Real Living August 2019

August – October 2019 Issue 2

LIVING Rural Elgin Agricultural

Photo by Melissa Lale

It’s a party on Middle River Road! By Jacob Fewer

- Harrow Fair: Duo Miranda Mulholland and Andrew Penner add kick drum, rootsy guitar, and fiddle to their voices to create a sound all their own. - The Pairs: This female-fronted folk-pop group from London brings their unique blend of rhythm and harmony to the fore. - The Shangles: The Shangles is a four-piece country/rock group from Elgin County performing what they call “county” music.

With the summer flying by and September fast approaching, every– body is going to be scrambling to find music and fun wherever they can, and the first-ever Middle River Music Fest is the perfect solution! It is safe to say that anybody who enjoys music, community, food, and the sun will find that the Middle River Music Fest is the perfect blendof eachof thoseelements. I spoke with one of the organizers of the event, Gabe Fontana, and one thing

And because no party is complete without great food, the event will have delicious catering from the Orchard Hill Farm and the Killdeer Food Co., two well-known local and organic producers of farm-fresh, fruits and veggies, in addition to a delicious

For all your wiring, heating & cooling needs Commercial • Residential • Rural Pole Line Maintenance Underground Services • Generators Gas & Propane HVAC Services General admission tickets are $35 + fees and HST, children 12 and under are free. All proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to The Grace Cafe. Those travelling from London have the option of being bussed to the event on a retrofitted school bus leaving from both the Masonville and downtown areas. For more information, questions or concerns, visit or contact ! Hope to see you there! handcrafted pizza featuring locally-cultivated and organic ingredients, with gluten-free and vegan options, of course! The Middle River Music Fest will be held on August 24th at the Common Ground Farm, located at 6986 Middle River Road, just outside of St. Thomas from 3 p.m.-11 p.m.

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Your Local Supplier of Pipe, Fittings & More! • Culvert Pipe - HDPE & Steel The Middle River Music Fest is a celebration of all things local: our community, local food, and local talent! The centerpiece of the festival is definitely going to be the music! Organizers have booked five Canadian acts for the event each with its own unique vibe, ranging from folk-pop to rock and country. Check out the lineup: - Tim Bradford and the Bandits: Tim Bradford is a Toronto- based roots artist who performs original music with his band, the Bandits as well as putting his own spin on others’ songs. that he assured me of was that the event is family-oriented and geared towards the enjoyment of all age groups, with kids activities held in the afternoon and food and shopping for the parents. I can’t think of a more perfect way to spend a hot August afternoon!

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Page 2 Real Living • Summer 2019

Here in Elgin County, we are so lucky to have access to so many delicious local foods, from honey to vegetables, berries to locally made wine and beer. Oh, and let’s not forget beef! With so much farm land around our county, there is seemingly unlimited access to locally produced, delicious foods, ready to enjoy. On August 21, The Elgin Beef Farmers will be hosting their annual BBQ to celebrate that bounty. The picnic will take place at Pinafore Park from 5pm to 7pm, the centrepiece of the event being a delicious, all-you-can-eat buffet meal featuring locally raised beef, fresh corn from West Elgin, local potatoes, buns from Spicer’s, coleslaw from Tall Tales Café, as well as milk (both white and chocolate) and ice cream for dessert! “The main reason for the event is to raise money for 4H clubs and food banks,” says Maryjo Tait. The profits from the BBQ are divided up amongst five food banks and the West Elgin Beef Club. Where’s the beef? By Staci Rae

“It’s also a way to promote the beef industry, through agricultural education,” she explains. The primary goal, however, is to bring the community together for some good, old-fashioned summer fun. “We just want everyone to come out and have a good time,” Maryjo says.

The Elgin Beef Farmers BBQ has been going on for more than 50 years, and it’s still going strong. This fun, informal event is perfect for the entire family. The event organizers themselves have grown into a true family over the years, too, with some of the event’s volunteers having been on the team for upwards of 30+ years! There is something to be said not only for eating local foods, but also for coming together with your community to share a meal, reminisce and tell stories, laugh and celebrate all that our community has to offer. The Elgin Beef Farmers BBQ is the perfect opportunity to do that. Bring the entire family! Tickets are $15 in advance, or $18 at the door. Tickests are available from Geerlinks Home Hardware or by calling Maryjo at 519-282- 7602. No need to bring a chair. Seating is provided! Just bring your hungry family and be ready to have a great time!

