gratitude – 2011

Thank you


dear Mr. Hendrick (Vince), for bringing me truck loads of horse manure every year, sometimes twice, in spite of the hassle it was for him to do so. When he came with the first load in Chelsea, we realised that the two of us alone, were not in a very good position to unload it: his left arm wasn’t working and my right arm wasn’t. We managed, thanks to my wonderful neighbours Karen and Craig, who showed up just in time. Last year it was Pat, his daughter and good friend, that helped unload. Thanks also to Pat for helping me through a terrible garlic year and meticulously peeling  thousands of leek moth damaged cloves at the kitchen table.

Akka (my sister) for encouraging me to finally go to the bakery last year and suss out whether they would welcome me on their porch. Nango (my other sister) for repeatedly schlepping tools, seeds and other awkward products across borders for me. Merci. Delia who encouraged me to get started and not worry if I had enough to sell because I could always find something to add to the table. Delia again for being such a good, rational ear sometimes. Sarah who actually called me after exchanging numbers at a party where we met and offered to help out “if” I might need help(!) with whom a huge new vegetable garden was created out of rock and meadow. Josh who joined in the rock picking and rototilling and bedmaking and helped me with all kinds of infrastructure dilemmas in the first garden. Another neighbour, Sophie, for lending me her age-old, sturdy, reliable rototiller (forcing me necessarily to scale up from the broad-fork). It is a blast to use.


To Valérie and her beautiful family, Patrick, Zoé and Guillaume, for taking a leap of faith last year and offering me their wonderful meadow as our new potager. They put up with our arrivals at different times of the day and evening, my flustering about the gardens, constant movement of garden hoses and the ever growing number of weed bags that have to be taken to the curb – a very long way down the driveway. Je vous remercie enormement. 

Another neighbour Guy, from across the street, who regularly loans or leaves me random garden items like plant ties, sprinklers, netting, etc. Martine, Isabelle, Guy, Francine, Armel, Pierre and Caroline for translations and french edits, often at the last minute. Francine again for a wonderful, old wheelbarrow that may not look like much but is one of my favourite tools. JUNIPER and ALEX for their on-going support of all things to do with farming; the seeds, odd-ends of drip tape, scrap row cover, support, advice, wisdom and buckets of manure, that they have shared over the years, especially in the many moments that I have phoned in desperation thinking I knew nothing about farming. And, it’s true. I don’t. But I can still ‘farm’. Many of the times I phoned was during a busy moment…Thank you so much.

Wayne Overton from whom we bought this house and who so kindly rototilled a big new garden minutes after signing the papers, just so that I could still get a garlic crop in before the snow arrived (it came days later). Thank you again so much.


To Henri and Eva at Garage Euro JP in Aylmer for being the nicest, most professional and quickest car mechanics I have ever encountered and who luckily came recommended (thanks Eliot) just when we needed to have an old truck in our lives. Their number is (819) 684-3841. Take your vehicles to them! You won’t be disappointed.

To Pap for all the relevant articles he cuts out and mails me. The articles always correspond to whatever I might be interested in at that particular time in my life… the Dalai Lama, boreal forest, India, organics, the planet, hospice work, cooking, vegetables, savings,  farming, gardening, etc. etc. Pap’s clippings have kept up accordingly! Bedankt.

The rhubarb providers: Guy Lefevrière, Ruth and Francine. Hopefully I will have my own huge crop soon.

To my Chelsea neighbours Andrew, Cas, Karen and Craig, Celine and Jim, who became my first customers and allowed me to fulfill my yearning to sell the food I had grown. And then to two incredibly loyal Ottawa friends, Lise and Melinda, who have biked out of their way to pick up a bag of lettuce(!) and provided helpful feedback over the last years.  Thank you to all my current customers for your enthusiasm, ongoing support and encouragement, your tips, translations and help when I make the wrong calculations! I am so grateful that you keep coming back.


Laura, my first Ottawa friend(!) who helped me expand my first real garden in Chelsea (and who is coming out to help again  – too bad i am not looking to expand). To my chelsea landlords Mercedes and Dale, who didn’t mind the continuous expansion of the meadow into potager. My current workshare team: Armel, Sarah, Kyla, Nieves and Rhona – they will get a separate thank you some day, somewhere. Without this great crew, as well as the lovely Skye and Fraser, I would be a complete disaster and have given up by now. Heather who is a talented gardener with an excellent British vocabularly and who loves (and excels at) weeding – for the numerous spontaneous mornings that a weed bed was transformed into a zen garden. Steve for the binder twine that I am still using over and over again. Thank you.

To the bakers, Étienne and Émmanuel, who immediately said yes when I asked if I could sell vegetables on their porch and who continue to allow me to do so in exchange for nothing! They also make it possible for me to do this. I love being there and I love what they do and how they do it. Marianne who was actually the first person I talked to at the bakery and who responded so enthusiastically that she bouyed my confidence and has continued to do so each time we are there. Merci  beaucoup.

Bill – also for buckets of manure (a bit of which I found weeks later in the side pocket of the passenger seat), for generously giving me small amounts of oats and buckwheat when I could not afford the big bags REAL farmers buy. And who, perhaps most importantly, makes the best honey hands down (Barkley’s Apple Orchards). Cheers.

Magdalena, Skye, Victoria, Lise, Martine and Isabelle. This is a placeholder as I don’t have the time right now to do justice with my thanks to these lovely ladies.

Andrew. did I mention my wonderful husband Andrew? our lives have been completely taken over by this endeavour, our weekends taken hostage, our dining room table appropriated by tomatoes and the back porch and balcony by garlic! never mind the endless questions of a tormented mind and the physical support of a tired body requiring endless cups of tea. Thankyou just doesn’t do it. but thank you all the same. love.

to be continued…