Country mouse, city mouse

We are really happy with our recent move to the city.  It does seem to be in opposition to what I see most of my online and blogging friends doing (and some real life ones as well).  Most people seem to be saving up for or buying country properties, procuring small farm animals, growing their own food etc.  I guess I need to search out more urban homesteading and living lightly in the city type sites to keep us on track and in good company : )

I do find myself a bit surprised by how smooth the transition was/is and by how easily we slid back into our urban pre-kid lifestyle.  The kids adjusted really well…so much so it was actually anticlimactic (no need for all those “moving day” and “making new friends” books from the library really). Even I’m doing okay…and I LOVED our old house.  That house was our dream house.  You know, the one you dream of but never get?  That was it.  The first month we moved in I kept pinching myself to make sure it was real.  Friends visited and felt like they were in a secluded cabin getaway forest paradise.  And of course, they were!  Our annual Solstice celebration had a winter wonderland setting.  So truly, my biggest worry was how I was going to react to moving.  Would I be in a funk over the move? A depression about loss of the forest and river and passive solar house and walk-in closets (so superficial I know!), and my soaker bathtub (so welcomed by my post-birth-attending body), and the birds and the wildlife and cross-country skiing straight out from our front door…and I do miss that.

I wasn’t kidding when I said we went skiing out the front door.

There was nothing better than drying the girls off in front of the fire after a bath…no woodstove or fireplace in the new house.

Can’t beat getting the kids up in the morning and putting them in front of…the window…

to watch squirrel TV or…

…watch birds.  Our yard was home to so many beautiful creatures, cardinals, blue jays, stick bugs, toads…Remember my post, “Salamanders, Frogs and Worms, OH MY!”?  Telling the kids to “go find some salamanders in the woodpile” was my go-to thing to get them out of my hair while making dinner etc.  Here’s is hoping for some urban creepy crawlies and feathered friends to keep us busy…

photo by Brandy Jackson of http://www.stonewallphotography.com

Did I mention I miss my tub.  Surely you can see why.  I choose this picture, well, because we are clothed in it and because you can see we loved it right from moment one…Eric is still hard at work on the rest of the plumbing while Ivy and I jumped in to try it out.  Heaven I tell you! My new bathroom with its apple green tiles and old school fixtures is vintage awesome…but when the water in your bath doesn’t go more than half-way up your hips…sigh…at least we are conserving water.

This time of year I miss the preparations for tapping our trees.  From our yard we were able to make huge amounts of maple syrup to keep and to give.  I’ll miss the time J and I would spend late at night tending the fire, drinking beer and keeping warm while we (he) painstakingly boiled the sap down…We might try tapping at Grammie and Grandpa’s but that means asking them to do a lot of the work of checking and emptying the buckets…we’ll see if we can hold on to this tradition…

Mostly I miss the view from the windows…snow falling was magical.  Fall was gorgeous.  In summer we were kept well shaded and cool and in spring we watched the beautiful tulips and daffodils pop up and the moss turn bright green…Of course I’ll miss the view from the windows especially because I stared out those windows my entire labour with Ivy.  I remember watching the nearest pine tree and thinking how long it had been standing there and how much wind and rain and snow it had endured and yet it stood strong.  After Ivy was born I sat on the couch and looked out onto the most gorgeous fall day.  I silently thanked the tree for being such a great reminder of my own strength.

Here is that tree in winter…

The incredible colours of our yard in the fall…

The perfect summer setting for our outdoor movie festival (we showed The Princess Bride/Wonder Pets double feature in 2011)

Photo by Brandy Jackson http://www.stonewallphotography.com

Picking flowers in the spring.  This yard was also an endless supply of sticks and acorns and leaves and rocks – we will need to find a new source for our craft supplies!

And finally I’ll miss walks down our road and down by the river…

I loved walking by this little creek just down the road.  It lead to the mill that is part of the LaRue House.  Mrs. LaRue was the area’s midwife back in the 1800’s.  As a midwife it was neat to live down the road from the old “Birth House”.

It is weird truthfully.  I don’t think about the old house much.  Writing that list just now does make me feel nostalgic but I’m not lamenting the move.  I think we were just ready.  The location was beautiful.  The house was more than I ever thought I’d have and environmentally friendly to boot.  But it doesn’t suit where we are as a family right now.  The drive to and from work was beautiful but the commute was killing Mother Earth.  Our yard and the girl’s play space was breathtaking and watching the girls run around and explore in the yard/forest was heart-warming but once both girls were in school or daycare we were in that space less and less.

