Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's The Date? ....No Really!?

I have not posted very much this summer!  Not that I haven't had any blog fodder, I've just been so darn busy.  Life has been wonderfully hectic for the Mr. and I here on our wee homestead, what with home and work and cats.....woooooooooo, I need a nap!

We have been reaping the rewards of a garden well tended....

....peas and carrots and beets and beans and kale.....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

We've been enjoying watching the interaction between Dave and Penelope also.....

....they take a break from chasing each other from time to time to take a much needed nap, Dave looooves his new kitty!

I've been getting a lot of knitting done also, after rushing out the door on arriving home from vacation to deliver most of my hat inventory...I turned around and made another dozen which I will have to deliver soon. You know this makes me happy.

I'm still suffering a little from Granny Square Fever, I like this playful square but I can make the centre look more like a rose than it does here....

I'm thinking the studio will need a girly, soft coloured, granny square throw to go with the light, airy colours I've picked out for paint.  Even in this heat I can't put down my wool, it smells even stronger in the heat and the smell of real wool is the best aromatherapy ever!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Voluntary Simplicity

I've been thinking a great deal about the state of things, climate change, the global economy, peak oil, peak population, first world out of control autoimmune disorders, civil unrest, toxins everywhere, the list goes on and on.  I don't think I'm alone in being concerned about these things, if you pay attention to the news, you can't help but be a little informed at least that this is not the same world of our childhood (I'm saying this as a person in my mid forties).

Many years ago, tight finances in my life lead to forced austerity, this was probably the single most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me (aside from meeting Mr. Homesteader a.k.a the love of my life, and quitting smoking).  From that time of being forced not to spend, to only be a consumer of things I actually needed, came a better understanding of what it actually takes to live a happy, healthy life.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows...I was very upset and unhappy over no longer having a disposable income.  At that time, my understanding of happiness was very dependant upon stuff and things and taking away my ability to acquire stuff and things took some time to come to terms with.  I'm not sure if I would have had as much personal growth, or at the same rate, if this had not happened.  Regardless, it did and the re-evaluations made in all areas of life lead me to a peaceful place...and this place I like to call Voluntary Simplicity.

Voluntary Simplicity is now just a natural part of my life and being.  It is so simple by nature but also so complex in that it takes into account every single aspect of life, from health and emotional well-being to the physical properties of home, property and stuff.  If I don't need it, I generally don't buy it.  If it is a "want" and that want is within my means, makes sense and doesn't cost the earth, I'll still go for it, but it really has to be something very special to me and have some kind of purpose.  Does it make my life easier and more comfortable?  Does it add to my general state of good health or could it have a negative effect?  Is it good, bad or neutral to the environment?  You can't help but find more balance just by keeping these simple questions in mind before you buy.

Some think I'm crazy to put so much time and effort into jamming, pickling, canning, freezing and drying food, to making things for myself and doing things for myself.  I've been called a "prepper" a "doomsdayist" etc.  That's really o.k.  I do these things because they make sense to me.  I used to feel a sense of entitlement, that since I had money to buy things, I should be able to have whatever I wanted, when I wanted it.  I didn't think about the effect it might have on my health, my neighbour's health or the health of planet....I just wanted it.  I believe that the effort I put into this voluntary simplicity gives me and those around me better health, more balance, a greater sense of community.  Just today, one of my customers told me he'd have some blackberries from his hedgerow for me soon.  He's going to take what he needs to make blackberry beer first then give me the rest.  I will give him back some grape jam that I've made from my own fruit....this is so simple.  Simple country living.  Yet as simple as it is, I get something that I don't grow myself and I won't have to buy and he gets something that he doesn't grow or make himself and again...doesn't have to buy.  Community.  It doesn't get much more simple than that.

The complexity of Voluntary Simplicity extends so much further than bartering a few food items, Mr. and I are almost ready to install a solar array on our homestead.  I've heard it said "how can this be voluntary simplicity, how can this be austere, that's so expensive...must be nice" answer to all of that is... it is nice, but it has also been a choice and we've had to take our time.  It was our choice not to spend money elsewhere and we definitely took our time, buying components as we could.  Most people we know can make this choice if they want to, again it's one's choice where they spend their money, time, resources.  But more about the Solar project in a future post, it's so wonderful, that it needs a post of it's own.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summertime On Four Acres And Beyond

Just had a wonderful 3 week adventure both on and off the acreage.  Part one I already blogged about, having spent 5 nights away in Cape Breton, it was such a good time.

Part two was a trip to Ontario to see family for yet another significant Birthday celebration.  I have not one picture to show for it!  Not one!  Which is supper way strange because while there, I visited the Textile Museum in Almonte!  I was in a textile museum and didn't take pictures....I still can't believe it.  I went with my Sister and Sister-in-law who are both textile junkies like me, just with using different media.  My sister sews, knits and felts, my Sister-in-law quilts and knits and of course there's, knit, spin, crochet and now I want to learn to quilt.  Well it was a very fun and interesting time spent with them and it was wonderful to show them a glimpse of where my passions lie.  Of course the museum housed the larger, more industrial spinning and carding machines...but it really works on all of the same principles of hand spinning.

No sooner did I arrive home from part two of my Summertime Adventure, Part three happened....I had a very nasty, sore, super-nova tooth removed while sedated.  I realise that that doesn't really sound fun and it wasn't, but knowing that after all of the healing is finished I will never be bothered by that tooth again is just wonderful and according to the's healing beautifully.  I went back to work the day after, my mouth was fine but I could have used another 2 days off to fully recover from the sedation...that was weird.

Part four.  We adopted a sweet little cat that we've named Penelope (Penny for short).  She's a year old and had been very badly handled by someone causing a severe break to her upper front leg.  She now has a permanent plate in the leg and a permanent limp (although not very pronounced) and of course will have arthritis in time.  The adventure took us through the weekend when we brought her home and slowly introduced her to Dave.  Dave would very much like to play with her and get to know her, but so far, Penny can't stop hissing and growling at him...oh well, they'll sort it out.  Mr. and I both had to work today so it will be interesting to see if everyone survived the day.  I would have let Dave out for the day but of course I live in potato country...commercial potato country and Monday is "spray day" and since Dave neither has blight, nor is "round up ready", I like to keep him in on those days.  At least the farmer that owns two of the three sides around me tries very hard to let me know in advance so that I can run home and let him in...that is very nice.

Of course there's been a little knitting during the adventure also....seriously, like there wouldn't have been...

The Mill called no sooner than I walked through the door from away wanting 15 hats, so I had to start working on replacing them.  I've made 4 and decided that I wanted to make a few dish cloths before going on.

Tried my hand at a little granny triangle too, I'd like to make a string of bunting with them, maybe with a Christmas theme.

On the Homesteading front, we've harvested the last of the red currents, I think we picked 4 cups this year.  Every year we get more and every year amazes me that so much fruit can come from such a small shrub.  The black current towers over the's huge in comparison, yet it yields almost nothing.  Go figure.  The peas, carrots and beets are being eaten with a wild abandon...none of them are being kept for storage this year...these ones are all about instant gratification.

I think the currents are destined to be made into a delightful jam...we'll all appreciate that in January.