Monday, June 27, 2016

Welcoming Summer

We welcomed summer yesterday, in our backyard, with friends. Fourteen adults, sixteen children and three dogs gathered for a potluck, complete with bubbles, balloons, lots of play, good conversation, and lots of laughter. Mother Nature cooperated in full force gifting us the most beautiful hot and humid summer day.

There are so many moments I wished I had captured with my camera, but instead I choose to be present, capturing the moments in my heart, where they will be held with gratitude. It truly was a wonderful day, and there were many times when I stood still for a second and just took in the feeling of gratitude that ran through me as I watched some of my closest friends with their families enjoying my space and time with each other. Some new friends joined us too, new friends who I am sure will become close friends.

Summer is here, finally, and with the first official potluck complete, the planning now begins for more summer fun...a summer handmade homemade swap party, a women's circle with my amazing tribe of women, and more potlucks, definitely more potlucks. Happy summer!

Thursday, June 23, 2016


I love day trips, really love them, and today I packed up Reece and his little homeschool friend and we headed to Niagara Falls for the day. We walked the falls, taking in the view from many different spots, and getting a little wet as the wind changed direction and blew the mist to shower down over us. We laughed at our luck, and then realized just how refreshing it was on a hot summer morning.

After visiting the falls we enjoyed a little lunch and then hit the spot we came to see...The Butterfly Conservatory. I really enjoy our visits to this place, and today was no exception. We were in awe as we walked inside and had the opportunity to get up and close and personal with so many beautiful butterflies. It truly is a magical place, and even though we have visited three times over the years, it never gets old. There is just something so very special about being in the presence of such elegant and beautiful creatures. There was a lot of stopping and observing as we made our way through the conservatory, and I loved watching as Reece and his friend discover each and every butterfly.

We stayed as long as we could, and then said a final farewell to the butterflies and began our trek home. Day trips can be long, and they are always just a little tiring, but they are also perfect in so many ways, and I am already busy planning the next one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On Solstice Morning

Upon waking on Solstice morning my little man headed straight outside. He seemed determined about something, but I wasn't sure what. A moment later he came to the back door with a handful of beautiful, ripe, summer solstice strawberries. "Look mom!" he yelled, so proud of the beautiful gift in his hands.

Summer is here, my friends, and the gifts this season will bring are just beginning. Enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Harvest to Harvest

When I began preserving food all those years ago, I had a dream of one day preserving enough food to make it from harvest to harvest. I met that goal last summer, just barely, with a few different things. This year, though, I have exceeded my expectations.

As I harvested ramps from the forest a month ago and made pesto for the freezer, there was still pesto left from last spring’s harvest. As we prepare to pick strawberries this week, we are still eating frozen strawberries and strawberry jam from our trip to the strawberry farm last summer. As we enjoy pickled beets, dilly beans, dilly snow peas, fermented pickles and more, I am watching these foods grow in the garden, and thinking about harvesting them to put by for the coming winter. As I watch the garlic scapes emerge and begin to curl, from garlic I grew last summer, I pull a jar of garlic scape pesto from the freezer for dinner. Blueberries, garlic, zucchini, green beans...these foods from harvests last summer are still being enjoyed.

It feels pretty incredible to be at the point where Reece and I are eating from the garden year round, with lots to spare as we reach the next harvest. Every time I open a jar of food, reach into the freezer for berries or peaches, or pull a jar of fermented pickles from the fridge, I am reminded of the hard work, time, energy, and love that went in to making this food.

Harvest to harvest, I made it this year, in a big way, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


If you look closely you will see a few great blue herons, we actually counted 10 in total....amazing!

~ for early mornings on my mat, finding my center and grounding myself for the day ahead

~ for walks around the garden, cup of tea in hand, birds singing in the trees, and the sun slowly rising in the sky

~ for a little man who wakes with a smile on his face, ready to take on the day

~ for beautiful days filled with sunshine and blue skies

~ for this land I call home, I feel connected, happy and content here

~ for the way my body feels after working all day around the house...sore and tired, but also alive and happy

~ for new friendships, for both my little man and myself

~ for flowers, homegrown and beautiful

What are you most grateful for today?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Bringing a Dream to Fruition

Do you remember the cottage in the backyard? Well, I spent Saturday afternoon turning it into a little shop. Yes, a little shop in the backyard. When I decided to start selling my products an online shop was realistic, and easy, but I had a dream of having a little shop, here, on my land, and this weekend I made it happen.

The cottage needed a good cleaning after not being used all winter, and then I got to work placing product and labeling everything. When it was complete I stood back, satisfied with my efforts, and filled with joy at bringing this little dream into reality.

The shop won't be open to the public, per say, at least not yet. For now it will be open when I am hosting workshops and classes at Life at Nature's Pace. People can come for a workshop, or drop their children off for a workshop, and browse the shop, relax on the futon, maybe enjoy a cup of herbal tea, and fingers crossed, buy something.

It's a little dream come to life, and while I have no idea where it will go, it feels good to bring it to fruition.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Around the Garden

Let's take a little tour of the garden, shall we? As you step off the front porch, the front garden gate is right there, ready to welcome you. In this space you will find tomatoes, bush beans, pole beans, beets, Swiss chard, kale, salad greens, butternut squash, summer squash, pumpkins, calendula, sweet William, zinnias, and sunflowers growing towards the sun. Things are just beginning to sprout, but it won't be long before it looks full and lush.

Then as you cross the driveway, just in front of the chicken coop you will find the berries and asparagus. I have raspberries and blueberries growing. Sadly, two of the four blueberry bushes I planted last year didn't make it. I will replace them next year, and hopefully add three more. I also lost two raspberry bushes, but there are plenty to take their place so that loss isn't as bad.

Then we walk around to the back garden. Here we have garlic, strawberries, snow peas, snap peas, carrots, cucumber, bush beans, and a wide variety of herbs, both culinary and medicinal. The snow and snap peas are growing up, and I look forward to seeing the wall they create. The carrots have sprouted, I always worry about those little carrot seeds, and the cucumbers came up in a matter of days, which I am sure had to do with the summer like weather we had in the days after I planted the seeds.

And in Reece's play area, his little garden grows. He has strawberries, and decided this year he really wanted flowers. So we planted a cosmos that we picked up at the market, some zinnias, and an annual flower mix, which is just starting to sprout. And those flowers right up there...blackberries!

The garden has been a joy to work on, as it always is. I love my time out there, and can't wait to watch it grow this summer.

How are things around your garden?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Kids Herbal and Wild Foods Club

Every Saturday morning for the month of June I will be gathering with a small group of boys to discuss herbs and wild foods. It was with much excitement that I prepared for our first session this past weekend, gathering supplies for their nature journals, working on notes and projects for us to do, and deciding just which herbs and wild foods we would learn to identify and use. As they arrived on Saturday morning they made themselves at home in the yard, running, playing and getting to know each other before we settled under the shade of a birch tree to learn about the dandelion and the violet.

They were eager participants and took off from our gathering place in search of both plants. They clearly remembered to ask my help in identification before picking and tasting the plants, and once identified they gathered dandelion leaves and violet leaves for our smoothie recipe, and taste tested violet flowers before picking some to take home to their moms and dads.

We finished the workshop as we always do here at Life at Nature's Pace, with a little free play. I am pretty excited about this series, and I honestly can't wait til next Saturday.