I think it was two years ago this fall, that a group of Mennonites started buying up land in our area. Lots of land, mostly between our town and high school town. How the early arrivals survived that first winter I don't know. They were hard at work early last spring though, plowing acres and acres of former pasture and hay fields. More of their kin arrived. Huge barns were built here there and everywhere, almost over night it seemed. Buggies became almost commonplace on the highway.
Rumour has it, these Mennonites might be from Kitchener-Waterloo area (where my granny's people lived), or from Aylmer. I haven't asked, so I don't for sure.
Last summer they opened the Railside Country Store. I would drive by it on the way to high school town, on one of the back roads, and I would think to myself I really need to go check that out. Alas, my timing was never good, and I never went in. Then the township decided to close an old bridge on that road, making it shorter for me to take the highway around, and I stopped passing by the store. Out of sight, out of mind I guess.
Last weekend we decided to take the plunge and return to solar electric fencing. We used solar electric when we lived down south. Despite all of our fence repairs and construction last year, I looked around this spring and see myself in the exact same position this year. Broken posts that need to be replaced, Fencelines still waiting to be installed to divide the pasture. Pasture grass way too short.
The thing that pushed me over the edge though was the yard fence. Few of the posts remain standing now. The grass was getting really long- long enough that the goat became invisible when lying down. Long grass is a safe haven for bugs, and the mosquitoes were atrocious.
I pulled the solar chargers out of the workshop and stuck them on posts to see if they would charge. Husband fiddled with one and got it working- fine except the wire ends were corroded and had to be replaced. The other is more complicated, but will probably be fixable. The old wire we had saved was a tangled mess and had been spliced together so many times it wouldn't run a good current. We had some posts and insulators, but needed a few more.
But that Mennonite store was still on my mind, they're much closer, but I'd never been in, so didn't know what they had for sale. We decided to drive over and browse.
It's wonderful. And funny. They sell natural honey (but not local), huge cheese blocks, eggs, and grass fed beef. Salves and creams, sewing and quilting supplies, quilts, aprons, bonnets, hats and boots. Chicken feeders, waterers, horse dewormers, cattle meds, and all your basic farm store supplies. Hardware, knicknacks, fencing, seeds, and so, so much more.
And they sell these.
I'll definitely be going back to browse again. It's nice having the Mennonites in the area. Feels more like home.