11.05.2014

portrait of a farmer.

sower & reaper. stewarder of the land. husbandry has existed for centuries.
from the moment adam & eve sinned to now, the land has needed to be worked.  farmed.

in this new life of ours, i got to thinking. thinking about how even though ancient in its predisposition & although it has gradually evolved into a technological science, farming is still very much the same as it's always has been.

it is the love of the land. a pluming of nature. a rich & fertile inheritance if learned.

i am genuinely shocked at the range of skills needed to operate our own small & limited homestead. in the recent months, i have become a google-aholic & have pictures of leaky goat behinds in my facebook newsfeed, & researched some of the most bizarre things to ever be typed into a search box. the learning curve has been steep & even more than the physical exhaustion of working the land, is the mental exhaustion of figuring it all out.

a farmer isn't just a care taker of livestock but a mathematician, a veterinary science expert, a diverse landscaper & botanist, a nutritionist & health science guru, an almanac reader, groom & stable muck, market retailer, masonry, carpentry & lumberjack, welder & electrician, jack of many trades, a great many things that i am not yet but have been attempting to grasp.

perhaps most of all, a farmer is a problem solver. there is no end to the problems & challenges to farm life.  and it takes a mcgyver type character to meet the function of an adept farm. it takes much confidence to back the risk of your own independent - non-google backed- solutions. it takes courage & it takes intuition not easily learned. there are lots of colossal fails & big mistakes but someone has to make the decisions & someone has to try & that is what makes a farmer. the constant trying & waiting & trying again in the face of great risk.

farmers are geniuses. they are creative, out of the box thinkers. they are undervalued, underpaid but never under worked. but they do what they do because they love it.

it's in the many of moments of hesitation i have during the day, before i let that enormous pig out into the barnyard with no real plan as to how i'll get him back or late at night as the coyotes howl too close to our precious livestock locked up tight, that i realize it takes real grit to be a bonafide farmer. it is not for the faint of heart. it is not for the princesses or the wimps. farming is for the determined & the fearless. for those who love the land they live on & the animals that love them so very much.

my mom's a farmer & when i grow up, i want to be a farmer too.

10.17.2014

interrupted.


 as you may have already noted, i have been a little interrupted in my blogging pursuit as of late. but it hasn't been just blogging, really it's been a whole ream of things that have been, well, "interrupted", for lack of a better word. my breakfast is interrupted. my sleep is interrupted. my sentences are interrupted. my thoughts are interrupted. most of my daily pursuits are constantly being interrupted. i might even say the word for this season in my life is "interrupted".  i won't say on hold because i usually get back to tinkering with whatever it is, if it was actually important, that was interrupted by either my four young children, a rebellious animal or arduous farm task, the sudden collapse of our home as we know it from long time neglect & other such things. (i kinda feel as though i am constantly in a triage situation. like which things is the most important for me to tackle at the moment when there are a billion things screaming my name. there is no pretty cleaning schedule on my fridge or chore list. just which thing has to get done today or else).  blog posts are always getting spun & evolving in my head but when i sit down to write anything, whether at 4 am or 1pm when everyone should be sleeping or elsewhere, i am inevitably interrupted. so hold on world... there is a whole lot of back logged thoughts yet to be written & caught up on particularly from this very fast paced, steep learning curve we find our family on. so much learning, so much growing, so much grace, so much God.

but as a bonifide "doer" kind of a personality, not being able to finish a task has been a difficult reality to accept. we live in a construction zone, both literally & figuratively. we're not done building character into our kids or cementing Godly values in our home or cultivating the Presence the way we'd like to or keeping that unruly attitude in check. what's worse is that when you live in a construction zone, physically or metaphorically, you are always stepping on nails or trying to come up with solutions for seemingly "no win" situations for that hole in the wall that you don't want anyone else to see because you would never want anyone to assume that this is the way your house always is or will stay. construction is uncomfotable. not seeing anything through to completion is super challenging for me. the Church isn't finished. our home isn't finished. our family isn't finished. my marriage isn't finished. i'm not finished. when all i want so badly is to finally get to hold up a beautiful masterpiece that i've worked so hard for.

