Author Archives: Amanda

Living a simple quiet life on the Gulf Islands, BC.

The Summer Scramble

IMG_20150603_220752We’ve been scrambling to keep up with the changing seasons. I moved the cushions down to the sailboat and realized it needs a good scrub before we venture out. Marc is madly using every spare second to work on the canoe. And the babies do not stop coming. The garden is growing into a luscious forest of veggies and weeds. And we remember to breathe. Sometimes. IMG_20150528_065743 IMG_20150528_065716

I’m working on a knitting project that I haven’t had the courage to do until now. I’m knitting a cowichan sweater. I had great visions, measured carefully, borrowed a pattern, was gifted some yarn and bought a little more. And after all that planning, it appears that it will fit Gabrielle nicely. Not me.

And I’m remembering to breathe.IMG_20150527_124818 IMG_20150523_163223

We are sneaking in visits with friends and family and scurrying out to the beach as much as possible. It’s so hard to fit it on all in, with the glorious weather, and the beautiful surroundings. So we feel a bit rushed to do all of our enjoying and all of our chores and just to do everything!

And then we breathe.

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And sometimes, there are dinosaurs on the workbench.IMG_8076

Actually I find this stage fascinating. Very obsessive. One moment, everything is about bugs and catching bugs and housing bugs and identifying bugs. And then the next minute, though the bugs are not completely abandoned, we have switched to dinosaurs. If one tried to keep up by buying toys for every interest, we would be overrun. But let’s admit it, we are overrun.

My hashtag here would be: Super Attentive Parents.

And then I write a blog and remember I should be breathing.IMG_8058 IMG_8056 IMG_8051 IMG_8048 IMG_8044 IMG_8039

It’s been so dry and hot for June. I love it. This is totally my favourite weather, and the bees are thriving on it as well. I picked up a super (honey box)  yesterday to check the box below for brood (babies) and found myself in a conundrum. The box was so heavy when I lifted it down, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to lift it back up. But who was I going to ask? No one else had a bee suit. So I squatted down, and grunted and strained and managed to get the super back on the hive. There must have been 50lbs of honey in the box! We will see if August pans out, because often there is a dearth here then, but maybe this is shaping up to be a bumper-crop year!

I hope your June is shaping up well and you are remembering to breathe as you sink into summer.

Lemonade Stand


Gabrielle had her first lemonade stand the other day.


It went well and people were very generous. Gabrielle learned about professionalism and quality service and earning money etc etc. But she also learned about community.

We had a bunch of friends stop by, loiter, spend more, and advertise for us too by yelling at the cars to stop and have some lemonade. Brie is a quiet salesperson, trusting her product will get her results. But having a mascot show up who stood on the corner and screamed “LEMONADE” at the cars driving by also increased her sales dramatically.

She also learned that people like it when you share your end goal.

Her customers would drop a quarter into her hand as she exchanged them for a chocolate chip cookie, and they would ask her what she planned on buying with her income. She said matter-of-factly, “A zebra aloe plant.”

The answer usually earned her another few quarters. She also learned about appealing to people’s good nature.


She has big plans for her next lemonade stand.

a frog and a birthday


Pender Island and the rest of the Southwest coast of Vancouver Island has dissolved decidedly into Spring. But even more than that, it has taken a surprisingly dry and warm route that is unlikely for May. We are prancing around in short shorts (Marc especially) and tutus (Ramona especially) and catching frogs and sniffing flowers (Gabrielle especially.)IMG_7718 IMG_7704

Our garden is finally all planted. We have a healthy supply of onions and garlic, two things are grow well. It’s important to stick with what we are good at. The tomatoes are coming along, a little less lusciously than usual but we will have a harvest nonetheless. The beans are in the ground, germinating I trust. And the carrots. Ah the carrots. They are a particular act of faith.