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Find us at the Ontario Mutual’s booth FCC-5 on Wednesday, September 11 th from 11:00am-2:00pm! Westminster Mutual has proudly protected local farmers for over 160 years. We are passionate about the agricultural community and look forward to meeting you at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show!

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• Page 3

Real Living • Summer 2019

Combatting #NoPlant19 By Heather Derks, OFA

With what some are calling the most disastrous planting year on record, it has been a common thing this spring as I drive from one end of the county of Elgin to the other to see land that is suffering from erosion. Due to the rarely-before-seen volume of rainwater that’s washing down our watercourses, taking all that good, life-giving topsoil with it, the amount of erosion that I have witnessed is truly staggering. Because some fields are seeing erosion in places where it hasn’t happened before, I wanted to remind readers about grant monies available to help mitigate erosion and address soil loss through the Elgin Clean Water Program ( To find out more about this program, and what kind of grant monies are available, I visited Betsy McClure at Kettle Creek CA. “We do have funding programs available to help tackle erosion control,” said Betsy, adding that while Elgin Clean Water can fund 50% up to $4000, often CA staff can provide assistance to piggyback this with other available grants to maximize the available grants that farmers can get for those projects. Maybe you, like many farmers during #NoPlant19, have not seen problems with erosion prior to this year of record rainfall,

and want to do something proactive to reduce the likelihood of additional soil loss in the future. Maybe there is an area you have always been meaning to address but just haven’t had the chance to get around to it. Whatever the case, if you think you may have a problem with soil loss and would like more information on whether an Elgin Clean Water grant application is right for you, I encourage you to call the CA. A rep will come and have a site visit to help guide the project. They can arrange a contractor and figure out the best design for that property and the projected cost of improvements. They can also provide guidance on grants that can help cover it or partially cover it. Additional grants offered through the program can help cover the cost of Cover Cropping, Wetland Habitat Enhancement, Clean Water Diversion, Fencing to restrict Livestock Access to Watercourses,WellheadProtection andWell Decommissioning. If rising rainfall totals are any indication, investing in effective drainage management now could pay off in the long run. For more information on this or any other issues that affect your farm business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

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Real Living • Summer 2019

Building their business, one happy customer at a time By Staci Rae Larry Annaert and Chris Lisabeth have owned the Scotland Drive location of Hyde Park Equipment Ltd. since early in 2018. Together with their other location in the city’s north end, which Larry purchased in 1989, they serve as the official Kubota dealers for Middlesex and Elgin counties. What originally started as a one-person operation when the company first opened in 1972 has grown steadily over the years, and they are showing no signs of stopping. Today, the two locations have a combined staff of more than 40 employees! Co-owner Larry grew up in a farming family, so it’s no surprise he ended up at the helm of Hyde Park Equipment. Together with Chris, the pair is very active in the company’s day-to-day

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operations, ensuring that every customer is a happy customer. Larry believes that the secret to the company’s success is their unwavering dedication to providing superior customer service. They understand that word-of-mouth business is so important in helping a business stand out from the crowd, and if you aren’t the top dog in your business, you might as well be at the bottom. “In this business, you’re either the shark or the bait,” he says. From the initial sale to the parts and service, the customer is priority number one for Hyde Park Equipment Ltd. “The lion’s share of our business is referrals,” Larry explains. “Our happy customers are our salespeople for us.” The company believes that the products speak for themselves, as they offer only the very best to their customers. “We sell a lot of great stuff

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Page 6 Real Living • Summer 2019

because Kubota makes really great stuff,” he says. It’s their job to help each customer find the superior product that best suits their needs. Over the years, the company has grown from offering primarily consumer products such as lawnmowers and snowblowers, moving into things like snow removal equipment. Today, they offer top-of-the-line Kubota and STIHL

products to suit a variety of customers’ needs, and their product line constantly evolves to keep pace with the industry. In the coming months, they will be offering the brand-new Kubota M8 tractor, which will pack an impressive 250HP! Whatever your needs, they are sure to be able to help. If you’re in the market for a new tractor or other equipment, check out the Hyde Park Equipment Ltd.’s beautiful showroom, located at 4166 Scotland Drive. “Come in and see us and we’ll make sure you leave happy!” says Larry.

