Oct 19, 2008

Time to be good neighbours

In the four city houses we lived in, we never once had dinner with our immediate neighbours (except for the occasional big potluck.) Here, it took two weeks.

On our way to pick apples at the old schoolyard, our boys insisted we invite the 3 neighbour kids along. Their dad Adam happily agreed, then invited us for homemade soup whenever we got back. We threw in our homemade bread, and voila, we have neighbours.

It's not just that people are friendly and welcoming in this rural valley, and not just that we're incredibly lucky to have good people next door with kids who are 1, 3 and 4 years older than Zekiah and go to the same school (both the parents are also teachers there). It's also that we and those around us just have and take time for people. Adam and I didn't pull out our Blackberries to schedule a get-together 3 weeks hence. It just sprung up and we were there and it worked.

Thanksgiving Day's another good example. We arranged to visit nearby Beehaven Farm sometime in the morning to pick up garlic bulbs for planting. When we arrived and started chatting with Gail (the beautiful healthy urban refugee woman we'll be in 15 years), she offered to show us around the farm. In our past life we probably would have been already late for the next appointment and had to refuse, but here we naturally strolled with her in the light rain to the garden and bee hives, along the way learning all about her history, how high a deer can jump, and who finally bought the big dairy farm around the bend.

Then down the road to Makaria farms to buy chickens from Brock and Heather, a young Victoria couple in their second year of homesteading. They both dropped their tools and took us first to see the rabbits, then helped us choose chase and finally catch our new egg-layers, adding in lots of free advice about how to care for them. Heather then took the boys to help collect eggs while Sarah and I picked apples from the tree that's too prolific for their limited time. On the way out they threw two old truck tires onto the trailer for the boys to play on, while we invited them over for an evening apple kuchen dessert made from some of their apples.

So, a simple shopping trip took us not to any paved parking lots and witty flirtations with check-out girls, but rather to neighbours and connections. Instead of a chocolate bar or People magazine, our impulse buys were homemade honey, free windfall apples, truck tires, and a date with new friends. And rather than feeling perennially rushed and late for the next item on the list, we feel right on time for life.


  1. This post is one of my favourites as it really hits home to me the way we all oughta be living. Awesome. Inspiring.

  2. You'd think that in a city, where people are crammed together so tightly, it would be normal for community to evolve. Yet life in the city easily becomes anonymous and insular.

    So you can imagine my surprise when I went downstairs to do laundry in my new rented home and the family in the basement suite, who I was just meeting for the first time, invited me in for food. Clearly, they are not from around here...