Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Much-Maligned February

Dwellers in northern climates have given February a bad name. We start grumbling shortly after New Year's—it's so cold, it's so dark, I'm tired of snow gear, I'm tired of shovelling snow, when will it be spring?

Not me! February is the month I perk up. Our little planet tilts toward the sun just enough for a magical change of light. February skies are an intense blue, the snow crisp and deep. Goodbye pale winter sun, hello serotonin!

February marks fresh starts at our house. After Christmas is packed away, it feels good to clean house, purge house, reorganize, make new exercise and home school goals.

I kicked off February with some chalk board paint and laid some love on my pantry. I'd never used chalkboard spray paint before, but I have good things to report. You really only need one coat, it really gets in the cracks. I  painted some labels (the ordinary paper kind) to use on food storage bins. See above. They look deceptively like I'm an organized pantry person and they're aesthetically pleasing too.

new cultures started: kefir, kombucha, apple cider vinegar
Will and I started cross-country skiing every day. We have several kilometres of nice trail in the vacant property behind us. There have been days when twenty minutes of solitude in cold air was my only  link to sanity. But I always come away grateful for the beautiful, if snowy, home we've chosen.

The boys were skiing begrudgingly until Will cut a new trail and invited them to ski with him. Suddenly skiing was cool. 

One of my most cherished memories of this winter is turning around on my skis and seeing a whole line of goats following me up the trail, followed by dogs, followed by cat. 

And that brings me to the freshest, newest, and most wonderful news: another little person is among us! 22 weeks today and feeling (mostly) fabulous.

We are all rooting for a girl of course, but we have to wait for the ultrasound to tell us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Candle making is surprisingly difficult. I had a dickens of a time getting all that sticky beeswax out of the mold....I froze it, whacked it, used unmolding oil....I had to remelt and start over so many times that in the end I decided that dipping was the way to go.

They turned out lumpy but kind of adorable.

I also had a beeswax candle burst into flame in the oven. I was melting it slowly on a cookie sheet in the wood-stove oven when someone came and loaded up the fire. I came downstairs to see flames shooting out of the oven door. For the first time in my life, as they say in the novels, I knew what fear was. I actually wept from fear as I envisioned a river of flaming wax flowing out of the oven door, over the wooden floor and throughout the wooden house, engulfing us in fiery death. I saw the whole woodstove plummeting through the floor and exploding before I could even throw my children out the upstairs windows.

Of course none of these terrible things happened. A useful fact to remember in case you accidentally set fire to a beeswax candle: it burns up quite fast and more-or-less in one place. The worst thing that happened was I had to clean the oven.

While I was busy incinerating candles, Mr. Mischief took the whole upstairs apart.

Not our finest hour, and I think I'm done with candle making for a while. Till next Christmas.