Friday 30 September 2016

Woodland creature

Scarf? Check. Woolly sweater? Check. Corduroy, booties, hat? Check, check and check. Fall threw up all over me, and I'm not mad about it. 'Tis the season to go nuts about all things autumn, and I adore it as much as the next girl. Plus, we got word today that the bank approved our buyer's mortgage, pending an inspection of our property. We are getting sooooo close!! 
I haven't been able to wipe the smile off my face all day. 

The title of this post is inspired by this planner I bought the other day. It contains the most adorable paintings of woodland creatures, and the colour palette has a warm, fall-sy vibe to it. I recommend it!  

Hat: Old Navy (they don't have the  grey any more, but it comes in black and a gorgeous burgundy)
Sweater: Joe Fresh, old (similar)
Corduroy pants: Smart Set, old (similar)
Booties: Old Navy
Scarf: handmade gift


Thursday 29 September 2016

The five people you encounter after a hair change

Girls and their hair. It's a special, intimate relationship, isn't it? For many of us, it's part of our identity, and changing it can be more traumatic than it should be. After all, "it's just hair", and as everybody is quick to point out, "it will grow back".
Since the decision to sell our farm I have been living in a permanent state of anxiety and impatience, and the only way I could think of to relieve some of the stress was to either tear my hair out or to cut it off. I chose option B, which seemed like the lesser of the two evils, but I may have made a mistake. The cut is okay, but I'm not loving it. The disturbing part about this is that I had a sneaking suspicion that this might happen, and I still went ahead with it. There is some self-sabotage at work here, and I don't really have any other explanation than stress for it.
Stress, and that I don't always make smart decisions. Oh well.

An amusing/insulting side effect of the new style is the reactions of other people. Changing your appearance in a somewhat obvious manner is not only hard for you, but also for the people around you. If it's a drastic change for the better, it's easy: They can all just tell you how fabulous you look, and everybody wins. However, if it's a change that's at best okay, but in reality worse than before, you set them a difficult task. Should they lie to you? Ignore it? Be honest?

I found five common reactions since my chop, and laid them out for you:

1. The kind liar
So well-intended, I want to hug them. I've encountered it several times, because Canadians are kind people. The reason I know that they are lying is because apparently most Canadians are also terrible liars. Here are the key tells of a kind liar: The moment they lay eyes on your new 'do, their eyes widen in surprise and shock. After a 2-second delay, they hastily plaster a broad grin onto their stunned face. "It looks - cute!", they say somewhat shrilly. I can read the pity and concern in their kind eyes, silently imploring me why I did that, but simultaneously reassuring me that they, too had bad haircuts at one time or another, and that "it will grow back".

2. The passive aggressive
"You cut your hair", they state. And after that, nothing. They leave an ominous silence, which you immediately fill with all your insecurities: How horrible it looks, what a mistake you made, what a fool you are.
Did they intend to fill your mind with these images? Did they want to say something scathing and stopped themselves just in time? Or are they simply the kind of people who regularly state the obvious?
If you have a good day, you may confidently say that, "why yes, I did! It was time for a change!"
But since you are now doomed to months and months of bad hair-days, you will most likely react in a slightly hysterical manner, mumbling defensively that "I know it doesn't look great, but it will grow back, and why don't you leave me alone!", before running to the bathroom for a quiet cry.

3. The "honest" one
"Whoa." That's their first reaction, paired with a look of disgust on their face. That look quickly morphs into condescension. "I would never be so stupid", their face is clearly telling you. You must have silently communicated your hurt feelings, because they add, "well, it's just that I liked your hair better before." Thanks for making that clear, Regina George.

4. The believer of "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all"  
They take one quick look at you, taking in the new development on your head, and then move on like nothing happened. It's an unspoken agreement between the two of you that you both know that what happened was a mistake, but neither of you will ever mention it. I like this approach.

5. The one who truly likes it
The beauty of people is that we are all so different. No matter what you do, wear, or say, there will always be people who disagree with you - and others who agree. There actually will be some peeps who like your horrible-to-you new hair.

