Tag Archives: friends

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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How things change…

I used to be a daily journaler.  I would write almost every night before I went to bed.  Nothing was off-limits.  Daily events, feelings, ideas, stories, poetry… I wrote in French and in English.  I wrote meditations and quotes.  I wrote a lot.  It was my way of processing what was happening in my world, and was incredibly important to me.  I wrote for almost 20 years, and have a box of journals full of these writings.  Then, when Jer and I moved in together, I kinda stopped writing.  I didn’t need to write things down to process them, because I had this partner who would do it with me.  So I stopped.  Sometimes I miss it, but not often because our lives are so full.  But what I did miss was the routine, and the remembering.  I missed being able to go back and read about where I was at and when, especially the fun bits.

And then, almost 5 years ago, one of our aunts bought us this lovely little 5 year journal.  It was a delightful gift, and it’s been 4 and a half years that we’ve been writing in it, almost daily.  We write about funny things (like when Jeremy makes the bedroom smell really bad), serious things (like when wildlife comes and eats our chickens), daily happenings (like parties and beach swims and visits from friends), but mostly we write about farmy things.  When things are planted, when they’re harvested, when certain flowers start to bloom.  We write about the weather and the first and last frost.  What this means is that when people talk about how far behind or ahead we are, I can either agree or disagree, and I actually have data to back it up… 4 years of data, which isn’t much, but it’s something!  So I can tell you that we were eating lots of strawberries this time last year and we were cutting our first lilies.  Lilies this year are weeks away, and our first strawberries are just starting to pink up.  In other words?  We’re totally 2 or 3 weeks behind the past few year.  Drat.

Other news?  June is the month of visitors!  A lovely friend that I met 9 years ago at a Vipassana meditation in Bolivia is here for a month with her husband and 8-month old son, as part of their jaunt around the world.  It’s been super fun to catch up, go for swims and spend time on the farm together.  It’s also lovely to spend so much time with another babe… I’m sure Patryn agrees!Early days market table

 

Grateful, even with the bucket

I told people over the weekend that I was done school.  They thought that meant I was done my Masters.  That’s not what it means.  It means that I’m done for the summer, and that’s not even true.  I have to edit a colleague’s paper, and then read over how she’s edited mine (but at least I have a good first draft, which is 11 pages more than I had yesterday!), and then I have to edit my ethics application, and THEN I’m really on summer vacation.  Then I have 2 courses, some research, and a thesis to write, and then I’ll be done my Masters, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  First I get to go on summer vacation.  Granted, I’ve done lots of summer vacation things already this summer, but mentally, emotionally, and physically (I was living in Nanaimo for the most part dammit!) I have definitely not been on vacation.  Jeremy can attest to that, but he probably won’t unless I’m not around, because he might be a little afraid of my reaction.  I can’t say that I’ve been the most patient this month (even though I used to say that patience is for chumps, I didn’t mean that being patient with your friends or partner was chump-ish… I just meant that you shouldn’t wait to do things because waiting is dumb).  I can’t say that I’ve been especially thoughtful this month (although I did knit Jeremy an entire surprise sweater, which is pretty thoughtful.  And which really hurt my wrists, which makes typing 11 pages in a day hard.  Dammit again).  I can say that I swam almost every day this month, that I spent time with my flowers every chance I got, and that I was almost always grateful for where and how I live.  You would be too, I think.  Except for maybe the toilet part.  I don’t think everyone would be grateful to give up their flush toilet for a bucket.  I can’t think of very many who would be, actually.  I certainly wasn’t initially… but I am grateful that I don’t use gallons of clean water every time I pee.

All of these things may be too much information.  The sunset’s really pretty right now.  I’m going for a sunset stroll.  Look at the pictures.  You’d be grateful to live here.  Even with the bucket.

A cop-out of a post

I’m a bit of an emotional mess from today being the last day of school (teachers have to go in tomorrow for meetings and such, but that really doesn’t count), especially because I have to change schools again for next year, so instead of saying anything about school or work (and instead of apologizing for not having written in months), I’m going to inundate you with pictures of the farm… or at least pictures of my flowers from around the farm.  I’m hoping to write a real post soon.

 

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 gift of laundry

I’m tired.  Almost flattened kind of tired.  We had a whole lot of lovely friends show up yesterday, and it was awesome, but after the holidays (which were amazing, and super easy, but still exhausting… you know what opening presents and eating rich foods is like, and if you don’t at this time of year, you should invite yourself to my house and I’ll show you) it was… well, tiring.  There is a chance that I’m mostly tired because I carried a three year old friend up the big hill from the beach, but I’m going to blame it on the holidays.

Dapper explorers on the beach

One of my favourite parts of the holidays was giving Jeremy’s brother a sweater I had knit for him.  He asked me to knit him one 2 summers ago, so last year for Christmas I gave him yarn, and then this year I gave him the sweater.  It’s the EXACT same sweater that I knit for Jer a couple of years ago, and taking photos of the two of them at the beach was awesome.

Matching sweaters

One of my other favourite parts of the holidays was the ridiculous dog bone that our neighbour got Mia.  Smoked cow knuckle.  She devoured it in a morning and didn’t poop right for 2 days.  She’s (almost) back on track.  That may have been too much information.  Sorry.

Cow knuckle

Jer’s brother also got a chainsaw mill for Christmas.  He came over and used it with Jer’s chainsaw.  Now Jeremy is ogling one of his own on the internet.  I got a new laundry rack on pulleys that attaches to the ceiling.  It’s really cool.  I did laundry on Christmas day to try it out.  I’m not guaranteeing how long THAT’S going to last, and it certainly didn’t convince me to put the laundry away… I don’t know what kind of gift that would take.   Chainsaw mill

The things that are awesome and the things that aren’t

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s rained a lot over here on the west coast as of late.  We got over 300 mm of rain in 36 hoursMaple tree coming down last week, and another rain warning came in yesterday.  300 mm of rain is enough to make a big mess. Our neighbours’ driveway washed out, a bunch of trees came down because the ground was just too saturated with water, and the town of Courtenay declared a state of emergency.  Thank goodness we had just had the big maple that kept dropping branches on our driveway taken down, because I wonder whether it woThen the whole thing came downuld have fallen (on our house) in the storm.  I kept waiting for school to be cancelled, but it wasn’t.  Anyways, after all of that rain, a day of sunshine seemed like an incredible miracle.  That was today.  It was sunny.  It was miraculous.  We went for a walk.  In the sunshine.  With our friends.  Being on vacation is awesome.

The branches came off first

A very full pond

Things that aren’t awesome are dick roosters who attack people who are here visiting, and then attack me on the bottom of my foot so I step on them and then feel trapped with this angry rooster under my foot until Jeremy comes to save me.  I don’t know who won that fight.  I think most spectators would say that the rooster won, even though I was the one stepping on him.  When we’re eating him for dinner, maybe then I’ll have won.

Tree down on the fence

Another thing that isn’t awesome is a hawk eating our chickens.  After the dick rooster incident we found a pile of feathers.  Then we found a half-eaten chicken.  Damn.

Driveway disappeared

The seasonal ditch became a river

Other things that are awesome include everything.  Jeremy let me get the Christmas tree I wantedWet woods this year, and it’s so tall that, after we cut a foot off the bottom, it extends into our skylight.  It’s amazing.  Plus,          I have an amazing job, an amazing partner, an amazing dog (she did NOT eat this chicken.  This isn’t one of those “we think it’s a hawk but really it’s our dog” chicken deaths), an amazing family, amazing friends, and am just pretty darn lucky all the time.  And then the sun came out