Friday, May 28, 2010


I'm in Winnipeg right now. Still operating on BC time, though so I am awake and everyone else is still sleeping so I am here blogging. Ronni and I concocted this trip last summer when I visited her in Calgary for some fun non-kid time. We met and became friends here and neither of us has been back here in a very long time. She left almost a year before me for another teaching position at another University.

I came to Winnipeg in 1991. Kaetlyn was a babe in arms. I had just graduated from University and I wanted to see more of Canada. And I wanted to be out of reach of a certain troublesome person from my past. So we packed up and left beautiful Sidney for this prairie town. It was a decision conceived of and executed within days. It was an adventure.

And I loved Winnipeg. The people, the city, the culture (the ballet!). It was a time of huge growth for me. I did my first counselling for a women's group. I started to really become myself. Its what you do in your 20's I think. I started homeschooling here and I had Andrew at home with an amazing midwife. And I left the church. All that in a space of just less than 3 years. We left just as suddenly in the spring of 1994. Andrew now a babe in arms. Another hasty decision.

Hard times followed and everything changed again. Bitterly hard times followed when I lost almost everything. And emerged much wiser and with greater understanding of myself.

Standing here is like visiting my other life. A life that started before I came here, flourished here and then petered out to nothing. My life is so different now that it is hard to find the threads that are stitched through them both. They are there, of course. It is like seeds planted when I was here are the trees in my life now. I had no idea at the time how it would all turn out.

A rather dull and philosophic post, I suppose. But it is what I am thinking about. What could have been. What was. What is. It is a wonderful city. So many things I have missed about this area.

It is so fun to be here with Ronni and Megan and Andrew and Rhiannon. It is just so easy to be together. Andrew, Rhiannon and Meg - all 'onlies' or 'babies' of the family to some extent are all so secure that the world revolves around them that there is no jostling for position. Andrew remembers how to play and Meg and Rhiannon are old enough these days that there are actually lots of things that they enjoy together. It just flows. The time together is easy. Its a magical time. All too soon these times will be memories. Our daughters will be teenagers and Andrew will be grown up. Times to hang on to.

What I love most about these vacation times is to watch my children together - with no other distractions, they play with each other. I see the love and affection they have for each other and it warms the cockles of my mother's heart. These little stolen moments out of everyday life that give me the chance to see that when you strip all the extraneous stuff away, what is there - what is true - is the love they have for each other. Andrew's kindness to the younger girls. Their adoration of him. Laughing. Goofing. Fun.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


There was one thing that was hard about having my parents here for 5 weeks. And its not what you might think. They were both really here for me. My dad building me needed farm buildings and accessories; driving Andrew places; fixing things, etc. My mom cleaning and being concerned about me doing so much and doing her best to help me with my responsibilities. It was really wonderful.

Then they left. And for awhile it felt like.... "oh, right.... I'm left with YOU people (the 3 other people I live with - husband, son, daughter). The ones who complain anytime I ask you to help me with even the smallest, little thing. Yes. Right." There was a bit of withdrawal, I admit. I had been spoiled. I was feeling overwhelmed and just a little alone in my strivings. My garden was full of 2' high crab grass (called cooch [sp?] around here). The laundry was piling up on the couch and I was really lagging at meal preparation/planning (as in: none happening). The bathrooms were dirty. I was starting to feel like I was doing a bad job of everything.

The thought of going out for the day for Mother's Day filled me with anxiety and stress to think of losing yet another day when there was so much to do around here. So I told my kids that what I would really like for Mother's Day was their time and effort in the garden.

And boy did they ever come through. Dean and Rhiannon did my morning chores and made me a most delicious breakfast. I still woke up before them but instead of doing my usual chicken/rabbits/sheep chores, I walked down the railroad tracks and picked wild asparagus in the early morning sunshine and stillness. Then Rhiannon and Dean cooked it up in an omlette with fresh mushrooms and green onions from the garden. And there were strawberries and blueberries.... lets just say that lunch was superfluous. Andrew spent most of the day and Eryn and Kaetlyn and their respective significant others and Dean spent the afternoon shovelling manure, digging garden beds, weeding furiously, tying up raspberries, moving rocks....

And when they left, I felt thoroughly restored. I felt seen and loved by my family. They heard me. They listened and they showed me how much they cared. Their time and effort helping me with something that is so important to me means more to me than any brunch or gift or picnic. I know they are all busy and have lots going on in their own lives. I really appreciate the time they all took for me. A day like Sunday goes a long way to filling me up. Thanks, family!

Friday, May 07, 2010

And then there were two!

When I went to bed last night I had one white sheep. And then I woke up to this!

As Icelandic sheep are supposed to, Eirina gave birth all by herself, with no help to a healthy, vigorous lamb. Another ewe lamb. I am sure it helps that she is just a wee little slip of a thing - weighing in around 3 - 4 lbs. (keep in mind that Eclipse was 12!)

Eirina who isn't even quite one year old herself has settled somewhat confusedly into motherhood. Zeus didn't get to help - not that he wasn't ready and willing. She had it in the corner where I feed them - far away from where Zeus could reach. All the other sheep were laying with him - giving Eirina her space. This is actually how Eirina herself was born to a ewe lamb last May 18 - in the field with no problems to her mother, Snowflake.

I went in to check her out. She was cleaned off very well and almost dry but now shivering. I brought her in and blow dried her for a bit and trimmed her umbilical chord and managed to install them in the lambing pen.

Here you can see just how wee she is.

Isn't she sweet? Its my wee Freya come back to me. We let her choose her own name - we put three names in a hat: Kelda (source or spring), Idunnr (to love again - the goddess of spring) and Lifa which means life itself. And she chose Lifa. Seems appropriate. Welcome little Lifa into the world!