Lesson learnt? It truly is "just hair". It will grow back.
And at least I got a blog post out of it ;-)

I asked myself which approach I choose most often, and it's usually #1, with the occasional #4 thrown in. Unless it's #5, which happens surprisingly often - I like people who go for something different!

Which one is your usual go-to approach when faced with a friend or co-worker's physical change?


Tuesday 27 September 2016

The silence of the lambs

We have two new babies! Clarice and Jodie arrived last Saturday, healthy and cute as buttons. Lambs are super-easy babies, they run and jump around almost from the moment they are born. 

Our dogs are all really good with the sheep, and don't bother them.
Well, all except one: Nina. She is our baby, only 18 months old, and immensely curious. She just couldn't resist to take a closer look. 

 "Hey, who are you?"
"You smell delicious."
"What's going on here?"
"Leave my babies alone, young lady!"
"Are you okay?"
"Off you go, play with the other dogs."
"She's gone girls."
"Damn it, now my dinner is cold."

It's been a while since I did a farm-related post, and it was fun! 
As you can see, I am keeping my blog name Farm Girl - the vast majority of you don't want me to change it, and you are right. 

Emily had the brilliant idea to incorporate the other name into my tag line, and I love it. I just have to figure out a snappy way to word it, and then I will have both names! Compromises are beautiful. 

Thank you to all who voted!


Sunday 25 September 2016

Happy links

I love you guys. Have I told you recently? If I have, it's worth repeating. If not, I want to let you know that I really, really do. The community and support here are amazing! This little space here is my happy place, and makes me feel so loved and cherished. And it's all because of your kind words, your grace, and your support. Thank you for being awesome!!

Before I share this week's happiest links of the Internet, I have to let you know that I inadvertently deleted probably 1,500 of your comments. Aaaahhhh!!! I'm so, so sorry! I had problems with Disqus for a while, and got so fed up that I simply deleted it. Not my wisest move. 
Only about half of the comments were synced to my blog - which means that the other half is gone. I'm trying to practice non-attachment about this, but it's still painful. Please know that I didn't delete them on purpose - evil technology did. 

Let's move on to more pleasant topics, shall we? Like the most amazing sculptures of the world

How a cockroach received the best memorial and burial in the history of cockroaches.

Funny people are the best. 

If you bemoan the end of summer, read Liz's post about letting go. You will celebrate the new season instead!

One of my all-time favourite posts is Emmas' about Changing dreams. Changing your mind about what you want to do in life is okay! Not succeeding right away is normal! I just love it. It's a must-read for everyone.

This is morbid, but hilarious! "You must be fun at parties."

Happy Sunday!

P.S. Trump's Twitter Archive. Not happy. Take a look anyway.


Saturday 24 September 2016

Property hunting, vol.5: THE FINAL CHAPTER

It's early. I quietly get out of bed, pull on my jeans and a sweater, and head outside to let Lily out of the truck. We stayed the night at our friend's house in Merritt, and later we will head to Barriere to look at more properties. 

She greets me exuberantly, as she always does, and we start walking. It's one of those magical early autumn mornings, where fog hangs in the air, slowly drifting about, the sun is starting to break through, and the sky above is a clear, luminous blue. I take in a deep breath and smile to myself. The smell is indescribably lovely. It smells of earth that has soaked up many months of hot summer sun, of leaves getting ready to change into their brilliant autumn colours, of fragrant pines, and a hint of cool, delicious mountain air that promises the impending bounty of the harvest season. It's my favourite scent in the world, and I inhale it deeply.

As we are heading up the mountain, I gaze at the picturesque valley to my left. Soon, a house comes into view - one we looked at two weeks earlier. We liked it (a lot), but haven't completely made up our mind about it yet. We want to check out a few more listings, see if we might be able to find something that has a barn (this one doesn't). 
I stop and look at it from a distance, sitting peacefully in the morning sunlight. A deep sense of belonging envelopes me. In this moment, I have no doubt that I am looking at our future home. 

