On the customs form that I fill out on my way back to the US I will have to check "yes" to the question: Have you visited a farm in the past 30 days?
A farm in Ormstown, Quebec which has been described as "the place of magical strangeness" by one Dakota Belle Witt, is where I currently reside. It is a place I've been coming to most of my life. I spent many summers here when I was younger. It is, in fact, a summer camp. The mad man who runs this place has been a friend of my mother's since she was 15 years old. His name is Andre and the farm, appropriately, is called Andre's Farm, or La Ferme d'Andre. My first job was working here as a counselor. To this day its the hardest job I've ever had. My french is not good... its not even ok... its pretty much not french at all. Trying to organize a bunch of french speaking kids and force them to bathe themselves and keep their cubbies clean... well, I'm sure you can imagine. Most of them just laughed at me, deflating my adolescent ego.
Andre is beyond eccentric. He says whatever is on his mind all the time. At dinner last night he told me I had beautiful eyes and followed that by saying I also had a nice ass... and nice tits. He has had white hair since I can remember and wears all white and only white every day always.
We took the train here on New Year's Eve. A quiet dinner of four turned into a party of twenty or so. That's the farm. It's a Quebec tradition to eat at midnight to welcome the new year. So after our huge meal at around nine o'clock... we drank and drank and then ate again. At one point there were impromptu latin dance lessons. So twenty French-Canadians, age 4-70, gathered in sheep skin slippers and nerdy sweaters to shake their hips. It was beautiful.
A fresh snowfall leaves the landscape fluffy white, spotted with rickety wooden fences, silhos, old barns, stone farm houses, leafless trees and a small winding road leading to town. Today's big event was a sleigh ride, horse drawn with bells and all. It wouldn't have been complete without the horse being spooked by a snow mobile and running off in the wrong direction with Andre at the reins cursing and yelling. This was followed by an amazing meal cooked by Lucy. She is the resident chef, graduated from culinary academy and worked at the best restaurants in Montreal. She is always full of energy and ready to dance and drink boxed white wine. When speaking to me she constantly switches between French and broken English. She is marvelous. Tonight also ended with dancing. I was even coerced into participating.
There is a Mexican family living here right now. My limited Spanish and my limited French are now a language smoothie in my head, its even garnished with some Russian and Portuguese. Yum. I'm hopeless when it comes to communicating with anyone here. I've been keeping to myself and observing. The most communicating I do takes place during the late night dining room concerts. It isn't hard to convince me to play and the folks here are eager to listen. So in the huge, deep red, low-lit dining room, with dark wood floors and two fire places, I pluck and sing each night.
I've spent four nights here so far. One night we had a barbeque in the snow and all did shots while the flakes landed on our noses. On the barbeque there was pork and goat. Both these animals were born and raised not fifty yards from where they were currently being prepared and soon to be eaten. It doesn't get much more local and organic than that. The rarity of such a thing has led to me to vegetarianism. The raising of animals for meat, and sadly also dairy, is one of the worst things for the environment. I know I sound like a hippy... and maybe I kind of am. Animal rights is one thing, but you could also look at it as human rights too. Every time I eat a vegetable I am fighting for the human right to not live through global warming. I'm exaggerating a little, but you get my point.
A little about the farm itself: a pool (more like an ice skating rink at the moment), a pond (with ducks), an atelier (for arts and crafts), horses (who all have nasty temperaments from being ridden by rotten kids for years), llamas, cows, dogs, pigs, donkeys, goats, chickens, cats cats cats (each time I come there are more), a very affectionate cockatoo who loves to whistle and bob it's head along to a tune, a tipi, and my favorite... Tarzan's Barn. La Grange de Tarzan is so incredibly hazardous and so incredibly fun. Very hand made ramps and ladders and platforms and a rope swing, and in the center of it all is a huge foam mat. How no one has ever died... well, knock on wood. No matter how much describing I do though, I could never really communicate the magic. It's an incredible place. People come here once and can't ever stop.
I had my first kiss here. I slow danced to Hey Jude with my first boy friend in the girl's dorm in my pajamas. I rode a horse named Daphne over my first jump. I milked my first cow. I snuck a freezer pop and then had to brush the blue dye off my tongue for what seemed like hours. I smuggled in candy and hid it in my cubby. I discovered the location of the camp fire cookies and my career in thievery began. I got drunk for the first time. Tequila shots at the local bar in town called Vieux Moulin. Fifteen and no one ever asked for an ID. I once fell asleep in a bucket of towels while managing the showers. This place is littered with history. It wreaks of my childhood. Horrible, wonderful, wonderfully horrible, and horribly wonderful memories lurk around every corner.
I wrote a song yesterday. It's a good place for it. I'll post it as soon as its recorded. I'm also working on the 'I Kissed A Girl' cover and video. I'm so excited.