Category Archives: Local Eats And Treats

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.

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Then we headed off camping….

Bringing home the Bacon…among other things

We pulled our onions and hung them to dry. So now when we venture out to the deck, it smells like onions. All.the.time. This is not a problem if you are eating pizza or just hanging laundry. But when you’re eating blueberries, it’s a bit strange. Not complaining. Just saying.

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Gabrielle helped me sort the seed cupboard the other day. We had a bunch of loose seeds at the bottom. She took the handful and chucked it into the garden box on the deck. Now we have marigolds, radishes, beans, kale, peas all conglomerating together. There is no segregation here. We accept seeds of all varieties.

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You’ll have to indulge me for including the photo above. I always try to get a picture of new baby toes when I’m attending a birth, but I never take pictures of my own child’s growing toes. This is that.

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Gabrielle and I took a day trip over to Galiano island. We met my mom there and one of her friends, but because of the way the ferries worked out, Gabrielle and I were there much earlier than them. So we found ourselves a little forest to go for a hike. There were big signs that warned us of the trail. It was steep! You had to be an experienced mountain climber to attempt the trail, the signs warned.

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My three and a half year old made it up to the top without being carried. So is this me bragging or perhaps the trail wasn’t as treacherous as advertised?

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We explored a couple beaches too and ate lots of ice cream on Galiano. Beautiful island but whenever I go to the other populated Gulf Islands, it reminds me of a parallel universe. Here are people all kinda doing what we are doing. They live funky organic hippy lifestyles. So I recognize it. But I don’t recognize it at the same time. None of the streets are familiar. The locals think I’m a tourist. They are all the same “kinds” of people but they aren’t my people. An alternate universe. That’s what Galiano felt like. Somewhere else that could have been home. But it wasn’t.

My friend Wade, the pig farmer, got another batch of pigs. This time he got piglets with curly tails. Often the tails have been lopped off. Armed with my zoomy lens, I got to capture the piglets in all their muddy, snouty glory. Man they are cute! And soon they will be big and taste like bacon!

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These pigs have so much room to run. They have camaraderie with their litter mates, they are not terrorized all day. They lead happy little lives. I wish farming was always this way.

As Summer is already half way over and we have started planting our Winter garden, I’m going to squeeze as much as I can out of August and then be able to settle comfortably into our knitted sweaters and hot cups of tea when Autumn descends.

The Kind of Christmas that Saves the Grinch

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My remarkable husband bought me a new camera.

The old DSLR died more than a year ago. And I’m so freakin’ grateful because I love being able to click the button on the camera and catch the exact expression I want on my continuously-moving daughter’s face.

So, my utmost apologies to my (two) blog readers for the atrocious pictures of the last year. Hopefully you will notice an improvement.

We had a beautiful Christmas here. Cozy family time with both Marc’s and my side of the family. Cousin-time and lots of food.

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I’m showing you this animal carcass because there is a story.

Marc shot a Christmas goose. Yes, all legally with all the right permissions, licenses and tickets. He announced one morning he was going to go shoot a goose. Gabrielle and I went to play at Gramma’s house with Auntie and cousin visiting, then we arrive home in the afternoon. Marc waltzes through the front door with a plastic bag in hand. Poking out of the plastic bag was a wing. A large feathery wing.

After gutting and plucking this bird, we stuck it in the freezer, ready to bring to my mom’s house. She is brave with culinary adventures as we Googled how to cook a goose.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle was dancing around gleefully, singing “Christmas is coming! The goose is getting fat! Please put a penny in the old man’s hat!”

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My heart was so full so often this holiday. Having family, sharing food, laughing, exercising, playing and seeing the wonder on my child’s face, does it really get better each year as they grow older?

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It was also lots of fun to share Christmas with a new baby in the household.

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Happy First Christmas Eilidh Bean.

And thank you family and friends for making it so lovely.

 

Life in December

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December brings a time of hibernating. A time of avoiding the petrie-dish of Pender Island play groups as hand, foot and mouth were going around, then lice, and then chicken pox! So we diligently open our advent every day and try to occupy ourselves with home things. So here are some snap shots of our boring home life.

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Marc went out to the farm and cut down a tree. I specifically asked for it to be a bit spindly. I wanted something a little sparse. This Christmas, I am really embracing my hippy-granola-lovin’ ways.

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I wrapped my presents this year primarily in second-hand cloth from a thrift store. I received a Christmas present from a midwife, in which the highlight was home-made granola! Score!

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I finally cut my hippy daughter’s raggedy ends of hair. She’s three years old, and this is her first hair cut. Her ends were sun-bleached from our month in Mexico last year and velcroed together so well that they were determined in forming dreadlocks. Another check mark for Hippy.

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This year, to Marc’s Christmas party, we brought a parsnip dish. From our own garden. Score two for Hippy. And our daughter scrubbed them because she loves scrubbing that mucky dirt off veggies.

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In the morning, after hot chocolate and opening advent, we play “Having a baby.” This game involves someone (Gabrielle, me or sometimes the unfortunate Odetta) pushing out a baby and then getting checked by the doctor kit. One of my most favourite things about this game is the fact that my daughter always says “I will catch the baby!” Instead of “deliver” the baby. Score three for Hippy.

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Then it snowed a little. A very little bit. Pathetic actually.

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Ok so, I got my hair cut in February in Mexico in the back of a restaurant by our waiter. The haircut was fine. I’m not picky. This picture is me getting my second hair cut of 2013. And they styled it! Like it was an actual real hair-cut! I’ve been blaming my awful frizzy hair on my postpartum hormones. But no, the truth is, it is sheer laziness (or a shift in priorities.) I could have amazing hair like they do on TV, but I don’t. Because I don’t care enough to do This.Every.Day. Score another point for Hippy. Sigh.

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Instead of straightening and then curling my hair, I do this all day. I talk “the guys.” -while they push out babies, or have tea parties, or get stuck in trees, or hog all the snacks.

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Amid the playing, real work gets done too. My child has an amazing attention span. And she is a hard worker. She is good at weeding, washing dirty vegetables, doing dishes, sweeping the floor, and she helped me unload this truck that was full of firewood and now she’s sweeping it out. A Farmer’s Work Ethic. That’s what she’s got here.

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One of our favourite inside Winter activities is baking. Which means I have to go on lots of runs when Daddy gets home.

I hope you’re enjoying your December in whatever way you can. We are just waiting it out over here, until Spring.

“Let’s go plant some garden, Mommy!”

“Um, nope. Not for months Babe. Not for months….”