The Next Great Adventure

The Mr. and I were recently talking about the places we’ve lived over the years, and he pointed out that a lot have had an interesting story to go alongside them.

We’ve lived in a condo in Surrey which belonged to my grandmother. I loved the place, I did not love the neighbourhood. I was still sad to leave when my grandma had to sell it.

We’ve lived in a basement suite where we developed some of our closest friendships, with the couple who lived upstairs. I think my favourite story was when the Mr. and I came home with a pumpkin pie in the middle of the summer… only to find out that our friend upstairs was cooking a turkey.

We moved in to the upstairs of Porter’s Coffee House on 5 corners in Murrayville. This was a bit of an impulsive move. We had no real reason we needed to leave the above-mentioned basement suite, except that this place came up for rent and I desperately wanted to move in. Porter’s is a Murrayville heritage building. When I was in high school, I participated in a historical writing project centred on the early Murrayville families and buildings. My tale, a ghost story, was set at Porter’s, and the completed book is still available to flip through in the coffee shop (don’t go read my story, hey? It’s terrible).  We had the whole top floor here, and waking up every morning to the smell of cinnamon buns was amazing. The tab they allowed us to carry at the coffee shop was dangerous. You can understand why I jumped at a chance to live at Porter’s!

ls

We lived in a 500 square foot (including stairs!) residence at UBC immediately after marrying. I loved living on campus. It was truly gorgeous, and it was my favourite place to live in terms of having lots of spaces to walk and explore. I did not love 500 sq. feet.

And, 3 years ago, on a snowy March 1st weekend, we moved to the little farmhouse. This place, as you may know, has plenty of family history. I have adored living here. I am glad that Sweet Pea had the privilege of being the 5th generation to live in this very place. And on this snowy March weekend, I am both excited and a little bit sad to announce that we will be leaving the farmhouse at the end of April.

We are moving on, my friends, and the spring will find us living in a Cohousing Community. I had not expected it to happen so quickly, but doors have opened, and we are listening to that timing.

What is cohousing? Glad you asked! Let me quote my little cohousing cheat-sheet from the Yarrow Ecovillage…

“A cohousing neighbourhood is planned, owned, and managed by the residents. The private homes are similar to conventional homes, and are supplemented by a community hall, workshop, and vibrant play areas. Couhousers own their own homes and have separate finances, but are inclined to work together with neighbours who become friends to host community dinners, tend to garden spaces, and tinker in shared interests. All ages, religions, and walks of life can be found in cohousing. The common thread? A strong desire for community.”

What do I like about cohousing? I am excited for indoor and outdoor playspaces for Sweetpea, and other kids for her to play with. I think it’s an incredibly healthy space to raise our family. I am glad to be part of something that is a little less material, a little more eco-friendly, and a lot more community oriented. I like the people I’ve met. I am looking forward to sharing tea and dinner with neighbours, but retreating to my home when needed. I’m looking forward to having my own laundry room… but being able to use the community laundry space when I need to catch up. 😉 I might even be looking forward to trying some gardening again, with many seasoned gardeners available to walk me through it.

We have 2 months to say goodbye to the farm, and I know it’s going to be hard. But we are ready for our next great adventure – and I think it’s going to be good.

I don’t have pictures yet. For now, you can admire the farm in the snow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An Anniversary or Two

Happy 59th anniversary to my wonderful grandparents! We share a wedding anniversary… the Mr. and I are celebrating our 3rd. Last year I shared a photo of Grandma and Grandpa at our wedding, holding their own wedding photo. This year, I wanted to share a better look at that wedding photo. Isn’t it great?

Image

At our wedding, I opted not to have a bouquet toss. Instead, I presented it to my grandparents in honour of their day. I loved this idea, and it resulted in a great picture of me and my grandma:

Image

So… we had a great anniversary! I’m looking forward to the next 56 or so…

Image

The Broody Hen, Some Excuses, and a Great Song

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted. I had a great birthday party and a visit from a dear friend. I got the worst flu I can remember, and I’m finally almost over it. I read The Help and loved it. I’m trying to keep up on the house, and I’ve spent an obscene amount of time working on a semi-secret project, which I look forward to sharing with you in December. Yes, I’ve started counting down to Christmas.

Despite all these things, I’m going to outright lie and tell you that I was just wondering how long it would take before somebody mentioned that I hadn’t worked on my blog. Since three people called me on my laziness this week, I thought it was time to get myself back here. So there’s the mini update, but what this post is really going to be about is… the Broody Hen.

Peaches is broody. Broody hens, of course, will stop laying eggs. They can also be a bit nasty to the others who want a turn in the nesting boxes – luckily, our coop was built with extras (though I have heard her sqwauking at them). The Internet, as usual, has been a wealth of information, much of it hilarious.

