Farming has been in our family for seven generations.
Produce from Holmestead Farm is the main part of Sunday evening meals enjoyed by the family representing the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th generation of the Holmes family on the existing property. The farm is presently owned by the 5th generation.
George (Gordy) Holmes (Dec. 2, 1802 – Oct. 26, 1889) came from the county of Yorkshire in England to Canada in 1830 with his wife Mary (
One of George
The original property owner was Hugh Munro 2nd who was granted the land by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in July 1844. Hugh Munro 2nd was a son of Colonel Hugh Munro born 1794 and died at Cardinal in 1855, aged 90. Colonel Hugh Munro was one of the original settlers of Cardinal, Ontario.
Elias Holmes lived in a log cabin on the property eventually building a clapboard home. While digging
Elias “John” Wesley Holmes (Oct. 2, 1877 –Mar. 3, 1910) was married
John Holmes’s oldest son Earl “Braynard” Holmes (Oct. 14, 1898 – Oct. 29, 1988) quit school after Grade 8 to help run the farm and support his mother and two younger brothers. The two brothers finished their education then moved on to start families of their own.
The farm at that time was a mixed farm consisting of registered Holsteins milking cattle, pigs, hens, apple trees, vegetable gardens
In 1927 Braynard married Alice “Beatrice” Peterson (Feb. 16, 1903 – Mar. 27, 1999). They had two daughters. During the depression of the
Braynard’s oldest daughter Mabel Elizabeth Holmes would be active over the years helping her dad with the farm. At a very early
Mabel left the farm in her teenage years to further her education and career. She married her school sweetheart Melville Bruce raised on an Ayrshire farm west of Spencerville Ontario. They remained around Ottawa Ontario until retirement raising two daughters and a son. Sister Joan Holmes later married and left the farm.
David Bruce showed an interest in farming at an early age spending hours as a young child alongside his grandfather. In June 1982 Mabel Holmes (now Bruce) took ownership of the farm as the 4th generation while her son David and his wife Arlene lived in the home and ran the farm. The farm ownership changed to Bruce but all are descendants of the original Holmes family.
David and Arlene continued to run the farm and pastured cattle. David worked on a
In June of
David now had more time to concentrate on the farm, which not being worked for years, had started to grow up with
David retired from his Ottawa job in 2011. His three daughters Natalie, Tiffanie and Amanda are starting their own families and careers. They all decided they wanted to work together to further develop the farm for future generations providing food as well as income.
Holmestead Farm is growing. Gardening is done on a larger scale providing natural
Beatrice Holmes loved her flowers and large shade trees that covered the yard. Many of these large trees have had to be taken down. There still stands on the north corner of the house, damaged by the last ice storms, a large white pine that Beatrice planted from seed. Tree stumps became flower beds containing an enormous heritage collection of mostly perennials. Arlene takes pride in caring for these, her Grandparent’s (Murphy/Cooney) perennials collected originally by her mother Mary Cooney.
In 2005 after David’s father passed, an in-law suite was added for Mabel to move home to the homestead where she was born and raised. Sunday dinners are again the norm with now four generations together enjoying home products.
The name Holmestead Farm was created to honor the family heritage of 8 generations in Canada. David and Arlene’s now 5 grandchildren are the 7th generation on the farm. Will the future prove to carry on a wish from Braynard Holmes that the farm will continue on to an 8th generation? This is yet to be determined.
Many hands are needed to make a farm work.
We would like to introduce you to some of the faces you will see when visiting our farm.
As our longest serving employee, Lily watched over the farm for more than 15 years. She was always close by keeping us company in the garden, and made sure the 7th generation was safe while they played. We had to say goodbye to her in the fall of 2015, and her presence will always be missed. Especially during gator rides, which was her favourite activity!
Claddagh learned the ropes from Lily, and has taken over as top dog of farm security responsibilities as a part time employee. From keeping chipmunks away, warning of people passing by and watching over the chickens; Claddagh also enjoys long walks and swimming.
Our egg laying eggsperts spend their days eating grass and hunting for bugs, which improves the overall egg quality. They are always on the lookout for strawberry tops, watermelon or any other treats from the kitchen.
Our cows spend their days grazing the fields and keeping the pasture tidy. They are very good at coming when they are called, mostly because they get a treat of corn.