Monday, February 25, 2013


As I stepped inside my own private yoga studio this afternoon I was surprised to feel my shoulders relax as I walked toward the mat. I hadn't even realized they were sitting a little higher than they should be. I knew why I was going up there. My lumbar spine has been giving me a bit of grief since Friday. Not great pain but any pain in my back is very unfamiliar to me. I was returning to what I know best. My yoga practice.

I turned on some soft yoga music and settled in. Deep slow breaths. In and out, again and again. I have a sequence memorized. Every now and then I'll add something new to it. I can do this without thinking and I find great comfort in this. Focus on the breath. What I didn't expect was to still be sitting with my eyes closed, still focused on the breath, seven minutes later. Curious, I thought. As I began my sequence, ever so slowly but as sure as I knew it would, my back started to soften, the muscles began to release their tight grip.

Early in the practice I noticed something I did not like. I could feel little 'crack,crack, cracks' as I moved from pose to pose. Those poses that were easy to do required more effort. Everything in my body was just a little bit tighter than it was before. And then it hit me. I was not paying attention to what my body has been trying to tell me. I wasn't listening to the needs it presented. I had quieted my intuition long enough.

I always tell my daughters to trust their gut. It is my first answer to their "what should I do?" questions. Yet I have been so busy and preoccupied that I wasn't heeding my own advice. It is hard sometimes to live in the NOW when the THEN is so up in the air. I find myself missing what today has to teach me because I am thinking too much about what tomorrow will bring. So busy with that, in fact, that I have been letting tension and tiredness build up. I am robbing myself of today's joy.  And I don't want to live like that for another minute.

So today I will look through my High Mowing Organic seed catalogue and actually place an order. If I don't get a garden this year, seeds can keep until next year.

I will download my third week's information from my Whole Food Kitchen course and actually try some of the recipes.

I will continue to knit my wool hat because we still have a whole lot of winter to enjoy.

I will read my book, play with my child, talk with my husband and have some wine and I'll remember to be oh so thankful for everything I do have in this life because truly I have much and life is fragile and much too short to live for tomorrow when today is all we are given for sure. Will you join me in counting your blessings? It's a better way to live.

Friday, February 22, 2013

From Scratch

Well, my love went to look at that house yesterday and he decidedly did NOT like it. He questioned himself, wondering if he was being too picky. I did not like that door at the front where a window should be and truth be told, beige is not my favorite color. I like red or maybe dark hunter green. So looks like we have to build, or commission a build rather. This means I will indeed have to pick out every single thing. This could be a daunting task for me but luckily enough I have a daughter who is wicked good at these things as is evident by her renovations on her own house. She has a good eye. My other daughter would also be good at it but, alas, she and her husband are building their own cabin and she'll be busy with that. My middle daughter lives further away and she probably wouldn't have a keen interest in it, just like me.

The plans can be seen here and here. Best of all this builder is an acquaintance of Paul's who lives in our district so we can see the progress as it is made.
Oh my. Trying to find a property and a home is proving to be something I tell you. But we will get there! I am sure of it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reviewing The Situation

Now that we have had time to think of just how that farm will NOT work out for us and now that we know both of us would have a difficult time living in a city we have had to rethink our plans. Back to the drawing board. When we first learned of this impending relocation almost a year ago now we thought of buying a piece of land and putting an RTM (ready to move) home on it. There were some acreage properties available but the costs were staggering.

That area is reported to boom soon due to oil and gas so the prices were starting to creep up in response to the news. Now living on a highway that leads to an oil and gas plant is not our idea of quiet country living. In fact, we live on a highway that has not one but two Potash Mines within a 20 minute drive. It is also on the same highway that take one from Saskatoon to Calgary. It is very busy and very dangerous. Lots of fatalities. Lots of near misses. So as you can see living north of North Battleford is not in the plan for us. That leaves us with west, which is also out as that highway leads to Lloydminster and on to the Alberta Oil patch. Also out. East is a possibility but there is nothing there for sale. South is the only place to look. The road south leads to nowhere anyone has to go in any sort of hurry. My kind of road. All of which is to say that we found some property out that way. A short 15 minute commute for Paul on a quiet country grid.


