Off-Season in the Village

People often ask us what we do in the winter here in the Village. And that’s a good question!

You know how, sometimes, you’ve had a busy, productive day, but you can’t for the life of you remember precisely what you did? Well that’s what winters are like here. The trees are snow covered, the greenhouses are cold and the garden centre is closed. So, what is it we do all day?

Spreading some love

Let me think … for starters, we have chickens, peacocks, cattle, cats and donkeys who all need tending to at least once a day. And that’s not counting the house animals: Scarlett the dog, two cats, Frodo the bunny (who came inside for the winter) and Tuck the house-chicken, who had to be saved from his bullying siblings.

Winter enclosures and shelters had to be created for the cattle, and the donkeys have kept us busy with their penchant for escaping and exploring the neighbourhood. The last time was at 1.30 one morning, which is not a time when we want to be out perambulating the livestock.

They animals are all fun, but making sure each and every one knows it’s loved and valued every day is a lot of work. One that Scarlett takes very seriously.

Making next year even better

Planning fun, dry, weather-proof places for our visitors has been a constant theme this winter. First, we bought a food truck which will serve village-produced goodies throughout the season. It’s beautiful but it needs a lot of work to get it operational.

Right now we’re thinking it will be open all week for tea, coffee and baking … but then on weekends our foodies here will be serving up their own unique brand of village-style delicacies. Stay tuned for details!

We also acquired a huge tent which will provide a weather-proof structure for the farmers’ market. It required heavy machinery to take it down, and will require more to put it back up again, so that’ll be a fun project. We’re also planning a weather-proof ‘atrium’ outside the garden centre where visitors can browse for inspiration or stop for a snack.

Growing

In December, we started some seeding. It was earlier than usual, but we’re doing the Calgary Home and Garden Show in February and it would be nice to have something pretty to take. Honestly, I just needed to find the merest excuse to start getting my fingers back in the dirt.

Tomorrow I’m potting up ginger and turmeric roots to see if I can get them to take. The plants are beautiful, and the end-product is delicious so, why not?!

We also spent December sorting through plant catalogues, looking for the hottest new selections. And we worked personally with many of our contract growing clients to help them decide what they’d like us to grow for Spring 2019. Not all the orders are in, but we’re getting there slowly!

Now that January is here, seeding will start in earnest. By mid-March the propagation room will be jam-packed and at least two of the greenhouses will be up and running. We’ll have hundreds of hanging baskets planted up and thousands of annuals to tend and water daily.

Big ideas

And then there’s the endless plotting and planning! Between the tree farm, the garden centre, the farmers’ market and assorted product such as eggs and garlic, it’s hard to turn off the insistent mind chatter about how to make it all bigger and better.

It seems like every day there’s a new idea, and of course that means a new job. Tarance’s favourite phrase right now is “Oh good, I need another project”.

We’ve got huge plans for the Village, and that’s keeping us busy. Oh and did I mention that we’re renovating our house? It has to be done in little winter-sized projects, so it will likely take many years to work our way through everything that needs doing, but we need something to keep us busy, right?

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