Monday, 30 July 2012

I was recently given an old hat my grandfather wore when fishing. It's not the one I remember him wearing, but I'm glad to have it. I also have his pocket knife, and a bible. The pocket knife especially is important to me, as it's one he probably took while we went fishing.

I remember him teaching me (very patiently) to tie a fishing knot, how to cast, how to tell one fish from another, and how to clean the fish. I don't remember a lot of what he actually taught me, but I remember him patiently teaching me. Taking the time to help dissect the fish, explain why the fish's heart was still beating after we were done, and walking along the shore as I tried in vane to catch a fish with my hands when they weren't biting.

I also remember him teaching me about electricity - about positive and return wires, and how ground worked, and about radio waves. Again - a lot of it was lost on someone as young as I was, but I remember how cool it was to be learning, and I remember him teaching me. I saw the greenboard and soldering iron he used to build his radio boards, and sat through the explanation on how transistors worked, why they were different than tubes, and how the color coding worked. He had a 40 foot radio tower in the back yard and he talked to people all over the world - it was facebook back when you had to be hardcore to use it.

I also remember him patiently explaining all of his medals to me time and again, every time I asked. I don't remember what they were, but I remember him telling me. I also remember the shrapnel he had pinned to the same board that had almost killed him, from a blast that killed some of his friends and bunkmates. He was a war hero, but he kept that, carefully mounted and framed, buried in the bottom right hand drawer of an old desk in his radio room.

The first thing in my life I remember taking apart and fixing for a reason other than curiosity was a doorknob. My Grandmother asked me to look at it because my Grandfather had been working on it all day and it was still broke. I took it apart and fixed it - my Grandfather was stunned, and seemed very proud of me. I was too young to know what alzheimer's disease was, but it was stealing him from me before I knew how much he meant to me.

I will number the hat, the knife, and the bible among my small treasures more important to me than just things. And they will be passed to my children with all the knowledge I can provide about the Great Grandfather who taught me to fish, patiently answered questions, and read to me whenever I asked.

I miss my Grandfather. I wish I'd realized who he was when I had the chance.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

This week is going to be crazy fun. Apple harvest for livestock food, painting, peach canning, and farm tours.

This week I will finish hanging artwork in the master bedroom, finish the wall paint, maybe start the detail work.

I will start the custom bedframes for the girls. One sunshine and one moonglow. Those two really are night and day. Fitting for their room, I think.

I will start the mural in their room too. Not on the wall, but in draft. So far the draft has a HUGE willow or hawthorn tree with one side night sky and one side sunrise. Plants and animals galore. It is a huge wall. The night side will have a moon, stars, fireflies, bats, owls, moon flowers, and roses....the day side will have a sun, birds, butterflies, wild flowers.......Not super detailed, but mural style. It should be cool. Geez I hope so.

Then on the opposite wall they will have dressers and their play kitchen.

Isaac's room will be next. It already has it's base colour. I'm not sure what he likes yet. We may just go with fish and maps but I might do something else.....maybe a rocket ship and planets?

The hall still needs to be finished too.

I wish it was not so freakishly hot.

Sweet Little Chickies

These are poulet rouge meat chickens. We hope to have 80 chickens for sale in late October! This breed is also called "naked neck" or "turkey chickens" because they have featherless necks. I think they are both adorable and delicious. The meat from poulet rouge chickens is deeply flavoured and perfect for roasts and broths.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Summer Soup

I had a LOT of things I didn't know what to do with in our CSA box this week. Eggplant for one. I always ruin eggplant. Shallots. Basil.

I had some items in the fridge that needed using up too. 1 lb of thawed hamburger. 3 quarts of homemade chicken broth. Baby carrots. 5 small red potatoes. I didn't have enough of any one thing to make it one its own.

So I made soup.

Basically I fried 3 large shallots chopped up in butter, added chopped potatoes (about 5 small red ones), a chopped up leek- fried until carmelized. Then added the chicken stock (3 pints.) and everything else chopped into bite sizes. Simmer for a couple hours.

5 red potatoes, skin on.
10 baby carrots
2 celery sticks
1 leek
3 shallots
1 lemon (juiced)
3 pints chicken stock
3 pints water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 bunch of fresh basil chopped fine
1 cup of tiny ziti pasta (add at the very end)
2 eggplants (add at the very end)

Beef I made into bite size meatballs and fried in a skillet. Once browned I added them and their juice to the soup.

The in goes the eggplant and pasta. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes more. Serve with asiago cheese on top and a good chewy and crusty bread. Serves 8.

It was all eaten before I even thought to take pictures!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Grimy Yucky Chairs, Poof Presto=Pretty!