Did you know that an old solution for a broody hen was to put them in a sugar sack and hang them from the clothesline? Don’t worry, we won’t… sugar sacks are hard to come by, of course. 😉 The idea behind it is sound, though, which is to reduce the “brooding temperature” by removing the comfy nesting materials and allowing the cooler air to circulate around a hen. Another “trick” is to dunk the chicken in cool water. I also understand that isolating the chicken away from her usual nesting box can break the habit, and this is a solution we’re willing to try.

We have, on dry days, kicked her out of the coop and closed the door for a few hours. It’s good in that she eats while she’s out. It’s ridiculous in that she is LOUD in her displeasure. One of the funniest things we’ve seen yet is all four hens lined up on their ramp to get in the coop. The first chicken realizes the door is closed and there’s nowhere to go, but the last chicken isn’t receiving the memo to back it up.

In good news, our younger hens have started laying, which is a source of great excitement. So we’re getting somewhere.

And on that note, you deserve a cute video for your patience. I warn you that it’s a catchy tune. We’ve been known to wander around on Saturday mornings humming it. Enjoy!

Little House, More Room

This little house has created more room in my life for the people I love.

I call this house little, but we do of course have more space than ever before – by many fold if you include the yard. So aside from the benefit of having more physical space, I’ve found I’m home more. People can, in fact, find me here (and they do)! I’ve also found that having a farmhouse has allowed me to let go of some perfectionism. People expect stuff in the farmhouse. Thye know there’s a puppy around, that we all use the back door, and that the floors need to be swept daily whether I’ve gotten around it to or not. Things are not always pristine, and ironically, that’s made it all easier to keep clean and pretty.

With the extended family having gathered last weekend in honour of my uncle’s life, there was opportunity for some of them to visit the farmhouse. I had a couple of my “greats” over for a cup of tea and a bit of cake, and it was lovely. I’m glad to be able to open my home to people who are able to reminisce about it, and it was great fun watching them discuss where and how things used to be. They didn’t even seem to mind the purple living room walls!

Yesterday I had a friend over for dinner. You know those sorts of friendships that survives the gaps in time, because they’re really more like family? I’ve ignored some of those for far too long and decided to do something about it, so an invitation was issued. For a quick after-work dinner we thought we’d pop some burgers on the grill, and the men were so kind as to pull my barely-used patio table out of the basement and set it up for a little al fresco dining. This, my friends, is the way I was meant to live. As I sipped my gin & soda and laughed at the stories I was listening to, the horses wandered through the field behind us. The food was good, the company excellent, and the view… frankly, exquisite.

Some meals are just happier.

Everything We Needed To Know…

I was feeling funny (haha, not weird, though both may apply), so I made this little video for you on Xtranormal.

The Mr. would like me to assure you that this is not exactly how the conversation went, and that’s true. He never suggested a foundry. And it took him about 24hrs to realize that I was right and he’s “playing” this like it’s FrontierVille. I have a feeling we both are, to some degree. Is that weird, or what?!

It occurs to me that some of you may not be familiar with this addictive little game (that we seem to largely be ignoring now that there are Very Real Things To Do). So here’s a screenshot. Can you see the resemblance?

Collect animals. Pull weeds. Build things. Improve your house… Clobber the occasional snake or bear.

But we’re stopping with chickens and a puppy.

You know. For now.

Boxes, Gates, and Frogs

Yesterday, my dad asked me what I like best about living on a farm.

I was going to say it’s falling asleep while being serenaded by frogs.

I thought I might tell you it’s looking out my kitchen window and laughing at the lambs leaping through the field (they do leap. They really do).

I was pretty sure it wasn’t being unable to fall back asleep in the morning because I’m listening to sheep… though even that can be a pleasant sound on the right days.

But even though all the farm “things” I can think of are cool, I’ve changed my mind. My favourite thing about living on a farm is that we suddenly act – no, we feel – like we belong here. In the valley, on a country road, at a farm, in this little house (that Herb built). I grew up near here so I’m used to what I thought was the country, but  I was wrong. And if this feels different to me, the Mr. must feel like it’s a real culture shock.

I love that living here has made us rethink how we relate to our environment. It has inspired us and challenged us.

Today, I hung laundry outside.

Tomorrow, I am going to a workshop at Home Depot about Organic Gardening and Composting.

We’re talking about getting a couple chickens.

And the Mr. builds really great, functional things that even look pretty! We are all appreciative of  the new gate, especially Cora.

A friend of mine, upon seeing a picture of the gate, remarked that “this man was wasted in the city!” I’m inclined to agree. He’s building things because they need to be done, but also because he loves it. It’s interesting to me that this is all stuff we didn’t do, or didn’t even consider, years or even months ago, but that it seems to be a relatively easy, natural transition.

We are happier, and healthier. We spend more time outside. We do things that we’ve often wanted to do, just because that’s the way it should be done on a farm. Slowly, but eagerly, we are starting to think and act outside of the box we’ve been in for many years. It is expansive, and very, very good for us.

And I really do love falling asleep every night being serenaded by frogs.