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Real Living • Summer 2019

The healing power of nature By Staci Rae We all go through tough times in life. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, our own illness or injury, or another type of traumatic experience, it can be challenging to find our way back to our former selves. Morrigan Reilly-Ansons, owner of Full Circle Ranch, has found an unconventional, yet highly effective, way to help. Upon entering the beautiful grounds of Full Circle Ranch, one is immediately struck by the vibe of the environment. It is at once calming and tranquil while teeming with natural life, with the beauty of the natural surroundings punctuated by the calls of goats, fowl, dogs, cats, and horses – just to name a few. This is a place that immediately feels relaxing, and it is here that Morrigan has found ways to help a variety of clients deal with an array of challenges, from the growing pains of teen life to those dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. Morrigan offers a variety of programs here, from equine therapy (in which participants learn the calming and healing powers of being around horses) to group therapy sessions (in which you just might get a visit from the ranch’s friendly dog, Scooby, who rumour has it loves to snuggle those who might need a little TLC). There are camps for kids, as well as a girls’ group and a boys’ group who meet on the ranch regularly for fun, engaging activities designed to bolster self esteem and foster a sense of empowerment. The equine therapy program offers participants a one-on-one opportunity to work with the horses as a way of working through

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Geoffrey Rae Manager/Sales 519-495-7177 • Staci Rae Editor – Publisher – Barb Botten Graphic Artist – Cathy Wood Photos, community events and article suggestions welcome. We look forward to hearing from you. things like anxiety, depression, addiction, and loss. Horse therapy helps people to gain a variety of life skills that can be immensely useful in helping them to deal with life’s challenges, such as communication skills, leadership, responsibility, creative problem solving, teamwork, and many others. The program is tailored to meet individual needs to achieve the maximum benefit for each participant, so no two programs will be exactly alike. However, the over-arching goal of the program is to allow the horses to open therapeutic doors that would not be possible through other types of therapy. Horses are very intuitive animals, and can provide immediate emotional feedback, which can help to promote self-



REAL LIVING Rural Elgin Agricultural

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Page 8 Real Living • Summer 2019

awareness and exploration of one’s emotions – both essential stepping stones toward healing.

In my experience, there isn’t another place like Full Circle Ranch. Morrigan is a positive, friendly force and it’s clear that she loves what she does, and the ranch is a place of calm, of positivity, and of healing. While there, I had the chance to meet so many animals (I cuddled a horse and even held a newborn baby goat!) and I can’t wait to go back and visit again some day.

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Page 9

Real Living • Summer 2019

Keep the farmer wave alive By Sarah Harrison, co-owner, Mazak Farms Remember when, as you were driving through your area of the

world, either in your vehicle or in your farm equipment, and people waved? People you knew and people you didn’t. That simple gesture means so much. It means I see you. It means well done. It means we’re in the same boat, ‘keep doing what you’re doing. And sometimes, it just means how are you doing neighbour? The simple act of taking seconds out of your day to acknowledge your fellow human used to be automatic in our rural communities – reflex, almost. But it seems to be slowly headed to the list of extinct human niceties. When did we all become so pressed for time that we couldn’t give our neighbours a quick wave? I can remember as a child asking my parents while sitting on the front porch one evening, “Why are you waving to people you don’t know?” The simple and obvious response: “Because that’s what you do.” You bet it is. It is a simple but effective way to build and strengthen communities. When we acknowledge our neighbours and colleagues in our rural communities we start to create networks of support.

Photo by Melissa Lale

As those of us in agriculture know well, good neighbours are essential. We may not find ourselves needing our neighbours often any longer for a cup of sugar (thank you, Amazon!) but we need our neighbours nonetheless. Our family has lived on our farm for 45 years and have had the great fortune of having the same neighbours for most of that time. It has always been, and remains, a comfort to know we can run next door to Sharon and Al’s and be confident that we would be welcomed and helped with whatever we needed.

