Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Karma

I absolutely believe in karma - what goes around comes around...or however you prefer to phrase it.

Here are the two most recent incidents -

1.  The grocery store I go to has those carts that are all chained together - you know, the kind you have to insert a quarter to free it?  And then you get your quarter back when you are done?  Which makes you maddeningly have to carry a quarter with you every time?  Yeah, those.

I was on my way out of the store and packing my groceries into my trunk when a truck pulled in beside me.  The man popped out and said "I'll take that cart for you", I said sure and pushed it over.  He tried to give me a quarter, but really, it's just a quarter, and so I just gave it to him.  I was surprised at how surprised he  seemed over this.

Fast forward to two weeks later, and my husband dropped me off at the store and drove off with the baby to run other errands.  As  I reached into my pocket I realized...no quarter.  Stupid, stupid grocery store and your stupid, stupid carts!  I walked into the store and low and behold - a cart, free of its shackles sat there, just waiting for me.  That never happens!

Karma.


2.  My husband was sick.  Made my baby sick.  Then my husband got sick again.  Saturday night I made a crack about how I am apparently the only one in the household with a functioning immune system.  I felt superior.  Smug.  Strong.  

And now I feel....like shit.

That's right.  Karma.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

From the Weather Book

January 20
- -27C in morning
- overcast and gloomy all day

January 21
- snow in the morning
- sunny, clear in afternoon


January 23
- mild - 0C
- rainy most of the day

January 24
- mild again
- windy!
- my icicle is melllting!
- fluffy snow



January 28
- mild
- snow, snow, snow
- windy & wild night

January 29
 - snowed in!
- thick snow in afternoon






Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Green Onion Update - Day 13

So, I finally got around to using the green onions I've been growing.

Previous Entries-
Original post
Update - Day 6



I put them all back in the water to see if they will grow again.



Project verdict - an easy way to regenerate green onions if you don't mind floppy green stems in your kitchen window.  Tasty results.  Is it worth the $1.79 I saved?  Well...



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gains and Losses

Here's another one of those perfect winter things. 

When the snow on bare branches looks like this:






I know it's still only January, and we are in the heart of winter, but time moves fast and these perfect days are winding down.  Soon there will be slush and rain.  I'll blink and it will be Spring.

These thoughts weigh heavy on me because as March looms on the horizon, so does my boy's first birthday.  A time of joy and celebration, sure, but also a time of sweet sadness for me.  He's growing.  So fast.  Too fast.

I've been thinking lately in terms of gains and losses.

Each day with him I gain.  An almost word, a new smile, a new look, a new way to make him laugh.  But I lose, too.  His baby-ness fading.  His boyishness growing.  I think ahead to a time when I won't be his whole world.  The thought fills me with happiness, imagining how he will be and who he will be - but it also hurts.

And so, on this perfect winter day, I find my heart aching for the baby he was and the boy he is becoming.

Maybe loss isn't the right word.

Like the snow, moments accumulate.  Unlike the snow, these moments won't go away.  They populate my inner landscape.  My memory becomes a ball of yarn, wound around with a string of endless sweet days and beautiful firsts with an amazing little boy.



Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baby Muffins...for Babies!

My grandma is getting rid of some things, so I inherited some mini muffin tins.  What do you do when life hands you mini muffin tins?  Make baby muffins!  For your baby!



This recipe is 100% my own, of which I am inordinately proud.  I've experimented with baking before, but never really with superb results, and always using both butter and sugar.  I'm thrilled to report that these taste really, really good.

This recipe is butter free and refined sugar free.  It does have milled flax seed - for omega 3 fatty acids, whole wheat flour, and greek yogurt - high in protein.  It uses an egg yolk (the whites are an allergen, and should be avoided until your baby is at least a year), but you could always experiment with adding more applesauce if you want a completely egg free muffin.  If you don't have agave nectar on hand you can substitute brown sugar.



This makes a small batch - 9 - 12 baby muffins depending on how full you fill the tins.


