Cows and chickens and sheep – oh my!

So, I didn’t have to work yesterday because of Good Friday, so we decided to go to Maplewood Farms.

Taken from the website – From the 1920’s – 1950’s, the farm was a thriving dairy farm.  By 1970, agriculture had all but disappeared from North Vancouver but the farm land came under the protection of the District Parks Department, being preserved for future generations to enjoy a truly rural experience in our ever expanding urban area.

Opened to the public in 1975, and now home to over 200 domestic animals and birds, Maplewood Farm incorporates enjoyment, education and a recollection of the rural heritage of this pastoral 5 acre setting.

It was great.  Once you’re inside the gates, there are essentially different areas housing animals throughout the farm, but you can get in there with most of the animals, and feed them, pet them, and just chill with them.  There were chickens chasing each other, little pigmy goats eating grass from our hands, and bunnies that we could feed carrots and broccoli to.  There was a cow milking demonstration, and little tractors you could rent (kid size) to scoot around in.

Moooooooo!

The first big animals we saw were cows, and we soon saw a very special cow:

Sofie/Sophie

Next up were ducks and chickens, chilling in a little pond.

Ducks and chickens

Within that same enclosure was one very grumpy chicken, that kept pecking at peoples feet!  Next up were horses.

These horses were massive, and beautiful.

Within the same barn were little chicks that were only a few days old.

They are so new, the broken shells they hatched out of are strewn about within their little area.

The sign that is repeated throughout the farm and around all enclosed areas, and just there to put the responsibility on the parents. Love Sophie's face in this picture!

Sophie's favourite part of the day by far.

Up until we started feeding the sheep leaves, Sophie was very quiet, just quietly observing all that she saw. Once she was able to interact and feed the sheep, she started having much more fun!  We think she was just overwhelmed by all the awesomeness she was seeing, and just taking it all in.

Goat and sheep eyes are crazy - the rectangular iris is freaky!

A rare family shot

Snicklefritz the Shetland Pony

Remember this shot?

A very clear warning...

A second after the Snicklefritz photo was taken, Sophie started crying.  You can see that her expression is a bit off…  It turns out Snicklefritz had nipped the palm of her hand, gently, but enough to scare her and leave a bit of a mark.  Lesson learned.  But bunnies are far gentler…

Sophie 'gently' feeding the bunnies - I had to keep reminding her to gently feed them, she was a bit forceful and the bunny had to back up to get the broccoli stalk in it's mouth.

Getting the hang of it.

Tiny little pigmy goats!

We had a great day – the weather was perfect, and Sophie is at the perfect age to really get excited about all these animals, and to be able to touch them and feed them was very exciting for her.  She obviously didn’t want to leave, and one of the first things she said this morning was “I want to go to the farm again”.  We’ll definitely be back, it’s a beautiful spot, and perfect on a warm sunny day to bring a picnic lunch.

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Inspiration

On an almost daily basis, I find things on the internet that I want to make.  Whether it’s tutorials for stuffed knit animals, recipes, crafts, things to sew, everywhere I look, is inspiration.

I thought I’d start keeping track of them, rather than just sharing them on facebook, or bookmarking them for a later date.

Here’s what I’ve found lately:

Easter Egg Hunt Bags over at the Purl Bee

DIY Baby Socks by Made by Joel

I haven’t made either yet, but I will eventually.

Making a nest

I’m not talking about the nesting instinct or anything like that, rather, literally making a nest.  When we’re walking the trails around our place, Sophie and I are always picking up sticks, Sophie to fish in the puddles, and me to admire the branches – I have a thing with trees…

Anyways, one day we set out for a walk, and gathered a massive bag of suitable twigs, no shortage in our neighbourhood.  They were all muddy and gross, so first I had to wash them to get all the dirt and moss off.  Then I needed to dry them, and I thought that I should bend them into pots, so they would dry somewhat bent, so it would be easier to mold into a nest shape later.

Clean twigs, drying in shape.

Throwing twigs in the air = fun!

Crazy toddler...

I had to wrestle twigs out of Sophies hands, to make this nest. Good times!

The finished nest

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  I ask myself, why do I do this?  Seriously, who collects twigs, washes them, dries them in shape, and glues them together to make nests?   Eran is a good sport, he puts up with all my crafty ideas and indulges me whenever I have an ‘awesome’ idea.  Anyways I like it, I think it looks awesome, and is a nice springtime decoration for our house.

Wabi-Sabi

Today, I was featured in Irena’s blog, Lady of ‘The Arts’.  Her blog is full of book and movie reviews, recipes, exploration of art in all forms, and her family.

Lately she’s been talking about Wabi-Sabi, the ancient Japanese art of finding beauty in all aspects of life, including imperfections, and she asked me to send her some pictures of my Wabi-Sabi.  It wasn’t hard, I just looked around our place and started snapping photos, and sent them to her.

Here is the result.

Neighbours

So, I’ve been fighting with my Strata for months now.  Maybe even years, I can’t tell, it seems like it’s been going on forever.

Here’s the back story.  When Soph was still in her stroller, it was a Spring day, and I took her out back into our building’s courtyard, to play in the grass, enjoy the sunshine, and have a little snack or two.  When we were done, I found that we were locked in the courtyard.  We couldn’t get back into the building, there was neither a key, nor a fob, or anything.  The only way to get out of the courtyard was to go down 11 concrete stairs which lead to a busy street, and then we would have to go around the corner and back to the front door again.

