Take a Drive into Warkworth This Weekend.

If you are visiting us this weekend for a workshop, why not take some time to travel ten minutes east to Warkworth for some lunch, coffee and shopping at the unique stores in our picturesque village. We are featuring a few businesses but you can read about them all if you visit the Warkworth.ca website. 

Driving east on #29 the first spot to visit is Frantic Farms and Cara Mia Bakery. Well known local artists Monica Johnson, a potter, and Paulus Tjang, a glass blower, own both storefronts. Frantic Farms is a wonderful gallery full of one of a kind art created by both of the owners and guest artists. The bakery is full of mouth watering bread, sweet treats and frozen foods made fresh locally and if you are craving ice cream, this is the spot. 

 Monica Johnson - Frantic Farms

Monica Johnson - Frantic Farms


 Paulus Tjang - Frantic Farms

Paulus Tjang - Frantic Farms

 Monica and Paulus in front of Frantic Farms

Monica and Paulus in front of Frantic Farms


On Main St. you will find several spots to eat including Our Lucky Stars Cafe and Coffee Roasters. A charming cafe and roastery  serving Espresso coffees, homemade baked goods, salads and sandwiches with vegetarian options using local, natural ingredients wherever possible. 

Open for morning coffee and lunch every day and gourmet pizza on Saturday nights.

 Our Lucky Stars Cafe

Our Lucky Stars Cafe

 Vintage delights!

Vintage delights!

 Robin and Lesley

Robin and Lesley


Next door to Our Lucky Stars, don't miss Camp Ho-Ba-Chee. Lesley and Robin's fun shop is an eclectic collection of primitive to mid-mod vintage treasures you won't be able to resist. We are almost afraid to go in, we always want to buy half of the store and never come out empty handed!

 Camp Ho-Ba-Chee

Camp Ho-Ba-Chee


Tina Moorey, of On The Side Gourmet Food, is Warkworth's own celebrity chef! Her shop on the west side of Main St. is brimming full of kitchen gadgets and specialty food items including imported cheeses, pasta, jams and sauces. Be sure to check out this delightful store, there is a lot to see in this tiny space! Tina is well known for her catering business, cooking classes held across the road at On The Side Studio and  new this month, the Studio is open daily for lunches. 

Other great spots to check out are Eclectic Mix for gifts, jewelry and art, Cheeky Bee for their world renowned candles and gifts, Trentmendous for fabulous women's fashions, Serendipitous Old Stuff for Scandinavian and French country painted furniture and Metaphorhome for stylish products for your home. 


The View From This Side of the Icicle.

Winter is the season of rest for many plants and mammals. After a long growing season and intense harvest, we look forward to wrapping ourselves in winter's white blanket and enjoying the beauty of the rolling landscape which surrounds us. We always welcome the winter snows which offer the opportunity to snow shoe or ski in the fields and woods on the farm.

Sometimes, however, winter's beauty can be destructive and devastating, as it was when the ice arrived on Friday December 20th. For three days we were iced in at the farm, unable to drive and only able to walk to the barn in snowshoes with heavy cleats . We stocked up firewood, and filled pots, jugs and bathtub with water in anticipation of a power outage, bracing for the worst.

Fortunately, we did not lose power this time, but many hundreds of thousands in South Central and Eastern Canada were stranded without heat or hydro, forced to find shelter with friends and families or at community centres for days which extended over the Christmas holidays. Thousands are still without power and suffering from the prolonged outages. Many trees were lost from the weight of the ice and strangely and one week later, with dropping temperatures and little sun, the trees and branches are still covered with that same ice and now an additional layer of snow. With winds forecast for tonight and tomorrow, the after effects of this storm may still be felt for some time. 

On a brighter note, the icy landscape is a photographers dream. When the sun appeared we were delighted to discover a sparkling, frosty, bejewelled landscape, covered with inches of glistening ice, the branches in the fields resembling an underwater scene of coral and seaweed. It was so cold when these photos were taken the iPhone 4 that took them kept powering off. 

Flame willow, once towering above our heads, now bows down gracefully before us, it's vivid orange bark still visible through layers of ice, softened to an indescribable shade. 

Tall green curly willow appear to writhe and swirl in a fierce struggle against the weight of their icy encasement.

Hydrangea, dwarfed by almost a metre of snow and ice at it's feet, flower heads laden heavy, arching to the ground as if to show exhaustion from it's rapid, vigorous growing season. 

And then there was snow...

Outdoor Decorating

With the end of the harvest we now have some time to catch up on custom urn orders, gifts for family and friends and also decorate here on the farm. Bitter temperatures and wind chills made the thought of decorating outdoors unappealing so the sunroom and living room became assembly central with branches, evergreens and glitter strewn all over the floor! Since we create our designs in plastic inserts, we were able to stay warm and dry and enjoy the smell of cedar, pine and fir while the dog and cats lay by the fire. 

The urn we made for Mum's patio.

This week Watershed Magazine will shoot our house inside and out for next year's Winter issue. Yesterday we completed the eight outdoor urns around the house, it was snowing, blowing and unbelievably cold but we managed to set them up and take photos without getting frost bite. 

thebranchranch-open41.jpg

This morning we discovered our beautiful creations buried under mounds of snow! 

Sticks and Twigs as Christmas Trees

Using sticks for your Christmas Tree can be an exciting and unusual way to show off your decorating talents. Use your imagination this Christmas and consider using Curly Willow as your Christmas tree. This is no Charlie Brown tree, it is an artistic statement!  All you need is bunches of curly willow, lights, ornaments and a vessel. You could fill the top of the urn with pinecones or glass balls instead of greens, use fairy lights at the base or on the branches, hang feathered birds, bows or handmade ornaments. The options are as endless as your imagination. If you would like something taller than 3-4' let us know, we can cut 5' curly willow to order. 

 We used an urn from the garden, glass balls, green curly willow and cedar for this tree.

We used an urn from the garden, glass balls, green curly willow and cedar for this tree.

This tree was made with many small cedars trees that we thinned from the bush. Since cedar grows in clumps we don't harm the bush by thinning, in fact we help the trees left behind. A cedar tree brings a wonderful smell to your home and the lacy foliage is a nice change to the needles of pine or spruce. Another bonus is you don't get needles all over the house! We wired the small cedars together to form a tree shape and placed them in a large metal bucket of water, then took curly willow branches and inserted them horizontally into the cedars to create this 'wild' effect!