but i started to change my attitude about construction zones in my life when i began to see that i am called to change & construction. i am called to the undone things in life. so no use in running the other direction every time i was beyond frustration with a particular task. i realized i was far to preoccupied with the end product & could not embrace the process that would eventually, one day, get me there. embracing the process is challenging for a neat freak because, well, it's sticky & dirty & it smells & it's full of constant interruptions & perceived set backs.

but i found encouragement from the story of the little children running to Jesus with their sticky fingers & dirty faces to interrupt Him... and He let them. He let them interrupt His important kingdom preaching & teaching because they were His kingdom work. they were the whole point. so, if the God of the universe doesn't mind or even encourages the little children to interrupt Him, then how much more willing should i be? the pigs on the other hand should learn to wait their turn. :)

there is also value in "practicing the Presence" even amongst the many interruptions that may occur over a day. it's like working a muscle. and i for one am getting lots of practice keeping my eyes on Him & cultivating the Presence despite goats at my door & emails binging in my inbox & children running through the house covered in swamp muck. i've spent way to long seeing interruptions or a chaotic home as a sin when it is assuredly not. it's just young family life. and here too i can find a sweet spot in the Spirit if i chose to embrace interruptions & all the mess that comes with life construction.

"without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest."
 - proverbs 14:4

10.05.2014

ode to nicole

we recently had the lovely pleasure of meeting my brother's girlfriend, nicole. they live in edmonton which is why we hadn't met her up until now. they had come to ontario for a family wedding in grand bend & had stayed on for a week to visit us at the farm & help move my mom into the guest room. they were both troopers. david "slept" in the boys room which i'm afraid the boys were entirely too excited about & nicole snuggled in the guest room with sadie, my mom's dog, & of course my mom. there was all to early risings after all night parties in the boys room, lots of chainsawing & tire swing hanging & bush hogging, haying & loft organizing, riding & subsequent falling, duck pluming & porcupine murdering & chick disposal. it was a productive & yet memorable week to say the least.

my absolute favourite memory of that week was the loft door raising (or rather the image of nicole in a beautiful green dress holding onto a thread bare rope while hanging from a meat hook suspended from the roof of the barn). let me elaborate. the highest door of the loft, which we had just spent the day stacking hay into, had fallen off & needed to be reattached to the highest peak of the tallest barn. my brother bravely stepped forward to be the guy that hammers it back on at ridiculous heights. he straddled his ladder precariously on the weakened, definitely-not-safe roof of a conjoining barn & us girls up in the loft tried to tie an old rope to both the top of his ladder securing it to a beam & the triangle piece of missing loft door to hoist it out to be nailed on by my brother. we each had our jobs. david was to nail the piece back on, mom & i were to hoist & hold the triangle piece in place so it was nailed in right & nicole, in her beautiful green dress, was to hang onto the rope that both secured the ladder & the piece of loft door that hung over david's head so's not to knock him clean off the ladder if it fell.

all was going as planned. nicole held the rope. we held the wooden door in place & david started hammering until the faint hum of a single bee could be heard on the outside of the barn followed by the subsequent squeaking of the ladder & a long roll of profanity. us girls looked at each other wincing each time the ladder squeaked & an obscenity followed, afraid to ask if he was ok. and then with all the jarring of the ladder being moved to & fro the rope that nicole was holding onto began to fray & break. she helplessly kept trying to hold on just a little bit higher than the last break, we quickly helped her tie the rope around an old meat hook looking thing hanging from the ceiling until that very unhappy bee came for us inside the barn. we screamed & danced around trying to avoid being stung while still holding our positions. and poor nicole hung for dear life to the rope that dangled her boyfriend's life on the squeaky ladder outside while trying to avoid letting go altogether.

it is this picture that i will treasure always because not only did it mean she had successfully been initiated into our family & the brutality of farm life but it spoke volumes about her love for my brother... that she chose his life over hers, bumblebee torture over dropping that itchy, thread bare rope, hayloft nonsense over her beautiful green dress. i am impressed to say the least.

if she can sleep with stinky sadie, fall off an attitudinal pony, face her fear of birds gracing our poopy chicken coop with her presence, hay her heart out in the sweatiest season of the summer & subject herself to bumblebee torture ... well, i think that deserves a toast of some kind!

and to this i raise my glass & say "here, here! ode du nicole!"
we hope you will be a long & lovely part of our family for years to come.
xo

p.s. oh, and that loft door did get hung without any major injuries ;)


