I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

almost there

This morning will start the last leg of our road trip. It has been fun, seeing parts of the country I'd never laid eyes on before. I had no idea Wisconsin was so pretty. Rolling hills, acres of corn (for feed or ethanol? not sure, but that's a debate for another day), tidy farms on bright green patches of grass, old dairy barns still in use. It made me realize how sad much of Ontario's farmland has become. Once upon a time, our farm fields likely looked like that.

The trip was wonderful, the girls behaved very well for the most part, many silly giggles were had, many good times. But it will be good to be home again with D, the dogs, this chickens, the hamsters. We made scrambled eggs here this morning and it was funny how odd white eggs looked.

Home is always a good place to get to.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

four years

... and still missing him. I look for words, but sometimes I can't find them. They elude me. Sometimes I will chase them, but other times - like today - I will grudgingly accept that I cannot catch them just now. So today, I will simply have the feeling without having the means to express it. Except this: I still miss him.

We are having a good time in Minnesota, enjoying time together and with Goaliemom and Bean and Swimming Teacher Extraordinaire (Bean's GF). His university campus (yes, it is his, I decree it.) is, in the words of Lizzie Bennett, "happily situated", pretty without being ostentatious, up-to-date yet charming.

Dinner at the Olive Garden last night was delicious and had us laughing at the realization that since asking about a wine on the list resulted in being offered a sample to try, we could end up with a glass's worth of free samples. The girls enjoyed a swim at the hotel on our return, then to bed while GM, Bean and I stayed up and talked about all sorts of things.

Today will be a day spent at a nearby town whose quaintness and shops have gained a reputation through GM. Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

one place to another

The weekend was marvelous. Fine weather, nice scenery, excellent company, and no mice running across my face as per Seren's experience. And one of the nicest things in that each day, after lunch, most people napped. Why? Because we could, and wanted to. I didn't but instead enjoyed some solitude on a swinging chair overlooking the lake and the mountains covered in trees rich in fall colour.

I sat there, thinking and decided that to have no more pressing decision than: should I read, or nap? is loveliness itself. Then a big decision arose: should I walk back up to the cottage and make a cup of tea? Sometimes one needs to make these momentous choices.

Sunday was a blur of activity, but we did get the luggage switched and were on the road again to Goaliemom's place, then yesterday we left early and drove literally all day. We passed through Michigan, Illinois, Indiana (aka land of the toll booths), Wisconsin, and finally into Minnesota. It was mostly great weather for driving but at about 9pm you started to get the feeling that you had always been in a car that you would always be. The little girls fared well through the day and the big girls (us) had lots of time to talk, to be quiet, and to listen to music. The bonus at the end of the day was having Bean come by the hotel to visit. The girls had so been looking forward to seeing their cousin.

So here we are. Not nearly so relaxed and quiet as the cottage, but nice in its own way: three days of nothing planned but fun. The biggest decisions here will be where to go, what to eat. Mall of America and a little town called Stillwater, plus a visit to Bean's college will be in the mix. We'll likely take in one of his hockey games as well.

Tomorrow will be odd. Four years. Time marches on but in many ways I do not. I have gone from one place to another in the past few days, many miles and many sights. I wonder, have I gone from one place to another personally since he left us? All roads, it seems, lead back to Rome.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

on the road again

Tomorrow we're off on a little trip, from which we will return for a quick switch of luggage and the girls and I will head out for a week-long road trip with Goaliemom. My brain is not liking trying to figure out packing for this scenario. I think I am wired to be a homebody: I am very happy when life is blissfully dull.

I had a lovely moment the other day, I had worked all afternoon in the kitchen making applesauce and pie pastry and decided to brew a cup of coffee, featuring some lovely chocolate Arabica brought from Paris by Goaliemom for my birthday. Said cup of coffee accompanied me down to the creek where I sat on an old barn timber that now perches on two rocks to make a bench. I watched the cows in the field across the creek, listened to the wind in the grass, and had that rare feeling of utter contentment that is so sweet and so often elusive. I just hugged the mug in my hands, smiling at nothing in particular, looking around and realizing that yes, we have done a lot of work here, and just enjoying it all.

A new addition to our family deserves mention in this little blog of mine; a hamster now lives with us. The girls wanted to keep a young mouse we caught live, but that didn't work out. However, using their pooled savings and Dad & Mom's okay, they bought a cage and hamster from the pet store. She was quickly christened Willow (Willow Honey Cocoa Hamster, her full name), or as D calls her, Fuzzy McFuzzerton. The girls enjoy her greatly and are convinced that she is the smartest hamster ever to grace this earth.

But back to packing.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007


Time for another descriptive blog. Fall has most definitely arrived. The pool has been abandoned and sits there, tired and waiting for the winter closing.

One night's frost has taken its toll on most of the garden, so last night we had "last hurrah from the garden" omelets, with cherry tomatoes and basil and green onions. All but the tomatoes, peppers, leeks, and some of the herbs have been shipped off to the compost pile. Some of the herbs were cut and are now hanging up to dry in the summer kitchen. The chickens, meanwhile, have made the garden their playground and spend the days busily scratching, flinging soil everywhere and finding bugs for snacks. The lawn is looking a little shaggy, needing its last cut of the season. Pumpkins are sitting in the sun to 'season', along with the onions and shallots, to prepare for storage. The apples picked on Sunday will find their way into my freezer this week as sauce, pies, or crisps.