We like lot 13. It has a lot going for it. It is almost 10 acres, it is fully treed, has power, gas and telephone to the grid you see in front of it as well. The MR2 line you see behind it is a Municipal Reserve. It has trails for hiking and cross country skiing as well. The other larger properties run in just over the $100,000 mark but lot 13 is only $59,000 and the agent says they will take reasonable offers. Another plus is that the developer already made a road going up to the building site.
There is another block to the west of it. I like lot 6. Again, the big ones are way too expensive. Paul is not so much a fan of lot 6. It is 7 acres and is the same price as lot 13. It has a lot of trees and a few building sites as well. What he doesn't like is that it isn't as secluded as the other lot. I concede. Lot 22 is available and he likes it but I don't. That is a steep embankment that you see on the edge. Signifies unstable ground to me.
These "estates" have a building code that can add up in costs. Home must be new construction, at least 1400sq feet and have a double or triple attached garage. Asphalt or cedar shingles. (This code I like as Paul likes the sound of rain on a tin roof and I don't like the way a tin roof looks. :))
We are told it takes about 6 months from the time you commission an RTM until it can be moved onto the property. There are some already done that are for sale. We are thinking something like this:
but with a garage attached as per building specs. The thing about this house is everything is already done. Finished. Complete. And I for one would find it a NIGHTMARE to have to pick out things I don't care one bit about. Lighting, drawer pulls, towel bars, switch plates, counter tops. My head spins thinking about it. Paul is going to check out this house on Thursday. I hope it is satisfactory. It is 1650 sq ft. It has opposing walls of windows so the sunshine can flood through. It has an attached master ensuite with a double shower. The master bedroom is on one side of the a-frame and the two other bedrooms are on the other.
Of course there is a lot to consider and plan and finance for a venture like this. Water reports,(which he is able to decipher as he is in the groundwater business!) wells, septic tanks, pump outs. Basements. Getting gas, power and phone up to the house. Co-ordinating all of these things to happen in a timely manner. THAT will be up to Paul. He is so good like that. He takes care of all of the logistics all of the time. I LOVE that about him.
So he will be off to Battleford next week to check on those two properties and possibly make an offer on one of them if he likes what he sees. And I will stay at home and go through all of our "stuff", deciding what to keep and what to give away. Purging, organizing, cleaning up in order to get our house ready to sell. Unfortunately I can't spend time with my seed catalogues and put in a huge order. I may have to rely on Farmer's Markets this year for my produce. No matter what I hope that I can at least plant a few tomatoes. How can one live a whole summer without tasting a ripe, sun-warmed tomato?
Oh, and did I mention that the land is zoned for chickens? Yes, yes it is!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Yesterday we got up and got out of Dodge so to speak. We were finally granted permission to go see the farm we have been thinking of for months. You may remember this post I wrote about Paul going to see it several months ago. After having looked at a few more houses on his own, he began to reconsider that farm but asked that I come see it this time to see what I thought. And so we did.
The day was beautiful. The temperature was +5C in Battleford. The sun was shining and the highways were dry. We turned off of the highway onto the gravel road where this farm is situated. The road was winding and hilly and tree lined. It was a beautiful sight. There had been snow a few days before and the grader had not been by yet so we locked it in 4x4 and plodded through. We did encounter the grader on the way as the road is a school bus route.
And we drove and we drove, or so it seemed. About 30 minutes from the time we left the spot where Paul's office in North Battleford is we were at the property. The drive was a little long but if the place was worth it we could do that. Or let me rephrase, HE could do that. I don't have to leave my house unless I want to. Lucky me.
So we pull up to the house and I stand on the deck. As far as the eye could see, that was the farm. 160 acres, a quarter section. Half farmland and half mixed forest. It was stunning. There was a children's play area. They would leave behind the play centre, the trampoline, the above ground pool. We trudged through the thigh high snow to see the play area and right in one of the trees, munching away nonchalantly was this guy. So cute.