8.11.2014

death on the farm

henriette, humphrey bogard & hepburn, my beloved birds
death is apart of life. it's especially apart of farm life. we long knew that we would have to get used to eating our own animals as that is the primary reason for raising most of them. but there is also the unexpected causality list of animals that reach their untimely end due to a sly fox, the shovel of pity, squashings & animal bullying or illness/injury of some kind. the latter is the most difficult i think because of its unexpected, messy nature & also that it is one animal that has been singled out & we know it's name as opposed to slaughter day where everyone gets done on the same day & we can't distinguish who's who in the freezer. no names just delicious nameless meat for the dinner table.

we've lucked out so far in the way of accidental deaths until this weekend. this weekend we lost two chicks, a chicken, a duck & a porcupine. the chicks got squashed in the brooder by their overzealous siblings. the chicken we had inherited from another farm in the area & had died of old age (i didn't really like her anyways, she had been debeaked as a chick & it just looked so weird). the porcupine was a casualty of the shovel of pity. it not only had previously smacked Jackson in the gums but also happened to be deranged. in all the early morning confusion, the only thing we could think to do to the poor thing was kill it to prevent it from spreading whatever it had.

 (interesting fact #1: did you know that there is currently no rabies in Ontario? the ministry of natural resources had eradicated it through various programs quite a few years ago which means the number of deranged animals we've found on the farm is kind of a big deal. it could still be distemper or another terrible disease, either way our vet had recommended to kill it if we found it to avoid unnecessary vet bills. interesting fact #2: porcupines are not typically the carriers of disease due to their prickly nature making species to species infections unlikely. interesting fact #3: no one in ontario is interested or knows what to do with a rabid animal which became pretty clear after calling & being transferred to nine different governmental departments. i gave up trying to report the numerous animals that had crossed our property which were clearly sick with something very similar to rabies)

anyways, the main event this weekend was loosing my favourite duck, henriette. we have been free ranging our ducks & chickens to save us the annoying work of having to build a proper chicken run over the bedrock of the barnyard. which had been going great, until the ducks, who had up to this point in their short little lives always been contained in a cage of some sort, learned that they could fly. something came over jackson that could not be stopped & he injured her beyond saving. she died a few bloody minutes later. she was my favourite! i still can't look at jackson, even though i know it is entirely not his fault. it was just his instinct which i know we need to respect. the kids weren't even upset. they were kinda like "yeah we know... this is what you've been preparing us for since the day we got them". but i wasn't ready!

steve took care of yet another carcass & deplummed her with my brother in the backyard & readied the meat. he thought he had adequately hiddden her unused parts until the hushed whispers of the kitchen caught up with him. "uckhead day in the og day's outh may" my aunt whispered so's not to cause me any more trauma. but after retrieving her beautiful head from the dog's mouth he walked straight into me on his way into the kitchen & i cried... just a little.... at the sight of her speckled little beak & trusting eyes.

the dinner table was very quiet. the mood was overcast as we all stared silently at the plate full of her abundance until my uncle piped up and said "i just don't know if i can do this. it's just so sad. it's really more of a funeral isn't it?" to which steve replied "yeah, but at least it's a tasty one!" and began dishing her up. after having a few delectably, guilty bites i excused myself from the dinner table to paint my grief away in one of the various rooms we are currently renovating.

this will not be the last death on the farm. but it's certainly wasn't my fondest. her deplummed feathers now fill the barnyard, occasionally swirling in the summer breeze, as a reminder that we can't get around the facts of life, especially the farm facts of life.

she was henriette. and she was my favourite.

7.28.2014

transitions.

 it's been a much bigger adjustment to the farm than we had anticipated. don't get me wrong. there has been plenty of fun & fruit & fulfilment already too. but still lots of changes & adjustments & transitions.