We stick carrot seeds in the ground and they are so small, you can barely see them. So then I find myself doubting that I even remembered to plant them. And then I water this patch of black soil faithfully and religiously for something ridiculous like 20 days before I even see a tiny green frond of anything! Then slowly they come, and their first leaves are so fine that I blink over and over to clear my eyes and make sure I’m seeing what I’m seeing. It’s like someone teased me with green sprinkles on my soil and somehow they take their sweet time and grow into beautiful sweet tasty carrots. It’s a miracle. Truly.


And birthdays. They are their own miracle. Hannah was the first baby that I was invited to participate in her birth. And now she is four! My sweet niece. It was with a bursting heart that we drove up island to be with her and eat cake and celebrate who she is!

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Watching our family expand and watching my child play with her cousins. Oh it just fills my heart right up.

Just as the spring weather, with sunshine and garden fills me up, so do the people who I get to play with under this bright sun.

Happy May!

Haven’t been Pendering for a while…

We have been off adventuring lately.

I took May off-call and we have been taking advantage of the time but running away from our tiny island, running to some friends who we often don’t get to see because they are really much too far away for a quick run. So we flew instead.


We are really lucky that Gabrielle is a seasoned traveller. She is already on her second passport at the formidable age of 4. And she is really good at it. If we remember to bring snacks.

And yes, she is wearing hot pink hippy dreads in her hair…

Can’t take the Pender out of the child…

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Marcus and Holly have lived in Edmonton for several years now and it is not exactly a place we get to visiting very often. It was so much fun to see them and their kids in their “natural habitat.” Marcus and Marc have been friends for just about 20 years and they are the kind of friends that we called each other when we got engaged, or got pregnant, or just bought a house (them, not us.) They are the kind of friends where we know their extended families and there is much that goes unspoken. They are even the kind of friends that after our children have enormous screaming tantrums, we pour wine/beer/whiskey and laugh over how monstrous parenting can be at times.

They are the kind of friends that we are happy to have our whole life.

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I also got to visit with friends of mine who moved away from Pender. Wee Paisley was one of Gabrielle’s very first friends. They were instantly glued together at one and a half. And even though Paisley moved away when they were just around 2 years old, Paisley still is insistently invited to every birthday party or every other major event in Gabrielle’s life. Whether she comes or not. Paisley is legend. And well, I feel the same way about her mom.

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Hearken back to these days:


This picture is in the days where Gabrielle and Paisley were just about two years old and Brynna, a surly three.

Anyway, Edmonton offered us rare opportunities we do not usually find on Pender. Like, I had a chance to sport my Winter coat in Edmonton in May, because I didn’t get a chance to model my winter wears on Pender this year. Yeah, it was too mild.

Gabrielle felt bad for the bare little trees, so she did what any good Penderling would do.



She talked about knitting them sweaters and hugged and kissed them until she thought they would feel warmer. Such a hippy.

All too soon, it was time to thaw out and go home.



After arriving home, we were soon at the beach in our shorts again, and sniffing the sweet ocean air. But we were so glad to visit such sweet friends and grateful for their immense generousity.


Thanks friends! Miss you already!


The Day after Kitty.

11154738_10152897368202807_3102775492272619754_oThe day after Kitty’s 5th birthday was my birthday. It was also the day that she died.

The morning that Kitty’s body was found beside her family’s boat, my body went… numb. Waves of grief wash up , filled me and spilled out.

Then I made two pots of soup, baked two loaves of bread and made a double batch of cookies. It was clearly a bit neurotic of me. But I needed to do something.

As I sat down to a bowl of soup and a piece of bread, I realized I had made the soup for her, for them, but also for me. After a great sorrow, we need nourishment.

I think of the half-drawn art that Kitty must have left, the pockets of play tucked away in corners. And as I folded Gabrielle’s laundry, the grief overwhelmed again. Kitty’s clothes that Cidnie had generously sent up to us months ago.

Once I joined this tribe of women, when I moved onto a boat in a very pregnant state, I did not know we would laugh together, cry together, bleed together. I didn’t know these friendships would be life-shaping. But they are.

Here are some words from other friends as we process the hole left behind. A giant gaping hole fringed in sparkles, ribbon, bubbles and balloons. All the bits left over from a great birthday party.