29 November 2010

sunday afternoon

yesterday was such a beautiful day we decided to take a family walk.

I decided to bring my camera and play around with it. I thought I would share a few photos.

I had some fun playing with the macro setting

the sun was shining beautifully and it wasn't too cold so we all bundled up and went down the driveway.

we headed out onto the road and I quickly became distracted by what was left of the plants on the side of the road.

As the kids ran down the road or (as one or two) sat down on the side of the road to wait...

I really began to notice how beautiful winter is.

In the past I never enjoyed winter.
I was always cold.
The roads were slushy.
snow pants, boots and winter coats were. not. cool.

Now that I am getting a little older I am really appreciating the seasons.

And I am noticing as I have been beginning to look at things through the lens of a camera;
 I am noticing beauty in the smallest things.

Things that previously I would not have noticed or would have considered ugly
 now have a natural beauty for me.

I have discovered that a good coat, snowpants and warm boots make winter wonderful.

Being warm completely changes my perspective.

While I used to wake up to the first snow of the season and scream (and that is a literal comment).
I now smile and appreciate the peace and beauty winter brings.

As a mother I also enjoy watching how happy the snow makes my kids.

I had fun taking dozens of photos of my kids...although I still didn't end up with one with all of them looking at me at the same time.

I am beginning to think that is an impossible feat.

The funny thing is, the more I play with my camera I have discovered that some of my favourite pictures don't include their faces at all...

I never would have thought ten, five or even two years ago that I would learn to love simple objects in nature...

but I have.

And if you would have told me anytime during the last twenty years that one of my favourite activities would be long walks in the snow, I never would have believed you.

Isn't it funny how things change.

27 November 2010

in season

I have been feeling a little guilty about my last post...it is not exactly in season as I look out my window at the snow. I do love to be in season and so I thought I better post something a little more appropriate.

We have been enjoying the snow for the past couple of weeks

We have been tobogganing almost daily...

and enjoying the views of winter. My parents have this great tree in their yard. It is actually two trees that have grown up together...

One tree is an apple tree...

and one tree is an ornamental cherry.

In the spring the blossoms are beautiful. Half the tree is white and the other half is pink.

This year I discovered the tree is beautiful in winter as well and I had some fun photographing it.

I ran out of canning jars and didn't get to finish all the fruit before the snow came. I am happy that I did. I think the apples add a nice hint of colour to our gray winter sky and the birds will have something to pick at through the winter.

I love watching snow fall. Especially at night.

There is a creek on one side of the farm. I always love it down there. It is so cool in summer and especially peaceful in winter.

It is also very beautiful...

I am very happy to be spending the winter surrounded by my parents' farm and having family around.

I love living in Canada and being able to watch the seasons change.

Happy Winter!

23 November 2010

photos! again....

There seems to have been a glitch with my last post...so I think I have fixed it
and am reposting...(sorry for the repeat!)

So, we are well into our small home experiment and we are still working out the glitches!

The biggest one is our internet connection. We are sharing wireless internet access and our "cottage" has a tin roof which seems to be blocking the wireless signal and so far we have had internet only a few times over the past three months. We have moved the computer (again) and so far (about three hours) it is working! hurray! I am keeping my fingers crossed and while it is up I thought I would share a few photos as my blog has been looking very black and white.

our vehicle heavily weighed down (notice how close the uhaul is to the tires!) in Quebec

Interior view...can you find the kids? As I said we were VERY weighed down.

We didn't make many stops this trip (see above for explanation) but we did stop at the parliament buildings
 in Ottawa...
I love them!

When I downloaded my pictures I realized almost all of my cross-Canada photos were of hay fields through the prairies...
I love driving through the prairies even though many people warn me of how boring they are...I think they are beautiful;
must be in my blood or something...
Our trip seems so long ago now. I would love to do it again without all of my worldly possessions in tow.

