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Feelings and how we express them

Little Miss P has a very large head, which I blame wholly on Jeremy.  She also has a very loud voice, but I don’t think Jer can take the credit (or blame) for that one.  That may have more to do with me.  When the little one has something to say, but feels the need not to just say it (with the coos and sighs and giggles that are her language), but to shout it, scream it, exclaim it with a multitude of exclamation marks, we say that she’s expressing her feelings.

Miss P’s new friend

Not feelings of pain or joy or hunger – there are other more recognizable noises she makes for those feelings – but the whole abundance of other human feelings, be they physical (my nose is itchy and I don’t know how to fix it!!!!), emotional (I have a new friend who I can’t get enough of!!!!), or otherwise (FEELINGS!!!!!).  It’s totally acceptable for a 4 month-old to have loud, indescribable feelings.  It’s totally acceptable for a 4 month-old to have most things, really.  Sometimes I wish I was a 4 month-old and I could just shout and yell and exclaim sounds as loudly as possible in order to express myself and my feelings, because there sure are a lot of them right now.

 

June was the month of visitors on the farm.  We had a clan of my family descend for a night, which was lovely.  We had friends from Vancouver, who are moving back to the East Coast, come for 3 or 4 nights.  We had my parents come for almost a week.  And then we had the Wittys, comprised of Witty himself, young Mr. Atlas, and Golds, the friend who spans the ages and the kilometers.

You see, Golds and I met 9 years ago, in Bolivia, at the end of a 10-day meditation retreat.  You can read about her take on it here.  I had a different experience meditating than she did, and while I didn’t speak with anyone, with my words or my eyes for 10 days, I certainly spent time staring around the room, making up stories about the likely non-native Bolivians, Chileans and Argentines.  I grouped the travellers into partnerships, gave them home continents and narratives about what brought them to this small town in Bolivia, the only land-locked country in South America, and to a 10-day silent meditation retreat.  I was wrong on all counts (4 of the 7 were from Australia!  I was the only American, defined here as “from the continent[s] of America).  But even though Golds was from Australia, when we got to talking we found out that this may not be our first meeting.  Our first meeting may have truly been 20 years prior, on the playground of our elementary school.  She had come to Calgary

Stampede times…

during the 1988 winter Olympics, and we’d gone to elementary school together.  Our chance encounter in Bolivia, followed by 3 weeks of Stampede-laden debauchery in Calgary created a lifelong friendship.  Our month together here, as new mamas with happy, smiling, loud and feeling babes in tow, cemented that friendship and I sure do hope that it takes less than 9 years for us to see each other again.

Circa 2008

So those are some of my feelings… feelings of gratitude for having these delightful and joyful people in my life, feelings of incredible love when I see Miss P flapping her arms in delight when she is in the presence of her buddy Mr. Atlas, squeaky feelings when I see Golds dog-paddle at the beach on her last night here because the tidal flats go on forever and she doesn’t want to (rightfully so!) scrape herself on the sharp barnacles, but also feelings of sadness because these friends have just left us to continue their year-round jaunt.

Other feelings have to, obviously, do with my daughter and the relationships she has and the relationships she’s changed.  The relationship between my mother and myself, the relationship between Jer and I, and her relationships to all of these people I love so dearly.  Those are big feelings.  Those are shouting really loud feelings.

 

