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

Monday, 29 October 2007


It's not such an early morning, but the sun is not yet up, D gone to work and the girls still asleep - but it feels early in the quiet. There is frost on the fields but our little house is cozy, a welcome change from yesterday, when our furnace wouldn't start until the technician came out and fixed a few things.

Last night was spent in a way I love, a simple pleasure: to stave off the chill we had a nice fire going, and I turned a chair around to face it, put my feet up on the hearth, and sat reading for a while. Quiet, simple, nice. This was interspersed with laughs with D, discussions with R about the benefits and challenges of solar power (clean, renewable resource versus prohibitive setup costs and Canada's relative lack of strong sunlight), cuddles with A and M.

This week will be fun as my parents are in town from Wednesday on, and Goaliemom joins us today. R and A will have lots to do for their projects to be finished on time. Poor R panicked on Friday when she realized that the colony she had chosen and researched was not on the list of topics. Turns out they'll be covering it in class so she had only one week. Saturday was spent starting again with a new colony (Virginia) and continuing her learning about solar cells (many thanks to D, physics guy extraordinaire, for once again showing his talent at taking something complex and explaining it in a way that is understandable). A is continuing along with her projects and has complied a nice concise history of the pop-up toaster.

M spent Friday with me in a delight of shopping. Her favorite was our trip to the store to buy all sorts of things to fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Up and down the aisles we went as she chose toys, crayons, and nice treats for, as she called it, "the little girl who doesn't have many toys". We are so blessed, and we so often take it for granted.

R floored me on Friday. We were listening to a Christmas CD in the car as I prep for the Santa Claus parade, and on this CD (Winter Wonderland, by Point of Grace) the last song is a pretty one called "All is Well". It is a nice, slow song, sort of a lullaby, by Michael W. Smith (note: I prefer his version to the one on this CD). It has memories for me as one JB and I sang together, 'way back in 1997. It's one of those songs that remind me of him. The girls were in the back of the car chatting, so I could drive quietly and feel wistfully sad, but so far dry-eyed and alone in my thoughts. Until I felt two little hands on my shoulders. R, sitting behind me, knew the song. The tears started and I looked back: "How did you know?" "Well, I know on the other CD with this song you skip it a lot, and I remember hearing once that you sang it with Josh, and I think it reminds you of him" Words of comfort from an 11-year old.

My thoughts early in the morning are like the chickens; they wander here and there, topic to topic, straying away from home base a bit but eventually coming back. Time to get the girls up for our Monday out - French class with N, then home group and school work.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

and on it goes

After a fun weekend with visitors (goaliemom and hubby) including several evenings of movies (The Holiday; Music & Lyrics; Tea with Mussolini), much general enjoyment and a morning's hunting trip for GM's hubby, D, and my not-a-girly-girl R, it's back to a so-called regular week. The weekend was stupidly warm, and I was torn between being annoyed (weather all wrong) and guilty (but enjoy it while it's here!). But today is more respectable late October weather.

School continues well as we move on to angiosperms (flowering plants), fly through the ancient Greeks (Minoans, Myceneans, and today Sparta and Athens), and continue in grammar, math & spelling. R & A are adjusting to the extra work from JPP, though R's project choice of solar panels does have her trying to get her head around the photovoltaic reactions. Learning to simplify to allow understanding is something I have had to do in teaching curious kids. It's funny, I remember a prof in my first-year zoology class saying that such an ability was needed to make science accessible to most people. Interesting how it proves true years later.

Introduced a song written for an upcoming conference on Sunday. People seemed to 'get it' quickly - that is, they weren't standing there trying to catch a melody too tricky to pick up. No deer-in-the-headlights look. That's a good thing when one has written a song for people to sing along with. I'm pleased with the outcome. The second verse was French, thanks to N's translation of my idea. I figured a song for a national-level conference should reflect both national languages.

