Aug 26, 2008

A Day in the Country

Our new country life opened up to us on Friday; a day that just couldn’t have breathed in “The Big Smoke” (as we islanders affectionately call Vancouver). The morning started with a berry-picking walk along the quiet road our friends live on. The 3 boys rode their bikes – zekiah increasingly confident on two wheels – racing ahead to the next blackberry, huckleberry, wild raspberry, salmonberry or mulberry bush. The one time a car came by we could hear it for months before it arrived – lotsa time to get off our bikes and wave to our neighbour.

The berries were added to homemade yoghurt and granola, which together with a fruit smoothie and scrambled farm-fresh free-range eggs made a happy breakfast crew of our merged families (camping in their basement for a few weeks). The kids ran out to big yard where we feel safe to let them roam, while we four escaped to the whirring 4-computer office downstairs for a quick hectic check-in with the world.

Opting for some nuclear family time, sarah & took our boys out for the day. First stop was to visit Hank, our water inspector who gave us the happy news that the well water at our new house is in great shape. He went into great detail about the condition of each well in the area – all of which he tests and maintains – and we now know more about pressure systems and bladders than we’d ever dreamt.

Then next door to “Granny’s Stoves” to explore the wood-burning options to heat our new space. We hope to quickly transition from $450/month electric baseboard heaters to a wood-burning furnace or stove that will use about 3 cords of wood per year, much of which will be sustainably harvested from our own land or salvaged from nearby roof framing shops.

Back out the winding Wolf Creek Road to Kristina and Hector’s farm to collect the week’s rations of whole milk. While visiting there, the kids of course went straight for the mile-high swing that gives a view of the horses, cows, chickens etc and the clear-cut mountain up the other wide. Katarina was just finishing hooking up her two horses to her antique carriage, then we waved as she trotted off down a grassy lane and into the wooded path that winds through their property. She’s preparing for a national traditional-carriage competition next week.

Next stop was Marty & Heather’s, who together with our hosts are part-owners of this “cow-share” milk scheme. They weren’t home, so we let ourselves in to their unlocked house to put their milk in the fridge and left a note inviting them to dinner tomorrow, while the kids played with the dog they are dog-sitting. We had been here on our first week-end in town for Marty’s 70-person birthday bash complete with the local marimba band, warmly welcomed by many of the neighbours, Waldorf parents and fellow urban refugees we will call friends in the coming years.

Popped by Makaria Farm, where Brock and Heather had ready for us a scanadously fresh basked of organic goodies for our party – strawberries, kale, carrots, eggs, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, etc. Just a mile up the road from our new home, they are into the second year of their country transition, and plan to be fully self-supporting with agriculture within 3 years.

In case you haven’t noticed the theme here, it’s first names. It’s connection. It’s people, neighbours, fellow sojourners. Even doing business feels like a neighbour extending a hand. Three weeks into our new life and we’re enveloped in the sweet, sticky web of rural community.

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