Too Free

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I have been loving having chickens.  Somehow we are working through our 12 eggs a day.  Eggs for dinner, eggs for breakfast, crepes on the weekend, and now homemade pasta are on our weekly meal rotation.  Plus I do a little baking every week for school lunches.  If I were a millionaire, the first thing I would do to save the world would be to hire a private chef to do all my baking.  It is a task that is much too precise and rarely forgives me for my sloppiness.  The amount of utensils that are needed to measure ingredients for a lousy batch of muffins is unreal.  But I do it for the children.  I am one altruistic dame.

Our chickens have a very good life here.  We think our chickens won the chicken lottery when they came to live with us.  They range free, eat organic feed and compost, they are treated with respect, we always value their opinion on world politics, and they can have their friends over whenever they please providing they go to bed at a reasonable time.  The only rule we impose is that they don’t sneak out at night and get eaten by a coyote.  And they should never, on any occasion, invite a coyote into their coop, even if the coyote is dressed like a really nice, old, grandmother with candy.  Well, maybe if they get fooled by that old trick they deserve to get eaten.  No, no I was wrong even think that.  They just need to follow the rules.

We’ve had to add a few more rules as of late.  Our chickens were getting a little out of hand.  I had noticed that they were venturing out further and further away from their coop.  They made it to the driveway, and then to the other side of our building.  I was happy they were being so adventuresome.  Then I noticed my flowers went missing.  The plants were still there but all the flowers had been eaten from my containers.  Then all my flowers were gone from my small patch of garden.  Now I am no gardener, as my mom always did that for me.  I worked hard this year to weed and water my few plants.  It was all for naught after the chickens got to them.  Once my flowers were gone, the chickens started to cross the road to Bob’s house.

Bob’s gardens are spectacular.  Our chickens aren’t idiots.  They knew exactly where to go to get a good flowery meal.  They would take their time crossing the street.  Cars would screech and honk in irritation of our chickens’ foray.  I would have to run out and chase the chickens back to our house.  Some of those chickens are fast little runners, especially the white ones.  More than once, I would find myself running full tilt down our road after one of my white feathery friends and not be able to close the gap between us.  It was never my coolest moment, and obviously not my fastest.

Sometimes I would return home from an errand and find all 12 chickens perched on the rail to my front door.  They would cluck happy expecting a treat, and I would shoo them away.

In the end, we have had to fence them in.  They still have a large area to eat bugs and do what chickens do best.  They haven’t noticed or complained.  Their union representative did stop by the other day, but it was just for a cup of tea.

We have been collecting only 11 eggs these days.  I was going to bring it up to the union rep but I felt awkward as she is such a nice chicken lady.  Ten of the eggs are of normal size and one is always enormous.  So we’ve got one slacker and one over achiever.  How do we solve this chicken mystery?  Our town is too small to have chicken police, let alone undercover cops.  Our chickens are too tight of a group to expect any of them to rat each other out.  I’m thinking about dressing Ruby up as a friendly chicken and leaving her in the coop for a few days to investigate.  My only concern is that she will like it and not want to come back into the house.

I think it’s a gamble I am willing to take.

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Oh and let us not forget about this…

OLD SKOOL POSTER OCT 29 2014 v2

 You better come out to the show or I will get my chickens to eat you.  Oh I mean eat your flowers.

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Thank You

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I felt the absence of both my parents, and wept greatly this weekend.  Even still I am grateful for what I have in my life.  I am truly blessed to be surrounded with so many wonderful people and love.  But in this moment, on Thanksgiving Monday, having a glass of wine in my large, dusty, soon to be beautiful, much too large, but just the right size home, I am thankful for the meal I just ate and didn’t have to cook.

Jess made fresh pasta with eggs from our hens, tomato sauce with tomatoes, onions and garlic from our garden, and steamed broccoli also from our garden.  One day we hope the cheese and wine will also be from our small bit of land.  Tonight we had dinner in our gym, a beautiful table was set by our girls, and was lit by candles and a roaring fire.

It’s a year of firsts, and this month is full of them.  Two of my girls turn another year older, and we have two holidays to celebrate.  I just need to get through it.  And try to enjoy it.

I do hope each and every one of you experienced gratitude and peace this Thanksgiving laced with turkey and pumpkin pie, love, family, friends, and maybe another piece of pie but this time with some ice cream.

 

 

 

Keep It Coming

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As per usual, we have had some busy times over here.  We had a fabulous time with Doug Paisley and his crew.  Not only was he super talented but he was also witty and sweet.  Throughout dinner he was engaging and seemed genuinely interested in all my kids and their crazy stories.  His wife and little tiny baby were also lovely and we would have them all back in a flash.  Check out his show here.

A few days after the concert Jess turned 41.  Jess is non materialistic to the core and is not one to embrace his birthday or anyone else’s.  It is always a challenge to buy for a Parker, so we kept it simple.  We showered him with new long john’s for the winter, and several books on canning and smoking, and then spent the afternoon at the beach.  We had a beautiful sunny day. My kids are immune to the cold and spent hours splashing in the freezing cold waters of Lake Ontario.

We topped off the weekend with a huge dinner party Sunday night with our County friends.  I set up a table for 25 in our gym, and we laughed, drank, and ate some fabulous food.  We all had a great time.

The following night Jess and I hosted Creative Rural Minds at our house.  It is a networking event to connect creative County people to foster new connections and creative ideas.  The mayoral candidates were also here for a debate that night.  We had over a 100 people in our gym, and milling around our house.

And then we all slept for three days straight.  Well that’s not exactly true, but all five of us were completely exhausted.  I keep thinking that each new month will be a little less crazy and then it flies by.  I think November will be calmer.

I did sneak back to Toronto for a short 24 hour visit.  I had to return our sound equipment.   It was a wee bit pricey and I have a friend in town that is helping me with a more affordable option for our concerts.  I was super organized, and slotted in a fabulous friend every two hours to get my girlfriend fill.  I even had a few surprise encounters with dear friends at the falafel counter and at Ikea.

I’ve noticed that when I speak of Toronto I’ve been calling it “home”.  I love to come back to the city.  I always feel a sense of excitement when I pull off the highway and take Black Creek Drive all the way to my old ‘hood.  I was making good time the other day.  I had the stereo up loud as I turned onto Black Creek Drive.  My singing was equally loud and I was doing some seriously good chair dancing.  Dancing that would rival foot dancing any day of the week.  It reminded me that I loved to sing and that I had forgotten to join the choir that I intended to join this Fall.  And that my mom and I had tried to join Choir!Choir!Choir! a few years back but never made it out.  And how many countless times had I driven this route and headed straight to my mom’s house.  And how I avoid passing her house now even though my inlaws only live 4 blocks away.  And how my home town has this gaping hole that my mother use to fill, and that hole will always be there flapping in the wind.

And I cried all the way down Black Creek Drive.

When I hit High Park, I pulled myself together, wiped my tears away and had tea with one of my favourite people.