Healthy living, healthy parenting, healthy gardening. One Family's approach to off grid living.


Boy in dress on rope swing and other photos

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It’s sooo good it smells like artificial colors

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He groaned in pleasure as he washed his hands with the pearly pink soap in the Visitor Center’s washroom.


Yep, I had just pulled into Sparwood to see the Largest Truck In The World.

I’ve NEVER stopped for the kids at the truck before.  I’ve never driven the Southern route in 3 days instead of 2 before.  *I* feel like I am on holiday, and that’s a great feeling after a month of mostly single parenting.  The Super 8 was fine, but the Days Inn is really nice and feels like a major treat even though it was cheap off of

Seeing the world through these eyes is such a gift.

They alert me to beauty all around me.  They alert me to misery all around me.  I want more beauty than misery in their lives.  This is the gift my parents gave me. In the car the boys play, talk to each other, fight, and spend a lot of time looking out the window.  We don’t have any babysitting devices in the car.  We used to, a portable DVD player, for a couple of years, we used it a ton.  It broke shortly before Finn was born and neither boy even notices.  However, today it took us 9-10 hours to complete a 5 hour drive.  This is most I’ve ever enjoyed travelling with the kids, which is remarkable because it is a 3 day, 14 hour drive alone with 3 boys 5 and under.

The difference is a) nice weather and b) time to actually stop and enjoy the view

view c) stopping and doing enough fun stuff that my kids realize that their siblings really are their best friends.  That’s pretty much how life on Erie Mountain is in the spring/summer- like an extended summer vacation a peter pan land of no bathtubs, showers in waterfalls, nightly fires, rope swings in trees, early morning hikes while the clover is still damp and the air still cool.  Sweltering Kootenay afternoons in a cold mountain lake nestled between green peaks.  Experiencing the seasons by integration.  This is the why.

The Brotherhood

The easy movement, lack of pretension

I watch laugh pauses, all their deep breaths

They are alone.  Fragile. I am still the mothership

and can see their minds crunching away without

calculating I am not him.

Open,a book of boys, they play

Lithe bodies rolling and climbing

Exploring movement; Because.

I cherish these moments; Because.

“Secret club of Erie Mountain,

Hip hip hooray -we’re going home”



The how isn’t quite as intuitive or poetic.  It will be hard.  So hard that I couldn’t face the first night straight up, I need to arrive in the day time so I can acclimatize without having a panic attack.  I’m learning to figure out what I can handle, and what I can’t.  I’m going back with the understanding the kids and I will leave in the fall the second I am not handling it.  I’m really hoping we can get this lovely summer home winterized over the next few months and we can spend our 1st winter in Erie Kingdom.  The combo of post partum mood disorder and off grid living was just way too much for me to handle.

Today is the day.  A small bird is caged in my chest trying to get free.

All of these pics are SOOC, no cropping, no editing.  I would love any critique.  I`m just starting to feel at ease holding a DSLR.  I don`t have time to edit, so I`m just working on getting it right in camera.

PS.  The water in Cranbrook tastes like fish in April.

PPS.  Makes me scared to try the lobby coffee.

PPPS.  Free hot breakfast!!!  Love the Days Inn, Cranbrook!

1, 2, 3 on Mama

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On my back with rose bush thorns and pussy willows all around me gazing up at the sky.  Watching him standing there, looking around, unsure.  His small voice tinged with worry- “Mama?”  I made a little beeping noise and he laughed.  He moved around the bushes, cautiously, but comforted by my obvious presence.  Finally we made eye contact and he began to laugh.  He ran towards me shouting “1, 2, 3 on Mama!”  He lay down in my arms, head on my chest.  “That was a good hiding spot- you really tricked me.  Thanks for the clue.  I was beginning to get a little worried you left the bushes.”  I smoothed his hair.  We played for about 20 minutes, taking turns hiding and seeking.  This is my childhood.  These are the bushes I moved to 23 years ago.  I am 5, laughing up at the hole in the sky surrounded by trees.  This is my solace.  My safe place.  My secret garden.

I show him the pussy willows.  We pick some to take home to Gramma.  Just like my Grandfather used to do every spring.  He looks at me and says “I know Gramma will love these, my blood is her blood and my blood is her Dad’s blood and we share the same genes.  This is what family means.”

We skip, hand in hand while he sang a song about spring and love.  At the end of his hand is his mother.  At the end of my hand is my heart.  We run the rest of the way home.

My heart, all hot and sweaty, rips off his shoes and runs to his Gramma with his honest bouquet.  And she knows just what he is talking about.

“When do we get to see the real art?”

You know that kid.

The one that said that during the gallery opening today?

No.  No,  he isn’t with me.

He is with her- yeah, that lady over there.

(backs away slowly and then runs)

Spring time in SK is like winter in OK


I was surprised by how much this fresh April day reminded me of Oklahoma in January.  The same driving wind rushing through dry grass, hurting your ears.  The kids are just so excited it isn’t bitterly frozen we’ve been spending a ton of time outdoors.   Many of the behaviour problems I’ve been struggling with are gone almost overnight!  We’ve done about 3KM/ day yesterday and today.  After many races the boys started to wind down and were so thoughtful and kind together.  I took all of these pics with the DSL my Dad recently gave me.  I am just starting to figure it out, in a few months I’m hoping things are going a bit better with my understanding of digital photography. 

So with some brief editing (mostly turning to b&w) and dealing with fill shadows.

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