However, we have a plan, and the plan is to check out some places in Barriere. To be honest, I have never even been there, but we found three properties that looked promising online, so today we are going to take a look. 
After breakfast, I tell Rich about my gorgeous morning walk and the epiphany I had, but all he says is: "We wait and see what today brings."

The first two places are definite no's. One's interior is quite horrible, with cardboard-covered pipes sticking out of walls and ceilings in odd places, a shabby kitchen, and an overall neglected feeling. We stay less than 10 minutes before we move on. The second one has a yard so small, we could barely fit the dogs in, let alone the rest of our zoo, and the vast majority of the land is either covered in dense forest or on such a steep slope that it's unusable. 

Property #3 is different. It checks off three major requirements of Rich's wish list: A big, beautiful barn, more land than we'd know what to do with (157 acres of it), and an assortment of outbuildings he immediately starts to mentally assign his birds to. 
I'm more hesitant. The place is surrounded by mountains on three sides, making it feel enclosed and cramped. Ironic, considering how big it is, but that's the sense I'm getting. Besides, the house and barn are completely blue: Blue roof, blue siding. I know that this shouldn't be a big deal, but the blue colour makes it feel cold and uninviting to me. 
We spend nearly two hours there. Rich is excited, talking about the herd of cows he could have here, the water fowl he'd get to keep, and how much grassland there is. The inside of the house is really nice: Open and airy, with lots of windows letting light and sunshine in. I can't say anything bad about the house, and my mood brightens a bit. 

After promising the agent to call her the next day, we head into town for lunch. Barriere is tiny: You can drive through in less than a minute. Rich takes one look at me, and states: "You really didn't like it, did you?" I miserably shake my head, venturing, "Maybe I could get used to it?"
"No", he says, smiling at me. "We're going to find something we both like."
And we do. 

Oh, do we ever. 

A week later, we both become infatuated with a big, gorgeous, red house

It is stunning: The wraparound porch I've always wanted, a stunning kitchen and living room with a real stone fireplace, beautiful bedrooms. It's a custom-made home, with impeccable attention to detail, down to the doghouse that looks like a miniature version of the big house. I love it. We both do. It's by far the most impressive home we have seen, and I imagine the look of wonder and envy on the faces of our friends and family when they come to visit. I picture ourselves hosting elaborate parties in the spacious living area, having our guests sleep in the pretty guest rooms or the huge downstairs family rec room. 
"It's amazing, isn't it?", I beam at Rich, and he agrees. It really it. 

The barn is just as nice, with enough room for our horses, sheep and llamas. The landscaping is elaborate with lots of pretty details everywhere: Strawberries planted by the garage, a few stalks of corn by the back door, a spectacular bed of Black-Eyed Susans, and lush green lawns surrounding the house, making a stunning contrast to the red colour.
Oh, did I mention the custom-made campfire pit? Or the hot tub?
It's spectacular.    

We look at it a second time, as is our habit, and then we make an offer.
The two days we have to wait for their response are filled with apprehension, impatience - and just the tiniest seed of doubt. Do we really want such a big place?, is a thought that keeps popping into my head. 
The thing is: As beautiful as the house is, it is much bigger than what we are looking for. At over 2,800 square feet, there is a whole lot of cleaning to be done. The same applies to the beautiful landscaping: In order to keep it looking that pretty, we/Rich (I don't garden) would have to spend a lot of time maintaining it. Are we willing to do that?

The other important factor to consider is, of course, the cost. This place is listed for $795,000, and when we receive the counter offer, it is evident that the owners are unwilling to lower it by much: They still want $788,000.  
To be honest, the place is worth it. They spent more than that building it, and obviously they want to get their money back. The question is: Is it worth it to us?

