Check out this beautiful Come To Life film by the incredible Cyrus Sutton….
Another of Cyrus’s projects – https://islandearthfilm.com
Get up to date with what’s going on at Stowel Lake Farm. We welcome your comments and hope you’ll share items of interest with your community.
We had our annual trip to Garry & Bly’s last week to pick their Spartan apple tree. We do this every year in exchange for starts in the spring. The kids love it. Even though Garry and Bly live just down the road we don’t get down to their place much. We spend about half the time picking apples and the other half visiting, wandering through their garden, trying grapes and cherry tomatoes, checking out their beautiful fish and generally having a lovely time. We’re so grateful for that tree and all the apples it grows!
Up in the tree.
A really good apple.
Having fun on the “bridge”.
The week our Yurt Program kids got to go to the VIU Deep Bay Marine Field Station for a field trip. They fit a lot into the time we were there. First we got to feed the fish.
Then we went to the touch tanks. We had to be very gentle with these animals.
Holding a sea cucumber.
We had to be very careful with theses prickly creatures!
We visited with Dan Jason of Salt Spring Seeds just the other day. It is such a treat to visit other farms on the island; getting to see all the variations of the land here on Salt Spring and carving out the time to hang-out with other farmers during this crazy, busy time of year is so special. His farm is at the base of Mt. Maxwell and feels like it; in a basin that edges the hills, its beauty is so different than what we have here. The farmed areas are interspersed with beautiful structures for hanging garlic, record keeping, storing tools, greenhouse crops, drying & processing seeds and even a sweet little hut for yoga and meditation. We sat with Dan, in the hot August sun overlooking the fields, and he spoke about all the crops that he saves for seed, some of his farming methods and his philosophy on maintaining old varieties and maintaining the diversity within these varieties. Rupert, who was worked with Dan for years, was also about when we visited and he gave us a tour of his part of the garden; one devoted to herbal medicinal plants that he turns into tinctures and sells through the catalogue. It is truly inspiring to see the scale of Dan’s operation, the love that he has for what he is doing and to know that we are part of it!
Sitting in the sun.
This greenhouse has CHIA growing in it among other things.
Many different screens are used for drying and processing seeds.
The meditation hut.
An umbel forest.
An endangered species of echinacea, E. tenesseensis.
We had the pleasure to visit beautiful Foxglove Farm yesterday and have a fabulous tour by Michael Ableman. It is always inspiring to visit another farm and see what is going on. In this case A LOT is going on and we laughed about whether it was inspiring or overwhelming. I think the consensus was inspiring and we took away many little tips from Michael. He shared with us his tried and true varieties, his irrigation tricks, his failures and successes and he let our 4 children in tow run free in the raspberry patch!! But last but not least he shared time with us and we deeply value spending time with someone so connected to the land and growing the best food possible.
Michael sharing one of the first precious cantaloupes with us. We all had to close our eyes and smell it first- it was divine.
Meeting the other farmers and apprentices and making plans to share a meal together.
One of the many raspberries enjoyed.
More sharing and learning
We participated in a Multicultural Celebration at the kids’ school this afternoon. After the performances and sharing by children and adults alike, the adults were invited to be part of a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. This woman pictured in the photos, Salam, was born in Ethiopia and now lives in Victoria. She shared with us some of the customs around coffee in regards to family and community life. Salam explained how Ethiopians will have coffee ceremonies often several times a day, upon waking, returning to the house after church, whenever someone drops by for a visit and as a part of holidays and significant life moments.
The whole family sits down for the ceremony which includes roasting the coffee beans, grinding the coffee, brewing and serving. The children do not drink coffee but must wait until the adults are served before taking food.
The coffee is served black or with milk and sugar although Salam mentioned that in Ethiopia only the rich people would have milk. Popcorn is the traditional snack to serve with a coffee ceremony along with bread and sweets if it is a special holiday.
Coffee ceremonies are also a time for people to share their troubles and will often go late into the night if someone needs to work through a problem.
In the tradition of Soulemama…
“A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”
It is always good to get away, especially at this time of year when we are moving toward the darkest time. One of our favourite places to go at any time of year is the west coast. It’s a place where the waves come rolling in, the beach walks are endless and the weather unpredictable. A place where you can lose track of time and connect deeply with loved ones.
We were lucky that the November sun came out to greet us- we took the opportunity to go barefoot and do some yoga.
The beach art is so beautiful- here are just a few beauties….
Of course we ate wonderful food, slept, talked and laughed a lot too!
When we arrived in Keremeos my Dad had already the peaches laid out ripening to perfection. He had gleaned them from a new orchard that was not being harvested- almost like farming ‘dumpster diving’. The outside woodstove fire was lit at 7am the next morning.
We sipped our mate, began peeling and cutting the peaches and waited for the fire to get roaring hot and the hot water bath to boil. Each batch was carefully placed in the boiling water.
For me, canning becomes more about the shared experience, old timeless skills and the connection to food than the end product. Of course all winter my family and friends will savour the sweet taste of Summer.