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}


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}


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!


you can never hold back spring

after i making the unwise comment that spring is never coming! in a brief melancholic moment, my husband has taken it upon himself to remind me tom waits style that "you can never hold back spring..."

this one goes out to anyone waiting, through long-suffering or aching frustration, for springtime to arrive... you can be sure, i will never stop believing. so close your eyes, open your heart to the one who is dreaming of you. remember everything that spring can bring. baby, you can never hold back spring.


i don't hear the ducks whining

i meant to finish this post a few weeks ago but i think it applies to my life even more so now.  ;)

it has been cold. like bitter, frozen, unpleasant cold for some months. and it has taken it's toll on the general morale around here.

this morning was one said cold morning & i was miserable. the kids all slipped on their way to the van. and our snowman had a smug little grimmace on his icy face. even our happy-go-lucky dogs had had enough, lifting their little paws to avoid being frozen to the ground forever. everyone was miserable. the people walking to work, the cashier behind the checkout, the nurses at the doctors. the city seemed like just one big cluster of miserable.

i actually caught myself on several occasions throwing a huge livi-style temper tantrums threatening to leave this darn country if this stupid weather doesn't let up! i'm not really sure who exactly i was threatening. i may have started to go a touch of crazy... but i was in good company as everyone grumbled along through the long cold days & nights. ;) i might have even panickedly entertained the thought but what if this is the year that spring actually never arrives!

and then i saw a great cluster of ducks out on the frozen river, all huddled together. and i thought, from my warm van, i don't hear the ducks whining.

and i wondered how much my general attitude/unhappiness at life's "uncertainties" is due to the fact that i didn't chose it or i don't have control over it . and thus, how much control is actually a luxury.

our house has been for sale for what feels like forever. with like 20+ different open houses & showing, i have been severely lacking in gratitude. i constantly complain. about the house & the amount of work required. about what i can't control.

the third world doesn't have such luxuries. the luxuries of complaining about circumstances. because in
the third world they are more concerned with surviving. and surviving doesn't work if you catch yourself a bad attitude along the way.  i've seen many a person survive an awful set of circumstances but never recover from the terrible attitude & thought life they contracted amidst the terrible circumstances. and then i've watched that attitude infect everything they do & live & are for the rest of their lives.

the ducks don't complain because they know regardless of how they feel about it they are still going to endure the cold. so they stop fighting what they cannot control & chose to make something out of it. i may be giving the ducks too much credit. but i just felt the Lord highlight my general attitude through those frozen, huddling ducks all sticking together & working their circumstance out.

it's like when i have to ask my kids to do something not so pleasant like clean up the colossal sized mess they've been building in the basement. there are usually a few that throw themselves down on the ground in screaming protest or pretend they are experiencing paralysis in one or all of their limbs. but then there is usually one who just tromps off like a champ & gets on with it, un-phased by the size of the task. the kid who completely crumbles into a thousand pieces makes the task a hundred times more difficult for themselves in every way. despite their wiggling & jiggling all over the floor, they still are going to have to do what is asked. the kid who just takes on the task joyfully, well lets not go that far, just decides to get 'er done, quickly realizes the task is within their ability to accomplish & is finished in a fraction of time seeing instant progress. the others generally find themselves entirely overwhelmed by just the anticipation of the work & cannot get past their down-in-the-dumps attitude until disciplinary intervention is initiated.

i don't want to be the kid that sits there completely overwhelmed by the idea of my work, dwelling on the whole discouragement of the situation, tallying up what is too much for me. it's time for me to adjust to the new work load the Lord has given me, regardless of how much i don't like it initially. to be quite honest, my biggest challenge isn't the amount of work ahead of me but rather my own summations of how hard or impossible the work is.  because in the end, there are some real consequences if i get myself into an overwhelmed place allowing myself to wallow around in my own self-made misery. and so i stop telling myself self-pity stories, take the words 'i can't' out of my vocabulary & just get on with it. and i will eventually see progress. and in the midst of it, with the finish line still far away, the Lord has always afforded me coping tactics & grace to cover the super intense moments. they still ain't feel good moments but they're moment that i make it through to the other side with an awareness of the difference between God-strength & human strength.

