Category Archives: Gulf Island Living

Here on Pender Island…

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I feel like I should be saying, “Meanwhile down at the ranch…” But I want to impart small gift-wrapped presents that Pender Island has given me this week. And maybe these gifts were available to me last week but my eyes were open this week. Open to Pender Island. Oh Pender, I see you now!IMG_3554 IMG_3559

I encourage my child to do chores around the house. Call it what you will, but she’s three and a half, as she reminds me every day, and she is learning responsibility. Like cleaning windows. (Above) and carrying her own snacks and toys to the beach. And when my fellow mom-friend asks what’s in her backpack, I tell her that Gabrielle is carrying her own snacks now, she tells me that she makes her kid do that all the time. Pender Moms. I love them.

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When I eat at the sushi place on Pender, they put my name at the top of my bill. When I order pizza at the local pub, the bartender asks about pregnancy complications that her friend is suffering. When I vote on Pender and my address is wrong, the lady at the ballot box says to me, “Why does it say that address? You’ve never lived there! I know exactly where you live. I’ll get that changed right away.”

Oh Pender. You have my heart.

IMG_3568 IMG_3571 IMG_3585 IMG_3590On Pender, we celebrate an exciting adventure when we are down on the beach. And this adorable little peach is standing for the first time, with an empty *ahem* beer bottle in her hand.

Put another delicata squash on the barbecue! Tess is standing!

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And when the frost comes, she insists we go out and “Be in it, Mom! And Taste it!”

IMG_3641 IMG_3646 IMG_3648 IMG_3652 IMG_3655 IMG_3656 IMG_3657 IMG_3658My poor little garden is all put to sleep now. And so are the bees, in their tight little winter clumps where I imagine them all knitting each other socks, just to keep warm.

We have kale, leeks and carrots in the garden still and we are eating up our preserves now. This is rather the sad time of the year when it comes to the garden. The wood stove glows gloriously hot and we get to play in all our knitted accessories.

This is Pendering in November. Happy Winter!

As the days get smaller

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As the days get smaller, shorter, quieter, and the nights become darker and longer, we move toward our woodstove, I pick up my knitting, and increase my vitamin D dose. But it’s not like we are hibernating! Our bears in this part of the world don’t even hibernate, so why should we?

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There is still time for a bit of sailing, a bit of apple picking, a bit of mushroom hunting. IMG_3137 IMG_3138 IMG_3143 IMG_3149

My child, since she was small, has played with non-toys. Primarily vegetables. Maybe it is because we have such an abundance. When she was wee, she rolled around tiny squash, and now she clusters them into little families. She finds a green onion husk and suddenly it is a microphone and she is a rock star. Well, I already knew that!

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It’s funny as a doula entering my third year, I am noticing patterns when babies come. I theorize to myself that when it is cold outside, babies are often late because they are gaining that every ounce of insulation from their mamas. And when it is hot outside, babies come earlier because they don’t need the extra time. This is not substantiated by any evidence whatsoever. It is just a quiet observation as I begin to wonder about patterns with babies. This is the third Hallowe’en that I have been at a birth. Why do babies wait for Hallowe’en?

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I hope you are finding yourselves moving toward your own Winter patterns as November sucks us in.

Happy Smaller Days, friends.

In Summary: She, Me and Him in October

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Gabrielle started ballet this September. It is as cute as watching kittens run around aimlessly and bonk into each other and the wall and the furniture. We saw “Awww,” then cringe a little and send our condolences to the teacher.

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The photo below is not in focus, but it is a meal where we provided completely for ourselves. A chicken that Marc butchered, carrots and potatoes we grew ourselves. I spend barely any time in the produce section, unless I’m buying bananas, so I hope the cashier doesn’t judge me and think we don’t eat any veggies at home. We are overrun and blessed with scads of veggies. And we are giving them away like hot cakes, because the fruit flies are multiplying. Oh the dreaded fruit flies!IMG_2890 IMG_2937 IMG_2946 IMG_2965 IMG_2989 IMG_2992

I taught a beekeeping class in September and it was received well. I am looking at writing more curriculum for different classes I’m thinking of teaching so that will keep me busy.IMG_3002 IMG_3007 IMG_3084 IMG_20140826_181857

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Gabrielle has begun informal preschool at home with me. We are having a good time as we inconsistently learn letters and numbers a few times a week. She is already recognizing words. She amazes me!IMG_20140918_124058 IMG_20140919_151042

I’ve been trying to bake a lot of our own bread. It just tastes So Much Better!IMG_20140921_093557

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We went blueberry picking in September. Most of the berries were done but we still got a whole bucket. I’ve become quite a lot more adventurous in my processing techniques compared to last year.IMG_20140922_172304 IMG_20140924_164213 IMG_20140925_102615

Gabrielle has been farming with every toy we have.IMG_20140925_135519 IMG_20140925_165434 IMG_20140926_095048

Life has been busy, bursting at the seams, but nourishing all the same. We are intentionally moving into Autumn as we begin planting our garlic and putting the garden beds to sleep. Then the sun comes out again and we dash outside for some hoola hooping, bean picking madness. My morning runs have become like dreams. It is dark and the shadowy leaves blow across the road as I pad along with my headlamp bouncing. I find myself accepting the changing of seasons, even embracing it, but also looking forward to next year’s new beginnings. But I suppose I could use a little bit of hibernation.

Now, to stack some wood. Soon daily fires will be our reality.

Happy October!

Living with the Seasons: A Nip of Autumn

I really love how our life revolves around the seasons. In August, we extract honey and process tomatoes. In September, we bring in the squash. We stack firewood. I watch my bees bringing in pollen in the spring, and capping their honey for the winter. Living with the seasons could be one of my favourite parts about living on Pender Island. The seasons feel “close” here. Maybe it’s because the windows are thin. Maybe it is living more rurally. But whatever it is, I feel the seasons here.

I’ve often wondered if I were blind-folded, and placed in a season, if I could recognize it from the smells. Right now, the sun is rising later. When I wake up early in the morning to run, I beat the sunrise. There is a nip to the air and now I’m reaching for my down vest. And there is a dry crumbling smell as the leaves start to die on the branches and the eager ones are already under-foot and crackling.

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And there is something satisfying in all this. Something wholesome and natural. And then it warms my heart even more when Gabrielle sniffs the air, and sees the leaves, and stacks the wood and plucks the apples off the tree and she says thoughtfully, “Autumn must be coming soon. I’m falling over more often.”

Logic of a three year old. It cannot be beat.

August: part 1

August was shamelessly busy. I had not one birth in the whole month but we were gallivanting, having grand adventures, and processing huge amounts of produce.

Let me begin, slowly, easing into August, with the smoothness of Tracy Chapman.

IMG_2235 IMG_2246 IMG_2238 IMG_2242 IMG_2232 IMG_2228 IMG_2215 IMG_2213 IMG_2200 IMG_2196 IMG_2195 IMG_2190 IMG_2189 IMG_2162 IMG_2161 IMG_2146 IMG_2136 IMG_2131 IMG_2129 IMG_2128 IMG_2127 The first bit of August involved some visiting, and a whole lot of veggie growing. And veggie processing. It involved some cousin-visiting, some hoola-hooping (we are still learning) and again, a whole lot of vegetables.

Then we headed off camping….