Due to time constraints, this post was originally written on Monday, October 28. Because of my discipline to review and edit posts a couple of times before publicly posting them, as well as a surprise visit from an old friend, I was delayed a bit in publishing it.
Starting in the beginning of 2014, or more accurately the end of 2013, I’ll be living at Russet House Farm, near Cameron, Ontario, while I attend school.
Russet House Farm is owned by two wonderful people, Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat, who are, in no particular order, academics, theologians, authors and farmers.
When I was looking for a place to live in the greater Lindsay area, I was struggling a bit because of the specific conditions which I required (which hopefully I’ll be able to reveal in a couple of weeks). It is very difficult to randomly e-mail strangers and ask to stay on their land. Or rather, it is very easy to actually e-mail them… the difficult part is the convincing.
When I was bemoaning my struggles to my sister, she mentioned that perhaps, she may know of a couple who would be up for being convinced. She had been to their farm for a book release party, and had been amazed by what she saw there. More importantly, they were counter cultural enough (in the best possible way) to possibly consider my proposition…
And so, my e-mail began: “I’m not really sure how to begin this e-mail as this is probably the most random e-mail that I’ve ever written in my life. Most likely it is also the most random e-mail that you’ve ever received. If it is not, please let me know, so that I can try harder next time.”
Sadly, in the reply I received a couple of days later, I was told that my e-mail may not, in fact, have been the most random e-mail that they had ever received. They were, however, interested in meeting to discuss the possibility of me living there.
Back in August of this year, as I was visiting my family in Uxbridge, I made a trip to Cameron in order to meet with them, bringing my girlfriend, Adar along for moral support and also to show them my better half. The next four hours were amazing. We joked with them, discussed shared acquaintances, shared our stories, ate chips and homemade salsa, marveled at the works of Wendell Berry, toured the property and were amazed by the grace and hospitality that the two of them exuded. We also discussed my request in greater detail, what was required of them, what I could offer as a form of payment, and so forth. When I left, though the final decision had not yet been made, I knew I had been genuinely blessed to meet such an incredible couple.
We exchanged references a little later, they checked out mine while I contacted a couple of their previous interns (who both gave me rave reviews), and, around the middle of September, they offered me a place to stay. I would be given the opportunity to live very closely with this amazing family!
Next week, I will go into a few more details on the actual farm itself… and why it will be a great home base for me to continue my experiment with learning to live well in my place.