Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Time is flying!

Things are busy and flying by around here. Night walks and sledding in the snow, Christmas community events and all of the rest! The baby birds are full grown already and are sleeping cuddled up on the perch with thier mama... funny little things!
Things have been a tad intense around here lately. Eldest son came into the bedroom late the other night in tears. He was laying awake in bed thinking about the purpose of our existance and the " point" of it all. An eight year old in the middle of an existential crisis. Those parenting moments that you don't quite know how to handle properly, then worry and fuss over it in your mind for days later. Gah! I wouldn't be surprised if the boy developed an ulcer , all of the worrying he does.
Putting together the norfolk pine houseplant" Christmas tree" tonight I think. Pretty casual here this year. The first time in a while though that we are doing it by ourselves. I will definitely miss being with my family. Looks as though we can afford new tires for the van by the new year if we are really frugal. Then we can make our visits in January.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


So I found a pickling crock on Craigslist today for 30 dollars. I couldn't pass it by as I have been looking for something for large batches of pickles. Sooooo.... it turns out that 15 gallons in my head... is WAYYYYY smaller than it is in real life. I am seriously shaking my head at myself right now!

For reference, it is 2 feet tall and that is a 45 pound child in there.

Baby bird pics

The first one is from about 5 days or so. The second pic is from today and the babies are about 3 weeks old! The pink on his beak is from the vitamin block that his mama has been feeding him

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I thought I was finished canning...

But an old friend dropped off about 30 pounds of quince on my doorstep( along with venison bones and garden goodies). Today I will be up to my elbows making quince butter. To top it off... quince brandy! Yummy! This will be my first experience with this amazing looking fruit.
My camera battery needs to be charged, but the baby birds are at thier cutest right now. We take them out of the nest to get some human handling time ( in hopes that they will be more tame as adults) . They wobble around and flap thier little wings! And we all sit around cooing from thier incredible cuteness! We are going to keep both of them for sure now. They are getting mighty noisy now. Interesting how the household evolves!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sad turn of events

In a tragic turn yesterday night, the papa bird died suddenly. He took a bite of a toxic plant when he came out. As always we beat ourselves up. I knew that the plant was on a toxics list... he had accidentally nibbled a leaf before and I put it aside in my head that it must not be too poisonous.( kind of like poison control for babies where they actually have to eat a ton of something for it to be harmful). Last night though he bit into the rib of the plant and died within minutes. There was nothing at all we could do. He died in my hands. We were all devestated. I was so worried and still am for his mate. They are best friends. I cant even put into words how close they are. Her sad calls for him last night just reduced us all to tears. We went and bought some bird formula just in case she has trouble feeding them. I am still unsure of how it will go because he always fed her. If we come close to her she makes little nibbles in the air waiting for someone to feed her. She is eating this morning though, and I watched her feed the babes. We took the plant out in the night last night and buried him with the boys. So sad.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


The dyeing didn't quite go as planned. All I have access to here right now are the Dyson dyes. I was experimenting really! I had really good success with the other wool I dyed as it turned out nice and dark and super saturated. I tried the Dyson Cold dye at first but it didn't take AT ALL. I had washed the fleece really well this summer , so I didn't think that it was because of the lanolin. I ditched the cold dye for the time being and just used the colours that I had in the regular dye. Too bad because I was looking forward to a bright leafy green in there too. When I was dying the rest of the wool the tips were taking the dye, but the rest wasn't. I thought that it was going to just become a learning experience, but as it is drying the colour is looking a bit brighter. The opposite of what I have experienced before! Not my favourite colours necessarily but will make a really cute baby sweater or something. I can't wait until spring to get into natural dying. I am much more drawn to the colours I could get from the natural dyes. Outdoor dying is appealing to me as well!

We have guests coming this weekend. Papas sister ( second time we have met her) and she is bringing her mom who we have never met. I am planning on an East Indian feast of some sort! Any excuse to put on a spread!( and since I have to cook more " boring" stuff for the kids usually!) So cleaning, grocery shopping and meal planning are in the cards today. National Geographic videos online have been my best buddy this very very rainy week! Oh the shame!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just pics

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Just finished a spinning project this morning. I was given a bag of fiber a few months back and it is just really weird stuff. I don't know what breed of sheep it comes from, but it is super stretchy and slubby and weird. Think stretchy cobwebby. I tried carding it but it didn't help at all with the slubbiness of it, so I just decided to spin it from the locks... even though it wasn't very lock like! Oh well. I couldn't bear to just toss it so I thought that I would spin it, dye it fun colours and then give it all to a preggy friend who really loves to knit. Maybe some longies and soakers for the new baby? It turned out cool anyways. A bit thick and thin and slubby, but soft and sproingy. I dyed one skein about a month ago to experiment with dying and it turned out nice. I have no idea how it will knit up though. I finished about 600 yards more and was finally finished plying this morning. I had planned to get out the dyepot this afternoon but it was so pretty and creamy looking in its natural state. I called up my friend and gave her the option of keeping it in its creamy natural white colour and she would love to give it a go that way. I still have a bag of cheviot/shetland mix that I am going to dye in locks this afternoon. Maybe I will throw some onsies in there to tye dye with the boys as a gift. Now I am looking forward to spinning something consistant and clean looking!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I have been looking for ages ...