BABY APPLE MUFFINS

1/4 C 2% plain Greek yogurt
1/4 C unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp agave nectar
0.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
0.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C milled flax seed
1/2 C grated apple


Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Line or grease and flour 9 - 12 mini muffin tins.

Combine wet ingredients and beat until smooth.

Mix dry ingredients and add to wet, stir to combine - do not over mix.

Gently fold in apples.

Spoon into prepared tins.

Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes, or until tops just begin to brown.  Muffins will spring back when touched.
















Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snow, Snow, Snow

....and more snow.

Everything is quieter when the snow falls.  Chickadees punctuate the overarching stillness.

There is something else in the air besides the snow.  The peace becomes a presence.

video






Friday, January 20, 2012

From the Weather Book

January 16
- 2 ft icicles on the back deck

January 17
- 0C in the morning
- snow, snow and more snow



January 18
- -20C in the morning
- 5 1/2 ft icicles on the back deck
- brilliant sunny day


January 19
- -10C in the moring
- brisk wind all day
- fantastic sunrise
- turkeys in the trees!
- snow allll day
- the icicle endures...






Thursday, January 19, 2012

Icicles

I've always been fascinated by icicles. 




When I was young I thought of them as some sort of winter status symbol.  Look how wintry it is here.

I remember seeing huge arm thick, kid sized icicles on a neighbouring cottage at my grandparent's old place on Ahmic Lake.  "Whoa, impressive", my eight year old self thought.  "Now that is wintry".

That image has stuck with me through the years.  The epitome of winter.  Human habitation meets Mother nature.



Imagine my dismay when I learned that icicles forming along the eaves of a building actually signal problems with the structure.  Poorly insulated roof, heat loss, potential ice dams, the list goes on.

My winter dreams shattered as they met my practical side.  My child-like love of icicles and my type A adult self aren't seeing eye to eye on this winter status symbol.

Here on Maple Lake we have the same icicles I remember from my childhood.  And the icicles certainly are impressive.  Huge, beyond kid-sized, some 5' 6" at last measure.  They are beautiful, catching the light and colour of each sunrise over the lake.  Reflecting each perfect day.

The behemoth.  The largest icicle in this photo is 5' 6" at least.


The part of me where winter magic lives is thrilled.

The grown-up wants a new roof.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Growing Green Onions in Your Kitchen - Day 6

Green Onion Update! 

I know you've been dying for this!  It's riveting stuff.

Growth seems slow to me, but really, I have no yardstick to measure green onion growth, so....



As you can see, I've been adding to my little onion collection.  They are in various stages of regrowth.  You can see major root growth going on in the water.


Here is one of the first green onions.  All of the dark green in new growth.  You can also see a new shoot that hadn't been previously cut.



I'm not sure how long I'll let them get before I'll start using them again.  I'm not sure how many times they can regrow.  STAY TUNED!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Feel Like a Pioneer Girl in Five Easy Steps

1.  Move to an old house on a lakefront in the middle of a forest.  It helps if you are seven weeks post-partum and aren't planning on working outside the home.


2.  Do zero in the way of upgrades to said house.  Watch the icicles form along the eaves and feel the cool breeze from your crappy windows.




3.  Start relying on a wood stove to partially heat your home.  You also have an oil furnace, but the wood stove helps take the edge off.  Plus oil is brutally expensive, and since most of the heat is escaping from the roof anyway (see #2), you'll need the wood stove.




4.  Have your husband go away for business for an extended period of time to a fun, big city and get to do fun, exciting things.  Like see other humans.


5.  Start hauling wood inside because it's freaking cold.  Viola! You're a pioneer! 




Stay tuned for other posts in this series - "Things I Shouldn't Have to Do"

Monday, January 16, 2012

From the Weather Book

January 14
- -24C in the morning

- horrifically cold all day




January 15
- another bitterly cold day
- brilliant sunshine





January 16
- up to -10C in the morning - a reprieve!
- 2ft + icicles

Friday, January 13, 2012

Growing Green Onions in Your Kitchen

A while back I read that you could re-grow cut green onions by placing them in water.  I think first I read about it here, but I couldn't find the specific post again.

