For the first time in, well I can’t even remember how long, I recently stayed in my own home and garden for four consecutive days. Hardly a revelation you might be thinking. But for someone who generally gets cabin fever after 12 hours, craves the company of others (adults), and whose daily routine for the last six months has entailed hours spent in playgrounds (for my sanity...oh, and for their enjoyment), attending playdates (the meeting of great Mummy minds) and preschool runs, it’s been a big change. A very welcome one. I’ve found great peace here, our retreat from the exhausting pace and energy of city life.
With any life change, there are always positives and negatives.
So here are a few reflections and ponderings about our move from the city and my transformation from city mama to a rural gal and Mummy of four who lives in the backs of beyond (30 minutes to a coffee shop – that’s pretty rural, right?)
The highs/joyful bits/the warm and fuzzy
Oh how I love looking out from every window in the house and seeing trees. Great big Douglas Fir trees some over 150 years old. Spectacular giants surrounding the house. Hydrangeas: a beautiful shock of deep-purple flowers and at the back of the house a view of mountains, a snow-capped Mount Hood, just visible. I love the way the clouds and morning mist linger above the gorge and how the sun sets leaving a warm orange glow hanging over the trees. Nature truly offers great calm.
New home = new little routines
While the big kids are enjoying their dessert, I’ve taken to running the bath and hopping in with baby Wren. As the fall evenings draw in, I love watching the sun set over the mountains, Wren feeling blissfully relaxed in the warm water, watching me intensely with her big blue eyes, smiling from ear to ear. These are special times.
When the house is finally quiet, all the little people asleep in their beds (or ours as the case may be) I love to stand and admire the view (may I never take it for granted) breathing it in. When I return inside I make myself a teapot of peppermint tea and sit at our new (to us) rustic (is an understatement) kitchen table, drinking from my posh (English tea room esque) bone china cup (25 cents from a thrift shop).
Sitting outside with Jonathan of an evening with an old paraffin oil lantern, a mug of tea in hand, star gazing. Listening to the chorus of cicadas. toasting another day of surviving being the parents of four kiddies. Sometimes every day feels like a big achievement.
My 14 previous hours of mothering completed, I love and look forward to sitting peacefully for the next hour. It’s blissful. Working on a little project or two. Knowing of course I should go to bed, but this time for me is self sustaining, more valuable than sleep in a funny way.
During the first few weeks we were picking and devouring large mason jars of blackberries from our land. I'm loving these heavenly sweet berries on my oats every morning, alongside dried coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup. I’ve eaten this every morning for eight weeks and I’m still not tiring of it.
New ways to keep busy: making fairy houses and mud pies, lots and lots of mud pies.
Tackling the terrain has been a big but very fulfilling task. Until about a month ago 6-7 acres of our property were impenetrable. Years old blackberry bushes blocked access to our forest on all sides. With the help of a few extra willing hands (my wonderful parents armed with saws and clippers) we took on the fearsome blackberry bushes and now have a circular path through the forest. The excitement to discover old trees, areas of stunning green ferns, and habitat to so many species of birds, walking in this forest is my new happy place.
There sure are a lot of projects both inside and out. Inside we are putting together our home, a reflection of who we are and where we’ve been. A few pieces of furniture from our home in Toronto, some great finds from consignment stores, some vintage favourites and even a few pieces which we found by the sides of various roads. Finally, after years of our treasures being stored in our parents lofts they are finally on display.
The tough bits/challenges/what keeps me awake at night/ my first world problems
There is so much to do and so little time, money and energy to do it. These things probably go without saying for every mum, but for me four kiddies and 10 acres - the work is endless. During Wren’s night time feeds by brain races with ideas. (I’m a dreamer and patience isn’t my strong point.) It’s just so hard to know where to start.
I feel so excited but at the same time completely overwhelmed by our task to create our dream outside space. It’s incredibly addictive, reclaiming land, cutting trails, weeding, though thoroughly exhausting. Trying to keep in mind that one of the primary motivations for buying a property with land was to give the kids a childhood spent outdoors, amongst nature, so not to get frustrated when mothering them takes all my time, so progress to achieve our dreams outside is slow.
Life lessons learnt
Living in a rural location is teaching me some important skills. I'm learning that organisation is the key to success. Meal plans and meal prep while kids nap is the key to a smooth-running existence (avoiding the 4-6pm meltdowns). I generally only go to the supermarket once a week which is definitely saving us money, but by the end of the week, you have to get a little creative with meals.
Enjoying the simple things, hanging all the laundry outside to dry in the sunshine, and harvesting the cold water while waiting for the shower to turn warm, to water our herbs.
So, its early days but we are happy. We are growing, learning and finding contentment in our little house here in the mountains.
A big thank you to my wonderful in laws and parents for helping us to make this house a home.
P.S. Anyone fancy bottomless tea in return for some garden labour…baby on your back optional.
Thanks for popping in
Because who doesn't love a cute baby in a fall sweater