Monday, November 30, 2009

Why I hate showing my house to prospective buyers

Blow this up - click on it and realize I wash this window before every showing.
The Playroom is currently the 100 acre wood
Kanga and Roo's mailboxes
Kanga and Roo's house and Christopher Robin's curent art-letter writing station.
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Random shots of our last couple of weeks

The wee boys on a field trip. It ended badly. There was a lot of vomit involved.
Nature Girl wore this outfit for 7 days straight. I'm not sure why.
Wild Thing demonstrates his bro on bro wrestling moves.
Darkmirror took part in the "Write Love on Your Arm" day - showing love and support for other kids with mental illnesses.
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ADCC Fundraiser blurry proud mama pictures

The Boyz Only class dances to Pump It by the Black Eyed Peas.
Wild Thing all hot and proud afterwards.
Nature Girl as Pepper in Annie - "It's a Hard Knock Life"
I dared to use the flash during the finale big group
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Must be all the song and dance happening in the house these days

But I really just feel like sharing my favorite music these this...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Me and the Sprout by Nature Girl

I know it's a bit blurry but Nature Girl totally captured ME in this picture she took. I love it. Not many pictures get taken of me because I'm usually behind the camera. Hiking the North Mountain.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

Inside the Wild Culture Shack...

Front room will be my studiospace
Doors leading into main floor
Kitchen - she isn't much but she is extremely functional...currently home to winemaking operation (as you can see!)
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Wild Culture Farm!

The deck needs to be replaced and we'll be putting in two dormers to bump out the cramped dark upstairs a bit on this western side.
Sheep barn and high up summer chicken coop
Goat barn/winter coop
Moveable fowl houses for ducks and others who have garden work to do.
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Introducing: Wild Culture Farm

Laneway leading up to it (pastures on either side of the lane)
The house isn't pretty (it will be!) but she is structurally sound - the ramshackle long back part is workshop and woodshed with loft.
The pond (needs a good dethatching with a backhoe). It is fed by underground spring - no pond scum, lots of watercress though!
Through the garden gate (fully fenced with deer fencing).

So here's the story.

My friend Summer knew what we wanted to find and that we had shrunk our space requirements more and more in an effort to find a place we could afford. Finally she told me to stop thinking Wolfville and to look further afield. She said she was as involved in Wolfville out in the Valley as she was in town. Nothing about that would change, but we could afford what we wanted and we'd be SURROUNDED by others who had the exact same reasons for being there. She mentioned two towns Margaretville and Berwick surrounds

Yes ma'am!

I found what looked good 172 000 17 acres, potential for 65 , 100 year old house and a ramshackle barn that needed new shingles. The house had newish siding and new windows and a new furnace. We arranged to view it and the agent advised us we could walk the property without him, it would be fine. We went for a hike. It was BEAUTIFUL but the farm side of this property had been totally neglected for atleast 20 years. It was totally intimidating. I felt a little sick. Before we left Papa Pan arranged to meet a local who is an arts organizer and a "come from away" after we'd done our hike. We wanted to discuss what it was like living here, being a come from away, the arts scene...etc.

We visited the theatre with him (in a beautiful old church) and talked for an hour about his own homesteading there (he and his ex arrived here 31 years ago and established a self sufficient farm, studied forestry, reforested part of their 200 acres, practiced organic farming , raised all their own meat, bred sheep for specialty fibre, bred ducks. They'd started off with a 160 year old farm and then designed and built a new house after the kids left home further back on the property. They'd split up and she lived in the new house and he lived in the old house until she left for New Brunswick and he'd bought her out.

We described what we wanted to be able to do - live simply and and have my toymaking business and art entirely sustainable with products from our own land - a closed loop. Then he said...

"I don't know if this is crass, but I'm wanting to sell the original homestead and 10 acres. Would you like to see it?"

I cried when we drove up the lane.

We saw everything discussed the problems with the place. Discussed deeded access to the pastures and forest. Then held our breathe after asking "How much?"

100 000 and we don't need to do anything about it until our house sells.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

This is unlike me but I have a wishlist of things for ME

We're working hard on Nanowrimo here, and finding our forever home and things are just getting better and better on that front....and then came children with wishlists for the holidays and them asking me what I want...

ME, MY wishlists are usually for things for them...children's books and nice paintbrushes and paint for children.

But this year I have a few no particular order

a kicksled
a gift certificate for 25 dual purpose chanticleer chicks
a really old sewing machine that can handle denim and straight stitching
cool canning supplies (a magnet lid lifter, a big stainless pot tall enough for hotsealing big jars of tomato sauce)
a sheep, a friendly sheep of any parentage who'll put up with me learning to shear.
A pregnant canadian cow
A heddle weaving class

I'll post pictures of where I'd keep all these things tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nanowrimo Day 4

I’m not filling these pages with a whole lot of information about why it is necessary that we return to a locally based diet. There are scholars and farmers and activists who’ve already written those books. What I noticed was missing was a “make it quick, simple, and painless” cookbook on the subject. So that’s the niche my book fits into

However the subject is very important. If you are reading my cookbook and not really convinced of how important this all is, or you want more polished information on the politics around food, farming, and agribusiness to quote while serving turnips AGAIN, here are some books really worth reading.

The End of Food – How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply – And What You Can Do About It by Thomas F Pawlick

I admit I have a longstanding crush on Thomas Pawlick. I grew up on Harrowsmith Magazine, which he edited back in the good old days when it really offered farming advice. He holds a deep affection for eastern Ontario, where I grew up. He was part of the 1970’s back to the land movement and deeply respects farmers and the work they do. He writes with humour, intelligence, righteous ire, and a balance that comes from years as a farm journalist. To get to the point – he is a no shit farmer who eats meat, knows where his meat comes from, and maintains that there isn’t a conflict of interest in sustainable humane farming practices and being an omnivore.

