Spring has straight up sprung.

Now that spring is FINALLY here at Silverwood, we have been getting right down to the business of the garden. Ordering and planting fruit trees, herbs, mulching & spreading compost. Oh, and turning the sunroom into our home office/living room/dining room for the next six months.

We're in such a good mood, we're celebrating with a coupon code that you'll only see if you scroll through ALL. OF. THE. PRETTY. PICTURES. buahahahahahahh!!!

Planting fruit trees

Planting fruit trees

Potting up some Thai and Mexican coriander

Potting up some Thai and Mexican coriander

First BBQ of the year!

First BBQ of the year!

One of the beautiful creepy crawly residents of the Silverwood acre.

One of the beautiful creepy crawly residents of the Silverwood acre.

On the way to the mailbox - this meadow will soon be full of milkweed.

On the way to the mailbox - this meadow will soon be full of milkweed.

One of our neighbour's chickens - some are prettier than others.

One of our neighbour's chickens - some are prettier than others.

We use some of our wood shop shavings to mulch the garden beds.

We use some of our wood shop shavings to mulch the garden beds.

The Bartlett pear in bloom! Don't get close - the flowers actually stink like poop.

The Bartlett pear in bloom! Don't get close - the flowers actually stink like poop.

Where we come to shove our faces with above mentioned BBQ.

Where we come to shove our faces with above mentioned BBQ.

Aw yeah. 

Aw yeah. 

Alright, you made it to the end! If you like our images and never want to miss another one, simply follow us on instagram or like us on facebook!

Ok, now for your coupon code! Use the code SPRINGSPRUNG to get 15% off anything in the shop right here at blisscraftandbrazen.com! Valid until midnight EST on Friday May 30th.

Country School #7: Don't be a Stranger

I grew up in downtown Toronto and learned to be wary of strangers from a young age. I have been mocked by many a friend for my "Don't mess with me" mode. (Think scowl, fists, pointy elbows and lots of bling.) I go into this mode every time I leave my front door and unlearning this has been a decade long process. Like a tourist in a foreign land, I look to Aaron and mimic his behaviour when we come across strangers on our walks and outings. I awkwardly wave and smile a few seconds too late, and try not to panic when dogs come bounding up to me ("They can smell fear, Rachel!").

Knowing my neighbours has never been high priority for me. My parents are still locked in the thre-decade-long feud with our next door neighbours of my childhood. The few interactions I had with neighbours in my old apartments usually involved them complaining that my music was too loud.

One question visitors always have for us is "So, have you met your neighbours?", to which I answer "yeah, some of them"....to which Aaron rolls his eyes. Okay, confession, Aaron has met some of our neighbours. I have always somehow managed to be in the kitchen with the loud coffee grinder running.

Last week, Hydro Quebec was in our area, cutting down trees that were in danger of falling on the power lines. A MASSIVE tree was cut down across the road (on the property of the infamous Rogue Shetland!) and the logs were gorgeous with no rotting. Our normal M.O. for "roadside shopping" is to leave it for a few days before grabbing it. We figure if its still there on the curb, it's probably free for the taking, right? It didn't quite feel right to just take these logs, though, and we figured it was a good opportunity to introduce ourselves to the neighbours. The logs would have made great firewood but were so massive that it would have been a pain to chop up into smaller pieces, and we figured we could offer to exchange an equal amount of already cut up firewood.

Still wary, I let Aaron go over by himself. The first time, no one was home. When Aaron tried again last night, he returned about 10 minutes later a bit distraught. The interaction had been awkward - he seemed to have interrupted her in the middle of something, as well as riling up her three dogs. She was a bit curt and said she had plans for the wood. Aaron came back disappointed and concerned that he had made a bad first impression.

As we were discussing it, the doorbell rang. It was our neighbour! With one of her dogs. And an apologetic smile. She said that as soon as Aaron left she regretted her reaction. Apparently the guy across the street (our next door neighbour) is quite sketchy. She lives alone and rarely has unexpected visits. She went out to examine the logs in question and realized they were far too big for her purposes and then followed Aaron's tracks in the snow to our front door to offer them to us!

