What we've been up to
Hello friends & armchair pioneers!
You wanted to know what we've been up to lately. It's been busy, in fact now is the busiest time of the year and arguably the most beautiful time of the year. With so much to do, it's difficult to take time to look around and enjoy the natural world that I'm always raving about. I do try to take a couple of minutes here & there, to stop what I'm doing, look around or close my eyes & listen to what is probably as busy as Time Square, with all the different birds chirping, calling, pecking, singing & warning.
Also remembering to take a deep breath, hold & exhale. The air here is super clean & the sky, super blue but mornings especially, when I go out to open the chicken coop & let the hens out in the run, the air is insanely...well I'm not very articulate and can't think of the right word, only to say that a combination of dew and forest air stops me in my tracks followed by a big smile & glee :)
A few deciduous trees such as the serviceberries & aspens, have only just bloomed with their leaves mostly formed with the maples, oaks, cherries, birches, etc. are slowly catching up.
Looking outside the window, I can see the dancing(trembling poplar) leaves in the gentle breeze.
I started writing this post only a few days ago but by now, after only two days of rain showers even the birch leaves are out. All that we're waiting for are the oaks. Also now, looking up over at mountain ridge, I can see all the light green leaves of the deciduous trees with the evergreen patches and their dark green branches making up the rest, in between. Really quit a scene, signifying hope, for me.
I'm up at dawn, which is about 5:30am. And when dawn is pushed back to 5am...yeah, let's go! lol.
I dedicate 15-30 minutes to my rotating daily exercises routines before my real daily exercises, lol.
Every morning, I spend four hours helping my elder neighbour with whatever list she has prepared for me for that day. Everything from fixing her boardwalks, applying horse manure & compost in her vegetable garden or the drip-lines of her trees, to covering her planted vegetable rows with straw, weeding, pruning and much more.
Home for lunch & rest for an hour or so before starting work on my own property.
As long as the days are right now, there doesn't seem to be enough time to get everything done, and that's ok. I prefer having some work to do everyday, especially if it's labour of love. It also helps calm the mind. But now you know why those old farmers or now organic farmers have so much endurance. It's because they are constantly forging on with their never-ending chores.
I realize that this may be hard to understand for many but really, I would rather do this than living/working in the city, honestly. So after reading this, if you can't see yourself doing this, then either don't move to the country, buy only about an acre of property so you don't have much to do or just come visit us for a few days simply to recharge your batteries before going back to your city lives. Don't force yourself to do what you are not ready to do yet or ever.
We just finished building our 2.0 compost bins two weeks ago when I already came-up with a 3.0 design, lol.
So we managed to squeeze one more. We now have three 2x2x4h bins & one 4x3x4h bin. That last-one is mostly for winter composting.
We get a lot of snow here and as neither of the compost bins have lids(in order to keep them a bit moist & more air flow), the combination of snow, compost and the chicken manure were filling them up rapidly.
So this last bin will have a cover, though as with the others, we are not using any nails or screws in their construction. All natural wood(logs) in constructing our compost bins.
The second biggest project is to cut the dead & fallen trees(95% softwood), into roughly 16 inch logs to be used as guilt-free firewood and the ones still with lots of life left in them, for other building projects such as pagodas, archways and even meditation stools, whimsical & wonky dumbells & barbells. I know, one must have a bit of fun, especially on rainy/rest-days :)
Arranging the branches of those trees in whimsical & meandering brush walls, take the most amount of time.
The process of picking/collecting the branches, walking them over and stacking them, is all pure meditation, honestly.
It helps you focus on task at hand and at the end, you look back and see the once brambly, difficult(read impossible) to walk on/through forest floor transformed into a clear whimsical & winding path, with guided brush walls and magical beams of light from the heavens :)
We planted 30 Blackcurrant canes & 7 Blackcurrant plants so far this year. We still have about 130 more plants in the seed-bed to plant. They are calling for 35 mm of rain over the weekend so hopefully we can get a few more in the ground ahead of that lovely rain.
For the first time, this year we also planted 10 asparagus plants in one of the raised beds.
Not believing in hallmark holidays such Mother's Day, Earth Day etc.(because you should either remember the earth, your mother,...everyday or never), we are now offering free baby( seedlings all the way to 3 feet tall) to all.
Just bring your pot & soil. Donations are accepted but not at all expected :)
The garlic beds(400 plants) are doing well so far. The best start in years as the soil in our ever-layering raised beds are finally coming together. This is their fourth year. See how long organic soil can take to complete folks?
Twice weekly, we have our yoga sessions at our yoga studio. My promise to the fellow yogis is to offer only restorative & easy stretches on non-rainy days, as everyone here is busy working on their land, and more flow sessions on rainy & less active days.
Cleaning the chicken coop is still a every second day chore with replenishing/checking for crushed oyster-shells, grit and turning/raking the run's floor, a nightly chore done once the ladies adjourn to the coop.
Right now, that takes place at 9pm but as the days get longer, that times would also get pushed back.
Here, in our region or the forest, the temperature always drops to a cool & comfortable 15c or so at night. Perfect for sleeping and by dusk, you can already sense the morning buzz of the insects, the birds or even any human activity(neighbours/kids) from distance, coming to an end. Soon the nocturnal, the invisible and the spiritual world come out to play.
I'm fast asleep by 9:30 though.
Rainy days are also town days. Last Tuesday was one such day. Magical sun-showers off & on, with a rainbow everytime.
On our way to town, we saw perhaps the biggest mobil-home that I have ever seen before in my life. For those of you not familiar with these...things... They are a sort of a modular home. They are made quickly in a wearhouse then placed on a trailer and shipped to location.
I remember these things to only be about 30-40 feet. Perhaps as a temporary office or accommodation on worksites. The one we saw that day was somewhere between 60 & 80 feet long?
I don't even know how it was unloaded. Anyway this one was just being positioned onto it's gravel? pad by the time we passed by.
In town we saw so many new faces & licence plates. Folks are moving to New Brunswick in a rapid pace as the real estate prices here are some of the lowest in the habitable zone, lol.
According to an agent, a property is sold every 24 hours.
I've written about this before. People are selling their fixer-uppers in the big cities for in excess of $700,000 and buying the same fixer-upper here for $150,000. Or they upgrade to a property with about 4 acres for $200,000 OR they can buy our well-built, off-grid property designed as a retreat, on 10 acres for that same $700K.
I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my last post or not but recently a house in Toronto sold for $650,000...wait for it...ABOVE asking price, yikes!
Nova Scotia, a province with historically more expensive real estate is quickly becoming a playground for the wealthy with some properties selling for $60,000+ for an acre of land alone!
In one area, they are selling every multi million dollar house that they can build.
With those prices, we honestly don't know if we can afford to sell this property, partly because everywhere else is more expensive than here and partly because this is the best place for us to be, at these uncertain times. I know that I've said this before. Perhaps I need to hear it myself again.
Today, we were having a snow-globe day...well, dandelion-globe day anyway. The air was filled with dandelion puffs. I know how much they are loathed by most folks but if you have a sense of whimsy, you can think of them as wishes on their way to the heavens or wherever.
My wish is that you are all doing well and enjoying these glorious days :)