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

Thursday, 31 May 2007

suprising to say

I have not run since the Triathlon. First I was just tired, then busy. The odd thing is that I am finding that I miss it. It has been a surprise to me, given how little I like running. Not sure when that started, though I do have memories of elementary school and the weekly '9-minute run' (why not 10?) in phys ed class. Every Friday morning, there were four pylons set up to make an oval in the gym, and for 9 minutes you ran laps. You had a partner sitting inside the oval, counting how many you did. That was it. Run in circles while music blared. To this day, the songs 'Heart of Glass' (Blondie) and 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' (Queen) remind me of running in circles. I despised it.

So to find myself missing the training is a pleasant surprise. Maybe running and I can become friends. Send birthday cards as well as Christmas cards.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

romancing the stones

There is something I like about the crunch of gravel underfoot, or the sound of car tires going over gravel. It conjures up thoughts of simpler, slower times in my life. I associate it with the dusty, hot smell of a summer day, the sound of birds and crickets, and wind blowing over tall grass.

The car tires always bring up memories of going places with my family, and by the time there was gravel road, we were almost there. Wherever 'there' was. I think maybe my cousins' cottage by the river in New Brunswick, or perhaps the drive to the lake where we would watch fireworks. It also goes with thoughts of vacations in PEI where the roads were of softer, reddish dirt.

It's funny, isn't it? A simple crunching together of small bits of stone and I am back in my childhood. No wonder I love our long unpaved laneway (potholes aside) and am excited about the now-completed gravel paths in my garden.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

strange awakening

Last night the girls at the sleepover had a fun time, the last finally drifting off to sleep around 11:30. I expected a nice sleeping in time, but heard voices again at 6:45. Ah well. And then I heard it.


Very rhythmic, very regular, sounding for all the world like a woodpecker, except for one problem: it wasn't wood, it was metal. Sure enough, on looking out the window, I saw a woodpecker sitting on the aluminum farm gate, looking around and then pecking it for all he was worth.

Maybe he was trying it for kicks because all the cool woodpeckers were being rebels like that. Maybe he just pecked something a wee bit too hard and shook something loose in his brain. I have no idea.

The other highlight of the morning: the arrival of this season's tenant cows and calves. The farmer brought them over in a trailer, and out they came and immediately set to the important task of eating grass. I can see them out the window as I type and I always like to see them in the fields. It makes it feel like an official farm.

Today while out I bought some annuals for planters, the girls each choosing one to be 'their' plant. M chose pink petunias (surprise, surprise), A chose a red & white dianthus, very pretty, and R opted to plant sunflower seeds. I also got another 1/2 cubic yard of gravel to complete the garden, and mailed a parcel to goaliemom. After I neatly wrapped and sealed it, I realized that in it I had left the sharpie marker I had planned to use to write her address on it. So, GM, consider it a wee extra gift.

And the lawn has been mowed. It's the time of year when I really have to make an attempt to keep the house tidy. Who wants to stay inside and do housework when there's so much to do out in the nice weather? (to that end, who wants to do housework, period).

Monday, 28 May 2007

what follows the rain

Yesterday was one of gloom and rain outside; we did need rain though as I couldn't recall that last good soaking we've had. This morning I was up at six to see the sun shining and the whole lawn aglitter with the drops on the grass. The veggies seem to be faring well and appreciated their drink too. With the gravel almost complete (so close! I used 1 cubic yard and probably 1.2 would have finished it perfectly), this week I turn my attention to the weed-choked flower gardens.

And while very mundane, it's rather amusing that I can wash clothes but not dry them on the line. D was mowing the lawn on Saturday with the tractor, the bucket up so as not to hit the buildings, carefully watching to make sure said buildings didn't' get hurt, and then - TWANG - snapped the clothesline with the bucket. I ran around at the sound to see a rather sheepish-looking D picking up the wire and pulley, and we both had a good laugh about it. It's good to know I'm not the only one who does things like that.

On to a day of study group, meetings, phone calls, sleepovers, and NO SCHOOL!!! I do like summer and I think I look forward to a break almost as much as the girls do.

Sunshine after a rainy day seems especially brilliant and fresh, even while traces of the rainy day remain. But that's getting philosophical.

