Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Painting again...

Although my to do list is very varied right now I have managed to grab some minutes from my days to put paint to canvas once again.
Been working on commissions I've promised since the Pontiac Studio Artists Tour this past June.  These are not my normal "style"  (if you can say I have a style when I haven't been producing all that long?!?!?)  but the first works like these did sell and I guess there's a bit of a demand for them as I've been asked to create more.
Turns out I have lots of fun doing them, they don't require alot of tedious detailing or super concentration...almost feels like playing -except I get paid for it!  How cool is that?

I'm big on these trees, not sure why, they're just really whimsical, thinking of creating a whole series... 

...colouring book version of the Pontiac?

Finally very different than anything I've done for awhile!
(please disregard the lovely unfinished background...this work is too stinky for our house, so I get relegated to the garage.)

I used to do more sign painting.  The last I did was for our own farm 8 years ago.  This one above is a show sign for The Shawville Fair which is happening this weekend.  I have another full sized one (4x8 feet) to do for their farm gate as well.  Shawville Fair is HUGE around here.  That is where you'll find most locals and lots of visitors too, our sleepy little town really comes alive every year on Labour Day weekend.  I personally have a love/hate relationship with the fair, but that's mainly because since we had kids we spend literally days upon days standing in a midway while they go crazy...great for them but very tedious for 2 individuals that are NOT fond of rides.  Regardless, we'll see you there and best of luck to all the exhibitors!  

Cheers! Jen 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Growing up...

Today I dropped my oldest off at High School.  Here in the "Belle Province" high school starts at grade 7 and ends at grade 11.  I was totally ready for it when I was that age, but now...when it's MY kid being dumped in a big, bad H.S. I am NOT ready!  

Emma will undoubtedly roll her eyes in exasperation when she reads this post and say something like "Mom, really, can you not think of anything else to blubber about?, you're soooo embarrassing!"  but in my defense, this is not about her...It's me.

I've got to grow up because like it or not, everyone else is.

When the alarm went off the other morning and Scott was getting ready for work he noticed I was lying there wide awake and asked what I was thinking about.  My wakeful state is unusual at this hour of the day unless I'm stressed so that is why he expressed concern.  Usually all he gets in the way of conversation at 4:45 am is a growl, an elbow and maybe an uttered profanity or two because I sort of think that any guy who believes that waking up at that time to "live his dream" is borderline insane, but different strokes! answer was:

                     "Our Gerber baby starts high school in 2 days."
She in my mind should not be growing so quickly.  I know my dilemma is not unique and there are thousands of parents that have a hard time letting go and also another thousand that would likely say..."Just you wait after 5 years of living with a teenager you'll be shoving her out the door.", but I'm not there yet.

Life passes very quickly.
I catch glimpses of her and the 3 others growing up... and in a blink.

                                    But what has hit me is that I am not prepared.
I see she is more independent.  We have arguments when picking out clothes, I think she's beautiful without makeup, she disagrees, I don't think she needs to live on her i-pod, she feels the need to connect with her friends...I remember all the same stuff from my youth (bar the i-pod!) the push-pull, the struggles and deep down I embrace them all because the alternative would mean that I was not blessed with a healthy, self sufficient, strong child to nurture and care for, for a brief moment before she made her place in the world.

                            So all is good.
It does seem like yesterday when I experienced labour for the very first time, when this gorgeous malleable, innocent tiny human was placed in my arms and although I was truly terrified and unsure of what to do, it felt entirely right. 
It seems like yesterday that I craddled her in my arms and wondered when I'd ever be able to walk without some extra sort of appendage attached to me. 
It seems like yesterday her vocabulary consisted of "ta!" and "two!" 
Yesterday we had her first "friend" birthday party, her first sleepover.
I realize that none of this was really yesterday, not even the week away at camp or the trip she took to Saskatchewan this past spring was not just yesterday, but months ago.

We're for the most part firmly rooted in the present, we know she is growing up and away and we really are good with that.

