‘Five Farm Fundamentals’

Designing a farm home for a young family has very specific criteria. The inspiration for Holly and Henry’s home was based on the premise that their home has to work as hard as they do.

1) Seasons bring challenges- summers are hot and dusty, then there’s the rain and mud. Winters are bitter cold with unforgiving winds. The main entry and garage doors should be protected from the prevailing north-west winds. Covered porches are a welcome retreat in the hot summer.

2) Vehicles and equipment required for the farm require larger garage space. Over-sized garage bays and garage doors (9’ wide by 8’ high) accommodate trucks, snow-blowing and other equipment that is used on a daily basis.

3) Mudrooms, I’m sure, were created on a farm. Entering the home from the garage or the path that leads to the barns means the mess is contained.

4) Basement area left unfinished is ideal for young families. It is so practical to have large spaces where kids can ride tricycles, play hockey and ‘rough-house’ without worrying about denting floors or scuffing the walls.

5) The model of the ‘farm kitchen’ is just as important today as it was 100 years ago. Cooking, eating, kid’s play and visiting all happens together. From the same vantage point, it’s important to have a view of who’s driving up the lane, the ‘comings-and-goings’ at the barn, and the swings under the old maple tree.


GST/HST New Housing Rebate

This program through CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) is applicable to new residential construction and major renovations. If you are building your own home, having a builder construct your home or buying a new home from a builder, and if the home is your principal residence, you are eligible. I just heard about this from Holly & Henry (whose new home is featured here).

As of summer 2010, new home buyers in Ontario have been charged 13% HST on their purchase, which consists of a 5% federal tax and 8% provincial tax. The new house HST rebate in Ontario essentially kicks back 75% of the Ontario portion of the HST, up to a new home purchase amount of $400,000. This results in a maximum rebate at a provincial level of $24,000 ($400,000 x 0.08 x 0.75). It is also possible to obtain a federal rebate of up to $6,000.

As with any government program, there are many forms to submit, and records to keep, but well worth the time and effort to get that cheque in the mail! Click for more CRA info

It’s spring and we’re off to farm country! My work takes me through many parts of southern Ontario. Driving through rolling countryside, I never tire of viewing the beautiful scenery, the changing seasons, the well-kept farmhouses and historic barns. I marvel at the hard work our ancestors had of clearing acres and acres of bush without the use of machinery. We are blessed to live where our soils and abundant fresh water are the envy of the world!

LIFE ~ ‘On the Farm’

Holly and Henry are proud to be eighth-generation farmers in Peel County. Their 3200 square foot custom home was completed in 2016. When we first sat down to go through the ‘wish-list’, their twin boys had just arrived. It was clear their home had to work on many levels. The household would be busy - and at the time this newsletter is issued, a new baby sister has joined the family! Congratulations! They are enjoying the space, the layout and the size of their home.

Holly and Henry project managed their build with these trades and suppliers:

1. Architectural Design: Jane Cameron, Life Home Design
2. Excavation & Septic: Caledon Excavating
3. Foundations: OK Construction, Rob Kiesau 519-942-5267
4. Lumber supply: Timber Mart, Hillsburg
5. Framing: Ram Peel Construction
6. Drywall: DeCastro Drywall, Les DeCastro 519-942-3765
7. Roofing, siding, windows & door installation: Gerry, Bramdon Renovations 416-526-0943
8. Exterior Doors: Entryguard Doors
9. Windows: Northstar Windows
10. Siding: Gentek
11. Garage Doors: Richard Wilcox supplied by Steve Defreicas 416-540-1297

Grandma Cameron’s Oatmeal Cookies

Since we’re on the farm theme, I want to share my husband’s grandmother Elsie’s Oatmeal Cookie recipe. She was born in 1887 and farmed in Grey County. She was a prolific baker and this cookie recipe was her trademark. These cookies would have originally been made with lard (rendered from pork fat), and wheat milled from homegrown grain, and baked in her woodstove. My, times have changed, but this simple recipe has stood the test of time over generations. Enjoy them with a glass of fresh whole milk from a local farm, Sheldon Creek Dairy!

1 c. shortening (I use unsalted butter)
1 c. brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. soda sifted with
1 c. flour
3 c. rolled oats (I use large flake)

Cream together the first four ingredients.
Add flour/soda and the rolled oats (mix will be very stiff).
Shape into balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Press with fork.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes (times vary based on oven and how crispy you like them).

P.S. For anyone looking for a wheat-free version, I have very successfully substituted the wheat flour with garbanzo bean flour sold by Red Mill brand.!

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