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!

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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.

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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?

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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:

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

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Motivated by Mango

I love mangos, and I’m not the only one around here. I gave the chickens a stone to peck at yesterday, thinking it was nice for them to have something a little extra-hydrating on a hot day (Pearl prefers the zucchini, though). I came in to write up yesterday’s blog post, and came out to find… well…

Is this a dog that looks contrite? She was very pleased with herself to have reached that mango pit.

Marigold-or-Buttercup, checking out the situation.

Cheerfulness

How cute are these coffee-filter flowers? I had the kids in my church class make them some weeks ago, in preparation for our annual June flower service. Which was last week.

And in the time-honoured tradition of “Kate forgets to take things to church,” they didn’t make it. Not one kid asked, so I’m hoping they’d all forgotten.

But, I just couldn’t bear to throw them all away yet, and so they’ve made it to the farmhouse widows as a bit of cheerful and sunshiny decor for June. Which is so nice, since it was sunny today… but I hold out no hope of it staying that way!

Does anybody need a craft? I know there are some moms and dads who read this blog, and there couldn’t be an easier art activity for a rainy summer day. Here’s how:

1) Get out some coffee filters and have the kids colour them with washable markers. You can colour too, I won’t tell! I may have done a few of these myself… You don’t have to be tidy about it.
2) Cut them into a flower shape either before or after colouring.
3) Lay them on an old towel (or several) and spray with a water spritzer. This is the fun part! Watch the colours run and create a tie-dyed effect.
4) Let dry. They’ll flatten out, too, which is nice. Make stems or tape up – I like them where the sun can theoretically shine through.

You know… if we got some sunshine now and then. 😉

You know what’s great about not using our lights? We have somewhere to hang our herbs for drying! I trimmed this lovely lemon balm plant today. A gift from a  friend, and the rest will be planted in the garden.

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Weekend in Long Beach

I didn’t do a Sunday post, and there’s a good reason for that – we were out of town. We discovered the Adrift Hotel via a Groupon that was a Christmas gift from my in-laws. We knew it would be a great weekend getaway. We did not expect to completely fall in love with the little seaside town of Long Beach, Washington, but we did.

And who can blame us? This was our view:

Sunset was gorgeous. I’m sure early morning was beautiful, too, but I wouldn’t know. This is a pretty beach. Long Beach is close to Oregon, so you can imagine the waves, and the sand is that lovely fine silky stuff. There were dogs all over the place – ours stayed home, but we’re hoping to make this an annual visit and will definitely take her along. In the meantime, we rode horses on the beach:

Went for a bike ride:

And not even my fear of tsunamis stopped us from having fun (little known fact, but true. I blame Dad an The Day After Tomorrow):

One Picture of Tuesday Night

The coolest thing about this photo? I didn’t have to set it up at all. This is exactly the scene in our kitchen last night, and I just had to capture it.

Our lamp in action! It is so, so cool. The Mr. came up with the idea of putting it on a lazy susan so we can swivel it around from it’s central spot on our table, giving us light where we need it. It’s good enough to read by. I have a feeling we’re going to be spending a lot of time at this table.

Do you like our “fireplace” in the background? It was my husband’s birthday gift from me. He really wanted it (it’s a small electric heater), and now that the lights are off, I love it, too.

Can you tell what he’s reading? Nothing like sitting around in the dark reading about chickens! The name of the chapter, by the way, is “Suitable Breeding Stock.” It’s going to be a fun Spring.

Our Second Anniversary

I may or may not be the slowest person on the planet to order her wedding photos (okay okay, Michelle Libby confirmed that I am not, but I’m sure I’m darn close).

Today is our second anniversary. We celebrated, in part, by picking up some photos that I had finally managed to choose and order. The standard portraits in 8×10 for our parents, and a 16×20 for ourselves.

We also painted pottery and the Mr. made blackberry scones for brunch. The man can bake, alright. We ate them all. They were that good.

Anyway, I found it difficult to choose a photo. They were all fabulous, and there were many that I loved. I considered the black and white one above, because it’s an obvious favourite.

But, I settled on this one. Just as gorgeous, and I decided I would appreciate some colour. I was happy with my choice when I ordered it, but now I’m thrilled. It’s just beautiful, and I can’t wait to get it framed and hanging on the wall. Delightfully, I just realized that the purple flowers in the corner will pick up on the living room colours, and I’ve been meaning to throw in some green accent anyway.

 

And, this post can not possibly go by without wishing my grandparents a very happy 58th. When we were picking a wedding date we had two to choose from, and when I realized that August 22nd was their anniversary, the choice seemed to have made itself. This photo was taken at our wedding, as well. We had all the wedding photos of our parents and grandparents on the guest book table, and our photographer cleverly got a photo of them holding their wedding portrait. Isn’t it great? Happy Anniversary, Grandma & Grandpa! We love you.

AND… this post STILL is not complete without saying Happy Birthday to my Auntie Muriel!

It’s a good day.

Sunday Photos

Just a couple photos, and not much to say, on this late Sunday night.

Today we boxed up our first 1/2 dozen eggs to give away. I think there are 5 more in the fridge – we did well this week!

Early evening, we picked blackberries.

There are lots, and they’re beautiful and tasty. I’m making jam tonight (more on that later) and will have some to freeze for baking as well.

And Cora is recovering from surgery. Public Service Announcement – do NOT let your dogs get ahold of corn cobs! She gave us quite a scare. She’ll have her stitches removed later this week. But, she is eating well again, and her energy has definitely returned. I think the t-shirt look is kind of sweet (she’s tried many different colours this week). She’s been driving me crazy, whining to go out constantly, but we’re glad things turned out as they did!

A “New” Bathroom

I am pleased by very simple things in my house. We’re lucky to be able to do pretty much whatever we want here. These small changes and touches really seem to make a place feel like “ours” in a way we’ve not been able to experience before.

We live in a small house, with a small bathroom. When we moved in the bathroom had, beside the sink, one of those towel rings. You know the kind… they’re designed to hold one towel and absolutely nothing else. Pretty if you have  a luxury of space, or maybe for a guest bathroom, but kind of impractical in the only bathroom with no counter space. So I picked out a little glass shelf with a towel bar, thinking I could at least store some things on top. As an aside, these shelves ranged from $80 – $120 at Home Depot. I bought mine at Walmart for $20. Love it or hate it, sometimes it’s the only way to go.

Simple, right?

Not really. You see – the bathroom as it had been was painted a sort of blush to match the tiles. When the Mr. took down the towel ring, we were left with a lavender square. “No problem! This will be my first patch up job,” I think to myself. I carefully filled the hole (and a few others, while I was at it), found the correct paint from the selection in the basement, and patched.

Only I was wrong about the “correct paint.” So suddenly I had a blush wall with brownish patches, and nowhere to hang a towel. Classy.

It was time to start again. Since there’s so much paint in the basement and I’m a bit cheap this way, I went “shopping” down there. I selected this beautiful cream colour that we used for the hallway and part of the living room. It looks quite yellow in my bathroom light, but I love it. Here it is, freshly painted by the Mr. with my pretty shelf newly installed.

I was so pleased that I treated myself to a new hand towel and a pretty candle. I found the starfish which had been waiting for it’s home. It was a gift from my flower girl on our wedding day. I’m loving this cream/yellow/turquoise/blush (on the shower tiles) combination in a small room.

Bathroom improvement round #2 still to come, but I’m really happy with it so far. What do you think?