The Rices are a Family of Friends

During my last full day at The Cedars, I wander around Cookhouse waiting for my popcorn to finish popping. I see the fresh rhubarb crumble cake sitting on the stove, a container of fresh tomatoes from the tomato plants that I planted in the kitchen garden months ago, and a pile of envelopes containing all of the Woman’s Book Art Collective submissions. Looking out the window towards the lake, I see drawings on the glass made by Chandra’s nieces. On the glass is also written “The Rice’s are a Family of Friends” and it hit me.

This place feels like my home.

Everyone that I have met here has been so accepting and loving no matter what. Up until this moment my mind had been blocking the fact that I am actually leaving the next day, but this just let me realize that although I’m leaving, I feel like apart of their family now. The Cedars and the Rice’s have made a huge impact in my life and I have no way to be able to thank them enough for how they have impacted me.

This summer my confidence has greatly risen, I’m able to talk to adults now without being scared, I know that nothing (and I mean NOTHING) will shock me anymore, and I’ve become so much more motivated. At the beginning of the summer I was tired from doing school work, I was fed up with classes and everything, but the work that Chandra had Sara and I doing and the energy that Chandra provides has made me motivated to not only go back to school but to put in as much effort as I can in to my school work. 


Sara is someone I never expected to be friends with. When I first met her we were both quiet and awkward and we look like total opposites, but since our chaotic trip to Coburg we have just been getting closer and closer. I’m so glad she came to the Cedars for the internship because we get along so well and she is now a really close friend of mine. It will be weirdest not to see her first thing every morning, or her asking me “what are we having for lunch” every day. 

The last days anywhere feel weird, but here especially. The Cedars has become a home and the people around me have become a family, but I know it’s time for me to move on in my own adventure of life. Although that doesn’t mean I won’t come and visit every chance I get. 

  • by Matt Scully

Kombucha For Dummies

Chandra checking out the scoby action

Chandra checking out the scoby action

Kombucha - the drink of gremlins and weirdos alike! #healthy.

Just kidding, maybe it doesn’t deserve a #healthy, but it is really good for you. And, no it’s not the drink of gremlins or weirdos. But we are super weird.

Some people really don’t like kombucha and some people love it. It’s one of those things where there’s no in between, you either love it or hate it. For me, I really like it. I’m not crazy obsessed with it. (Some people are total kombucha lovers and it feels like the only thing missing is a t-shirt to go along with it.) We’re not crazy obsessed t-shirt wearers here. We just really like it and make lots of it.

…Well, not all of us like it. But recently Robin, Chandra’s mom, started to drink it and, if you know Robin, you know that she has good taste in pretty much everything, from decor to clothing to food and everything in between! So if Robin drinks kombucha, you probably should too. Just kidding. You don’t have to. But that should be the new tag line for our Kombucha, ‘Robin drinks it, so should you! Need we say more?’ Honestly though, we don’t force anyone to drink it. Some t-shirt wearing enthusiasts may make you try it, (I may or may not be one of them), but after that you can decide for yourself whether you like it or not.

So what actually is kombucha?

Kombucha is fermented tea. It’s similar to the process of brewing beer in that a bacteria eats the sugar and makes the drink a little bit more acidic. In this case, the SCOBY is the bacteria, and it’s tea instead of beer. While we sleep, magic happens overnight (or over many nights) and the bacteria eats the sugar and grows to make more of itself, turning the sweet tea into this tasty, tangy drink known as kombucha. Best served cold.

Fun fact:

Did you know that scoby stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast?

That’s right symbiotic not psychotic! I’m looking at you mr and mrs “how do you drink that stuff???” We drink it in a small glass, bigger than a shot glass, smaller than a glass of milk, just the perfect size to satisfy a kombucha craving. And yes, eventually you start craving it, don’t judge me.

