Tag Archives: country

Friends in the Country

Friends in the Country

Before we moved the country I had to do some research to find out if I could get into town on a small budget. I found myself on carpooling sites and posting ads on Kijiji looking for a ride into the city. It was surprisingly hard to find anyone to be honest, but in the end a few people contacted me and I now carpool with a young lady from the main town into the city. We share on gas and conversation and we’ll keep this up until the end of next month when I’ll be on maternity leave. But another lady who had contacted me (our hours just didn’t quite match up), has become a bit of an email pen pal. we pretty much email large letters back and forth each day. She’s my mother’s age but we have a lot in common and she lives within walking distance of our new home (albeit a bit of a hike if one wanted to meander over). She crafts, cooks, love Pinterest and has a german shepherd (I used to have one growing up). We plan on getting together soon (and actually meeting) and perhaps get our dogs together as well. It would be good for all of them to make some friends and tire each other out. I came across a box full of corks that at one time had a mission as some obscure craft project and I’ll make sure I bring them to my new pen pal when we meet. It may sound like a weird “nice to meet you” gift, but us crafty people can tell a lot about each other from following the pictures we pin, and it looks like she’s been eyeing some cork crafts for a while.

We’ve also met a few of our neighbors too. We feel bad as we had vowed to go door to door to shake hands and introduce ourselves, but the move has been exhausting and we’ve had a never ending stream of guests through the place that keeps us in each night we’ve had available. One night, as Hubby was at work, a knock at the door revealed a neighbor who had popped in to say hello and to welcome us. He lives further down the road, has a family and plans movie nights on Sundays. He was so welcoming and friendly and he even offered to come back to meet my man. This past weekend we were out shoveling our driveway (a good 40 mins of exercise in the biting cold), and one half of the former owners stopped by to see how we were settling in. She pulled up at the end of the driveway and Hubby and I went over to see her. She inquired as to how we were settling in and wanted to know which room we had chosen as the nursery. She was so friendly and warm. I broached the subject of the coyotes and after we all tried to side step around the big question for a few minutes we were all finally relieved to realize we were on the same page…. if they became a further nuisance they would need to go. We all chatted for about a half and hour and by the end of it we had been invited to potlucks, a men’s gossip group and a scrap booking session (I’ll have to remember to bring some paper that I have had for years!) We have now made more friends at the new house in one week, than the past years in the city. Side note… when you are in the country it is a requirement to wave at every car that drives by. By the end of shoveling my arm was quite tired but both Hubby and I felt refreshed and countrified.

We’ve also noticed that since we’ve moved, our friends from the city have all come out of the woodwork and have offered to visit and as tired as we are, it’s very hard to say no to them. We’ve had to turn away a few people out of sheer exhaustion, but in the end we’ve already hosted quite a few dinners, and our calendar seems to be always full. I certainly have no complaints, but I am very surprised. I would have thought that with us moving so “far from the city” that guests would be few and far between. Instead, I have to get a calendar up soon so we don’t double book!

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Sunday Main Move

Sunday Main Move

I survived the Sunday move chaos, barely. In my pregnant state, I did indeed loose it a few times and had to retreat to a quiet corner of the house while people were yelling at me to find them a hammer, screws or a broom, none of which I could find in the clutter of boxes. A screwdriver that was on our kitchen island one minute could be downstairs near the furnace the next. The dogs stayed glued to me all day, comforted by the sheer fact that they knew me, but had no idea what was happening. We had people in and out of our house all day, new people, old people, and family and friends. Some carrying boxes or shoving couches through doorways and others chasing toddlers and holding babies. All new things to our poor scared dogs.

Our friends had secured a 5-tonne truck. And for me, that description means nothing. But when it arrived I realized that “5-tonne” meant “HUGE”. They were able to make one trip from our old townhouse to our new house and were able to bring pretty much every piece of furniture and every cardboard box we had stashed there. I stood, along with some friends in the coolness of the garage inspecting boxes as they came off the truck and shouted room names to muscled men holding mattresses while the snow came down. It was efficient and fast, and utterly blew my mind at how smooth it went in general. Not a single piece of china was lost in the move, and other than a few dings, the furniture arrived pretty much unscathed. The only piece that caused a ruckus was my wine cabinet. She is a beast of a cabinet. Designed by me, and built by my cousin, a carpenter in Cornwall, she has been the central focus of our dining room for years. She was built in pieces and designed to come apart, but the guys just couldn’t quite figure out her puzzled ways, and decided that as hefty as she was, she would be moved in one piece. It took a good 5 strong men to maneuver her around, slide her through the doorway and up-end her to push her around corners to her final resting place in our front den, the only room with a wall big enough to house her. Sadly she won’t fit in our new dining room, nor our living room. Hopefully in time we’ll clean up that front room so she will be the focus again.

By 4pm the move was pretty much done. Everyone started to head home, clutching their lower backs and walking with stiff legs back to their cars. There was much chaos that day, but even more love, complete with hugs of appreciation and warm bowls of chili. Our good friends had stepped up in our time of need, and our karma from years of moving various friends and family had paid off. We were humbled by the generosity of so many.