I have been looking for ages on Craigslist and at thrift stores for a good bookshelf. They are hard to come by! When I do see one that is real wood they are in the 250 dollar range. We had made do for almost 10 years now with one my father in law built out of some sort of awful prefab coreboard. It has been saggy and terrible looking for the past 8 or so of those years! Finally yesterday we purchased some wood... we walked into the wood store and there were tons of pine shelving bits for sale. We put together a nice big bookshelf in an afternoon for MUCH cheaper than anything we could have bought used... besides, it is really nice and big. We both went to bed with big smiles! Anything that makes our 800 square foot place more organised and livable... hey! It makes me very happy!

I sold a loom that I had bought used yesterday, gave away another that I had been given ( who gave us a bottle of wine!) , decluttered and organised the boys play/ learning space ( got 5 bags off to the thrift store!) . I has been productive around here!
Somehow I have been super supported in the fiber arts community and have recieved 2 new looms in the past week. A beautiful Salish upright loom, a nice lightweight rigid heddle as well. You meet fiber folks everywhere you go. A woman fom the local fiber guild was telling me that the youngest member in the guild is 60 years old. Some are in thier 90s and are just itching to pass on thier knowledge. My hubby and I were marvelling at how somehow I have amassed everything that I needed for spinning including two lovely wheels, carders, combs, spindles, niddy noddys, an antique skein and bobbin winder, and 6 fleeces all for under 200 dollars( over the past year). People have been very generous! I really NEEDED something like this in my life though for sanity reasons! ( parenting can be so intense and creative balance is a real need in my life. )I am very thankful when I feel so supported by the universe in these ways.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


So in the end only two of the eggs hatched and the final egg was empty and unfertilised. The babies are doing great and are super cute!! The oldest we named Piper and the younger one is Cricket. We just started taking them out of the nest briefly to clean the poop out. So there is a quick pic in the meantime.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We have a baby!!!!

Baby budgie number one hatched yesterday night!!!! I could hear little peeps from inside the egg yesterday and by bedtime last night the peeps got a lot louder . I knew something was up yesterday because papa bird was super attentive and all of the sudden squished into the nest with mama... weird beause he has never done that before. I was worried about him squishing the eggs... but they seem to know what they are doing!!! He squishes in there and feeds the mama, and preens her and coos to her. A loving papa!lol I watched the mama turn the baby over and around to get access to its little beak and feed it. It is like a little pink bald jellybean!

I will take pics of the baby (babies?) in a week or so. I don't want to disturb them too much.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Into fall!

Brrr! The mornings are getting chilly! I can hear my hubby scraping the windows of the van before heading off to work in the morning.... at his new job!!! Good news, as EI would have run out soon. Was hired and started last week as the Maintenance Manager at a very large hotel!!!! I am seriously crossing my fingers that this will work out long term. Partial medical/dental and life insurance... luxuries that we have never had! Working in the same place every day, regular schedule. I cried when he got it. I will always make it work... living on 1400 dollars a month for the past 6 months has gotten to me though. It will take us a while to catch up again, and I will be so thankful to have the basic needs covered again.

Things are good here, getting back into a routine of things. We have all been under the weather for a bit here, so it will be nice to get back into the swing of things. Interesting news, our budgies have laid three eggs. If they are fertilised and all goes well, they may hatch in a little over a week. We are all prepared for natures will... not trying to get our hopes up. It would be nice though!

Yesterday the boys and I took on the task of trying to make felted soap! Fun project , even for someone with fine motor difficulties. All of our soaps worked out! Today we are going to try to make some felted acorn ornaments for our Norfolk pine houseplant. Last year we made origami ones... should be cute with the acorns. I think we need to go hunting for another acorn tree to find more caps because these would make perfect Christmas gifts for the grandparents.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Swinging into fall

Whew! Things got busy over the last couple of weeks! Youngest son turned 6 last week, we had unexpected house guests for 4 days and things are just plugging along.
Good news. The gallery here in town wants us to put some of our copper and wood jewelry in her storefront. This is so great. Galleries generally take 40 percent profit but the owner has offered to knock it down to 30 percent. It sure eats into any money we could make( putting a ton of time in to only make a teeny bit over the cost of supplies) but I guess any little bit helps right?!
Eldest son went to the environmental club for the past two weeks and it has gone so well. My last post I was feeling pretty down about the whole thing but this has been such a booster in morale! I know the mom who runs the program ( a happy surprise!) and she has been so helpful in checking in. She has been sure to make the food they cook together gluten free ( which is cool because I was a support for her family a couple of years ago when they tried gluten free for thier family) and has phoned to check in to make sure things are going well. I can't say enough how much I appreciate the support. ( Thanks Janet and Louisa for the comments last week as well. It really means a lot!)
Papa still isn't working yet. Still little trickles of stuff here and there. We were waiting on a new condo project which would have ment months of steady work... then the owner/ contracter had a heart attack and died. All of the construction just stopped for the project now. We are trying not to panic but slowly we have gotten into the hole over the past half of a year. EI runs out in March. We could really use a bit of luck right now. We sold our old lathe this week for grocery money. Bonus though,oil is wayyyy cheaper this year than it was last year. With a coupon we managed to fill the tank for the same price that it cost for half of a tank last year.
The last week has taken a different turn for us. An elderly gentleman in the community had approached my hubby a few months ago to do some editing and to type up a chunk of his biography for him. My hubby did it as a favour to him and now it has turned into more editing and visits. He hasn't said anything but I know that he is dying right now. He doesn't have any family around and is super lonely. He wan'ts to pay me to cook for him... I have got too much on my plate already. And I just CAN'T take money from someone who just needs a little bit of help. I am going to try to save portions of what we cook so that he can freeze them for meals. He has lost so much weight already. I know that truly he just wan'ts our company and that is the most important thing. I just feel a little bit overwhelmed. Dang! Yesterday he took me aside and asked me to make him a necklace with a very special cherokee arrowhead( he has a cherokee background) that he has been saving. Like a talisman for this last bit of his journey.( I am actualy excited about this project. It kept me up last night trying to come up with the perfect design.)He is SUCH an interesting character. He gifted me with some cut burmese emeralds that he was saving as well as a jar of raw opal. He gave the boys a bunch of his fossil collection too. He is so kind to us... I hope that I can be there to help him. What a bizzare existance we live sometimes! No groceries, but opals and emeralds!lol The universe takes care of us in unexpected ways!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Still around!