Sunday, 27 May 2007


M is now 7. She celebrated a decidedly pink girlie birthday, a blur of My Little Pony and Barbie and princesses that had her absolutely delighted. Her cake was pink with white daisies and the look on her face was worth the trouble of decorating it.

Tomorrow the festivities continue with a sleepover with a friend, and mini golfing the next day, so all in all her birthday celebrations stretch over three days. Not too bad, when you think of it. I think one of the highlights of her day was when D took her out for an ice cream date.

Tonight I am a bit sore from Saturday's exertions, but I now have tidy gravel paths running through my veggie garden, a great improvement over the planks I had down last year. Muscles aren't too bad but I'm feeling the effects of not enough sunscreen across the top of my back.

Friday, 25 May 2007


To do or not to do ... this has sparked the question. Whether 'tis nobler to bite the bullet, make an entry and go for it, or to stop mangling Shakespearean quotes.

Ay, that's the rub. But that way lies madness.

Hm, that's two different plays. Oh well. Misquoting, thy name is me.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

stuff takes over

Summer weather has arrived, the heat is there but it is oh so nice to work in without the attendant humidity that I know will come later. I got three tractor bucketfuls of rotten wood carted away from the barn site.

Yesterday, school work got nicely wrapped up, the girls highly motivated on realizing that with a little hard work, they will be done the core academics (math, grammar, and spelling) this Friday. That's tomorrow. After that there's science and history still to continue, but as M says, "yeah, but that's FUN".

A science lesson unfolded yesterday as several hours were spent at the creek by the girls, catching frogs and tadpoles and minnows and crayfish. R noted that there seemed to be fewer crayfish this year, but perhaps it's still early. A caught the fattest frog I've ever seen in our creek, christened it "Fribby" and proceeded to make a little home for him (her?) in a bucket so she could play with him. Before long it was true love and thus began the lesson on frogs needing to be in their habitat, not in our house (while I was checking email, A came in, bucket in hand and frog in bucket, to ask if she could keep it). They did learn that the frog did not like to eat grass and didn't try to catch a minnow. Many other frogs were caught, mostly trim little leopard frogs, but Fribby was definitely the star of the day. After our habitat talk, A gently released Fribby and happily watched him swim away. I have a feeling she'll try to catch him again.

But today, which begins with birds singing and a lovely warm sun, beckoning me to more lawn that needs mowing and a garden that needs watering and another garden that needs (oh, desperately needs) weeding, and a veggie garden that needs a couple loads of gravel, and a driveway still full of potholes, and a torn-down barn site that still needs some rocks and chinking removed, and a chicken coop that needs cleaning. It threatens to be taken over by stuff that needs to be planned on the phone and via email. Ugh. I think I have a preference for physical work. But stuff needs to get done. It has a habit of doing that.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

they're baaaack

I love spring and summer on the farm. Yesterday was sunny, not too hot, with everything green and lush, not yet dried by the August heat or overgrown and untidy. In the front field, the farmer who rents our fields (technically a 'tenant farmer' which makes me feel like some sort of lady of the estate) was driving over them with his offset discs, breaking up the soil to get a hayfield well underway. I planted veggie seeds in the prepared boxes: herbs, carrots, lettuce, spinach, corn, zucchini (just one plant! Don't need a zucchini avalanche ths year!), & cucumbers.

And they were back. The mosquitoes have officially emerged. Last night as I made supper there they were, hanging on to the window screen, either drooling at all the people inside or planning some sort of diabolical plan where enough of them get on the screen, then hang on and beat their little wings all at once to pull the screen right off the window. Hmmm. These few weeks it can be especially bad as the mosquitoes overlap the blackfiles, who were also out in great numbers yesterday.

Though I must admit, (a) it's better than the first year, since our cleanup has reduced many of their breeding areas, and (b) they're not these. Those bugs are another farm story entirely.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

good tired

What a weekend. Friday: the great key hunt, a visit to the Archives Building to see R at Historica. She looked happy and mature and it was great to see her goofing around with friends she'd made there. As they left to go to Rideau Hall, A&M and I went back home. Then it was dance class and returning home, shortly joined by goaliemom and our parents. The house was filling up!

