Today is November 1st and it has been exactly 2 months since we first arrived on Honey Grove Farm. 60 days of hard work, of inspired conversations, of hearty laughs, some honest tears, not to mention a few good fights. All in all, I think we are hanging in pretty well. Our home is finally unpacked and at long last we know where things like dictionaries and lightbulbs live. I have got the hang of fire lighting and kindling chopping. Mark has perfected his bread baking style.
And, he has finally had a full day to brew his first batch of All-Grain Beer. He set to work early in the day, on a misty morning, like a kind of mad scientist. When I looked out the window, whilst sipping my morning tea, I saw him squatting next to a vat of bubbling liquid with a test tube. He was wearing a grey toque and it appeared as though he had created some kind of outdoor chemistry lab.
It wasn’t long before the smells of simmering hops were drifting across the yard and steam was rising up into the fir trees overhead. If all goes well, he will have created a double IPA, and it will be ready for tasting in just 6 short weeks. If not, we will be calling it a learning experience, and adding to the long list of other things that have not necessarily turned out, since we set out on this dream. eh eh eh. However, I think I must tell you, that I have faith in the former, as Mark has rather a knack for brewing. I am convinced it is some kind of ancient British knowledge that flows through his blood. That he has tapped into some sort of ale making ancestral wisdom. Whatever the case, good friends the world over can vouch for his ability to create tasty ales.
I must admit I was skeptical when he first told me about his plans to brew beer in the back shed. As you know, I grew up in a small town, where everybody’s dad had a corner of the shop dedicated to “home brewing.” Mostly these “home-brews” were thin, slightly carbonated swamp water type beverages, that tasted as green as the plastic bottles they came in. Green was the color of the bottle and green was the color of the consumer after said bottle. Believe me, many of my teenage nights were spent throwing up my friend’s dad’s homebrew. Understandably, I was worried when Mark wanted to spend his time in a shed making “homebrew.” However, after two years of being the chief taster of Mark’s fine Ales, I can safely say, my fears have been put to rest. If ever you find your way to our farm, you must try one of his marvelous brews. I can assure you, it is a very lovely way to spend an evening, sipping a rich dark ale, by a warm bright fire, under a country sky.
What else have we been doing, other than getting pissed whilst stirring vats of booze under fir trees (just kidding). Well, it seems we are back to one of our least favorite tasks….that is, the picking and stacking of stones. Yes, we are currently clearing and leveling a place to build our greenhouse and there are a number of stones sitting upon that bit of earth that need to be removed. We now understand the term, “back-breaking labour.” Today we lifted and piled stones for 4 long hours. We edged our vegetable garden and we assured one another that we were making a difference. I am not sure that we did make a difference, but surely it’s our efforts that count. In some ways, these days, my dedication to making a difference in the world is being satisfied more and more in my own backyard. I have relegated my “change the world” signs to the back shed and have decided to start with my own life.
We have also been getting our orchard ready for planting. The planting will not happen until spring, but there are loads of things to do now. A location has been cleared, the tall grasses cut down and Mark has spread 500lbs of lime onto the earth to feed the soil and create the perfect ph for fruit tree happiness. He looked rather like snowman after he was all done.
Our other major dedication is getting our guest cottage up and running. We have our first guests booked in for Dec. 3rd. Slowly it appears to be coming together, the furnishings have been chosen, rich warm and inviting fabrics…the kitchen is ready for the chefs of the world, the bed is a nest of feathery softness…there are a number of books that now line the shelves and there are games to play, and all sorts of other surprises. I will tell you more about this soon.
Yes, 2 months have gone by in the blink of an eye. Each day never seems to be long enough to get everything done that needs doing, but then again, if the day didn’t end, we wouldn’t stop, and that surely would finish us off before long.
This weekend we leave our country home for a few days to put on our city clothes. It is my book launch on November 4th, and so we are heading to the urban center of Vancouver to sip red wine and nibble on cheese. We may need to scrape the manure off our boots, and clean the dirt out from under our fingernails, but nothing a good soak in a hot bath won’t fix. The book is called Moon Mysteries and it has been a labour of love. It is a book written for women, that is dedicated to reclaiming the sacred cycles of the moon and menstruation. It is a book that follows the seasons and cycles of a woman’s life in relationship to that of the earth. It is also beautifully illustrated by a very talented artist. If you want to know more go here.
Otherwise, here is wishing you a delicious day. May you be warm and happy. Thanks for being out there, it helps.