handshake

{Locality}: It sometimes appears when you least expect it

handshake

When my home branch of the RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) called last week to set up my annual review, I made a spur-of-the-moment request to have the appointment in London rather than Goderich.

I was probably feeling lazy at the time and wanted to avoid having to make a special trip.

That and I don’t think my home branch account manager likes me very much. In all fairness, it’s probably just a personality difference, but I have never been eager to meet with her.

Whatever the reason, I asked to be moved to London, and the switch was surprisingly very easy. Someone called me the next day to set up an appointment.

I was apprehensive. I cancelled the first meeting in favour of taking an extra shift at work. Yes it was for a good reason, but I was somehow relieved.

I considered rescheduling yesterday’s appointment, too, but decided to man up (woman up?) and just get it over with. Perhaps I could even tell them I’d changed my mind and wanted to be re-assigned to Goderich. I could use more legitimate excuses to see friend and family and stop in at my favorite places.

The woman who greeted me at the Dundas East branch was friendly. She handed me a folder and told me that Darren had prepared some information for me. I glanced through it cursorily, but still planned to use my fall-back escape: changing my mind.

I could only take a few sips of my cup of water before a man’s voice behind me said “Sarah!”. I stood up and shook Darren’s hand, the cool polite smile on my lips not quite reaching my eyes.

Did I mention I was apprehensive? This is normal for me in new situations, new places, and with new people.

My chilly hesitance lasted all of a few minutes. Darren started asking me warm, friendly questions about why I had moved to London, my degree, my work, etc. We talked about serving (he has 10 years of experience), about my internship, about my social media experience. He told me about a good place to look for job opportunities. We talked about vintage cars and car shows, his decision to stay in London rather than go back to the Toronto area, the difference between his high school and mine…

…and soon enough, I felt like I had made a new friend, and was completely relaxed.

When a city banker makes you feel like a friend in 30 minutes flat, he has a gift. A very Ruralist-esque gift, actually.

Well done, Darren Livingstone. I have yet to see how good of an account manager you are, but so far, I trust you and I am actually kind of looking forward to next year’s annual review!

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{Locality} Music at the Barn: Talented Ontario singer/songwriters grace Bayfield’s Main Street

Music at the Barn presents

Danielle Durand, born and raised in the Bayfield area, has music flowing in her bloodstream. Many of her relatives are accomplished singers, songwriters, and musicians, and the gift did not miss Danielle.

It was a combined love of music, of summers in Bayfield, and the desire to share her favourite things with other, along with a “something clicked” moment that inspired Danielle to plan a new summer concert series called Music at the Barn.

Kryart barn

The barn in question is the psychedelically-painted old barn that was adopted a few years ago by artist Kristyn Watterworth as her studio, gallery, and shop. Kristyn has sold art supplies, given lessons, and provided studio space out of the Kryart barn, not to mention produced many gorgeous art pieces.

Kristyn’s work will be on display at each Music at the Barn concert, and she will be doing demonstrations during the intermission at each show.

Industrial Surf Patterns by Kristyn Watterworth
Industrial Surf Patterns by Kristyn Watterworth (30″ x 24″ oil on canvas)

The intimate venue holds about 60 people, practically the perfect amount of people to share a live music event with.

The artists that are lucky enough to be appearing at the Music at the Barn events were chosen by Danielle based on what she finds “fascinating”:

“I enjoy folk music for its purity and musicianship…there are some incredible guitarists and banjoists in the world, coupled with incredible vocal harmonies and lyrics – and this is the type of talent that I want to showcase. There [will be] an eclectic mix of instrumentation from guitars, banjos, and drums, to the obscure, including kazoos and omnichords….”

Artists from surrounding towns such as Goderich, Grand Bend, and Bayfield too, and artists from as far away as London, Waterloo, Guelph, and Toronto will be gracing the barn’s stage. Expect to see Kim Régimbal and Adrian Jones of the Kitchener area, The Marrieds (Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy of London), Alanna Gurr from Guelph, Graham Nicholas of London,  Jenny Omnichord (Jenny Mitchell of Guelph), Josh Geddis of Bayfield, and Danielle Durand herself, among others.

The Music at the Barn concert series is sponsored by the ArtSee Cafe & Bistro, Main Street Optometric, Kryart Studio, Virtual High School, Pianovations, Brian Coombs – Remax, The Bayfield General Store, 104.9 The Beach, and Ernie King Music.

Concerts are the following Sundays at 2 pm: June 24th, July 15th & 29th, August 29th and September 16th, 2012.

