By Danielle French

The Women Who Shape Us

The lead-up to Mother’s Day this year is a bit more stressful than usual. Usually in early May, I’m enjoying the spring. Usually, I’m thinking about gardening, getting my tomato seedlings into larger pots. Usually, I’m winding down the school year with my daughters, looking forward to them being home and having no routine.

This year, all that seems to have changed.

Fortunately, the South Pond mega-construction project —underway since last fall—is winding down, and in the nick of time. Sod laid yesterday, men with heavy equipment everywhere, landscaping underway, the outbuildings being cleaned, my daughter Carlyle painting the barn doors, everyone underfoot of someone else . . . all to get South Pond ready for summer, and of course, my own Mother’s Day Celebration (where I enslave all my own daughters to help!).

I don’t remember specific Mother’s Days with my mother. I’ve been away from home for so long, and Mother’s Day is an awkward time to get into the car and drive nine hours to Vermont. And quite honestly, I usually forget.

I generally feel that I celebrate my Mom all the time. (She would say, “Well, you sure could call me a little more often!” and I should.) What would I be without her? What skills would I really have had she not taught them to me? For sure, it’s nice to have a degree. Nice to have work experience.

But really, what grounds me, gives me purpose, feeds my creativity? It’s creating a nest for my daughters. Making a healthy and delicious dinner; having the house tidy and smelling good when they come home; having the self-discipline to accomplish something every day, be it writing a story or refinishing furniture; starting a business and providing an income; knowing myself; knowing my boundaries (most of the time).

These are all skills I wouldn’t have without the leadership and loving guidance of my mother. And they are the skills I hope to pass on to my daughters.

It’s cliché to say every day is Mother’s Day because I know how many times we all feel unappreciated, taken for granted. I will be honest—I do take my mom for granted and my girls do the same with me. But digging deep, we know. We know our children love us and we know we are creating a future for them as our mothers and their mothers and countless other women—friends, aunts, sisters, cousins, mentors—have done for us. Here’s to celebrating the women who have made and continue to make us who we are!

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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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