Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the best laid plans

Is it getting to be a bit of a typical story on here that I make plans and then they don't pan out?  Perhaps the issue is the amount of plans, or the unrealistic expectations of a mother of a seven month old and an almost four year old.  Today for instance, after a stressful night of a baby's upset stomach and fitful sleep I decided that if the four year old wants to play paper dolls in his pajamas rather than go to pre-school so be it.  There are a dozen cobs of corn in my fridge that need to be blanched and frozen, birthday gifts to be finished and purchased, halloween costumes, halloween decorating, dishes, laundry, milk to pump, papers to file - maybe I should just stop there.

This post resonated with me this week.  The chaos that my creative life lives in is overwhelming and yet it is all I have right now so I must make the best of it.  If I waited for a quiet autumn day to contemplate my projects while warming my hands on a cup of would be spring before I even got around to making tea.  So there are toys, a rolling baby, Thomas songs and Winnie the Pooh dialogue being recited in the background and tiny snippets of time in which to cut, stitch or embroider. 

 (photo by Kyan)

I have chosen this path and despite moments of panic and uncertainty (usually at 2 in the morning) I wouldn't change a thing.  While watching the creative journey of others I am inspired to enter that space; the solitary, internal workings of the mind and soul as they collaborate to make and do.  But even as a part of me longs for that the strongest part of my self says no, without this life, these boys, this level of commitment, you would not be fulfilled.  And I know without question that that is my truth.  So I do this and try to stand tall in that truth every day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Art of the Month: October

If you are a long time reader you may remember these pillows ( 1, 2, 3, 4) and while I still have a fond place in my heart for them our collective design sense has moved on.  Specifically I wanted to replace the synthetic fiber fill with feather pillows because they look and feel better to me. 

We were more in green tones before and now I'm all about blues.  Trees and blues and greys with dark furniture...except our couch but that's another story.

 I kept the other two simple and classic with a dark denim linen and a stone coloured cotton-linen blend.  The buttons as you may remember were a gift to myself two years ago.  I've finally been able to use them.  I used the pattern in this book for the button pillow.

So these pillows are a hit.  Comfy, simple and hopefully durable.  Kyan keeps taking the small tree pattern one and hiding it in his closet, I guess he likes it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We don't plow fields anymore

Today is Blog Action Day for this year and the theme is Food in conjunction with The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' World Food Day.  This topic's timing could not have been better for me since just yesterday I took a Food Fermentation class and learned the lacto-fermentation method.  As I write this my first try at sauerkraut is souring on the counter.  So my thoughts on food and culture, access, sustainability and health are inspired from learning new skills for my family's health.  Food inspires, nourishes, comforts; it is essential that we connect with it.

Connecting with what we take into our bodies, relates to more than the food itself but spreads to the people that tend it and the elements that grow it as well.  Having grown up on a farm I have watched this happen first hand.  Sun warming the soil, rain bending grain to the ground, and the brown soil turned over into the long rows of a plowed field.

As close as I was to these processes that contribute to the food cycle there are many of us who are not.  The shift in North American society from rural to urban living has left many of us without a connection to what we eat or the ones who grow it.  This was driven home for me 11 years ago while I was still in University.

The Fine Art department had a series of practicing, accomplished artists visit us for lectures.  One of the options for the students was to sign up and have an artist visit your studio space and critique your work.  When a feminist artist who's essays I had read gave a lecture that inspired me, I nervously signed up for a visit.    During her critique I realized that while I shared some political and cultural views with her we came from different worlds.  This hit home when as part of her overall comments she summed up her view of my earth honouring, Goddess inspired subject matter with the statement: I mean, we don't plow fields anymore.  

At the time I was too disappointed to respond to her.  Later as I went over what she said I felt upset that I hadn't responded to her by saying that I actually had plowed a field.  In fact all over the world people are still plowing, sowing, watering, and weeding.  As I look back on this experience I feel sad for this woman that she was so disconnected from her food that she had forgotten this.

Today I live in the city but I still feel connected to my food.  I work hard to impart the connections to my children and to never become so absorbed by urbanity that I would forget the farmers and gardeners who tend the land for us.  We plow fields, we sow cover crops, we interact with plants using Permaculture,  we are farmers, gatherers, foragers and cooks.  These things are in our bones and are part of our collective memory for thousands of years, but most of all still happening all over this world every day so that we can survive.  And not just survive but come together and share the most human experience of eating.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

fall tradition

 After a wonderful thanksgiving with friends and family and food it seems that I'm thinking lots about tradition and how the boys will remember their childhoods.  Certainly our annual trek to gather pumpkins and apples will hold fondness for them.  The first year we visited this farm I was pregnant with Kyan, the next he couldn't stand up on his own yet and we propped him up with pumpkins.  We had hay ride hysterics the following year and last year we shared the trek with my parents on their visit and I was pregnant with Elliott.

All the boys loved our excursion and obviously pumpkins are very popular around here being orange, part of Halloween festivities and being the perfect kind of pie filling. (a rival to rhubarb in my taste buds but not to Ky's)

With many that I love far away I find I appreciate the times I get to spend with friends and family that are here all the more.  I try and cherish these moments and despite the fact that it can be hard to get my butt in gear to make the hour long drive it is always worth it.  I came away from this day grounded in a way that only picking your own fruits can do.  Interacting with the trees, watching the wasps fly around us in crazy fall frenzies, feeling a part of the hoards of parents and children having their farm experience and at the same time feeling separate from them.  

Cherish is the word that keeps floating through my head.  Cherish friends who are more like siblings, cherish food grown by local farmers, cherish fall as it sweeps the earth clean before her winter rest, and present opportunities for the young ones to cherish the things you do as another year goes round.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Poem of the Month: October

All We Need

by Steve Turner

Food in our bellies
Hats on our heads
Water to quench us
Sheets on our beds

Teachers to teach us
Shoes on our feet
Trousers and T-shirts
Shelter and heat.

Someone to love us
Someone to love
Hope for the future
Light from above

From this anthology of poetry written for children.  Happy Thanksgiving. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Six months have passed and my baby ain't so little any more.  He sits unassisted now and seems to plop down as he pleases when he wants to shuffle around from back to tummy.  I think I'm lucky that crawling has still not happened...he's not going to be still for long.

 He loves to be outside and around people.  When we spend the whole day at home he seems angry with me and gives his Dada lot's of smiles when he gets home as if to say: Thank goodness you're here.  She's boring me to death.

 Lucky for me I'm not the only one around.  The brother bond is getting larger by the minute.  They both make each other laugh, Ky will actually entertain him for extended periods now which comes in handy.  I am amazed by the genetically programmed adoration that exudes from the second sibling for the first almost from birth. (I know from experience that this does not last and so it seems important to chronicle it)

 His first meal was tree ripened, local organic peaches and they were a hit.  Although eating remains a once a day thing and is still not top on his list.  But if tonight's dinner was any indication month seven could take us to the next level and introduce Elliott having breakfast into our routine.

Month six has revealed even more of his personality: he loves bath time, doesn't like to feel constricted in the high chair or the car seat.  Moves like crazy, grabs, squeezes, squeals and smiles big time.

Two teeth emerged after his last cold and we are in the middle of his third this month.  I hate that he has been so sick in his first year....but despite my best efforts that is our life.  I wonder if this cold will see the emergence of more teeth, we'll see.  I still can't get over his eyes though.  So far other than his size they are the feature that everyone comments on.  Ah, this boy I could eat him up.