Category Archives: Gulf Island Living

Lemonade Stand

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Gabrielle had her first lemonade stand the other day.

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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.

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She has big plans for her next lemonade stand.

The Journey Begins: Homeschooling

The cherry blossoms were out a month early because our Winter was so mild. (Unlike our friends on the East Coast, suffering through blizzards.) But spring has been abominably wet. So our garden has been a gluey sticky sopping mud puddle. We have been eager to get in there, rotor-till the beds after all the pitchforking I’ve done, but it is just too muddy.

Then a friend scared me last week. She said, “I think everything is a month early this year!” My face dropped. That means my garden should already be planted. I employed the same techniques as a woman in labour. I breathed through my panic and then ran out to the garden with pea seeds to hastily shove into the driest part of the soil.

And the birds ate them.

Don’t worry. I won’t give up that easily.

bird brieflowergirl brieflowerpicker currantblossom dandelions mapleblossom wheelbarrowThe bees are doing well though. I lost one hive and I’m not sure if it was the Queen who failed late in the Winter but the hive was very small so I wasn’t especially surprised to open it up and find a few dead bees.

Gabrielle has starting “homeschooling” in earnest. She is a very earnest child. She colours pictures and writes letters all day. We have been taking a country that she picks on the spinning globe, and writing down three things notable about the country, usually the climate, a landmark and an interesting animal. We draw the flag and attempt to draw the animals. It isn’t her drawing skills that are lacking so much as mine! We started reading chapter books a couple months ago to Gabrielle. She is enthralled. She loves listening to these stories where the characters flesh out more than in a picture book. So far she has eaten up The Trumpet of the Swan (E.B. White,) Mouse and the Motorcycle (Beverly Cleary,) and we are now reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Daddy and Ribsy with me. Her joy in reading and stories is palpable and very exciting for both Marc and I. Daddy and Brie do science experience together and she seems to have a propensity for math.

At my mother’s recommendation, I read “Homeschooling for Excellence” and it was a fabulous book for anyone looking at homeschooling and the philosophies surrounding it.

And the babies keep coming. I am teaching prenatal classes in Victoria now with a full schedule. I’m enjoying my work immensely and because it only takes me away on the weekend (but you know, babies come whenever,) I get to spend the majority of my days at home. I find my work/life balance working right now but I am ever-aware that it is a balancing act. So I check in often with my family.

And that is us in the Spring! Have a very happy day!

In the Air

IMG_6776Spring is in the air! Let’s dance about it! Finally, Winter is receding and the flowers are sprouting! Sing a song, do a twirl! Hurrah for Spring!

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This of course, does not mean that we are in short-sleeve shirts every day. The garden is still quite swampy and we are still layering in hoods and toques, but not always.IMG_6826 IMG_6831

Spring also means Nettle Season. Stinging Nettles. It’s such a hippy thing so my hippy rating goes way up as I show you these pictures. We pick nettles, then we make pesto, stew, soup, tea, smoothies. You get the idea. And then all us Pender hippies take pictures of them and instagram it. I can’t even. For real.IMG_6833 IMG_6834 IMG_6843 IMG_6850 IMG_6852 IMG_6854 IMG_6860 IMG_6864 IMG_6868WWhen I get super busy and go to a bunch of births in a row, Gabrielle and Marc entertain themselves by woodworking. Now added to Brie’s ever-growing vocabulary are words like “tongue and groove” and “bevel” as well as “braxton hicks contractions” and “posterior baby.”

 

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And then I came home after teaching a class in Victoria all weekend and she had written me her first love note. I melted. I swooned. And I want to frame it forever. Below is the other side of the card. It has a sun, a moon, mountains, a rainbow, flowers and the sea. What more could a girl want?

The answer is nothing. I am complete.IMG_7019

Back to the grindstone

We got home a whole month ago now. And we were immediately thrown back into it. A couple days after arriving home, I got to attend a birth of a beautiful woman who was quite overdue. I like to think she waited for me to get home. Wishful thinking. But it was a beautiful birth and a great introduction to being home.

The first couple days being home was euphoric. I smelled the cold fresh air. (So sweet.) I performed domestic tasks which I actually love. Cooking food, doing dishes, doing laundry. When I get to putter around my house and my garden, I am in a happy place.

As a celebration for Marc turning 33 years old, and to fulfill my domestic inclinations before they dwindled and became regular life, I made pies.

I usually hate making pies. This time I didn’t mind so much.

IMG_6607 IMG_6608 IMG_6613 IMG_6614I’m excited to be back at ‘er. And when this birth storm passes, (who says that? really.) then I am excited to get planting some seeds. Because folks, Spring is here!!!

Happy March!

As November slips away…

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As November slips away from us and we emerge ourselves completely in all things Christmas, we savoured the last moments of Autumn.

The winter sun is blinding in our house. The sun stays low all day and it shows off all the streaks on the window. Pervasive golden light so intense that I find Gabrielle at the foot of the stairs, hiding in her shadow spot away from the low piercing sun that hurts her eyes. We aren’t complaining about it, it’s just the shape of the house and the path of the sun across the field.

Gabrielle has become quite a serious bonsai tree-keeper. She waters them daily, she mists them, and sings to them and trims any failing leaves. It’s a serious business. Between the bonsais and her worm farm, she is fully employed. It is her work, as she reminds us often.

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The bees are flying. In the low sun, mid afternoon, the ground warms up enough for the bees to scoot outside for a quick pee. Then they duck back inside to their warm clump and go back to knitting each other socks. I always miss the bees a little through the Winter. I fret over them and hope they are surviving through the frosts. Sometimes I press my ear against the outside of the box, hoping to hear a soft hum to let me know that they are still there. That they are still telling each other stories of flowers, and spring and thick honey that they can soon gather. I think of you, Bees, hibernating in your little home while we do the same in ours.

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We gear up for Advent, and Brie’s birthday and Christmas, and we practice our numbers and letters to wile away the winter.

Like the bees, we tell each other stories of flowers and Spring and thick honey, while we knit each other socks.