Wow—what a wonderful day it was! It was truly an alignment of all the stars and planets: Friday brought snow, snow and more snow. With Saturday came sunshine, perfect trails and a lot of people: serious cross-country skiers, retired couples, families with youngsters bundled in sleighs, teenagers—everyone you can imagine!
Just one week before the event, we—my neighbours Ralph and Jean who own the area of the Ballyduff Trails, and the folks at Kawartha Heritage Conservancy and I—were worried about the lack of snow. We contemplated postponing or even cancelling Snow Day. After all, there was not a snowflake in sight on the long-term forecast. We gambled and decided to “plough” ahead.
Then the blizzard began, and the outcome couldn’t have been more perfect. Although it posed problems for some, in our corner of the country it was simply majestic. On Friday, Shawn trudged trough the drifts to start the stone oven, which meant I could serve a trial-run pizza despite the winds howling and snow flying everywhere. Even the dogs didn’t want to venture out with me. (The pizza turned out perfectly.)
Not sure how many to expect on Saturday, I made enough dough for 150 and Ralph and I chopped and sautéed enough for chili to feed a very large crowd; we all thought we would have chili in our freezers for the rest of the season.
At midnight Friday, our neighbour and trail-setter extraordinaire Denis got out and began to groom the trails. The snow was so fluffy he had to roll the route a few times with his machine.
By the time the sun came up on Saturday morning—and what a beautiful sunrise it was—the trails were set and ready. We had hoped for 50 people, but we ended up with a turnout of more than 250! For all of us at South Pond and KHC it was more perfect than we could have imagined. We had homemade Mexican hot chocolate with real whipped cream and cinnamon sticks; Shawn kept the fires stoked and Rolf flung fresh, hot rosemary flatbread and goat’s cheese pizza not quite as fast as people could eat it; the horses pulled sleigh-load after sleigh-load of enthralled visitors; first-timers and experienced types shared the trails; Samantha served up chili from my new campfire pot nestled into the base of the stone oven. Best of all, people met and chatted and laughed, and enjoyed a beautiful winter day in winter-lovely surroundings. Photographer Kim Magee captured it all in the gorgeous photos you see here.
Those not sure about what KHC does for the community learned about this important charity, a land trust dedicated to protecting and enhancing the natural and cultural heritage features of this region. And what better place to experience the value of their mission firsthand than here in the Bethany Hills?
As one visitor summed it up, “We had a wonderful afternoon visiting, sharing food and drink at the farm, skiing on the beautifully groomed trails and meeting so many interesting and passionate people.” Yes, indeed. And what a pleasure for me to see so many people sharing my passion for the fourth season!
Postscript: Sunday was a day of much-needed rest, and a chance to enjoy the great memories of Snow Day.
Shawn didn’t get any pizza; he was hoping that there might be some the next day, but no such luck. He tried to cook dinner for us on Sunday with leftover fire . . . here are the results when you’re working with 500-plus degrees . . .
Post-Postscript: Watch for the Snow Day chili recipe here later this week!