Still alive. Still struggling with life and everything. Trying to come back over here, but every time I do, I get overwhelmed with how long I've been gone and how many posts I haven't read. If you're still here and read this, and we're not friends on Facebook, leave me a comment if there's anything I should know, please? I'll maybe get caught up, someday.
On the plus side, there is FINALLY a light at the end of the tunnel in regards to me feeling like my life is in a holding pattern. The big news is... we bought a house! Woohoo! And it was mostly the wanting to buy a house that had me feeling like I was in a holding pattern and couldn't DO anything I wanted to do, because all the money was going to saving for said house. Now that that is done (and all the finances to go along with it are sorted), I can think about actually living again.
So the pertinent details are: the house is in Taylor, a tiny community about 10 minutes away from Fort St. John. We bought down there for a few reasons, the biggest one being that you can get far more house for your dollar than here in FSJ. It would have cost us somewhere around 1.3 to 1.5X what we paid for this house, to get something equivalent in FSJ, and we wouldn't have found it on a double sized (65' x 135') lot. But also, Taylor allows backyard chickens and BEEZ. Limited amounts, which makes sense, but we can have 6 backyard hens, which is more than enough to keep us in yummy organic free-range eggs. We're also allowed 2 colonies of bees, which is basically 2 hives worth. I'm very excited about that too.
The house is 2200 square feet total over two floors (main and basement). 4 bedrooms total(!) plus a large living room and rec room. I'm going to have so much space I almost won't know what to do with it. The kitchen even has a gas stove (*drool*). I loved using a gas stove when I had one in the place I called the Hobbit Hole. There's also an external garage that is technically big enough for 2 vehicles, but half of it's been turned into a workshop, and the ceiling is low enough that while it'll fit my current car, once we upgrade to a truck, it won't fit the truck. Oh well. There's also plenty of room for a garden in the backyard.
The somewhat weird thing is that there's a second double-size lot next door that is owned by the same family, which is classified as a vacant lot as it has no house on it. What it does have is a yard with a firepit, a huge garden, and a large shed. The owners haven't yet listed it for sale, and have apparently not decided yet what they want to do with it. We're hoping that they will hang on to it for a while, and by the time they do decide to sell it, we will be able to look at buying it and adding the two lots together.
The realty listing has been taken down, since all the conditions have been removed already, but I had saved all the pictures and put them up in a dropbox, so if you're curious, you can see what the place currently looks like. I have already started plotting all of the changes I want to make though, so... things are going to change drastically by the time I'm finished.
I'm baaaack, at least I hope I am. :) I've been very absent for a very long time (except for the occasional cross-post from my domain blog) and I'm going to try to change that. I have lots to post about but that will be a bit later, I just wanted to post something here to say that I'm coming back and if you see me commenting on old posts, it's because I'm getting caught up on things.
Weaving is one of those crafts that has been on my “to learn” list forever. I’ve done a bit of narrow band weaving – inkle and card weaving – but never anything wider or that would create actual fabric, as opposed to accessories (belts, etc.) I had been meaning to rent a loom off of my local spinners & weavers guild for ages, but I kept saying “I’ll do it once the house is clean”, and between that and the fact that they were being kept at a guild member’s house, it never happened.
Well, at the last guild meeting I went to, it was announced that a few of the members had gone into the guild’s studio space and reorganized it, making room for all of the stuff that was being housed at a member’s house, and then they moved all the equipment over to the guild’s studio space. So the loom I wanted to borrow was right there where I was for the meeting! Well, I didn’t waste any time in snapping that up right quick. I took an Ashford Knitter’s Loom home with me on loan from the guild that same day. I’d seen a demo of one of them at a previous guild meeting and they looked really neat, and I’m familiar with Ashford products as I have an Ashford Traditional spinning wheel as well as a pair of their wool cards.
It turned out I was the first person to use that particular loom (the guild has two of them), so I got to do all of the assembly as well, not that there was very much of it. I warped the loom up with some eggplant purple and dark teal Galway yarn I had purchased last winter with the intent of weaving it up someday. The loom came with instructions and all the tools needed, so it wasn’t hard to warp it up with the warping peg and clamp that the loom came with. All total, I think it took me maybe a total of 3 to 4 hours from start to finish.
And this is what I ended up with! A lovely decorative scarf in a checked pattern. The colours in this picture are completely inaccurate, though, as I took the picture with my phone indoors at night, and couldn’t get the color correction to come out right. I’m going to try and get a better picture outside during the day sometime soon.
