Trying to maintain my alpha status with the dog

I’ve been trained by a puppy. He has me scheduled and orders me to do his bidding with a simple whine

Trying to maintain my alpha status with the dogThe Farmer has surpassed me as the alpha in this pack. How did it happen? I’m the one who gets up in the wee hours of the morning to let the Ferg out for his morning constitutional. I’m the one who feeds, bathes and plays with the dog. It’s me who … wait a minute.…

Wasn’t that a party?

A great time was had by all, as was evident by the stray pair of underwear discovered on the lawn by the pool the next morning

Wasn’t that a party?The Farmer and I exchanged vows on the farm 10 years ago this week. It was a blustery, warm day and chunky clouds hovered over our heads, providing dramatic photos and reminding us that life wouldn’t be without its storms. The rain held off until well after the dinner hour, when everyone was having way…

The new breed of chef is cooking with gas

The Farmer is already planning his next menu. It will likely be some candied meat dish – or meat stuffed with meat. Vegetarians beware

The new breed of chef is cooking with gasThe Farmer learned to cook when he was living with a bunch of other guys in university. His cooking style is rather eclectic. He combines things you wouldn’t imagine, like brown sugar and turnip, and his guests are usually pleasantly surprised with the taste. If we aren’t, we keep our opinions to ourselves. His meals…

The joyful Zen of a well-tended, bountiful garden

Having a garden has enriched our diet, our appreciation of the natural world, and our relationships with family, neighbours and guests

The joyful Zen of a well-tended, bountiful gardenIt’s funny what people who don’t grow their own vegetables and flowers think about those who do. Five years ago, when we cleared a patch of brambles and created our deer-fenced garden at Skelhp, visiting friends and family from the city were unanimous in their comments. “Wow – that’ll keep you busy!” “Will you get…

Small town things city folk just wouldn’t understand

We can run to the car or the clothesline in our underwear if necessary, and no one will notice if our husbands pee off the back porch on a summer evening

Small town things city folk just wouldn’t understandI once lived in Taipei, a city of four million people crammed into a space the size of Ottawa. In that environment, you develop certain customs and habits that are in line with sharing the earth and keeping the peace with your fellow city dwellers. You spend your days trying to carve out some quiet…

Dealing with mosquitoes, snakes, skunks (and chickens)

We often say we don’t need to go away to vacation because everything we need is right here. Unfortunately that includes the pests

Dealing with mosquitoes, snakes, skunks (and chickens)Our four-month-old golden retriever pup, Fergus, has a bee sting on his eyelid. For an animal that yelps every time he’s accidentally nudged, he’s enduring this latest assault without comment. We were on the way to the vet anyway, to get a shot. Seems he’ll have to be on Benadryl for a day or two…

Summoning up the courage for the biggest question of all

The room was silent. All you could hear was the puppy protesting his exclusion from the gathering. But my daughter knew this day was coming

Summoning up the courage for the biggest question of allHe’s been preparing for this moment for months. Just as he does before a championship match, the professional fighter plans ahead by marking the date and moving backwards on the calendar. Sometimes he has weight to lose to drop him into the next class. He often has skills to work on, muscle to build, reflexes…

The Farmwife’s confession: a gardener I am not

When I married the Farmer and he said he always had a vegetable garden, I bit off a little more than I could chew

The Farmwife’s confession: a gardener I am notAfter 10 years of marriage, I have decided it’s time to come clean. I’ve made a confession to the Farmer. For many years I have been doing something just to make him happy – because I thought it was part of what he expected in a farmwife. However, despite my feigned enthusiasm and efforts, I…

Fergus has a shocking experience in the barnyard

Our puppy was in the barnyard sampling disgusting delicacies and developed a digestive issue. I was up several times a night, changing puppy pads

Fergus has a shocking experience in the barnyardWhen our puppy Fergus first arrived on the farm, he was quite overwhelmed. All the sights, sounds and smells filled his senses and he spent hours sitting on the front porch, surveying his new kingdom. Occasionally, he would summon the nerve to hop down the big set of stairs that his little legs could barely…

Our farm a magnet for weary city people

People come to smell the honeysuckle, to hear the geese honking their way up the creek, to feed a cow an apple, and to nourish their souls with friends

Our farm a magnet for weary city peopleThe farm is a retreat for city people. It’s a place to try out your new rubber boots, go for a hike in the forest and get back to nature by feeding a cow an apple. At our farm on any given Sunday, you can fill your belly with home-cooked food, and nourish your soul…