Sunday, 15 January 2017

10 Years Ago

Last week I was listening to a radio show and the host asked what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago.

And I started to think.

10 years ago.

I was pregnant with Sophie and I pretty much had the novena to St. Gerard memorized as I had suffered through three horrible miscarriages after having Jack and I figured that I may never have any other healthy babies.

The boys were serious farmers.  They drove those toy tractors up and down the hardwood floors....following the lines.  They cut, raked and baled your feet as those wooden blocks all in perfect lines were bales...ready to be loaded onto wagons and put in a barn.  They managed their crops and let each other know what was planted in the hall....what needed to be done in the living room.

I didn't know that Johanna could play the fiddle...or the French horn.  That she would go on a mission trip to Peru.  That she wanted to be a nurse.

Money was so horribly tight.  We had bought the second farm in 2001....and decided to turn it into Dwyer's Farmhouse a few years later.  We would have just finished our first summer of business and the locals thought that was an odd idea....a farm vacation?  Seriously....who would want to come and stay in an old farmhouse.  The idea was different and people just didn't understand the concept....they certainly didn't have encouraging words for us!  And I was beginning to doubt if the idea would work. 

We were still trying to recover from the BSE crisis.  So many others had sold their beef herds and just got out but we continued to hang on.  Terry worked construction....we didn't see much of each other.  We were both exhausted.  I remember sometimes paying bills with the borrowing account. 

We didn't have much extra money to spend on the house.  I was still in a kitchen from the 1960s....bright yellow countertop.  It was a horrible kitchen that was infested with carpenter ants all summer and so freezing cold in the winter that your soup would become cold when you poured it into the icy cold bowl from the cupboard.  I did all the dishes in one small sink.

I was homeschooling and always worried about the kids.  Would they turn out okay?  People told me that they wouldn't...they needed to be in school....they needed to write EQAO exams or they could never enter the system.  One person told me that if I did put them school that they would have to start in didn't matter how old they were!  There was no local homeschooling support group.  I felt very isolated and alone.  Some people actually refused to talk to me because I was a homeschooler.

The things that have happened in the last 10 years are unbelievable.

I never would have believed it if someone told me the future 10 years ago.

And I'm so very glad that that's the way life is.

My faith has become so strong in the last 10 years.  I was blessed with Sophie....and then Lydia.

The boys continue to farm....but not on the floors.  Grady is called upon to work at other farms when needed.  Jack has a flock of 25 ewes....we didn't even have Rosie 10 years ago! 

Johanna teaches fiddle and step dancing.  She is in her first year of nursing.

It turns out that the kids could go to school afterall....and they didn't have to start in kindergarten!  Johanna started in grade 6 and the boys both started in grade 9.  I don't regret their years of was the best thing I could have ever done for them!

We did renovate that old kitchen....and the bathroom....and we even tore some lathe and plaster down in 2 of the upstairs bedrooms and put in drywall.  But then we walked away from it all and moved to Emmett's house last month!  That just blows my mind!  I wouldn't have believed that 10 years ago.  And even the idea that we bought another farm....that's crazy.  But we did.  We own 3 farms....and none of them were 'handed down' to us.  We have worked so very hard for everything we have.

Dwyer's Farmhouse has been an adventure.  It took a few years for people to find us but last year was the best yet.  We were fully booked all spring, summer and fall.  Our guests have arrived from all over Canada and the world!  We've made some great friends along the way.  I've realized that there is a lot of ag education that needs to be done!  Some people are afraid of their food....some people think that the farmer is out to kill them!  We are trying to do our little part to teach people about farming and our way of life.

My jaw would have dropped if you told me 10 years ago that we would be surrounded by Mennonites and the horse and buggy would be a common sight in Douglas.

Also....our little community is very connected by Facebook.  I love to see everyone's family photos and celebrate the little things of life.  We don't even have a home phone anymore!

It's really quite amazing all the changes that have happened in the last 10 years.

After 10 years I have learned....

Let Him guide you.....lead you....give Him your life. 

Stop worrying.  Just pray.

Life is a gift.  We have lost so many people in the last 10 years.  Life can change in an instant.  Life is short.

Be joyful.

Be grateful.

Be generous. ridiculously generous.

Most people don't know what they are doing.  Just do it....even if you think you can't.

I'd rather fail than not try.

Make that brownie recipe and when you take it out of the oven......cover it in marshmallows and put it back in the oven until they are puffy....let it cool....and then ice it with chocolate icing or peanut butter icing.  Those brownies are at a whole different level now.



  1. Oh, Brenda! 10 years ago I was glad you were able to bring 2 more healthy babies home, was impressed when I heard you were homeschooling. Excited when I heard you were doing the Dwyer's Farmhouse alongside all the baking. Now there will be new adventures as you make your new home more cozy!



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