Family

Today

The roar of the waves is loud this morning. The ice chunks crashing against the shore amplify the sound even more than usual.  I didn’t get out of bed until 8 o’clock.  I dozed in and out of sleep to two little girls coming into and then leaving my bed.  From downstairs I could hear the clanging of the milk pail and compost bucket as Gabe, Ben, and Noah prepared to head out for goat milking, and Zach went out to fuel the fire and walk the dog. For a time only the stampeding feet of little girls and the sounds of  their swords slicing the air in a battle against dragons drifted in and out of my consciousness. I lay there enjoying the kicks of this babe in my womb and sleepily pondered the wonder if it all – this miracle of life, my older children diligently about their morning chores while their mom lounged in bed, the creative dialogue and dragon fight going on in the next room, the fact that the baby was still asleep.  That thought helped me out of my sleepy reverie enough to realize that if I wanted that morning shower I’d better do it now!

Some time ago we decided to set aside Saturdays to rest.  The kids guard these days with a fervour.  It really is something for us all to look forward to.  Aside from the necessary daily chores (animals, dishes, etc.) there is no agenda.  Games are played, books are read, relaxing is done.  It was hard for me to do at first, but with some discipline I’ve come to enjoy it and find such refreshment in a day to relax.  We are flexible about what “rest” means.  If Dad is free and everyone wants to go down hill skiing then that is what they do for rest.  One winter, for a period of time,  it meant the whole family got outside to clear and burn brush.  Some days for the kids it means a massive game of Magic the Gathering or Settlers of Catan or playing violin or Lego all day.  I admit there are some Saturdays for me that mean I catch up on all sorts of things because the week got too busy. But I’m getting better at keeping the weeks manageable, planning ahead for a day of rest, at accepting the work is never done and letting it sit for a day, and at acknowledging that after a restful day I’m all the more ready to plunge in again on Sunday morning. Anyway, maybe I’ll get back to what Saturdays mean for our family another time.  What I really was getting to was today.  What is happening today?

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The turn of the calendar to a new year always signals the onset of gardening fever for Zach. This morning he just finished up preparing a small online order of seeds he forgot on the first main order.  All I had to do was pay the bills and all the seeds are now ordered!  Next up…. tree orders.

Notice that small hand checking out the tools!

Notice that small hand checking out the tools!

 

Gabe pulled out CIA Lock Picking and a lock picking tool kit that the boys received as a Christmas gift and started working on that.

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Ben and Noah were setting up a Magic game which just drew in the two big brothers.  The four boys will be occupied with that for a while.

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Katie and Danica are doing crafts and drawing at their desk in the basement.  Esmée is scooting around looking for her missing “foo” (shoe) and asking to “see-see” whenever I take a photo. Update: The girls are now having a tea party with real mint tea, honey, and milk. They are also making “soup” with water and thyme and basil. I think I heard that Katie is adding honey to her soup.  Esmée is napping.  Everyone is peaceful.

I’m writing something for my blog. This hasn’t happened in a while and each time it does I keep saying I want to do it with more regularity.  Well, we shall see.  One post at a time.  A few things on my Rest Day list ……. practice piano duet that Gabe and I are learning, practice cello, get through some of my list of things to look up online, do the next part of the DVD guitar course I just started with Noah, get the kids to help me chop pizza toppings, and then, if I feel like it’s relaxing to do, I just might fold a basket of laundry and tidy up the aftermath of our big day out skating and visiting yesterday!

The aftermath

The aftermath

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Random Sampling

 

 

We’ve been having a great summer of gardening, goats, bikes, swims, and getting to see (and meet!) cousins.  I thought I would be blogging but that’s just not what’s ended up happening.

 

These are taken at a beautiful little lake nearby where the water warms up a lot more than in Lake Superior!  It’s easy to pop over there for a quick swim.  It’s the same spot we were sucker fishing in the spring.
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I pulled out the microscope a couple of weeks ago and sent the kids for some water samples from the ditches.  The microscope was used for several hours every day for several days!  It was fun to watch.  (Sometimes I was in there fighting for my turn too.)

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One exciting thing about this summer is that we’ve found someone who has learned to milk the goats and was able to take care of things here while we made a trip to visit my family.  It was short but a lot of fun.  The oldest two boys stayed with my parents for an extra week and we’re all getting really anxious for them to return home tomorrow!  It sounds like they’ve had a lot of adventures with fishing, trucks, cousins, and backhoes.

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Around here it’s been a full-time, all-day undertaking to keep everything – goats, gardens, dog, children – taken care of without expecting to accomplish anything extra.  And that’s not the only reason I’m looking forward to my big boys coming back.  I just miss them!

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The following photos are from today.  The cat caught this juvenile hummingbird and the kids are hoping to nurse it back to health.

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Coming up next:

A Growing Garden – Photos Throughout the Season (Thus Far)

The Heroic One-Night Camping Trip 

First Trip Around the Sun

 

 

 

 

This little sweetheart is already one year old (plus a month).

