Tag Archives: family

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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Sleep and the lack thereof

Once upon a time, about 5 years ago actually, sleep deprivation was all about a mink eating our chickens in the middle of the night.  To be honest, eating isn’t a fair representation of what was happening, as the mink in question (and pretty much every other mink) mostly drain their prey’s blood and then move on to the next prey.  This way, they can massacre a whole flock pretty fast.  Now, I digress… 5 years ago, we weren’t sleeping because our chickens were being massacred.  Now, our chickens are still being massacred, but mostly because we’re not sleeping enough to remember to close them up at night religiously, and a raccoon has figured out where there’s food.

And why, you ask, are we not sleeping?

Well, because of her.  See, last year we grew more than vegetables (and flowers.  We grow a lot of flowers these days).  Last year, we grew a human.  She decided to start hanging out on the outside of my body on February 15th, and since then, we sleep less than we did before.  More some nights, less right now because she has a cold and snorfles when she breathes, and then the snorfles don’t get her enough air, and then she cries, and then we don’t sleep.  It’s pretty hard to sleep through some of the snorfles too.  So we don’t sleep.  I’m learning to cope on less sleep, but the coping sure is pretty meager sometimes.  I certainly don’t feel very intelligent, and I struggle regularly with finding words.  Like always.  Words are tricky monsters.

So we grew a human.  Now, we’re back to growing vegetables and flowers, and I’m still growing a human.  The vegetables and flowers were taking a bit of a back seat, which was okay because the spring was horrid (as was the winter and the fall… remember October when it rained every single day?), but now it’s hot, and the vegetables and the flowers need to become more of a priority, but that’s hard without the sleep.

Anyways, I hope that I’ll be back to hanging out on the blog more now that I’m not growing a human inside my body and not starting (and finishing!) my Masters every moment of spare time I had.  I also, of course, am hoping for some sleep.

The garden at the beginning of April

April 1st – First day with dirty fingernails

I think I’ve come to accept that the kitchen, in spring, will always be used to start seeds…

Seeds are growing

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.

Obscene weather and a family promotion

We have a little book that was given to us by Jeremy’s aunt last Christmas.  It’s a 5-year journal – every day of the year is on a different page, and there are 5 sections for each day… it’s a great thing for farmers, as we are essentially creating our own almanac.  We’ve been writing in it for over a year now (we started on Jan. 1st of 2013), and it’s lovely to read about things that happened a year ago.  Like the salad bed sprouting.  A year ago.  Today.

There’s still snow on the ground.  There is no salad bed, inside or out.  We had crocuses in bloom 10 days ago.  Now everything is covered in snow.  Still.  But at least our temperature is not obscene.  I was in Calgary on the weekend for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary, and it was incredible to reconnect with family and to spend time getting to know relatives whose names I’ve been hearing for years, but who I wouldn’t be able to find on the family tree… it was a lovely visit even though the high for Saturday was -25.  The low was -33.  The low, including wind-chill was -44.  Now I know that some of you still live in winter climates, but that’s obscene and ridiculous and I was not prepared, and I am happy to be back to the rain, even if it’s grey and not raining enough, proven by the snow that’s still on the ground.

So there was a lot of snow.  So much of it, in fact, that a tree that we had presumed to be healthy and strong and long-lasting fell down on my cousin’s van.  This happened when Jer was in Ontario, and I was home by myself, on a snow day.  I went to my neighbour’s with pictures, asking for advice.  There was no advice to be given as there’s not much to do except wait until the snow stops falling to assess the damage.  It seems that there wasn’t too much damage, but he’s a really lovely fellow who lives his life in an incredible way (he’s off working on a sailboat in Europe right now and is flying home in the next couple of weeks in the hopes of selling this van, and now he’s going to have to get a new sunroof for it, for the previous sunroof is in a million trillion pieces all over the front seats), and he’s trying to release his first solo studio album, and if you had a couple of dollars to send his way, that’d be awesome.  He’d use it well.  Plus, he makes lovely music.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-launch-colin-boland-s-album

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!

Farm update

I am absolutely amazed at how quicklI get to ride Dot to work now.  She makes me happy.y time is passing.  I feel like our first box went out yesterday.  I feel like I just got back from Strathcona.  I feel like May started last week…

Our first box went out on Wednesday, and all of the feedback has been super positive.  We’ve done 3 markets now, and all have been a success.  We’ve eaten our first strawberries, and we’re looking forward to harvesting many mFirst box!ore – hopefully enough for the box.  It’s been so rainy for the past couple of weeks that we haven’t been able to plant much in the garden.  The soil was close to soup and Jer was worried about working it too much – there were trays and trays of plants waiting to get their feet in the ground.  Now there’s many fewer trays.  The sun shone today, and yesterday as well, and Jer’s been busy.  Me too, and my mom!  My mom and stepdad came out on the weekend with a wardrobe that’s been in our family forever.  My grandpa refurnished it for us.  I was really excited to get it – our bedroom doesn’t have a real cBarred owl on our fence postloset, although it does have amazing shelves that Jer built for me because he’s awesome like that – but no matter how hard we tried we couldn’t get it up the stairs.  It’s in our kitchen now, and we’ll be storing something in it sooner or later… once we figure out where we want it to live.

It was refreshing and rewarding for my mom to be here for the weekend.  Every time she comes I’m so proud of what we’re doing, and how we’re doing it.  Her and I are so very different, but we have such a deep respect for each other, and I just love to be able to share with her what we have here.  She weeded chard with us in the garden, and she got to see us at the market on the weekend, which was super special too.  She brought us boxes and boxes of canning jars from my grandparents and great aunt – cases that we would have to buy eventually!  And she brought us a crokinole Crokinole ringer formboard that my grandmother found at a garage sale.  We must have played 10 games over the weekend… I’m almost as pathetic as I am at golf (although I don’t usually miss the disc completely, which I do at golf), and Jer’s a ringer.

As for other exciting news, I accepted a 3-day/week teaching position for the fall, teaching grade 4 and grade 6.  It’s not my ideal job, but it’s a job and hopefully I’ll be able to pick up shifts.  Plus, it’s a load off my back for the summer.   Family shot!

Heron at the beach

Beach day!

Mia wants to know how we got up there

Foxglove!

Swallowtail

Furry iris

Soon to be yum!

Birthday present

More presents!

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