The December – January 2014 stretch has set records in our area and Canada generally for the coldest temperatures on record. And sustained to boot! This has meant extreme difficulties for the deer on our 100 acres, who have been forced to visit our lawn over the septic field, and scrape away at nigh the deep snow to get at the green grass underneath. The Red Squirrels have tunnels under the snow all over our centre garden near the bird feeder. And the Blue Jays, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Grosbeaks and Woodpeckers flock to the feeder these days for black sunflower seeds. The family of Ravens in the barn have been here since 1992, and we feed them every time we have table scraps. They have come to trust our presence while they are on the nest in late February.
I sold the sauna stove 10 years ago because it was starting to slowly sink through the sauna floor due to rotten beams underneath. This farm was a land grant to Jacob Salmi in 1895, and stayed in his family for the next three generations until 1989, when we purchased it. It was a potato farm, and hay farm for the bush-camp horses. It was and is, a mostly Finnish community of ‘Red’ and ‘White’ Finlanders. And the old Port Arthur-Duluth Grand Trunk Railway used to come out this far from Thunder Bay in the 30s and 40s.
Our 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom, open concept R2000 home, built in 1990, was designed by me, and constructed to fit in with the country environment. We have rented rooms out over the years, and permitted trailers to be parked along the river for summer use. The river has Speckled Trout, and is good for skinny-dipping. The property has hiking/snowmobile/X-country ski trails. We are in a very private area, with 640 acres of Crown Land adjacent to us. You can sing as loud as you like, play the bag-pipes, and scratch where it itches – and no-one will care. Our family of friends have made this our paradise, and for some reason tolerate our strange behaviours, e.g., breeding racing pigeons, playing dominoes on the deck for hours, and trying to grow grapes. It is indeed an inspirational setting for writers, musicians and artists. I offer seminars from our lower-level Board Room, and online courses from there as well.
The Great White North for us is a 4-season delight (sometimes not at -30C), and our home is our hub of delight and warmth from shared friendships.