Thursday, 19 January 2017

Settling In....

I had no idea how much stuff....junk....a person could accumulate in 20 years.  Well...I guess it just wasn't me....there are 7 of us.

So much stuff.

I'm still trying to get settled in at this new place.  Lots of purging happening.  And that's a good thing.

Trying to make this house a home.....

The barn board shelves were one of the first things to get 'moved' from one farmhouse to the other.  We had to label all the boards before we unscrewed them off the wall.  And then we brought them over and screwed them onto these walls....

Ta da!  I think it's my favourite piece of furniture...actually it's not even's just a bunch of barn board that we had lying around outside!  We are hoping to extend that shelf in the middle so it can hold the tv....but for now the tv is on a little table....because we haven't had time!

These are canvas paintings that Sophie and Lydia have painted over the years.  At the other house I didn't have them all grouped together like this.  Aren't they cheerful?  I loved how when I nailed the nails into the wall I didn't hear all this stuff falling in behind the the house was all going to come down....the old house was lathe and plaster and I just held my breath every time I went to hang something!  This farmhouse has drywall....woot woot!

Yes...I have a deer head on my wall.  Not sure how that happened.  It's Jack's and I suggested that he hang it in his room but he insisted that it be put in the front room so that everyone will see it!

I'm debating whether to paint the frame on this 'Irish Blessing' black....I think it would be better black....

I get the most compliments on this bulletin board I have up in the kitchen....

I had it up in the other house but no one really seemed to notice it where it was.  It's a collection of new and old photos, little notes, little crafts...that are easily changed.  I love it...and I love that I can sit at the table and look at it!  It's just in a much better place now!

That's the trestle table and benches that Grady made last year in woodworking.  He had two woodworking classes in one semester and the teacher suggested that he take on a big project. 

We moved some cattle this week....

The truck arrived early in the morning when I was packing lunches....yes...I took that photo from the window.

The local outdoor rink is open!  I took the girls out on Sunday afternoon and they have skated everyday this week at school.  The boys have been out a few times playing hockey in the evening.

These girls LOVE to peck the snow off my boots when I go in to visit them in the morning and collect the eggs....


Sorry it's so dark!


Sunday, 15 January 2017

10 Years Ago

Last week I was listening to a radio show and the host asked what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago.

And I started to think.

10 years ago.

I was pregnant with Sophie and I pretty much had the novena to St. Gerard memorized as I had suffered through three horrible miscarriages after having Jack and I figured that I may never have any other healthy babies.

The boys were serious farmers.  They drove those toy tractors up and down the hardwood floors....following the lines.  They cut, raked and baled your feet as those wooden blocks all in perfect lines were bales...ready to be loaded onto wagons and put in a barn.  They managed their crops and let each other know what was planted in the hall....what needed to be done in the living room.

I didn't know that Johanna could play the fiddle...or the French horn.  That she would go on a mission trip to Peru.  That she wanted to be a nurse.

Money was so horribly tight.  We had bought the second farm in 2001....and decided to turn it into Dwyer's Farmhouse a few years later.  We would have just finished our first summer of business and the locals thought that was an odd idea....a farm vacation?  Seriously....who would want to come and stay in an old farmhouse.  The idea was different and people just didn't understand the concept....they certainly didn't have encouraging words for us!  And I was beginning to doubt if the idea would work. 

We were still trying to recover from the BSE crisis.  So many others had sold their beef herds and just got out but we continued to hang on.  Terry worked construction....we didn't see much of each other.  We were both exhausted.  I remember sometimes paying bills with the borrowing account. 

We didn't have much extra money to spend on the house.  I was still in a kitchen from the 1960s....bright yellow countertop.  It was a horrible kitchen that was infested with carpenter ants all summer and so freezing cold in the winter that your soup would become cold when you poured it into the icy cold bowl from the cupboard.  I did all the dishes in one small sink.

I was homeschooling and always worried about the kids.  Would they turn out okay?  People told me that they wouldn't...they needed to be in school....they needed to write EQAO exams or they could never enter the system.  One person told me that if I did put them school that they would have to start in didn't matter how old they were!  There was no local homeschooling support group.  I felt very isolated and alone.  Some people actually refused to talk to me because I was a homeschooler.

The things that have happened in the last 10 years are unbelievable.

I never would have believed it if someone told me the future 10 years ago.

And I'm so very glad that that's the way life is.

My faith has become so strong in the last 10 years.  I was blessed with Sophie....and then Lydia.

The boys continue to farm....but not on the floors.  Grady is called upon to work at other farms when needed.  Jack has a flock of 25 ewes....we didn't even have Rosie 10 years ago! 

Johanna teaches fiddle and step dancing.  She is in her first year of nursing.

It turns out that the kids could go to school afterall....and they didn't have to start in kindergarten!  Johanna started in grade 6 and the boys both started in grade 9.  I don't regret their years of was the best thing I could have ever done for them!

We did renovate that old kitchen....and the bathroom....and we even tore some lathe and plaster down in 2 of the upstairs bedrooms and put in drywall.  But then we walked away from it all and moved to Emmett's house last month!  That just blows my mind!  I wouldn't have believed that 10 years ago.  And even the idea that we bought another farm....that's crazy.  But we did.  We own 3 farms....and none of them were 'handed down' to us.  We have worked so very hard for everything we have.

Dwyer's Farmhouse has been an adventure.  It took a few years for people to find us but last year was the best yet.  We were fully booked all spring, summer and fall.  Our guests have arrived from all over Canada and the world!  We've made some great friends along the way.  I've realized that there is a lot of ag education that needs to be done!  Some people are afraid of their food....some people think that the farmer is out to kill them!  We are trying to do our little part to teach people about farming and our way of life.

