What’s in a name?

At some point in our homesteading venture we decided it was time to name ourselves. This is not an easy task. We have neighbours down the road who had taken to calling us “The Pioneers” – a name which they and others they know continue to call us. While I liked the idea of the name being chosen for us, it wasn’t really a name that connected us to the PLACE, our place here. Also, we felt it a little preposterous to actually call ourselves pioneers when we are by no means the first people out here.

After lots of casual debate about it we finally settled on the name “Frogsong Farm”. We have two ponds on the land which hum with the music of frogs in the Spring.  We had been using this name casually for nearly a year (I even wrote a song with the name in it) when a friend mentioned that they had seen a farm stand at the Duncan Farmers Market using the SAME NAME!!

Appalled and suspicious, I set out one morning into town to scope out our rivals. I casually sauntered past the stall that had the name Frogsong Farm scrawled on a chalkboard and pretended to be interested in their veggies. The middle aged couple there looked vaguely familiar to me and so I very casually mentioned that I also had a farm with the same name. It seemed obvious to me that they were well aware of the fact that there was name competition (probably from folks coming up to them and asking if they were affiliated with us) and they were very quick to point out that they had been using the name for a year and it was registered. So there I was, sheepish and smiling and making small talk about frogs, and the difficulty of naming one’s farm. They were very nice as it turned out (of course).

Resigned, we set about trying to come up with another name. This time we had a time-limit as we were about to start hosting a small pocket market in Cowichan Station and needed to have a name. I can’t remember who it was that came up with “Twisted Vine” but it seemed to fit: our 10 acres is covered in trailing blackberries which we battle all summer. And among our various vines are: kiwi, grapes, hops, clematis, climbing roses, pole beans, tomatoes, honeysuckle, etc…

I also liked how the image evoked the intertwining of our two families, our dependence on each other, and our putting roots down, and growing. And something about the “twisted” was just dark enough to take off any la-la land implication.

It’s a strange thing branding oneself, but at the same time it creates a real sense of belonging and of individualizing ourselves. We’ve been using the name since the summer of 2009 and so far have yet to run into any Twisted Vine Farms in the area. Now, I’ve just got to get to city hall and register the name (hmm…this week’s TO DO list?)

And if we ever tire of Twisted Vine, I’m going to hold out for “Dancing Toad”.


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