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

Sunday, 28 September 2008


Once upon a time there was this woman living on a farm, doing farm-ish things (not true farm things, since it was a farm in the re-making). She had three adorable girls whom she taught, and an amazing husband whose life she tried to make as wonderful as he made hers.

Once upon a time she wrote a few songs, here and there, enjoying clever turns of phrases and nice-sounding chord progressions. She enjoyed being creative and even felt a little like an artist.

Once upon a time she thought it might be interesting to record some of them, just to have that done. But of course that required lots of money, time, and talent.

Once upon a time the kids got older and so the time became more available, some clever people came up with the idea of establishing a company into which people who believed in the idea could invest, and she told that critical voice in her head that she was more talented than it said she was, so just shut up already.

Once upon a time she met with a studio owner and producer, who knew only what he'd been recommended, but still took on her project. When he came to her house to record the first reference tracks, he was excited by the piano and the room acoustics. Each of the twelve songs she'd written was deemed album-worthy, the lyrics complemented as being profound and moving, the song structures smooth and well thought out. The playing and singing were also encouraged. Her fears that he'd hear it and think, "what have I done, taking this on?" were allayed. She was excited, almost giddy.

Once upon a time she got back the initial mixes, opened the package, saw the CDs with "The View From Here: Demo" written on them, and started to cry.

Once upon a time she was on her way to really, truly recording a complete CD.

Once upon a time, she was me.

It still seems like someone else's life.

Friday, 26 September 2008

five years

ever and anon
ever and anon
there will always be a time
I look back fondly on
when you were here with me
and I was there with you
and things just made more sense,
ever and anon
ever and anon
there will always be a place
that calls you to my mind
I see the tapestry
our footprints, that we wove
as we walked together
side by side
ever and anon
ever and anon
there will always be your face
smiling back at me
the wind plays through your hair
and your eyes, they call me
to come on
ever and anon.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

step one

It starts tonight. Tim the Producer and my friend the Uber-Guitarist are coming over, and we're recording scratch tracks. These are recordings that will never see the light of day; instead they serve as a reference for Tim and me. They give a starting point from which I can listen to the songs ad nauseum and find arrangements that will best suit them, little tweaks that will make them better.

I just hope I can listen past how I know I'll sound, without that annoying little critic's voice in my head harping on about the vocals. Hearing yourself talk in a recording is strange; hearing yourself sing in a raw feed is devastating. To me, anyway. I hear every bad nuance and warble, all the while knowing that the end result will be better. It's hard sometimes to get past what I hear.

But we have to start somewhere, right?

Friday, 19 September 2008

a day at the fair

Today was the day; school was cancelled and after the biscuits were baked for the Farmer's Market tomorrow, we headed off to the Fair. The first stop was our trip to the homecrafts exhibit hall to see how we'd fared. And here's the lowdown:

M entered a felt fair scene (3rd place), a decorated cupcake (didn't place) and a jar with colored sand layered in it (1st place).

A entered a decorated cupcake (didn't place), a Lego barn (2nd place) and chocolate chip cookies in the category for kids aged 10-15 (3rd place).

R entered a stuffed toy (3rd place) and the chocolate chip cookies (1st place - hooray for Aunt S's recipe!)

My entries were crabapple jelly (didn't place), tea biscuits (2nd place! Didn't defend my title from last year), peach jam (1st place), and pumpkin pie (1st place. Out of one. I win by default. Go me!). So, given a required membership fee of $7 to the local Agricultural Society for me to enter my exhibits, and a whopping $12 in winnings, I come out $5 in the good.

After that there was nothing for it but to purchase bracelets for the girls and then watch them spend the day going on rides, running to other rides, heading back again to a different ride or maybe just one more go on that one over there. Cotton candy was a must, and each of them played a fair game to win a cheaply made but currently treasured toy. We met up with several other families, so the fun was shared with their best buddies.

Tonight, I am tired after all the fresh air and walking. Tomorrow is the market in the morning, a restful afternoon and then a treat - we've got tickets for all 5 of us to go to the Senators' exhibition game tomorrow night.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

winding down the garden

Fall has arrived, after our 2.46 days of what I'd consider summer weather. Summer was a bit of a non-starter this year.

This morning the sun rose high and lovely in a clear sky as I walked through the heavy dew to let the chickens out. After scattering some scratch that they completely ignored in the wake of two overripe tomatoes that I rolled across their run, I wandered over to take stock of the garden.

Two boxes of beans have been picked and cleared out, though much of the dirt that was in them needs to be replaced after being flung out by several delighted hens who seemed overjoyed to have access to the area. The tomato vines are still healthy but I saw the telltale signs of the teeniest bit of frost on them, delicate tracework on the hairs of the stems. It was really quite pretty in the sunlight. My second planting of beans has come along well so while I freeze the last harvest of my first plantings today, this second planting will give us some fresh, sweet, tender first-crop beans for our table.

