Writer and Canadian farming enthusiast, Joseph Graham sent this reviews of the event that he and his wife hosted for Homesteading Education Month .
Last winter, when MOTHER EARTH NEWS first challenged us to hold a Homesteading Education Month event, we sent them a note announcing that we would participate, planning an Open House for Sept.15. It was a lark. MOTHER EARTH NEWS (MEN) was far away, and we were sure, Sept.15, would be a day like any other.
As soon as the magazine came out in the spring, we received our first inquiry from someone in Arundel. Then CBC radio called to learn more about us. When June Angus heard us talking about our plans on the radio and did a write-up for Main Street., we knew that MEN’s challenge was going to teach us something. Starting early in the morning of Sept.15, people began to arrive. Over the course of the day, we received over 60 curious visitors of all ages. I spent the day in the gardens, answering questions and learning from other gardeners, while Sheila tried to keep up with the jam, coleslaw, and paté tastings in the kitchen. Four loaves of her homemade bread were consumed, and both of us were so busy, neither of us had time for lunch.
Thankfully, Gaël Asorin and Sylvia Capitanio, a couple from Grenoble who are living in Montreal, came out for the weekend to help us receive people. Gaël is an engineer and Sylvia is in the process of becoming a cabinetmaker. They came to our place originally as wwoofers (acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), and have become good friends. They were also run off their feet for the day, but somehow managed to present us with a beautiful slideshow of the high points of the weekend. The video will soon be available on our website.
Among our visitors were three friends. The eldest of them was a woman experienced in Canadian farming, ninety-four-year-old Jean Cole, driving her car. At the other end of the age scale, Laura Young, who is home-schooling her children Kobe, Ella and Ava Craig. She arrived bringing another family. These children had the opportunity to exchange words with Emma and Tess McKenna. The children of Brian McKenna and Anne Lagacé Dowson, as well as with Olivia and Sofia Leiva, who came with their parents Rola Helou and Alex Leiva.
Getting to know all the new people in our gardens and house was only half the fun. The other half was learning and hosting some pretty serious gardeners such as Claudine Gascon and Charles Pelletier from Croque Paysage. We were also pleased to talk with Heather Jackson and Regan Moran, who started the farmers’ market in Morin Heights.
This was an experience to repeat. Sheila and I do intend to hold another homesteading and Canadian farming event next autumn. We are hoping to celebrate the harvest with all those Laurentian residents for whom a mindful life and real food are important.
Photo by Fotolia/Evgeniya Moroz