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Suckers

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Spring

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This season is so abundant, so full of promise and hope and splendour!  The project list exceeds the available time in the day, excitement of discovery and for new plans runs high.  They days are full and overflowing.  Hearts are full and happy and grateful.  Bodies are refreshed, worked, and then fatigued in that wonderful way of fresh air and sunshine and physical exertion.

Over the course of April and now into May I’ve thought many times about different things I’d like to blog, but there were too many other things calling for my attention!  Add to that some computer and internet difficulties.  Today I’ll try to do a little recap with mostly photos and a few words!

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A hike from our house to a secluded little harbour on the Lake Superior for a picnic and good time with friends.  (Oh, and one accidental slip with a knife that quickly ended the festivities and required stitches. I don’t think I’ll post photos of the home-stitching that took place back at the house. I don’t think Noah has even gotten up the courage to see what his hand looked like in that process yet.)

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The birthday duo!

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After five months of telling me what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday – changing almost weekly – Katie finally settled on “chocolate raspberry” and Noah agreed.  I made a ganache icing and used fresh raspberries and already we’ve had requests for the same cake for future birthdays. :-)

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Kingfisher watching and clam shell collecting at the river mouth.

 

 

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Two of our does gave birth to a total of three beautiful, healthy bucklings.  I enjoyed the goat “midwifery” part of the process, but I hate disbudding the little guys.  I have to redo two of them in the next couple of days.

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Does it get any cuter than this?

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We recently learned how to tan our own hides!

It’s hard to decide which photos to include because I have so many that I love!  I’m working on getting my Flickr uploads happening regularly without eating up our bandwidth!

Happy May long weekend!

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Pi(e) Day

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There is something about pies.  My husband loves them.  If I never ate another pie I’d be alright with that.  But I especially don’t love making pies.  And I’m really not sure why.  Now chocolate… that’s another story!

Yesterday – Pi Day (check the date…. 3/14) – we were invited to a Pi(e) Potluck.  I was reluctant to make a pie and thought of other ideas, but in the end I settled on a couple of recipes to try and, with my sweet little helper (above), set to work.  Then I had this crazy inspiration – I’d master pies – flaky crust and all!

One pie a week, fifty-two pies per year, sounds like a reasonably small challenge that will accomplish two fairly big goals: become a pie expert and bring great epicurean pleasure to one hard-working guy!  Well, maybe not every week.  But definitely more often.

This weeks’ pies – chocolate pecan and flaky pear!  So maybe there will be a few pies to post on here once in a while.

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The Cooks

I’d like to introduce you to the household cooks.  First, let me confess that I have been very slow to train my kids in kitchen skills.  Sure, I’d let them throw in some flour and crack some eggs and get their hands all doughy and lick the spatula, but I was usually more concerned about keeping the mess within bounds than equipping them with a skill.  On top of that, I was always too busy to take the extra time to include them, to teach them, to wait for them, to encourage them, to clean up after them.  Not much has changed – I’m still busy, it still takes extra time, they still make big messes, and there’s a whole lot more clean-up.  What has changed?  That is material for another post or several other posts (a topic I intend to focus on a bit on this blog – change), but for now I’ll leave it at this:
The time I invest in these little people yields exponentially in a short time. And I anticipate I’m only on the brink of experiencing the rewards.  Kids busily occupied with the planning and doing of real things are happy kids!

Zach (14) has taken entirely over breakfasts and, I must say, he’s more ambitious in the morning than I am!  Porridge is still a staple meal, but we eat a lot more banana buckwheat pancakes with coconut whipped cream and fruit topping than we used to.  He’s also the resident salsa master, whether water-bath canned, fresh, or naturally fermented (my fave!).

Gabe (12) covers most lunches, specializing in soups such as creamy carrot and chicken vegetable.  He also makes a tasty bruschetta flatbread, a greek pasta salad, and pretty much any other recipe I stick in front of him. When we’re having pasta for supper he’s the guy I call on to make fresh spelt pasta!  (There is usually a keen younger sibling to help with the task of rolling and hanging it out.)

Ben (10) is the granola maker, he likes to bake and since we don’t eat a whole lot of baking he’s thinking of starting up a little neighbourhood service to expand his baking opportunities.  When chicken adobo is on the supper menu, he’s my man.

Noah (7) is our official pizza crust roller (individual size made up ahead), and he along with….

Danica (5) are in training to take over the bread making.  I predict that in about two more batches they’ll be on their own and I’ll just have to put it in the oven for them.

Katie (2) is egg cracker extraordinaire.  Give her a dozen eggs and a bowl and let her go.  No shells!  She likes to pull up a chair and help me with just about anything I’m doing in the kitchen.

Below are the bread bakers busy at work today. They each make a two-loaf batch so it’s not too difficult to knead.  At the far end of the table you can catch a glimpse of Ben (behind a bucket) working on granola.

 

 

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Quinzee

Quinzee

It’s going to be -27°C tonight! What should we do?  I know, let’s sleep outside!

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Three cozy boys in their quinzee.

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