The entire time, we keep coming back to the other place. The one we looked at four weeks ago, and have been unable to forget. 
It is located in the sunshine valley, which is an appropriate name for the amount of sun this valley is getting. The mountains surrounding it keep a lot of the rain away that can fall just 5 km away from it, making it uniquely dry and sunny. We have been going there for years, visiting our friends who live there. Our favourite camping spot is only 10 minutes away, which was the birth place of our original desire to move - exactly four years ago.

The house is completely us: It's the open concept with vaulted ceilings I love, with large windows letting lots of light it. It has a stone fireplace, a beautiful kitchen, and a deck that would be perfect for my yoga practice. The best part: It's only 1,240 square foot. The perfect size for the two of us! I've been fascinated by tiny houses for a while, and while 200 square feet are really small, 1,200 sound ideal. Less room to fill with stuff, less cleaning, a small heating bill? Sign me up!

I love the view, the peacefulness, and the fact that our friends live a 10-minute walk away from us. It already feels like we belong here, because we know people and we have been coming there so often in the past.

Two days ago, we finally made it official: We went back to "our" new home and signed the papers. The owner invited us for dinner, and we spent a pleasant couple of hours chatting, eating, and hanging out in our future home. It felt so good! So right. I could see myself sipping my morning coffee out on the deck; cooking and baking in the beautiful kitchen; having our friends and family over for dinners. There is a good writing vibe in the house, with inspiration floating around like dust particles in the sun.

The property has access to thousands of  acres of crown land, with countless hiking and riding trails. We can saddle up right at home and ride off the property! That's been a dream we've had forever, because so far we always had to load the horses into the trailer and drive to a park or into the woods. The people who live there are physically very active, going cross-country skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter, and boating, hiking, riding, and ATVing in the summer. We already have an invite to go snowmobiling, because here is the very best part of all: If everything goes according to plan, we will live there before Christmas. We are so happy!!!

We started our house hunting adventures on August 1, and signed the papers on Sept 22. Seeing it written down like that, it doesn't appear to be a long time. Living it, however, was a different story: Those seven weeks have been the most intense, nerve-wracking, and emotional weeks in at least a decade. But they have also made us feel vibrantly alive and full of excitement for the future! We are closer than ever, and can't wait to start the next phase of our life together.

Cheers to the future!


Tuesday 20 September 2016

Let life change you

Years ago, my grandfather had to go to the hospital to get his leg amputated. I was a teenager at the time, and it was the first time I was old enough to be fully aware of the hospital experience. I had visited my mom when I was really young, but remembered little about it. This time, I took it all in: The antiseptic smell mixed with urine, the beige walls, the squeaky linoleum floors, the sick people.
My grandfather looked strange in the stark white bed, smaller and more diminished than he usually did. I couldn't wait to leave, and wondered to myself why anyone would choose to work at such a place.


Sunday 18 September 2016


As we are moving towards the last quarter of the year, I'm taking stock of 2016. It's been a weird year, with the gentle yet steady undercurrent of change accompanying most of it. Work life has been dominated by change so much that people are dreading that particular C-word more than the other C-word (I meant cancer - get your mind out of the gutter!).

We are still in the process of selling/buying property, but I'm holding off on updating you guys until we know more. Nothing is decided yet, and I don't want to jinx it by writing about something that is still up in the air. We have found two places we really like, and hopefully one of them will be our future home! As soon as we know, I will share.

One of the unexpectedly difficult aspects of the moving saga has been figuring out where we are headed in the future. Not only physically (as in, what town?), but even more so in regards to our lifestyle. Do we want more land or less? A bigger or a smaller house? Do we want to expand the farm, or downsize it? Will we travel more? What is it we want to see? How much money will we need on a daily basis? Are we more into things, animals, or experiences?

We went way back, first to the beginning of our relationship, and then to the beginning of our individual adulthoods. What were our goals back then? Have we accomplished them, and if not, do we still want to?
We are very aware that the time for realizing our couple's goals is now. Rich is 62 years old, and while he may very well have another 20 or even 30 good years ahead of him, he also may not. The same applies to me - none of us knows how much time we have left.

