Rural life

So our move hasn’t gone quite according to plan. We did move one big load of our belongings to the new house on December 7, but the house wasn’t ready for us to live in it yet, so we piled our stuff in the rooms that were finished and turned right around and came back. Our week at the farm as turned into two weeks at the farm, but we’re planning to head to the new house this weekend, if a pending snow storm doesn’t keep us here.

Winter Farm

Snowy farm

Winter Farm

Rainman and Penny

I’ve been taking a bit of load off my Mom and taking care of the horses for her as she has been working — and she works retail and it’s Christmas time, so she’s extra busy at the store. I’ve enjoyed the chores — it’s nice to take care of the animals and gathering up the lone chicken egg that’s usually laid each day (have I mentioned I really want to have my own chickens?).

Winter Farm

Farmhouse with the new arched windows

We helped Mom do some small renos of her own as well —  like taking out the old carpet in the family room and insulating the floor underneath. She was tired of the carpet, and it was about 16-17 years old, capturing lots of dirt, dust, dog hair and other nastiness.

Winter Farm

Harvey loves the snow

Winter Farm

Bittersweet

It’s been rather blustery arctic weather around here though — typically in the -10ºC range (plus wind chill) and lots of snow. Not exactly great “hang out outside weather.”

We’re really excited about the house — it’s been a bit of a hurry-up-and-wait scenario, and I’ve lost a great deal of the time I had hoped to be spending settling in before having to work from home next week, but what do you do? These things happen and it’s better if we don’t rush it. Chris unfortunately has lost a week of holidays to mostly sitting around on his butt at the farm but he doesn’t seem to mind. We will have to leave most of our belongings meant for the basement here until another time, which is frustrating because I just want to put my life back together again and not have bits of it strewn all over the province but, again, I’ve been without it for the last 5 months so what difference does it make if it waits a little longer, right? The basement wasn’t yet finished with trim or paint as of last weekend so we returned the trailer we rented and decided to leave it until the new year, at the earliest.

I’ll still have the ability to unpack and sort things out while working from home. Plus there are a few days before Christmas celebrations begin when I can continue to focus on the house.

Winter Farm

Rosehips

I’ll be taking lots of photos of the hopefully finished results once we disseminate the giant piles of boxes that are filling up the main central room, but suffice it to say we’re really thrilled with the results. Hopefully those finishing touches (at least on the main and second floors) will be done by tomorrow!

Some older Luna video

I’m trying to catch up on some videos that I have saved up. This one is from Valentine’s Day weekend in February, when we took Luna to the cottage for the first time. She was about 10 weeks old here. It’s not overly thrilling video, but she’s super cute, playing in the snow, all little and such. She learned how to take stairs this weekend and I only took a small clip of it. I wish I’d grabbed a bit more, because it became the focus of her weekend, to go upstairs, both sets of stairs, constantly.

Luna goes to the cottage for the first time from Sarah Mulholland on Vimeo.

I was playing around with the exposure settings in iMovie to adjust brightness in the video and now I realize that it’s lead to some artifacting, so please excuse that. Also there’s quite a bit of wind noise that I tried to turn down but it’s still pretty bad. Anyway, enjoy!

Deep, dark winter

I know, I know, it’s only the first week of January; we’ve hardly even scratched the surface of winter yet, but it certainly feels like it’s been going on a while. We spent New Year’s Eve in Ottawa with our friends Bruce and Youngja, where it snowed constantly. It was lovely, and beautifully seasonal, but boy it sure makes me appreciate our (usually) mildish winters in Toronto (excluding of course the winters of 2007-08 and 2008-09; the jury is still out on this one).

Wintry drive

The drive to Ottawa, near Bancroft, Ontario.

We took the scenic route on our way to Ottawa and we weren’t disappointed. It was so snowy the farther and farther north we got, we just had to stop and snap a few shots (and it was Chris’s turn to drive anyway).

