A Good Home, Architecture and Design, Canadian life, Clarington, Country Living, Doors Open, Doors Open Clarington, Family Moments, Farms, Gardens, Heritage Homes, Home Decor

Home at The Grange – Part 3

 

Kendal, northeast of Toronto, has many heritage properties, some dating back to the mid-1800’s. That’s why it’s the focus of Clarington’s Doors Open architectural conservancy tour on June 10th 2017. 

Blog Photo - Doors Open Clarington Photo Kendal2

The Grange — Wendy and Nicholas Boothman’s farm property — will be a highlight of the tour. 

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange seen from Hill Hamlin

So will “Southwinds”, below.  Visitors will be be able to see these houses, barns and properties up-close and learn about their architectural and family histories.

Also known as “The Marr House”, Southwinds was built of cut-stone in 1845 for Scottish immigrant Alexander Marr and his family. 

Blog Photo - Doors Open Southwinds 2 CU of House
Above photos: credit Doors Open Clarington 

Marilyn Morawetz, leader of Doors Open Clarington, says The Grange and Southwinds are excellent examples of their era. 

“Both represent typical architecture at the time by or for families with much to contribute to the early development of the Kendal and Orono areas.  Even the barns on both properties are wonderful examples of architecture and life at that time.” 

~~~

But let’s return to the Boothmans’ grand adventure in country-living and renovating.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Sign and driveway Hamlin

The renovation would take 4 long years. 

But the family loved their home, even before it was completed. So did friends, who visited on weekends during and after the renovation. 

Blog Photo - Doors Open Nick Early Photo Ping Pong

Finally, all the major work was done. The barn foundations were repaired; the house was made comfortable; the pool and garden put in; the planned extension and verandah added.

The results were beautiful.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange House CU Hamlin

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Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Wendy and Nick in front of painting in DRoom photo by Hamlin

With a comfortable house, a sturdy barn and farm animals, 140 acres and spectacular views, the farm was also a gorgeous setting. Nick says:

“After we were well settled at The Grange, the outdoor Shakespearean group Driftwood Theatre Group were looking for an outdoor venue for their first dress rehearsal and they found the beautiful settings at The Grange, perfect.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Barn Overlooking trees and Raod Hamlin

“So for 6 years in a row, we would have great fun inviting friends and their families from the area and Toronto to join us for an outdoor performance of Shakespeare.  Their first season was Romeo and Juliet. 

“It was fun and we like to think it gave Driftwood Theatre Group a good start on what has become a very successful annual attraction in Durham Region and beyond.”

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Nick looks at property Hamlin

~~

Life, of course, has its ups and downs.

In 1998, Nick became ill. 

The children told Wendy: “Mummy, we’ll be okay. You focus on getting Daddy better.”

Wendy set a rule: there’d be no sadness and feeling sorry around Nick. At 5 p.m. every day, they held ‘happy hour’ in the bedroom and opened a bottle of red wine. She told visitors only funny stories and positive talk were allowed.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Magnolia CU by Hamlin

But one day, Wendy “needed to explode”. She drove up the hill to the spot where the whole family had gathered that first day for the picnic, got out of the car, dropped to her knees and banged on the ground with her fists, and screamed.

On her way back, a huge stag stood in one of the fields, staring at her. It didn’t flinch as she passed.  Wendy felt the stag was saying: “It’s all going to be okay”.

“And it was,” says Wendy.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Wendy on Screaming Hill

From that day, whenever anyone needed to scream about something happy or sad, they’d go to that spot. Today, friends still call to ask if they can go up there and “have a scream”.

That’s how the spot got its name: “Wendy’s Screaming Hill”.

~~~

Photos 1 and 3 by Doors Open Clarington

Photo 5 by Nicholas Boothman.

All other photos by Hamlin Grange

See More Photos of the renovated Grange in Part 4!

A Good Home, Autumn, Garden Humour, Spring, The Seasons

Autumn Here, Spring There

~~

It’s Springtime now Down Under

While we here are right in the Fall

Hard to believe it’s the same Earth

It barely makes sense at all.

blog-photo-gallivanta-spring-table-with-daffodils
Photo Credit:  silkannthreades.wordpress.com

~~

I wonder how folks in the old days

Reacted to this bit of news

That Christmas could be in the summer

Did they think it was some kind of ruse?

blog-photo-christmas-2012

~~

Oh – look what I wrote up above there!

A captive of my point of view

Though for folks in the lands Down Under

This cannot be anything new.

Blog Photo - White garden Solomons seal

~~

So let’s start this poem all over

Let’s turn it upside on its head

And now, it is Fall Over Yonder

But here it’s the time to plant beds.