the long list of unexpecteds didn't help with our long, stressful delay in closing. then the lack of action in selling our old house (our old house is still holding our furniture for ransom for staging purposes to give us the best shot at selling). and then just the steep adaptation to farm life after moving from downtown ottawa. although, i had grown up on a small hobby farm... my kids, husband & dogs had not... which became apparent by the thousands of prickle plants & slivers we have taken out of the kids feet, or the porcupine quills we had to take out of Jacks gums & the horses muzzle or the few nights i had to sleep with an epipen in my right hand because my husband's allergies/asthma had manifested so badly. we are definitely over the hump i think. still climbing a steep learning curve but over the biggest humps. but before i forget, i wanted to chronicle some of the bigger transitions or changes so if any of you ever decide you want to move out of the city into the middle of nowhere, you'll know what you're getting yourself into. ;)

a favourite pastime of the kids as i
build the turkey coop in the barn
eva riding "mabel" 
1. the water. the wilkins are big water drinkers. and moving from city water to well water has welllll been a little soured by our poor working water softner. it has affected how much we drink, how well our clothes wash in the washing machine or dish washer & how soap lathers in the shower. but the coles notes are: never buy softner salt from walmart (always go with the more expensive pet friendly stuff), when washing cloth diapers in hard water use 'rockin green for hard water' or you will never get the smell out of them, don't pack your old top loader washing machine too full (leave lots of room for the clothes to move around) & use cascade (which is crap for city water but works miracles on a well) in the dishwasher & invest in some sort of water filter for drinking.

2. the elation level. we had well prepared our family by reading tons of articles about how moving to a new home can affect small children. and we knew what to do if they missed our old house or were sad & wanted their old school back but we're ill prepared for the sheer & total consuming excitement that has turned our children into wildlings. they never calm down. they have difficulty closing their eyes & settling at the end of day (i have even considered taping their eyes shut since blackout blinds & total silence rule had no effect). the other day we pulled up in front of our old house to get something & they all started full out wailing because they didn't want to go back to living in "that house!". it's like they wake up (at 4am) thinking we're about to take the farm away from them & so they have to carpe deim their way through the day. i have tried everything i can think of. even tv has lost it's charm. i've tried quiet time, lavender oil on their ears, the whisper game & i guess i'll just wait it out. hopefully the arrival of september & school will help.
liv riding gilly our goat

3. bugs, dirt, gross things & the carefree. we have no neighbours who can see us so the kids are pretty much naked most of the day which leads to a lot of dirt & a lot of bug bites. but it seems i can wash them a lot easier than i can wash their clothes currently (thanks a lot hard water). we work in dirt all day long. i realized our familiarity with it had grown considerably by the look on a friends face while watching me clean out the poopy duck house with my bare hands. the kids prance around the pig pen in their bare feet (not that i endorse this, we have had countless talks about footwear). there are snakes & toads & turles & worms & massive flying gross things everywhere. the first month, eva would scream every time she saw a bug. now even she too has a bug catcher & enjoys adding to her bug collection. i end everyday with filthy, stinky feet. our mudroom has taken on a whole new meaning. but i daily have to remind myself that dirty kids are ones that have had a ton of fun & dirty feet mean being productive. and dirt has tons of vitamins & minerals & probiotics that all contribute to a healthy immune system so bring on the dirt... just not into my kitchen!

dav riding "bullet" the stallion
4. hard work & balance. everyday is full of hard, sweaty man's work. but i'm the farmer in the family & i really like to just get 'er done so none of this wait until steve gets home from work to help (i learned this from my mama... healthy independence is a gift). but the flip side to this is that i have to force myself to take break or by 5pm i can't move & i haven't eaten anything which lead to ice-cream binges & the like. it is so easy to just get consumed by the work. i LOVE it & most interruptions are unwelcome & i have a hard time metabolizing them... like when you're throwing bale upon bale of hay from a sweaty hayloft & you finally find your rhythm & motivation when you are interrupted by multiple little children, who are meant to be sleeping, scampering out with pants around their ankles every few minutes to get their bums wiped. but i have to set realistic expectations & not have an adverse reaction to asking for help. i realize as the summer is quickly coming to a close that they won't always be home all day everyday & then i will miss them & regret having spent their time at home ignoring them while i shovel pig poop. the best solution is to do the hard work at a much slower, much less productive pace while including them in everything i do. they have a grand ol time & learn valuable skills & i have been pretty surprised at how helpful they actually are not to mention how entertaining they can be. :) they're great company & pretty cute little commentators on the ongoings around the farm.