Saturday: Try-a-Tri. I woke at 2:30, then 5:00, then 5:30 (convinced it was 8:00 and I had overslept), and finally up at 5:45. I drove in going over thing in my head and getting to thinking I might not be able to do it all, and why did I do something so silly. Serendipity and rockstar hubby pulled in just after and parked right beside me which was awesome. Got all ready for the race, thankful for the sun because the air was cold! The swim went pretty well, about 2:00. The run to the bike was farther, I'm sure, than 500m, but I did run the whole way, then on the bike. Serendipity ROCKED on the bike leg, starting after me and finishing just ahead of me, and then the run.

Ugh. I started out, and there it was: why am I doing this I hate running and I'm tired from the rest and a little walk wouldn't hurt would it? But I pushed through it, imagining the Nickelback song in my head and reminding myself that I had done close to this before. I did the run with no stops and in 12:16. Broke my training best by a minute and a half. Coming into the finish chute, there were my parents, goaliemom, A and M, and of course D. It was good to have done it again. It was better to have done it without stopping. I checked the results later and I finished 67th out of 176 racers. I felt pretty good about that.

Saturday afternoon was spent working on a brick garden border. Something I started a while back, a good bit of farm recycling - using the bricks from a torn-down chimney to make a flat border around the veggie garden boxes. From Saturday to Monday, greatly aided by goaliemom and Bee, the whole garden was encircled by a nicely rustic looking border, and all the bricks were cleared out of the barn. This week: pea gravel for the inside of all that. Perhaps I shall find a way to get all fancy and post a photo when it is all done.

Saturday night: picked up R from Historica. She had a wonderful time and was completely tired out!

Sunday: church in the morning (most of the worship team in Sens jerseys, courtesy of Saturday's series win), then lunch and Bee and I tearing down a burnt-out shed that has sat at the end of our laneway looking very forlorn and ugly since the tree was hit by lightning and started a fire that took out half of the shed two years ago. So, much hauling of planks and charred joists happened there. Demolition is fun. Sunday night was a special supper in honor of our Dad, who turns 70 next month. A good way to celebrate such a truly wonderful man.

Monday: holiday! Up and off to breakfast at Serendipity's house (yummy and fun), then back to the farm for the guys to do much cleanup around the place. The barn debris is almost entirely gone, and another load came in from the shed by the road. The lawn got cut, the brick debris put away, and after everyone had gone home, our little clan went for a walk across the creek and through some old fields and woods.

I fell asleep over a book at 10pm.

Friday, 18 May 2007

seek and ye shall find

After seeking all over the place this morning I left for seeing R at Historica feeling like a first-class idiot. (she, by the way, was happy to see us, having fun with her new friends, and tired but having a ball)

A call from D as I got home: 'maybe I put it in the shorts I was wearing'.

Hadn't checked those. Had only checked my clothes. Wasn't I the last one with the key? I really did think so.

Picked them up to hear what I now class as one of the sweetest sounds in the world: a key, jingling in the pocket.

Life on the farm has restored to normal. Well, for us, anyway.

Except that the chickens only laid 4 eggs today. What's the deal with that? Perhaps the key had them stressed, too.

hold that thought

Today was all ready to go. Phone calls planned for the coming choir trip. Going to see R at the Historica showcase. Cleaning house in preparation for visitors this weekend. School lessons for A&M. Laundry on the clothesline. Packing my bag for tomorrow's race. A very busy day, not much room to spare.

And then, something small yet something big. The key for the tractor is missing.

We have only one, and it's not where I was sure I left it. I distinctly remember putting it in my pocket when I put the tractor back in the barn last Sunday, yet it's not in the pocket. It's not anywhere in my room, or the hook where it's supposed to live, it's not in the tractor. It's one little key on our farm. There is no second backup key.

The tractor is our lawn mower and the mover of all things huge. This weekend was planned to do some farm cleanup with said tractor. The grass is growing. I am most seriously annoyed, mostly at myself since what I remember couldn't have been what actually happened. Unless the key has grown legs.

