How did you two first become involved in organic farming? And likewise, with music?
We both feel like life just kind of took us here! I guess we got serious about farming when we became pregnant with our first child. Danny and I had both experienced our own careers out in the working world for several years and grown tired of working for other people, so the freedom of the farming lifestyle really appealed to both of us and we wanted to raise our kids that way. At the time I met Danny, I had already been working with my Dad for a few years on the farm in Kenton where I grew up. Danny soon got involved and gained experience over a number of years, as we slowly worked our way to buying our own farm and equipment. With Music, we were both always interested in it and participating in different ways from an early age. As young kids, we both remember spending a lot of time imagining ourselves playing music on a stage--I even have a drawing I made as a kid, of myself singing beside a dark, bearded man playing the drums in a red onesie and it looks a whole lot like Danny! As far as playing an instrument goes, Danny found the drums at 12 and guitar and songwriting in his late teens. He played drums in a number of bands, including one with my brother, but hadn't ever shared his own songs and desired to. I played a bit of piano and clarinet in school band, but I lacked the confidence to believe it was even possible for me to create my own music until my Uncle's drum kit showed up in my parents' basement and my brother gave me an 8-track recorder in my mid-twenties. I messed around and made a whole album without knowing how to play an instrument! Danny and I's paths with music met up 2 years later, when he came out to my brother's farm to jam and spend some reflective time in the revine. We became close friends in short time and gave each other the courage to start sharing our own songs. We went on a hitchhiking adventure West, bought a small acoustic guitar on our travels and started writing songs together along our travels. We bought our first electric guitar and amp a few months after the birth of our first son (to help us deal with being new parents!ha!) and started jamming in our garage. That was the beginnings of our band.
You raise and homeschool 3 boys, you make a living farming organic grains, and you still somehow find time to record and perform music! How do you manage to balance all of these amazing things?
We make mistakes and we're always growing and changing, so we learn what works for us and what doesn't as we go. Strong, connected relationships are key, and that requires a lot of self-awareness and good communication. There are five people in our family, and each of us are individuals with our own thoughts, feelings and needs to be responsible for. The balance of the Whole of our family depends on the communication between the parts, so we are always communicating and trying to work together to figure out ways to get everyone's needs met in any given moment. We try our best to lead by example and be a guide to our kids. When we mess up, we take responsibility and our kids learn from that too. Danny and I know that meeting our creative needs is a big part of our personal balance, so we try to make regular structured time for Music with the help of babysitters. We try to keep our life simple, move with the nature of the times, follow what inspires us and be very conscious about the use of our time. We strike a balance when we find a way to honour and stay connected to what's most important to us a little each day.
Do you find that your farming lifestyle influences your songwriting?
I suppose it would be impossible for it not to in some way, but we don't identify as farmers--or as musicians, or parents, or homeschoolers, or any role we're playing at any given time. Our songwriting is influenced by our human experience.
Are there any similarities between organic farming and being independent musicians in terms of challenges or rewards?
Yes. Lots of them. It seems that in the pursuit of anything the challenge is to find a way to persevere through fear and failure! ha! The reward is in enjoying what you do, being grateful for what you have, and staying committed to what's important to you despite fear and failure!
What's your favourite thing about Harvest Sun Music Fest?
The down-to-earth, family vibe, seeing the connections that happen between the artistic and farming communities and between city and rural people, and picking apples from the Kelwood community orchard with the kids!
Do you have any thoughts or words of advice for folks who are interested in pursuing a career in music while still maintaining a family-based rural lifestyle?
Everyone's got a unique situation and has to find their own way to do things. We have found peace in measuring our success in life by our commitment to what's most important to us, not by the approval of others or by attaining certain end results. If you want a wholesome life, you have to look beyond Music and see ALL the things that mean something to you and honour them. Figure out what kind of balance works for you and don't be afraid to take breaks when you need to. There are no rules. It's all about following what truly inspires you at any given moment. Enjoy Life!