all those who helped with prep and throughout the day 🙂 I hope that everyone got a glimpse of what life out here is like and understand a bit better what I’m trying to do here.

This is the story of my journey into sustainable agriculture. From the streets of downtown Toronto, to the farm land of southern Ontario, I hope to discover the techniques and practices that work for me in both mind and heart.

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