Kombucha does something to your gut, I’m not sure what exactly, something about good bacteria and digestion. I personally like the taste of it more than anything else, the health benefits are just added benefits. Sometimes it gets too bitter or vinegary - Chandra and Matt still really like it when it gets vinegary, so you just have to taste test every couple of days to see if you prefer it on the sweet or sour side. Hands down, my favourite thing about making kombucha is test tasting it with Matt and Chandra and then going on a mason jar hunt trying to find large empty jars or flasks to store it in. Heat affects the making of kombucha, I think it makes it brew faster, but that isn’t always a good thing because if you leave it for too long then it just becomes straight up vinegar.

Making the ‘buch in Cookhouse

Making the ‘buch in Cookhouse

We’ve been experimenting with new flavours recently. We have lots of mint and thyme and lemon thyme in the garden so we used all those flavours in batches of kombucha. Yesterday we tried one with apple mint and I really didn’t like it as much as the other ones but it still definitely works.

Kombucha is one of the most simplest things you can possibly make, the thing basically does itself, you just gotta keep your eye on it and check it regularly. Find some kind of simple procedure that works for you to make the tea and refill the jars because you will be doing it often. If I can do it anyone can. After a few times of making it you get the hang of it, and if a batch ever turns into vinegar you can use it for other things, like laundry, nothing ever goes to waste!

  • by Sara Malak

Crowe River Rapids

I thought I had seen some of the most beautiful sights in The Cedars, which I have, but the rapids down the street from us are honestly the most breathtaking. Both literally and figuratively breathtaking. But let’s start from the beginning of the day…


Waking up, Sara and I thought it would be just a normal work day but Chandra’s sister is up and nothing ever fully goes according to plan here. Chandra’s sister (who also happens to be named Sara, just so that all of us are confused at all times) invites Sara and I to the rapids with her, Chandra, Chandra’s son Jake, her friend, her friends children, and her children. A huge group yes, but a fun group. The drive there was interesting, I drove Chandra’s car down with a group in the back and we drove the crazy conversation filled 5 minute drive in to the park. 

Of course as soon as we get there and grab all of our things, Sara (Chandra’s sister) gets talking with a woman who has just biked her way from Peterborough and is about to weed around some thousands of trees she had planted. She has more to say about the area than Sara needs to hear, so we leave Chandra to chat with that woman for a while, and continue to the water.

Seeing the rapids was so amazing, the bright blue of the sky creating a deep blue in the water. The water was running fast but that didn’t stop any of us. Slowly we all sink slowly from the roasting heat above the water to the cool refreshing flow.

The best part of the day had to be when Chandra sat up on a ledge and created a tunnel for many of us to get under the ledge before the water pushed us away. Once in the tunnel, the water rushing is so loud and strong, but you feel safe in under the ledge. It feels like you’re behind a huge waterfall although most of us were way to big to be back under the ledge in the first place so it definitely wasn’t a huge waterfall. Once you were ready to go out, you could just go in to the water ahead of you and it would quickly push you out the other side back in to the real world.


Back in the real world I could see Sara (the intern) and Jake wandering about together having fun, and Sara (Chandra’s sister) watching over her youngest girl, Harper. Ruby (Chandra’s niece) comes over and clings to me because the water is so strong, and Sara’s friends are in the water upstream having a great time experiencing Canada.

Looking down the stream I see the end of the rapids and a small island with trees on, and that’s when I realize how lucky I am to be there. This internship has brought me so many opportunities in both sites to see, and amazing people to meet, and the rapids will certainly be something I will remember for a long time. 

  • by Matt Scully

Diggin' It

It's the hottest week of the summer and one of our jobs has been digging down a foot deep into the ground beside the studios. Sara and I, at the beginning, were filling more buckets with sweat than we were with dirt. “Tank tops should have been a necessity” is what we learnt when, mid-week, Sara showed me her farmers tan. But we didn’t know any better at the time. Sara swings the pick axe, far enough away from me that I don’t have to remove it from my head, while I shovel the loosened dirt into buckets. The wheelbarrow can only hold two buckets at a time, so back and forth we went from the studios in the centre of the property to the edge of the property to dump buckets of dirt. I felt like a robot but if I was I would.

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Over the weekend we forgot about this job and settled into the swing of everything. From making meals together to playing card games, everything seemed so calm even on the hottest days. 