It's odd singing in a language you don't speak. I've done it before, in both Latin (for a wedding) and Elvish (yes, really - an Enya song from Lord of the Rings for the same wedding. It was quite a wedding, I must say). The beauty of both of those is that they're not languages spoken in general. So, nobody was going to listen and think, 'wow, she really messed up that Elvish, Galadriel's gonna be ticked'. But singing in French to a group that I know includes several people for whom that is their first language, I wanted to be sure to pronounce it right. Coaching from N was a huge help there.

That's all for today, I think.


Tuesday, 16 October 2007


I spent some time today cleaning a few things out of the garden. Very little is left now; the tomatoes and peppers got hit by the frost last night and had become a soggy, wilted mess. I harvested what was ripe and into the compost pile went the rest. The leeks are still there, defying the frost, and some garlic that I had given up hope on seems to be proving me wrong and growing in spite of me. As I carted the plants to the compost pile, I noticed some differences between the fall work and spring work.

The sounds have changed. In the spring, working in the garden was accompanied by the songs of birds returned to the area and singing for all they were worth to stake out territory, attract mates, and, I like to think, just because they love to sing. Today only a few lonely crows and some southbound geese were all I heard.

The smells are different. It's that fall smell in the air that I love, yet it reminds me that the warm days are over and we're heading into the cold season. The light has changed. It's more golden in the fall; whether because of the trees or because of the angle of the earth to the sun or because it wants one last hurrah before winter, I don't know.

The thoughts are different. Instead of going over in my head what will go where, how to rotate the veggies and ensure that each gets the best spot to grow, I just pull it out and plop it on the pile. My thoughts are free to wander elsewhere, planning dinner and composing blog entries.

The leaves have changed. No longer is the rustle of leaves that of young, hopeful leaves just emerged from buds, but that of leaves that are tired and ready to fall. It's a drier sound.

It sounds desolate but it's just the way fall is. I'm sure there is deep philosophy in there somewhere, but today I just drank it in.

The chickens, meanwhile, delighted themselves by striking into new territory. I watched them excitedly crossing the driveway and heading up to the first bend. I think they feel very brave about it all, little feathered explorers discovering that across the vast expanse of the driveway, everything is pretty much the same as on this side. But I won't tell them that.

Monday, 15 October 2007

beware the ides of october

It just doesn't have the same ring to it. Not nearly so menacing.

The day is half over and has already been full, attending French tutoring given by N for a few families. It will be extra exposure for R&A with JPP, and M's weekly French lesson. They did enjoy it and having N pronounce things correctly instead of with my undoubtedly English accent (English, not British) will be helpful to them.

Last week, D away from Monday through Friday, stayed rainy and was cause for getting lots of inside stuff done. I was pleased with the accomplishments, and on Saturday helped the B's move into their newly-built house. It was the funniest move I've ever helped with; since the fire and their time here they have been living in a trailer on the property while the new house was under construction. So, one would enter the trailer, regret not having brought totes or bins or such, pick up all the pots & pans one could hold, and walk the 20 feet to the house. Then it was back and forth, back and forth, carrying the household items in for Bee to put away as she saw fit. There were no big boxes, little to no furniture to carry over, and the kids running back and forth with toys for the boys' rooms. M decided to help Aunt Bee by folding J's shirts and pants ('but not his underwear, Mommy, that would be weird').

Today is school, proofreading a book for Serendipity (a very clever bit of writing, I must say. Quite brilliant, really), and coming up with some really nifty culinary creation for supper. Hmm. Wonder what I have? Perhaps some Asian-style beef dumplings with noodles and peanut sauce. Yeah, that'll work.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


Today is the second in what, according to the Weather Network forecast, is a long series of dreary, rainy days stretching through the whole of the week. Cool and rainy, and I am happy. This weather is so much more fitting for fall than the hot sunny days we'd had. Sure, I liked it at first, but it was just feeling wrong. I get into fall mode in October and want warm soups that steam the smells of roasted garlic and bacon and leeks, hearty stews thick with beef and lentils or chicken and dumplings, spicy chili sprinkled with cheese. It was just too hot to prepare any of those, so this week we are enjoying it. I do love the feeling of walking into a house from the cold, damp outdoors, and being flooded by warmth and the smell of something wonderful cooking.

