Category Archives: Travel

Patience

We are up and running smoothly with farmersdotter Studio Guesthomes. We are enjoying hosting guests, entertaining, and the stimulating conversation that comes with meeting new friends. There are two guest houses available to visitors, one we refer to Osprey and the other is called Owl. Both named for the birds of prey that frequent the property.

 

Owl Exterior

Owl Exterior

However, we are not one-hundred per cent complete. A few tasks have yet to be completed but nothing that will interfere with the overall experience of a staycation on the farm.

I am looking forward to writing a post mortem, a treatise to substantiate the completion of an activity that has consumed the past fourteen months of our lives.  I’m not convinced ‘complete’ is a concept fully embraced by the trades.

Osprey Interior

Osprey Interior

Here is the deal in one word: Patience

Underlined, italicized in bold and straight up in your face. Do not go past go without burning that word into the gray matter. Patience. And now, visualize a lineup of exclamation marks posterior waving stop signs like a coked-up bare-foot flag person on hot pavement.

Osprey Kitchenette

Osprey Kitchenette

Here is my issue: professionals adhering to my timeline. There is no doubt, as in our case, contractors of repute are capable, trustworthy and have the best intentions but simply stated shit happens.

Owl Deck

Owl Deck

When you commit to a project of hard hats and steel toed boots your challenge on a daily basis becomes one of controlling the amount of pooh that can rapidly develop. That and fostering a tolerance for excuses. Everything from natural disasters of biblical proportions to an uncanny regular occurrence of back, neck, shoulder, and bowel discomfort to family crisis and hangovers. Not to mention other ongoing construction needs taking resourses away from your project.

Owl Kitchenette

Owl Kitchenette

So here is my postmortem post but first I shall clear up a few projects. All I ask for is your patience.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 


Life on the Crazy Farm

When we bought the farm we were anticipating retirement. We had an initial five year business plan. A plan which did not include a live in farm manager; we were firm in our commitment to protect our privacy. A plan which did not include a new construction project; we were firm in our commitment to preserve capital.

Livin’ la vida loca baby #FarmLife

Yeh!

However, five years into our tenure we are not only blessed to have a terrific live in farm manager in Olivia, we are also deeply committed to an exciting and unique construction project.

So what happened?

Labour happened. More to the point cultivating and retaining labour happened. As much as we wish it weren’t the case, ours is not a hobby farm and it requires talented labour to help us make ends meet.

In the Similkameen Valley farm tasks are hard, dirty, sweltering affairs. Tasks Olivia and her concerted crew of dreadlocks meet head on every year. So much so we routinely rely upon her vetting skills to cultivate an appropriate labour pool.

So it came to pass that we had an old green coloured trailer on our property and it was only a matter of time before someone, Olivia, enquired as to wether we would be amenable to sheltering it out. #SlipperySlope #PrivacySchmivacy

Our problem going forward was the trailer. This big green monster of a trailer was simply put, quite hideous. No. Not merely hideous. It was odious as well. The big green monster trailer of eternal torment certainly was not suitable as long term accommodation.

Hell, it was not even suitable as a short term dog house. Which, ironically we have since learned that in a previous incarnation the big green monster trailer served a stint as a kennel.

Yes.

A.

Kennel.

At some point some simpleton decided that the big green monster trailer would make an i-f*cking-deal K9 lodgment. #WayTooMuchInformation

Regardless, that which is green and monstrous must be dealt with.

So in an effort to provide safe and appropriate cover from the elements we agreed to demolish the trailer…

..and performed a smudge ceremony all before developing a modest abode purposely designed to accommodate a capable and trustworthy soul with a penchant for vetting talent.

It became apparent from the onset that the prudent thing to do would be to construct a couple of vacation rental units at the same time to help off set the cost of construction. #AnotherSlipperySlope #ProjectRetirementKiller

So here we are five years later with a new five year business plan for ¡vida en la granja loca! – life on the crazy farm!

#WellThatHappened #CantTakeItWithYou #EnjoyItWhileYouCan #WouldNotHaveItAnyOtherWay.


On Mussels, Clams and Oysters… Oh My!

There is a aquaculturalist well known throughout Southern BC to sea-foodies, and in particular to us shell-fishies as the Oyster Man. His passion for bivalves is intoxicating, and isn’t that just what you want from your aquaculturalist?

Oyster Man is pretty much everything you’d expect from a man of the sea. Solid stature, sparkling sky blue eyes, sea-salt grey and pepper black full beard crowned with the requisite maritime chapeau. Very satisfying. Everyone loves the Oyster Man.

During the Cortes Island shellfish season Oyster Man can been seen from shore hand harvesting his wonderful bounty at low tide. In Oyster Man’s world “when the tide is out, the table is set.”

Photo Credit: Oyster Man

Photo Credit: Oyster Man

We lucky few who live in the Similkameen have access to Oyster Man as he meanders from the Gulf Islands through Manning Park up the Crowsnest Highway to the Kootenays loaded to the gills with fresh mollusks.