For more concert details, “Like” the Music at the Barn Series Facebook page, email Danielle at dnmdurand (at) yahoo (dot) com or call 519-993-3154.

changing locality

Changing {Locality}

changing locality

My geographical locality has changed since my last {Locality} post. I’m no longer an official resident of Huron County. My new county has the word “sex” in it: Middlesex. A respectable enough county name, though one rarely thinks of the county when one is in a city.

The transition has been odd. Not only did I move from the country to a city, but I also moved in with my boyfriend, a big enough life transition in and of itself. The “me to we” transition, as my “mother-in-law” Deb put it, hasn’t been that big of a deal (though perhaps I should add a “yet” to that). After more than two and a half years as a serious couple, we were already used to living life together, even from two different geographic locations.

What keeps causing me to bug out is the staying in London. I think if it were any other city that I wasn’t so familiar with, it would be different, but because I have known London for so many years–gone there for shopping and movies, attended university, gone for medical appointments and to visit family members at the hospital, etc.–as a place you go to and leave again, it is very odd to just stay, to not get in the car and make that very familiar trek north up Richmond or Highbury or Hyde Park, aiming for Ontario’s West Coast.

Regardless of my physical location, however, {Locality} continues to be important to me. No longer does it refer specifically to Huron County–it now has everything to do with what is local wherever I am, wherever you are. From now on, {Locality} posts will extend across Ontario, perhaps even across Canada, North America, or the world!

{Locality} is a mindset that avoids box stores, large corporations, and that aspect of democracy that tends to put money before people. It champions the owner/proprietor, the entrepreneur, the organic farmer, the rural shop, the one-off boutique, the people with personality and heart that you love to see again and again.

It can exist wherever you are, country or city, big or small.

I will continue to champion the rural, the small-town, the “back home,” but I undoubtedly will find places in my new locale that can pass the muster side-by-side with the Bayfields and Goderiches of rural Ontario.

In fact, stay tuned for an announcement tomorrow that underscores my dedication to all things rural Ontario!

we need you!

{Locality} needs YOU!

we need you!

I’ve been too busy to talk about it much over the last couple of weeks, but I’m leaving Huron County in two weeks and becoming a city-dweller.

I will still be well-connected to Goderich and Bayfield and other parts of Huron County, but not as present as I have been. Obviously.

But I won’t be as easily able to see store openings and visit farmers in the Huron County area. This is where you come in .

I’m looking for someone willing to share the vision of Locality, someone who is excited about all of the reasons to get excited about Huron County, someone who also likes to write.

If you are that person, or you know that person, please let me know. I’d love to have you join me as a guest blogger!

Ruralist

{Locality} The Ruralist

Ruralist

No, I’m not done writing my papers, but I love the Locality series too much to let it drop during finals season. Besides, The Ruralist doesn’t need much introduction or explanation.

The Ruralist was envisioned by my friends Erin Roy and Erin Samuell (no, not every cool person in my area is my friend, but I’m proud to say many of them are). These two with-it and savvy local businesswomen are trend-spotters and with this website, they have become trend-setters.

They realized that there was a need for a curated collection of the best items from the best little stores across rural Ontario (and maybe someday the rest of Canada?), a sort of Etsy for unique finds and experiences you can’t get in the city. This site is for those urbanites who imagine the country as one big pile of cow dung and need the gems pointed out to them by someone in the know, someone who can view those gems through the lens of the personal touch and great design.

That Perfect Piece

It’s for those “ruralistas” like myself and my friends, family, and readers who are from rural areas but refuse to associate with the image of cow-tipping, straw-chewing, “ain’t”-saying hicks. Sure, there are hicks, and we love them for the flavour they bring to our community, but we believe we have culture, too. We have style. We love quality. We are unique and proud of it.

The Ruralist website was soft-launched a week ago, as was their Facebook page, so you can be one of the lucky readers who knew about this project when…! Subscribe to the blog and “Like” the Facebook page to see the eye candy they are posting, and start to get proud of rural Ontario. If you’re not already on the bandwagon, that is.

Ruralist promise

In a few months, the Ruralist site will have a shop aspect to it so that you can click through and see all of the shops across Ontario that have been Ruralist approved, and connect directly to their websites. Meanwhile, there is a steady stream of great photography (Erin Samuell IS one of Canada’s best, after all), lovely design, and an inspiring collection of things to do, see, taste, and so much more.

Oh, and if you search the Ruralist for “Sarah”, you’ll see my face! 🙂 You might even see more of me as time goes by.

