Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Fishing Adventure

It was about time I got out to the creek in the canoe, and made use of my fishing licence.  Ours might be called a waterfront property; we do border a creek, but the space between the fenceline and the shore is so dense with tall waterweeds, and so boggy, that only a rugged adventurist like myself would bother wading through it, dragging the canoe alongside in the little tributary that leads to the creek, scaling the beaver dam along the way.  I got into the canoe and paddled up to the creek and felt the exhiliration of being on the open water.  Not a soul around, just me and the vast winding waterway.  I admit, it's nearly still water, flowing so slowly you don't know which way is upstream, and the weeds are thick and get tangled in the paddle, but calm is wonderful, and there is a steady rotation of cranes and other water birds to bedazzle.

I cast my fishing line and waited, fiddled with the line, and managed to get it badly tangled.  I couldn't reel the line in, but, given how resourceful I am, I sort of grabbed it and pulled, swinging it back towards me when a fish finally bit, unhooked the fish, tossed it into the creek after seeing how tiny it was, and wondered what one does to find fish of a decent size.  I figured the lake on the other side of the highway might be better.  There is a culvert just tall enough to pass through if you duck, and just wide enough to manoever if you are very steady.  It is flush with spider webs, and I held out my paddle like a sort and swatted at them.  Some looked like black widows, longish legs and a smooth shiny body.  I came out the other side and swatted the big spider that had found its way onto my arm.  I looked back at the tiny opening and wondered why I had gone through.  Peter's Lake is not exactly Lake Louise.  It's weedy like the creek, with algae clouds that look like rocks that disintegrate when you poke them.  After catching and releasing a few more tiny fish, I went back through to my side, taxied back to the farm, and got to chores.

No, I am not really a rugged outdoorsman.  But I like being outside, I like farming, but there is something appealing about the wild, even the relatively tame wild.  I recently walked my property line, and found a thread of wild raspberries.  While they are not as sweet as the kind you get at a garden centre, they are perhaps even more delicious for their tart taste, and they are just there, spreading slowly.  I can spend an hour in the patch, picking at them like a chicken locating worms in a pile of soil (incidentally, the chickens and I had to fight over worms as I was collecting bait.  They are incredibly quick at finding worms).  The nice thing about berry picking is that, unlike with fishing, you can count on having something to show for your efforts.  I had enough to eat as I picked, eat a few when I came in, and then freeze some for a winter day when I want to defrost them and add them to oatmeal.

Sunday, 6 July 2014


We have good quality standing hay ready for the right person to cut, bale, take away.  Price to be negotiated. So reads our ad.

Having hay cut can be tricky.  On one hand, with cash cropping becoming a more appealing use of land than grass (for some people), hay is said to be in high demand because fewer properties are growing it and, if they are, bothering to keep it healthy and uncontaminated by chemicals.  On the other hand, it can be really hard to find someone who can cut and bale on terms that are reasonable to the grower.  This is understandable to some extent - it is a pain having to bring a tractor out, spend hours riding up and down like a Zamboni on an enormous rink, bale, load, haul away at a lumbering speed and have a train of cars trying to pass you.

Our farm sign is up amidst that hay, and our fields, hidden behind alfalfa and clover, are producing a lot of vegetables.

You may be wondering how our dim sum sales are.  Word seems to be spreading because it is a unique product, it tastes good, and we use good ingredients.  Yes, that's part of what is bringing in more and more sales each week.  But sometimes people come because, driving back to Toronto or Ottawa or Syracuse from a weekend at the cottage, they notice a handpainted sandwich board along the highway that reads:

Dim Sum
Egg - Pork

And they think to themselves:  "Did I just see that?  In Murvale?"  And they turn around and check again.  "Yep, it says Dim Sum."  And they drive up the laneway, park, roll down the window, and ask with some hesitation, "Hi, you guys sell Dim Sum?"

I'm glad we have added some variety to our area, and something a bit improbable.  I hope it's refreshing like a gourmet chip truck that sells beet and goat cheese salads and brisket (Harrowsmith has one) or clean, well-lighted washrooms with well-stocked soap and handtowels in a dusty service station (Harrowsmith has one of these as well).