Tag Archives: friends

The juxtaposition between being a teacher on vacation and being a farmer

Summer  vacationMaking bouquets is a bit of an oxymoron around these parts… summer is the furthest thing from a vacation on a farm, especially with the growing season that we’ve been having.  As long as we keep everything watered (and by we, I mean Jeremy), which takes at least 3 hours a day, we are going to continue to have an incredible amount of food.  We’ve come to that part of the season where therThey're ripening!e’s hope for new spinach and radishes and turnips, but all of the delicious fruits and vegetables full of sugar are ripening too.  I could write an ode to the perfect tomato, but I won’t.  Maybe you should instead.

Anyways, about that vacation thing.  Sure, I take some time off in the summer.  I read lots (in the heat of the day), swim lots (in the heat of the day), and spend time with friends (often in the heat of the day).  But our alarm goes off at 6 am and I spend a lot of hours working.  I am not on summer vacation for at least 4 hours and often 6, every day.  Except, of course, for Pickathon.

Pickathon sails over a horse paddock

Pickathon IS my summer vacation.  It’s wheThis is what summer vacation looks liken I get to go away and reflect fondly on being a farmer and being a teacher, but when I don’t have to actually BE either of those things.  It’s a music festival outside of Portland, and I’ve been for the past 3 years.  I get to bask in the sun and swim in the river and listen to music and dance and sometimes even enjoy a mash pit.  I wasn’t sure I was going to get a summer vacation this year, but I did, and it was awesome.  I’m going to hold out hope that I can do it again next year, in the midst of my Master’s, but we’ll see…

Hungarian purple peperAnd, as is true with most vacations, coming home was one of the best parts.  My dahlias are starting to bloom, and EVERYTHING is ripe.  Beans, tomatoes, basil, onions, cucumbers, peppers, the endless zucchini.  We pickled zucchini today.  We have zucchini cake in our freezer and had zucchini pancakes with zucchini relish as a garnish the other day for dinner… so faStrawflower - helichrysumr we’ve stayed on top of our zucchini, but this is going to become increasingly difficult as we begin to experience a glut of other things, especially tomatoes.  We even had our first corn this week… but that might be a secret, because I don’t know if we have enough to share, so don’t tell.

But one of the other things about coming home from my summer vacation is just that… that I’m home, which means that my summer vacation is over (many of you know that Jeremy and I happen to go on a kayak trip every summer as well, but we do that together, so that’s OUR vacation… here I am strictly speaking about MY vacation… obviously).  Which, of course it isn’t… but it is.  There’s crazy things starting to happen outside, and the crickets are only a small part of it.  I can pretend to notice that the days aren’t getting shorter, or that the mornings don’t have a bit of a chill-factor to them, or that it’s AUGUST 10TH ALREADY.  I can pretend not to see pumpkins turning orange or apples starting to ripen… I can pretend a lot of things, but the quantity of things is starting to arrive at that precipitous place where I don’t know how much longer I can pretend for…

Finishing setting up

So in this moment, I’m going to go do more vacation things, like read my book (Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver) and knit socks.  Tonight I’ll do more farm things.  I am certainly NOT going to do school-year things like wash my feet or have a shower.  There really aren’t that many more days when I’m allowed to have feet that look the way mine do, and I’m going to take advantage of every single one of them that I have.

Shade sails at Pickathon

We posed!

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Report cards for brunch

It’s taken longer than I expected to get to this place… the place where I’m ready to share.  June was hard.  Harder than Junes normally are, and I didn’t even have to write “real” report cards.  “Real” report cards make everything hard, even spring, with its flowers and salads and colours and birds and long, long days.  This June eclipsed any report card.  This June ate report cards for brunch – the kind of hungover brunch that happens after a wedding, hours later than you should be eating, with terrible coffee and gross food and screaming children… not a nice brunch.  Not a nice June.

I was really hopeful that July was going to be better.  And don’t get me wrong.  There were parts of July that were awesome.  There are going to be more parts of July that are going to be even more awesome.  There are just other parts of July that are stupid and dumb and that are no better than a shitty June.

BC teachers are still on strike.  Doesn’t look like this is going to change any time soon.  I still don’t have a job.  Doesn’t look like that’s going to change either.  There you go.  June sucked, July sucks, let’s get on with all of those other things.

We had WWOOFERS.  They were awesome.  Jer and I wrote a list, like we often do, but this list was not a normal list.  Almost every single item on this list got crossed off.  That was astonishing.

