My transition from cluttered to simple living.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The journey continues...

Hubs and I are fast approaching our second year in our small home on the river.  We are still madly in love with it.  Every day is filled with promise and possibility.  We have had many challenges along the way, but as we blunder through each and every one, we learn something new.

Our septic system still gives us grief.  There is an end in sight, as the township will be visiting each home along the watershed to inspect tanks and systems to ensure that they are up to standard.  I am all in favour of this.  I want to know that our system does not harm the environment.  It is rumoured that low interest loans will be offered, and that these loans can be tacked onto the existing tax account.

This morning I was, again, reflecting on our direction in life.  We desire a simpler life.  My dad...brilliant fellow that he is... announced recently, that "the simple life is never simple."  I couldn't agree more.  The journey towards simplicity...the changes in lifestyle... take time, practice, patience and a willingness to learn.

Life was once simpler.  Witness the two happy children above.  Their needs were met.  They had abundance in their lives.  Surrounded by a loving family, they wanted for nothing.  A few years after this photo was taken, things began to change.  They moved from the neighborhood where their parents had grown up, where neighbours were family, and their grandparents lived next door.  In order to provide for these children, their mom and dad both worked.  These children had good parents with the very best of intention.  Why then was it that the little girl (me) always had a desire for less of what we had... and more of what we used to have.

My grandparents emigrated from Scotland in the 1920's.  They had little more than family when they got here.  The greatest lessons that I learned were from my association with Nana and Grandpa.  My happiest moments were spent in their home in Grimsby Beach.  I have visions quiet moments...of Nana hanging her clothes from the line which was accessible from inside her home...of trays of homemade cookies and current squares baked just for us... of tea time before bed with a stack of peanut buttered toast, and a game of "snap."  I remember quiet afternoons spent on their porch, rocking and reading, as sunlight streamed through the bamboo shades.  I remember the comfort of being surrounded by a huge loving family....afternoon trips to the beach...and picnics on sandy blankets. 

I often wonder what memories our grandchildren will cherish.  Thankfully all of them are being raised by parents who love them dearly, and have the very best of intention.  As we get settled, and have them here more often, I hope that their fond memories one day, will include trips to nana's and papa's home where they were always met with a tray of goodies made especially for them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And How Did you Spend Family Day?

My daughter and her husband spent the day at home...adding this gal to the family!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Baby Sara arrived three short weeks ago in Sudbury, Ontario.  Sara is grandbaby #6 for hubby and me.  She is going to live a very interesting life in the north country, as daddy is very interested in small scale farming and self-sufficiency, and mommy teaches english as a second I would bet that this is a little gal who will learn to love literature, and who won't be afraid to get her hands dirty.  One thing is certain, Sara will grow up in a very different world than I did.

I am fortunate.  Grandbaby #7 is on the way!  (Well...not yet...but any day now!)  Baby "L" is due Feb 14th, but her mommy thinks she may make an appearance sooner.  My daughter is pretty good at keeping secrets and will not tell anyone her name until she arrives.  Baby "L" will be born into another family who seems to have "it" figured out.  Daughter Mandy is well-prepared for this baby.  The minute she discovered that they were to have a girl, all of her son's clothing was sold online at a mom's group, and within months, her little girl was outfitted with gently used clothing.  Toys are bought, "gently-used."  Mom uses cloth diapers.  Owen has never tasted prepared baby food from a store.

We also have two other grand daughters.  Their mom has chosen to become a full-time mommy, sacrificing a career and a really good pay cheque, to stay at home with her daughters.  Tinah gives her children, and several others, quality care in the home.  Daddy Dan fishes with Alexia.  How lucky are these girls?!

My second son is certainly learning how to live on less.  After breaking his ankle in a fall several weeks ago, he is sure learning how to budget. He was well-prepared for Christmas last year, as he had bought frugally for his family throughout the year. (Thank goodness!) Bryan is an outdoors-man.  His boys will be one day, too.   They will learn to develop a love of nature, and the environment.  I'd say that they are pretty fortunate too.  Bryan's wife, Carolann, has taught the boys a love of family, acceptance and support.

When I say that these children are growing up in a world different from the one I grew up in, I say it with both trepidation , and with great excitement and hope.  All of these children are growing up in a time of unrest, depletion, and great changes.  I believe that they will learn great lessons from parents whose primary interest is their welfare.

I grew up in a loving home, and learned great lessons from my Nana who taught me how to be frugal.  I did not have to use those lessons as I was educated, found a career, and became a parent.  I use them now. 

I take great pleasure from planning my garden.  I have lofty plans for preserving.  I do what I can to lessen my impact on the world we live in.  Will that make a difference on a large scale?  Probably not...but doing a little has to be better than doing nothing.

Enough.  I am signing off to finish up a sweater that I have crocheted for baby #6.  I'm kind of proud to say that this little gem has cost me less than $8.00!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Who Tires of Cookies?

Not these guys!  Last week I made several dozen "people" cookies.  It was their turn this morning!

Have you ever made your pooch biscuits?  they are surprisingly simple, and can be made at a fraction of the cost of regular, store bought biscuits.  Our dogs love them!  The benefit, other than the cost, is knowing what we are feeding our furry friends.

Go ahead...  Give it a try.  You know you want to!  The recipe can be found at

Friday, February 3, 2012

Things that go bump...

From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!

No pictures today, folks, but use your imagination... 

I arrived in my driveway at 11:30 last night.  Hubs is away, and the only ones at home are the dogs...  My dogs are pussycats.  They would lick a stranger to death, especially if he arrived with cookie in hand.

As I turned off my vehicle, and opened the door, I heard a sound much like  "WOM WOM WOM WOM WOM" beside my car.  It was loud folks. The closest thing I can compare it to, is a large helicopter on take-off.  I was tempted to close the door and spend the night in the car, but I knew my pups were waiting to go to the I mustered what courage I own, and bolted for the door.  (Have you ever seen a 60 year old, out of shape person bolt?)

My dogs bolted out too...anxious to do their thing...and then I realized what I had heard.  From the treetop came a "Hoot  Hoot!"  I could not see her, but it was an owl that I had disturbed when I pulled into my driveway...and lest she take her upset out on my littlest dog, I rounded both up quickly, and headed indoors. 

I wish I had been able to see her.  I wish it had been daylight so that I could have captured her image.  I wish I wasn't such a chicken....  It's kind of tough on a gal, and I am reminded of a quote that is hung on the wall beside my bed...

But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue

Truly... I am only distressed by this missed opportunity last night.  I would have loved to have seen this majestic creature.  Hopefully there will be a next time.