Thursday, September 30, 2010

Polaroids, Baby Wearing and Walks

Sunday evening we went for a walk in a beautiful park close to our town. I was afraid we weren't going to find anything to replace our beloved Nose Hill Park. But while J.J. Collett requires a car ride to reach, rather than just a walk, it's a beautiful natural area and we're glad for the 635 acres of wilderness.

We thought we'd share a few pictures of our walk in the dying daylight.
The fall colours make it all especially beautiful.
And, on a related note, we'd like to give a product endorsement to the Beco Carrier (we've got the Butterfly 2 model). This little device has been a great great aid in the months since we've been living here and I've been carless.
E and the Beco and I go all kinds of places...
for daily walks,
for grocery trips,
to look at paint samples
to the Farmers' Market...
and many other places!

E weighs over 15 pounds now and I barely feel her added bulk because the carrier distributes it so well over my shoulders and hips. Plus, it keeps us nice and cozy close so we can chat and cuddle and share the world together.
And, finally, not a product endorsement but rather a product wish-we-could-try-it-and-see-if-it's-worth-endorsing! We love the look of the polaroid picture (all the photos in this post are Photo Shop finished to look like Polaroids) and there's now a new version of the now-defunct Polaroid on the market--for only sixty-ish dollars! Might be fun to play around with, no?

Not to mention I  just like the funny feeling I get from the pictures that we're suddenly transported back to the seventies...I like the seventies. :D

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


So, this is where things are at.
In case the pictures aren't self-explanatory enough, a few notes:
Exit tub stage left via a hole in the bathroom/kitchen wall
Complete lack of kitchen cabinets/sink and lack of most drywall.
Very exuberant plumber, considering his work day starts at eight AM and the picture was taken at ten PM.
What is the bathroom missing besides a tub? Oh yes, also a toilet.
And how many inches of beautiful water-holding tub did we gain?
That's a lot of steam-releasing, relaxation-inducing beauty.
Tub is out!

No tub!

New tub ready to go in.


Do-Over!: In Which a Forty-Eight-Year-Old Father of Three Returns to Kindergarten, Summer Camp, the Prom, and Other EmbarrassmentsDo-Over!: In Which a Forty-Eight-Year-Old Father of Three Returns to Kindergarten, Summer Camp, the Prom, and Other Embarrassments by Robin Hemley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A quick but thought-provoking humourous autiobiographical book in which the author revisits his bad experiences of childhood and attempts to re-do some of them. I appreciated Hemley's honesty and humility in revisiting old relationships and his down-to-earth writing style. The book made me think about what from my youth I regret and would want to re-do.

Two things from my youth that I would re-do:

1) When all my brothers learned to drive the tractor, bobcat, swather and other implements, I didn't push to learn--I didn't need to, my brothers could. But now I wish I had learned when I had the chance.

2) In high school, I "knew" I was headed for a life of academics, so I didn't bother taking any of the practical skill classes like mechanics, carpentry, or even sewing. Rather, I took allllll the academic courses (but dropped out grade twelve physics partway through) and lots and lots of band classes. Oh yes, I was that band geek.

So, what would you redo?

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Some Links

Life at the moment is incredibly exhausting, overwhelming and enriching. Explanatory pictures to come.

But in the meantime, some links:

What we'd ultimately like our front hall way to look like, courtesy of Ikea. But we're a long, long way from this.

A thought-provoking article about supporting local agriculture and farmers beyond merely a popular fad. I ordered our next 1/4 of a beef last week, and that's a good step, but there's so much more I could be doing.

Some thoughts about toys...I'm already anti-plastic when I can be (other than Lego!) and B and I are seeking out places to purchase more natural and sustainable material imagination-stimulating toys.

