We’ve Moved to the Country! Meet the Rankines

Christine Oastler

David Rankine seated at the Newburgh United Church organ.
Photo by Christine Oastler. 
[This article ran in the June/July 2014 issue of The SCOOP.]

On the edge of South Frontenac County, David and Angela Rankine have built their “forever home”. From the road, the house is hidden by a copse of trees: ash, maple, ironwood, eastern white pine and white cedar trees. The familiar green and white house number is the only sign that someone lives there.

Angela’s favourite memories as a child are of a country home where she walked beside a stream in the company of her family. Her Dad called a giant rock, her thinking chair. Because she wanted her eighteen-month daughter, Eva, to be able to find her own thinking chair,  she and her husband David moved into their own country home last December.

In the first months they lived there they didn’t have a television and they still don’t have one. They are too busy with country living especially clearing the land. To relax they sit in cedar Adirondack chairs and listen to the forest sounds around them. This winter, the Rankines enjoyed bundling Eva up in a backpack and going out on a four-kilometre snowshoe trail that stretches four kilometres from right out their backdoor. The pleasure of being in the wilderness has brought the young family so much joy and laughter.

Angela teaches Grade 1 and 2 at Sydenham Public School, and David is a Kindergarten Teacher at Lord Strathcona Public School. Commuting from the country into the city doesn’t require a GPS. David enjoys taking different routes home preferably sticking to back roads.  Angela explains that as a teacher you never really leave work behind, but “when you have a long drive you reflect on your day. Then, there is peace when you get home.”

In 2008, David accepted a job as an organist and choir director at Newburgh United Church. He quickly fell in love with the community. Originally a self-taught organist, David received several scholarships from the Royal Canadian College of Organists, studied for two years, completing two Royal Conservatory Exams. Just as the Rankines blend their life between country and city David also shares his musical skills between both worlds as he is also the organist at the Rogers K-Rock Centre for the Kingston Frontenacs. David, as the former director of the Young Choristers Limestone Choir, continues to share his love of music as the choir director for Newburgh United Church. David says, “I choose music to enhance the worship service and to provide a challenge for the singers. We’re very pleased with the outcome.”  He is blessed that his singers give-up two hours every Thursday to prepare for twenty minutes of liturgical music.

Angela, David, and Eva Rankine at home. Photo by Barry Lovegrove.
The night I visited their home we went out onto the deck and listened to the sounds of the country, the frogs, the birds singing to each other and a felt the gentle yet crisp spring wind. Even from the deck, the tall trees blocked out the view of the road. “We didn’t want a cleared, road-front lot; we wanted to be able to enjoy the trees in our lifetime.” Like many first-time country homeowners, they have learned a lot about digging wells and how each choice you make has such a direct effect on our eco-system.

They are trying to live a more natural lifestyle. They both love the Limestone Organic Creamery and stop off on their way home to buy milk that comes from local cows.  Angela tells me: “It is an incredible experience, like stepping back in time. People remember you. The prices might be a tad more but the customer service and the experience is incredible, worth the extra nickel.”

Their priorities have changed now that they live in the country. They enjoy how the view out their spectacular windows has quickly replaced their need to hang art on their walls. David feels that “Looking out the window you see the seasons change. We have living art!” He used to get Eva up just so she could see the sunrise over the tree line.

As the sun sets on South Frontenac, where will you find David, Angela and Eva? Perhaps sitting on the deck, listening to the sounds of the country or planning for the future as the Rankines are expecting their second child and look forward to he or she enjoying their country “forever home.”