“Now if I come by, when you’re out in the sun can I wave at you just like a friend? These days when everyone’s taking so much There’s somebody giving back in.” Farmer’s Song, Murray McLaughlan

One evening, our then-3-year-old decided that she didn’t like what was being offered for supper so she put on her rubber boots and headed through the field to see what Sharon had in the works – the ultimate example of neighbourly love! Knowing and loving your neighbours isn’t always easy, but it is worth making the effort, because you never know when someone might need something else for supper! So, let’s bring back the “farmer wave.” We all know it, we all appreciate it when we receive it, and it is simple to give. Give your fellow farmers and farmhers some neighbourly love and remember we’re all in this together.


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Page 10 Real Living • Summer 2019

Celebrating the agricultural lifestyle By Staci Rae

On August 31 and September 1, step back in time as the Backus- Page House will be once again hosting its annual Heritage Farm Show. This family-friendly event runs from 10am until 4pm on both days, and truly offers something for everyone! The goal of this event is to bring families together in an old- fashioned, screen-free way to highlight the agricultural lifestyle and offer some insight into the way things were done back in the 1850s when Backus-Page House was a personal home and working farm and over the years since that time. There will be cooking demonstrations on a wood stove, pioneer crafts, live music, and more for everyone to enjoy. The barn and the museumwill be open for tours, and everyone is welcome to explore! Perhaps the centrepiece of the event is the antique farmequipment that will be on display. There will be a threshing machine on hand, as well as many other agricultural displays and antique farming equipment to see. Organizers are expecting to have well over 100 pieces on display for visitors to see up close, an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day. In the Kids Zone, there will be a variety of activities for the little ones designed to help them learn through interactive play, including a large sandbox filled with grain! “There are no batteries in anything in the Kids’ Zone!” says Angela Bobier, Cultural Manager. Horse and wagon rides will be offered for $2 per rider.

The Heritage Farm Show will also feature a variety of vendors, offering everything from handicrafts to homemade food products. It’s the perfect opportunity purchase a special gift for someone or a special treat just for you. Be sure to grab a slice of homemade pie, made expertly by the ladies of Dunwich Church! And because the organizers know that visitors will undoubtedly get hungry (exploring and learning is hungry work, after all!) a variety of other ready-to-eat food items, such as hamburgers and hot dogs, will be on offer, too. Fromdemonstrations to displays, games and activities, theHeritage Farm Show is truly a special way to make time slow down for just a moment while having fun with the whole family. “It’s almost like a community fair,” says Angela. “It’s a small-town community event that’s open to all ages, celebrating the roots of the western end of Elgin County”. Admission cost is $8 per person in cash at the gate, with children 12 and under admitted free of charge. For more information, call (519) 762-3072 or email

Backus-Page House is located at 29424 Lakeview Line inWallacetown


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• Page 11

Real Living • Summer 2019

Fall in lovewith Elgin County Jessica Silcox, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, County of Elgin This fall, escapedownwindingcountry roadswhereakaleidoscope of vibrant autumn colours reveals a new side of Elgin County. The cooler temperatures, crisp fresh air, and the vibrancy of Elgin County’s autumnal countryside offers residents and visitors alike with the perfect backdrop for fall fairs and harvest festivals. As summer winds down and fall is around the corner, don’t forget to set aside the second weekend in August to attend the Aylmer Fair. Established in 1846, this event is one of the oldest agricultural fairs in District 13 and it has become a true tradition for so many families. Next, adventure to theShedden Fair, held the second last weekend in August to experience Elgin’s rural heritage first-hand. The menagerie of animals, vast array of midway rides, and dynamic livestock shows entices crowds of all ages to partake in the family fun. Celebrate 165 years by heading to the Shedden Keystone Complex on August 23rd and 25th to participate in rural life for the day. Round out the month of August by heading to the Straffordville Watermelon Festival on August 24th. This fun-filled family festival includes something for everyone, from a fireman’s pancake breakfast at the Fire Hall to a silent auction, games, a petting zoo, midway, craft vendors and, of course, free watermelon! The event runs from 7am to 9pm. The second weekend in September brings three days of exhilaration to the charming town of Rodney, where residents 165th Annual Shedden Fair August 24th & 25th Come out and enjoy two days of family events and activities with a wild west theme!. Both days enjoy Breakfast, Rides, Displays and Vendors Saturday: Antique Tractors & Equipment Fair Dinner, Fair Dance Sunday: Custom Car Show, Demolition Derby, Live Musical Performances