My jaw would have dropped if you told me 10 years ago that we would be surrounded by Mennonites and the horse and buggy would be a common sight in Douglas.

Also....our little community is very connected by Facebook.  I love to see everyone's family photos and celebrate the little things of life.  We don't even have a home phone anymore!

It's really quite amazing all the changes that have happened in the last 10 years.

After 10 years I have learned....

Let Him guide you.....lead you....give Him your life. 

Stop worrying.  Just pray.

Life is a gift.  We have lost so many people in the last 10 years.  Life can change in an instant.  Life is short.

Be joyful.

Be grateful.

Be generous. ridiculously generous.

Most people don't know what they are doing.  Just do it....even if you think you can't.

I'd rather fail than not try.

Make that brownie recipe and when you take it out of the oven......cover it in marshmallows and put it back in the oven until they are puffy....let it cool....and then ice it with chocolate icing or peanut butter icing.  Those brownies are at a whole different level now.


Thursday, 12 January 2017

snowpants, a scarf, the farmbooks and eggs!

It's January.

They didn't get their snowday.

I left my snowpants at a sleigh ride party over the holidays and I'm missing them.  Luckily I can wear Johanna's or Jack's when I need a pair...but I like mine best and I need to get them back.  I will get them back...I just need to go and pick them up!  I still can't believe that I left them there in the first place.  I'm so busy making sure that everyone else has all their stuff and then I forget my own stuff....and no one is making sure that I have my stuff.

I finished knitting a scarf.

This scarf.

It took me four years.  Another small goal accomplished.  Woot woot!

I love it.  But knitting just isn't my thing.  I don't think I will ever knit anything ever again.

I'm working on the farm books.  Sorting thru receipts and bank things.  I just entered a whole bunch of things in the system under the wrong heading....I put them under withdrawals instead of accounts payable....and it all sucks.

Doing accounting is like doing housework.  I just hate it.

The hens that we got as chicks last spring have finally started to lay eggs.  They were late bloomers but now they are on fire.  Lots of eggs everyday.  It's great.  We were missing the fresh eggs and we were buying from the store for a while.  But it's all good now. 

I'm rambling....


Tuesday, 10 January 2017

On Saturday

On Saturday this was the view from my kitchen window...

I made this pull apart cupcake cake for a baptism....

And this silly girl entertained me all day...


I miss the kids now that they are all back in school....but tomorrow could be a snow day!


Monday, 9 January 2017


Sophie has been dreaming about a pony for months...actually years!

We found her a suitable one at the beginning of December.  They have been spending lots of time together.
She named her Maisie.
She had a couple of friends over one day last week and they spent the whole afternoon riding around and around the yard.
Sweet girls and a sweet pony.  So much happiness...and so much fun!


Saturday, 7 January 2017

A smelly toque and an orange cat

Conversations around here are always interesting.

Cows. Poop. Sheep. Cats. Round bales. Square bales. Poop. Tractors. Horses. Gates. Waterbowls. The dog. Poop. Fences. Poop.

There is a lot of poop involved.  It's everywhere.  Is the truck too poopy?...does it smell too poopy?  We can't take the's too poopy.

This morning the downstairs bathroom smelt like a horse.  Like there was a horse right there in the bathroom.  I searched and searched....there isn't much in that bathroom...and I couldn't figure it out.  How could it smell so much of horse when there was nothing there....and the smell wasn't going away.  I asked Terry about it and he couldn't see any horse either.  Then an hour later when he went to go outside he told me that he had figured out about that smell.  He had put his toque on the vent to dry...and it stank of horse and the smell was being blown into the whole room.  He said it was toasty warm dry....everything was good...and he went outside.

Super. That problem was fixed.

Then there are conversations that you are trying to have and someone walks in on it and joins the conversation and they don't actually know what you are talking about.

Sophie spent a lot of her holiday making things with her new clay.  She is still so incredibly creative....remember the Tylenol wrapper hat from many years ago?  She is still at it....always creating something.

So she made all this stuff and needed me to bake it in the oven so it would harden.  We were talking about Sophie's clay things and this little orange cat....

I said "The orange cat's tail turned black."

Just when Jack came in the room and he said "HOW?"

And I said, "I left it in the oven too long."

And his face sort of went white....

He thought we were talking about this cat...

hope it's okay I used your photo Julie!

But I was talking about this cat....

And I said "Yeah...and the tips of it's ears got burnt black too.  But Sophie painted them so they don't look so bad anyway."

And Jack just sort of sat there stunned.

And then Sophie said,"See"....and showed him her little cat.

And you could see the relief on Jack's face as he said...."I thought you were talking about the orange cat outside."

And then I was the one with the stunned look....because if I would put a cat in the oven.


Friday, 30 December 2016

Christmas Holidays

We have been celebrating.

Food. Friends. Family. Food. Food.

So much food.

This is one of my all time favourite pictures of the kids. 

I took it 7 years ago.

I asked them to recreate it on Christmas Eve before we headed off to Mass.

It wasn't easy.  I think I took about 20 photos and this was actually the last one I took!

It's been a week of card games and visits and playing outside...and food....and watching the Dukes and Heartland and 'Family Matters'....they can all impersonate Steve Urkle perfectly!

Today we did the annual making of the gingerbread houses...

The girls were all gung hoe ready to go.  But the boys not so much.

Jack happened to come in from the barn and quickly made one....just so he would have one to eat later.  And he managed to eat a fair amount of candy while he made it.

It's all about the candy.  Even if it was 10am.  That didn't matter.

Sophie's had a horse and buggy in the yard...

Lydia made a skating rink with those minty round things...

Johanna's was very very detailed...

Grady said no and went back out to the barn.