Having a little bit of a stressfull week last week and didn't feel like writing. All is fine though and now we are all a little flu-y and tired and drained!
Tried out an afterschool program last week for my oldest so that he can be out in the community and meet some kiddos... try a drama program. It was a disaster! A one hour program ending with me being called into the directors office after. I was told that there was just no way... he cowered with his ears covered the whole time. I don't tell many people about the sensory stuff or autism spectrum stuff very often. If you see him he is outgoing, bright and completely functional the majority of the time. I felt like a complete tool for so many reasons. I should have mentioned it... maybe should have stayed for the first class( he is eight though and has taken a class before. I didn't want him to be the only eight year old whos mama stayed). I got a comment from another parent with a spectrum kid that was in the same class about school being the right place for kids like ours... it teaches them to just get used to it( with the whole loaded implication that we really shouldn't be homeschooling). Just all of the doubts that go along with it all... and I guess my denial at times where we go through periods where things are so much closer to what it is for regular families. The director suggested that he take a program with older kids and said that they would call me right away about that. They didn't call. We go this week to try an environmental club that is outside( quieter) and may be a good match. I don't feel like people understand... the disability seems invisable to them. I can see the eye roll or the glint in the eye when I do share things... like " yeah right... your kids are perfectly fine." sometimes they even say it out loud. Then something happens where it is obvious and then it feels like I am doing the wrong thing then as well. I think that there is something different that families with highly functioning spectrum kids deal with. Nobody can really see how far we have come or what we have had to go through to get to where we are now. Not a pity party or anything. Sometimes I just feel really lonely.
I watched an amazing movie last night called The horse boy. Here is the trailer.
I found a place online where I could watch it streaming. What a beautiful movie. It symbolicly captured so much for me. Really really wonderful.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Didn't have the camera with me...

But today while picking crab apples in the orchard we saw a cougar!!!!!! At 2 in the afternoon, sitting in the middle of the road ( the one we had to take to get back home). Luckily we did have the binoculars with us , so we each had a chance to view it twice! It was really young and quite small. I was expecting to see a mum at anytime but we never saw her. We were pretty excited and nervous walking back home. we cut the trip short! I had to call the conservation officer because of the age of it, the lack of fear and the fact that it was in broad daylight. The fire cheif came to the house to visit and the conservation officer is now outside and will likely bring the hounds. So amazing... likely we will never ever see something like that again.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

So the back story..

So the back story of the last post was this! I was out with the family for an after dinner walk and some random 40 something guy flashes us... not once but twice. Then waves and gives me the thumbs up. Right downtown in our teeny little town, main street in front of the post office. I couldnt believe my eyes. I have been flashed more than a handful of times in my life ( growing up in the city) but never ever when I was with my family. When I flipped out and yelled at the guy he said that he was sorry and had a couple of drinks and thought that we were someone else. Truly though, how drunk would you have to be to not notice that there were kids around. And he was by himself lurking on a property with that sort of manic high air about him looking like he was just waiting to do it again when we were on the way back home. hmmmm...Bizzarre.

Today my mama is coming up for a visit and we are going to the fall fair. Yippie! You know that I will be eying all of the yummy fleece! Hope the kids can cope. We have had an illness just trying to seep in , but not quite. The kids have been super stimmy and my youngest spent a couple of hours hitting himslf in the face yesterday. Not cool and stresses me out big time. It is sure hard for people to deny that it is autism when they see them in that state. My mom only sees them maybe twice a year for an afternoon or so, so hopefully this will go well.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It turns out....

Exposing yourself to me in front of my kids.... is a very bad idea. The kids got to see me in all of my glory when I absolutely flipped out at him. If I had a phone I definitely would have called the cops. ( sadly they often don't come out our way even for violent domestic abuse calls) Being flashed just infuriates me, let alone in front of my children. Enough to make me lose my shit. Gah!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Almost school time... again!

Wow did the summer fly by! We have been spending the last week canning like crazy... peach conserve, blackberry jam, chutney, apple butter and the list goes on! Tried for the Oregon grape berries, but I think that that really hot spell did them in this year. Bummer though, because the Oregon grape jelly we made last year was our favourite.

