Tag Archives: country life

A Great Country Idea

A Great Country Idea

A neighbour and friend of mine gave me a great tip to keep my clothes pins from flying all over my yard and to keep them dry when being stored outside. My present mode of storage was an old plastic strainer that would blow over with any gust of wind, scattering the clothespins throughout the lawn and under the deck. My stash of pins was steadily diminishing since each time this would happen, I would come up with fewer pins from my search. My friend suggested a hanging planter to house them. Low and behold this past weekend, while out yard sale hunting with her I came across a planter (since I only purchased a flat of coleus plants this year I didn’t have one in my stash of junk in the garage). For 25 cents I picked it up and it fits perfectly on my clothesline elevator. Although it’s hidden by our meat smoker right now, but until we can build our dream deck, space will be limited. The holes in the pot allow for rain water to drain away and the hook is great for convenience. Now I need to head back to the dollar store for more clothes pins.

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Another Wild (and disgusting) Encounter

Another Wild (and disgusting) Encounter

While working in the garden one day, my mom and I encountered a bug that literally made my skin crawl. This “thing” was waddling in circles around the top of my rain barrel and looked to be about 4″ long. The front legs looked like little shovels and it’s beady ears looked around for it’s next victim. I quickly took to Google to solve the mystery and came up with it’s name. “The Giant Water Bug is one of the largest insects in the U.S. and Canada. Giant water bugs are approximately 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length. Some species grow as long as 4 inches (10 cm). Because it often turns up under street lights and porch lights, it is also one of the most asked about insects. It is commonly mistaken for a beetle or even a cockroach. Alternate names include toe biter because they can deliver a nasty bite, and electric light bug because they are attracted to lights.”….Toe biter? Are you kidding me? I will be tapping out my rain boots before sticking my feet inside from now on! Maybe the most disgusting thing about the whole ordeal was that once I had posted this picture to my Facebook page a friend of mine said her son pulled out a tin box he had, and inside was the body of one of these monsters. He had found one and kept it in his room.

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A front porch

A front porch

Today I had a friend and her baby come to visit. The house always seems to have a guest or two and it certainly keeps me busy. The extra hands are great to help out, or to simply enjoy some wine with. Today, my friend and I stuffed our babies in strollers and hiked down the country road. Our road is usually a very hard compacted gravel, almost as smooth as pavement, but today, of all days, they decided to re-grade the road leaving about 4 inches of soft mushy sand to walk in. Then truck after truck went by us spraying water on the new road to keep the dust down. I was stubborn and made my friend keep hiking, the wheels of the strollers wobbling in the muck. A good spirit and one up for adventure, she never complained. She asked me if I felt isolated out in the country (a question that seems to come up from every city friend we have) and I described getting to know our neighbours, getting phone calls from farmers down the street checking in, or how the lady across the street knows when we have visitors since she knows what cars come and go in our laneway. I described having a sore arm from waving at every passing car (something we were doing with each one that passed us) and at how we sometimes have 2-3 friends visiting on any given day. By the time we got back home, we decided to lounge in camp chairs on my front porch while our kids snoozed and not 20 minutes later a car pulled in our laneway. It was my neighbour from a few blocks away, stopping in to check on us. She stayed and chatted for a while before heading home. I’m looking forward to spending more time on our front porch, waving at cars, reading books, holding a snoozing Junior on my lap. In the city a front porch is used for a planter, maybe a welcome mat and that’s about it. A country porch on the other hand is the hub of a welcome committee. It’s the place to view the neighbourhood, to watch kids ride by on bicycles and to, of course, wave at every passing car. Tomorrow I’m bottling wine with some friends… which will of course be consumed while on the porch, and in our garage sits a half finished wooden bench which will become the future spot for flyer reading and coffee enjoying these coming summer months.

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Too Close for Comfort

Too Close for Comfort

Two nights ago Hubby and I had the scare of a lifetime. As usual, we sent the dogs outside for their last pee before bedtime. My big girl gets tied up as she would certainly run off and the little one is loose as he never strays far. We usually watch them closely while they are outside to make sure they just do their business and come back in after. Our little man came back in asap, and I even made a comment that he was in a hurry to go to bed. I opened the door, let him in and closed it again. With the backyard illuminated by the deck light, we can see about 30 feet from the house. I looked back up and saw a coyote/wolf/coywolf running at my girl who was still tied up (she has about a 15 foot radius from the deck). I screamed and flung open the door, and Hubby came running from behind and made the scariest sound ever as loud as he could while I reeled in my girl by her tie-out. The attacker had been running, ears up, tail straight out and was coming in for a kill! With Hubby’s gutteral challenge it hightailed away and I was able to pull our dog inside and slam the door. Both Hubby and I were shaken. If we hadn’t been there watching, we’re sure that thing would have attacked our “kids”. Since the first few weeks of living here we hadn’t seen the coyotes other than playing way back in the field, but this was too close. And after a few minutes of absorbing what happened I recall this thing was taller than my dog… which almost makes me think it could have been a wolf. Hubby and I ran and put our boots on, grabbed pointy scary garden tools and ran outside, leaving the kids inside to watch as we tromped through the backyard in the dark, tiny flashlights in hand, making loud noises, but the attacker was gone. We’re so thankful that we caught it all before that thing had a chance to have a meal.

The next day I called up our neighbours, farmers, and they agreed it was time to address the wildlife. They even pointed out that a lot of their barn cats had gone missing, and that the coyote population was known around here to cross breed with wolves. I don’t care what it was… coyote, wolf, or coywolf, nobody threatens our kids, and no healthy wild animal should come that close to humans/houses! With our neighbours on alert, and with notice that they will send their hunter friends out to investigate for dens, I feel reassured. We’ll continue to be careful at dark and check before letting the kids out for their pee, but I’ll be on edge until we can get that fence up… but will a 5′ chain link stop a coywolf? It better, otherwise I’ll be looking at getting my gun carrying license again.