The children who were showing us around told me not to get too close or I'll get quilled. And then the woman came out and told me about the apple orchard, grape vines, 300 strawberry plants, the raspberry bushes, the cherries and the Saskatoon bushes that produced so much they could never process them all. I asked about other wildlife on the property, you know, the kind that can eat your children if you are not careful. She offhandedly said, "Well, we get deer and moose in the yard every day. You can see they have been standing on my deck and eating my pines. We get coyotes every day too but they are usually scared of us. I had to shoot one last week. You can see the blood stain right there by your truck. We have only had two black bears and one mountain lion. Oh, and a timber wolf. We tried to shoot it but we missed. You'll need a dog so your girl will be safe." On a side note, why do people try to shoot things? Why would you kill a wolf just because it was on your property?
Anyway, I was a little worried about the bear and cougar but how often would that happen? I guess I would have to learn to shoot a gun. I did shoot some sort of gun with my Dad when I was a little girl. I don't know what kind and it was only tin cans. We then walked back up to the house, past the frozen pond and past the blood spot where the poor coyote lost his life. Past four outbuilding that were crammed to the top with furniture, old tools and who knows what. The owner said he hadn't a clue what was in there as all of that stuff was left there when he bought the property over a decade ago and he was leaving it all there "as is".
As we walked I asked about neighbors. Oh yes, there is Bob and Mary a mile that way. Their kids are long gone. Chuck and Margaret across the road. Teenage kids and just a half mile behind are Mark and Kerry. They have four kids, all home schooled. (Imagine my glee!)
Forward into the house. Oh my. So much stuff. Closets could not be opened lest everything topple out. The flooring was covered with toys, clothes and who knows what. In EVERY SINGLE ROOM there were incomplete projects. Started long ago and abandoned. The house was huge but the size of it seemed to exaggerate all of the work left undone and the clutter. Stickers all over freshly painted walls and doors and closet doors. It was a disaster. I can usually see past this kind of stuff and I was able to picture it clean, uncluttered and with our things in the rooms. What I couldn't imagine was how Paul would ever have time to repair, replace, repaint this mess. I figured what with cleaning the yard and fixing the house, we would not be able to put our feet up and have a cold beer on the deck for about two years. Two years!!
We thanked them for showing us their home, told them how beautiful it was out there. "A little piece of heaven" the man said. Paul said we would talk about it and let them know. We must have gone a mile or two before either one of us spoke. Each was trying to figure out what the other was thinking. Each weighing the pros and cons in our own minds. Another 20 minutes passed and our daughter texted  with "Well?? You're killing me." I didn't know what to reply. We talked back and forth in tentative words. The reality of the situation slowly sinking in to both of us.
It was not to be.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I'd be so mad at myself if I moved to a city. What do people do in a city? What would I do in a city? I mean really, after all of your inside work was done, then what? Shop? God forbid. I hate shopping. Unless you count book shopping on Amazon. I can't even imagine how to fill a day if one lives in a city. I live in a small town now. Parts of it are like a city. I can be at the post office, library, corner store or bank in 10 minutes. 1 minute if I drive. Parts are like the country. I can walk a block and be out of sight of any house. I can see trees and prairie and deer prints in the snow. But a city? Please. Go outside and do what? And see what? My heart lies in the country. Places untouched by human hands. Wildflowers. Soaring pines. Trembling aspens. Nature. Connection. I am made for manual labour. I like to work hard physically. Don't get me wrong, I love to read books but AFTER I have worked and used my body. My body has not failed me yet. It does what I want it to do. Time after time. Recovery is just the slightest bit slower now that I am almost fifty. Almost but not yet. Not for a few more years. How can I be fifty when I feel as young and as fit as I ever have? Fifty. Hmmm. Yes, fifty. Time to make dreams come true before I regret not trying at all. Really, what do we have if we don't have dreams? I dream of wide open spaces. I dream of not seeing any other houses from my own house. Trees. I do love trees. I need to learn more about trees. I know the basics. Maples, aspens, pine, spruce, fir. Can you tell the difference between the conifers... just by smell? Well now I can. So can Athena. We learned this hands on in science. But really? What would I do when Athena is long gone if I lived in a city?