are eager to share their rural roots with those new and returning to rural life. The 165th Rodney Fair, held on September 13th – 15th, includes a variety of activities including a tractor pull, parade, sheep show, miniature horse and cattle show, demolition derby, and lots of entertainment for all to enjoy. Continue the fun in the quaint village of Wallacetown September 27th – 29th at the 159th Wallacetown Fair. With a theme of Barn Doors & Dirt Floors, this vaunted about fair is the perfect excuse to catch a glimpse of the agriculture industry, see animals up close, engage in rural culture, and take in some fresh country air. With thrilling midway rides and a lively beef cattle and sheep show, local crafters and fresh-baked goods, there is something for everyone to relish in at the Wallacetown Fair. As the fairs begin to fade, and harvest season draws near, Elgin becomes home to numerous fascinating harvest festivals, held

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Page 12 Real Living • Summer 2019

In the friendly town of Aylmer, Clovermead’sAnnual HoneyHarvest Festival boasts an adventure farm and plenty of family-friendly activities. Attendees can see how honey is harvested, beeswax candles are dipped, live bee hives are opened, and become fascinated by bee beard demonstrations. Spend a Saturday from September 21st – October 26th or even Thanksgiving Monday at Clovermead’s Pumpkin Festival, to enjoy a wagon ride, bee train ride, or get lost in the corn maze. To experience all that fall in Elgin has to offer, visit one of the many local farms or farmers’ markets to participate in their fall harvest; pick the perfect pumpkin right from the patch, enjoy a wagon ride with the kids, or meander your way through a corn maze. Elgin is home to lots of family fun; visit www.elgintourist. com to discover why life is beautiful in Elgin County.

across the County. From honey and apples to wine and pumpkins, these events tickle the taste buds and feature lots of entertainment.

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• Page 13

Real Living • Summer 2019

Bringing southern-style BBQ to Elgin County By Staci Rae Contact The Tipsy Pig by calling (519) 319-7980 or by email at

Terrence Tew is the co-owner and chef behind The Tipsy Pig Catering Co., a West Lorne-based catering company specializing in bringing authentic BBQ dishes, with all that low-and-slow smoky goodness, to the Elgin County community. When asked where his love of food comes from, Terrence is quick to give the credit to his mom and grandmother, of whom he has fond memories cooking up many delicious meals for the family while he was growing up. It wasn’t until after high school that he decided that cooking was a possible career path for him. He decided to pursue a culinary education, which included an apprenticeship at Sunningdale Golf & Country Club and earning his Cook Red Seal from Fanshawe College. At just 22 years of age, Terrence also competed on the TV show Chopped Canada , where his creative culinary skills helped him make it to the second round of competition. Despite his culinary education and experience, Terrence’s grandmother keeps him grounded by reminding him of his early days alongside her in the kitchen, and is particularly keen on reminding him of the time she asked him to wash the lettuce for a meal, when he proceeded to dunk the lettuce in a sink of soapy water! Fast-forward a few years. Now at the helm of his own business alongside partner Anna Tavares, Chef Terrence wants to bring the very best in fresh, local ingredients to his clientele in interesting and innovative ways, while keeping with the comfort food vibe. We had the opportunity to sample some of Terrence’s creations at their launch party in June so I can tell you firsthand that this is Wonderland Auto Mart Corner of Hwys 3 & 4 in Talbotville

the real deal. His baked beans with smoked ham hocks are the stuff of dreams, as are his ribs, brisket (which takes a full 24 hours to make!) and his five awesome handcrafted BBQ sauces (the mustard-based Carolina one is my favourite, but they are all stellar).

In a true local collaboration, The Tipsy Pig has recently partnered with Railway City Brewery. From now through November (at least) they’ll be serving up their amazing BBQ dishes every Saturday at the brewery. The perfect synergy of two great local businesses! Terrence is also looking to collaborate with other local farmers and food purveyors so that he can source as many of his ingredients from as close to his own front door as possible. Consider The Tipsy Pig Catering Co. for your next event, or visit them at Railway City Brewery. Terrance will ensure you and your guests are well-fed and happy, whether it’s for a small family reunion or a wedding reception!