Well, that's been rattling around in my head for some time, and I finally decided to try it.







Day 1:
So far, very little change.  If you look closely you can see that there is a tiny amount of growth. 






I am sure this will be about as exciting as watching paint dry, and depending on if it works on not, perhaps just as productive.

I plan to keep adding stems to this glass as I use more.

I'll keep you posted.  I know you're on the edge of your seat.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

From the Weather Book

January 7
 - a thaw

- dramatic skies



January 8
- loud ice in the morning
- very cold!
- spectacular sunrise



January 11
-a beautiful afternoon, continuing mild temps
- major fox activity all over the property






January 12
- snow, snow, snow

- amaryllis bloom







Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Finding Myself on Maple Lake

In April of 2011, just 7 weeks after the birth of our son, we moved to Maple Lake.  Purchasing this house and property had been a dream of my husband's for many years.  His grandparents had decided it was time to move into a smaller home, but also wanted to keep the property in the family.  So, we bought the farm, so to speak.

I completely understood his drive to be here.  My own grandparents moved to Parry Sound from Ahmic Lake, Magnetewan.  If I had been in a position to buy that property, I would have.  My best childhood memories are from Ahmic Lake.  I knew where my husband was coming from and how important it was to him.

How could I say no?

We decided to move after the baby was born, and put the house on the market.  It sold within three days.  Everything was falling in to place and it all seemed perfect.

I had my reservations about the move and about the house, and I spoke up about them.  We talked them through, or so I thought.  To be honest I think I ignored my gut instinct throughout the whole process.  My gut instinct usually tells me everything I need to know. 

Yes, I wanted it.  But more, I wanted to be able to do this for my husband.  To do it for my 25 year old self who hadn't been able to do the same.

We moved Easter weekend.  I am going to leave out all the nitty-gritty details, but in short, I wasn't happy.  I sucked it all up and powered through the day with the help of my grandparents who arrived like a cavalry, bringing cookies and shoulders to cry on.  In their usual fashion, they got straight down to business, cleaning cupboards and unpacking boxes. I am forever grateful to them for shining some light on my situation that day.

The next morning my reality slammed into me like a brick wall.  Hard.  I felt alone, overwhelmed and unbearably sad.  MISTAKE screamed and echoed in my head.

I felt that we'd left our first home without much thought because we were so enthusiastic about the move.

I felt so incredibly stupid.  I can't express that strongly enough.  I'd visited this house for ten years.  I knew the issues.  I understood where I was moving to.  I had been on board every step of the way.  I'd been open about my hesitations.  Worked through them.

But still.  I was not happy.  Many, many tears were shed.  I felt like I was crushing my husband.  It killed me to see the disappointment and pain in his eyes.  More than anything, he wanted to make me happy, too.

I spent the spring, summer and fall guarding against and pushing away loneliness and sadness that crept up and struck with no warning.  I would find myself standing in my driveway overcome with tears, feeling pulled in a myriad of directions.  I was homesick and missed so much about a place that I really did want to leave.  It was perplexing.

Slowly, slowly my days started to improve.  Bad days became fewer and less intense.  I talked.  I shared all of my negative thoughts and feelings with my husband who was ever patient.  Make jokes about my situation.  Started to like some things about being here.  The quiet, the space, the beauty just outside my door.  The scales were tipping.

Now winter has arrived and I can honestly say that there are things about living here that I love.  The tress covered in new snow.  Perfect sunrises over the lake.  Privacy.  Wide open spaces. 

I spent three seasons feeling un-anchored, having a house but no home.  I  know now that home is wherever my love is.  My son.  My husband.  And really, that's what brought me around.  I still have days where I stop and think "How on earth did this happen?", but in my gut I know my home is here.  Maple Lake.