kai riding "rusty" the speeding bull
5. neighbours. we so miss the neighbours that surrounded us at our last house. they were all elderly or retired & spent the day watching me with the kids through their windows or chit chatting with the kids while i discretely tried to complete a task. i really miss them. and i had been concerned about being isolated out here but such has not been the case. we constantly have somebody stopping by to drop off an invite or help with a chore or just fill the long afternoons with a little company & i have surprisingly enjoyed it. but one thing i am still learning is how to meet their extreme generosity. they are always letting us borrow things or lending stuff or sharing their home-raised organic dinners & i just don't know how it works (i think because we have mostly been on the opposite end of that equation in the past). we don't have anything to offer yet other than three stubborn, egg-less ducks. but i'm sure these will be long term relationships & i will find a way to mirror their kindness in the future.

there have been many other transitions to country life but those are the only five i can remember at the moment. we do just love it out here & can't wait to be in a place to share it more openly with others. as long as you don't mind the frogs in the basement or the lack of furniture & cleanliness around here, consider this your invitation to come visit!

hope to see you soon!

7.02.2014

antique curiosities

as we begin to clean out, renovate & explore the old barns we have found some pretty interesting antique trinkets.

when we bought the old farm we were told that the farm house was built in 1834 but the barns were built some time before that as was the old custom.  after celebrating canada day yesterday i realized that our house is older than canada & was actually built in the dominion. cool, eh?

most of the weird little bibs & bobs we have no idea what they are or were or if they have any value.  so i thought i'd post them on here to see if anyone of the world wide web knows what in the world they are or what to do with them.

it would be such a waste to just chuck 'em or leave them in the bottom of a disintegrated manger or delapitated hay loft. and they tell us the long story of the farm itself & what is was used for, the kind of people who worked it & how they worked it & the older ways of life. it would certainly enlighten some of our curiosities about different buildings & how we could restore them.

so here's number one:

i think i know what this might be but not super sure.

location found: the old chicken coop on top of some laying boxes

i'd say the old coop needs a little tlc before the chickens move
in at the end of the month
just a little sneak peak the partly renovated coop...
i painted the window sill & that's about all so far.
we still need to learn how to chink between the logs,
fix all the windows, cut a bigger window out for the top
for ventilation & make the outdoor run as well as tamper
proof the whole thing so nothing can mess with our chickens

and the item in question

the holes at the bottom are too big for feeding
what do you think it is??

also found this thingy ma-bob... and in it's original packaging too




6.26.2014

meet the 'stock

we've been growing this little homestead steadily since we've arrived here at the farm. lots of people have expressed both their concern & surprise that we would have animals on the farm this early as we are renovating both the house & the dilapidated barns. but, spring is the cheapest & most efficient season to buy & add livestock. and most of the kids' & my excitement about the farm has centred around the potential livestock themselves.

we should have probably waited. we could have waited. but we didn't & i can honestly say it has been my saving grace. although a bit naturally out of what would be most people's logical progression, (buy farm, settle kids, then renovate the house, then renovate the barns, then carefully plan & research livestock & invest next spring or two when we know what we're doing), it's more our style to take on nine massive projects all at the same time. even though we have had several livestock calamities (the tim horton's parking lot pig escapade, the case of the missing goat horn & the horsegate fiasco of 2014... i hope to pen these later because i don't think i'll believe them myself in a few years), they have also been one of my greatest sources of peace through this transition. i so look forward to my 20 minutes both morning & night that i get to interact & watch & play with them. such a nice change in pace. for the evening chores, the kids are usually in bed & i can just saunter out to greet the pig, play with the goats, collect duck eggs or ride mabel with the deer in the back few acres.

this is not to say that it hasn't been a pretty steep learning curve. i think just in our first week here i had to learn how to get a giant tic off an unsuspecting pig, how to build a "duck-tractor" in under 10 hours, how to clean a chick's "vent" & how to transport an angry goat in the family van without it bashing out my back window. it has been a lot of youtubing & contacting people on kijiji. and although doing it all by myself while trying to competently mother & settle into a pretty eccentric house has been overwhelming at times, it has also given me a huge confidence boost. if i can teach an ornery pig who's boss every morning, well, i figure i can do a lot of other things i've never before too & succeed!


so stayed tuned. lots of stories to come. 


here are a few more pics of some of the new livestock around the property... just so you'll know who i'm talking about when i write about them later. they each have their own stories to tell... but that's for another time.

thanks for joining me on this little adventure!
Kip is our baby billy goat... he's a Nigerian Dwarf
& we are hoping to use him for breeding
& lawn mowing

despite livi's size this is her favourite animal

meet mabel

mabel is an older Pony of the Americas (POA), i got her
for a great deal on kijiji. she's been gradually building
back my confidence in riding. she will be our resident
teaching horse & apple eater. 