What are you waiting for? Rural Ontario is waiting.

~~~

PS: If you (or someone you know) are a rural Ontario business-person and you think you’ve got something the Ruralist editors would love, or you’re interested in purchasing a micro-site in the upcoming Ruralist shopping section, send me a message telling me about your business and what you think the Ruralist editors would love about it. If I agree with you (;)), I’ll pass your message on to Erin and Erin.

ciao for now

In an ideal world, this wouldn’t have to happen.

ciao for now

The decision to write on this blog daily has been an exciting and creatively-stimulating part of my life over the past few months. I’ve enjoyed interacting with readers and thinking about future posts.

It is also time-consuming, and it’s time for a reality check: the four papers that I have due over the next week and a half (and have barely started) must pull rank over blogging.

Boo-hoo.

My grades, however, will thank me.

I will continue to post daily “food journal” entries in the Whole30 Eats section of this site, because I made a commitment to doing that and two weeks out of a month is a significant chunk of time.

Oh, and I will be writing a post about this at some point, but I am looking for someone to be a guest blogger for Huron County {Locality} posts. I am moving out of the area in a month, and though I will still be connected, I would like to have someone else that is able to go and take pictures and interview people first-hand. Someone that is excited about what is right in their backyard, and thinks other people should know. Pass it on, ask the writers you know.

Okay, well, I guess it’s good-bye for now. Wish me luck!

Hive

{Belatedly} Wordless Wednesday, aka Thursday

I have to apologize for the plethora of posts lately, and especially that so many of them are about what I’m eating or not eating. When my boyfriend mentions it, I know other people have to be thinking it, too. 🙂 Sorry, guys. I’ve just been so excited about this diet and I’ve had so much to say! You haven’t seen the end of it, but this blog is about so much more than food, so it’s time to dial it back a bit.

Are you still with me?

Life for me lately has mostly been about schoolwork and health, and that’s only exciting to a select handful.

So, to shake it up, a glimpse of what I’m “reading” these days (via audio book), and a sneak peek at my walk-through of Bayfield’s newest store, Hive. Look for a Locality post about Hive this Friday.

Twilight

Hive

Good Food Box

Locality: Huron Good Food Box

I picked up my first Good Food Box yesterday! Okay, my friend Hayley picked it up for me on Thursday, but I picked it up from her.

I’m excited to a) get more involved in my community, b) pay less than supermarket prices for produce, c) get better than supermarket value for produce, and d) eat locally-grown produce!

My box this month includes: red potatoes, apples, a cucumber, carrots, a coleslaw mix of chopped cabbage and carrots, a large turnip, a bag of mixed onions,  and some Weth mushrooms.

Good Food Box

A booklet with information and recipes was included, too.

I’m really impressed and I can’t wait to start eating this food!

Recipes, etc.

Do a Good Deed

And, as a bonus, I learned that you can purchase a Good Food Box for people that can’t necessarily afford one. Hayley told me that there was a month when she wasn’t able to pick up her box on the distribution day, and found out later that it had been donated to a family who had not eaten for a few days. Chances are, that family would have been forced to survive on Kraft Dinner and pork & beans before Hayley’s unwitting gift.

Do a good deed: buy a Good Food Box for your family, and one for another family if you can!

Distribution Sites and Payment Information

You can currently order and pick up your Good Food Box in Bayfield, Blyth, Clinton, Exeter, Ethel, Goderich, Grand Bend, Hensall, Seaforth, Vanastra, Wingham, and Zurich.

One box costs $15 cash (no cheques).

For April, order and pay for your box by Friday, April 6th, and pick it up on Tuesday, April 17th.

In May, order and pay by Friday, May 4th, and pick it up on May 17th.

For more information, visit the Huron Good Food Box website, “Like” them on Facebook, email them at goodfood@huroncounty.ca, or call the Infoline at 519-482-3416, extension 2244.

 

In light of my post about Gingerich’s organic eggs a few weeks ago, this post is fantastic. Thanks to Rachel of rachels-table.com for this enlightened post!

Rachel's Table

Yeah, I went there. (Thanks to my darling husband for suggesting such a mind-blowingly smart title.)

Weekends are for two things: sleeping and big breakfasts. Well, maybe only for big breakfasts if you have kids. I don’t, so I sleep in and then eat a big breakfast.

This past weekend I decided to try a little experiment. Yes, with eggs. One egg was free range, pasture fed, hormone and antibiotic free. The other was the grocery store brand. Here are the eggs in question:

I took these eggs and fried them:

Notice the first egg. It looks like a nice enough egg and is frying up splendidly. But notice the second egg. Look at that yolk! It is such a lovely shade of gold-ish orange!

Guess what I discovered after my very serious eggsperiment? The grocery store egg didn’t taste like much, but the free range egg tasted like the…

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