For starters, those letters behind my name are real. I earned my degree and then some stripes before heading home to raise my small brood and follow Goose wherever his career path took him. One day, we are going to own a bed and breakfast and rolling acreage next to a lovely river and sip our coffee from the front porch.
I attempt to balance the best of the box and the barn yard in my meal preparation. I have yet to master 3 from-scratch meals every day, but I am still conscious of feeding my family too much processed food. I include seasonal Canadian food stuffs whenever possible. I freeze and preserve the bounty from my wee garden plot and our local farmers’ markets, as well as whatever the Master Seamstress freely shares with us. I believe that there are quality food choices to be made at all price points and that most expensive does not always mean best. I find no shame whatsoever in using a cake mix as the beginning of a fabulous dessert or open a can of soup to begin a main course.
I am an avid gardener and just like in the kitchen, I involve both my own children and the neighbourhood kids as often as possible. My vegetable rows might not be as straight as an arrow, but the children take pride in growing food for themselves. Besides, it’s a great way to disguise child labour as a ‘learning opportunity’.
I can sew. Or at least I pretend to. I leave the heavy lifting to my mother, the Master Seamstress. Likewise, I can craft. If it’s simple and involves no more than three steps.
I come from a family of dairy and cash crop farmers. We make regular trips back to the farm, where my children’s exuberance for life does not disturb the neighbours. We visit Papa and the Master Seamstress. The kids ride in tractors, pet cows, chase kittens, and get very dirty. As an upside, they sleep both well and early. I am, I suppose, what has recently been termed an Agvocate. What does that mean? Simply put, it means that I believe in the immense value of the family farm. I am not here to debate GMOs, organics, or free-range. Each individual needs to make the best choices they can for themselves and those they feed, whether they are the producer or the consumer.
Goose – Goose is the epitomy of the tech nerd, except that he has really good social skills. Together, we used to have a wedding and family photography business. He shot the amazing pictures, I wrangled the unruly relatives. He is a software programmer by day, having worked in a variety of industries over the past 15 years.
E1 – Ah, our first born son. Now almost nine, he was the game changer. Tall, smart, and wise beyond his years. He is a lover of Lego, Star Wars, and all things mechanical. Protector of his younger siblings, except when he is annoyed by them. Which is often.
E2 – Our only Dirt Princess. Hunter of toads, lover of cats, wearer of purple. She has a wicked sense of humour, mad social skills, and an ever evolving sense of fashion. At the mere age of 7, she has life by the tail – both literally and figuratively. Watch out world.
E3 – Our tenderhearted boy. Although he is exceptionally tall for his age and has the physical ability to squash his opponents like a bug, he never would. Extreme caution must be exercised around those big, ice blue eyes of his, lest you be sucked in and agree to any number of things.
E4 – The final installment in our dynasty. Small by comparison to his siblings, but no less mighty. Louder than the rest in order to be heard above the fray. Charmer of women of all ages. Nimble and lightning quick, especially around a grocery cart.
Sir Winston – The most purebred member of our household is Sir Winston the Pug. He is an overweight senior citizen now, having surpassed the ripe old age of nine. He is mostly blind as the result of an unfortunate encounter with a visiting Jack Russell on the day of the baby shower for E1. He may also be sightly deaf. Or it could be that he is just ignoring me.
The Cats – Fergie and Lady Di are a pair of long-haired mutt cats, who spent their days moving from sunny window to sunny bed. They started out life the same size, but after 5 years, Fergie has clearly dominated the food bowl more than once or twice.