By Danielle French

On Being Thankful

I love Christmas. I love everything about this season. This year, it commenced with a trip to Vermont for Thanksgiving and seeing my family. When I returned home, Aubrey Rose had put up Christmas lights and Shawn had the fire going. Lighting candles and flipping through magazines and cookbooks is always a source for inspiration in contemplating things to pull together for upcoming dinners. The Christmas season is making things for my family, giving things I’ve made away to friends and of course, coming up with new seasonal products for our on line “pantry shop.”



I’ve just finished a weekend of wreathe making with a wonderful group of mostly new farm visitors on Saturday and my girlfriends on Sunday. Ellen, our gardener, and I collected a real bounty of greens, rose-hips, red winter berries, all the pine greens and cones. I dried clementines, oranges and apples for the wreathes and offered mulled wine and lit scented candles. The barn was warm and smelled delicious even though it was a bit cold. It was a wonderful weekend of new visitors to the farm and visitors familiar.




More than one person asked me how I liked “living the dream.” To be honest, even though it’s now been 10 years of living here in the country, I don’t think of it like that. Carlyle returned home to mull over issues in her Environmental Sustainability program and we talked at length how to incorporate her visions into our farm. I feel lucky to have beautiful protected trails right outside my door door, a pond for wild life ( including eight swans who came for a swim before it froze last week) and no matter what the weather outside, the barn is still magnificent every day patiently waiting for the gathering of people to fill up the space. I like this dream. I appreciate it every day.

All around, it was one of my favourite weekends at the farm; there is something magical about people gathering together to enjoy the season; coming together to try something new. It brings out community in us all. We gather to share and to chatter with each other new and familiar. We have such busy lives and taking time out becomes more and more valuable.



I’m thankful for this year. It’s been a year of transition, new experiences and some difficult changes. There have been some failures but overall, these shifts have lead to a year of good things. I’m thankful for my new team who support all that we do and hope to accomplish. I’m thankful for dry firewood, good companionship the support of my girls and of Shawn and my family. I’m thankful for the loyalty of those who have supported me over these years, who come out to our supper clubs time after time, who sit through some failures and successes, who come to workshops and house concerts. I am thankful for old friends who call from years gone by and decide that we are to offer an experience for their own employee holiday party. I’m inspired by those who call me to get advice on cooking, or email me about what pot to use on the stove. I’m inspired by watching 30 people make 30 completely different wreathes. Shawn would say loyalty is trust. I think that’s exactly right. Loyalty is trust, trust that the experience is going to be a good one even though you may not know what to expect. There is a level of uncertainty with trust but people continue to trust us day after day. Trust in knowing the base line of what will happen is going to be what you hope it will be. In turn, I am loyal to you, farm visitors. I have my trust in you and value your faith in me. Thank you and Happy Holidays.


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