PS. After all that excitement I still didn’t go into labour!

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First Day of Maternity Leave

First Day of Maternity Leave

Well, it’s official. Today, Monday March 3rd is my first official day of maternity leave. Last week at work the gals threw me a little baby shower, complete with a boardroom table overflowing with pot luck treats and a card signed by lots of great friends from my office. They also collected donations, which are very, very much appreciated. With the new house (bills are piling up!) and the baby on the way (still need to get so many little things), it’s been a draining time. I’m going to finally get my butt in gear and put those donations to good use hooking up Junior with some cloth diapers and I’ll have to remember to send some pictures to my work as a thank you.
But now here I find myself, sitting in my pajamas alone in the house except for the dogs, and I wouldn’t dare say I’m bored, but I’ve got at least a good 6-7 weeks before Junior should be close to being ready to join us. What does one do? I’ve done some research to find out what other expectant moms did on their time off, or even what they did while they had their babe glued to their hip. I came across so many lists that moms had made, but one in particular made me realize that it’s just not that easy to get everything done. This mom had posted her “mat leave to-do” list, complete with mom and babe movies, trips to the beach, visits with friends and learning how to knit along with other seemingly attainable goals. But a year later she posted her “what I actually got done” list, and it was surprising to see how little she was able to accomplish. Not for lack of effort, but with a baby, everything takes 4 times longer to do, it makes 2 times the amount of mess, and you have 3 times less energy, and most moms just don’t realize that going into it.
My fear, and undoubtedly Hubby’s fear, is that I will become a sloth on my mat leave. Bumming around the house in my yoga pants, eating a bag of chips for lunch, and watching soap operas all day with Junior suckling away at my breast (maybe a slight exaggeration but we can only fear the worst), but I figure that for each week I’m off, I will make a list of things I want to accomplish. Breaking it into weekly goals seems more attainable and gives me the flexibility to be realistic as each week will differ in my energy level. On top of my weekly list, don’t forget I’ll be doing laundry, vacuuming and general house up-keep.


Week One:
Get to the library and take out some books, recover the bumper pads I found, get some photos to a friend who needs them for my website, make a list of baking supplies I will need and stock up, re-pot my living room plant, research how a water softener works, walk the dogs 3 times, sell some old over-the-toilet vanities, get some pictures printed at Staples, fix a cushion that Juno chewed, organize my craft cave that has exploded into a mess of lace and burlap scraps, find/buy some more recycling bins for the garage, mail out the last of my shower thank you cards, go to the municipal office to clarify land taxes, find out how a diaper genie works, pre-register at the hospital for the birth and bake some banana bread.

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The Snowblower

The Snowblower

I’m writing this for two reasons. The first is to quickly write down what my dad told me to do in order get the snow blower started before I forget, and the second…so that after even the 20th time doing it, I can still refer back to this blog in order to figure it out once again.

Make sure the machine is on, make sure the gas line is on, pull the choke out all the way, three pumps of the primer… pull cord until I give myself a hernia or blow a baby, when machine starts, slowly push choke back in, in stages, until running smoothly, don’t run over the dog with it. (don’t touch the key or the “on” toggle, they stay where they are). When done, turn gas line off and let machine run out of gas naturally, ensuring minimal drippage in garage. Use a broom to brush off snow from machine, and always use premium gas.

My dad is a handyman. It’s handy to know him, he’s handy to have around and he’s handy when it comes to getting mechanical things to work when they should have died years ago. With Hubby and I purchasing a house in the country, my dad was probably more excited than we were. He grew up on a farm, and even though he now lives in a townhouse in the city, he one day dreams of a huge plot of land in the country where he can hunt to his heart’s content and have sheds full of cool mechanical “stuff”. I’m sure my step mother wouldn’t be too pleased with such a set up, but she goes along with his dreams and that’s what counts. Anyways, when we moved, actually, before we moved, my dad would deliver things like rakes, hoses, wide brooms, shop vacs (boy did that come in handy!), and other “country” goods to us at the old house. Luckily he also was able to find an old snow blower that he had stored down at my grandparents storage shed (having sheds for “stuff” runs in the family apparently). He’s been tinkering with it for the past few months in his overly crowded garage (he’s always got about 4 projects on the go), and the other night the snow blower finally made its arrival into the country. Now… one of the things I did not inherit from my dad is his mechanical ways. I have no clue how things work and almost no interest in learning. I like mechanical things to be simple (ie. turn key, press start button). So I’m sure my dad has had his fill of being frustrated with me while I would roll my eyes as he tried to explain how engines work or how a garage door opener could be adjusted. And it never helped that the items he was trying to talk to me about were ancient and needed special instructions on how to use them. Those special instructions usually included words like “jiggle this a bit”, “put pressure on this hose”, “toggle it a bit, but not too much”.

We’ve only had to shovel the driveway once so far in the past 2 weeks, but we definitely have some drifting snow that piles up. And with me being pregnant, lifting a shovel full of snow is not the smartest. So a snow blower is a new essential for our country life. It’s supposed to snow this weekend, wish me luck!

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Welcome To The Rural Rationale

Welcome To The Rural Rationale

This blog is where you’ll find interesting stories, quirky ponderings, and a slice of rural life through my eyes. In between blog posts I’ll be chasing our dogs around the property, attempting to regain my green thumb, and wrestling the last bits of cloying city life from my soul.

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