When downloading I also discovered I had taken way too many photos of my canning ( I was SO happy
to be able to get to the Okanagan in time to can). In the end, even though we didn't arrive until the end of August
I still managed to put away 250 jars of produce. Just wait until next year!!!

Here are a few of my favourites...

We arrived just as cherry season was ending...I didn't get any canned but did manage to pit and freeze a few large
ziploc bags full...and have since made the best cherry, chocolate chunk scones...which were eaten too quickly to get
a photo...next time!

We also caught the end of the green beans and with those I made....

Dilly Beans

Which I have never had...and I couldn't believe how crunchy they are! I only made seven jars
but next year I think I will make a few more - the kids love them!

I was able to get a lot of tomatoes and so I canned some (first time canning tomatoes and I don't know
why I didn't do it before...so easy!) I froze tomatoes pureed with fresh basil in large ziploc bags for sauce,
I also made ketchup, BBQ sauces and Salsa...

and I oven-dried tomatoes...very time consuming, but well worth it - they are delicious!

Peaches were one of the things that I missed the most about the Okanagan. Store bought peaches
are just not the same as those purchased from a local orchard.

and I made three kinds of pickles.

I really love having a closet full of canned goods! And I love that everything turned out.

Our small home experiment is still going well most of the time. Our biggest problem right now is the amount
of condensation in the house. There is no fan for the stove and there are six of us breathing in a small space...
we are starting to try and combat mold on the windows and in the front entrance. We have had to shuffle things
around and I've had to pack away some items to reduce clutter but I think we may now have that under control....
I hope!

I am missing having all of my books and dishes out. And my daughter is not too excited about sharing a room with her
brothers. The kids are all in the loft (largest room) and we have curtained off an area for my daughter, but it is just not
the same as having a room to oneself. We are creating a curtained off room for my oldest son today as well... and
hopefully that will satisfy for now. Other than that it is all good and I am learning that very little space is needed. I think
the problem lies not in the amount of space each person has but in the amount of stuff we have accumulated and now we
don't have room for it. That may have to be our next experiment! I have been homeschooling the kids and have noticed
a HUGE difference in the way they are getting along. I am loving all the extra family time (minus dad). The oldest three
have all learned to play chess and have been having competitions. With the snow arriving this past week we have also
been able to get in our daily tobaggan run and for the first time ( I think ever!) I am loving our Canadian winter...

so far, so good! I'll keep you posted!

04 November 2010

the small house experiment

Yes, again I am still here. We are full swing into our small home experiment and everything is going well...except for our internet connection. I think I have been able to access the internet from home three times. I am still working on that and will have lots of pictures to post as soon as the problem is solved.

In the meantime, I thought I would post a quick note.

When we moved to Nova Scotia two and a half years ago I was in a small shop and purchased a christmas tree ornament with a picture of a small (folk art style) home and it said "Love grows in small houses". I don't know why I picked that ornament considering we had just moved into a large Victorian home, but I liked it. I now have it prominently placed on our front door to remind us on those days we feel a little crowded.

I am constantly amazed at how well the project is going. Again, we have six people in approximately six hundred square feet. I have however finished a craft room/play room in my mother's basement for extra space and it is nice to have that space to go to for a change of scenery. But, I am learning that a family can exist and be happy in a relatively small space! I have been reading some interesting books lately that are happily confirming some of my lifestyle choices and making me feel a little more secure about pushing against the norms of society. I am apparently not the only one out there! I will write more about that subject soon.

I am very happy to have put up over 250 jars of canning and we have purchased a side of grass finished beef from a local farm as well as a lamb and some pork. So, our freezer is full and I have a wall of beautifully filled jars. It's amazing how happy food put up for the winter makes me...we are all longing for the day we can grow our own instead of buying...but that may have to wait a year or two. In the meantime I am happy to support our local farmers and I am enjoying learning about becoming more self reliant. The weather has been beautiful here this fall and for once I am looking forward to winter...I feel very cozy and comfortable with my family around me, my walls filled with books and good food and a craft room all ready for christmas projects!

Life is good.