Started a couple of tinctures , Oregon grape root as well as a whole plant echinacea. Hoping for some usnea when things get a little moister around here... maybe some hops and mullein? Trying to figure out what would be most beneficial for us this year. I worry about the boys with the flu because we have spent a ton of time in the hospital with their asthma. I have been getting them to enjoy herbal teas daily, with them helping to mix herbs for them... I am hoping that tea drinking can become a really enjoyable thing for them and then become an easier way to give complementary medicine! I have had some sort of bug this week, so I think I am in flu easing mindset overdrive! Started a batch of sauerkraut, kimchee and am being extra brave and trying a batch of Tibetan fermented greens. Our fermented ketchup turned out sooooo yummy. It tastes a little bit more like chili sauce maybe, but so yummy all the same. So between the ferments, fish oil , nourishing herbs and good resting, hopefully we can keep healthy this fall and winter.
I realised that I didn't take any pictures of the garden this year . It is winding down somewhat now but the tomatoes are just getting into full swing! Back to having yummy tender greens now that it is cooling down as well. I sure hope that we can get a cold frame together in time... I need to plant that NOW.
Meanwhile we have guests coming for the next two weekends, learning plans to write ( I will write a post later about the years possible plans for the boys) wool to wash before the rain comes. Papa still isn't back to work yet... got the word today though that the company landed a couple of bigger jobs coming in the fall. Good thing! It is really hard to make 1400 dollars a month stretch to get us through... won't be happening come the time where we have to heat the house. ( I don't like having to worry about feeding guests either... between you and I! lol) Trying to take advantage of the free fruit and am putting as much away as we can right now. The landlords haven't fixed the roof yet but the plan was to put insulation in the whole back of the house since there isn't any... it gets so cold back there... think 12 or 13 degrees all winter. We found a folding door today at the Re Store for 5 dollars(!) so that we can shut off the front of the house at night to keep the living area a little bit warmer. The bedrooms and living room are all in the front and we keep it at about 18 degrees all winter. It will be nice to be able to just heat the living room extra once in a while when you want to be a bit warmer. I closed the door today and realised how thankful I am to create that tiny bit of separation from the rest of the family. Our house is about 800 square feet... while it is plenty of room it still feels like we don't have privacy or much peace from each other. Today the boys watched a video, I shut the middle door and couldn't even hear them. I put on CBC radio loudly and they couldn't hear me... it was great!lol I am so much more productive when I am not overwhelmed by constant kid noise! ( between regular sibling noise, sound effects( ahhhhhh!), beatboxing and a heck of a lot of verbal stimming, this can be one noisy household!) Doors are a good thing.... a very good thing!
Ramble, ramble!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Family Record!

Nothing like burning off a wedding hangover ( 2 glasses of boxed wine just does me in... lol) like taking a big 6 and a half hour hike. Went to Paradise Meadows again, but this time went for the challenge of the 15.5 km hike!!!!! That is definitely our family record. Needless to say, we are all exhausted!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Imagine us, strolling down the road, bedsheet and buckets in hand and helmets on our head ready for the harvest! Well elder son was actually wearing a big plastic Bobby hat... at least we always make the neighbours smile when they see us coming! We all spread out underneath the wild plum trees in the bush, each with a corner of the sheet in hand, cover our heads and squeeze our eyes shut as one of us shakes the tree. We went to our usual spot where we find little yellow plums that are just a bit larger than a really big cherry. Lucky for us we spotted a red plum tree too! More of a dusty pink and really pretty. Tonight we will sit and pit them... they arent the ones that are separate from the pit, so harly anyone even makes use of them... they can be a bit of a pain. But they make the prettiest yellow sunny jam ever. With the pink in there I think it will even be nicer. Since we discovered that we can use the jam to make a quick home made asian style plum sauce we are ready to make even more than we usually do. Yummy! I will try to dehydrate a batch as well...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Days in the shop

Finally finished and delivered the jewellery commissioned for a friends wedding and I forgot to get a photo of it. It took a little bit longer to do because I was having anxiety and perfectionism problems because it was for her wedding and all! I think it worked out well in the end though. Was up in the middle of the night with all sorts of creative ideas and plans. I almost had to get up and meditate to slow my mind down... the mosquitoes buzzing in the room didn't help much either! Waited until the end of the day to get into the shop and it was just one of those days. The saw blades were breaking and things were flying everywhere and my project just didn't work out. Stubborn as I am , I just couldn't leave the shop with nothing to show for it, so I buckled down for an impromptu idea just to get the obsessive part of my brain to let it all go!lol If all else fails, make yourself a pair of hair sticks! Mmmm. This pair is from some king wood that I had leftover from a commissioned piece, local beach stones that I found and drilled, and our old reclaimed tongue piercing jewellery from back in the day. I like! I am satisfied and able to leave the shop and mess behind and not have to one mindedly slogg away well into the night.

Also a piccie that was on the camera when I loaded things up... a flour flower? Cool!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New discovery

Went on a berry hunt today but was a little bit early for the blackberries. Had a chance to check on the local plum tree in the bush that we harvest from and it should be ready within the next week or two. Went to a different location to continue our hunt and instead found some other type of berry. Picked a few as well as some leaves so that we could identify them at home... turns out to be service berries, or Saskatoon berries!!! Edible and they were abundant. We plan to go to that location tomorrow to collect enough for jam and a bunch to dehydrate! Yay! When we went to check a final location for blackberries, we found instead a huge area full of plump rose hips. Should be the perfect harvesting spot come fall! So although we didn't find the berries we were looking for, it was a VERY successful outing.

Made our second batch of crock pickles yesterday. The first batch was so yummy that we ate it all within a week! This batch has garlic from the garden even. This time of the year makes me so happy! We have decided to make a family nature observation journal with dates that we harvest certain wild foods/garden veg and fruits as well as weather observation. Thought that it would help us keep track of the harvest, successes in preserving and help us to be more aware of natures rhythms. Worth a try! I am also starting a sketchbook of local plant identification and information... somewhere I was reading about a 100 species challenge. This should help solidify my local plant knowledge and force me out of my comfort zone of what I already know.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Finally it is cooling off a bit! So much easier to do the day to day things when it isn't sweltering!

