Thursday, January 26, 2012

One of those *wow* moments

It was -15 Celcius this morning when I went out to hang the clothes to dry and I had to wear sunglasses because the sun was so bright.  The branches were covered in frost and it felt so peaceful to be out there. I brought the camera along...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The grand (and completely unofficial) unveiling

The time has come. I just can't keep it in any longer. It's eating me alive! The overwhelming blend of excitement and sheer bloody terror has forced my hand.

So, without any further ado or preamble, here it is...




After moving here nineteen months ago, it looks as though the time has come for us to move on. To leave. To skedaddle. Fortunately for us, it looks as though we may be skedaddling into something better! I have to say (mostly to myself, over and over again) that this is all completely unofficial at the moment. It is nothing more than a mixture of verbal agreements that will hopefully solidify into a messy blob of officialdomness over the next few weeks.

Firstly... JC has agreed to sell a 35ac parcel of land to us. It is right across the street from us and is roughly split between flat hay/weed field, and hilly forest.

Secondly... a meeting with the owner of a log house company and a general contractor lead us to believe we can actually afford to build our own house for Mart, the kids, Mart's mom'n'partner and I, because...

Thirdly... the bank have pre-approved the deal.

There are still a ton of things to get done, from getting the land surveyed (before we can even buy it) to finalizing the house plans with the log home company. With a whole bunch of septic/well/foundation meetings thrown in there somewhere. Just for fun.

And did I mention that IF this all goes ahead... we will be living completely off-grid. Hand-pumped water. Solar set-up to cover our minimal power needs. And the big-ass Pioneer Maid cookstove will get to really strut her stuff.

I don't want to post too much about it until the maybe possibly probably turns into it's actually freaking happening! So I'll stop myself for now. But suffice to say that if this project keeps moving forward, there will be an awful lot to blog about as we plunge head-first into an off-the-grid life.

There could be a log house there next winter...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Waiting

I am finding it difficult to come up with any relevant posts for this blog again.

Not because I am jaded, but because we have a huge new project in the works that is taking up all of our spare time but isn't ready for grand unveiling just yet.

So please, stay tuned, because as soon as we have confirmation I'll post everything here.

For now, I'll just keep planning and waiting...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Time to dry off the goats

We've been milking our goats for almost a year now.  Every day at 7am, wether it's my birthday, wether I'm sick or tired, wether it rains or freezes below -25 Celcius, we walk into the goat pen and we empty their swollen udders while they feast on their portion of grain.

The routine is about to change.  The does are pregnant and they will give us a new batch of kids around April fool's day.  We are hoping that Samara, last year's only doeling, also pregnant, will have a successful birthing and we will start milking her as well.

We thought we had another month or so to go.  But they have already started to dry up on their own.  We peaked at 1 liter of milk per day, even though most days we had about 800ml.  But it has dramatically dropped in the past month to below 500ml, for both does.  Which makes it almost useless to get up in the morning to milk them.  So the timing is about right.

We'll start out by reducing their portion of grain.  They usually get 2 cups of Purina omelene 300 and we'll cut that down by half.  Then we'll start milking them every other day for a couple of weeks.  And after that every three days.  Within 3 or 4 weeks we should be done for good.  And hopefully it'll go well and none of them will get a mastitis.

And then : the GREAT lazy-time, highly wanted break will begin.  We might even take turns to visit the livestock at a later time in the morning, which means breakfast in bed almost every other day.  Sound like heaven and it WILL be.  Unfortunately we'll have to start drinking the watered down tasteless stuff they call milk from the store.  Everything has a price, doesn't it.  But soon enough the crazy times of goat birthing will come, followed by the cuteness of baby goats jumping around and eventually, the return of tasty, fatty goat milk in our morning coffee.  Ahhhhh the joys of homesteading! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Life without children

As most of you know by now we have 5 year old twins.  Since their birth, Gary stayed at home while I headed back to work after the pregnancy leave ended.  They have never set foot in a daycare, but it did come pretty close.  Looking for a place in daycare made us question our values as well as our hopes and dreams about the future.  And having other people raise our children wasn't part of the package.

But for over a week now we have let the kids go to spend time with my mother in the city and it has been a great experience for all parties involved.  The kids get to meet other people and live in a new environment, we get a well deserved break with plenty of silence and space and time to think things through without being interrupted.  And my mother and her partner are getting to know the kids a lot more before they move in with us this Spring.

It got me thinking about life with, and life without children, and how it has affected our choice of lifestyle.  And it also made me realize the impact children have on people's lives when in contact with them.  I hear a lot of things about over-population and some of the negative response to people having children is simply baffling to me.  I think life without children wouldn't be a life at all.  In a world that is getting scarce of resources and is saturated with pollution and greed, children can make families and communities rethink their values.  They make us think "Yeah but, what about the children?" They make us better people in a way.  They make us grow healthy food to feed them and they force us to provide better shelter and infrastructure to help them thrive because they have a longer way to go than we do.  Because we look at them and we think that they could probably have it better than we did if we just make a little effort.

Since our kids left a week ago, we've gone a bit lazy.  We stopped caring for others and only have ourselves to look out for.  When my kids enter a room, they make people smile and bring a tiny ray of sunshine into their lives.  Children are natural conveyors of life.  They make us look into the future, they make us hope, they make us better people.  And I don't think that refusing to put a child into this polluted, half-collapsed, degenerated world is a solution.  It would be a suicide to stay away from the only thing that keeps us going: a true sense of hope.  When you see yourself growing and evolving into another, smaller, hopefully better version of yourself it forces you to make more humane and sustainable decisions.  It makes you a better human being.