Gwen Tuinman


Country Life Suits This Writer

My husband and I are urban transplants, now proud ruralites living in an agricultural zone. This change of residence is a dream come true for us. To the north, south, east and west of our home we look out on cornfields and rippling waves of wheat. In every direction we see historic barns that mark family farms. In short, we’re in heaven.

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Preserving Heritage Barns

The view of rustic barns is one of the greatest pleasures of a countryside drive. They stir fond childhood memories of my grandparents’ farm and inspire my storytelling. I am fortunate to live in an agricultural region dotted with this historic architecture. After a windstorm felled a neighbouring barn, I began to reflect on the life expectancy of these treasured buildings.

I recently enjoyed a conversation with Jon Radojkovic, president of Ontario Barn Preservation (OBP). Along with board members and regional representatives, he devotes himself to documenting and protecting Ontario barns constructed prior to 1959.

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On Time Elasticity and Writing

Last October, my husband and I moved to a rural property. Since the spring, we’ve planted a small apple and pear orchard and started cottage gardens. We’ve also dug fruit beds and created sixteen 5 x 15-foot market gardens. These projects are labours of love that require daily watering, weeding, and staking. Already, I’m harvesting vegetables and the task of food preservation begins.

I’m also a novelist dedicated to production goals. My inner critic natters in my ear. You’re not spending enough hours with your butt in the chair, it says. But when I step back and analyse the actual facts, I realize that in spite of this new diversion of my time, my output is the same as in winter when hours were more abundant.

This is cause for me to think about time.

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