Things are good here. We have been pretty worried about papas dad who has been evacuated because of a big wildfire. His house is going to be one of the first to go if the fire gets any closer to town... we havent heard any updates and don't know where he is staying. I had nightmares about fire the night that they would have been evacuated. Spent the whole dream night going from room to room in my house trying to figure out what to take with me while I could see burning embers falling all outside the window. I woke up with an urgent need to both simplify the amount of stuff we have, and to get rental insurance. We tried before , but the insurance place had a huge list of stuff that our landlords needed to do before they would insure us... weird stuff that nobody has in our neighbourhood like a concrete barrier around the oiil tank. We had just left it at that... didn't help that they treated us like criminals saying we weren't eligable because it was fishy that we had never had insurance before. There always has to be a first time right?! We were young and all of our stuff is from the thrift store or freecycle!lol It hadn't seemed important before! Oh well. We will try with a different provider that we have our roadside car insurance with. I hope it is within our budget.

Littlest one has been weaving lately on a hommade loom we found at the thrift store. He picked a red thread for the warp and is using our handspun for the weft. This kid has some serious patience! I showed him once and he has done the rest without help or supervision.

Made a couple of salves this week. A warming one and an all around use one with plantain and calendula. I prefer using a bit of lanolin in ours ,and since none of us are sensitive I can use it. A friend had given us a bunch of stuff from Australia before she moved back, and all of the Aussie salves are in a lanolin base. I really like it that way. It is my birthday this week and I am getting a couple of really good medicine making resource books from Amazon... super excited. Should be a smart purchase.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another week flies by

I don't know where the summer is going! Spent lots of time at the rivers all week again to beat the heat. Took advantage of the summer layoff to explore the area a little more. The rivers are gorgeous, clay bottomed with gorgeous formations... fossils too! Both of the boys are happily paddling around in thier life jackets. Such a huge difference!! I don't know if it is connected at all, but my youngest who has always kept his shirts completely tucked in ( as in compulsively tucks his shirt in all day long) has kept his T shirt loose and relaxed for the past couple of days! For people who understand rigidity and the issues that come along with it, you can understand how great it is to see some of those behaviors relax a little bit! So within one week he went from never before putting a toe into the water , to paddling about on his own... and tubing down a mini rapid on his own!
Yesterday we ended up at a local festival. We have never gone to it before because it is known to be really busy... and pricey. My hubby volunteered for a four hour span to do the electrical and we all got free tickets. It was pretty good considering. Everything was way out of our price range ( the unemployment budget!) but I got the info from the local wool gatherers guild so I can join (? maybe) and learn more about spinning and such. Today we went to the river again and on the way home saw a sign at a farm stand for basil. For 20 dollars The woman took me back into the greenhouse and filled two grocery bags packed with basil and she gifted us with a really pretty hot pepper plant which looks like mini purple eggplants until they ripen to a bright red. When I got home I buzzed it up with some oil and packed it flat in freezer bags to break off chunks. In one large bag I mixed up all of the fresh herbs for an italian seasoning and buzzed that up inhto a paste... who knows if that will work? Smells nice though and should last me through the winter. I am considering doing the same with a popcorn seasoning that I make with fresh sage and garlic. It would be handy to have it on hand and ready to go. Cut lots of ecchinacea , the constant stream of calendula blossoms, the bee balm , lavender and chammomile to dry and put up for winter storage. Should be ok this year if I can keep on top of it all... at least it all helps the lack of funds issue be a little bit nicer!. I sure hope that work starts up soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


It has been SUPER hot for the coast lately. Today was around or over 38 degrees (100F) ... The thermometer actually says almost 47 right now, but it is outside in the sun, so reads a little high. The kids ( and us too!) haven't been sleeping very well at all, so are all just clinging on to what little sanity we have left. The house doesn't cool below 30 at night even with fans going and windows open. We have been going down to the lake daily... even the kids have actually gone into the water (yippie!) until I got a nasty looking case of swimmers itch! Gross! We made our way to the river instead yesterday, along with everyone else in the valley! The youngest hid in the forest growling... not exactly a successful outing. Transitions just suck sometimes! Today we broke down on the " no guns" rule , andspent some of the grocery money on squirt guns. Now we are all soaked and happy... I took the brunt of it! Safe way to take out pent up annoyance at me perhaps! Fun stuff anyhow. Hope you are all staying cool and having fun times!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hot !

Beautiful weather we are having here! The garden is just getting huge! I think that I overplanted... I don't know how I will even get in there when it grows more! The mystery squash are taking over. I love going out there in the mornings though, and I find myself lingering for a lot longer than I need to. The ecchinacea, lavendar and calendula are in full bloom and I can see tiny buds of chammomile starting. We are eating lots of peas and greens and herbs so far... the bounty is coming though. It looks like I will have hundreds of tomatoes this year and far too many beans! Dilly beans here we come!

The berries are in full swing . When we go on a forest walk now we come home with baskets of goodies. I made fireweed jelly for the first time last week. Such a pretty colour and tasty too. The wild blackberries are just getting ripe... I bet if we go up into the bush in the next couple of days that we will catch some. My neck was out for the last three days, so we havent been out much... the house is disasterous!lol

Scored yesterday at the thrift shop. For a couple of bucks I came home with a very clean blue glass 5 gallon water jug. So pretty! Since our house and pipes are so incredibly old and sketchy, we are forced to buy water. I hate using the plastic, but it seems to be the lesser of the two evils... especially since the tap water gives me tummy upset in the summer anyhow, never mind the heavy metal and rust ingestion!