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Page 14 Real Living • Summer 2019

Courtesy of Debackere FarmMarket Mexican Caviar Ingredients: 4 cobs fresh sweet corn 1 can lentils (drained & rinsed) 1 can black beans (drained & rinsed) 1 cup diced red pepper 1 cup chopped green onion 1 cup chopped celery


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Real Living • Summer 2019 • Page 15

Preserving Food and Tradition By Emily Griffin

There is a sentimentality that is sparked in most people when conversation leads toadiscussionabout homemadepreserves. Everyone seems to have a great aunt, a grandmother, or a distant elder cousin who has a famous something-or- other amongst their friends and family. There seems to be a misperception that this is a skill of days gone by; lost with the elder generations, and the traditional rural way of life. However, as we see the social, political, and economic climate change swiftly with the age of information and technology, we can also see the newer generations embarking on old world endeavours and learning the skills that are long forgotten for many. The ability to share and access information has opened the opportunity for us to reconnect with not only old friends, but old techniques and knowledge. We, in southwestern Ontario, are incredibly fortunate to live in a diverse, fertile ecological area. We are able to produce an incredible bounty of local, fresh food within our communities. Most any place you go, there is a farm stand or market within any consumer’s reach. During the growing season, we are able to connect with the growers and producers operating in our local regions in a way that builds community and transparency of communication within our food web. Preserving your excess, or whatever happens to be abundant and cheap, is an incredible way to stay connected to your local producers, maintain a commitment to a sustainable Shop our large in-store selection or have us custom order your perfect piece

food web, and curb your green bean cravings through the cold months. With little experience, or equipment needed, you can begin your journey to mastering the (almost) lost art of preserving food, and continuing an age-old tradition.

Pickled Green Beans Per 6 pint jars Brine: 3 ¾ C vinegar 3 ¾ C water 6 T course salt

– – – – – – 6 pint jars 6 lb green beans 6 teaspoons dill seed 6 cloves garlic

1. Combine all brine ingredients in a pot, and bring to a boil. 2. Fill large stockpot with water, and bring to a boil. (You want at least 1 inch of water over the top of your jars when canning, so be sure to account for this!) Bring additional small pot of water to simmer, and add snap lids to soften rubber sealing ring. 3. All 1 clove garlic + 1 teaspoon dill seed to each jar. 4. Trim green beans to fit into jars when standing on end, and pack tightly. (You want your vegetables to be tight enough that they stay submerged in your brine until fully pickled) 5. Add boiled brine to each jar, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove excess air bubbles, and wipe rim. 6. Secure prepared snap lids with rings (only as tight as you can get it with your thumb and first finger!) 7. Boil jars for 10minutes, and remove themto cool ona countertop covered with a teatowel until all lids have sealed. (leave them to rest overnight, to ensure integrity of seals remain)

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Page 16 Real Living • Summer 2019

The Farmer’s Daughter Remembering those days in the field By Melanie Knapp Even though we’re now in the midst of harvest season, the challenging planting season of this past summer has brought to mind the planting seasons of my childhood, the challenges they brought, and the lessons we learned along the way. On the farm, planting season would usually begin around the May long weekend. My father would usually start in the barn in March getting all the equipment ready for another season. He would be out in the fields with the equipment as early as April or May depending on the weather. This year, such huge amounts of rain delayed planting until June, and some farmers were not as lucky as my dad -- they didn’t get their crops in at all and were absolutely devastated. Our family didn’t do everything on our own - we did have some fantastic help. We recruited some local people to help us get the job done. They worked long hours (including weekends) and we were very grateful to have them. Looking back, the long hours in the greenhouse were very special to me. During planting season, I got to spend a lot of time with my parents and grandparents working in the greenhouse and talking about anything and everything. We would pull out the tobacco plants, put them into boxes and then someone would drive them out to the field. A bonus – you could never get a sunburn in the greenhouse, only a tan! In the field, there would be four people sitting on the planter and they would put the plants into a wheel that would insert the plants into the ground. Planting wouldn’t stop unless it was lighting and storming. It was very important to get the plants into the ground in a timely manner. After the crop was put into the ground, everyone walked through the field once more to check for missed plants or plants that had died and needed replacing. Frost was always something that my family was very scared about. This could happen throughout the season but it was especially challenging for the first few weeks that the plants were in the ground because they were so young and delicate. The only thing that could potentially save the small plants was irrigating which was very exhausting and labour intensive for my family and was not 100% accurate. My father and grandfather spent long nights awake irrigating and praying that the crops would survive. The planting season is a stressful time, but it is also a very enjoyable time seeing the plants start to grow and looking forward to the year ahead.

