flying the coop

When it was time to take our leave of the cottage on the lake and go to live in the old farmhouse at Ravenhill, moving house was quite literally what we needed to do. Our sturdy little henhouse had a journey to undertake.

We made a date with a crane to pluck it from under the trees, fly it through the air, drive it through winding narrow forest country, and lift it over the herb farm fence to a spot we’d levelled and set with stones.

In the midst of packing up, we were struck with news that a tumour had returned, and I would face another major surgery in a couple of weeks time. When it rains, it pours! Which is precisely what it did – happily not until after we’d set the henhouse in place, and brought our eleven sweet hens to it, nestled in boxes of pine shavings, to settle in and wonder what just happened.

Deconstructing, then reconstructing the mink-proof run was an enormous challenge, for which I am so grateful to my father and his methodical approach. Now we are all settled in (and wondering what just happened). I am recovering well, having been carefully tended by my sweetheart and children through my convalescence, and we are beginning some new and exciting things over at Ravenhill Herb Farm! Yes, Noël Richardson wrote such exquisite books about this place. I loved In a Country Garden, and read it when I was convalescing the first time, back in March. How strange life can be. The new landowners here are wonderful, you must come and visit their farmstand if you’re ever on Vancouver Island.

to the lake

A full year after leaving the old cottage in the English countryside for the Pacific coast of Canada, we have found home. On the island, on a lake, in a cottage. A moment at the lake, and we all knew it. A month at the lake, and it has all fallen quite astonishingly into place.

paintbox lake

I first stayed in this cottage on Teanook Lake half my lifetime ago. It keeps reappearing in the family, this place. My grandparents built a house around the corner a good forty years ago; some of my cousins grew up here.

mirror lake

The old fishing village is now a handful of cottages. There are no motors on the water to disturb, and if there are ripples on the water it is the wind, the ducks, a swimmer. The water nurtures each cottage, and everyone cares for the water. Great, vivid connection.

raining lake

Despite its position just a few miles from the city, and the odd sounds that carry over now and then, the lake feels like a faraway place.

lake mist

Like the rolling hills of Sussex that we’d gaze across, like the mountains and ocean in my childhood home in the cove, this landscape is in constant, exquisitely beautiful change.

lilylake.s.jpg

I find a new plant in the garden each day, we see another animal, another bird. The sheer variety in creatures and plantlife here is astonishing. Indigenous stories.

splashing lake

Yet if there’s one thing that I longed for in a home, it’s to be where we are living in the landscape, not just looking at it. Drinking it! Eating it! Diving into it.

childhood lake

There are great possibilities for us here, a million stories. Shall I tell you them? I look forward to it. We’re dreaming about so much. Keeping hens, keeping bees, growing and gathering food. Wild swimming, boating, fishing. Days and days of playing outside with friends. And setting up the old school studio to have workshops here!

storybook lake

It is so good to be home.

(Don’t miss a story from appleturnover on-the-lake. Sign up for the postcards.)