meet lily. she is a 4 year old registered paint mare (she's a stock
paint, so although she doesn't look like a paint if bred she'll produce one)
she doesn't actually belong to us but just a friend for mabel at the moment

meet gilly. she is a pygmy/nigerian dwarf cross. this is her
post-traumatic horn incident (more to come on that). we think
she may be pregnant but we are not super sure... i have no idea
what to do with a goat placenta but it's looking like i'll have to learn!
she will be our milking & producing goat... but we can't milk her until
she's had a kid. terrified of having to assist her in labour but so excited
to potentially have a little baby around again :) goat duala-ing here we come!

and churchill. he's just so nice. unless he's hungry.
he's a real ham (no pun intended!) he will be
our breeding boar (we get two spotted girls in a few months).
he is a heritage breed which means slower growing meat but
higher quality! 

and you already know henriette & hepburn but
here is their little clutch of eggs they've been tending too...
they have been trying to sit on the exact same nest of eggs...
i'll make the tractor a little bigger for them next time (they would
have had twice the amount of eggs if they had separate nests). we hope
they'll hatch out at least a dozen ducklings to raise as meat ducks.

6.25.2014

my husband is a hero!

my husband has always been my hero but recently became a bonafide one. :)

this poor cyclist was denied help by not one but two people before steve found her by the roadside. a true good Samaritan story:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/goose-attack-leaves-ottawa-cyclist-shaken-and-scarred-1.2686751

i met her yesterday & she is well on the mend. she even quietly hid a small gift for our kids in our front entryway to thank him. as she was getting into her car, she asked me if we had told our kids about the event (the question made more sense once we found her gift) but i had said we only had given a very general account to them to explain why he was late getting home. but it made me think. think about how much i haven't taken the opportunity to celebrate & praise their daddy for the daily hero that he is to us. in fact, when steve had texted to say he would be quite a bit later due to the accident, i was a little miffed inside, if i were to be honest. miffed that i had to single parent again for another night. how silly is that. how embarrassing & selfish my attitude. i totally understood that he was needed in that situation & that that was more important than the crazy household i found myself in but i still quietly was slightly annoyed.

the importance of this was highlighted to me again when a few days later steve himself was taken to the hospital by ambulance. he is now also recovered from the terrifying event but i will certainly take every opportunity i can to celebrate their daddy. things may not happen the way i want them to each day. the trash may not get taken out or things around the house may not get done as fast as i'd like them to but that changes nothing about the kind of man their father & my husband is. i will take every opportunity i can now to both see & celebrate the great man of God that i have the privilege of being married to. :)

she sings to me...

i am prone to anger. if there were one emotion that i found it difficult to not be overtaken by it would be that one.

and when i get frustrated, i get so angry it boils over & fills the house like a terrifying roar.

i have been frustrated for long time now. it had all seemingly stemmed out of some of the post-partum struggles i had written about. and then just crept in & taken over my garden like a vicious weed sometime after that.  i had tried to fight the urge to explode but if i kept my mouth shut it steamed out my eye sockets! there just didn't seem to be a victorious way to control my temper. and with four little-ing, one whopping lifestyle change with mounds & mounds of unearth-able stress on top, there has been no shortage of legitimate reasons to spontaneously combust.

and then after a shameful incident, i couldn't ignore it anymore. i wasn't trying to ignore it before. i just didn't know what to do or how to stop yelling. i just looked into my youngest eyes & she was frightened & i broke into a million pieces that felt like they could never go back together again. how did i get here? i asked myself. i am an overwhelmed, overworked mother of four youngsters who cannot keep her voice under control. and my hopelessness swelled.

and so i prayed because there had been nothing else to help. i had read the books. locked myself in the bathroom for timeouts. counted to ten. tried to talk in whispers & i just couldn't control myself. and so i prayed a tearful prayer of repentance & i broke it open before the Lord & asked him to help me.

