I’m a lucky Grammom. This weekend my granddaughters came for a sleepover. My grandson had been here for a sleepover a few times this summer as well. School starts in just a few days and I wanted to have them over one more time before their hectic scholastic schedule begins. All summer they’ve been busy with many activities like playing with friends; a camping holiday with their parents (my son Darin and daughter-in-law Amanda) to Lake Placid, New York; pedicures; Ultimate Frisbee; reading; sewing (each of them used their great-grandmother’s sewing machine to make something); swimming; visiting; more camping for each of them individually with their Daddy – Thirty-one Mile Lake in Quebec for Livi and the Inrig Homestead (my daughter Kristina and son-in-law Mike’s 45 acre place) for Kalia, where the fishing is the best.
Kalia phoned me the morning that they were coming because I had asked her if there was anything special she wanted while at Gramma’s – she remembered, Chocolate Milk. So I went into town and bought Chocolate Milk.
When the girls arrived, they came inside lugging suitcases full of stuffed animals and a change of clothes. You’d think they were coming for a week! lol They HAD to have their best stuff animals with them at night as they got to sleep in Melvin’s room, now that he’s moved away to go to college. They were VERY excited to be in Melvin’s room because all his stuffed animals are still up on his shelf over his bed. They get to pull down their favourites like the 6′ dragon and the 5′ snakes and line them up in the middle of the double bed.

Watching Movies
As soon as they arrived in the afternoon, we began to plan our ‘moviefest’. We always love to watch old Disney movies and any new movies that have been released. Last time they came, Kalia discovered the older movie ‘Matilda’ and we watched it a couple of times – it became her new favourite movie at the time. The girls usually do some baking with Aunt Nellie – cookies or cupcakes or a cake. This weekend, the weather was hot, humid, and rainy so it was a good inside-day. We watched ‘Monsters University’, taking a break for a spaghetti supper and frozen yogurt for dessert. Then as it got dark, we watched ‘Road to El Dorado’ followed by ‘The Swan Princess’. The girls must have been pretty tired because Livi even sat through the movies, pausing only once to go downstairs for a new ‘dress-up’ outfit.


I don’t think I ever packed up the toys after my kids got older because my youngest child Melvin was only 8 years old when his niece Kalia was born. We have 4 boxes of ‘toys’ downstairs which I must ‘clean out’ some day soon. There’s a box of dress-up clothes that I will likely never get rid of – Livi has always loved to dress-up at Gramma’s house. In fact, I think it’s the first thing she does every time she comes! There are an assortment of costumes, some of which we’ve had for decades: a ‘Sailor Moon’ costume that Nellie used to love wearing when she was little; Esmeralda’s dress from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame; two Harry Potter Gryffindor Robes from the halloween that Nellie and Melvin dressed up as Harry Potter characters; a red velvet cape; a flowered silky, fringed shawl which transforms Livi into the ‘poor little match girl’ or a sophisticated lady; and, among other outfits, an old, hand-me-down shiny pink dress with a black sparkly bodice that my oldest daughter Kristi used to love wearing, then Nellie, and now Livi – she’s even slept in this dress on occasion!

We have a box of little steel vehicles and tiny characters that are great to set up and be a ‘Godzilla’ to walk over. Then we have a container full of action figures, Scooby-doo characters, etc. plus another with odds’n ends. I’ve already packed away the bags of wooden blocks, the vintage ‘Sesame Street’ house and all the ‘Little People’ and their furniture, and several containers of Star Wars toys. And I’ve sent the ‘ball tent’ to Kristi’s house for her younger children.

