Late summer, in pictures

It’s been a bustling summer here at the farm. It’s been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to post to the blog in over two months, apparently. But it’s been a productive summer, with flourishing gardens aided by months of hot weather, and a new guest cabin called the Summer Shack. We’ve also been able to spend plenty of time with friends and family to savour the fruits of our labour. Else, really, what’s the point?

Probably the most riotous week here—only in the nicest sense, of course—was in late August when our good friend Adam arrived, with friends in tow, for his second seasonal visit to Snow Lake Keep. Adam visited us last summer (and even blogged about it), and he now lives in Peterborough, Ontario. This year he brought along with him his exuberant roommate Bradley, and Cameron, his intriguing friend from Montreal. I suppose that’s when the debauchery began.

Adam ZinzanBradley Boyle

Cameron StiffFarmer An

Farmer PaulLaire Taverner

Deryk and Laire made the finishing touches on the Summer Shack just in time for these wild and wonderful guests.

Summer ShackSummer Shack steps

Summer Shack deckSummer Shack inside

Now, it wasn’t all debauchery while they were here. They happily offered to help Laire muck out the barn, which appears to have been much fun for all.

Cam coming back from hauling shitAdam holding Kitten-Kaboodle

Laire with his pitchfork

At one point during the week, Cam was lucky enough to convince Laire to get a haircut. Adam kept busy building us a beautiful sliding door for our bedroom. Meanwhile, Bradley used his unrivaled talent as a pro photographer to document the week in pictures.

Cam getting a LairecutLucky Cam

Adam cutting boards for the doorChopping door boardsMeasure twice, cut once!

But more than anything – and as is typical here at Snow Lake – the week seemed to be centred around food. At this time of year, the gardens are bursting with ingredients, and those ingredients needed to get used! Our guests were all huge fans of good local, organic food, each of them in their own way participating in some kind of food or farming endeavour back home. So, many amazing meals were prepared, every day, it seemed.

Breakfast!Chopping veggies

Making shish kababs, with chèvre curd draining on the right

Barbecuing rainbows

Sliced pattypansBradley tried his hand at flower arrangement

Burger night: goat patties and portabello patties with a side of roasted beets

Making pastaIt was pretty hot, so clothing was pretty optional

Homemade fettuccine

Cheesecake was a standard menu item

Many communal meals were had

To top the week off, the boys helped with market prep, and visited the Annapolis Royal farmers’ market.

Helping out with market prep

Rodney and Laire at marketPretty Rodney

Paul and Rodney being cute

And then they posed goodbye.

Adam, Cam, and Bradley send-off

The same day of their departure, Laire’s adorable son, Noam, and Noam’s awesome mom, Shamie, came from Toronto to visit the farm for the first time. These city kids might have felt a little out of their element in this off-grid, roughing-it kind of environment, but it seems like they had a pretty good time all the same.

Noam trying out the pond chairsPapa and son picking beetsNoam trying fresh-picked broccoli for the first time


Noam excited by melonsNoam feeding the chickensNoam builds a makeshift practice skateboard

Noam and Papa

We’ve actually had even more visitors since those two left, but I’m pretty sure this blog post is long enough.

Now it’s quiet, everyone has gone back home, and we’re back to the good ol’ fabulous five. See y’all very soon.

Suddenly building a cabin, and how to cook fiddleheads… again!

So, lots is going on here rather quickly these days. It’s actually quite wonderful. Last week, a friend and past visitor of the farm, Laurence, returned here to stay for most of the summer. Laurence is close with An, and so is bunking in An’s woodshed for the time being. They seem happy there for now, but it would be nice to be able to offer them a space of their own, considering the length of their stay.

We’d already had plans to build a guest cabin for the very purpose of providing a private space to anyone who might want to stay at the farm. Because currently, visitors are forced either to camp or be hosted by another resident. Laurence’s arrival has spurred us on to make it happen a little sooner!

So led by Deryk’s building mastery, a group of us here have started to build this little cabin (currently dubbed the Summer Shack) as of yesterday. I can’t say I have contributed anything more than on the promotional side myself, but I think I have some valid excuses (read: I’m busy). Besides, it turns out a rather small group can accomplish a lot in two days:

An working away on the frame

We sited the Summer Shack in the forest just below the Meadow (formerly known as the Hayfield), not far from Snow Brook. It’s a beautiful little spot, but rather thick with black flies at the moment. An is well prepared, though:

An well protected from blackflies

And here is An spectacularly showcasing two days’ work:

An featuring the Hermitage

Hope you enjoyed that.

Now last week, many of our customers at the market were asking how we cook fiddleheads. Some folks haven’t had the best luck preparing them – either undercooking them and getting indigestion, or overcooking them and finding them too soft and mushy. I guess it does takes a little practice, because I’ve definitely eaten them both undercooked and overcooked – and neither way is ideal!

Now, I can’t speak for Rodney, Deryk, An, or Laurence, but I know the way that Laire and I love to prepare fiddleheads. I actually blogged our recipe a year ago, turns out! So I’ll just include a link to it:

FiddleheadsForaging for fresh food from the forest floor!
How’s that for a tongue twister? At this week’s Saturday market, like the last one, we will have (among other things) an abundance of foraged fiddleheads picked from ostrich ferns, now bursting out of creek floodlands and the forest floor (we won’t tell you exactly where!)…

Hope this helps some of our customers out!

Oh, and two more things: The Summer Market in Annapolis Royal starts this Saturday, and we’ll have lots of fiddleheads! Also, tomorrow (Friday) is our first Farm-Gate Friday of the season, from 4-6pm. Get a leg up on the selection, and a tour of the farm if you like!