Monday, 19 June 2017



We were out of the house for two months. The insurance people boxed up almost everything and we were sent off to a hotel/inn until they fixed the floor, ceiling, etc.

The Place Under The Pine has a vastly different look lately, that just graduated University look. The bare walls, boxes being used as tables, and folding chairs in the spot the couch used to sit, are the key factors. The insurance company kindly disposed of all the unsalvageable items, which included anchor pieces like the couch. 
Their is a bright side to all of this inconvenience. The floors - they are brand new, dark, grainy, and change the entire look and feel of the room. The ceiling is also brand new and (he says happily) lacking the 'popcorn' finish.
As we wait for our insurance claim to go through, and the money to replace our couch, we are still getting by as happy as ever. Two months in a hotel will do that to you. Two months of living with the bare minimum of your 'stuff' really makes you think about what is important in your life. We were initially given a three week timeline, but, that stretched out to eight weeks. This means we packed for three weeks - clothes for three weeks in the early spring does not translate well when the hot weekends in late May come along!
Lacking appropriate clothing was not a major concern for me personally, I still got along. In fact it was kind of nice having no choice. I had one weekend outfit, so I would just wear that. I also, only had a book and a camera for 'hobbies'. Again, I found it great to be lacking any choice - I could only delve into reading and making videos. 
No choices also gave us more time as a family - time we filled with activities we mean to do more, like play board games, do giant puzzles, those kind of things.

There were less things to get in the way.

When we were leaving the hotel Olivia mentioned this. She went into the hotel life kicking and screaming about having to share a room with her brother...and as we left she was worried about being lonely at night and our family not being together as much.
The time away showed just how adaptable Elliott is. He barely seemed to notice. He took advantage of the new bed with the extra pillow and settled himself in the first night and never seemed to look back. He really only missed his hockey net - which he spends a lot of idle time using in the backyard.
Oscar was similar, he adapted to a lack of bed (sleeping with us) just fine. He never complained about his lack of toys. He did want to go to 'our real home' often, and would ask about it...but, he seemed happy enough while we were at the hotel.

It was a very interesting experiment, if we could call it that. Taking us out of our home, taking away most of our stuff, and seeing how we react. 

How we reacted? Well, the first day we got home we filled two giant boxes with stuff which we donated away. We have dropped off van loads full of old clothes, toys, books, and clutter at the Goodwill and we continue to clear out our life of 'stuff'.

I asked the kids and Jen what they learned about us, themselves, life, after going through this experience -

Friday, 9 June 2017



The citizens of the Place Under The Pine were surprised this year to find the garden had started growing without their help and guidance. Mother Nature had worked her magic.

Lettuce, from last season, had somehow taken root or seeded it self and had gotten a head start on the growing season. Fast forward to now, early June, and the citizens of the PUTP are already harvesting lettuce! This is a new record. The quantity is also surprising, as there is already more lettuce than the citizens can eat. They have been gifting it to any and all that visit, but, there is still many square feet of the vibrant green leaf growing in the garden.

The prized raspberry bushes are doing well again this season. They have started to flower, which is a great sign that berries are on the way. The plant has also spread its wings and attempted to take root outside of the garden again. This year shoots have popped up in between the patio stones (a dozen feet away) and in random spots throughout the backyard. These 'offspring' will be dug up and given away to other local gardeners. 

The following video is 6 mins of lettuce, raspberry bushes, other sprouting plants, and a vinaigrette recipe. Set aside some time and enjoy:


I don't know about you, but, my tool of choice when out gardening is a good hoe. It can do everything from weed removal, tilling, mixing...and you look cool holding one too!
If you are in need of a good hoe check out amazon -