On some other occasions, we’ve gone to the park down the road to play on the play-structure, fed my pond fish, done puzzles, gone fishing or thrown stones in the water down at our beach, taken our old dog Yukon for a walk or gone for a hike on ‘Private Prop’. But today we’re just veggin because it’s wet outside.
This morning, the girls were up pretty early (7 a.m.) considering they were awake until almost 11 p.m. with various excuses like Livi’s leg ache, Kalia taking all the covers (but Livi didn’t want her own covers with exactly the same Star Wars pattern!), Kalia wouldn’t share the book that Livi wanted to read at that exact moment, well, you know…… Bedtime was a bit late at 9 p.m. but after all, this IS Gramma’s!
We’ve just finished ‘special ordered’ lunch: Kalia had peanut butter and jam on whole wheat bread with orange juice to drink (the Chocolate milk was all gone), Livi had her favourite ‘Gramma’s house’ food – whole wheat toast with peanut butter and sprinkled with freshly ground flax seed and orange juice to drink, and Nellie had a toasted peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat of course. Oh ya, I forgot to make myself lunch…..
It’s always a joy to have my grandchildren stay for a sleepover.



A Revolutionary Moment

A thought provoking piece:

> World War One, we are told, began with the shooting of an Archduke. Within four years, eight million men were dead. It was a clash of empires, fought over coalfields and colonies, there was no good side, despite what the chaplains on both sides said. The men and boys from a hundred thousand villages were poured into the grinder because they were available, the surplus harvest of empire.
The Second World War arose from the injustice of the first. Poverty and shame drove people to Fascism. This time the whole planet was a battlefield. 40 million died.
The Cold War that followed hung in the balance through thirty years of nuclear threat, which we carefully and gradually stepped back from. We are learning.
The Third World War will not be fought with guns. It’s the battle for the earth, not its ownership this time, but its existence. Who would have thought that of all the shortages our profligate living would lead to, it would be the very coolness and calmness of our planet’s skies.

the storm
Today unprecedented storms, droughts, fires, floods and famines, have begun to stalk the earth. Both the Russian, and American wheat crops have failed in two consecutive years. (The Arab Spring was driven not by democracy but by hunger – food prices worldwide have doubled, and the poor are the ones who take the brunt). Farmers are right now walking off West Australian wheat farms through endless drought. There is a single cause to all of this; atmospheric carbon is now higher than for millions of years. We have passed the safe point of 350 ppm, at which temperature growth can be contained, and are headed for 400 and beyond – there isn’t an upper limit. The result is that the radiative cooling power of the atmosphere is being lost.
It’s called “greenhouse” for a reason. Shut the doors on a greenhouse, let it broil in the sun, and you will know what that means.
Every season brings its dangers now; the TV news is like a disaster movie. And fortunately, finally, people are starting to wake up.

A conflict of massive proportions has already begun. Fossil fuel industries are the most powerful industries in the world, and they aren’t going to be stopped by legislation or negotiation, at least, not in time. So we need a new, different kind of war.
The Third World War will be fought not with guns, but with people putting their finances, their energies, their arguments, their boycotts, and probably their bodies in the way of the coal trains and ships and the mines that feed them. It will be a war of the little against the big. Big Coal, Big Oil, Big Food, and Big Media. All have grown fat while we fed at their table. Not realizing the cost of our holidays in Bali, our kid’s school trips to Paris, our commutes to football matches interstate or jobs two thousand miles from home. Our tank-like cars and air-conditioned McMansions broiling in the sun. Our agriculture that is nothing more than oil turned into fertilizer turned into food.
Its such a revolutionary moment. Everything that anyone cares about – animals, wilderness, farming, refugees, peace, safety, freedom from terrorism, health, culture, heritage, but most of all – our children’s and their children’s ability to eat, breathe, support themselves, and not die in chaos, depends on this one single cause.

If you are reading this and aged under forty, you may see billions of needless deaths in your lifetime, including perhaps your own. Because of the inescapable reality of this, almost beyond our cognitive powers to absorb, we have to stop the carbon madness.
There has to be a transition, considered, phased, and rational, but above all planetary and radically fast. We have to execute a 180 degree turn in how we run the world’s machine.
My generation has seen and created change. We’ve stopped wars, we’ve faced down corporations and won. We’ve gotten rid of bad politicians and consigned the two party duopoly to the garbage bin of history. Like many of my activist friends I am old, and feel the freedom of not overly caring about my own comfort. Future generations becomes more and more the center of our concerns.