The windows are being closed at night now, as the sun's setting brings on the chill. We put a fire on over the weekend and its cheery crackling was a very welcome thing. Outside the maples have started turning to orange and red, the swallows have been gone for weeks, and the sound of geese on their southward journeys is becoming more common. I always find that their honking sounds more melancholy in the fall. I'm sure it's just my perception though.

The girls have been digging out their sweaters and R has taken to stealing my socks on a regular basis.

And there's that smell in the air. How to pin it down? It is crisp, a hint of leaf decay in it, perhaps a distant trace of smoke from someone's leaf fire or wood stove. It brings to mind brilliant blue sky, yellowing grass and leaves slipping through the air or crunching underfoot. Not the wettish smell of spring or the heavy air of summer. It is its own. Fresh, but with a bit of warning that cold is on its way.

The garden will have a new row dug out this fall, to be turned over and have lots of compost added so it's ready for spring planting. The chicken coop needs its winter preparations completed, snow fencing must be put up by the driveway, the old barn foundation should be cleaned out and filled. I want to try putting a coldframe in the garden so I can get some greens growing later into the fall, and hundreds of other little jobs are waving their hands and shouting "ooh! ooh! pick me! pick me!"

Fall is a busy time here, but I do think it's my favorite season.

Monday, 17 September 2007

when does it get normal, again?

You know the kids have gotten their money's worth from bracelet day when they decide on their own that they've had enough of the rides. I think the look on their faces when I said it was time to leave for dance class was something akin to relief. Friday at the Fair was a sunny day, perfect for the Ferris wheel, the Sizzler, and other assorted rides of spinning. I've noticed that that seems to be the general theme of fair rides: spinning. Sometimes even spinning in small circles whilst spinning in larger circles. Spin, spin, spin. No wonder they looked a little green about the gills after a couple of hours. They also enjoyed seeing the horses, cows, sheep, goats, and lots of different breeds of chickens.

Their exhibits did well, each winning something and all happy with what they had done. I even won a ribbon for tea biscuits. We returned on Saturday with D to watch some of the animal shows, but overnight a cold northerly wind had arrived and after an hour of walking around shivering, we decided we'd had enough and went home to do some work around our own farm.

Saturday night also brought the first frost, not enough to kill everything but the zucchini, basil and pumpkin leaves were definitely hit. I'm glad I got most of the beans and tomatoes out on Saturday.

This week is short thanks to a trip to Serendipity's cottage for part of the weekend; the girls and I leave on Sunday afternoon for a road trip week with Goaliemom to visit Bean Boy. Normal week, hmmm. Wonder when.

Friday, 14 September 2007

take me to the fair

The weekend the girls (and, I admit, I) have been waiting for is here. The Fair opened last night but today is the first full day of exhibits and rides, so today we continue our three-year tradition: we get up early, finish school with a drive and determination that is rarely equalled, then drive into town for a day celebrating our inner farm girls. It has the extra benefit of being bracelet day, when they can go on all the rides they want after 3pm for one price.

Our entries into the homecrafts exhibits were dropped off on Wednesday evening, so today we get to see how we did. It's all fun and the girls all worked hard, so no matter what the judges say I'm pleased with the endeavour. It was a good experiment in different art forms for each of the girls - collages, drawings, penmanship, painting, and of course the enduring art medium of pipe cleaners.

The fair is over 100 years old. The midway is not exactly antique, but one look at the shelves of canned goods and racks of quilts is enough to take one back many years. The local women showing their neighbours what they could do in the garden, in the kitchen, or with a needle, sharing ideas and having fun (with, I'm sure, a little competitive spirit thrown in). Change is evident in the categories of digital photography, but the country life is definitely in the forefront.

The girls have been talking about it for weeks. They have planned the rides they want to go on since mid-summer ... "remember the scrambler? ooh, that was so fun!" "but I don't want to go on the polar express again, that was too fast and I felt squashed." "oh no, I'll definitely go on that one" "remember the pig races? they were so funny!""look, look! they've put up the Ferris wheel!". Tomorrow D joins us and we go as a family to see the horses and cattle.

We leave today at 11:00 and will be there until we leave for dance class around 5:30. Lunch will be eaten in the old hall, where a local church provides a home-style meal and once again we feel very small-town. The day should have little that is unexpected and much that has become comfortably, happily familiar.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007


Oh, so THIS is what life with the internet was like. I had forgotten. We are finally, as of noon today, back online at home. The first week was kind of nice, no checking for emails, no sitting in front of Facebook. I did miss blogging though. But by week four it had become tiresome and I felt out of loops that I never knew existed. I have realized that I do indeed rely on internet for much of my communication, both incoming and outgoing.

So today, we are back.

What has happened since my last little post (thanks Seren!)? Well, we could talk about the approach of fall on the farm. We could tell the story of Archie the Wonder Dog meeting a skunk and his subsequent baths in baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. We could hear about our first week of school, currently underway. We could go into the details of our preparations for the local Fair and how much it still amuses me that the local farm Fair has become such a major calendar event for our family. We could hear about the chickens' newfound brave explorations, all the way over to the house now.

That will wait for another day, though.