Thursday, October 23, 2014
This post, from a few weeks ago, has generated a lot of interest (big thanks to those of you who shared it or pinned it). With so many reading it, I have had some emails with other questions that I hope to be able to answer through a few posts. One question that keeps popping up is how do we fit in/schedule extracurricular activities. There is a very simple answer, we don't.
I know for some this is hard to imagine, but it is what works for us. There are a number of reasons for our decision, but the one that holds the greatest weight is that we are not ready to disrupt our family life for activities. We have made a commitment to a slow, simple life, we have decided that we want to leave "busy" behind so we can sink into life and really soak it up, and we enjoy our family rhythm in the evenings and are just not ready to give that up yet with a lot of running around to activities.
We made this decision almost three years ago. Back then we did participate in a music class, but when all the children in the class turned four, and school called, our daytime class, which fit so lovely into our mornings, was moved to the evenings. Living rurally, we had a 30 minute drive, one way, to any of the three or four cities where we could do activities and that weighed heavily on my mind. As I tried to figure out an evening rhythm that might work with some of the activities that are common for young children, I actually got a pit in my stomach. I saw myself rushing to get dinner, hurrying Reece to eat so we could leave, pushing him out the door to the activity, and then rushing home for bath and bedtime. I pictured myself crashing on the sofa at the end of the night, exhausted and not motivated to do any of the things that I love to do, you know the things that make me happy, and make my heart sing. As Justin and I talked about it, we decided we wanted to protect our family dinner, we wanted to hold onto our evening rhythm, and we just weren't ready for the hustle and bustle that comes with evening activities.
So, over the last few years we have done just that, enjoyed our evenings. Each season offers a different perspective on our evening rhythm. Spring, and the return of light in the evenings, means the start of our after dinner family walks. In the summer dinners are enjoyed leisurely on the back deck, there is lots of playing and running around into the night, and then the work of trying to convince our little man that he should come in for a bath when the sun is still shining. Fall finds us soaking up the last bits of light after dinner with some outdoor play, and sometimes a walk in the fading light. Winter find us snuggling up and playing indoors after dinner. Our evenings are full, but full in a way that makes us happy, and content.
For now, this is what works for us. I know Reece will one day find interest in activities outside our home, and then things will change, but for now we will hold onto and treasure our family evenings together.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
We have been enjoying a lot of damp, rainy weather over the last week or so, not the best for spending time in the fall garden. On Sunday the skies cleared a little bit, and I put on my winter hat and woolens, and headed outside to do a little work.
Garlic was planted, 96 cloves this year. It still won't be enough to get us through from one harvest to another, but it is something, and I do love growing my own garlic. It was then covered with a good layer of leaves and will get a layer of straw soon. The slugs did my pak choy in, so I dug it all out, and found far too many slugs hiding underneath. I think I got them all...fingers crossed. I also harvested the last of the radishes in the cold frame. We still have some growing in the tunnels to enjoy into the fall, and maybe winter.
The good news in the garden, the tunnels are doing great, everything is growing well, and the slugs, for the most part, have left them alone. Jack Frost has paid us a few visits now and they are holding their own, keeping our plants warm and frost free. We harvest a little bit here and there for our meals, leaving some for the long winter ahead.
The rest of the beds have been covered with leaves, and are officially asleep for the winter. It is so nice to have everything cleaned up for the winter, and ready for spring planting. This is the first year in a long time that we are so far along with clean up and spring preparations. A sign that maybe our little man is older and a little more independent, as well as interested in helping out.
I have just a few more jobs to do out there. The first, cut back the raspberries. I had planned to do it on Sunday, but did you see what I found when I went over there. Yup, a handful of berries, and there are still some ripening. I will leave it for another week or so, and then do the final cut back. And the herbs, particularly the stinging nettle, need to be cut back.
This fall garden is interesting in many ways, and we are learning so much. So far it has been fairly easy, only time will tell how we handle it all in the dark cold days of winter.