My apologies to those who were loving the extension of summer. I may not love the deep cold of winter, but am Canadian enough to relish the autumn.

School continues, the girls working at math, grammar and spelling, in addition to history (ancient Assyria and Babylon right now), science (plant types: bryophytes (mosses) and ferns this week). R and A are involved in Junior Partnership Program (JPP) which gives them some more academics: simple machines, history of Britain in North America, French, and Creative Writing. This week they are starting work on their projects, one for science (research an invention. A is doing a pop-up toaster, R solar panels) and one for history (research one of Britain's 13 colonies. A is doing New York, R Massachusetts). So the work continues apace.

I am catching up on many errands, we visited one of the girls' friends in hospital yesterday and were pleased to hear that he's doing better. I am also engrossed in a Stephen Leacock book. How, oh how, could I have missed reading him all these years? Why did we do Canadian Lit that was boring in high school, instead of reading his works? Thanks to Serendipity, who got me started on Arcadian Adventures of the Idle Rich, I have now read as much of his writing as I can get my little paws on. Brilliant stuff, enjoyable satire, clever commentary.

Of course with the cold dreariness there are many outside jobs not getting done, but they will still be there when the sun returns. I have learned that they do not get upset and leave if you ignore them. One sometimes wishes that they were more easily offended.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007


We're back to the routine of the week after the holiday Monday. But, for posterity and subject matter, I will pause to think of things for which I am thankful.
- my family, the one I grew up with, and the one that now has extended to include my amazing hubby, amazing girls, inlaws and nieces and nephews and friends who have attained the status of honorary family.
- God, my faith, my Rock
- our farm, my place of solace, occasional frustration, hard work and much laughing at myself
- memories, since sometimes that's what you have
- our health
- this country that annoys me and is often ridiculous, yet I don't think I'd want to live anywhere else. Except maybe Scotland.
- road trips and the memories of such
- music, mine and that of others. It inspires, uplifts, makes me anywhere from joyous to melancholy.
- Chai. 'nuff said. Panera Bread Company Chai. Even more 'nuff said.
- the amazing beauty of nature
- the ability to appreciate it
- more than I can think of right now

Yeah. So, now feeling very grateful, on to the day.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

is it really the best they can come up with?

I'm sure much thought and engineering from people much more qualified than myself went into designing the way you hook up an attachment to a tractor. But, to my reckoning, wrestling with the drive shaft of the PTO (power take off), holding it up while trying to align the grooves of the attachment's socket to the grooves of the post of the tractor, at the same time holding the pin in that lets it slide on to the post, should be able to be done more easily.

Maybe we should just go back to horses.

Monday, 1 October 2007

now, where did I put that

September? Where did it go? I'm certain it was here somewhere. I returned home Saturday to a yard that had significantly more leaves on the ground than when I left, more tomatoes ripened and awaiting harvest, and all the calves gone from our place, to market I think. Yeah, the reality of farming has its sad side. Some get kept, while others wind up in neat little styrofoam trays. Hm.

The month seemed never to be, perhaps due to some family visits at the beginning, our weekend at Seren's cottage and our road trip at the end. Perhaps because of the busyness of starting school. I do suspect, however, that I've just gotten scatterbrained and misplaced it. It's under a pile of papers in the office.

Speaking of which, I watched the season premiere of The Office and now want to rent the DVDs of the first couple of seasons. I love dry humor. Speaking of that, D gave a short and highly entertaining talk last night at a volunteers' evening for the church, and surprised many people who just didn't know what a sense of humor he has. Speaking of that, there are a lot of segues in this post.