A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Made me laugh...

Generally, we're not a bath-a-day kind of family...I like to think it's because we have to conserve how much waste goes into our lagoon, but really it's because the girls can usually find other things they want to do and I like to pick my battles. So the other day, I was trying to convince V. to have a bath...the conversation went something like this...

Me: Come on V. it's been a few days, how about you go have a bath.
V: I don't want to...I'm busy.
Me: Well, you really need to have a wash and wash your hair, it's getting a little grimy, why don't you go start the water.
V. reluctantly goes into the bathroom...as usual I get distracted in some task and come back to her a few minutes later...still playing.
Me: V. I told you to go and run the bath, do I have to send you to your room for a while?
V: (with a bit of a sob to her voice) I don't want to have a bath...
Me: (interrupting her) Come on...I don't want to have this argument everytime...blah blah blah
V: (more sobbing) I don't want to have a bath...the bathtub is dirty...
Me: What do you mean...come on...you just don't want to have a bath...
V: (big sobbing voice) It is too dirty...there... is... hay... in it!!!

**Guess I should fill the sheep's water bucket somewhere else, if I want to get them in the bath ;)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Yummy Brussel Sprouts...really!

Happy Holidays to everyone! Guess who got new pajamas for Christmas!!

We have had a great holiday so far. Nana flew in for a quick visit the week-end before Christmas...Grandmaman arrived a few days later and will be with us for a few more weeks :)

We celebrated Winter Solstice, with a few of our new Horsefly friends. We had a big bonfire and heard about celebrating the solstice in Germany and some folklore from Iceland, while the kids ran around building snow houses, etc...it was a lovely evening.

But getting to those brussel sprouts...I don't normally enjoy brussel sprouts...in fact I have always given them a pass. But this past Thanksgiving, we spent with Erich's Uncle Norm and Auntie Candace and she made the most delicious brussel sprout dish! Auntie Candace is a long-time vegetarian and an exceptional cook. The first meal she made for us was when we came out to BC on our honeymoon, we were vegan at the time and she made a great tempeh (or maybe tofu?) pasta dish. Another memorable meal was done completely over an open-fire without the benefit of running water or electricity...a scrumptious salmon, with beautiful roasted potatoes and a huge fresh salad (which she grew herself, of course). Anyways...I digress...but based on my history of positive culinary experiences with Candace, you can see why I was willing to take a risk with her brussel sprouts! In a word...delicious...and here is the recipe...my little gift to you...enjoy!

6 cups of brussel sprouts (cut in half)
2 tbspn of olive oil
onion (cut into eighths)
red pepper (optional)
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp of cider vinegar

Roast hazelnuts at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Toss brussel sprouts, onions and peppers in olive oil. Roast in oven at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. Mix maple syrup and cider vinegar, pour over vegetables, add hazelnuts, roast for about 5 more minutes.

Sorry the picture is kind of blurry...I wanted to snap one before they were all gone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mixing the New and the Old

This week-end we finally got into the swing of things, in preparing for the holidays. We're a little behind...usually we get our tree the first of December and decorate the house around that time too. But the past few week-ends have been jam packed with preparations for sheep, picking up sheep, surviving during power outages and extreme cold temperatures and building a sheep shelter in -30 degree temperatures (you can kind of see it in the background covered in a blue tarp as we didn't the roof quite finished yet).

As this is our first Christmas in our new home, we decided not to travel to Vancouver, as we did last year, to see my family, but to celebrate in our own home. As we were getting our tree today, I was reflecting on how different each of our Christmas' have been over the last few years and how pulling out our Christmas decorations, is the thread that ties everything together...no matter where we are. The kids excitedly take out each one, squealing with delight as they recognize one that they made at preschool, one that has their name engraved on it, one that they received as a gift etc etc.

Last week-end we attended the Old Fashioned Christmas party put on by the Horsefly Community Club. I see this as being a new 'tradition' in our family, because it was so much fun. The event starts with a huge potluck dinner...I have never seen such a large buffet with such a variety of dishes. The kids loaded up their plates and in a rare twist of events...ate almost everything! After dinner there were some performances by local musicians and music students and a rousing version of the Twelve Days of Christmas, Horsefly style...my favourites were the 5 Share Shed Shoppers, 6 Fire Levies, 4 Dry Wells and a Closed sign at the Cafe. The entertainment wrapped up with a visit from jolly old St. Nick.

After the entertainment we headed outside into the cold, to enjoy a bonfire, some horse-drawn sleigh rides and hot chocolate, while the kids climbed all over the huge piles of snow left behind by the snowplows.

This week-end we started another new tradition, heading out to chop down our own Christmas Tree. I've been scouting out trees for the last few weeks...looking for one that is about the right size and sufficiently 'bushy' for putting ornaments and lights on. We have always purchased our tree...and always had a Fraser Fir...they seem to last the longest and don't drop as many of their needles. We don't have many (any?) fir on our property so we had to go with spruce. I spotted one that I thought would work so we all headed out to chop it down...

The snow is a little deep...good thing there is no sound ;)


I think it looks lovely!

Tonight we will be celebrating Winter Solstice...a tradition we started last year...with a bonfire, lots of candles and discussion of all the things we look forward to as the days start to get longer again.

Friday, December 19, 2008


We haven't posted in a while - this cold spell has us busy gathering more wood every day, keeping the animals warm (we'll be posting about the new sheep shed soon), and keeping the water running.

I snapped our weather meter when we got up this morning - I haven't been in this kind of cold since I was a kid (walking uphill to school both ways in -40).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snow, Snow and More Snow

It started snowing late Thursday evening and continued on and off, mixed with rain, until mid-day Saturday. This resulted in a huge volume of really heavy snow! We lost power for just over 24 hours, likely due to the many trees which were down along the roads...we actually had to stop along the Beaver Valley Road to help a snow plow driver remove a tree that had landed on the cab of his grader.

This is one of the paths we have shovelled to access key parts of our property...like the chicken coop...

It has been pretty exciting seeing the snow pile up and a couple of things have made the situation that much more pleasant...

1. Rainer, our wonderful neighbour, showing up and kindly plowing our driveway, because he 'was just passing by' :)

2. The purchase of our new 4x4 truck, with new studded snow tires...goodbye mini-van.

3. Lots and lots of firewood...means no power is really no big deal.

4. Horsefly Hardware sells the best sleds!! The girls and I have been enjoying some great sledding down our driveway!

Monday, December 1, 2008


They're here!! After a truly harrowing journey...10 hour drive in wet, slippery snow and white out conditions, 12 hour return trip with fog, very tired, cranky children and a car sick dog...our sheep are in their new home!!
They are a little nervous after their long journey...but still quite curious about us. We haven't agreed on any names...I like the idea of Icelandic sounding names...but the girls like Rachel, Curly, Neigh-Neigh (M.'s favourite) and Brownie.

I'll write more later...when I've recovered from our trip :)