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Lunch off-farmette at Cowbell Brewery

It's warmed up considerably at the farmette today. From teeth-cracking sub-zero temperatures and lashing wind last week to a balmy 3C today. Gotta say I was getting cabin fever big time after being cooped up for days on end.

So, to celebrate Rob's birthday (which was actually Friday), we went on a wee road trip yesterday to the town of Blyth, just east of Goderich. It's only an hour and bit away from here, and the main idea was to get him a decent leather jacket at The Old Mill.

That store is gigantic. It has leather coats, gloves, hats, biker chaps...the works.

As per usual, Rob bought the intended item in about three minutes flat. "I don't shop, I buy," is his mantra. It helped that he knew exactly what he wanted and the sales lady was very good at her job.

He was too rumpled and not awake enough today to model, but here it is - a lovely brown beauty with a zip-out liner. HBD Rob!

Since we had driven all that way and I was getting peckish, we decided to stop for lunch. Little did we know what a treat we were in for.

It's really new (started selling beer in 2016) and it's already a big attraction. We managed to get a table without a reservation, but there were many, many people who came in after us, and the waitress (Amy) said that during the summer theatre season, calling ahead is a must.

Not only is the business multi-faceted - with about a bazillion different kinds of beer and a scrumptious line-up of dishes on the menu - it has strong environmental and community beliefs.

Beer is made in a closed-loop system that is energy- and water-efficient. The company gives five cents of every can and pint of beer sold back to the community - four Ontario children's hospitals to be precise. Our menu said that they had already provided more than $200,000 this way.

They also generously donated $1 million to The Canadian Centre for Rural Creativity, which is also in Blyth.

Beer is the mainstay, and although he's mostly a scotch man, Rob sampled the McNall's Mission - a smooth honey-brown ale. YUM - I had to have a slurp, too - and I really like the dark caramel taste.

The restaurant also makes lovely, thin-crust wood-fired pizzas. Rob indulged in the Margharita, which had tomato sauce, bocconcini and fresh basil, while I had a Nicoise salad. Both were delectable and Rob even had to pack some of his to go.

Cowbell puts its values in plain sight for all to see above the restaurant: Quality, Integrity, Community, Social Responsibility. Very cool.

All in all, it was a great day, and it was extra nice that we got to explore a new, thriving business member of rural Ontario.

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