Morning Ag Clips takes a trip ...


Far away, but close to home April 28, 2024

Always good to open your eyes and see somewhere else.

Find a familiarity, find a difference, find a connection.

Upon walking into the quaint, very old, stone home located in Ill de Orleans, Quebec,  I was pleasantly greeted by my past. Mrs. Sanborn’s farmhouse kitchen.  


Sitting to the right, when you walked through the door of the old farm kitchen, it was the heart of the home at Mrs. Sanborn’s, the old iron stove.  It was used for both cooking and heating the small and heavily trafficked room.  Pantry straight ahead, door to the connected barn and woodshed also to the right, next to the ancient kitchen sink.  That smoky wood smell filled the kitchen and was usually laced with whatever had been cooked earlier that day: bread, pie, pot roast.

Oh, this place in Lle de Orleans reminded me of Mrs. Sanborn and those fun days spent at the farm with their family.  I could smell it!

When we walked into the old home this week up in Quebec, the wooden floors creaked as my feet padded across them quickly and excitedly to scope out the rest of the beautiful vintage house.   It was like stepping back in time with its saggy, wood-shingled roof.   The old gardens were shaking off the dead of winter, and everything was beginning to wake up…including me.

The very agricultural island, not-touristy, was just what I needed: a vacation away from home and the office yet still giving me the ability to work, just in a different setting. 

And I was surrounded by two things that I love: water and agriculture.

From the front of the house, I could see the ever-spreading St. Lawrence Seaway. To the back of the house, I saw a barn and a wide-open spread of tilled fields, aching to warm up a bit more and be planted with corn. 

Finding a dairy farm with pristine red and white barns didn’t take long. There wasn’t a lick of cow manure, mud, or mess to be found. It was the biggest farm I had seen on the island, guessing to milk around 150 cows, and worked with older-styled, small, red tractors lined neatly in a row. One was hooked to the auger that operated the pump to pull manure from the slurry storage.  

Barns were painted white with red roofs, and everything was neat and clean, like a pin.


I didn’t see the cows—they were locked up tight, away from the winds blowing strongly off the St. Lawrence…but I could smell them.  

Once again, I was transported to a different time as I crested the knoll of the road, which divided the farm on either side.  It was not the smell of my home farm or the farm that gave me my three children.  It was the smell of Maine that tickled my olfactory senses and dusted the cobwebs out of a corner of my mind. 

My college boyfriend did an internship in Gardner, ME, back in the summer of 1995.  

It was the summer I took physics at the University of New Hampshire.  Regularly, I trekked up there to see him.   

Oh, how I remember the smell of the farm there.  Everything was green and lush.  I was in love and felt so much freedom.  The memories...

The farm in Maine wasn’t that much different from this farm on the island.  It was well kept and, I am sure, full of cows that were loved and well taken care of.

Without my children for the week, I was free, much like that summer I spent going back and forth to Maine. 

The island felt so familiar, filled with the scents of my childhood.

The difference was that I was working, away.  I was thinking new thoughts, and eating great food, on an island in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

And the connection?  Agriculture.

A common thread, that runs deep within all of us, keeping us close to home, in faraway places.  


Here’s to getting back in the U.S. and appreciating home.

With love, 

P.S. Sign up for the weekend edition and see more of my trip.