I believe that nonviolence is essential, that gentle means must always be used first, and second and third. But gentle means can also be powerful, and absolute. We would not stand by and let murder happen without stepping in. That’s exactly what is happening when coal ships sail from our shores on their journey to creating famine, fire and flood. I don’t know what to do. But I am starting to ask around.
The Third World War will be for the earth, and I know whose side I am on.
World War 3 is Nigh
Or has it already begun? <

Re-blogged with permission from Adbusters May 28, 2013 ‘World War 3 is Nigh’ by Steve Biddulph, Adjunct Professor of Counselling at Cairnmillar Institute, Melbourne, Australia and author of Raising Girls, Raising Boys, and The New Manhood, among others. He lives in the Tamar Valley. This is an excerpt from his article in the Tasmanian Times.

First Born


Today I celebrate the birth day of my firstborn child – Happy 38th Birthday Rob!

Robin @ Twin One Glacier, British Columbia

Robin @ Twin One Glacier, British Columbia

His birth propelled me into Motherhood and my life changed forever. I was in University at the time and had planned on putting him in the day care conveniently on site where we lived in married student residence. Little did I realize before he was born, that my life would change profoundly with my deep love for him …… and all those plans were thrown out the window. Many years ago, I wrote the ‘story of the day you were born’ in his baby book and I want to reprint it here as a celebration of the everlasting bond we will always share:

The Day You Were Born – August, 15, 1975 @ 9:07 p.m.
Well it was already the middle of August – you had been expected in the middle of July so I was beginning to believe that I would carry you around inside me forever! Your Daddy and I were involved in ‘Project Mobility’ – a compilation of buildings’ accessibility for the disabled in Kitchener-Waterloo. It was a summer job since we were still in University. On the day you were born, your Daddy went to work and I sat around our apartment waiting and eating watermelon in the 32+C degrees (90+F) heat.

After work, we went to the bank – I can still remember standing in line at the bank feeling very heavy and a bit nauseated. We went out to eat hamburgers except I didn’t feel like eating. Then we went to Canadian Tire to buy some car seat covers and a bicycle carrier for our car. Your Daddy installed the bike carrier as I put on the car seat covers. While doing this, I found a little lost boy about 1 1/2 – 2 years old wandering onto the street so I tried to find his parents. I can still remember carrying him, getting very tired. When I did find his father, I couldn’t help but lecture him on watching his son more carefully.

It was about 6 p.m. now so Daddy and I went up to our apartment to wash up. I realized then that I had been in labour and you would be born that night! I had my bath to relax me and help my contractions, which were very mild. I wasn’t sure if we should go to the hospital so early, but your Daddy thought we should. During the ride to the hospital, I kept hoping that my water wouldn’t break and get our new car seat covers all wet! But all went well.

After the doctor examined me, he said that you would be born very soon! Then he looked a little concerned and asked if we were having twins! I said “no I wasn’t” since I had an x-ray a few days before to see if you were full term. My tummy was very big so he was wondering….. Daddy was there all along wearing a mask and gown just like a doctor. Then you were born! The nurses exclaimed at how big you were and rushed immediately over to weigh you – 10 lbs. 14 1/2 oz.! They could hardly believe it – us too. Two student nurses who witnessed your birth were dumbfounded at everything. Your Daddy was the first to hold you, then me. Everything seemed like a dream come true. We were so proud of you.

12 hours old

12 hours old

The night you were born, I can still remember when I called my Mom to tell her of your birth. She had just got home an hour before from holidays down home with my sisters Faye and Betty. Faye answered the phone and said “well I guess you’re still waiting” and I said “well no, not exactly”. She said “What! A boy or a girl?” and I answered “a boy, 10 lbs. 14 1/2 oz.”. She screamed “Ma it’s a boy, 10 lbs. something!!” And I heard my Mother yell “WHAT!!”. Then we talked for a while about everything.
The next day Betty, Faye, and my Mom came up and made such a fuss! I felt SO good – my heart just throbbed over you with such intense love and pride. A few people thought we must have been your brother and sister and not your parents – you were SO big and us just 5’2″ and about 115 lbs! We just smiled and laughed.

So that’s what happened the day you were born.”