The real frost didn't strike last night, but it's just a matter of time before I walk out to be greeted by a garden whose leaves go from robust to sadly sagging overnight. Granted, it does make for an easy garden cleanup, but I'll be getting as much of the harvest in as I can over the next few days.

One batch of Roma tomatoes have been frozen, something new I'm trying this year. Apparently I just had to wash them, cut off the stem scars, then freeze them on a cookie sheet before transferring them to freezer bags. Preserved without blanching and canning and all those time-consuming things. I'm hoping for many a lovely mid-winter sauce. My trip through the garden this morning showed that I have another batch to do today.

I got one eggplant (this thanks to the chickens getting into my new transplants in the spring and leaving very few plants to tell the tale). Perhaps I will make a very small ratatouille.

And of course the must-harvest overnight low temperatures have hit this week, when I'm trying to get some school done amidst the chaos that strikes our house every year mid-September: The Week Before the Richmond Fair. The girls have projects underway to enter for prizes (ribbons! cash! $4 to first place!) and they seem to be slowly engulfing our home. At least, they'll be gone by Thursday morning. Then Friday is our annual day off at the fair, spending the whole day there at the exhibits and the midway.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

first step

Met with producer today. Yes, the man who will produce my CD.

Just for the record, the phrase "my CD" still makes me feel like I'm talking for someone else.

He seems like a great guy, comes highly recommended by a friend who knows music. Apparently the same friend was highly recommending me to the producer. I was very happy with his take on recording and his approach to the whole thing. Some very cool ideas shaping up in just this first meeting.

It'll be a long road, but I feel like a definite official first step has been taken. See? The footprint is right there.

Now to look forward.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


So pretty. Yesterday's dewy morning and sunrise in the mist gave me views of this from my window and beckoned me out with my camera, despite getting some very wet feet. All was golden and misty. How could I refuse?

I assume they are always out there in the summer, that the spiders don't wait until those conditions to set about their busy work. But it takes that perfect combination of dew and sun to make such a pretty picture.

I could see hundreds; half an hour later the sun was high and the webs had once again become humble and obscure. Some things on the farm demand immediate attention, like a predator near the chickens or the cows escaping. Other things demand immediate attention so you don't miss a show like this.
It's good to remember to take the time to smell the roses ... or see the spiderwebs.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

tastes like ... well, chicken.

The chicks are no more. Well, at least they are not in their previous metaphysical state. On Wednesday I celebrated my birthday by getting up at 5:30, loading some very reluctant chickens into a crate (did they know?), and driving to a slaughterhouse. Yes, a real slaughterhouse.

Without too much detail, there were a couple of things I hadn't expected, notably the fact that I basically backed my truck up to the place where it all happened, while I had pictured some sort of emotionally and physically detached drop-off place. A sort of waiting room for chickens. But, nope - back up and hand 'em off, ten feet from where the guy is with the knife. I suppose one advantage (if you can call it that) of that setup is that I know for a fact that it was quickly done. I scoped out the situation and decided not to watch as my birds were done in. Yup, sentimental even when betraying them.

I've said it before - you know those women in movies, who coldly plot the murder of someone while barely disclosing a ripple of concern, who are at once terrifying and intriguing? I am not one of those women.

Yes, I know they were destined for that when we bought them, and I know they had a good chicken-y life, and I know there wasn't time for them to suffer, but I will admit that I cried for a while as we drove away feeling like something of a traitor. Things were on a much more normal plane when we picked up our fourteen completely cleaned, chilled, packaged and inspected chickens which ranged in size from 5.2 to 7.7 pounds. All for under $50, at which price they can do it for me any time.

The real birthday celebration happened that evening, when D and I went to dinner with Seren and RSH for an evening of good food and wine, much laughter, much shopping, and creme caramel with a birthday candle in it to top it all off.

Tonight was the taste-test. I went to the grocery store yesterday and looked at the sad-looking chickens they had available. 'Ha!' I laughed inwardly, 'you call that prime poultry?' Not only that, they cost more and were smaller than ours. But, for a side-by-side test I chose a large one (about $3/pound) and roasted it with our smallest (about $2.20/pound). The results were tasty on both sides, but the store chicken looked a bit anemic next to ours and the texture was even a bit on the mushy side.

The end result of our experiment - success. Good chicken, nicely raised, cheaper than the store, and I know exactly how it was treated and fed through its life. We plan to do it again next year but for now will enjoy the remaining thirteen roasters in our freezer.

School's first week went well, though I will not be listing Wednesday morning's outing as a field trip.