and then i picked myself off the floor, didn't even bother to wipe the tears from my cheeks & walked down the hall to see to the screaming balls of children at the end of the hall. i silently separated them onto their beds & decided to try to reflect on what to do next while repairing eva's closet doors which wouldn't stay in their tracks properly. i think my silence scarred the kids more than if i had yelled for some reason. and eva who had been placed on her bed, was listening to my deep, deep sighs as i fiddled with the broken hardware of her closet door & she just started singing. she said, she knew just the song to make me feel better & sang away! and i felt the mounds of pent up pressure inside fizzle out & peace drift in. it was a sweet little song about how much Jesus loves me & how i don't have to be frustrated because He's so wonderful. it was slightly off tune & ranged from a soft whisper to a starling howl but it was anointed.

she does it all the time now. sings. often when she thinks i'm frustrated (even if she mistakes hard work for frustration... i don't mind), she just start belting it out. and i can't help but smile & let go of whatever emotion is all tangled up inside... exhaustion, anxiety, worry, frustration... all gone at the sound of that little voice offering her praise to up to Jesus.

it was & is a supernatural answer to my prayer. i can't even really explain why it has helped so much. it just has.

now i carry that song with me, even when she is not. :)
"i love Jesus because He don't get frustrated with me!"
video


video

6.18.2014

good things come to those who wait

well, we finally got the keys to the farm!!! whoohooo! thank you Jesus!

my apologies for my lapse in blogging... as a result of getting the keys to the farm we have also been cut off from the outside world... no internet, no phone service & no snail mail (we lost the keys to the mailbox).  but, we have some new doohickey that has promised to fixed our internet problem & there is hope on the horizon that we may one day soon have phone service as well... although no sign of the mailbox key (i'm sure there's a youtube video on how to jimmy a lock somewhere out there).

oh friends, how much i have to catch you up on! i have been keeping an account of this ridiculous adventure by scribbling on scraps of paper whenever i get the chance. with tales of missing horns & snakes that rattle, pig hand offs at tim horton's & horses & toddlers that won't stay put, it has been crazy ride. i feel like i need a minor in veterinary science & animal behaviour as well as a few courses in carpentry, horticulture, self-defence & child psychology. with so much work to be done at the moment, it's a learn as you go kinda journey. but if i can fix a bloody goat horn with a toothpick, a string & four kids at my feet, then i think i can pretty much do anything. or lets hope. there's a lot rising on my lack of expertise.

more stories to come. but just a few pics for now.


meet churchill

another trip to the feed store... reading the tractor classifieds,
until livi sat down

planting the orchard (all the trees were just $20 at loblaws!)

meet rudyard kipling

growing a goat or two




4.29.2014

home on the range.

we're slowly growing our little home on the range in preparation for moving to the farm {at the moment we have moved the animals to my mum's farm until we sell our house}.

this weekend my mom, dav, evie & i got up at 4:30am to make it to the annual 'fur & feather fair'. the kids were champs! even though it was pretty chilly & a ton of walking, my auntie & cousins kept us company as we picked out a few more things to add to their brood.
so meet the new additions!

my mum's pick... silverlace wyandotte pair.
meet beau & belle. we 're hoping they'll brood us a few more chicks to add to the flock.
beau & belle














the chickies... at $2 a chick who could resist! we got plymouth rock, easter eggers (they lay blue & green eggs) & a few more to add our chick count to 11.
seven...six' distant cousin


and my favourite purchase so far... the muskovy trio.
meet humphrey bogard, hepburn & henriette. they are collecting their eggs already to brood our first batch of meat ducks.
and our piglets & stud pig arrive in june.
so far we have churchill (in honour of winston churchill) picked out as our big daddy pig's name. we have two sow piglets to name as well. any suggestions for the girls?




and that's all for now. more additions to come. :)

when you reach the bottom of the gyre

"turning and turning in the widening gyre
the falcon cannot hear the falconer;
things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
mere anarchy is loosed upon the world"
{w.b. yeats, the second coming}

ever since reading w.b. yeats' poem 'the second coming' long ago in university, i've had a fascination with gyres. they are probably to intrinsically complex a concept to explore in just one short blog post... but i'm gonna try. :)

the gyre being the image of a simultaneously widening & tightening spiral. ( also an oceanography term referring to large systems of rotating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements...which is another blog for another time).  an allegorical/iconic image for the seasons of life.

i have all to well found myself relating to the turning & tightening gyre or that falcon lost in the upper stratosphere straining to hear the falconer or the times where we feel life has lost it's rules & 'mere anarchy' has sprouted in the place of righteousness. in so many ways it's hard to tell when the gyre starts & when it ends. this is because it is an ever-extending pattern. it's the rhythm of life. some gyre's peaks are gentle, rolling bunny hills & others have a peak akin to mount everest. but the rhythm, if respected & embraced gets weaved into a beautiful melody, despite the sometimes violent heights & plummets.

