Amidst the whirlwind of our world right now, I’m intent, and content, just keeping my head down, trying to put some of the news out of my mind — no matter how difficult it is to keep all the noise at a distance. I’m looking out for the silver linings. There are a few to be sure. The change in season is one. I was expecting the cold and mud season to last much longer, but early warm weather, wind and little rain dried up all the muddy areas quickly. It is easy to leave the world behind when I can do something outside, get into the soil and garden, clean up the property, and begin to plan for visitors when they can come back to the farm.
Signs of Life
During one of my winter walks, I was thinking about how fortunate I am to have all of this nature around me and how much better I feel about all things when I am immersed in it. Every day there are signs of things living. The ice went out on the pond, and almost instantly, birdlife returned. We have a swan family come back every year — usually not this early — and it’s a pleasure to see them out. I’m sure we shall see some little babies soon. The surface of the water is awash with frog eggs and other forms of life. At the other end, I see a beaver who is making a home, which is not such a good thing, as the pond depends on water flowing down the stream to fill another pond nearby. But it is a sign of things moving about and not being stagnant, both on the water and in the forest.
Wild leeks are shooting through the dead leaves, and they alone are the solitary green right now, other than the moss on fallen wood. The smell of the earth, soft with moisture, is intoxicating. The taste of the wild leeks reminds me that the season has changed, and from here on in and over the next many months, fresh greens will be on my plate. I’m grateful for the rainy days of April — gloomy and moody, but with promising new growth everywhere.
Last fall, I invested the time to put the garden’s property to bed with extra mulch, planting native grasses in open spots and removing the unwanted weed growth. I’m happy to report that it doesn’t give me stress now in the spring to clean it up … it’s looking pretty good! I have new herbs peeking through, chives, sorrel (both red veined and green), chervil — all the makings of a perfect omelette. Everywhere, there is something growing and something for my plate.
Sharing the Land
I am hoping that soon visitors will be allowed to come by the farm and order the Country Picnics that I have on offer for this summer. Guests will be able to pick up their picnic, which is filled with local goodies, and then stroll about on the farm to see what I see and be out on the land. Even for those living in towns or cities, there are walks in nature to be had. I know how much I appreciate it and how much of the world it helps me filter out when I need to feel quiet. It’s the time of year when I get to share my little spot of fortune and peace with others.
I’m Danielle French, founder and owner of South Pond Farms. South Pond was founded in 2008 as a small food delivery business. I would grow food in my garden, make prepared meals and deliver them all over the GTA. Since then, the farm has been slowly restored and converted into a culinary destination, offering special events, weddings, workshops and corporate retreats all set in our restored century barn in the rolling hills of rural Ontario. My vision is to create a connection to the land, the food we grow and prepare in our kitchen to bringing people together.