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Running away from that mentality and that pace; yeah, there’s a bit of that.
Tasha is a bit of an introvert, so it works well — there’s not a lot of people who just wander onto the farm, or wander into Powell River. On the flipside, we’re sharing this mentality of creating something here in Powell River with others in our home and our community. There are a lot of likeminded people there, a lot of people who grew up in Powell River, went off, got creative, then came back, had kids — because they see the value of it.
That’s the difficulty; it wouldn’t be sustainable for me to be there for any length of time, in the city, but the cultural things that you gain are so incredible. We’ve gone to cities and we have to remind them that they can’t run off two blocks ahead — there won’t be a bear there, but there might be something else [laughs].
That said, there’s nothing like sending the kids outside barefoot and they whip their clothes off and they’re running around completely free — I’m not worried at all. Can you talk me through an average day on the farm? It’s funny because when Tasha and I are home with the kids, our routines are quite different as we’re quite different from one another.
I can see on your Instagram account that you’re growing grapes — can you really make wine that far north?
It’s only our second year — we harvested some grapes last year for wine; some are table grapes, but the majority is for wine. We have big glass containers, carboys, of wine, but we really didn’t get that much last year because of issues with the bears and the powdery mildew.
Around 15 years ago, I had a big sheep farm near Toronto.It was 230 acres, but I didn’t connect with the area as much — I felt drawn back west.So I did this big road trip with my mom and we went all up and down the coast, camping and exploring different areas.I think LA is wonderfully alive and people are very driven — and that’s very exciting — but you also get sucked into this collective energy of ‘go go go’.You’re also in your car a lot, which is not that fun with kids [laughs].I found this amazing property, off-grid, a total shack which needed major work, and I was like ‘I love it!’ So about a year later I bought it — I had to sell my farm, and then got the house and do all this work on the house for about 12 years. But it was just a bit too remote for us; it was so beautiful, set on a cliff right on the ocean, and we enjoyed a lot of aspects of it, like kayaking off the beach. But driving to town 45 minutes each way with little kids was a lot. We then decided to sell that house and move a little closer to town, and that’s the property we’re on now.This year we hope to be able to make more wine and sell it to people. Everyone wants these grapes: the bees, the wasps, the birds, the deer, the bears. I eat meat, occasionally, but I can’t imagine killing an animal.It’s a learning experience, and we’re still learning. And the bears get the first word, and we haven’t figured out how to manage them yet. I have no problem with raising meat for use, as long as it’s done really well and you know the animal has had a good life. Even though we watch the cows in the pasture behind us, and we’ve eaten them — we’ve had jerky from them. When we first got the chickens and I went out and collected the eggs, sitting down to eat them was a little bit weird.It looks like the house from Days of Heaven, the Terrence Malick film.Do the kids go to a school in town or are you homeschooling them? Our daughter Gray likes going to school and all the social interactions.