Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Alberta Wind

Gumbo Lily speaks a little about some of the weather that helped shape us. 

The wind, that wind, flows in our blood. It is as common as laundry blown off the line here. 

"If you're not from the prairie,
you don't know the wind,
you can't know the wind.

Our cold winds of winter cut right to the core,
Hot summer wind devils can blow down the door.
As children we know as we play any game,
The wind will be there, yet we play just the same.

If you're not from the prairie,
you don't know the wind."

--Dave Bouchard, If You're Not From the Prairie


Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Lellow Dresser

Down in the dungeon I have a rickety little corner of shelves stock full of happiness. There are rows of stained paint brushes in old jars, space dedicated to spray paint, itty bitty sample cans of crazy paint colors. There is a container full of acrylics and all sorts of odds and sods well known to any DIYer (which I like to refer to as a DIYCYC-do it yourself 'cause your crazy.) 

This past winter, with a baby literally hanging off my hip and a two year old pointing to my shoulder asking if it was my elbow, I stripped, sanded, primed and painted. I slowly lost my mind in the pursuit to actually regain it, as I always think a good project will help. Several large old pieces of furniture, old doors, window frames, and children received some paint in all various manners. Stacked drawers, drills, and hammers were only a small portion of the danger to a baby laying about the house. The crazed mother was high on the danger list. 

Would someone please explain to me how to take photos of these sorts of things? Impossible may ring true here. Complete with original hardware and terrible drawers-I love the skirt work and detail on this old dresser. Yes, I intended this to look scuffed up and dirty-my house isn't that filthy.
Now moi, I'm a bit of a naturalist. I know the 1900's called and wants their style back, but I'm there. Girls, I love the natural look of wood. I love old wood, I love stained wood and I like it plain jane. I don't have the urge to paint everything white as most the population does. I'm also not on the boat that cringes when wood is painted over. Folks, it's just a piece of furniture after all. Are you going to take that with you when you leave this planet? I doubt it.
What? The glare hurts your eyes? Put on your shades! This is the before folks, and all roads lead to this clothes holder being 100% Canuck. From what era? Who knows! I bet whoever crafted this dove tail joint drawer specimen would flip their lid knowing the sunshiney hue it now adorns. Whoops!

For my own house, very little get's painted in the way of furniture. For display of my baby swag at shows and for resale for old fashioned baby rooms, sure, I'll slap a coat of blue on that waterfall dresser. My little girl's antique dresser (that was not in the family previously-I have no qualms about this) was washed in yellow. Little girl's rooms are the perfect place for a happy splash of color.

Happy side note, my Auntie Pat was proposed to with an actual shiny ring in a cracker jack box. Can you believe it? I would have definitely eaten the thing and most likely choked. 
This piece got the works, a thorough clean, a light sanding and a bit of effort. I distressed the beast to give it some old fashioned country fun, and used light & dark wax. Yes, dark wax to dirty it up. After days of effort, between naps, meals and house cleaning, my Dad walks in to see the finish project still sitting in the living room. He knew I had a dresser to work on for Tay, and saw the ray of sunshine sitting there. Dad let me know that if I was to get started on that piece I should probably try a stripper first before I start to sand it down, it looked like there was a lot of paint on there. 

 "Um, thanks Dad, but it's already done." 


 Now that there is another before and after painted piece of furniture post to drop into the big old ocean of blog posts about this, let me sign off by saying never open a can of paint in the living room. Never. Ever. This would be sad and silly, you will be grouped into the insane new mother's group, even if you are a man.

Linking up here and here!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Relax & Breathe

I sat down on the deck after a day full of wildness with the feel of newspaper between my fingers, while the sun took it's hiding place. My mom had picked me up a free publication in the city. It was aimed at new mom's, the wild and silly creatures that we are. It was stock full advice like, hey, don't give your kid red dye  and advertisements begging for your bucks in their pocket.

Girls, remind me that I may possibly live under a rock, but did you know there are companies you can buy loot bags from that have no junk in them? They are full of eco friendly, sweet swag to pass along to the nine hundred hoodlums up in your house for a birthday bash. Now, don't get me wrong, it stinks like sour milk piling junk up, but I'm from the old school era of party planners. Yeah, super old school, Little House on the Prairie like because neighbors are too far to invite (or because my give a hoot level is set to low.) If there is a junk bag, I mean loot bag in the house, it's probably my kid's birthday present.
Who needs the three hundred dollar walker? A good old fashioned vacuum cleaner will do just fine. Folks, can she hang for eight seconds? Form is excellent, but this one bucks.