And then there’s these other feelings.  You see, our neighbours and closest friends on the island, are moving.  Not far – Google Maps tells me it’s 5 km and a 7 minute drive away – but far enough to not be drop-by neighbours… This family is a huge part of our Denman Island community.  They feed and water our chickens and garden when we’re away.  We share groceries, meals, and tea and cookies at least once a week.  I was so excited to know that Miss P was going to grow up next door to their lovely daughter, who would teach our girl to tromp through the woods, bounce on the trampoline and pick the best strawberries.  I have a deep respect for the choices this family has made and the people that they are and I’m supremely bummed that they’re moving.  I’m doing my best not to be like Miss P and shout and scream these feelings, because this is really not about me my feelings (I’m not the one moving, after all), but sometimes I wish that my girl and I could just switch places for a moment so I could shout and yell and get a bunch of these feelings out (and maybe cry a fair bit too), and then I’d feel better.  For now, I’m “holding it together”, trying to help them as best I can, and maybe by this weekend, when their house is no longer “theirs” in the legal sense of the word (it’ll be theirs for a LONG time, and not just to me… in describing our house, I still use the previous owners’ names, 6 years later), I’ll have my first little (or big) fit of feelings, and start to move on from them.

Not a farmy post at all.  One day I’ll give you a real farm update.  This month has just been about so much more than the farm…

Friends at the beach

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And that, my friends, is a wrap

This gallery contains 34 photos.

That, my dear friends, was a doozie of a farming season.  The last farmer’s market was yesterday; our last CSA box went out on Tuesday.  We just harvested the last of the corn and tomatoes to process for winter, and … Continue reading

My top 10 Spring Break activities that actually happened

So I’ve been writing this post in my head over the past few days, while weeding the strawberries of nettles (I am, by no means, against the nettle plant.  I am, however, against all sharp and spiny and stingy [not stingy as in miserly, but sting-y, as in nettle-y] plants interspersed with my berries or my flowers.  NOT FAIR.), or while formatting pictures for this poster I had to do for school, or while driving up and down that island beside this island.  So I have ideas about this post, but they’re all pretty meandering.  I would not be surprised if the post is the same, even if it makes a claim to be a list.  Just thought you should know.

Climbing rose

Climbing rose

Kerri’s top 10 Spring break activities that actually happened

10.  Finishing my poster.  I had to do this poster for my Master’s.  It took way longer than I thought it would.  I finished it.  It was pretty.  It felt good.  Now I have this poster that I spent 2 days making and I don’t know what to do with it.  I guess there is always the woodstove.

Baby asparagus.  Only 2 more years!

Baby asparagus. Only 2 more years!

9. I got my haircut.  I’ve been wanting to cut my hair for a long time.  My mom told me not to shave any parts of it.  Then she said that I shouldn’t listen to her.  So I didn’t.

8.  Weeding the strawberries of nettles.  Also the blueberries of wild blackberry.  While I, for the most part, enjoy weeding, I especially enjoy weeding when the roots are really long and tangly, and the ground is pretty soft, and the weeds themselves are pretty big.  I like getting a big pile of weeds without a lot of work, especially when a significant part of that pile is root mass.  I get enjoyment out of it similar to the enjoyment I get when I pop an awesome pimple.  You should try it sometime.  The weeding part I mean.  We have lots of blackberries you can try it on, anytime.

Tractor sign.

Tractor sign.

7.  Beer on a patio.  In the sun.  A whole lot of years (6?  7?  I don’t remember) Jer and I went on our first date on Easter weekend.  We had beers on a patio in the sunshine.  A seagull shat in my beer.  Friends joined us and things got raucous.  It was an amazing day.  This was not that, but it was beers, on a patio, in the sun, with friends.  In April.  Win.

Jeremy made me alder buttons for my sweater.  I win.

Jeremy made me alder buttons for my sweater. I win.

6.  Fancy cocktails with friendfamily in the city.  I like fancy cocktails.  I like beer too, but fancy cocktails are special, and when we were in Calgary we went out with my cousin to a hip place and got to pretend that we weren’t bumpkins for a few hours, and there was a painting of a turtle in a suit, and we drank cocktails with names like “The Dirty Pigeon” (with tamarind and a salty cucumber!) and “The Meat Hook” and “Corn and Oil” and it was a lot of fun.  It made me feel young.

I made me a sweater.  It's orange.  It has handmade, homegrown buttons on it.  Seriously.  I win.

I made me a sweater. It’s orange. It has handmade, homegrown buttons on it. Seriously. I win.

