The Year of the Grandfather ... March 23 1910
Celebrating 100 years on the farm
This March is special for me as it marks my little family farm turning 100 years old. … A little genealogy; my grandfather Albert Hankin JR signed the deed for this property on March 23rd 1910. It had been totally logged at the turn of the century and had a sales pitch as a second Okanogan for the gentleman farmer! Alfred JR had originally tried his hand homesteading in the Barr community in Saskatchewan, living in a sod cabin; he emigrated from London, England around 1906. My great grandparents, Alfred SR & his wife Sarah Anne nee Gates; also lived here in their old age finding eastern Canada, where their other son Francis lived, too cold for their taste even with jaunts to the Caribbean to thaw out! Alfred JR married Evelyn Margaret Dyer, originally from Kenilworth, England November 11th 1925: they met at Witty’s Beach! My father is Wilfred Francis Hankin, born May 17th 1928 here … my mother is Lottie Ada Shirley nee Holmes originally from Wetaskwin, Alberta, they both still live in Brentwood Bay. They were married on my grandparent's 25th wedding anniversary November 11th 1950. … Count me in this line up with my English husband Michael Dowling; born in Wandsworth, England and our two children Rowan & Frances, born here and it now adds up to 5 generations and 100 years of one continuous family on this part of the original 1910 property! … I’m actually on the old goat pasture part: good thing the goats are not here now to eat everything in sight, though I am told they would not eat my beloved Lavender! Of the original homestead I have four 100 year old apple trees that still happily produce, my grandfather’s old chicken shed that luckily never saw chickens and currently is my Lavender drying shed, and finally a wonderful 25+ foot cedar hedge that screens us from the 21st century traffic … I am here with my family thanks to my grandmother having the vision for her grandchildren to live and raise the next generation here … some of you will remember her famous Raspberry teas with the girl guides! This Summer, come take a peek behind that daunting cedar hedge and discover our timeless sanctuary of gardens and our beloved Lavender as we add our dreams to this little bit of paradise.
The Happy Valley Lavender Farm turns 100 this March 23 2010!
I wonder what my grandfather would think with his humble start walking the E & N, now Galloping Goose, railway line to check out this property in 1910 ... By 1925 he had married my grandmother after meeting her at Witty’s Lagoon on a church picnic! At that time he was a gentleman farmer originally from England. He served on the local Metchosin Farmers Institute and School Board. My grandmother, also from England, soon became famous for her Strawberry & Raspberry teas and cakes with the Women’s Institute. In my memory, there always was an apple pie on the back of her black & silver wood stove ... We began the current Herb & Lavender garden theme in 1983 before we even lived here, commuting from downtown Victoria! I moved onto the family farm in 1986 with an English husband and 10 month old son. It was so welcoming to be "back", I felt like I had come home with all the neighbours I knew from childhood times with my grandmother. She would have loved my gardens and especially all the Sweet Lavender like England.
If you remember my grandparents, please share your memories with me.
Meanwhile ... this year will be our 22nd year of harvesting Lavender as a crop.
Come check out our secret sanctuary gardens and nursery behind my grandfather’s daunting cedar hedge!
Originally published in the March 2010 edition of the Metchosin Muse