By Danielle French

Making way

Quiet time

January is one of my favourite months. It is quiet and time for thinking. We are planning some big changes here at the farm. I need to make physical and mental space to allow our ideas to develop. The kitchen and barn are closed and with no events planned for a short while there couldn’t be a better place to contemplate and etch out our vision. We always have sunlight throughout the house and there are views of the field and the barn. It is private. There is no noise from the outside world. My winter will be quiet and contemplative with the promise of something new on the horizon.

Making space

Getting mentally prepared for change also means finding some space and clearing things out that we no longer need. I love days of organizing. My pantry becomes a disaster fairly quickly and after the holidays, it is chaos. The closets always need a purge. Olivia helped me with a big job over the break. The dish cabinet for me actually means three different cabinets.  I sometimes have trouble parting with things but Liv is basically ruthless and that is the push I need.

Use everything

I was one of those kids that hoarded my Halloween candy for another day. I am reluctant to actually use certain things and worry they will break or something will happen. I am unsure what occasion I am saving things for. I learned the hard way saving the candy was not rewarding. (oh it’s so expensive and was a gift. Or I’m saving that for a special occasion). Olivia is right, if I love it, use it. Use (and wear) all the things you love and if not, they really have no purpose. The process is liberating. It’s the right way to approach living. I feel less burdened by things not needed or used with every cabinet I clean. 

It is helpful to have four daughters, all who are setting up their own living spaces. As hard as it is to let go of things, all the harder still for me to let go of them. The change is transformational, living without them around regularly. I am grateful to let some of the special things go live in their cupboards from my grandmother or mom. Apartment  spaces are smaller so whatever they take really has to provide some sort of meaning or else it just becomes their clutter.

Fancy dishes

I accumulated dishes over the years to use in the barn for our events many from women dropping off no longer needed dish sets. I often heard that the fancy dish-ware no longer had a purpose, styles change . Their own children have no room in their houses. It’s no different for me. I have a dish set too and have not donated it to the South Pond cause. I should take that step as all those plates, tea cups, fruit nappy’s are simply not going to be part of any one of my daughter’s homes.

Getting a clear picture

As Carlyle and I plan and design our next steps for South Pond, cleaning and tidying the home-front is a therapeutic step. Making mental space with emptier drawers and closets gives me a clear  picture of what I have and need. I think everyone else is doing this too. The totes always go on sale this time of year and are in abundance in the home storage aisles.

Whatever you are doing this January, getting away from the winter or embracing it or cleaning a cupboard or two, enjoy this time.  Slow things down just a little bit, make way for whatever new adventures are on your horizon.

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Danielle French - Ash Naylor Photography

About Danielle

Looking for a simpler way of life for her four daughters and herself, Danielle moved from Toronto to this farm in the Bethany Hills of Southern Ontario, and over time together with her family and her partner Shawn, restored the barn, the iconic heritage silo and the land.

Danielle loves to create unique settings and menus for the many events she offers at South Pond Farms, such as authentic farm-to-table gatherings, bread-making workshops, culinary classes, and weddings. Danielle’s vision is to inspire others to share her vision of a traditional life and way of cooking and to feel the sense of history on this beautiful land.  

Danielle was also the host of a television series called Taste of the Country

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