Discovering the wonder of the off-leash park

Once inside the gates, the quarreling stopped as dogs big and small bounded across the green grass side by side

Discovering the wonder of the off-leash parkMy golden retriever, Fergus, and I attended a very special grand opening recently. The ribbon has been cut on the local off-leash dog park. I wasn’t sure we were going at first. The Ferg has not yet completed basic training and he doesn’t walk well on a leash. I had no idea what he would…

Life lessons from Grandma, gathered over 102 years

To the end, she still enjoyed a love story, the occasional chocolate bar and an alcoholic drink (for medicinal purposes!) each day

Life lessons from Grandma, gathered over 102 yearsI had the chance to hold a newborn baby girl the other day. I looked down at her squishy little face and thought, “Imagine if she lives to 102 like my grandmother did. That would bring us to the year 2119. What will life be like then? How far will we advance – and in…

Give us our daily (gluten free?) bread

I’ve tried giving up wheat to lose a few pounds but I miss it too much when it disappears from my diet

Give us our daily (gluten free?) breadWe have a Norwegian international student staying with us for the year. Her English is quite advanced but occasionally she has to look things up on her phone to get the direct translation. The other day she had a question for me. “What do you call this kind of bun?” she asked, holding her phone…

Hanging up on cellphones in classrooms

Check your phones and your fidget spinners at the door – and crack open a good old-fashioned book

Hanging up on cellphones in classroomsAs we launched another school year, I was thinking that my Dad (a former high school science teacher) wouldn’t have fared too well in today’s era of cellphones, iPods and fidget spinners. How, among all of these accepted distractions, does a teacher catch and keep the attention of his students? My husband, a retired professor,…

The Accidental Farmwife Tribe is worldwide

I’m inspired by the farmwives (real or accidental) who have managed to produce something unique and special from their property’s bounty

The Accidental Farmwife Tribe is worldwideDuring this season of outdoor farmers markets, county fairs and trade shows, I meet a lot of people. Some are readers of the column who want to meet me because they’ve been reading my about my life in my Farmwife blog and columns. Others are accidental farmwives themselves and stop by to compare notes and…

A warm Canadian welcome to our international guests

International homestays for students are a big business that brings revenues to local school boards

A warm Canadian welcome to our international guestsThe Farmer and I have prepared our spare rooms for two special guests on the farm. We have two international students staying with us for the school year. In the past, we’ve hosted students both short and long term from China, Spain, Colombia and Brazil. This year, our students are coming from Norway and Nigeria.…

Trying to maintain my alpha status with the dog

I’ve been trained by a puppy. He has me scheduled and orders me to do his bidding with a simple whine

Trying to maintain my alpha status with the dogThe Farmer has surpassed me as the alpha in this pack. How did it happen? I’m the one who gets up in the wee hours of the morning to let the Ferg out for his morning constitutional. I’m the one who feeds, bathes and plays with the dog. It’s me who … wait a minute.…

Wasn’t that a party?

A great time was had by all, as was evident by the stray pair of underwear discovered on the lawn by the pool the next morning

Wasn’t that a party?The Farmer and I exchanged vows on the farm 10 years ago this week. It was a blustery, warm day and chunky clouds hovered over our heads, providing dramatic photos and reminding us that life wouldn’t be without its storms. The rain held off until well after the dinner hour, when everyone was having way…

The new breed of chef is cooking with gas

The Farmer is already planning his next menu. It will likely be some candied meat dish – or meat stuffed with meat. Vegetarians beware

The new breed of chef is cooking with gasThe Farmer learned to cook when he was living with a bunch of other guys in university. His cooking style is rather eclectic. He combines things you wouldn’t imagine, like brown sugar and turnip, and his guests are usually pleasantly surprised with the taste. If we aren’t, we keep our opinions to ourselves. His meals…

Small town things city folk just wouldn’t understand

We can run to the car or the clothesline in our underwear if necessary, and no one will notice if our husbands pee off the back porch on a summer evening

Small town things city folk just wouldn’t understandI once lived in Taipei, a city of four million people crammed into a space the size of Ottawa. In that environment, you develop certain customs and habits that are in line with sharing the earth and keeping the peace with your fellow city dwellers. You spend your days trying to carve out some quiet…