Wakefield, PQ

Winter foliage

We spent New Year’s Eve by having an incredible dinner at the Black Cat Bistro where I indulged in a foie gras appetizer served on half of a salt-roasted pear with a fig chutney, quince jam and a mustard jelly. The flavours were unbelievable and so surprizingly delicious. Chris had a bison carpaccio served with slices of extra old cheddar that was also divine. My main was Lunenburg scallops perfectly seared with heirloom beets and carrots, in a delicate creamy vanilla salt sauce and garnished with orange zest. Chris had a pepper-crusted rare tuna steak served over spaghetti squash with shiitake mushrooms.  For dessert, I had their sticky date bundt cake served with dulce de leche, crème fraiche and a slice of grapefruit, but I think Chris’s apple crumble infused with figs and rosemary, served with a dollop of vanilla sorbet was the Black Cat’s meow. Hungry yet?

After dinner we headed out to the Elmdale House Tavern to ring in the new year. That was an interesting spot. Definitely a local’s joint but the place oozed a gritty but endearing character. Oh and they had Beau’s Lug Tread Lager on tap so you can’t complain about that.

Wakefield, PQ

Covered bridge in Wakefield, Quebec, on New Year's Day.

On New Year’s Day we decided to take a bit of a tour of the countryside. Most things in the city were closed. We headed across the river to Gatineau and drove out to Wakefield, a little Quebec cottage community with a beautiful, pedestrian only covered bridge. Nothing was open there either, but we just trudged around in the snow, enjoying the scenery.

Moi, in Wakefield, PQ

Chris playing with the camera (and getting better?!)

Wakefield, PQ

Covered bridge (pedestrian only) in Wakefield, Quebec, on New Year's Day.

Youngja in Wakefield, New Year's Day '10

Youngja and her new toy.

Moi & Youngja on NYE '09

Me and Youngja on NYE '09.

Now we’re back to the usual schedule of life, work and winter. I’ve been feeling a bit blue the last few days. I’m chalking it up to the dark days and the frigid temps. Oh and the fact that I caught a cold on New Year’s Day which seems to have hunkered down for the count in my sinuses.

As far as any resolutions go, I guess I’ve only really fallen back to my usual list: eat healthier (ie: try once again, likely without success, to ignore my sweet tooth); exercise more/get back to the gym; and generally try to be the best “me” I can be. My wish for 2010 is really that it be a year full of joy and happiness. 2009 was a bit of a rough go at times, so it’s my hope that 2010 will bring more positivity and optimism. According to my NOW magazine horoscope it will:

Virgo Aug 23 | Sep 22 Scientific studies have proved what we all knew already: A person who’s only mildly interesting to you will probably become more attractive if you drink a couple of pints of beer. What if I told you, Virgo, that in 2010 you could regularly create the same effect without drinking the beer? I have it on good astrological authority that this will be the case. Due to fundamental shifts in your relationship with the life force, and having nothing to do with how much alcohol you consume, the entire world will often be at least 25 per cent more attractive to you than it ever was before.

There’s no denying it, winter is here

This past weekend I entered another time zone: winter. With SNOW. Lots of it. It never ceases to amaze me when I drive to the farm in the winter. Toronto and Stratford area are like two different countries at this time of year. As of Friday evening there was nothing but bare ground in Toronto (that’s since changed). It was cold, yes, damn cold, but dry. As I hit Kitchener-Waterloo area, and especially New Hamburg, that’s where it became a winter wonderland. Not only was there snow, but there was a hell of a lot of it.

Winter at the Farm

Snow drifts at the farm

The roads were fairly icy and snow was drifting across them. We got a full blown storm on Saturday night and some friends were storm-stayed over night, and others who decided to brave the roads got stuck!

Lasting colour

Wintry rosehips

Winter at the Farm

Afternoon wintry light

Sunday however was gorgeous – and perfect for grabbing some snaps of the wintry wonderland.

Wintery wood pile

Ready to make warmth

For more photos, visit my Flickr page.