5.  Rock and stick throwing parties.  When we got our land stumped last year, a bunch of rocks came to the surface.  Some sticks too.  Then Jer bought a tractor.  Rocks and tractors don’t get along so well, so I decided to have a rock and stick throwing party.  I thought friends would figure that I wanted them to work for me for free.  They didn’t.  One of them even googled “rock and stick throwing party” before deciding that it was probably a weird Denman Island thing, and hoped that it wasn’t going to be too competitive… I think it’s awesome that my friends trust me enough that I can host a work party with an unclear name and they’ll come and work… before going to the beach and drinking beer in the sun.

See?  Homemade sweater, homegrown buttons.  Orange.  WIN.

See? Homemade sweater, homegrown buttons. Orange. WIN.

4.  Planting all of the flowers.  Well, not ALL of the flowers.  But lots of trays of the flowers, and 2 50-foot rows of the flowers, and there are still all of the flowers coming in the mail.  My lilies are dividing and conquering and growing tall, and my starts are starting and they’re coming.  It’s going to happen!  Be ready for all of the flowers!

"Goats, eating fire-starter".  Almost "Goats, on a fire."

“Goats, eating fire-starter”. Almost “Goats, on a fire.”

3.  No diggity by a campfire.  In harmony.  On an acoustic guitar.  That is all.

2.  Hiking in the mountains.  In the sunshine.  On Vancouver Island with a friend and in Canmore with my mom.  To lakes.  In the sunshine.

The rhubarb is growing!

The rhubarb is growing!

1.  Not working, and especially not commuting.  Do you know how much time I would have in my life if I didn’t spend 5 days a week going to work?  I could ACTUALLY plant all of the flowers.  The blackberries would be exiled to the fences.  The nettles to beyond the fences.  I would knit all of the sweaters and blankets and shawls and hats and socks.  I would hike all of the mountains.  I would drink all of the cocktails and sleep in for all of the mornings.  Until at least 7.  I would miss my job, as I do (a little) right now, especially after drinking all of the cocktails and buying all of the yarn for all of the sweaters.  I would miss my job, but one of the best things about having a job is the days you don’t have to go.

This carrot top was haunted.  Naturally.  As in we didn't carve that face.

This carrot top was haunted. Naturally. As in we didn’t carve that face.

The plight of the summer squash

There’s a jokGarden camp-oute that goes around our island (I must have heard it over a dozen times now, from over a dozen different people), and probably every other place where most people are growing at least some of their own food – that the only time of year you have to lock your car is in the height of summer, and it’s not to keep your loose change or smelly gumboots or bag of dried fruit that’s been baked every day in the hot sun safe.  It’s to keep your neighbours, near or far, from gifting you their surplus summer squash.  I experienced this first hand growing up in the suburbs of Calgary, as we had a small garden plot on the south wall of our house.  I Strawflowers and cornflowers, hanging from my ceiling to dryremember growing rhubarb and strawberries and beets.  I remember growing zucchini, and I remember my father giving them to me and asking me to go knock on our neighbours’ doors to profer them up.  I think he may have been afraid to go himself, as he would have come home with his arms full… it’s harder to say no to a cute little redheaded girl than to a full-grown man with a zucchini the size of his arm.

I’ve known about the ferocious growthCornflowers of zucchini and it’s kin since I was a child.  I’ve known about it’s reputation, but our zucchini didn’t grow that well last summer, and one of our farmer friends happened to tell us that his most financially productive crop, when the amount of time spent weeding and pruning and tending and babying and harvesting is taken into account, is summer squash.  So when Jeremy planted out his first tray this year, and asked me whether he needed to plant any more, I said “Sure!  We’ll just pick them small!  They’re delicious!  I love zucchini!”

Remember.  It was March.  I hadn’t had a summer squash in going on 8 months.  Remember.  Our squash had a terrible year last year.  Remember.  I didn’t grow up on a farm.  I only ever had 2 or 3 plants as a child.

