Phil traded a digital camera for this
hydraulic apple cider press.

Gabrielle says that when her friends at college ask what her father does for a living she replies, "I don't know."

I guess I'm not so sure either any more since the upheaval of moving to the farm 3 years ago.

For the first 2 years "Photographer Phil" held onto some newspaper contracts in Chateauguay but now he's a hermit working the farm and designing web pages in his studio. "Pharmer Phil" prunes, picks, cuts firewood, mows, and plows snow. It's a good way to stay in shape.

Being self-employed has always meant doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It provides diversity and freedom. And writing travel articles for the Montreal Gazette I even get paid for going on outings by bike, boat and ski. But the drawback is always juggling many projects at once.
At age 48 it's time to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing. The Internet promises a way to merge my experience in photography, journalism, graphic design, and computers. I'm taking web and graphic design courses in Montreal and planning to launch a regional web portal this year. Oh, did I mention that I have registered 100 www domain names (don't tell Lynne, she'll freak). It's an investment in virtual real estate, you see, staking my claim before the web gets any more populated.
Lynne on the other hand has her act together re: career path. Something keeps calling her back to the ministry, but not to a full-time pastoral charge. She works part-time as a consultant to a large Montreal (NDG) church and occasionally preaches. Out in the country she's in constant demand for funerals, baptisms, weddings and pulpit supply.
She also retains city connections for her "fair trade" education and has even brought busloads of schoolchildren to our farm for workshops on the Third World's craftsmen and farmers. Lynne organizes a pre-Christmas "Living Gifts Festival" each year that raises over $12,000 in a day.
Besides farming and parenting together, one of the best things we started in the Chateauguay Valley is a monthly publication produced by high school students. CV Magazine is a 4-page pullout section of The Gleaner full of feature stories from the community at large. We take the kids on assignment then do the text editing and photo layout. Vision, the first newspaper we ran out of the high school in Chateauguay, is still alive and well. Click on the "Links" page (above).

© Photos copyright Phil Norton 2005