Friday, 24 May 2013

Reality Check

Today it has been two weeks since we departed our old house and moved to my parents' farm to await our new home nearby. In that two weeks:

  • our road and the pad for the house were built (pictures to come, I'm having trouble getting on the Internet here so only infrequently borrow the desktop)
  • road has now been gravelled
  • 3 year old became ill and was soon diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome (under control now, with a 6 month treatment ahead of us)
  • Husband returned to work
  • 13 month old sick and wheezy, on nebulizers, clearing up now but still coughing
  • we planted over 400 trees
  • we received over 800 more trees yesterday
  • cupboards, counter tops, closet shelving, trim and doors have been installed in our wish house
I knew all along that it would be hard work planting all of these trees. Without a well (we are anxiously waiting for the well digger to return and finish. He did a test hole in February but now his equipment is broke down and I need a well!) we are hauling water from the community well down the road and watering what we can with a short, heavy, stiff and awkward hose. We water the rest of the trees by hand and, with two sick kids and my mom already overburdened, we need to set up a better system. Worried about my kids, I came to the conclusion that we need to concentrate on what we can manage this year. The trees that I paid for are in the ground and need watered. We intend to focus on those and plant as many of the shelter belt trees as possible in our garden area. It is so much easier to water a large area of trees rather than carrying 5 gallon pails to the shelter belt. Next year we will prepare the land and plant out those trees when we are better able to water and care for them. I also plan to give away as many of the trees as possible.

If I had more time I would have tried to contact the shelter belt program to pass the trees on to someone who might not have received any. But I was at the doctor five days in a row last week and a 3 hour drive to a specialist this week, and the trees had already been sent. All I can do now is try to give many of them away and ensure that the rest survive to be planted next year.

Our house looks beautiful. My kids are recovering and we finally have appointments to see the specialist to be tested for asthma and allergies. We love the way our new yard is shaping up, and it will be breathtaking when the trees begin to grow along the road as we have planted them. We are fortunate beyond belief. This past two weeks has reminded me to take nothing for granted. As things fall into place for the house to be moved to our yard in July, we are remembering to savour our time together rather than worry about time frames and deadlines. Have you ever heard of nephrotic syndrome? If so, I'd be very interested to hear about your experience!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Ground Work

Well life on the farm has been fun so far, for me at least :) I managed to get out helping sort cow and calf pairs to go to pasture while Husband was in charge of the boys. Sadly, 3 year old is sick now and Husband is returning to work, so I'm back in the saddle, as it were, mothering and holding down the fort.

I'm not unpacked (ie can't find the camera) so I don't have a picture of the freshly built road and pad for our house, but we visited it today after our trip to the doctor. Love it! Within the week we will be out planting trees and I spoke with the power company today: if everything goes well they say we will be getting our underground power mid-June. With a sick boy we didn't go look at the house today, but we are told the flooring is going in and cabinets will be installed in two weeks. I need to buy a few more lights and it seems like the house might be ready earlier than we had thought. I'm stifling the urge to feel like we might have things ready early and move in sooner than planned. Something is bound to come up to delay us. But considering 2 weeks ago we weren't sure when we would get through all the snow, things are really looking up!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Settling In

We still have a trailer to unload. Husband has gone to move the camper to a park near where he will be working (about 2 hours from my parent's farm, where the kids and I will stay primarily). Our kids had a day and night here without us and it feels already like a routine is established. We played outside this morning til baby needed a nap, then once he was asleep 3 year old and I went outside and unloaded a bit from my car. I was astounded at how our possessions added up and we ran out of boxes, trailer room and time. Husband had to rush back this morning for the camper and to clean the fridge and remove a few last things that wouldn't fit. We. Were. So. Tired.

We need to turn our focus from the past and look to the present. Our acreage land and the grid road are drying nicely and a dozer should arrive this weekend to build a road in and pad for the house and garage to go on. The road is going to be further up the hill than we had thought, and we are both glad of it and think it will be beautiful once lined with trees. Speaking of those, sometime next week about 500 are arriving from Edmonton on the bus. A week later, 750 more! And then the real work begins! Have you got any tree planting to do this spring? Any advice?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


The third trailer load is almost complete. The weather has been fantastic and we hope to see a big change in the snow situation when we drop off another load of rocks this afternoon. We have papers to sign at the lawyer's, a lot of cleaning has been done, mailbox closed, address is's time to go.

This was our first load--we have too much stuff!
I just couldn't leave the hen and chicks my friends gave me. I also took a piece of barren strawberry...not because I think it is beautiful or irreplaceable, but because it was kind of sad to buy it at the time. The first year in this house was lean and I got it for a dollar at the end of summer because I could afford it and it would fill some space and hopefully spread. It did spread, and every year it has reminded me how far we've come from those days of insecurity. We have a great mortgage on the new house, we have paid off most of our debt, we have a lifestyle that we can sustain. Some of the credit goes to things like barren strawberry plants--when I wanted dahlias and gladiolas I bought a dollar off cast and saved my money. And now I'm getting my wish house and it might not have dahlias for a year or two yet. But someday it will.