When we moved to the farm house we had to leave the dining room table we picked out as newly marrieds behind and take with us hand me downs. When we first moved here we recovered them with scrap fabric and sprayed them with lanolin on the poor advice of a "friend".  
Never do that. It was a magnet for grime and yuckiness. It refused to yield the yuck to the steam vac or any amount of scrubbing. Kind of an analogy on that friendship. I digress. I am still bitter about that piss poor advice. Lanolin is for sheep, for wool sweaters, for diapers. NOT for dining room chair covers. Not ever.
So I spent about a year now trying to come up  with a better solution. Diaper cover fabric? PUL? Vinyl cloth? I needed waterproof, washable, pretty, and cheap.  I need something not slippery. I saw on Pinterest someone used seasonal plastic table cloths, but then I saw an actual chair someone had used that on and a year later it was worn, split, and needed to be redone.  
But this, this was inspired. Browsing fabric I saw- indoor/outdoor cloth bolts. I bought one. Tested it. Water just went right through it. Easy to scrub. But what to do about the cloth cushion under it? If water goes right through, the bulk of potty accidents, lemonade, milk, and yogurt goo will saturate the seat through and through?

So.....heavy gage outdoor window plastic covers the pad, indoor/outdoor fabric on top. We used the old seat cover as a template. Cut with pinking sheers.

Staple gun all around, pulling fabric tight over the funny shaped edges.  The staples we used were long and required hammering in as a final secure.
Re-screw to chair base. Jessica comes bi-weekly to help me with projects. She's the best!

Bye bye grime thrones, hello pretty chairs.

Random Favourite Photos from this Summer....

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Last night after the kids were all tucked in to bed dreaming (ie passed out in the living room watching movies), I walked to the mailbox. I took a deep breath of fresh air, gazed up at that great big universe of twinkling and shooting stars, thanked God for our farm and that I survived another game night, freaked out a little when the cats jumped out at me in the dark, only their little devil eyes gleaming.

In the mailbox was the final report from the ENT. So many times, the in person visit/results tell us one thing and then the report comes and it is totally different.

But here it was in writing. Zap has perfect hearing. No more fluid. Cleared from needing follow up. No surgery required.

So grateful. Not that I was scared or worried about him being deaf, he would have rocked that out of the park and we would have learned right along with him. This however has been a test of faith, of prayer, and a demonstration of how God works in mysterious and wonderful ways. He put in our lives the right people, the right healers, and the open hearts to try non traditional medicine. Now my baby doesn't need surgery.

For the record, I think that the tinctures we have been using for various ailments have made a HUGE impact in our health, but when I take ground ivy tincture, even my ears start draining. I was skeptical, but two of my good friends and people I really trust recommended it. I am so glad. Zap asks for it and points to his ears. It doesn't taste great so I can't help but think he understands what it is for.

Which leads me to another parents of special needs children, dependent on the medical community for the health and well being of our children, but also as people who believe that natural remedies and good nutrition can be the best even better medicine, we are like rocks in a hard place. The balance is a hard one, and everyone walks that precipice with different shoes- some dance on by, some shiver with anxiety, some jump, some just curl up in  a little ball and beg to go home. We are all there though, at that same horizon, that same scary hard to explain place- feeling alone and isolated and misunderstood. All of us, the kind nurturing mothers, the fearsome bear mamas, the bitches, the fragile, and all of them are all of us. Some of us are hard for the nurses to deal with and some of the nurses are hard to deal with. It is a complicated dance, but really we are not alone.

Facebook has connected me with families all over the world who have 22q children, with published authors with the dx, with expecting mothers full of fear, with families whose children are near death, thriving, struggling, all of that. Life is messy and wonderful and short. One of the hardest things I have learned is that I can reach out, cry, ask, and help. Just when I was feeling the most alone, the world got a little bit bigger and more loving.

FB has also connected me with more families near me with special needs children or deepened casual relationships I already had.

This last 18 months has been interesting.


I'm not sure how interesting people will think this is. The hole is about 7" deep (not 10 as I said when filming). I was getting ready to plant raspberries and was spraying a little water in the hole . . . except, the hole wouldn't fill up. This seemed like a good indicator of just how dry our soil is right now so I took the video.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

4th of July and Summer Fun

Scootin, scootin. Zap figured out how to mount his car and make it scoot.  Working on turns, has forward and back down. So so adorable!


Favourite food, always. It is Blueberry Girl's forever perfect food.  She needs nothing else. She also informed us that rhinoceros EAT children. Oh my, to be four.....

We have a new dock. 3 years after falling through it to my hip and numerous cobbled repairs, we decided to fix the darn thing.
Oh yeah. Zap is a fan of watermelon too. He ate his weight in it.

Look at that perfect decking. It is super supported underneath too.

Most of the pond was thick with algea last week. We finally decided to stop waiting for mother nature and treat it with copper.

Much better after just 3 days.

Our new fire pit. Now we need to make good seating around it.

FISHING! The fishing is super good at our pond, especially for kids. Our sweet princess pole catches the BIGGEST catfish.
So we have to finish rehabbing the shelter and tables, but the picnic area is almost ready. It is very under used and offering it for free camping to friends has not helped. We are thinking of setting up a campsite and charging, maybe that will get people to realize how lovely it is to camp without drunken strangers a campsite away. I really love private camping, public campgrounds freak me out. Anyway, that's what we have going on.

Oh wait, there's more. I'll save that big announcement for later though!