The Young House Love take on saving money whilst raising babies. We've been incredibly blessed with handmedowns and have saved a ton of money that way. The one point on which I disagree with the author is the crib versus bassinet idea--E has only ever slept in a bassinet so far (both our crib and our bassinet were handmedowns) and we've all slept way better that way than if she'd been in a crib. But then, we don't have room for a crib in the trailer, and I know that for other families, the crib route has made for a happier mom and a happier baby, so to each their own!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ellis Bird Farm

Earlier this summer I visited the Ellis Bird Farm...on the occasion of a shower put on for E and I (thanks again, M!)
And I was so impressed that I visited again, just E and I...whereupon M fed us tea and scones (she waitresses there occasionally).
And was still so impressed that I went back a final time with my husband...the last day they were open for the season.
May I recommend visiting?
If you like birds....
They apparently have the largest gathering of mountain bluebirds in North America.
Purple martens and many other kinds of birds also abound. 

If you're aren't a birder (which I am not)...
there are still reasons to go
Like the delicious baking at the teahouse. In keeping with the natural fauna of the area, the teahouse serves an array of desserts featuring saskatoons, rhubarb, raspberries and strawberries. The buns used for sandwiches are baked fresh every morning and the tea is loose and served in personal tea pots with real china cups and saucers.

And the scenery. The Bird Farm is an oasis amidst fields of crops. Not that there's anything wrong with fields of wheat and canola and whatnot. But when you step onto the paths of the Bird Farm, you feel like you're entering another world. The Farm is a mixture of native trees and shrubs and general "bush" and carefully maintained gardens of shrubs, perennials and annuals. I found butterfly gardens, a xeriscaping garden, a "native-species" garden, and a water garden. And, of course, there are birdhouses tucked away everywhere.

The Ellis Bird Farm is free to visit, including the interpretive center, where you can see stuffed examples of various bird species, and watch live video feed from inside a swallow house or from the finch feeder. And the resident biologist and manager, Myrna Pearman, is more than happy to answer questions and get even the most skeptical visitor excited. It is closed for the season now, but will re-open on May Long Weekend of 2011 with another full season of tours, birdhouse-building events, birds and flowers and lots and lots of tea.

Finally, on an interesting note, the Ellis Bird Farm is integrally tied up with the MEGlobal/Dow Chemical plant across the road. An interesting juxtaposition of industry and conservation, to be sure...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Travel Literature

The Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey Around Great BritainThe Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey Around Great Britain by Paul Theroux

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The concept is good: walking and taking transit around the coast of Britain, while examining the people, culture and general society throughout. But Theroux seems to have such a negative and cynical outlook on what he sees that you come away thinking Britain is an incredibly depressing place.

Which it is not! I've been to Northern England and stayed in two of the towns that Theroux passes through, and the country is not nearly as dirty and depressing as he makes it out to be.

The biggest frustration is that Theroux seems to find no joy in the people. They are mostly unemployed, fat, unambitious and inward-looking. And that's certainly not who we encountered while there.

Bottom line: I don't like Theroux's bad attitude.

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Friday, September 10, 2010


Just some figures in an update on life:
 36 bundles of shingles estimated needed for the south side of the roof
18 feet spans the width of the new veranda
8 sheets of drywall required for the master bedroom and front hall way
2nd trip to Calgary for a baby passport was successful
4 board books borrowed from the public library
2 days til good chance of a killing frost
1.5 days between load of diapers washed
2 pictures of E to share.

Book Review: Last Child in the Woods

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit DisorderLast Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A thought-provoking book to be sure, Louv's critique of our society made me think carefully about my relationship with the outdoors both when I was growing up and now, and how I want to share the natural world with my own children. He points out what I have always felt--that people, whether adults or children, are more calm, organized and directed when they have natural space to be in.

I have always treasured and enjoyed natural landscapes in my surroundings, and Louv emphasizes just how important--and how precarious--those spaces are as our population grows and becomes more suburbanized.

I appreciate how Louv ended on a hopeful note, outlining ways that people can get involved to protect natural spaces and ways to share them with the next generation.

I highly recommend this book to individuals with a vested interest in future generations of children, and in the future and place of natural spaces, plants and animals in our world.

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