Archive for March, 2014

Well, the weather has continued to be unseasonably cold, so I have continued to create and upload patterns onto the Northern Whimsy Custom Fabric facebook page.


custom whale fabric


If you are at all interested, now is the time to head on over and check it out…we’re having a huge sale, which is over tomorrow night (Sunday, March 30).  After that, we’ll be ordering inventory and stocking up the Etsy shop.


custom robot fabric


Our facebook page is here:


Northern Whimsy on facebook


Our Etsy shop is here:


Northern Whimsy on Etsy


Hopefully, by next weekend, the weather will be nicer, and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming!


Birdoodle fabric

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I don’t know if it’s really shown here on the Rural Dreams blog, but I’ve been a bit distracted for the last few months.  Besides the usual rush with a toddler, a day job, and the livestock, we’ve decided to open a business!  I have designed a bunch of completely unique fabric patterns that can be personalized for nurseries and wedding decorations, and we’ll be selling them on Etsy.  Today, our facebook page is live, and we’re offering a great big sale…go check it out, and tell all your friends!


Here’s our new page!


Just a small sample of what we have in store :)

Just a small sample of what we have in store 🙂

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I read a disturbing article from Reuters this week, about children in Fukushima prefecture not being allowed outside to play, even two years after the disaster.   This is beyond sad, and I can’t imaging trying to raise Baby M in an environment where he had to be afraid of the air.


Playing outside in our safe, Canadian clean air.

Playing outside in our safe, Canadian clean air.


Since Fukushima, of course, there has been a lot of controversy about nuclear power, and its environmental and human impacts, especially when things go wrong.  There are a lot of vocal people who completely oppose nuclear power, under any circumstances.  I can see their point, and sympathize with it.


However, a lot of those same folks are also very vocally against the tar sands projects in northern Alberta, and the Keystone XL pipeline that is proposed to take bitumen from Alberta to refineries in the US.


I have a bit of an issue with this.  If you are living in a climate-controlled house in North America, drive a car, wear clothing you did not make yourself, and/or eating anything you didn’t grow, you need to recognize that you, too, are dependent on outside energy, and that energy most likely comes from petroleum, or, in many parts of the US, nuclear generation.


“Oh,” you say, “I have a windmill and drive an electric car”.


Not good enough.  The metals and minerals in your car and your windmill (and your solar panels and even your woodstove) were mined, and were mined using diesel.  The waste from the smelting still ended up in the environment, though probably in China, where it’s easier to forget.  I’ve read somewhere that an electric car takes so many resources to make that, in terms of total lifetime environmental damage caused by a vehicle, you are better off buying a second-hand car, even if it’s less fuel efficient.   As long as we continue to drive and live in big houses and eat food grown elsewhere, even if we slap some solar panels on the roof, there will be more generating plants, more tar sands expansion, more mines, and more environmental damage.


The fact of the matter is that windmills and solar panels and electric cars aren’t really a solution.  People don’t like to think about the real solution, which is to simply reduce consumption.   No more new wardrobes every season, or new iPhones every two years or new cars every three years, even if they’re electric.  No more strawberries in Saskatchewan in January.  We need to learn to do without, or, if we can’t, to buy well-made goods that will last for generations.  We need to start repairing things when they break.  We need to take some responsibility for our food supply.


Now, I’m no angel, here.  I drive a car to work, and heat my house with a furnace.  We grow a lot of food here, but we buy a lot, too…some of it even imported.  It’s hard to live a low-resource lifestyle in a country that’s set up for commuting and consumption.  But I sure get sick of seeing people drive up to join in a tar sands protest, or type furious internet comments about nuclear disasters on their brand new phones.  We’re all part of the problem, but until we define what, exactly, the real problem is, there won’t be any viable solutions.  So maybe it’s time to face our own hypocrisy and start working towards low-consumption lifestyles.  Then we can talk about tar sands protests.





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Spring is coming.  No, really, it is.


spring flowers

With the weather forecast to finally come up to around the melting point, after months of -30, the announcers on the radio were all talking about people planning their gardens.


I planned my garden in December, and ordered my seeds in January.


The rural life encourages long-term thinking and planning, I think.


If you want eggs in November, you need to order the chicks in February, plan and build your coop and run in April, collect your day-old chicks in May, feed and protect them through the summer, and butcher your excess roosters in October.


chick in the grass


If you want carrots in November, you need to plan the garden in winter, order seeds before May, plant in spring, weed all summer, harvest in September, and monitor the root cellar through the winter.


carrot harvest

If you want goat kids (or milk) in May, you have to plan your breeding the January prior, reserve a buck, get the buck in February or March, raise the buck through the summer, order enough hay in June for all your spring kids and mommas, breed in November, and feed and monitor through the winter.


aurora the goat kid

Every year, we’re planning next year’s kids, or chickens, or garden.  We assess what’s working, and make notes about what to do differently next year.  We budget our money and our time, and make breeding, planting, and construction plans based on when we think we’ll have enough of each to get our projects done (though we’re almost always over-ambitious with both).  We think months, seasons, even decades down the road!  We planned our work for this spring, summer, and fall, last summer and fall, knowing we’ll have less time and energy than usual with the new baby.  We made our planting and breeding plans accordingly.  While I’m sure there are folks just starting to think about their gardens now that the weather is starting to turn, we’re way past that stage…we’ve got the seeds in the basement, the garden map figured out, and the seed-starting stuff will be coming out of storage soon to sprout the early tomatoes…


…because spring IS coming soon, you know!


honeysuckle flowers

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Cabin Fever

It’s been a long winter.   And a cold one.


In fact, I believe I heard on the CBC radio that it’s been the coldest winter on record for Saskatchewan.  I believe it…it’s been basically -30 since the beginning of December!



that's a lot of snow!

that’s a lot of snow!


I don’t normally mind winter.  It’s easier to add layers to warm up than it is to take layers off to cool down (in summer), since there’s only so much you can take off!  Winter is a good time for resting, catching up on crafts and reading, and recovering from the busyness of spring, summer, and fall.  I thought that I would be extra-grateful for the down time this year, as pregnancy can really take a round out of a girl.  But…


But I’m bored with winter now.  We all are, here.  We’ve been cooped up too long, and even our decent-sized house starts feeling pretty small after a few months of hardly leaving it.  Normally, we would go out for walks, maybe go skiing, hang out in the barn…do stuff.  But in anything below -25, especially with a wind, we’re reluctant to go too far with Baby M.  He doesn’t seem to mind being out, but then again, he doesn’t seem to understand about frostbite, either.


The critters have been cooped up, too, since we keep the barns and coops closed up if it’s below -25…which has been most of the winter.  They are starting to get pretty restless, just like us.


I’ve tried to make good use of the downtime, and keep my mind busy, if not my body.  I’ve had some success with that, and I’ll be talking about what I’ve accomplished in a future post, but I have to say, I’m just done with winter.  We’re ready for spring.

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