So, all else is on hold until I can find the stupid thing.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

in the swim

One more thing to prep for the Tri: swimming. Haven't been in a pool since last summer, but then it's only swimming 100m, so shouldn't be a big issue. To plan the staggered start though, the organizers like it if you can know how long the swim will take you. I decided to make the most of it and and we'll head out to a public swim so I can get my time and A & M can have a fun time too at the pool. I'm looking forward to a stagger start for the swim; last year's mass start had me getting kicked in the head a few times. I ended up stopping the crawl and shifting to breaststroke so I could keep my head up and out of the range of feet.

I also found out I can wear my ipod during the run so will have to decide between using the tunes that have helped me keep going and just taking in the ambient noise of the event. One thing I loved about the race last year was the whole culture of the event: total strangers cheering you on, yelling "you can do it!", encouraging smiles and waves. Perhaps I'll wear it and then not listen? Decisions, decisions.

Dropping off R went pretty well, I put on my "have a great time, hon!" face and she settled in well. I was choked up most of the drive home. *sigh* I wonder if that gets any easier after the first time. She called last night to say goodnight and told us she'd had a fun evening and already made a friend or two.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

historica in the making

Today is the day; R heads off for a few days away from home at supper time. She's at the provincial Historica fair, staying in residence until Saturday night - her first time away by herself for a non-family visit. She's looking forward to it and though the Mommy in me is uneasy, I realize what a great opportunity it is for her and that my little baby is a young lady now. They'll have tours of the local museums and the Parliament buildings, workshops, their project showcase on Friday, fun time at the Wave Pool, etc. She'll be exhausted by Saturday night.

The younger kids and I will be heading down to see her with her project on Friday (it's at the National Archives Building from 11:00-2:00, if anyone happens to be in the neighborhood!)

Today will be school and packing for her mini-journey. It's rainy and as Pooh would say, a rather blustery day.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

more than it feels like

I guess I did accomplish a fair bit yesterday. I did some prep work in the veggie garden and planted seeds for beans, peas, onions, shallots, and some garlic bulbs. Then I tackled the raspberry canes, cutting away the deadwood and pruning the ones that will bear fruit this year. They always fight back, but I got 'em good this time. After that, it was off to the flower gardens, pulling out dead leaves and cutting back last year's growth from the hostas so they can grow all new and pretty. I amassed enough dried plant goods to have a little fire in the firepit by the pool, which became the dessert buffet (read: roasted marshmallows) after supper.

After supper was taken up with my last hard training before Saturday's Try-a-Tri race. A 500m run to the bike to simulate the run from the pool to the transition zone, an 11km cycle, and a 2km run (14:28 ... slower but good after the bike). Today I'm tired but feeling pretty good about it. I had 'How You Remind Me' on the ipod again and this time it wasn't the lyrics 'are we having fun yet' that stuck in my mind, but the lines 'this is how you remind me of what I really am'. And for the first time, it struck me: I am stronger than I think. Doing this has made me realize what I really can do.

And it felt good.

Today: school (just about done that now) and about a zillion phone calls.

Monday, 14 May 2007

feelin' lazy

Sort of like feelin' groovy, but less cool.

I'm tired after a busy weekend, from a bday party Saturday morning for our 1-year-old nephew to errands Saturday afternoon and a tiki party that night that was cause for much fun (couldn't find a grass skirt, but did manage to get a plastic lei that made me look like a tacky Hawaiian tourist). Also the afternoon saw the removal of more logs from the now very flat barn, with D chaining each log on and me being the heavy equipment operator with the tractor. Driving that thing is a bit of a power trip but I just love how I can accomplish stuff by myself with it.

Yesterday was Mother's Day : breakfast in bed, of course, right? Haha, you're so funny. We got up early to go and set up sound equipment on the stage for church, have the band rehearsal and sound checks, and then had the service. Afternoon was spent being singularly unproductive, having a late lunch and then home to do a wee bit of work in the garden. The girls gave me lots of tissue paper flowers and cards and reminded me of the favorite things about my life. A bit of an interrupted sleep though, cuddling a scared little M and helping her chase away bad dreams.

Today is the start of yet another busy week. The seeds are still crying at me to be planted. Sigh. Me, I just feel tired.