I didn’t remember all of the warnings I’d been given.  I didn’t remember wandering the block as a child, gifting these edible clubs away.  Leek flower, going to seed I think Jer ended up planting close to 40 plants.  You should SEE the zucchini we have.  And only 2/3 of the plants are producing.  We are going to be eating zucchini in everything.  Our chickens are going to be eating zucchini.  Our neighbourhood chickens are going to be eating our zucchini.  Our dog is going to be eating zucchini.  Our fellow islanders had better be locking their car doors or they will be eating (or composting) our zucchini too.

It’s not actually that bad.  Yet.  I still love zucchini.  I’m still willing to eat it every day – grilled, stir-fried, on pizza, grated, in cake… but I am a little worried about when we miss a picking or two.

Summer sunflower, complete with beeOn a completely separate note, my flowers are ROCKING and they make me happier than even I thought was possible.  I’ve been perusing these flower blogs, and I read something interesting on one of them… it talked about how we need to change the concept of flowers as being something indulgent.  The world needs flowers.  We all need flowers.  The joy I get out of walking by my sweet pea patch or smelling them on my backsplash, washing the dishes is incalculable.  Every time I see the explosion of colour from my zinniaZinnias I feel the urge (and often succumb to it) to call Jeremy over to show him.  I had no idea how happy my flowers would make me.  I had no idea how much of a difference it would make to my kitchen to have a bouquet in it every week that came from seeds or bulbs I (or my mother-in-law) planted.  Flowers are no longer an indulgence to me, no more than coffee is (Jeremy says that he thinks of coffee as a pretty sweet indulgence… I think he’s crazy, because indulgences aren’t for the everyday… but we’ll just disagree on that point) – they’ve become part of my everyday… and one of the parts that makes me happiest.

Pattern - All About Love Yarn - Handmaiden Casbah in Amber

Pattern – All About Love
Yarn – Handmaiden Casbah in Amber

The luck of the person-sewn mitt

I’m really lucky.  I know this.  I feel grateful for it.  I work really hard, and I do my best at most things, and I try to be good and kind and fair (but sometimes I fail), so I deserve some of the things I have.  But I am also lucky.  I am lucky enough to have a fantastic job, and a lovely partner, and an amazing dog, and a farm and a pair of beautiful person-made (I was going to say hand-made, but she used a machine, so I don’t know if that’s appropriate.  I’m not a quilter.  We’ve been over this before.  Anyways, they were made by a person, and I know her name, and she doesn’t live super ridiculously far away, even if she lives in Alaska) from vintage fabric oven mitts.Pretty mitts.  I know – who cares about the job and farm and dog and partner if you can have beautiful oven mitts.  And I don’t really know how I got them.  I saw them on facebook, and then found out they were made by this woman who’s coming to my little island to teach a quilting class, and then I asked her for some, but then she told me that she was doing a trade with my amazing neighbour… who then proceeded to give them to me.  See?  Lucky.Really pretty mitts.

A friend of mine came over for dinner the other night and said that she’d made 2 resolutions for the year.  1 was to fix everything.  I don’t know why one would need a second resolution if the first was to fix everything, but one may need more than a year.  I’ve tried to keep my resolutions more simple (and achievable, but I’m not pooping on anyone’s parades).

1) 15 minutes of cleaning per day.  Putting away laundry and dishes and general tidying doesn’t count.  Washing the stairs, clearing out old boxes and scrubbing (half) of the tub count.  So far I’ve done it every day.  If I last another 30 days or so I’ll have reached the whole house.  Maybe.  I’m trying.