We have a lot of snow here in Fort St. John. A lot, and more keeps coming. Though this is nothing unusual for this town… I’ve only lived here going on two years now, so it’s still a little bit novel for me. I have to admit I absolutely LOVE the snow. I would rather have pretty white stuff all over everything, and lots of sunny afternoons, than grey and rain all the time.
The weather around here definitely lends itself to cozy cooking of the stew and soup type. With my husband away until just before Yule, I’ve been trying to cook things in big batches so that I can just reheat meals for myself and not spend a lot of time cooking every day. Last weekend, I put together a big batch of borscht – a Ukrainian soup with lots of beets in it – which turned out absolutely wonderful. I thought I would share the recipe with you as it’s so easy and REALLY yummy.
2 pounds of beets – peeled, and then half diced into cubes that are about 1/2 to 1cm across, and the other half grated
2 medium potatoes – peeled and diced
1 medium onion – diced
2-3 carrots – diced
a small to medium sized can of diced tomatoes – or the equivalent of fresh tomatoes
2 cups of shredded cabbage
1 cup of diced yellow (wax) beans
1/3 cup of green peas – frozen or fresh
beef or vegetable stock, or water and bouillion cubes or Better than Bouillion, to taste (I use Better than Bouillion, plus about 2 litres of water)
Dice the onion and saute in the vegetable oil until they start to brown. Add the potatoes, carrots and diced beets and saute a bit. Add about half of the water/bouillion and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add the shredded beets and the cabbage. Add the rest of the water/bouillion until the consistency looks right to you. Let simmer for anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. 15 minutes before serving, add the peas and yellow beans (if you used canned beans, they will disintegrate if you add them any sooner). Add LOTS of chopped fresh dill – like between 1/3 and 1/2 a cup.
To serve, dollop a spoonful of sour cream on top and garnish with more fresh dill. Stir the sour cream in before eating.
This soup freezes very very well, and is even better when reheated.
If my about page was up-to-date or finished, which it isn’t at the time of this posting, it would tell you I’m a pagan. The next holiday on the pagan calendar is Yule, which is sort of our analog to Christmas. Growing up, I celebrated Christmas since my family was basically Christian, even if we never went to church or talked about it or prayed, or well… you get the picture. It was the default, so I guess it just was. Anyhoo, when I was in my late teens, I discovered that paganism was much more in line with my way of thinking. In fact, as I’m now 38, I’ve been pagan half my life. At some point in the future, I will probably get into a bit more detail on things, but that’s not the point of this post.
I spent the first 16 years of my adulthood in the Vancouver area, which is very multicultural, has a huge alternative culture population, and of course is big enough that you don’t usually need to worry too much about your non-mainstream interests/hobbies/beliefs impacting your life and job that much. But now I live in a very Christian town. You could almost call this area the bible belt of Northern BC. And as it’s a small town, and I’ve started getting involved in the community, I have to be at least a bit more careful.
I love decorating for the holidays, though in past years that hasn’t always happened, thanks to my mental health. But this year, I’m going at the decorating with a vengeance. I’ve just started, and only have a couple of things out, but I’m so happy with how my wreath just turned out I had to show it to you. You’re probably thinking yeah, ok, it’s a wreath. So what? But if you look closer… it’s got a few pagan touches that are subtle enough that most people won’t notice them. It’s got silver holly garland wrapped around it, but it’s also got it woven into the shape of a 5-pointed star in the centre. It’s a subtle pentacle! And then I added 5 silver bells, one at each point of the star, for the elements (earth, air, fire, water, spirit).
And there we go! I have a wreath on my front door that none of my more devout neighbours would bat an eyelash at, but I still get to keep my own faith and be happy.
It’s been a bit of an emotional week around here, especially the last few days. Good emotions… really good ones, but emotional nonetheless.
About 5 or 6 months ago (I don’t know the exact date because apparently I never mentioned it on Facebook), one of my cats slipped out of the house while I was cleaning and taking the trash out. That was not an unusual occurrence – my cats slip out regularly but I always get them back in promptly. This time that wasn’t the case. He completely disappeared, and despite all the searching, posting ads, and so forth that I did, he remained missing. I had reports of sightings, and even saw a cat that I was sure was him once, and then followed him when he took off, talked to the resident of the home he was hanging around, tried to trap him, and on and on… with no luck.
And then, on Thursday while I was at work, I see my iPhone’s screen lighting up. It was on silent, but for some reason I picked up when I saw that it was actually ringing. And there was a woman on the other end saying “I think I have your cat”. Cue my jaw hitting the desk.