It will be 9:00am when Oyster Man temporarily sets up shop at our neighbours organic poultry farm in Cawston. In attendance will be local farmers, foodies and vintners lucky enough to be included at this semi-secret rendezvous.

Imagine sampling and discussing beautiful ocean fresh oysters at 9:00 in the morning. An impromptu tailgate party ensues with Riesling and Chardonnay graciously shared by Little Farm Winery lacated down the street. Orofino Vineyards from up the street will be along in a moment. Talk about bookends. Oyster Man shuck another!

Tailgate Oysters with Little Farm Winery

Tailgate Oysters with Little Farm Winery

Our standing order from Oyster Man is ten pound mussels, five pound clams and a couple dozen small oysters. Upon my return farmersdotter gets right to work debearding the mussels, scraping the clams and shucking the oysters.

The oysters are consumed raw in accordance with Oyster Man’s recommendation: Unadulterated, swimming only in their own nectar. But seeing how Oyster Man is probably past Osoyoos by now farmersdotter can not resist adding finely chopped shallots, from yet another neighbour and fellow shell-fishie, plus fresh squeezed lemon. No honey and, for this one time only, no hot sauce. Thou shalt let the Oyster be.

Oyster Plate

farmersdotter Oyster Plate

The plan is always the same. Feast on fresh steamed mussels tonight and with the leftovers farmersdotter makes the best, and we mean without a doubt the best chowder anywhere. Ever. Period.

The secret to good chowder is simple and begins with the preparation of your mussels and/or clams for steaming. Going forward, and bless you for making it this far, we’ll defer de facto to mussels but the same could be said for clams or combination thereof.

Steaming Mussel Bowl

Steaming Mussel Bowl

Preparation for Steamed Mussels:

5 lb – Mussels

2 – medium red onion, finely chopped

2 – shallot, finely chopped

4 – 6 garlic cloves, minced

4 – roma tomato, seeded and chopped

2 oz – butter, salted

2-3 tablespoon – olive oil

1 cup – dry vermouth or half-decent white wine

Handfull – chopped parsley

To taste – salt and pepper

Lots – lemon/Lime wedge. Hey, Vodka/Gin/Tequila optional

In a huge pot melt butter and olive oil together over medium-high heat. Add garlic, shallot and red onion and saute until translucent.

Now you are going to add the mussels but just before you do tip in the vermouth or half-decent white wine. Or both, what the hell.

Okay, quickly add the mussels, stir and cover to let steam for about five minutes.

Immediately prior to serving add and stir in the tomato and parsley.

Empty everything from the steam pot into a nice crockery serving bowl and crush citrus over the top. Keep some citrus on the side and use liberally for brightening things like your drinks or the mussels at the bottom of the bowl.

It goes without saying that viable mussels will open during the steaming process. Mussels who choose to remain closed should be avoided for being antisocial and potentially toxic.

Enjoy with fresh focaccia or naturally leavened bread for dipping.

It is vital to retain the liquid from the serving bowl in order to make farmersdotter chowder. Next time. Cheers!


Purchase Original Garlic Scape Salt

Purchase Original Garlic Scape Salt

New Packaging for Scape Salt

New Packaging for Scape Salt


On Bitterroots and TV Shoots

On Monday farmersdotter and I hosted the crew from Quest OutWest’s “Wild Food”. The programme observes the four food chiefs; Bear, Salmon, Saskatoon Berry, and Bitterroot, and explores the varieties, heritage, cultivation and preparation of each. Our focus was on bitterroot, representative of all root vegetables and in our case garlic.

The project began as the brain child of series host Tracey Kim Bonneau

 

Tracey Kim Bonneau

Tracey Kim Bonneau

…and is now in production for release on the APTN Network next year. The programme is about Aboriginal foods and their place in history, culture and modern times and intends to weave together threads about growing up Okanagan, family, community, culture and health.

 

The day began with the arrival of the crew at 8:00am who then promptly set about the task of preparing for the first scene.

Exterior Setup

Exterior Setup

Weather conditions for the most part were favourable for the exterior scenes and of course the interior scenes which took place in the bakery held few challenges, at least the crew made it look very easy.

Bakery Setup

Bakery Setup

Topics varied from the psychological trauma experienced in confronting an elderly cow in a root cellar to land stewardship. Who’d have thought all that from root veggies?

The shoot culminated with a wonderful root vegetable nicoise with tuna expertly prepared by culinary consultant Scot Roger.

Scot Roger

Scot Roger

Root Vegetable Nicoise Salad

Root Vegetable Nicoise Salad

farmersdotter and I want to thank the whole crew of Wild Food for a wonderful and informative experience. In particular producers Suzan Derkson and Darlene Choo and director Richard Flower who pulled everything together with calm and grace. Cheers!


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