Monday, February 11, 2013

I've Been Having an Affair

It is true. And it is a love affair with my treadmill. I bought my daughter's treadmill from her back in late December. My dear sweet husband brought it home and lugged it inside and then he had to reassemble it. It is a heavy commercial treadmill. I dusted it off, plugged it in and have been hooked ever since.

(google images)
Only trouble is, my other love has been wanting my time and attention. And I do give it to her but not as often as before. Where I used to spend time with her every day, not it is more like two or three times a week at the very most. It's not that I don't still love her, I do. And I miss her as well. When my calves are aching at night I wish I would have spent some time with her that day. Of course I am speaking of yoga.

(google images)
I have been practicing yoga for about 13 years now. At some times more faithfully than others. It has been my primary source of exercise all these years. No matter how many times I return to my mat I never tire of yoga's many many benefits. Yoga provides muscle conditioning, flexibility, stress relief, anti-anxiety/calmness and time alone with the door shut so no one can talk to you for one hourness. I love it and I am sure I always will. I can see myself practicing yoga in my old age.

(I love my new Manduka mat. Thanks Mom!)
And speaking of old age, I am not getting any younger. I am 47 (and a half) and this winter I decided that my body could use more aerobic conditioning, which is where my love affair began. I didn't know that I would like walking on the treadmill as much as I do. I was asked if I have seen any results. I assume the one who asked meant weight loss. As I am not one to weigh myself, except once a month just to keep an eye on things, this was not my goal. What I HAVE noticed in the past 6 weeks of using a treadmill program for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week is increased vitality. When we do our weekly Sunday hiking, the parts that I used to dread come easily to me. I can go faster and longer and poor little Athena has been needing to take rests these past few weeks. I have more energy during the day and can stay up later at night.

My very best result, however, has been that I sleep so well at night. I have no trouble falling asleep and I sleep for long periods without those pesky nighttime awakenings that can occur for women of a certain age. This has been more wonderful than words can express. So, thank you treadmill for this wonderful benefit. My skirts are slipping down a lot and my yoga pants are continually being pulled back up but this pales in comparison to the other things I mentioned. Big time.

What I do want to work toward now is a happy balance between yoga and the treadmill. I want to devote equal time to each. Spring is coming and there is a lot of work to be done outside at that time and maybe this year it will be just a little easier for me on account of the conditioning I have been working on this long winter.

Friday, February 1, 2013


I know there are a lot of you out there who read this blog. I am flattered really. I write this blog for myself, my family who live far away and for my few blogging friends.

I further know, that very few of you comment. That's okay. I don't comment on all of the blogs I read either. But here's the thing... I have some questions that I would like your opinion on. Things I wonder about and wonder what others think about them. I am not one easily swayed by others opinions. Just ask my poor husband how stubborn I can be. I am, however, one who likes to look at all sides of a situation before making a decision AND I am not afraid to change my mind if I see a better way of doing something.

I would ask a favor of you to answer as many or as few of the questions I will ask below, even if you have thus far never so much as typed a word here before. Thank you in advance for your words.

1. How much time do you allow your child to be on screens on any given day?

2. How often would you think it is optimal for your child to play with other
   children each week?

3. Do your children participate in extra-curricular activities? How many?

4. How important is it to you which books your child reads or is it good
   enough that they are reading at all?

5. Do you live in a city, small town or in the country? How far away are you
   from the nearest city?

6. If you home school, what is your top reason for doing so? And if you send
   your child to public school, what is the best thing about that for them?

7. What is the best website you have ever been to for recipes? For home    school resources? For homesteading/ simple living?

Again, these are the things I have been thinking about and I look to you for your words. Happy Friday folks. Enjoy your weekend!

(Eeek! Did I mention I have a new granddaughter!)