Then came the holiday Monday, which wasn’t a holiday for us but we didn’t mind. Working around The Cedars just seemed natural to do instead of seeming like forced labour. Monday was hot, once again. You could hear a lone cicada screaming at us to get out of the heat, but we had to dig up that dirt. Sara with the pickaxe again, I head the steady pattern of CLUNK, CLUNK, CLUNK, as I shovel up the loose dirt in to buckets that once again could be filled up with the sweat from our bodies (I know, gross right?) 

As I’m coming back from dumping the first two buckets of dirt, I listen to the melodic sound of CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK, SLANG. Coming over to see what the noise had come from, Sara and I realize in the same moment that it’s a rock. Not a big deal right? Rocks are easy to get out and can be moved no problem. Wrong. This rock had to be as heavy as Sara and I combined, while also looking like the continent of Africa. This continental rock stood between us and finishing the job before the sun rose over the trees and started cooking us alive. Together, we begin to dig around the rock, it getting bigger and bigger each time we look. 

“CHANDRA” I yell, the usual call of “we need help, what the heck do we do with this”. 

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This rock, the continent of Africa rock would not move with just our muscles even though we are totally body builders that have a strength of 20 Vikings. We use the shovels and all of our body weight to lift this thing out of the ground. Of course if didn’t work, but Sara was determined. With the strength of a determined woman (too strong to even comprehend), she begins to lift the rock from one end herself. I was in awe, but just as she began to lift it enough that we could help, a huge chunk broke off in her hands and the rock was once again on the ground. Looking at the rock again, it looked like we just broke South Africa off of the continent all together. With this piece off, we were able to lift it enough on to a trolly to be able to pull it over to the dirt drop off area on the other side of the property. Chandra and I pulling the trolly, no conversation but we could understand each other by the wheezing pants we both exhaled. We were tired, hot, and in need of water desperately. The rock was dropped off, or well, rolled off the trolly and we were free. 

Since that job was over for the day, we needed to cool down. Walking back to cookhouse I see a glimpse of the great blue lake, shimmering in all its glory. I had to get in that lake right now. So Sara (with a bit of persuasion) and I both ran and jumped in to the lake with our sweat covered clothes on and luckily neither of us got heat stroke that day. 

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In conclusion, wear tank tops, teamwork can honestly make even moving a boulder fun, and sometimes you just have to jump into a lake. And of course, two days later we find an even bigger boulder, attempting to get it out we realize that it’s not going to happen even with our insane intern strength. That’s the job for Jim and his truck. Either way, those two days rocked (pun intended).

  • by Matt Scully

Next Stop, Cobourg!

You know when you see something really cool and as soon as you start enjoying it you immediately stop and think, I have to take a picture of that!

Or maybe you don’t... Maybe it’s a millennial thing. I don’t know.

Anyway, I had a lot of those moments yesterday.  Sure, we can talk a lot about photo documentation in this instagram-and-photo-filter era, and my generation’s obsession with constantly snapping photos of anything and everything, and the absurd idea that if it’s not documented then it didn’t happen, and bla bla bla bla blaaaa... which by the way, has seeped into your generation too... whoever you are... reading this... right now...

Unless you are of Jim and Robin’s generation (who I will probably talk about another time) but in that case your generation doesn’t have that problem, it has other problems, like getting technology to work, which isn’t really a problem seeing as how millennials google how to wash apple and can’t get sewing machines to work, but if you are of that generation, then you’re free to judge us as much as you want, for now...

ANYWAY back to the real story.

I had a lot of “oh I should get my phone out and take a picture of this!” moments yesterday. Who am I kidding, you don’t really think it, you just do it. So I did, for the most part. I wanted to do a whole lot more of it, but I guess I'm glad I was in the drivers seat and couldn’t just get my phone out whenever I wanted to because that way I got to enjoy the roads, the colours, the air blowing into the car, our voices blowing out of the car as we screamed the lyrics of songs out of the windows and most importantly I got to laugh my head off with Matt.