The End of Food is a case study of everything that is wrong with multinational corporation controlled industrial agribusiness. The corporation values speed, uniformity, and cost efficiency above all else. They are not in business to provide nutritious, wholesome food. The byproducts of this business model are unsustainable farming practices, cruelty to animals, the creation of genetically modified organisms, transfatty acids, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and the spread of things like swine and avian influenza. National recalls of meat products because of salmonella, listeria, and e-coli contamination are just the tip of the iceberg.

In The End of Food Pawlick moves from his personal quest for a decent tasting tomato to the nutritional value of foods today compared to the 1930’s. From nutritional degradation he moves onto the degradation and tortuous conditions factory farmed animals are subjected to. From the factory farm he follows the transport trucks to the factory slaughterhouses and then onto the factory meat packing plants. Are these horror stories? Yes they are, but he does not go on to preach veganism as a solution. Instead, he offers alternatives based in sustainable small and medium sized community farms. He calls on consumers to participate in “acts of subversion”. He encourages guerrilla gardening, buying local through farmer’s markets and joining community supported agricultural cooperatives. E encourages you to learn to put up food so you can continue eating local when the local pickings are slim.

Pawlick ends with this bit of wisdom for you to digest – “Food is not just something you jam in your mouth and swallow fast to prevent starvation. It is the basis of social interaction…Pressed by the demands of work and daily cares, we may not always be able to give this ritual due attention. But it should be given much more regard than it is in our present culture.”

That’s really why I wanted to write this book. To empower you to take back the skills and knowledge that make eating whole foods easy and enjoyable, even when you are so rushed that you are just jamming food in your mouth and swallowing fast to prevent starvation.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nanowrimo Day 1

Showing the House Tomorrow - Four Giant Mess and Sawdust Producing Home Improvement Projects on the Go - One kid sick in bed, three into everything. Cat scratching fresh paint, dog rolling in something dead

Word Count: :375

Lest you think I’m some holier than thou whole foods locavore purist, thanks to Nanowrimo, my kids will live on canned soup and frozen pizza during the month of November.

Table of Contents (Cause a list starts things right!)

The Basics – Tools you need to have in your kitchen and those you really don’t

Snake Oil – Processed condiments and ingredients you never need to buy

Buying local – The Farmer’s Market and the Grocery Store – Simple no extra time commitment activism

How to use up what you have every week

The real secret to being a locavore: eat in season until you can’t imagine looking at that food again.

Putting Food Up: Flash Frozen Foods and Demystifying Canning

No Need to Knead: breads, buns, biscuits, and other bread like foods

No knead bread is the greatest invention since sliced bread, in fact it is way better than sliced bread because it is bread that does it’s rise in the length of time it takes to preheat the oven. 30 minutes later you have a loaf that looks like you bought it at a fancy boulangerie.

Basic Bread Recipe

Whole wheat version

Spelt version

Cinnamon raisin bread version

Pizza dough

Cinnamon bun Version

Basic Biscuits

Jazzing them up ten different ways

Batter Blaster Blast

Basic Pancakes

How to Make Pancakes a whole meal

Basic Batter Bread

Soda Breads

Molasses Bread

The Dirty Dozen: meals you can make with your eyes closed

How to pick your twelve and adapt them for 4 seasons

No fuss whole chicken

Sausage and Egg Noodles

Frittatas – The omelette full of leftovers

“Mexican Night”

“Pizza Night”

Dijon Something or Other”

“Asian Night”

Grill Everything in Sight

Potatoes and Onions and…

Monster Salad

Multicultural Meatloaf

Macaroni and Cheese

Soup Stains Cover a Multitude of Sins

Stock – The Holy Grail and the chipped cup that’ll do until you make some real stock.

Potato Based Soup

Vegetable Based Soup

Poultry Based Soup

Beef Based Soup

Fish Based Soup

Everything is In the Kitchen Sink – One Pot Meals

Simmered Chicken

Spaghetti Sauce


Baked Beans

Holiday Favorites the Locavore Way

Desserts to Prevent Mutiny

Gardening for Black Thumbs

Becoming a lowercase foodie

Books Worth Reading - Reviews

Cookbooks Worth Reading - Reviews

Websites Worth Visiting - Reviews

I forgot to take halloween pictures!

But given the fact that my kids have a tendency to dress in costume every's a picture from earlier in the week.
It's sort of a big deal around these parts - this is from the Pumpkin People Festival.

Nature Girl was a vampire, Wild Thing was little red robin hood, and then it got windy and his hat blew off and he decided I should wear his hat and be a green old lady and he would be a red ghost, Sprout was a pumpkin, and Darkmirror got all dressed up as a skeleton and then he felt too sick to go out with us. It was beautiful out - 20 degrees, a full moon, and wispy clouds scudding by.

I'd just finished painting the front door dark oxblood red and we were afraid that the caution tape and red glistening door would just look like a halloween decoration so Papa Pan hung out in the yard handing out candy.

When the kids got home from trick or treating they gave Darkmirror a third. Darkmirror came out to look at the moon and handed out candy when I took the dog for her nightly run to the edge of the orchard. He got a HUGE laugh out of the fact Mica (a husky) terrified some teen Trick or Treaters. Mica takes off at a run as soon as she can (ex sled dog) and we follow at her pace as long as we can. It's a long leash and I was in shadow so all the kids saw was this wolf grey canine running full tilt at them. They ran screaming "COYOTE!!!"