How are things around your garden?
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
Throughout the month of October we are doing a little study on farm animals, with a focus on fiber animals. When I found out about the Woodstock Fleece Festival I knew we had to go. So, bright and early Saturday morning we loaded the car up with snacks, audio books, two kids and away we went. Justin drove, I knit, the kids listened to Frog and Toad and Winnie the Pooh. We spent a few hours at the fleece festival, checking in with the animals, watching a lady weave on a very large loom, and taking in all the gorgeous yarns and fiber. I may have been drooling just a little bit. We headed home after a while, happy and tired.
When we arrived to drop off Reece's little friend at her home, we were surprised to be invited in for dinner. I am sure you can appreciate how lovely this was, to be able to sit down with friends, enjoy a meal that I didn't have to cook, and relax after a long day. Thank you to our friends, it was very much appreciated. Back at home we settled in for the evening.
Sunday morning was chilly and windy. I headed out for a run, while Justin and Reece snuggled under the covers a little longer. The rest of the morning was spent in the garden. Final clean up was done, garlic planted, and food harvested. There is something pretty special about gardening in my winter hat, scarf and woolen layers.
We had a few errands to do in the afternoon, and stopped in for a very quick visit with my parents before heading back home for a simple dinner, and a quiet evening.
How was your weekend?
Saturday, October 18, 2014
"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2014"
Joining Jodi for the 52 Project
Friday, October 17, 2014
You know how much I like happy mail days, well, yesterday was one. There were a few packages delivered by our lovely mail lady, but the best one was from Mountain Girl Yarns. I have been waiting all summer for Camilla to open her shop, saving a few dollars here and there so I could make a purchase as soon as it opened up. The hardest part on opening day was deciding which of her beautiful hand dyed artisan yarns to choose, there is so much goodness in her shop. I settled on this one, Allspice, and am so happy with it. Such a lovely blend of fall like colours. I now have to decide what to knit up. Definitely something for me. Any ideas?
Pssst...word has it that Camilla will be doing a little giveaway in this space next month. Make sure to stop in and enter.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Last week, I wrote a little about my thoughts on the difference between rhythm and schedule. The post focused more so on our daily rhythm, but I briefly mentioned that we also have a weekly, monthly and yearly rhythm. It is all of these rhythms together that create the foundation by which we live. Within our weekly rhythm we have a dedicated day for nature adventures. We do spend time in nature every day, but on nature adventure day we meet some friends, pack some snacks, and head off to explore for a few hours together. Nature adventure day is Wednesday.
Yesterday, for various reasons, all of our friends had to cancel on us. We woke up to a rainy, grey and damp day, and if I am being honest, curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea, and my little man snuggled next to me while we read On the Banks of Plum Creek was sounding like a great way to spend the day. But, he knew it was nature adventure day. He wanted to get out there, and was ready to explore and see what he could find. So, I grabbed the backpack, filled it up with snacks and water, and we headed to one of our favourite spots to feed our feathered friends.
Mother Nature was one our side, as we drove, the rain stopped and we hit the trail with just the slightest drizzle coming down. We started out, birdseed in hand and were quickly bombarded by chickadees. I know I have shared many photos of us feeding the chickadees, but goodness, it is always so wonderful when they land in your hand to feed. It is pure magic every single time.
We fed the birds, we left seed in the feeders, and we explored a trail that was closed for most of the summer for upgrades. As we headed back to the car, a red tailed hawk swooped down right in front of us trying desperately to capture a black squirrel. It didn't succeed, but flew up to rest for a moment on the railing. We stood quietly, in awe of this beautiful bird. As he flew off, we looked over the water, and there in the distance a great blue heron, walking slowly in the water, searching for lunch.
Days in the woods like this one remind me just how absolutely amazing Mother Nature is, and how wonderful it is that I am fortunate enough to be able to share this all with Reece.
Joining Country Kids