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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

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

Nighttime noises

I’ve been away from the farm overnight twice recently (once, to Pickathon, which was magical in a way I can’t describe and which gave me insight into the me I used to be, a me that I realized I miss a lot sometimes.  It was exactly what I needed when I had no idea I needed it and I am a lucky lucky girl to have the opportunity, the wealth, the time and the friends who enable me to let loose and be extravagant with my life.  The other time was to Saltspring, for the lovely, beautiful wedding of a dear friend of Jeremy’s), and while both times I slept in my tent for the most part, each time I also spent at least a night in one of two cities – Portland and Victoria.  Both times I was absolutely astonished by the level of noise that a city emits during the dark hours.  Sirens, beep beeps, honk honks, screeches, and once, a man struggling with a mental disability was having a really shitty night and was angry and confused and aggressive and very very loud outside of the building I was sleeping in.  I was amazed.  I didn’t remember cities being so loud.  I couldn’t figure out how people could SLEEP while there was so much going on.  Then I got to my tent, in the forest, and I slept (although not very much during the dark hours at Pickathon, and that was okay too), and all was good.

2 nights ago, back at home, I almost wished to be living in a city.  There were noises here, many of which I couldn’t place, and I almost longed for sirens and beep beeps and honk honks, but never for people having (likely) schizophrenic episodes outside of my window, which made me feel guilty and confused about my feelings of safety and security and wonder about where people should have these moments, but that’s not the point.  My house was noisy.  My dog had a bad dream, or something, and started howling like mad.  Then there was a very strange noise, that I thought sounded like a babbling brook in my living room and Jeremy thought sounded like a ghost, although he wouldn’t say that in the middle of the night, just in case saying it made it true (we have since decided it was probably something falling onto our tin roof).  Then, at around 4 am, there was screeching.  Kind of like shrill rat-sized mice, screeching in our walls.  It sucked.  It was awful.  Jer was convinced it was mice after he got out of bed and figured out where it was coming from – the kitchen wall outside our window.  He came back to bed, we tried to go to sleep and failed.  The screeching didn’t stop.  We got back up, found the noise, and I got a hammer to pull off one of the battens from our siding.  It wasn’t a rat-sized mouse, or even 10 of them, battling it out in the night.  It was a little bat.  Stuck in the siding, screaming and screaming it’s distress call.  No other bats were coming to the rescue, for this bat must have been saying “Stay away!  The hole never ends!  I’m stuck and scared and I can’t get out and I’m going to die here and I don’t want to, please don’t make me!”

So we let the bat out, and it climbed up the wall of our house and flew away (and we both ducked and covered, because while bats are totally cool, it was 5 am and we were tired, and bats are still kind of creepy).

Last night there were no noises, other than rain on the roof, and now I’m happy I don’t live in the city.  No surprises there.

An apology to those of you who know teachers but who are not one yourself

My teaching partner gave me a couple of bottles of beer and a bottle of wine last week. He said that I could have the wine all to myself, but the beer was to share w/ Jer, because in June teachers need to apologize to their co-workers partners who aren’t teachers.  Our houses go to shit.  Our lives go to shit.  We stop being patient and attentive partners (and parents too I’m sure).  We don’t do laundry or the dishes.  We don’t cook dinner or lunch or breakfast.  I feel like I’m lucky right now to remember to brush my teeth.  June is crazy time, and I’m crazy.  The mink attacks didn’t help, nor did not knowing what I’m teaching next year.

We were hanging out at our weekly domino date last night with our neighbours, and our sweetest and smallest neighbour had a bit of a melt-down, initiated by the bonking of her head on a hard wooden stool.  The melt-down seemed to continue (and to crest in it’s magnitude) when she was encouraged to put her shoes on so she could walk home.  Shoes?!  How dare you!  Cry, scream, cry, mom, dad, cry, cry…

That’s kind of how I feel these days.  It starts innocent enough.  I come home, I ask what’s for dinner, Jeremy says new potatoes, I ask where the bread is, he says he was digging potatoes so didn’t have time to put it in the oven, and I cry and scream and punch pillows.  I may even have thrown a pillow.  Jeremy said that he saw my 2-year old self in my pout yesterday.  That began a new rage, of course.  I miss my patient, controlled self.  That is not to say that I am patient, nor controlled.  I am neither, but I have the capacity to be a hell of a lot more of both than I am right now, and that’s what I miss.  So while I am not really looking forward to July in the way that everyone thinks I must be (I love my job and I love my kids and I don’t want them to go anywhere.  I want to teach them forever and ever and ever because they’re MINE.), I am looking forward to regaining a modicum of sanity.  And so is Jer.  I think the beer helped though.  Doesn’t it always?

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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Happy dances

Happy quilt!I have a happy dance.  A friend once told me that it looks like I’m marching in the spot.  Not like a soldier march, but like a happy floozy march I think.  I did my happy dance today.  My neighbour even spotted it as a happy dance and called me out on it.  I just kept dancing.