Friday, 11 May 2007

oh, what a beautiful morning

Though I'm not sure I want everything coming my way. It just sounds too busy. I did survive yesterday's busy day though, with school, an invasion by our homeschool co-op for an end-of-year picnic and play day, a meeting to plan for a visiting choir group next month, practicing a song for church in a couple of weeks with a little violin player I'll call Snowman, and a regular band rehearsal occasionally interrupted by cries of "HE SCORES!!!" from D watching the Sens game.


As usual, it seems the leaves have appeared overnight on some of the trees. The sound of them blowing in the wind for the first time always catches me and makes me smile. The blackflies have become particularly nasty and I still have that planting to do. Today, yes?

Wednesday, 9 May 2007


For 2km. Indeed.

It won't break any records out there, but it's a personal best and I can honestly say I felt good doing it. Running and I have reached a mutual toleration, and will occasionally send Christmas cards or have each other over for tea. I don't think we'll ever be in love, though.

it never ends, does it?

It's encouraging to have my mom visit and sit out on the porch and have her say, "you guys have done so much work here, and it looks so much better than when you first moved in". It seems all I see is what's left to do. Which is good, looking ahead and letting the dreamer girl have her say, but it's also good sometimes to look back to see how far we have come.

I suppose there will always be that little bit of dissatisfaction that comes with having the picture in my mind of what it could be here. Would we ever strive for something if we stayed comfortable? I don't think so. Not to say I'm not content with life here; it is truly where I want to be.

And apparently it is where all the blackflies want to be. Oh well. The stupid things are literally bigger out here than they are anywhere else I've ever seen them. I have to cycle with my mouth shut or I get an unwanted snack on the way.

Today, though, the work continues after school is done. Veggie garden to work on (both planting seeds and landscaping with brick paths made from an old chimney we tore down), and there's always other cleanup to do. It never does end.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

training continues

Yesterday after supper had settled (really, why force myself to throw up?) I decided to ramp up the training a bit and combine the cycling and running. So, I did 10km on the bike, came in, grabbed the ipod, and did a 2km run. The run was without stops except for pausing to chug some water (don't drink and run, after all) and I covered it in about 15 minutes.

I feel like I've never been in better shape. And while the ol' butt could stand to slim down a bit, I'm probably in the best cardio shape of my life. And it feels pretty good.

Tomorrow another run is in the works. I still don't love running, but I have reached the point of grudging acceptance. I no longer think "I - hate - this" with every step. I tolerate it because I know I'll feel good when I finish. Not the most inspiring thing to say, I suppose, but there you are.

Monday, 7 May 2007

back at it

Home again, home again.

The girls had a great weekend with daddy and lots of work got done on removing more giant timbers form the demolished barn. Our drive home included a couple more lovely stops, and now I'm facing a very busy week but feeling very relaxed at the whole thing. A weekend such as I've had does wonders.

Off to Bible study, then a meeting, then school work, then preparing garden beds and planting some little seeds in our veggie garden and working at more outside cleanup.

C'est fou, mais c'est bon.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

there's something

There's something about riding in a horse-drawn carriage.

There's something about walking down streets lined with stone houses with colorful, gabled roofs.

There's something about eating dinner in a building that's been standing since the 1670s.

There's something about coming out the chilly, noisy streets into the quiet warmth of a chapel.

There's something about being in the middle of history.

There's something about following little alleyways and seeing the work of local artists.

There's something about trying on cashmere sweaters that are half price but not buying them because they're still $300 - but trying them on just the same.

There's something about returning to an evening in a little apartment, looking out on the scene below and seeing a quiet little street bordered by the low iron gate along the side of the Ursuline nuns' chapel, the arched entry to the private girls' school, and the back of apartments with little fire escapes snaking their way down the backs of the buildings.

There's something about sharing all these experiences with my mom and sisters.

Friday, 4 May 2007

c'est si bon

I have the best mom and sisters in the world.

We are in la belle province for the weekend, sharing many laughs on the way here and settling into our rented apartment. This city just oozes history, with long twisting streets and old stone buildings lining each side. Even the windows and doors are charming. It looks positively Parisian.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

tearing down walls

I know that titles like that are usually symbolic, metaphorical statements for breaking down boundaries between people. This time it isn't. I ripped apart a stone wall yesterday and it was fun.