I drank beer in the shade of a beautiful porch with a great friend.  I had coffee on a sunny patio with another friend.  I’m selling flowers, and we’re selling vegetables, and I’m knitting all of the things.  My gladiolas are blooming, my sunflowers are blooming, my sweet peas are going NUTS (if only you could smell them).  We’re eating garlic and potatoes and zucchini is starting to come out of our ears.  I have brown-eyed susans and broad beans and beets and kohlrabi.  My neighbour has raspberries and she lets me pick them.  Then she lets me eat them.  I’ve given up showering and my feet are filthy (these are both highlights, not lowlights, for all of you “city” folk).  The hammock is up and I had a beer in it this afternoon reading a summer book.  Our baby chickens are getting bigger and we built them a run.  We’ve gone canoeing, and we’ve gone swimming.  I’m going to Hornby tomorrow with friends and Jer and my dog and I’m going to swim in the ocean.  I spend time watching soccer and I only feel small amounts of guilt.  I cracked so many hazelnuts I got a blister.

I think I just wrote all of those things to prove that July really isn’t so bad.  There were just a few bad moments, and they’re hard to forget.  From here on out though, it’s all the good type of brunch.  More pictures soon.

They're 3 weeks bigger now...

They’re 3 weeks bigger now…

First carrots!

Chicken run

Spring break to spring and back again

Last spring break we went to Calgary.  We went with our dog, and we drove, and it was awesome.  We listened to books on tape, and drove from almost spring to winter back to spring, which was fully, 100% upon us when we returned.  Spring break was earlier this year, and winter was longer, and it was harder to get away.  There were some hardnesses this winter.  But we decided to get away regardless.  This year we got away to Portland.  It was amazing. We drove to spring and came back to almost spring.  It was the perfect urban foodie holiday.  We drank beer and cider and margaritas and fancy cocktails.  We ate amazing food.  We hiked up a hill to overlook the city.  We got sun on our faces.  We hung out with friends in the city.  And we came home tired and rested and ready for 1 more week of spring break.

The benefits of peer pressure

It rained on Saturday.  All day long.  It was pretty sucky.  It was the first weekend that Jer and I had both been home in weeks, and we were looking forward to getting stuff done around the farm, and then it rained and rained and rained.  Instead, we had lovely tea and lunch with some of our neighbours, and discussed the merits of peer pressure.  Peer pressure can encourage folks to do awesome things.  Some of my students are learning how to read, because all of their friends are reading awesome books, and they want to as well.  I can think of lots of times when I had the inclination to do something supremely un-smart, and my friends, some of whom had much greater smart meters than I did, convinced me to do otherwise.  Seeing as my grandmother reads this blog, I will not delve into my un-smartnesses, only to thank any and all of you whose reason surpasses my own, or at least surpassed it at one point.

So there’s this “thing” going around west coast facebook pages these days, called the Winter Challenge.  Basically, someone gets nominated, jumps into really cold water, and then nominates some other folk.  I got nominated.  Essentially, I was being dared to go jump into frigid water.  Normally, I’d be all on board.  But normally, these are things you do WITH your peers (and then you’d drink beers with them and possibly go hang out in the hot tub of some person that you kind of met once, at a party, who said you could use their hot tub, but maybe not at 4 in the morning…), not do because of a dare by your peers over social media.  The whole peer pressure over social media thing strikes me as strange and uncomfortable on a whole lot of levels, but I did it anyways, because jumping into the water is fun, and encouraging others to do the same is fun.  I just hope that we’re thinking about why we do these things.

Spring arrived yesterday.  That also may be why I jumped in the water.  Rain sideways on Saturday, then warmth and sunshine on Sunday.  Thanks goodness.  I don’t know how much more winter I could take.

The capacity of knitting and friends to unsuck life

Last Monday wasn’t a lot of fun.  I had a rotten optometrist appointment, and then the chicken that Jer tried so hard to save died in the night.  It died in it’s box, inside the house, and I heard it’s death throes and it made me feel like crap.  Stinky smelly pustular crap.

Because Monday sucked, Tuesday did too.  Until I came home.  Jer was in a really good mood, or at least put on the face for me, and it totally changed my week.  Then our best friends from Bella Coola came for a sleepover on the weekend and it was awesome.  Every time we see them we talk about how awesome they are.  And how lovely their son is.  And how happy we are to be their friends.  So even though we lost another chicken on the weekend (and by lost, I don’t mean we took it out of it’s pen and don’t remember where we put it.  By lost I mean something else took it out of it’s pen and left a pile of it’s feathers for us to mourn over.  We’re pretty sure that someone is a hawk.  I like hawks.  I don’t like this hawk.  I don’t quite dislike it enough to wish stinky smelly pustular death throes on it, but I would love for it to clothesline itself on one of the buntings that we’re hanging in the chicken yard.  Stupid hawk.), we had friends to hang out with, and the weekend was totally not sucky, but pretty awesome.

The other non-sucky part of last week was the knitting.  I received the million and a half yards I ordered for Barb’s sweater, and I blocked my 2 sweaters and socks.  See?  I got to wear 3 new knitting projects last week, and I got to cast on 2 others.  Plus, I just started watching Buffy.  Totally non-sucky.

Pattern - Harvest Dew with Brainless gusset

Pattern – Harvest Dew with Brainless gusset

Pattern - Olive

Pattern – Olive

Pattern - Lewis

Pattern – Lewis

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!