With everyone gone, Hubby, myself and our dogs crawled into our king sized bed and all sighed and moaned, both in pain and exhaustion, as we curled up under the duvets, in the quiet of our house, the howling of the winter wind the only sound to lull us to sleep.

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Good Friends in the Country

Good Friends in the Country

Hubby and I just got back from dinner with our good friends whom we see only every month or so when we plan for a dinner at one of our houses. Right now, they live close to a 45 minute drive out in the country. They have a houseful of kids, cats and dogs, and we always have an entertaining night, as one toddler or another does things that probably only childless people find amusing. We laugh non-stop at their facial expressions when a particular explosive toddler fart happens and giggle profusely when one decides to lick their dinner off the table instead of being anything close to civilized. One of their cats seems particularly fond of digging its nails into my legs from under the table and will continue to stalk me most of the night, making me quite jumpy to the amusement of our hosts. Now that we are expecting I think they take great pleasure in telling us horrible baby stories about puke, sleepless nights and the incredible colours and textures that poop can come in. We take it in stride, pretend to be completely disgusted and laugh along as it won’t be long before we’ll have our own kid, licking his dinner from the table. We enjoy glasses of wine (not for me since I’m preggers) and home cooked meals and exchange banter on hobbies, kids, and any juicy gossip we have. It was especially touching to see both of their toddlers clinging to Hubby and joyfully climbing up his legs begging to be picked up, tossed around or bounced high in the air. There was a time that Hubby was shy about holding kids, and since neither of us have many friends or family with kids we see often, we usually find ourselves awkward around them. But tonight Hubby tickled, tossed, bounced, and played with those kids. Perhaps it was the fact he knows we have our own kid on the way, or maybe it’s just the fact that these kids seem like the most adorable things on earth and they utterly demanded his attention, but it was beautiful to see. The drive home from their house is always filled with conversation about family, good friends and positive thoughts on the future. It’s great to have such great friends, and we hope that when we move to the country our kids will share backyard camp outs and perhaps I can snag their recipe for delicious flaky pie crusts.

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House Hunting

House Hunting

City or country? Both had its perks and we had a few late night quibbles trying to decide what would be best for us, our dogs, and the new one on the way. The conveniences of city life drew us in with its comforting ways. As a 1 car household, the luxury of the city bus at a door step is reassuring, and easy access to box stores full of electronics and superstores full of food would be hard to let go. House prices were high, yards were small, but it would be so easy. And then we started to discuss how we wanted our child to be brought up. Will they have a cell phone by age 7? Will they demand a tv in their bedroom by age 6? Is having our child play outside and being covered in mud important to us? Over the years our patience for dangerous drivers, filled-to-the-brim parking lots and long lines of oblivious robot-like people made us lean towards the simple life one could undoubtedly find in the countryside.

This life would give our child the benefit of capturing some of the lost arts of childhood. Perhaps they would learn to to have an imagination, love to play, and burn calories catching frogs. We’d be giving up a lot. We’d have to sacrifice conveniences, learn to plan ahead, and get up early to shovel our car out of snowdrifts. But the houses were cheaper, yards were huge, and the people, well…. they would be “quality over quantity”. We began the house hunt, we argued over tiny houses, city access, missing shingles and whose in-laws we would be living closer to. Both of our families added in their 2 cents, which compounded our rising frustration in finding the perfect dwelling. “Too far”, “too small”, “price is too high” ,“do you want to have to deal with (insert inconvenient item here)” were comments we had to bear, and we had to think about, mull over, and decide on. There were many houses we liked, many where we could see ourselves living, but none of them screamed “pick me”.

Then one day on an already argument-filled house hunting excursion, we stumbled upon an open house, down a gravel road in the country. It was around the corner from a tiny little house we were heading to see. But we followed the open house signs and there we sat in our truck at the end of the driveway… once again arguing if we should bother going through. I mean, there must have been a good reason it didn’t pop up on my house search, it was probably out of our league. But we couldn’t deny it was beautiful, and the yard was huge. We had extra time to kill, so in we went, up the wooden stairs on the porch and into… the house of our dreams. As we walked through that house, from room to room, we fell hard for it, and we stumbled further with each room we explored, and we finally looked at each other and knew, this house was saying… “for the love of God, PICK ME!!!”

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City Meets Country

City vs. Country

My husband and I are complete opposites who have come to a comfortable compromise. My man grew up in suburbia, loves the city, and thrives on nightlife, meanwhile I grew up rural, feeding the neighbors cows fresh cut grass from my mother’s yard, and going to bed by 8pm. We met, we fell in love and we battled over our two personalities. We finally found common ground, as my husband is a chef and I loved local food and had a respect for farmers. Together we started to adventure to farmers markets, cheese factories and local gems that neither had known existed. We merged our families (my husband and his french bulldog, and myself and my weimaraner) into a townhouse in Nepean where we lived together, along with various roommates over many years. The townhouse itself will have it’s own blog post, which I’ll save for another day, but it has certainly served its purpose up to this point.

Hubby and I, after being married for almost 1 year to the day, found out we were expecting (we had only started trying and we thought it would take months), so we sat dumbfounded on the edge of our bed happily thinking “the fire… she be lit”. We had always planned on moving out of our tiny block of a house and we were saving, slowly, but nothing prepares you like that pee stick in hand, the countdown had begun.

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