We exchanged names and phone numbers and Aaron and our new neighbour made plans to meet in the morning to move the logs over. She insisted on helping and together they rolled seven monstrous logs down the street. I still managed to busy myself indoors and had managed to summon up the courage to go out and invite her in for coffee when Aaron returned to the house alone, with a gift bag. Inside was a card that said (in French) "Having young neighbours who appreciate nature is as precious to me as good and true friends", and the amazing hand knit slippers in the picture above.

I was completely unprepared for the wave of relief and love I felt opening that gift. All of a sudden I felt a sense of security and connection to someone here, not just the land. I am so grateful to our neighbour for her warmth and generosity. She could easily have just shrugged her shoulders when Aaron left and that could have been the awkward beginnings of a very long and lukewarm relationship. But she went out into the snow and extended a welcome as warm as those slippers.

And the best part? She says we can come over anytime to hang out with the pony!

 

Country Schooled #6 : Friendly Fauna

Birds stop by the feeder for lunch, squirrels run zig zag patterns looking for whatever they can find and the occasional a deer will grace us with their presence. Also, I'll never forget the distinct possibility that a rogue farm animal may speed on by. Outside of these there are the visitors that remain elusive. Under cover of darkness they stalk in and leaving no trace. Most of the time... Tracks

Paw print in relation to our boot prints

wolf reclining

photo: Bernard Landgraf

There's a growing list of animal visitors we detect by the clues they leave behind. True, it's a short list. Currently there are only two animals on that list: Foxes and Wolves. How can we be certain you ask? Well, a keen eye for detail and good ol'fashion fact checking.

Most recently a Wolf left tracks in the muddy ground next to our kitchen window. The visit solidified our suspicion that there may be wolves in the area. You see, last summer we found some scat chock full of deer hair left to fertilize our lilac tree.

In case you were wondering: No, I don't feel there's any reason for alarm; I gave up sleeping by moonlight slathered in bbq sauce a long time ago. To the contrary, I celebrate the natural diversity surging around us ... even while we sleep. I find it invigorating to step outside into the cathedral of the forest listening to a choir of birds. I really appreciate the constant reminder I exist somewhere teaming with wildlife. I love stepping outside to observe the subtle and drastic changes that are always in motion. Discovering the prints was an electric moment. I hope there are many more surprise visitors on their way.

Country Schooled: lesson #3 learned living in the sticks

Mow your lawn. Every weekend. Even if you did buy the manual push mower, snubbing your nose at the riding gas-guzzling type.

Even if there is an acre of it, and you have long term plans of fruit trees, gazebos and reading nooks.

Because even if you want a lovely field of wildflowers, the grass will get so tall it will just fall over on itself and then it will die, leaving big ugly clumps of dead yellow gray grass.

And then your mom will have to buy a weed wacker and spend 22 hours getting the lawn back to normal. And the previous owners will tell you their friends complained to them that "the property has gone to sh*t".

Country Schooled: lesson #1 learned living in the sticks

You know that awesome walking path you found? Yeah, well, it's a highway. For snowmobiles. And they don't want you walking there.

It's crazy - there's a whole other highway system in the winter for snowmobiles. Like, they actually have a for reals Provincial highway sign with a number and everything. It cuts right across lakes. And they have markers to mark the two "lanes" for coming and going snowmobiles.

UPDATE! On today's walk, there were many signs of this being a non-pedestrian-friendly zone: speed signs, road directions, and lots of skidoo marks. And then, when I heard a snow mobile approaching, I stepped off to the side where my left leg was INSTANTLY submerged up to my crotch (would have been deeper if not for said crotch). It was STUCK, no wiggling out. I tried to look cool while the snowmobiler passed me then frantically dug myself out with my two hands and turned my damp self back in the direction of home. Sigh.