Looks like the landlords are finally going to replace the roof! It has only been leaking for 5 years! I think that we convinced them to finally put some insulation in the back of the house in the roof as well... should make for a warmer winter! I hate to know that our heating is just literally flying out the roof. Especially when our main source is oil.

Heading into the shop today to finish those commision pieces for my girlfriends wedding. Hopefully we can break some ground this week and get started on our cold frame as well.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


My biggest guy had his eighth birthday today. Sweet little bug!

He woke up for the day excited... ready to go... and ready to have cake for breakfast! What could be better?! He wanted cheesecake, but I didn't have time to do two cakes... since not everyone in the family can eat dairy we went with a chocolate mousse tofu cheesecake. It was actually phenomenal. I am not a tofu cheesecake fan, but we would all happily gobble this anytime. Bonus, we discovered that the batter makes for the best dairy free pudding ever! T received the 7th Harry Potter book from us. It was the last of the series and he has been waiting for it for months, rereading all of the others multiple time while patiently awaiting the final book. He was pretty excited and started plowing through it right away.
We had a tricky time trying to find something special to do for the day. We had the idea to go to a local island for a day trip and beautiful hike. When we looked online at the ferry cost, it would have cost over 80 bucks just for the transportation. Poo... we scrapped that idea ( It cost us 200 bucks to get off this island to the mainland... we have been off once in 8 years! ) Then we researched a local small caving tour. It had a price tag of almost 70 bucks for a 25 min tour. Eeep! Harry Potter movie for the family? Another thumbs down on that idea. Ok. We are super duper frugal. My hubby has been layed off for over 2 months now and employment insurance pays 1400 a month which doesn't even cover essentials truly. We do a ton of fun stuff all of the time.... we just happen to enjoy things that are free! We are so out of the loop of what things even cost these days! I was a bit bummed to say the least. We just couldn't spend a weeks worth of groceries for a couple of hours of entertainment. We finally found the perfect thing. About a 45 min drive away there is a wildlife reserve that does local wildlife rescue. They have a nature museum, education center, lots of permanent resident animals plus a ton of rescue animals. It was soooooo perfect .... and under 20 dollars to boot ( I would gladly donate the 90 bucks it would have cost for the ferry trip to an organisation like this one!) We will definitely go back there. We did a little trip after to the next town over and what luck.... T s favourite musician( ok... he was really into him for a couple of years , but now it is all about K'Naan... but still this was a cool coincidence) was busking outside! So it ended up being an awesome day. Happy birthday monkey!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The days are getting a bit away from me!

We had a lovely and busy weekend with guests again! Still no work, so family coming by can be a little bit stressful. Luckily there are lots of greens in the garden and we could brave the bears for bowls of free cherries! It has been raining like crazy for days now and we got to enjoy a rare thunderstorm that lasted for about 6 or 7 hours the other night!!! The garden is very happy though and seems to have doubled!

Since I last wrote I spun up about 600 yards of wool( 300 plyed). The first time ever spinning a skein on the wheel... plying too! it turned out lovely. I made up two touques and they don't even seem itchy. I started the epic job of spinning 1500 yards of finished plyed wool ( so about 3 km worth!) last night hoping to make myself a sweater. I have 3 flats of raspberries in the kitchen and am right in between stages of making jam. Papa has been helping an elderly neighbour with editing his biography. A great thing to do while layed off! Tomorrow I take the boys to a protest/ rally for inclusion/ peace and diversity after a highly publicised hate crime and racially motivated beating in the valley. So surprising... but not I guess. There isn't a lot of diversity in the valley and there is still a ton of racism. I don't see it in my corner of the woods, but I do know it is there.

This little guy had an amazing weeked with his Grandpa. Notoriously this little guy is so avoidant of touch.... never accepting any hugs or touch from anyone outside the family. Even when he was a baby he tucked in his arms to his side when you held him. He doesn't high five and has been known to pick highly dangerous senarious in order to avoid touch from others. So this weekend he discovered that he LOVES head massages from his grandpa. He had these huge smiles and sat there for big sessions of long massages all weekend. When it was time for the guests to leave he ran over and said... " how about you guys hug me, and I don't do any hugging?!!" He sidled up to them, arms stiff by his side to allow them to hug him! Might not seem like a big deal to some, but for us this was huge! Not only did he initiate, but he enjoyed it!!!! So cute.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ready to spin!

So, nerdy as I am, I was so excited to deal with the fleece this morning that I woke up at 4 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. We washed the entire fleece in small batches in about three hours. It was so grubby that I didn't want to bring it inside so I did it all in a galvanized tub which could only handle about a pound at a time. What a crazy job this was! We strung up a piece of garden netting and created a giant drying hammock strung up between the posts of the swing set!. It was a perfect nice hot day with a breeze, so it all is almost dry. This afternoon we attempted a Canada Day outing ... the music was loud at the mini community gathering and my oldest started to get upset right away. He was saying that it was "his definition of chaos" and he was out of there before we even had a chance to even get in there at all. Poor little bug. He was all clenched up and stimmy all of the way home and just hasn't recovered all day. I wasn't really into it either to be honest, but I try to get the kids out there when there is an opportunity. You never know when they will be able to function at a gathering... we stayed at a birthday party last weekend until the very end. That was the first time ever! Usually we last half an hour or so, or are notorious for politely making excuses of why we can't come in the first place. Spectrumy behaviors have actually been pretty minimal lately all in all. At a playground a couple of weeks back the boys played with a group of kids, invited new kids to join them and looked to be the perfect little socialites! I was so happy off to the side watching thinking about 6 months previously when my youngest surely would have been hiding under a bench growling at anyone who came near him. Cool anyways. The ups and downs of it all. What can you do other than just be there and cheer them on inside!
So this afternoon I broke out the carders and carded and rolled a basket of the wool... pretty different than the dung encrusted mess I started with this morning! Now I am super ready to sit for a spinning session after dinner. I am really still getting the feel of the wheel. It isn't fancy or perfect and I just need to work around that a little! I didn't want to just spin fancy expensive combed top from the wool shop. I didn't have a project in mind and it just feels wasteful while I am learning. I had put that all aside in my mind because of finances even though I LOVE the little taste of spinning that I had done. Anyhow... that was why I couldn't sleep this morning. I was ridiculously excited. I even have a hat pattern picked out for it!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Impromptu farm visit