 

A Good Home, Books, Canadian Gardens, Food, Gardens of An Honest House

When Readers Write

Photos by Hamlin Grange

One of the most enjoyable experiences I have as a writer of a newly published book is hearing from readers. It happened with my first book, A Good Home: I got hundreds of notes and cards from readers.

Book photos - cards from Readers

This time, a new thing happened: readers started emailing me while still reading the book. Bloggers whom I knew and many readers whom I didn’t, wrote as they finished a chapter or part (the book has 3 parts).

I love it! 

I also love the surprises involved.

Jeanne at Still A Dreamer posted a beautiful remembrance of her dad’s garden.

I savoured every flower, every memory she described. Then, at the end of her post, came a surprise connection to An Honest House. A smile warmed my soul.  I was glad that reading about our farmhouse gardens had triggered Jeanne’s happy memories.

Blog Photo - White garden Bridal Wreath and Arbour

But when – over just 2 days — readers in 3 different countries wrote to praise “all the great food” in An Honest House, I was stunned.

The only great cook in this house is my husband. Could I really have written so much about food? It sent me scurrying to reread my own book. 

Eureka! There it was, dozens of mentions:

Blog Photo - Afternoon Tea Ladies

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Food growing and being harvested from the garden.

Blog Photo - Garden harvest Basket tomatoes pumpkin

Food cooking on the stove or fresh-baked from the oven.

Blog Photo - Cake 2

Pots of jelly burbling.

Blog Photo - Jelly in Pot

blog-photo-verandah-red-currants

And there it was: 

Blog Photo - Apples in Bowl

The joy of making apple pies, apple crepes and jellies – from our own rare apples.

Blog Photo - Kitchen harvest table

The delight that comes from knowing that almost every ingredient in a meal has come from one’s own garden.

Blog Photo - Tomato Yellow

blog-photo-herb-garden-parsley

Family and friends having supper — cooked by our resident chef.

Blog Photo - Robert Family Visit Dish CU

Blog Photo - Robert and Family on the Verandah
Above 2 photos by Robert Vernon

And, of course, the hilarity that follows my guests’ discovery that I’ve ruined yet another simple dish.

~~

Running gag among family and friends:

Me: Hi there. Will you please come over for supper?

Them: Ah…hmm… who’s doing the cooking?

~~

I learned that sometimes, what you think you are writing and what the reader is getting may be not exactly the same. I knew that I wanted to infuse this (sometimes painful) book with my family’s gratitude and joy in life’s simple pleasures. But it took my readers to tell me how much I’d written about food.

So:  ever wanted to write to an author whose book you enjoyed?

Do it. You might tell them something they didn’t know. 

 

A Good Home, Blogging Community, Flowers, Valerie Rowley

FLOWERS FOR VAL

There are times when words just aren’t enough.

So I send flowers on my blog to individuals going through happy times, sad times — or just because.

This time, the flowers are for someone whom many of you may remember: my friend Valerie. With husband Chris, pet dogs, chickens, their beautiful gardens, home and farm — Val graced these pages about 4 times in the last two years, and many more times through her kind comments here.

Val is very ill right now. These flowers are sent to her from bloggers who read about her and from my own family too.

Blog flowers For Val from Gallivanta
From Gallivanta in New Zealand
Blog Flowers for Val from Cindy Knoke1
From Cindy Knoke, USA
Blog Flowers For Val from Wendy MacDonald
From Wendy MacDonald, Canada
Blog Flower from Natalie Scarberry
From Natalie Scarberry, USA
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From Jeni Rankin, Scotland
Blog Flowers for Val From Amy and Alan the Greyhound
From Amy Grant (and her greyhound Alan), USA
Blog flower from Laurie Graves
From Laurie Graves, USA
Blog Flowers for Val from Diane Taylor
From Diane Taylor, Canada
Blog flowers for Val from Chris
From Chris, Canada
Blog Flower for Val from Katherine 2
From Katherine, Gibraltar
Blog Flowers for Val from Lavinia
From Lavinia and Rick, USA
Blog Flowers for Val from Ann Moser.JPG
From Ann Moser, Canada
Camellia
From Derrick Knight, UK
Blog Flowers for Val from Jason
From Jason, USA
Blog flowers for Val from Margaret
From Margaret Mair, Canada
Blog Flowers for Val from MT McGuire.jpg
From MT McGuire, UK
Blog Photo Amaryllis Red and White
From Cynthia, Hamlin and Family

Love and prayers, dear Val and Chris.

I thank you for welcoming my blog community into your home, and above all, thank you for being you.

**Blogger friends: You are welcome to send a flower for Val. I will add it here.

Cynthia.