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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Welcome to "The Do Drop Inn"

I think there is something about living on a farm that makes you want to share it with other people. We have about 18 to 20 dinner guests at our extended table every Sunday afternoon, and they aren’t all family. Many of them are ‘honorary’ family members and friends. We feel very blessed to have them share a meal at the end of the week with us.

Occasionally we will also have unexpected visitors. These are a nice surprise. We have had one of my Taipei friends stay with us for a couple days on his way through Ontario a few summers back, and the photos he took of the animals and the farm that weekend are a beautiful reminder of his stay. The images show us the farm through a visitor’s eyes. Sometimes we forget that a tired ewe has peace in her eyes, and a weathered piece of barn board can be beautiful. Showing visitors around the farm forces us to slow down and have another look.

We have also had visiting hunters on our farm. Some of them are invited by The Farmer, because the outdoor experience is always more enjoyable when shared with someone who appreciates nature as much as you do. I get a little nervous when I see the Farmer’s white-collar troupe of hunters heading out to the bush (the scientist, the professor, the veterinarian and naturalist), but as long as they are all facing in different directions I guess no one is in real danger. Eddie the Englishman is the most impressive sight, with his formal hunting tweeds and antique gun.

I once invited some Cree hunters to our neck of the Eastern Ontario woods, because there was a shortage of geese in theirs. Imagine my surprise when six of them took me up on my offer, and a cavalcade of pick-up trucks loaded with coolers and hunting equipment showed up in our yard one night. Those hunters brought their wives, children and a couple of elders with them for the trip. The women plucked the geese and prepared meals for the men while the elders gave advice and told stories. I spent the weekend making beds, doing laundry and dishes. I missed out on most of the stories because I wasn’t in the goose-plucking shed, but I just couldn’t stand the smell of fresh goose.

Since that first contingent of 15, we had regular Cree visitors for several hunting seasons. I guess the word got out around the Northern Quebec communities when that first group came back with a truckload – about eighty – Canada Geese. They shared the meat with their family and friends and made plans to return to the bountiful region of Eastern Ontario. But when strange men I had never met or heard of kept showing up late at night, hungry and needing a bed for the night, I eventually had to put my foot down and say, ‘the Fisher Farm Inn is closed’. Instead I gave them the address of the McIntosh Inn in Morrisburg, where they could hunt along the St. Lawrence River in happiness.

Recently we had musical guests at the radio station who ended up being stranded for a few hours without their ride, in between appointments. When I noticed their eyes were at half mast I offered them the floor of the studio loft for a nap. An hour later it was time for lunch and they were still tired so I called the Farmer. He let me bring the whole band home to the farm for the afternoon, so they could rest up for their show at The Branch. I’m sure my daughter thinks I’m quite strange, bringing musicians home and putting them down for naps in the spare room. When they woke up three hours later they took a dip in the pool and enjoyed the sight and sounds of the sheep coming in from the pasture at the end of the day. I was proud to be able to share my little slice of paradise with these wandering minstrels. I believe one of them said he is writing a song about it.

I’m lucky the Farmer likes entertaining guests at the farm too. He especially loves to feed them. I think we have the same opinion; that things are much more enjoyable when you share them with others. That includes the beautiful, peaceful existence of life on the farm.


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