Melanie Knapp and her daughters, Lily (left) and Aria. Photo by Charissa Froese Photography

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• Page 17

Real Living • Summer 2019

Looking for a New Shed this Summer?

Simply Pure Water The LOCAL Water Experts

Makes a great gift!

Chris Patriquin Repairs and Service to most makes and models Softeners, Iron Removers, Sterilization P: 519-637-3306

Let us make the CustomMade, Locally Built Shed Your Back Yard Deserves! Hand Crafted – Custom Built Mini Barns • Work Sheds • Play Houses Pool Change Rooms

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Electrical & Plumbing Supplies Fasteners • Signage Lifting & Rigging Equipment For all your home and job site needs

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Page 18 Real Living • Summer 2019

Presenting St. Thomas & Elgin County’s Community Events Free listings compliments of Williams Funeral Home Send your event details to by the 16th for the next issue • 45 Elgin Street, St. Thomas (519) 631-0850

Allan Hughson (Owner-Funeral Director)

August 17 Talbot Trail of Yard Sales Along Highway 3 in Elgin County 8am to 3pm. Fun-filled, treasure packed individual & community yard sales. Bargins! Talbot Line to Heritage Line to Straffordville, Plank Road South through Vienna to Port Burwell. August 24 Watermelon Fest Straffordville Community Park, Straffordville. All Day. Midway rides, silent auction, entertainment, children’s activities, and more. Phone: Rose - (519) 868-0324 or Pauline - (519) 866-5573 August 24 Pickers Swap Meet Terry’s Auto Body Collision Centre, 15539 Whittaker Rd., Belmont. 9am to 2pm. Top pickers in Ontario will be selling advertising, gas, and oil memorabilia, antique toys, and more. Admission $5. August 24 to 25 Shedden Fair Shedden Keystone Complex, 35921 Talbot Line. Livestock shows, music, demolition derby, games, and much more! August 25 Passport to Nature: Summer Wildflowers Newport Forest, 22130 Fleming Line, West Elgin. Learn what flowers are blooming at Newport Forest with Will Van Hemessen, botanist and ecologist, as we hike through this unique Carolinian floodplain forest. Registration is required, available on Eventbrite August 31 and September 1 Heritage Farm Show Backus-Page House Museum, 29424 Lakeview Line, Wallacetown Come and see a variety of heritage skills demonstrations, explore your rural roots and experience the museum, barn and grounds first hand! 519-762-3072. Website: September 7 Port Bruce Perch Fish Fry In the pavillion. Proceeds going to community improvement projects. September 13 to 15 Rodney Fair 135 Queens St.

Horse and cattle shows, demolition derby, truck and tractor pulls, and more. Website: Phone: (519) 200-3014 September 14 13th Annual Dingman Antique Plough Day 2730 Glanworth Drive, London All Day. Antique tractor pull, charity auction, demonstrations, ploughing, and much more! Free Admission. All proceeds with go towards the Belmont Lions Club & St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital. September 19 to 21 Fall Festival at Family Flowers Family Flowers, 44329 Talbot Line Kick off the Fall season at Family Flowers’ annual Fall Festival with free fun, family activities and lots of flower and plant sales. Website: Phone: 519-631-6004. Email: jacklyn@ Saturdays, September 21 to October 26 Clovermead Pumpkin Festival Clovermead Adventure Farm, 11302 Imperial Road, Aylmer. Celebrate the world of pumpkins this fall! Wagon rides, apple sling shot, pumpkin picking, pumpkin bowling, and so much more! Cost: Admission is $12.99 + tax/person. Group of 5 or more receive $1 off each admission. Website: Phone: (519) 773-5503 September 27 and October 25 Almighty Roast Beef Supper St. John’s Anglican Church, 20 Flora St., St. Thomas. 5pm to 7pm. Ticket sales begin at 2:30pm. Eat in or Take out available. Come out and enjoy a wonderful meal! Tickets: $12 adults; $5 children 5 to 12 years. Phone: 519-631-7368 Sept 27-29 Wallacetown Fair This year’s theme is “Barn Doors & Dirt Floors”. Featuring midway rides, cattle & sheep show, and more. Website is www. October 19 and 20, 26 and 27 Aylmer Haunted House Aylmer Fair Grounds 7pm to 10pm Enter if you dare! $5 per body….er, person.