Got a call late this afternoon.... my plea for wool was finally answered. We are very very broke right now, so I really didn't wan't to be spending much of anything extra. We drove up to a beautiful property and the owner came to greet us from the fields. One of her steers got loose and she had the hay all newly cut in the field. He was where he shouldn't be and she couldn't get him back in. She got my hubby out there with ski poles in hand to try to round him up. LOL what a ridiculous and slightly anxiety inducing sight! They got him back into his designated area in record time and then we went to meet the sheep. She thought that they would be too shy but all of the sudden they stampeded the kids. The look on thier faces were priceless. They all had names and they had nurslings still. So awesome. We went to the outbuilding with the wool and I bought one fleece. A mama named Tippy. The owner threw Tippys daughters fleece as well as an older bag of a beautiful black and brown girl to see if we could salvage it. So for twenty dollars I came home with three bags of wool, a gift of a bag of prawns for my hubby and possibly work in trade for some grass fed beef in the future. It was an awesome outing and we all had smiles plastered on our faces. Better than yesterday where papa sharpened the lawn mower blade and slipped while putting it back on the mower... requiring a trip for stitches. Well, the kids thought that that was pretty epic. The nurse even let the boys watch. Funny life we lead!
Tomorrow we attempt the huge feat of washing the wool!! Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I am still here!

The weeks are flying by! I think I have been swept up into the day to day stuff a little bit lately. Papa still isn't working... gah... None of the electricians are back yet in the valley, so it is nothing personal. Still, it has been over a month, maybe over two already. Things are unique and fun at first where you can take advantage of more family time. By a month and a half in I am raring to get back to my own routine. It is too tight ( as in not nearly enough) and I need to start saving to put oil in the heater come september plus tires for the van before winter. So I am crossing my fingers! Papa is getting a ton of writing done though which is a nice bonus.

Lets see... What have I missed out on sharing? We went for a beautiful bike ride on fathers day . We drove to the next town over and biked along the ocean. There are chainsaw driftwood carving competitions there yearly and so the path is lined with all sorts of carving art. We biked about 6 km into the town to the farmers market and then hung out at a playground and had a picnic. We are eating a lot of greens out of the garden right now... a head of lettuce a day, plus lots of kale, herbs, broccoli and edible weeds! We got 3 days of good rain this week and a bit of cooler weather which the garden seems thankful for. We dug an entire new section of garden a couple of weekends back when my brother brought over a bucket of jeruselum artichokes to plant. I sure hope that they thrive because it is the perfect thing for someone who has trouble with starches like I do.( I am feeling so crappy eating too much potato and stuff lately... I struggle most with my health when we are broke. I can't eat the grain we get for the rest of the family and can't afford a ton of meat and veg... which is kind of all I usually eat. I end up filling on potatoes and then get a really bad tummy, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis if I eat too many. It seems cumulative) I can't wait until the rest of the garden is producing! A friend gifted us a beautiful little vintage chair and ottomon a couple of days back. Our house is teeny tiny, so bringing in anything means that we haveto arrange the entire house to make it work! It looks super cute though and I like the new layout. The boys look so sweet jammed into it with the weighted blanket reading Astrix!

Yesterday we went up into the bush in the pouring rain. Someone had spotted a downed arbutus tree. They are protected here, so you cant just cut any down! The wood is rare to find. We didn't find it but I was so sketched out in the woods... I am convinced that a cougar was tracking us. Oh well... maybe I will come across some soon ( a piece of arbutus and a bag of freshly shorn dirty fleece are on my wishlist right now!) A close friend called yesterday and asked me to make her some jewelry for her wedding!!! Yay! I am so honoured, a little pressured and most of all inspired. I spent a chunk of yesterday afternoon in the basement and make a nice part of a necklace for it. Hopefully she will love it and we can come up with something lovely. We will be meeting Tuesday to draw up more of a design and pick up some materials if we need to. I will show it off when it is done!

My oldest little guy turns 8 in two weeks!!!! Where does the time go? He has asked for the final Harry Potter book which we ordered yesterday, and a hommade broomstick, which I still need to go foraging for the parts for. Thankfully he doesn't wan't any big party... just a nice ( specific!!) dinner with the family.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

You know you walk a lot when...

You get to the end of a 9 km walk and everyone is disappointed that it wasn't longer! None of the pictures I got quite captured the beauty of it. We went up the ski hill and hiked through alpine meadows and forests. There were lots of boardwalks built all of the way along as well. We are planning to go back in the next couple of weeks to try doing the 16km loop. I really don't know if the boys can walk that far though. They can easily make it 10 km but we haven't tried more... they were still running by the end of the hike today though.... maybe? If we plan to leave early in the morning and give ourselves all day, they could surely make it. It only took 2 hours and a bit to do the hike today!