So we really took our time to form a mental image of what we want our future life to look like. This upcoming move is so much more than a simple change of location; it will be a new life.

We will always live with animals. They are our friends, soul mates, and companions. For Rich they are his daily meditation, therapy, and fitness program all wrapped into one. But over the last decade or so, our farm has grown out of control. We have collected such a staggering number of  animals that the amount of work is threatening to overshadow the enjoyment.

After losing our mind temporarily and toying with the idea to buy a huge piece of land (to fill with more animals, obviously), we luckily returned back to reality and changed our tune.
Instead of going big, we decided to go small(er). Smaller house, less animals, less clutter. Our ideal home (fingers crossed that we'll get it!) is 1,200 square feet, which is perfect for the two of us. We are planning on cutting down dramatically on the amount of animals, and only keep maybe a quarter of what we have now.
We are envisioning a simple life with lots of time spent in nature, more travelling, and less stuff.

I also did some soul searching about my blog. What to do with it? For a while now I haven't been that happy with the name. "Farm Girl" just doesn't fit any more. While living on a hobby farm is part of my life, it doesn't define the purpose of the blog very well. It's deceiving because it probably makes people think that I write about breeding cattle and chicken varieties, and nothing could be further from the truth.

What I love to write about is life, how to deal with the ups and downs of the human existence, and how to find humour and happiness in every day.

After thinking about it for a good long while, I have come up with the perfect name!
I'm in the process of converting it, so I won't tell you just yet - you will see it over the next few days! I will also do little tweaks and updates where necessary.

I'm so excited, and hope you will like it as much as I do!

Farm Girl out - [it's a surprise] in!

 P.S. I changed the layout - what do you think?


Saturday 17 September 2016

Happy links

Happy weekend my loves! It's a wet one here, which is perfect for cruising the old net to laugh and get inspired. 
Here are my favourites from last week:

Michelle's she-shed is what an introvert's dreams are made of. I want one of my own!

Jimmy Fallon is hilarious. He's reading 21 tweets where people failed at life, and which are so relatable. (I have definitely done #10. And #19.)

This skirt is perfect for the Halloween season!

Kevin is a jerk. So is his brother Neal.

If you feel bad about yourself because it's 3pm and you're still in your PJs, don't. The Bloggess is here to tell you that you may have accomplished more than you know!

I've been doing it wrong my whole life. Have you?

Tiny Houses have an irresistible charm for me. We actually came up with an idea where we could incorporate one into our future! I (hopefully) can tell you more next week.

And that's it!

Snuggle up with a hot beverage in front of the fire, and have a cozy weekend!


Thursday 15 September 2016

Making mistakes so you don't have to

Sharing mistakes online must seem like a strange thing to do. Why would anyone want the world to know how they messed up? 

Here's the thing: I believe that if we all are more open about the blunders and mistakes we regularly make, it's easier for other people to admit when they make them as well. Not only that: It may help someone not to fall into the same trap. 
And, even more importantly: When we see how other people fail, and they stubbornly keep going and don't give up, and get better and more successful over time - maybe it will encourage us to try something new? 

Comparing oneself's beginning with another person's years of experience is a recipe for disaster. Nobody starts something new and is great at it right from the get-go. NOBODY. 
Making mistakes is how we learn. 

I will continue to share my journey with all the ups and downs, to remind myself (and you guys!) that life is messy, full of falls, spills, and mistakes - and that's okay

You know what wasn't a mistake? These pants. 4% elastane are what an emotional eater's dreams are made of, because they stretch with your tummy. We had a massive Greek dinner tonight, creamy chicken with mushrooms and shrimps, calamari, and a triple-carb load of rice, roast potatoes, and warm, buttery pita bread, and the pants did their job extremely well. Only minimum discomfort, and the flowy top hid the rest. I call that a win!    

