Local author shares tales from the farm in Unbuttoned: Our Farming Life In Southeastern Ontario

For the cover of her book: Unbuttoned: Our Farming Life in Southeastern Ontario, Grace Vanderzande enlisted the help of local artist Bill Vanwart, who recreated a photo of her next to a fallen down tree.

Adam Prudhomme

Grace Vanderzande dreamed of being a writer, her partner dreamed of being a farmer.

And so in 1979 they settled on a happy medium-they bought 200 acre farm just outside of Napanee and since then Vanderzande has written down short stories of the trials and tribulations that come with two first-time farmers diving head first into the world of agriculture. A collection of those stories can be found in Vanderzande’s upcoming book Unbuttoned-Our Farming Life In Southeastern Ontario.

“I’ve always written everything down, it’s just a healing process for me,” said Vanderzande, who estimates she has jotted down over 2,000 stories of her farming adventures, 79 of which made the cut for this book. “I have stories in there from Hamilton because that’s where my grandchildren, (age) six and three, live and my other daughter lives in Toronto. So I travel a lot and I’m a people watcher so there are stories like that in book also.”

The stories cover the highs and lows that come with running a family farm, some funny, some sad. Several of her own photos taken throughout the years are included in the book.

“Basically I wanted to preserve the history of the farm,” she said. “It was abandoned when we bought it. We bought it at auction. It was a lot of work and our kids gave up a lot for this farm because it was a lot of work.”

She first began publishing her stories to her online blog Buttons Thoughts and was soon picked up as a columnist for the Napanee Guide, which eventually led to a meeting with Crossfield Publishing, who she partnered with to publish the book. As one by one family farms across Ontario have been paved over into subdivisions, Vanderzande said it became all the more important to her to publish these stories. She also hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams, no matter how daunting they might seem at the start.

“Moms can do anything,” she said. “I really wanted to stress that and hopefully that came out in the stories. I’m pretty sure it did. You have more strength than you know you do. You get through it. You don’t think you will, but you will.”

To celebrate the launch of Unbuttoned-Our Farming Life In Southeastern Ontario, Vanderzande will be hosting a book signing at the L&A Mutual Insurance building, May 13 from 2-4 p.m. Located at 76 East St., that location is fitting in that it is the former home of County Depot, the first farm co-op Vanderzande ever visited. On May 14 she’ll be at Books on Main in Bath, also from 2-4 p.m. For more on her book and to order a copy, visit https://crossfieldpublishing.com/product/unbuttoned-our-farming-life-in-southeastern-ontario-by-grace-vanderzande/.

error: Content is protected !!