Maybe you should replace the words ” I miss” in this post with “I remember fondly”?  This moves marks a major transition.  It is like we are entering a new era, a new stage in who we are as a family.  It is great fun to remember the old place but I don’t find myself looking back.

There is too much to look forward to!  This move has already allowed for a better work/life balance.  The girls and I are crafting more not less.  Incredibly we are more physically active than we were in that last year of living in the great outdoors!  We are eating better (living out of your car is horrible for that).  And although this new house is older and not as efficient, we are able to walk to everything we need and are using less fuel in our car (by an incredible amount…I can’t even tell you…).  Opportunities for greening our life abound in this city.  We are even able to have chickens in the city something we’ve always wanted to do (see the following “chicken-sitting” photo, thanks Teri for sharing your chickens with my chicken-loving girls).

The girls are fantastically happy to have friends nearby, to walk on sidewalks (seriously thrilling for them), and to have “neighbours we can see”.  Our new neighbourhood is incredible and one neighbour even came over to help us unload our van the day we moved in!  Most others have come by to introduce themselves and welcome us.  This was such a pleasant yet unexpected turn of events…aren’t country people supposed to be friendlier than city folk?  Not here apparently and we are so grateful.

For now we are enjoying a long sought after dose of winter.  The weatherman says it won’t last long.  As winter winds down and we’ve mostly settled in, we turn our thoughts to Spring and new things.  Such a wonderful reminder that things happen when they are supposed to, as they are supposed to.  Every end, a new beginning.  We can’t wait to have our first gathering of friends in our new home to celebrate the Spring Equinox.  Let the making, and preparing, and planning begin!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Winter!

Well, I wanted winter, I hoped for winter, I longed for winter, I demanded winter…and winter came.

It came with little snow and an inch of ice that encased our cars and coated the branches of trees.  Two friends had their windshields crack while trying to chip their way into their cars. The weight of the ice on the tree branches was too much for some trees to bear and whole limbs came down bringing power lines with them.  Really this kind of winter weather entreats us all to go back inside and cozy up with loved ones or a good book…but I couldn’t resist going out for a closer look.  The park was beautiful!

Poor trees!  Look how heavy those branches are!

I was glad for a chance to enjoy being outside in something akin to a winter wonderland finally but it was getting late.  It was so nice to head back inside and snuggle with the kiddies.  I’m crossing my fingers snow won’t be far behind.

Happy Winter!

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.  ~Edith Sitwell

An Ode to the drive home after a birth…

This photo essay of driving home after a birth seemed like a lovely way to end my on-call week.   Early this morning I attended another lovely homebirth “out in the country” (the second in less than 24 hours).  And so I was given the gift of this glorious ride home.
Quite a sight – hundreds of bikes lined up against this farm fence…

I have been driving these now familiar roads for the past 7 years and today as I drove, I smiled as I passed the houses where I had attended a birth or a postpartum visit in the past.  And I thought of the  mothers and our visits spent admiring their little ones or enjoying a cup of tea together or taking a deep breath as we worked through some breastfeeding challenges.  I remembered the excited siblings who woke groggy-eyed to meet their new brother or sister.  My smile grew wider as I thought of each of them still snug in their beds or just getting up to start the day, totally unaware that the person who was there the moment they were born was driving past and thinking of them.

Imagine the sound of running water under your feet - wonderfully relaxing or dangerous for deep sleepers

I felt gratitude for the wonderful and skilled women I work with and for be able to do the work I do.  And although these photos were taken with a horrible Blackberry camera, they still capture the beauty of where I live and where I see life, beautifully.

Wishing I had more time to sit and dip my toes in...but off to the office I go!

I stopped for a few moments every time I passed a particularly gorgeous spot, aware that I couldn’t linger too long.  A drive home from a birth doesn’t always end in a bed and today it ended with a shower, some food, a trip to the real estate agent’s office, a meeting, some clinic, a homevisit, parent-teacher interviews, a lovely drive home with my family and now, a blog post to capture it all!

Okay, one more deep breath...trying to soak it all in quickly which is never as good as taking your time

So.  Finally, it is time to partake in the midwives’ time-honoured tradition of…falling asleep, truly tired from a days work, with wonderful and warm images like these dancing in my head.  Good night!