Did you also know that you could place your child, basically when they exit the womb, for a mere seventy zillion smackeroos, into just about anything you like? Kinder-music, swimming lessons, Francais for babies, pig latin for preschoolers and a lil yoga for everyone to calm the sweet marie down from their over scheduled lives.

Reading this paper exhausted me. Seriously. I think I was so danged afraid for an odd two seconds that I was doing a disservice to my child for not being enrolled in, well, anything. Once that two seconds had passed, I dropped the paper on the ground and closed my eyes because I was feeling like I was trapped on a treadmill thinking about all this.

If recollection serves me right, in our area there is minimal you can pack the babes up and go to. There are a few churches that have mornings where mom's can get together, guzzle some coffee, peel their eyes open and commiserate with one another. I'm a little, ahem, old fashioned and just like to have the mom from down the road pop in and hide with her in the closet and eat our cupcakes because we don't want the children to see and make us share. Some people knock being rural, because there just aren't the "options," I see it as some mercy on my blessed heart. I would possibly go cr-azy thinking of where to best spend my time and moolah, all the while chanting in my mind, "this is for her best! This IS for her best!"
Don't listen to me, I can't even get pants on my kid. I tell you though, we are all pretty  smitten with one another and have some of the most fun days around. Pants? So overrated.

In my younger years, we played a bit of t-ball when we hit the age we could. Other than that, it was head outside and construct a fort, play with your sister, dig in the rocks, help mom with work in the house. Life was fun, life was care free, and heck yes, we were thrilled when cousins came over to play, because it was a treat. We were kids that were left to be kids. 

I know some are wired differently than others, some might not have that anxiety I have if my floor isn't vacuumed into perfect lines-this takes time people. Some might not have that lazy bone I like to hang onto, allowing me to sit down with a book in the afternoon. Other mom's like to ward off the insanity by getting out once in awhile, but ladies, just don't you forget, your kids are doing just fine learning to play with their big old imagination station locked up in the noggin. At the end of the day, they want YOU. Shocking, isn't it? They don't want sixty two play centers to rotate through. They are alright if they can't say bonjour, hola, and what's up. They want to hear I love you. They want MOM to read them a story, to shush them, to set out the chairs to make a fort in while you scrub the floor. 

Take a breather peeps, this life goes by way too fast to always be hopping in the vehicle and roaring about. If you do happen to be trapped in the van, stop on by, kettle is on and we can fill reusable bags with rocks, sticks, and other earthy stuff to fool folks into buying for their birthday party.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cow Camp

Cow Camp
 Away in the mountains, where grizzly bears live,
 Grandpa Bill has a cabin so neat. 
He stays overnight when he's herding his cows,
 and cooks up his beans and his meat. 

 When I grow bigger and able to help, 
I'll go out there as his man.
 I'll help build the fences and chase the odd bull;
 I'll be ready next year, if I can!

 --written by Grandma Betty Kilgour, for her grandchildren

To read more about this cow camp, click here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Haulin' Salt

My lil' ears were burning, when they once caught a less than positive comment about taking salt out to the cattle. I'm always a little startled at words like these, people want their cattle to have been treated humanely, and if my children were deficient in trace minerals-they get what they need. 

In most parts of Alberta, beef cattle need to be supplemented with salt and other trace minerals to maintain excellent health. Better reproduction performance, overall weight gain, and improved general health is found when their diet is enhanced with trace minerals.
Cattle out west on grass for the summer. 

Pass that salt shaker, sister.

Hauling salt out west is happiness like a summer day for me. It means time away without a phone, scratches house work off the list, and allows me to strengthen my innards with some of the beauty around me. It's a boost, ladies. 
The salt boxes get pretty beat up by moose & elk. Wild horses and all sorts of creatures can be spotted with their tongues hanging out.

When you hear folks wanting to put a negative spin on things with "know your farmers" you just holler out an amen and keep in mind that optimum health in beef cattle is a slam dunk situation for everyone. Producers and momma's serving up supper included. 
I think ol' white face up in the front looks hilarious, camera caught, flapping her tail around. Remember, hilarity is in the eye of the beholder.

(A note from the management of this here blog house---let's be sure, that this comment wasn't about cruelty to animals, but just why would we haul salt to our cows? They would never do such a thing in their part of the world! Then some small comments about our food being so salty. Egadzooks!)

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