Salmonberry picking on Vancouver Island

Salmonberry picking on Vancouver Island


The 2003 Blackout

Where were you when the lights went out? Ten years ago today, Thursday, August 14, 2003, the largest electricity blackout in North American history occurred in Ontario, Canada and 8 U.S. states affecting 55 Million people. First reports blamed Ontario but in fact it was later determined to be overloaded transmission lines hitting some trees in Ohio U.S.A.. Electrical corporation operators there were unaware of the need to re-distribute power because of a software problem. This led to a cascading failure of the electrical system which caused the widespread blackout affecting 508 generating units at 265 power plants.
Now remember, that this happened less than 2 years after the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on 9/11 so many people wondered if this wasn’t some kind of terrorist attack on the electrical grid especially when it became clear that it was SO widespread.Sat image
So where was I? Actually we were on our way home from town just after 4 p.m. on a beautiful hot, sunny day. As we were crossing the bridge over the river, the truck radio suddenly went silent. Hmmmm. When we got home the kids came running out announcing that the power went out…….. again. Around here, it’s not unusual for the power to go out but usually it’s because of a bad winter storm or a wicked summer thunderstorm. Today, the sun was shining in the clear blue sky! I got out our battery operated radio, which I save for emergency situations like this, and got alot of static for a while. Then it was announced that it seemed like the entire province was without electricity, then New York state, and then a whole bunch of U.S. states!
Of course, neighbours were calling wondering if our power was out too. And my sister Faye called from across the province wondering what to do – they got a generator and plugged in the essentials like their freezer and fridge. Meanwhile, my husband Chris figured he might as well start our 10 kilowatt generator which runs the whole house normally (*important note: always turn off the main power breaker first). Remember, we experienced the 1998 Ice Storm when we went without electricity for two weeks in January (read about it here). After that experience, we prepared ourselves better. We took our small 3,500 watt genny over to our neighbour’s house since she was home alone with the kids while her husband was on a business trip. It would run some lights, the fridge, the TV, and VCR.

Blackout 2003

Blackout 2003

Then we invited the neighbours over for a ‘patio party’ which we usually reserved for Saturday nights. Over the distant hum of the generators at everyone’s houses, we sat out on our back porch under the patio umbrella lights, playing guitar, singing along, munching on snacks, and swimming in the pool, without concern. Everyone went home around 10 p.m. lighting their way in the clear, dark skies with flashlights. The silence was kind of eerie…..but calmly comforting. ‘Out there’ some back-up generators failed, telephone and cell service was overloaded because of the sheer volume of calls, people were stuck in elevators, some cities experienced a drop in water pressure affecting fresh and water treatment plants, and some TV stations’ back-up generators failed. Fortunately for us, our local TV station had a back-up to their back-up generator since they also lived through the Ice Storm.
The next day, the power came back on briefly but then went out again, then back on again, then out again…… almost 24 hours after it all began, our power – and the whole province – was restored. Over the next week, we experienced ‘brown-outs’ for the first time while nuclear power plants were restarted and the electricity system was stabilized. The government asked everyone to use only essential electrical consumption to conserve power. Many people experienced an extra long weekend off work.
I heard that in many areas, people really stepped up and helped others, from directing traffic in downtown Toronto to simply checking in on neighbours.
In the 10 years that has since passed, many improvements have been made to the power grid including better monitoring systems, ‘failure Simulations’, rigorous vegetation trimming along hydro lines, and enforced reliability Standards in the U.S. (Ontario already had them). But others wonder whether a Blackout of such magnitude could ever happen again: our aging infrastructure is a legitimate concern;  rapid climate change causing more and more severe storms which affect the grid (like the floods in Calgary and Toronto this summer);  Solar flare;  accidental;  or deliberate terrorist attacks; etc.
So where were you when the lights went out?