 and so all that to say, God bless those huddling, coping ducks. for they too will make it spring.

p.s. rachel jankovic has been a real mentor to me in all this mothering crazy stuff. her books have been irreplaceable graces to my life. checkout 'loving the little years' or 'fit to burst' for some of the greatest mothering wisdom i have ever had the privilege of being exposed to.


that's what the doctor said

my mom & i walking our 'babies' in the fresh spring air

with four little one's sharing cups, utensils & who know's what else {i actually caught davith licking kai this morning}, we can usually be sure that if one catches something so do the others. what is interesting about this is that with different incubation stages & severity we often end up taking each to the walk-in clinic a day after each other meaning we get sometimes up to four different doctor's opinions about the same virus or flu.

this has been one of those weeks. they all have bad ear & upper respiratory infections. liv was the first & got a nice big dose of antibiotics. in fact we were in & out of the walk-in in a record 5 minutes which is unheard of. kai & dav went in today & after 2 hrs of waiting got nothing... even though they seemed much worse than liv {davith screamed ALL night long because he was in such pain}. the boy's doctor was pretty hesitant to prescribe anything even though he was quick to describe how much pain they must be in. and it's kinda weird but i really liked him. i could tell why he was so behind in his patient load, because he liked to make sure that i really understood what was going on in their little bodies. he even drew a little diagram {despite the fact that livi threw a colossal sized fit in that very small office the moment he stepped in the door... he just talked louder & tried to stay out of the way of her flailing limbs}.

i liked him because he educated me on the more difficult but definitely best plan of treatment for my boys. he said that over 90% of doctors over-prescibe antibiotics & because of this we end up getting antibiotic resistant infections & end up needing stronger antibiotics clearing out any good flora in our system making us more susceptible to more sickness & more antibiotics {story of our lives earlier this year... dav went on a 40 day course of antibiotics with no improvement}. he said that antibiotics should only be prescribed for persistent tylenol/advil resistant fevers averaging very high {like above 100 degrees}. they had had a low grade fever for over a week but tylenol always had lowered it {we had used 2 bottles of children's tylenol & 1 bottle of children's advil in 5 days... but it was not for any high fevers just general misery}. he also said to alternate using tylenol & advil for pain control as it is easier for your liver & more effective on pain. he said tubes could be a long term solution for davith, who is prone to ear infections but that opening the windows during the day & closing them at night but leaving the room cool with limited bedding {to prevent dust mites & other things from increasing congestion}. apparently using a humidifier is a myth from a study done over the course of a day & actually adds to harmful house mould if used long run.  he also said if dav started to scream through the night to take him for a walk outside or get him to sit up for awhile to let the fluid drain. he said that's why most kids who cough like crazy at home don't cough at the drs office as there are less environmental factors irritating them {i have always wondered about that because i've always felt like it must look like i'm a liar}. he could tell they were congested from the bags under their eyes {not sure what he deduced from the bags under mine ;)}. but i overall, even though not receiving any actual drug treatment, drove my miserable family home feeling competent, prepared & ready to kick this steady flow of colds & flus coming through our house recently.

i can still remember that pram & our dog 'lady' & that
doll with the weird hair :)
and so the moral of the story is no more of those new fan-dangled antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. get on top of pain control. open those windows {steve's gonna hate it but i'm gonna LOVE it! i love fresh air & have always talked about it's benefits much to our furnaces chagrin}. lots & lots of water & maybe a little midnight walk or two. it's not the easiest plan of treatment but hopefully the lack of antibiotics will boost their system to be able to start fighting off sickness for themselves.

it brought back so many memories of my nana leaving us babies outside in the pram with the cold fall air to take our naps or the lullaby my mom used to sing to me before bed...
"good-night to little sarah, she's going to sleep. 
the clock is striking 7, she's nodding her head. 
windows are open & prayers have been said. 
good night to little sarah, she's going to bed". 
generations of such wisdom. wish i had listened earlier.