I've written about our rocks but didn't have the memory card to download the pictures I wanted. At any rate, I snapped a few last night and there will be more, much more, on stone work as we get to work in our yard. For now we are trying not to hurt ourselves loading them!

I woke at 5am today--not worried, not able to get back to sleep though. Maybe I wanted to have some quiet time here while I still can. The kids are going to sleep over at Gram's farm tonight and we will come back for the last load and to do more cleaning. I think we will sleep in the camper, which also needs hauled away. We are getting a seasonal site near where Husband will be working. A great little escape for us when we need one this summer!

Yesterday we realized it would be our kids' last night in this house, so we planned a fun movie night for 3 year old with popcorn and staying up late. It was a no-go, however. The bustling activity of packing and moving, plus some play dates and the transition to no longer napping had our helper tuckered out. That is "positive blog talk" for tired and grouchy, or as Husband would say, "crooked". So we didn't commemorate our last night here as a family. We had an argumentative supper trying to get the kids to eat, I may or may not have lamented that I put on 40 pounds for this #$%!?, and we put them both to bed at 6:15 pm. As tears filled my eyes at the kitchen sink it occurred to me: there have been many days like this in this house, many, and there will be many more like it in the new house and in between. That's kids. That's family. That's moving with a 3 and 1 year old. And yet when I look back I only remember laughter and babies crawling to lay their little heads on my lap. And being proposed to in the dining room. And showing Husband a positive pregnancy test in the bedroom. And bringing home two babies from the hospital, and Christmas mornings and new year's nights. I can only hope that, in our new home, the chaos and turmoil will be as easily forgotten and the memories just as sweet. I'm pretty sure they will.


Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Packing Continues...

Oh how I dread moving! It is amazing how much a family can accumulate in a few and toys add a whole new element to the ordeal! We have had a productive week, however, with two truck and trailer loads hauled to the farm for storage and the house now has that hollow sound--proof that we are nearing the end of this enormous job. As well, we have now transported 2 loads of landscaping rocks to our land (more on that here).

It is now the slow goodbye. 3 year old has one more day of playschool, a last play date perhaps and one more trip to the library to drop off our books. Amidst the chaos I've managed to do some baking for friends and neighbours expecting babies. We will drop off the loot and have a little break from packing and cleaning. And then we will load the remainder of our things and we will be gone.

Like, the sweetest helpers ever!

As the pictures have come off the walls, this house has become a piece of our past. Now that our "comfortable" things (ie coffee tables, baby change table, desk, etc) are gone, I'm feeling relief that this portion of the experience is almost over.

Desk is gone...this little heap will probably get loaded tomorrow

 On one hand, the sooner we get out of this house the sooner we will be in the next one. I've had plenty of time to get used to the idea; in fact, it was always our "starter" home and our minds were never on staying here forever. But as I've discussed elsewhere, a couple became a family here and I'm finding it bittersweet to be in a position to move on to the home we've dreamed of. I think that the months between homes (staying in our camper and with my parents) will take the sting out of missing this home. We will be so glad to get into our own space we will probably never look back. But part of me is not there yet, and wants to hang on to this little house for dear life. Tonight when I put my boys to bed I snuggled extra-long, wanting to remember this just as it is. It is a good reminder, every day, to hold them close and savour our time together.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Friday Favourite: Mortar and Pestle

I think it is a touch silly of me to love my mortar and pestle as much as I do. It was one of those kitchen luxuries that I could never justify. When Husband "surprised" me with one for Christmas (I believe he texted me to spell it for him, so he could ask the clerk at Stokes) he watched and watched and finally commented that I'd never used it.

And he was right; I hadn't used it and, in fact, it's not something I use often. But when I use it I appreciate it so much because there is really no utensil that can do the job as well (I suppose I could use my wee coffee grinder to smash a batch of spices for Blackened Salmon, but where is the quiet pleasure in that?).

I love my mortar and pestle (I just looked it up, the pestle is the stick or handle, and the mortar is the bowl). One thing I read is that you can grind white rice with it and wipe with dry paper towel if you need to clean it well between uses. I use mine primarily for spices so have only wiped it with a damp cloth.

I love the mortar and pestle because it is an ancient utensil that can be used in science, medicine, art, cooking and probably many other places. It really hasn't been improved upon and you might find one that is generations old that would be just as functional today as ever. I kinda like that history in an object, and that it is useful and makes my cooking better and more interesting doesn't hurt. Maybe it isn't silly to love my mortar and pestle. I am just extremely pleased to have one and I use every chance I get! Do you have a favorite but seldom-used item in your home or garden?