Top: very old (similar here or here)
Skinnies: H&M
Shoes: Old Navy


Monday 12 September 2016

The 7 stages of selling your house

Selling your house has to be one of the most stressful events in one's life. We started the process about six weeks ago, and I swear, I have aged 10 years (feel free to disagree in the comments. Lies are encouraged). 
Last Friday night we signed the papers that state that we have sold our place, which felt both unreal and incredibly freeing. While it could still go wrong (we have to wait for the buyer's financing to be approved), there is now a legal contract that says someone else owns our place. Like I said, it's unreal.


Saturday 10 September 2016

Happy links

Happy Saturday! How are you all doing?
Our week has been a whirlwind, which is why my blogging schedule has become so erratic. I have never been very good at adhering to a "schedule", but at least I had my weekly style post that was a regular feature. I had big plans to shoot photos and get one up yesterday, but then we spontaneously decided to drive to Merritt (again), to look at yet another property (again). By the time we got back, it was dark, and there went my good intentions. Eventually I will get my sh*t together again, but today is not that day. 

Anyway, there are exciting things happening around here: We got an offer for our farm! And we accepted!! But (there is always a but, isn't there), the downside is that we have to wait four weeks for the buyer's financing to be in order. Anything could happen in that time, so we won't pop the champagne just yet. Another lesson in patience, which has become something of a theme this year. Yoga, I never needed you more. 

Well, on popular demand* I'm bringing you the second edition of happy links! The internet is what keeps me sane, and I don't care if certain people (Richard, I'm looking at you) say that I'm addicted. It's my happy place!

*Nobody demanded it, but I like it. So there.  

This school playground from 1900 made me chuckle. No wonder the older generation is so tough!

This is amazing: The CEO of a senior's home changed his facility to look like a little village. It is supposed to help dementia- and Alzheimer-patients to feel more at home. It incorporates aromatherapy, has a ceiling that simulates the sky and changes according to the time of day, and has a main street for residents to meet.

Image found here

This is for my fellow yogis: An IG yogi gives tips for pincha mayurasana, and I had a huge aha-moment! SO helpful. 

I'm seriously considering changing my hair, and this cut is what I'm obsessed with. What do you think?

My blog friend Liz and her wife Lina started a podcast, and their latest episode on having the courage to live a creative life resonated deeply with me. 

This coat is what my autumn dreams are made of.

My favourite band always makes me happy!

What makes you happy?

P.S. These signs. I'm dying!


Thursday 8 September 2016

Magic morning

The last two days were unreal. You know those days, where from the moment you wake up, nothing is going your way? You stub your toe while getting our of bed, wash your face with toothpaste instead of face wash, and spill coffee on your white shirt. 
Well, the last two days were the opposite of that. Everything was going smoothly, going better than we could ever have hoped for, and falling magically into place.

On Tuesday morning we had to get up at 5:30 am. Rich picked up birds he had shown at the PNE, I needed to clean the house for a showing that morning. Once the house was spotless, I still had some time before work, so not only did I wash my hair, I actually blow-dried and curled it. And put mascara on. These two seemingly unimportant acts of personal hygiene are worth mentioning, because I so rarely do them, especially for work. The effort didn't go unnoticed, and I had three guys compliment me! Sheesh guys, I may do that again one of these days! (I won't.)

Work continued to be amazing, with grateful patients, happy doctors and a few my-belly-hurts-from-laughing laughs with my coworkers. It was spectacular.

After work we picked up our truck from the shop. Remember when we got stranded because the lights didn't work? Well, we finally got it fixed, and now the truck lights up like a Christmas tree. It's a beautiful thing. As soon as we had our newly lit-up truck, we took off on another house hunt.
I want to tell you all about it, but I have to get ready for work (maybe try that trick with the mascara again?).

So I will leave you with a few photos I took yesterday morning, where magic was in the air and fate told me loud and clear what we should do. 
And also with these clues:
We got an offer on our house. Boo-yah!!
We may just have found our dream place.
We are pretty pleased right now.

All the details to come soon!

Here's a short video of our walk yesterday. It was so amazing, I had actual tears of joy in my eyes. 
For real.

Love you!

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