My question, other than how will I emotionally move this kid away to college 5 short years from now (and how will we afford to?) is:

Does she know?  Does she know?

 Does she know how much she means to me?

How much we have loved her and always will?
Does she know that whether she is leaving for high school or kindergarten or a shopping trip, on a first date, or college...does she know that she absolutely, unequivocally, entirely rocks our world and she is (her siblings too) THE BEST THING WE HAVE EVER DONE AND WILL EVER, EVER DO!

Whether she does know remains to be seen, but given time and grace she will know. 
How do I know? 
Because I am a daughter too and I know.
I don't have to look far to know that this bottomless love, support and pride in being a mom and watching a child flourish and become is simple and extraordinary all in one...

Love You Em, and Thank You, Mom.                                                                

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My New Distraction

Seems to me I won't be posting a plethora of artistic endeavours here anytime soon... our newest challenge may just take up more time more quickly than we even dared to dream and surprise, surprise-we're not ready! 

See, we began planting a vineyard last year.  Jen loves the vino...Scott's not too far behind and we have this old pasture which we don't pasture the cows on anymore (another story for another day) that had been irritating me to no end as it grew up in weeds each year and looked, well...awful.  We were also thinking it would be cool to supplement our income with something unique to the area and finally tried grapes after some persuasion from other growers much better established only half an hour's drive from home.

We were told 3 years until the vines came under production.  We know we're very disorganized and three years seemed like miles away...lots of time for us to get our act together, right?  Well...we waited a little too long to trellis and train the vines this spring.  That turned to summer and to be entirely truthful we're still not done.  Apparently the grapes we have were supposed to be loped off early spring in favour of establishing strong roots and a good base for future years. We just couldn't, they look too perfect!  (Hope our decision doesn't bite us in the butt this winter!)  Regardless...look and see!  Aren't they wonderful?

Here they are last year...shipped by Canada Post right to our doorstep!
The varieties are Swanson, Marquette and Frontenac Gris, Rouge and Blanc.

Here they are as they appeared at the start of July while I was pruning...

very vigorous growth...they're nuts!! ...and now...drum roll please!...

Aren't they AWESOME!? 

We live in Shawville, Quebec, Canada...the Ottawa Valley!  Even growers that live only an hour east wondered if we could grow and although it's far too soon to tell whether they'll survive the requisite 3 winters before we can consider they are...looking pretty spiffy if I do say so myself...I think I'm in love!  Swoon! 

So here's the question:  Anyone know how to make really good wine from cold climate grapes? 

We know it's done, we've tasted some great stuff but to know what to do with them already?  Thought we had at least one more winter to research, learn and likely find an individual with expertise.  (not to mention acquire equipment to handle produce from 500 plant)  Oh and we planted more babies this spring.  Yikes!  So once again, life may be getting busy!  But it's a happy busy...aren't they awesome? 

Okay...crazy lady out!  See ya!   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Something new

So...I'm going to try something a little new.  I'm not going to try to write great compositions or inspirational pieces or really much of anything, just simple, honest updates about what I'm up to, in to or tired of...whatever the mood dictates.   I prefer being brilliant or philosophical but that's really not me...I can pull that out of the hat every once in a rare while but that is not the way to keep a blog hopping, so honestly, I'm going to be just plain ol' me. consists of:

...welcoming a beautiful new sister into my life

...dealing with some aliens that invaded my space

...trying to see the beautiful in the common place

...looking to the past

...reminding myself it's time to start planning for the future

...looking up, asking many questions and wondering

...reminding myself yet again that life right outside the front door isn't so bad

...dealing with some toads (or frogs...whatever works!)

...celebrating small triumphs in the moment



...meeting some new but familiar friends

...some really exotic ones too!

...a few odd birds

...some rather intimidating individuals

...feeling like a big fat over stuffed bear

...wondering why everyone needs to get in my face

and looking for this kind of self assurance.

But all in all having a pretty cool summer...hope yours is going well too!  Jen