On the front porch of our little farmhouse there was a 3-foot tall planter built of stone to make an end wall beside the driveway and it housed two plastic containers full of mostly dirt and moss. Not a very effective planter. It looked nice enough, however the side facing out was right under the edge of the roof and over time rain water had weakened the mortar between the stones. The whole thing could be rocked back and forth. It has always been a concern of mine that it would come down and hurt someone. So yesterday, with memories of Reagan saying "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!", I started. The weakness of it all is underscored by the fact that I used no tools whatsoever - bare hands. While not quite as amazing as the Berlin Wall coming down, for the farm it was rather exciting. At least the robins seemed to think so.

So now it's down, the dirt swept up, the stone piled on the lawn, and a hole in the siding of the house that is like a history lesson. There is the aluminum siding, under which is siding made of asphalt with a brick pattern on it - ugly - and then, under that, the original (I think) exterior of the house. Once upon a time it was painted white, board & batten. That will need to be covered up, but at least the danger is gone.

Run last night - 2km in 14.5 minutes. I walked a total of maybe 20 feet. It felt so good. So there you go, a mental wall in my running has come down. I guess I was being metaphorical, after all.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

so far, so good

Feeling much better muscle-wise than from the last run. This is a good thing. I'll do it again today.

The sun is shining, and a day of school and working around here awaits. I originally had nowhere to go today (generally something I prefer, given my love of the farm and my disgust with current fuel prices. $90 to fill my truck was downright depressing), but have learned that there is a meeting for the parents and kids in the provincial Historica fair, so we're in for that.

Today I will get out the deck chairs for the front porch. There have been some mornings and evenings beckoning me out there, and sitting on the concrete steps just isn't as nice. It's good to get out there before the bugs come. The kids will learn about fractions and integers and plants and objects of prepositions, R will re-acquaint herself with the details of her project in preparation for Provincials, and there will be those little times of learning together that I truly cherish.

R continues to work on her book, a work of medieval-style adventure, while A has started writing a little story about the adventures of some kittens. Reading her opening page made me very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the writing - very engaging and with well-chosen words. It's the first I've seen of her trying her hand at creative writing and she's doing a good job, just like her big sister. I guess it underlines the fact that letting your kids read good, well-written books goes a long way toward teaching how to write well. And it saves me time on teaching, so it's all good.

M is having a few days away with goaliemom, an overdue trip originally planned for Feb/March but stymied by a snowstorm. Apparently a good time is being had and I wonder if M will want to come back to her life of chores and school. Ah, the drudgery of it all.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

are we having fun yet

I did it. It didn't happen until about 7:30 last night, but I did it and got to enjoy the orangey sunset sky while I ran one way and the rising full moon when I turned home. I covered my obligatory 2km and probably walked a total of 500m of it. I want to eliminate the walking.

So far my muscles are not too bad, but maybe they're still shocked that I would lull them into a false sense of security and then make them do that again.

Running was made very nice by the inclusion of my ipod, though I started laughing in a sort of gaspy-can't-get-air-to-laugh way (I was running, after all) when the Nickelback song 'How You Remind Me' came on. The line: these five words in my head / scream 'are we having fun yet'? had me asking the same thing.

My ipod is currently a very strange mix of that song (heavier than I usually listen to, but included because I know I like to exercise to it), several by Jars of Clay, assorted songs good for dancing like an idiot behind a snowblower, and some slow jazz - Louis Armstrong ('What a Wonderful World') and Norah Jones ('Come Away With Me'), and even Andrea Bocelli ('Con te Partiro'). I should add some more fast stuff for running. When Louis Armstrong comes on I just want to stroll and smile.

I have often thought that I really need a soundtrack for my life. They get it in movies, as they walk along the song reflects what's going on in their lives, gives the perfect feel for it. Mine would probably be a funny mix of songs like those on my ipod. I've had so many times that I'm walking along, deep in thought, and think of a song that fits my mood perfectly. Those are the times I need to cue the orchestra and tell Mr. DeMille I'm ready for my closeup.