2) I want to knit a marathon.  I don’t need to buy a marathon of yarn (although the thought of it kind of makes me want to try, but then I start to feel dirty and consumer-y and I don’t like it, but I like the pretty yarn, so we’ll see).  Some super inspiring ladies I know ran a marathon last year, but I don’t like running and it doesn’t feel good on my knee, and I like to knit, so I’m going to knit a marathon instead.  So far I’ve knit about 300 yards.  Only about 45 825 yards to go.  Uh oh.  Maybe this goal isn’t so realistic.  Drat.  Well, I’m going to try?

I had to go to work today.  I like going to work.  I don’t like waking up at 6 am when it’s dark out.  I also don’t like going to work when there are exciting things happening at home, like the tapping of the maple trees.  If only there were more daylight hours in the day… although today there was almost 12 minutes more daylight than there was on the solstice, so that’s nice.  I wish I had enjoyed those 12 minutes a little more…

Each of these 4 L jugs full of maple water will make approximately 80 mL of syrup.

Each of these 4 L jugs full of maple water will make approximately 80 mL of syrup.

Sometimes it drips.  Sometimes it drools?
Sometimes it drips. Sometimes it drools?

Perfect Christmas break

Happy New Years, Merry Christmas, and what a lovely, lovely holiday.  Jer, Mia and I spent almost a week in Tofino with my mom and stepdad over Christmas.  It was the absolute perfect vacation.  I find it difficult to sit and read or knit for more than half an hour or so at a time when I’m home as there are always a million things to do – chop some wood, stack some wood, plant some bulbs, braid some garlic, do some dishes, ask Jeremy to do some dishes, sweep, mop, dust, sweep, mark student work, weed, plant, harvest and on and on and on.  But Tofino’s not like that.  Sure, there are things to do.  Like walk on the beach with my dog.  And eat food.  And put dishes into the DISHWASHER (Jer’s my dishwasher, but he doesn’t like it when I put dishes in him).  And snuggle my dog.  And read, and knit, and do crossword puzzles, and knit, and knit.  I got to knit and read for hours at a time and I didn’t feel guilty about it.  Ever.  Vacations should always be about having time to read and knit and not feel guilty.  That should be their purpose.

Speaking of which, I bought over 5000 yards of yarn today to knit with.  That’s a lot of knitting.  I dreamed about knitting last night.  This break is also about finishing projects, especially ones that have been sitting for months.  2 pairs of socks and 2 sweaters.  Awesome.

Vacations should also be about friends.  We had 5 come and spend New Years with us.  We had a fire and roasted marshmallows and a certain 5 year old became covered in sticky goo.  He had it in his (long curly) hair.  I thought Mia had rubbed up against a sappy tree.  But really, she’d just rubbed against a sticky boy.

Vacations should also be about getting some things done.  We rearranged some furniture, tapped our maple trees, and did some firewood for next year.  Tomorrow is the beginning of the weekend, and I’m ready.  Perfect Christmas break.

Dusty Road Craft Collective

It was the Denman Island Craft Faire this weekend.  Jer and I participated in the Faire a couple of years ago, when we first arrived, and didn’t really understand the caliber of the Faire.  Last year I was too busy knitting sweaters for loved ones to knit small, sellable items for strangers, so we abstained.  Our dog chased our neighbours cat up a tree...This year we decided to share a table with our most loveliest of neighbours, and it was awesome.  Our table was overflowing with beautiful things at the beginning of the weekend, and was pretty sparse by the end.  Cutting boards, pizza peels, mustard, oat cakes, biscotti, sundried tomatoes, chickens, bags, purses, clutches, knitting, stuffed owls.  We had.  All of it.  And we did it with friends and we were successful, and I felt validated as a crafter.  Awesome.  AND our neighbours were still willing to sit at a table with us and sell our things after our dog chased their new-to-them cat up a tree.  He came back down all by himself.  We did apologize…

Freebie snow day walk with my dogPlus it snowed.  And I got a snow day.  The Friday before the Faire, someone decided to grant me the freebiest of freebie days.  I’m pretty lucky.

Pizza peels   Booth #9!

Owl clutches, cutting boards...

Stuffed owls!