Goat-milking coat!See, I finished my neighbour’s sweater this week.  It’s not actually really a sweater, but a coat.  A goat-milking coat.  A farm coat.  I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  Her husband called it druid-like, and she just might be a druid in training.  I made her a sweater, and she made us a quilt.  I did a lot of happy dances while I was making her goat-milking coat, thinking about friendly neighbours and the economy of trades, but nothing like the one I did today when I saw our quilt.

Jer's current fave squareMy current favourite square

Syrup evaporatingJer started tapping our maple trees this week.  We’re evaporating with electricity this year – the fire last year was SO much work, with the wood and the constant supervision and such.  I’ll miss the smoky taste in our syrup, but it makes a lot of sense.  We still have about 1 L of syrup left from last year, so there may be lots of french toast in our near future.

One of our other neighbours gave me a four-harness table loom a couple of weeks ago, and it’s almost exactly like my other table loom, but about 6 inches DSC_0857wider, which means I have way more options in what I want to make.  That said, I do NOT need 2 4-harness table looms, so I’m going to give away my other loom, and in order to give it away, I need to finish the weaving that’s been on it for over a year, but that was stuck in a stupid spot.  I spent about an hour last weekend un-stupidifying it, and I’m LOVING the product now.

Tomorrow I get to spend a day training with Free the Children,Our first almost ripe lemon! an NGO that works in empowering youth to create change.  They put on WE day, and because I teach leadership at our school I get to take part in the training tomorrow.  I’m super excited.  Then on Friday, my leadership group is putting on a school-wide talent show to fund raise for Habitat for Humanity.  Busy week, but it’s an exciting time at school.

Jer’s just about ready to order his first seeds of the year – he’s been pulling stumps out of the garden all week!  Spring feels like it’s on the way, and we’re ready!Our kitchen is fully painted, finally!

Spiced Butternut my ass

Some jobs, some vacations, some days and weeks and months and years are more successful than others.  Some to-do lists get accomplished quickly and simply.  Some take more time.  Some never get finished, for a long list of reasons, be they lost or forgotten or impossible or reduced to irrelevancy.

I had so many plans for this vacation.  I made a mental list.  I was going to reupholster a chair.  I was going to knit socks.  We were going to go to Tofino.  To Victoria.  Cross-country skiing.  Hiking.  We were going to go to the New Years dance.  I was going to get all of my marking done.  Read a book for school.  Read a book for me.  Get in a bunch of firewood, clean our bedroom, lounge in bed and eat bonbons.  I was going to paint the living room, the entry-way, touch up the kitchen.  We were going to finish our renovations (for all of you who know anything about renovations, please don’t laugh here.  Or not out loud at least.  I’m still a little sensitive about this part).

And then the plans started to fall apart.  I couldn’t paint because we hadn’t finished drywalling.  We couldn’t go to Tofino because Mia’s in heat and I don’t want a litter of unwelcome and half ugly puppies (even though they’d be at least half beautiful because she’s the prettiest puppy in the world).  Same for Victoria.  Jeremy got sick and was in bed for 8 days and pretty useless for the 2 days prior.  I’ve never seen him so sick.  I never wrote down my mental list and just kinda got caught up in painting.  And sleeping.  I did sleep a lot.  One day I stayed in bed until noon!  Reading a book!  So I guess I did that.  School got forgotten and ignored.  And without Jeremy to motivate me, I neglected the firewood too.  The bedroom is never a priority, and our renovations will never be done, especially now that our roof is leaking, and we can’t find the leak, so we may be heading into a new renovation sooner than anticipated.  Poop.

Before Jer got sick though, we finished some of the drywalling, picked a paint colour, got Jeremy’s mom to pick it up in town, I opened the can, was surprised at it’s greenish hue, took one swipe of it on the wall and was aghast.  It was supposed to be spiced butternut.  It was neither spicy nor butternutty.  It was Mountain Dewish.  It was yellow with a side of green.  It bordered on neon.  It was not warm or inviting or calm or pretty.  It was bad.  I kept hoping it would get better.  It didn’t.  Not with a second coat, not in different light, not the next day.  So we decided to go darker, bolder, more orange, and paint the other walls of the living room a neutral.  I love the one wall – it’s called Autumn Harvest, but in Martha Stewart’s catalogue it’s called Pencil, because it’s orange pencil coloured.  I wish the other walls were darker – they’re too white – but they’re totally passable and I love our new room.  The baby blue is gone.  Thank goodness.

Christmas was lovely (our first at home in our home!) – we had a friend stay over Christmas Eve and we spent Christmas morning opening presents and drinking tea around our woodstove.  We went over to Jer’s ma’s house to get further spoiled and feast.  New Years was a bust – I painted and cursed at the daffodil citrus chartreuse wall and Jer was feverish and in bed by 7.  And now I have to go back to work tomorrow and I’m not ready but will survive because that’s how I roll.Chartreuse mountain dew disaster! New loom!

Who can name the birds?

Who can name the birds?

Living room all set up pencil beats butternut Beautiful unpregnant puppy