"Secrets of the Supernatural Life" by Shawn Gabie
it's in those vice-grip type places in life that we find ourselves emerging differently at the other end of the spiral, even if it's just the start of another spiral. and that is what i remind myself of when i feel like i'm being squeezed to the bottom, that it's at the tightest point that the gyre gives way to widening. it's the intense compression of the spiral that causes it to expand once again, like heaving lungs finally filling with breath.

challenge & trial & testing is never meant to hurt me. it's meant to make me. and for that i am thankful & choose to embrace the process not just the promise & anchor my faith in the wise Father & His plans for me & my family. i do find comfort & encouragement in a weird way that the longer, steeper the process, the bigger the promise usually.

so here's to big promises & steep processes that take us deep into His plans & draw us closer to His heart. :)

"the whole point of a trial is to give you something, not to take anything away from you. it is to advance you. it is to add something to you. that is why you should be joyful because God allows it in His wisdom what He could easily prevent by His power" 
{graham cooke, the art of thinking brilliantly}

4.18.2014

happy easter


"Jesus is a redeemer, a restorer in every way. His day on the Cross looked like a colossal failure, but it was his finest moment. He launched a kingdom where the least will be the greatest and the last will be first, where the poor will be comforted and the meek will inherit the earth. Jesus brought together the homeless with the privileged and said, "You're all poor, and you're all beautiful." The cross leveled the playing field, and no earthly distinction is valid anymore. There is a new "us"—people rescued by the Passover Lamb, adopted into the family and transformed into saints. It is the most epic miracle in history.
That is why we celebrate. May we never become so enamored by the substitutions of this world that we forget."
{jen hatmaker}

4.15.2014

champagne & chattel chicks {spring is a sprung-ing}



livi & her harriot
guess what has arrived at the wilkins' already? our spring chicks! well, four of our spring chicks... the rest arrive next weekend. these beautes are our lavender orphingtons {a rare purple coloured laying/meat hen}. they are all snuggled into our living room here in downtown ottawa at the moment... much to jax' chagrin. we have yet to tell our poor realtor that four chickens now reside in the house. we are not exactly sure what will happen if we need to show the house before we can safely settle chicks in at the farm. but if the dogs didn't have such an infinity for the poor lil guys we would leave them in the car together... but something tells me jax may not be able to maintain his self-control. i'm sure we'll figure something out that will probably add some kind of comedic value to our current reality. ;)
eva & her chick 'sarah'
(named after mommy,
i'm so honoured!)

dav & fred












we had so hoped that we would have settled into the farm by now but alas it has been a bit of a battle. in my impatience i had repeatedly asked steve when he realistically thought we would get the keys to the farm and he said "well, i just don't want to count our chickens before they hatch" to which i replied "it's too late for that! the chickens have hatched & they are currently occupying our kitchen table!"our hope is sure that it won't be long now but the impatience of waiting for some rolling date always on the horizon can sometimes get the better of me. which is why we have such great covenant friends like b & pat who brought some pre-victory champagne over to celebrate the other night reminding our hearts & our hopes that we can taste what He's promised before it's in our actual legal possession. ;)
kai & his chick named #6

just singing away!
i have to remind myself of this every time the going gets tough or feels tough. i personally love having the chicks in the house. their incessant chirping reminds me that spring is actually here despite the icicles hanging from the eavestrough trying to convince me otherwise. i love listening to the twins singing to their chicks "so they will grow strong" or seeing livi perched off the couch watching the box full of her little friends or witnessing the strange gentleness that comes over each child as they cuddle their chick & the pride they hold each time "their" chick does something funny. there is certainly a lot of spring bustling inside this house currently... even if spring is taking it's dear sweet time outside.
their fully decorated pad... compliments
of eva (it wasn't even my idea, just walked
into the room & she had taped all those sweet
things to their box)

and so we will embrace this season of waiting too, while also tasting what's to come. living in this strange paradox of farm animals in the middle of city, with one foot in both worlds. the now & the not yet.



so hears to chicks & champagne beginnings!
cheers!