She said she feeds and shelters all of the neighbourhood strays, and had actually caught him last night and had a look. She saw his tattoo, so she looked through the local SPCA’s Facebook page, and saw my post. She was able to get ahold of him again that evening, and brought him home to me around 6:30. I almost didn’t recognize him at first – he’d gained weight, and put on a lush, fluffy winter coat. But once I had a look at his tattoo, it was obviously him. Sadly I had to rush off to band practice, so after snapping a couple of pictures (I needed proof for the gushy Facebook post I knew I was going to make), I took him upstairs and set him down on the bed, and he immediately took off under it.
Friday night, he finally came out and I got some quality snuggle time with him at 4 in the morning. Of course, I was so happy that he’s home that I didn’t even care about the time. Once the sun came up and I got a chance to look him over, I discovered he had a wound on his front right leg. I’d noticed a couple of scabs when I picked him up when he first came home, but didn’t notice the extent of it until Saturday afternoon. He almost looked to me like he might have broken his leg at one time, though if it was, it was fully healed, as there was no movement in the bone and he wasn’t acting like it hurt. But then something popped open and started oozing… so off to the vet we went. I had wanted him to have a good check-up by a vet anyways, so this worked to do double duty. Thankfully, the vet said that other than the wound everything looked fine, and the wound was obviously the result of him getting into a fight with another animal and standing his ground. He was well along in the healing process, though, and healing quite well. He gave him a dose of antibiotics just to be safe, and a deworming pill, since he’s been eating goodness-knows-what for 6 months. Then we were on our merry way!
Onyx is my one cat who is petrified of the dog, so he’s been sitting on the shelf in the den closet since we got home yesterday. He’s got food, water and a litterbox up there, so he’s fine… it’s going to take him a while to get used to living inside again, I think. Later today, I will put the dog somewhere else in the house and then coax him down for some snuggling. But no matter where in the house he’s hiding, I am SO happy to have my Onyx home!
I’ve been all about the crafting lately. I find this happens every fall – anyone else find their creativity soars when the temperatures drop? Of course, not everyone gets the massive drop in temperature we do – we had quite the sunny and warm September and early October, but in the past couple of weeks we’ve had temperatures hovering around 0 (Celsius – remember I’m in Canada) and a fair bit of snow.
We had a short but beautiful autumn — ok, ok, I know *technically* it’s still autumn, but I’m speaking in terms of weather, not date on the calendar — my parents visited for a weekend in early October, and my extremely talented photographer father was gifted with an amazing array of colours to capture. We’ve now moved on to the start of our extremely long winter though — we had a good 4-6″ of snow earlier this week, though it’s almost gone now thanks to a delightfully sunny weekend. I’m sure it won’t be long before we have more though.
Now, I’m sure you’re far more interested in the crafting I’ve been doing, than the weather in Fort St. John. Right? Right. So, FSJ is a little hurting in terms of availability of craft supplies, since it’s a pretty small town (20,000 people or so). This means I have to try and load up on stuff when I make it to the next larger city (at least in comparison… Grande Prairie isn’t that big, but it’s a lot bigger than FSJ). Last time I went, I picked up some yarn and fabric – and in particular I finally remembered to get the specific colours of yarn I needed for a project I’ve had queued for a long time.
…to make Jayne hats! Three different sizes so far. The largest is sized to fit my friend’s sheltie Ishbel, the middle is sized to fit a ferret, and the smallest is intended to be a Christmas tree ornament. I have tons of yarn left, so I may be making some of the ornament sized ones to give as gifts and/or sell.
Because she’s too darned cute, here’s a shot of one of my ferrets wearing hers.
It’s been a heck of a long time since my last post here, though when I logged in to start working on this one, I discovered that I’d had two in the works that I’d forgotten about. Oops. In any case, since the last time I posted, I’ve found out that there is a big reason I was such a horrible blogger all these years… I have ADHD. Yep, I’m 38 years old and I’ve been diagnosed with what has typically been labelled a child’s disease, and in particular a young boy’s disease. As I’m now learning, that’s not accurate at ALL… and there’s a lot more to the disease than people think.
The diagnosis has been amazing and liberating for me. I’m on medication for it (Concerta) and it’s been nothing short of miraculous. Seriously, I feel like almost a whole new person. This is what has spurred me to go back to posting here, now that I can actually remember to post regularly. So yes, I’m back, and I will be posting frequently from now on.
First day of the new job went well, but now I am SO freaking exhausted. Even though the new job isn’t particularly strenuous, it still wore me out… probably because I’ve been sick. I made it through almost my entire day without having any coughing fits, but had one right at the end of the day. Fortunately the place was pretty empty by then.
Tonight has been about resting and trying to get rid of this cold, and starting to catch up on my Grimm watching. It’s my favorite show! I never manage to find the time to sit down and watch it when it airs though.