Farmers Market

This weekend, I went to my local Farmers Market. What a fabulous place to buy fresh products ! There were a lot of people there because of a Celebrity Cook-off:   cars were lined up on both sides of the road because the grassy parking area was all filled up. I was actually just there to buy my local lean ground beef from Flood Road Farms. But I was in for a treat.NGFM
Walking around the Farmers Market is a rhapsody for the senses! The sights and sounds swirling about are so sweet. On this day, I was greeted with a very talented singer playing tunes on an acoustic guitar and singing (very well I might add) familiar country tunes – but alas, I don’t know his name.2013-08-10 12.01.40

Inside the big barn, I made my first stop at Flood Road Farms for my local, naturally raised beef. I chatted with Sue for a while then moved on to look for some friends I often see there. I passed tables of fresh eggs, crocheted items and hand-made wooden toys in the former animal stall areas which had long been converted to accommodate the Farmers Market.2013-08-10 11.45.38
I followed my nose past the canteen – which was extremely difficult to bypass. Then I made my way around, looking at the beautiful artwork, smelling the delicious baked goods (from bread to butter tarts), stopping to chat with the woman selling the gorgeous cutting boards that her husband makes……..2013-08-10 11.48.48

Then I visited the local Berry Blossoms Honey stand. 2013-08-10 11.50.36

I continued around the barn to one of my favourite products: the NoGo Coffee Company. Now this is the strangest tale because I don’t even like the taste of coffee. But I’m crazy about the smell of coffee! I just love it when my son Marty, the coffee connoisseur / baristas of the family, comes to visit. The house ALWAYS smells like coffee! Last Christmastime when my grown kids were here, we found this NoGo Coffee in our small local grocery store – locally roasted, organic, fair-trade coffee, who woulda thunk!?2013-08-10 11.57.35
Outside there were covered stands with all sorts of fresh, local produce. It was just great seeing all this fantastic food just waiting to be sold. One vendor, Rideau Pines Farm, has been around for decades. In fact, some of my kids went to school with the kids from that farm. They grow just about everything from Raspberries to Pumpkins and sell it here and at their farm with a welcoming smile always on their face.2013-08-10 12.00.12
If I’ve missed Saturday morning’s Farmers Market in the town 10 minutes north, I can always go to the Farmers Market on Sunday afternoon in the town 10 minutes south of me! They have everything you could desire from local meat to candles to clothes.
You don’t have to live in the country to benefit from a Farmers Market. One of the first Markets I ever went to was in the city of Hamilton, Ontario where I grew up. I loved walking through the market on Saturdays during my lunch break when I worked at the Zellers store downtown. I can still remember the smell of the smoked meats melted with the smell of fresh flowers. A few years ago when I was visiting my sister Faye, we went back to that Market just for old time sake.
When I was a young adult going to university and living in Kitchener, we would often go to the old Farmers Market in downtown Kitchener. I frequented it less often when they rebuilt it and many of the Mennonite vendors left to start another farmers market in Waterloo – and so did I.
Farmers Markets are a unique, traditional way of bringing food from the field to the table. I feel very lucky that there are markets like this all over the country.


The Ottawa Peace and Environment Resource Centre (PERC) is an incorporated, registered charity. It is primarily a volunteer-run, grassroots organization with a Board of Directors to govern its operations.

Where Meeples Meet

Great Board Games Reviews

Wilderness Return

My Wilderness Return Return to Nature, bushcraft, scrounge craft, writing

Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness

Practical advice for off-gridders, homesteaders, preppers. 38 years off-grid homesteading experience. Blog, videos, podcasts, book (print, ebook, audio)

Powell River Books Blog

Life, Family, Friends.....

The Radical Homemaker

Warning: Blending authenticity with joy may arouse contempt.

Mother Matters Burlington

Pregnancy, birth and postpartum support. Conscious parenting too!

B&H Your Community Grocer

Supporting Your Community Since 1963

Just another Day on the Farm

Living a step back in time

Natural Life Magazine's

green living blog by Editor Wendy Priesnitz

Vulnerable Watersheds

Life, Family, Friends.....

Pete's Alaska

Pete's Alaska — God, family, country my view out the cabin window.

Tiny House Ontario

To fill this life, with words, art, and maintain a lovely living forest.

Cam Mather

Books • Speaking • Consulting • etc.

Wuppenif other words, "what would happen if?"

Lactation Matters

The official blog of the International Lactation Consultant Association