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One Year Later

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Two days ago we celebrated the one year anniversary of moving into our little house in the woods. They say it takes the first week of a vacation just to start to relax and enjoy yourself. I’m wondering if it takes the first year of living on Salt Spring to unwind all the inner springs and let the watch finally run down.

Who knows if I’m actually at that point yet. What I do know is this: over the last two weeks I feel like I’ve acheived a perfect balance of work-life-fun-chores. Over the last two weeks I’ve settled into a workday ritual that ends abruptly at 3:00, at which point dilly-dallying and puttering take over. The weekend – and we have three days of it here – is given almost entirely to household chores, but done in a meandering, highly distracted way. And when the sun shines, that supercedes all previous plans and we head outside.

Only over the last two weeks have I started to implement 30 minutes of staring idly into space (while sitting outdoors) into my productive workday. And, most importantly, I regard it as a necessary activity!

Neither of us has acquired a taste for kale yet, but my little yogini consumes vast quantities of seaweed snacks. I, on the other hand, do not. She has set up a “yoga oasis” in her room and invites me in to do relaxation poses, complete with eye pillows. That’s my kind of yoga!

I am extremely fortunate to have a seven-year-old who adapted so effortlessly to such a big change, and who makes friends so readily that within days of starting grade one she had found 4 best friends. (They continue to be giddy, silly buddies into Grade Two.) As a result of this social circle, I get to hang out with a pretty fantastic collection of moms.

Lots of quality Grandpa and Grandma time, mild (soggy foggy) winters, blindingly gorgeous summers, greenery and silence, and wonderful friends.

We’re doin’ all right.

the dizzy dames

the dizzy dames

the moms

the moms

I ❤ fire

or… The Wood Stove: Exercises in Manliness

This Valentine’s Day I write a note to my beloved, the focal point of our new home:

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dearest wood stove!

From chopping to carrying to stacking to lighting to stoking to staring at the flames, I heart you, wood stove! (Even though you are resistant to drawing properly, and smoke up the house every time I light you up…)

One of my favourite camping activities has always been chopping wood for the nightly campfire. Why do I enjoy it so much? I think it makes me feel macho. Especially with my new axe!

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Check it out! I feel very manly indeed wielding this baby, and it causes my shoulders and back very manly pain.

(I was lucky to inherit a fully stocked woodshed when I bought this house, so I do more carrying than actual chopping.)

Two of my most prized Christmas presents this year:

new hatchet and wood carrier

new hatchet and wood carrier

And I am giddy with delight when dear old Dad is kind enough to give me –

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Kindling, o kindling!

Yes, everyone needs an obsession and mine is keeping the home fires burning.

Greek Goddess Hestia

For my money the Greek goddess Hestia – goddess of the hearth, architecture, and the right ordering of domesticity, the family and the state – had a pretty good gig. The only downside was that she had to stay at the hearth, and couldn’t go gallivanting about like the other Olympians. Which still sounds pretty good to me…

So I have whole-heartedly taken to this particlar aspect of rural living. At this time of year we have a fire going nearly every evening. And when there are still embers glowing, and all I have to do is blow on them and the flames spring up…

Magic!

Magic!

Step 91: Live in Colour (Be Bold!)

colour chip wallIn a faraway kingdom, long long long ago… okay, so it was just last May… we were painting our house white for resale, and it felt like we were bleaching the fun and joy right out of our lives. The only way I could cheer the Boss up about the “white white white white white!” was by talking about our future home and promising her she could choose the colours for her new room.

She immediately expressed a love of stripes. Yikes, I thought. A few days later she changed to polka dots. Double yikes, I thought.

Skip forward to last weekend, when I finally summoned up the courage to ask the fatal question: “So what colours do you want your room to be?”

We stood a long while in front of the paint chips at our local hardware store. I mean a loooong while. And we finally emerged with a blue, a yellow, and a green.

It occurred to me that it might be insane to let a six-year-old pick her own room colours, but then again, who am I to dictate colour choices? I am an indecisive idiot when it comes to paint hues. A wall of paint chips makes me break into a cold sweat. Having to choose between “washed-out-nearly-almost-pale-green” and “barely-perceptible-green-tinged-grey” makes me hyperventilate. The last time I painted a new house I had to have someone hold my hand and tell me what to do. (Thanks, Alice!)

In light of my chronic style handicap, why not let the Boss – she of the fabulous fashion and design sense – pick her own colours? Why not let her rule her own roost? Why the heck not?

It feels like a time to be bold, and live in full technicolor instead of soul-less white and obsequious beige.

So I ordered the paint and got to work…

okay, here we go

okay, here we go

nice...

nice…

not bad at all...

not bad at all…

Yowza!

Yowza!

It’s taken a couple of days to get used to, but I like it more every time I walk in there.

Another lesson in boldness from the Boss.