An antique show to demonstrate how farming was done during the pioneer days. Adults $6, 12 and under free. August 10 Grand River Lunch Cruise & Blazing Fiddles Concert Take in the view of the scenic Grand River while enjoying a foot-stompin’ fiddle concert. $109 per person plus HST. $50 is required at the time of booking. Please visit Erie Fun Tours website for more details. Phone: 519-943-ERIE (3743) Website: August 10 Lavender Fairy Festival Steed & Co. Lavender, 47589 Sparta Line 12pm to 6pm. Discover the Lavender Fairy and learn about her important job. Bring your wings! Cost: $5/Child, Adults Free. Website: Phone: (519) 494-5525 August 10 to 12 Aylmer Fair Celebrating their 171st year as an agricultural fair. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for ages 6-12 and free for kids under 5. Parking is $5. Advanced ride vouchers are available at The Fair Office, Elgin Feeds and Aylmer Downtown Convenience until August 9th. Website: August 15 to 18 Iron Horse Festival Between Moore and Ross Streets Street festival featuring live music, train rides, local food, midway and more. (519) 207-4000 Email: info@ Website: http:// August 16 to 18 Tillsonburg Fair 45 Hardy Ave, Tillsonburg. Friday 4-9pm, Saturday 9am to 9pm, Sunday 10am to 6pm. Tractor pulls, demolition derby, power wheel competition, ice cream contest, petting zoo, and more! Admission: $8, kids under 5 FREE. Contact: Rosemary Dean, 519-550-0748 August 16 to 18 24th Annual Fred Eaglesmith Charity Picnic Springwater Conservation Area, 8079 Springwater Rd. A weekend full of music, featuring Fred Eaglesmith. Also included are wagon rides, tie dyeing, and more. Tickets online or at the gate. www. Phone: (519) 773-9037

Every Saturday Horton Farmers’ Market Horton Farmers’ Market, 1 Manitoba St. 8am to noon. A tradition since 1878, with high quality local food producers, craftspeople and artisans. Every Wednesday Aylmer Shrine Cruise Nights Canadian Tire parking lot 6pm to dusk. Cruise down to Aylmer every Wednesday from May 22 to September 11. Everyone is welcome! Come on down and enjoy some beautiful cars! August 2 Port Stanley Friday Night Cruise Nights Mackie’s, 124 William St, Port Stanley, 5pm until dusk. Cruise down to Port Stanley every Friday this summer! August 2 Garden Party at Wildflowers Farm 42338 Fruit Ridge Line, Central Elgin 5pm to 10pm. This years Garden Party is all about the best food + drinks + music in Elgin County! August 3 Cooking Demo with Chef Blaine Tye Debackere Farm Market, 5680 Sunset Dr, Union, 11am to 3pm. Come sample some amazing creations by Chef Blaine Tye using in-season fruits & vegetables. August 3 and 4 Bayham Beachfest Port Burwell. Activities hosted by local merchants and organizations. Fireworks Sunday at dusk on the beach. August 3 and 4 Port Stanley & Regional Art Fair Dominion of Canada Building, 191 Carlow Rd, Port Stanley. 11am to 6pm Featuring original one of a kind Art in 2D and 3D formats. Live music by Andy Lusher & John Culjak. August 4 West Elgin Annual Fish Fry & Fireworks. Port Glasgow Yacht Club & Marina, 8536 Haven’s Lake Rd., Rodney 4:30pm to 10pm. Come out for a family fish fry put on by West Elgin volunteer groups. Live band throughout the day and fireworks at dusk. (519) 768-2939. August 9 to 11 Elgin Historical Show Dan Patterson Conservation Area, 44014 Mapleton Line, St. Thomas

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• Page 19

Real Living • Summer 2019

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