We have been taking advantage of the lay off and have been adventuring all over the neighbourhood! In the past week we have done 2 8 or 9 km hikes, one 18 km bike ride and multiple bikes and swims in the lake! Impressed at the boys ability to keep up... stamina and energy are definitely not lacking! We ate our first broccoli out of the garden and have been eating greens from it daily.

It turns out that my skin nerve pain that I was having was some sort of trapped nerve from my hip and back. I have been seeing the chiro for the past couple of weeks and the pain finally cleared after two whole weeks! We REALLY can't afford to go to the chiro right now because the employment insurance doesn't even really cover the basics, but I really needed to go. I got great news though that I won 100 bucks US in a draw for doing online survey thingys. Pretty much exactly what I needed to cover the chiro appointments! Things certainly do come when you need them! Hopefully work will pick back up soon. There were 22 housing starts in the valley last month, so hopefully that translates into the electricians being back to work next month! Oh well... everyone is in the same boat. At least we are resourceful! Speaking of which.... off to sample the home made rhubarb wine I made a couple of weeks back!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bread making binge...

We have been making flour like crazy over the past couple of days.... my biceps are going to be huge!!! So far we have ground brown rice, white rice, millet, buckwheat, red lentil, yellow pea, and toasted mung bean into flours. I have sprouted and dehydrated garbonzo beans as well as brown rice, to grind into sprouted flours today. I also have a jars of quinoa and oats on the go to make sprouted flours out of.

Last night I put together a gluten free raisin bread batter with a mix of our hand milled flours. I added a cup of our home made sourdough starter and let it sit overnight. In the morning I just added the eggs and let it rise a bit again before baking it. I can't even taste grains because I get really bad psoriasis and arthritis if I do... torture for a cook to serve food that he or she can't even taste first. My hubby is getting better though at describing flavours and textures to me so that I can tweak and improve recipes... not in a critical way at all, but more acting like my taste buds! He says that it is delicious. A teeny bit of grit, but so super fine that he would be happy to eat it every day. Everything else is perfect. No bean flavour at all either... and the beans add some great protein and nutrition to the bread for the kids. I am really hoping that the sprouted flours will be really sucessful too. It was too much batter for 1 loaf pan, but I wasn't sure if it was enough for two, so I put it in a round casserole type of pot... it looks flatter because of that, not because it was dense and flat!

It has been super warm here for the coast. It is 22 degrees in the shade right now at 9:30 in the morning. The weather report says that it will get to 32 on the city next to the water... we are inland and the temp is regularly 10 degrees warmer than that here.(and 5 to 10 degrees colder in winter!) Our outdoor thermometer has been over 40 degrees in the late afternoon all week long. Can't be good for the rainforest!!! Oldest son had a heat headache last night. I used to get them as a kid easily too... like a migrane. I have never been able to regulate heat well. Interestingly I have read that some other spectrum and sensory kiddos have similar inability to handle heat well. Secretly I am doing the rain dance!

Monday, June 1, 2009

What luck

Checked the local community news mailout today and in the free section.... a manual grain mill!!!! We actually were the first to call as well! It is an old cast iron one that unfortunately had been used for gluten flours of course. We scrubbed it down and took the dremel wire brush to all of the surfaces. I scrubbed it down and soaked it and brushed it and went to town on it! Lastly I coated it all in a thin layer of coconut oil to protect it. We took it outside on the back steps as that was one of the few VERY sturdy places that we could attatch it. It is EXTREMELY( !!!!!) strenuous; we could only handle short bursts of time on it. We managed to do about 4 pounds of brown rice in maybe half an hour , taking turns in bursts(we had to put it through in progressively finer adjustments too)! Now we are exausted! It looks wonderful though. It will be the perfect interm mill until we can afford something efficient( expensive!lol) I would still love to be able to grind bean flours because I don't tolerate any grains. We are going to be one fit duo! As usual we keep up our nutty neighbour image, grunting and groaning and giggling out there. Doesn't help I suppose, that the temp is reading 38 degrees Celcius in the sun... not that it would be any less funny to be out there in winter!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

And more guests

Another weekend with family visiting. We drove up Island to an area that we hadn't been before and saw some beautiful falls and had some great hikes. Now we are wonderfully tuckered after a full day and full tummies( baked bread in the firepit tonight!) So nice! Having so much trouble with photo layout for some reason lately.... must iron out that bug!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fossil hunt

Instead of the island bike trip on the weekend we decided to have another down day in order to get better. We took a van ride about an hour up island to a beach... we were tipped off by some seasoned ( kids are now grown) home learners, that this was a great beach to look for fossils. Sure enough it was! We didn't dress properly because we didn't really know what to expect. Next time we will bring gumboots. 4 inch barnacles and sandals don't mix... or at least all of your focus goes towards stepping carefully.

We are all on the mend, but I had something odd happening. I have had this odd band of skin and nerve pain across my upper thigh and around my butt. The skin hurts to touch and gets stabby pains too. I went to the doc yesterday ( hadn't been in over two years!) and got poked at to be sure that nothing was pressing on the nerve from the reproductive area. Nothing was, so I walked away armed with a prescription for a heavy duty antiviral just in case I come up with shingles... It would make sense since I have been so run down. So it is day four of the nerve pain, but still no rash. Wait and see I suppose! I never thought that I may be the one to give my family the chicken pox!