But let’s start at the beginning. So here we are, me and Matt, (the other intern), driving down to pick some stuff from Dancing Bee, and then off to pick up some artwork from the Art Gallery in Cobourg.

... Now 24 hours ago, I had absolutely no idea what those words meant or even how to pronounce Cobourg.  But now after driving around for four hours, reading sign after sign of “Cobourg” “welcome to Cobourg” “next exit, Cobourg” “Cobourg in 10k” and hearing the gps go “Cobourg” “Cobourg” “Cobourg” and listening to Matt ask directions to the Art Gallery in “Cobourg”, I am not only pronouncing Cobourg like a professional, but feel like it’s only right to at least name my future dog Cobourg and if I’m lucky enough maybe even my son....

So anyway, here we are getting ready to drive through the beautiful scenic routes of Campbellford and I see Matt, as usual going for the music, trying to figure out what we could listen to as we make our way to the mysterious and unknown land of Cobourg, and I spot a Lord of the Rings soundtrack and it immediately catches my eye. Lucky enough, Matt and I are both huge Lord of the Rings fans and are not only excited to listen to it the whole way, but are already planning a Lord of the Rings marathon that involves lots of popcorn, candy and little sleep.

Neither of us had any idea how our day was going to go, but what seemed as a possibly boring and long car ride turned out to be a fun adventure with much laughter as we cruised through the green towns of 60km per hour with the dramatic Lord of the Rings soundtrack and only with Matt would that be as hilarious as it was.

Of course, as with long car rides, it was only right to get lost and have to ask for directions, because not even the great and mighty google maps could figure out where Dancing Bee was.

We made our way through cute little towns, stopped to look at a fair in Cobourg, and on our way back, made a stop at McDonald’s.

As we were on our way back, Matt and I started to recognize the sites we had seen as we were driving in the beginning; the huge red flea market ranch building randomly in the middle of a large green land, the painfully slow 60km per hour roads, and the Lord of the Rings soundtrack starting all over again to dramatize our return back to Campbellford.

The best part though was crossing the Campbellford bridge after what felt like being gone for ages and seeing the artisan bakery, the Sharpe’s grocery store, and the other familiar local shops; it felt good to be back home again. 

  • by Sara Malak

Meet the Interns!


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Hello! My name is Sara and Iʼm very happy to meet you!  I'm on a great adventure of discovering and rediscovering the wonders of the world, both external and internal. From the mountains, rivers and valleys that surround us, to the vast complex horizons within us. “Seeing the world with eyes incapable of nothing but wonder” has been the way I have been trying to live for the past couple of years, and boy is there much to see! Iʼm an artist, adventurer, reader, mover, and many things in between.  I fidget a lot, mostly because in my head Iʼm probably thinking of a new project to start working on, while my hands are ready to get going on that thing my mind hasnʼt decided on yet.

There is a famous quote that says, “the creative adult is the child who has survived” and so with that in mind, I am very happy to be joining BeetleBarrow studios and working along side other creatives, both learning and contributing to the many unique ways we manifest our creativity.

Originally from Cairo, Egypt, Sara is a graduate from OCAD in the drawing and painting program.  In the fall, she's headed off to do her masters at the University of Alberta.  



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I’m Matthew Scully, a first year Gender and Women’s Studies major at Trent University in Peterborough. Although I am in university and not taking art, art is still one of the most important aspects of my life which I try to include in almost everything I do. Most of my art consists of sketches and watercolour paintings but I am always discovering new mediums to experiment with like clay, ink, or gouache. Most of my free time is spent with friends discovering new interesting places around Peterborough and making either art or crafts with them. Although I love art, I am also very passionate about social issues surrounding discrimination of any kind and I try to bring knowledge around these issues to people whenever I can. Plants and gardening really interest me as hobbies as well as art of course. With those hobbies I am wanting to go in to either some kind of art or go to school for horticulture in a couple years after I finish my degree. I am hoping to bring my ideas from my sketchbook to bigger finished pieces and really improve my art and find myself growing throughout my time at BeetleBarrow studios.