Featured in the December issue of Better Farming

We are so pleased to be included in the December issue of Better Farming and on the cover at that!  As traditional sources of revenue increasingly fail to keep up with the cost of living, a growing number of farmers are turning to agri-tourism to provide more income on their farm.  Government and regulatory bodies always lag behind the free enterprise sector regardless of the industry but as numbers continue to climb we are hopeful they will see the benefits of allowing this particular farm diversification to bloom and then flower.

In our case, we know the importance of keeping the farm as a farm - it is our competitive advantage because its not an easy one for just anyone (except perhaps for another farmer) to copy.  As our revenues climb, they have allowing us to increase the scale and scope of our farm operations.  This year we harvested a very nice apple and pear crop - soon to become 3200 litres of cider for next year's farm guests.  Our market garden yielded wonderful crops off an acre of ground and will be expanded in 2011 with more product being used on the farm, in our guests' meals and...our sheep will become permanent residents as we expand our lamb production from seasonal to year-round again.

Again though, we felt honoured to be on the cover of this most important farm magazine - for a farmer this is equivalent to the old days for a rock star who hoped to make it on the cover the Rolling Stone.       

Jess and Ryan, Becca and Jake - August 13th and 14th

With a very exciting weekend coming up (3 wonderful weddings) I truly needed to get this blog done asap....but here we are again - we are back on Wednesday and this just has to be done now - what can I say?

Jess and Ryan had guests here for their wedding reception (they were married off site) almost an hour before their scheduled arrival!  A mad flurry of activity (at our end getting the bar up and running) followed - but it happened.  Currahs roasted a 193 pound pig on a spit as part of a lovely meal enjoyed by folks from not too far away, to a number fresh here from Cornwall England -and one notable guest had never been on a plane before (and apparently had no plans to do it again once she got safely back to Cornwall. 

As there were quite a few young people here, childrens play area was set up.

Refreshments and special snacks, for them, were also set up.

A table for the babysitters and photographers was also set up.

And Jennifer, the head table was one of the smallest we have had this year.

Beautiful flower arrangements provided by Drew at Wights showed up everywhere

Of note was the bridal party commitment to the cause of Women of Afganistan where, in lieu of gifts, they were looking for donations for this initiative

The wedding cake was very pretty

The band Counterfit from Ottawa was excellent - and they would like to work here again - and just so you know, the next night they were off to the Angry Beaver in Belleville.

It was after the band left and the guests had gone in buses that we went into overnight mode 

Meanwhile the whole time the weekend was unfolding the season was coming to an end for the Ospreys .  There was a great deal of noise coming from around their nest.  I guess it was final flight training for this year's brood before the long flight south anywhere from the southern US to Argentina.

The cell phone tower behind our farm actually serves a far more useful purpose than relaying calls. It is one of the higher nesting locations for the Ospreys (who usually manage with something below the 100 metre level) who have kept coming back since the first spring this condo site was made available - thank you Telus!

Over night (one of my favourite jobs) we transformed the barn from post wedding debris to this

Rebecca and Jake were married in Kingston and then everyone drove out to the County.  The flowers were mostly pulled together by family members and looked quite lovely

An absolutely original touch was their sign in table where people were asked to put a fingerprint on a family/wedding tree.  They then signed their name beside their finger print.  Bu the end of the evening the tree was fully populated with finger print 'leaves'.

Hopefully you can make out the tree to the left and the finger print kits in the middle.  THey also used a moss bed to 'plant' seating carrots. When you picked up your carrot it told you what table you would be sitting at. 

A great cupcake tree was their wedding cake 

and these cupcakes almost dissappeared completely even with a remarkable dinner prepared by HarvestAndy Forgie provided a great mix of music good enough to get two generations mother/daughter up to dance. 

Yes Kailey and Lynne had a quick spin by the bar - we do enjoy our work so much!  And Dear Jessy and Ryan, Becca and Jake our very best wishes to all of you from all of us here.

Cheers!  Ezzie,Mekenzie,Ron,kailey,Lynne,John,Bethany,Ellen, and her Dad - me


Kelly and Jay and Katie and Alex's weddings the 6th and 7th of August

Hey its only Monday!

What a great weekend we just had!  Two lovely weddings as different as black and white - day and night of course they had the barn in common.  But the first one - Kelly and Jay's started with a wedding off site on a beach then to return to a cocktail-style set-up - very casual - very relaxed. 

Contrasting the more formal the following night for Katie and Alex;

But back to Kelly and Jay...I just wanted to show how different things can look in 24 hours.  Kelly and Jay used Kelly's Mom's green thumb extensively as ferns she raised from babies hung from all of our hooks and sat regally on the floor.

you know I realize now that I didn't take any close up shots of these plants - they did look great!  The Waring House catered with bite size items starting about 8 PM.  We set fewer tables and set out less on each table - note the use of leaves with a number of different shaped lanterns 

The sign in table provided each guest with the chance to put together advice notes which were then entered into the two little books you may see in this picture

A thoughtful display of family photos provided historical context

A great selection of candies was situated on the wine bar.

The DJ was great - I need to check the file to get her name...I can simply add that everyone stayed, got enough to eat and drink and from what I could tell, had a very memorable evening.  Congratulations Jay and Kelly and our best wishes!

The next day Katie and Alex moved in to fully capture our full attention with a wedding on the waterfront.   Waupoos Cider was served before and after the service.

along with a great non-alcoholic punch no one went away thirsty.  Flowers by Dustin decorated the ceremony site and the Hall.

Two musicians played the flute and then two members of the Groove Suit sang as well.  After the service which Larry Hurley delivered with great enthusiasm. everyone headed up to the barn where Millenium Catering had begun to set up for a sit down meal with a large BBQ started at the east end of the barn (outside).  Inside we were ready to go - again with Flowers by Dustin accenting the room.

After dinner the Groove Suit set up (link above) and played an inspired selection of tunes with our dear friend Micheal O'hara headlining - we would love to see this group back again! 

While Kelly and Jay's cake was a formal one (contrasting their mid-summer kick your shoes off wedding) decorated with orchids

Kaite and Alex chose a very edible - decidedly less formal cupcake approach to the traditional wedding cake ...what I can tell you is formal or not both formats were a great success as guests devoured both

and what about the little things no one knows about?  Katie and Alex had this glass window on the deck

It was just leaning up against the railing (as it is here) when the wind caught it and it fell over breaking the Bateman side.  Katie's brother was looking for a way to replace the glass - and quickly as it was already after 2PM.  We suggsted he take it to Wellington Home Hardware where they fixed it immediately (small town service has its advantages) and then using the same stencil he was able to replicate exactly what had broken...a nice end to the story eh?

Sincerely wishing Katie and Alex, Kelly and Jay all our best,

Ron, Johnathan, Ellen, Matt, Mekenzie, Ezzie (of course) Lynne, Bethany and me

PS I just realized I didn't talk about the head tables!  Jay and Kelly had two round tables on the stage - set like all the others while Katie and Alex had the following (sorry Jennifer)