We were stuck.    I wasn’t about to drag the stroller down those steps – not safe.  Luckily, there was an older lady who noticed us from her backyard, and let us back into the building.  I mentioned that I thought it was strange that there was no way for residents to get back into the building, and she brushed it off, saying it was a security issue.  Huh?  How is it a security issue if they put a keyfob on a door out back?  It’s the same way you get into the front door.

Anyways, my other encounter with this courtyard came when Oliver was over playing with Sophie.  I propped open the door with a rock so we could get back into the building.  Sophie and Oliver were running around, playing, chasing each other, the usual toddler stuff.  They Sophie takes off towards the door, while Oliver stays in the courtyard.  I grab Oliver and take off after Sophie, to find her now in the building, smiling at me.  Had she somehow kicked the rock out of that door, she would be locked in the hallway, and Oliver and I would be locked in the courtyard.  I would have had to grab Oliver, run down those steep concrete steps, around the corner and back in the building, run into the hallway where Sophie would have been and grabbed her, which would take minutes, but would be long enough for her to a) completely freak out because she’s alone in a hallway, b) fall down the steps that are in the hallway, c) run into someone in the hallway, which would also freak her out because she’s alone and d) have someone take her – maybe trying to help figure out why a toddler is alone is a hallway, or who knows.

So, to me, it seems obvious – put a fob on a door to the courtyard so residents can have access back into the building.  Not so easy. I’ve written to the Strata council many times, they will not budge.  I’ve gone to a meeting.  Still, no budging.  They see it as a security issue, or they think it will increase traffic through the back.  Maybe it will a little, but really, by how much, and what’s the big deal?  Residents should be able to come and go into their own building, where they pay Strata fees on a monthly basis.

So, my next attempt was to go door-to-door to get a truly democratic vote on whether or not residents wanted to get a fob put on a door that leads to the courtyard.  A few observations after my door-to-door outing:  people were surprised to see someone knocking on their doors, and almost seemed suspicious.  Man, apartment living just does not lend itself to community.  After I introduced myself – “Hi, I’m Christine, I live on the third floor, I’m trying to get a fob put on one of the doors that lead into the courtyard because as it stands right now, you can get into the courtyard, but you can’t get back into the building, so if you’re in a wheelchair, or have a stroller, it’s inaccessible to you…”, most were like, oh yea, easy, where do I sign, which was great!

I managed to speak to 26 neighbours last night, and so far, there is only one who was opposed, and her reason was pretty much that she didn’t mind if people couldn’t get in the door.  Hmmm.  Okay.  I asked her about people in wheelchairs or people with strollers, and she said it didn’t affect her, so again, it wasn’t an issue for her.  Fine, whatever, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but there is something about this attitude that just makes me sad; that someone really just doesn’t care about people who aren’t as able-bodied as herself, and whether or not they have access to the courtyard. I don’t know, this apathy just bothered me.  Another woman who was visibly pregnant, also didn’t really care either way because she didn’t use the courtyard.  But I’m thinking to myself, when you have your baby, you’ll want to spread out a blanket on the grass and just enjoy the day!  Why can’t you see that?

Anyways, I guess I was just a bit surprised at how they didn’t really care about the plight of others. I get that it doesn’t affect you, but I’m telling you how it affects me, and trying to understand how you don’t even care a little bit about it.  I guess sometimes I just expect people to feel the same way I do, because it makes complete sense to me, but maybe I’m missing something.  Isn’t a community about knowing your neighbours, helping out if you can, making it fair, fun, and safe for everyone?

Yea, it’s been a while…

No excuses, life got busy, blogging got pushed to the side.  So, photos!  Here’s what we’ve been up to these many months….

Sophie having a tea party with all her 'friends'

Beth made Sophie’s original cat hat (pattern from the 60’s or 70’s) but it was getting too small, so I made her the next size up.  It fits my head, so the sizing is a little off, but it works.

Modeling her cat hat at Kits Beach

Living with a toddler means toys all over the place, all the time.  There is no point cleaning up in the middle of the day, toys are bound to be dumped all over the floor, on a regular basis.  At least Sophie likes to help clean up at the end of the day.

Watch where you step!

This was a Valentine’s Day craft, that is still up April 4th….  I found the original tutorial on Martha Stewart, and I love the way the hearts look in the window.

Windows are just so much more fun when they're covered with colourful hearts.

Sophie’s hair is getting long, but you wouldn’t know it with how curly it is, until her hair is stretched out and put in braids.  Amazingly for now, she sits relatively still while I try to wrangle her curls into neat little braids.  I love the little braids, they don’t stay tidy for long, her wild curls just can’t be contained.

Tiny little french braids

We regularly walk the trails across the street from our house, either to Rocky Point Park, or Old Orchard Park.  Soph likes to grab a stick along the way, to drag in puddles.

Our rainforest

Another regular spot is the park outside the Rec Centre.   Sophie has no fear, and just grabbed onto the monkey bars, and started hanging!

Fearless

She also is a big fan of slides, obviously.

Getting ready to fly down the slide.

Now that Spring is here, the flowers are blooming all over the place.  Daffodils are springing up around the library, and stopping to smell the flowers has become a ritual.

Smelling the daffodils

When two toddlers get together, and it’s quiet for a minute, you know they’re up to something….

Every single book off the shelves, and onto the floor.

There is a new exhibit of sorts outside our library.  To bring attention to the plight of trees, an Australian artist has painted the trunks and some branches of 12 trees outside the library, with a super vibrant, non-toxic paint which will fade over time.  At first I was not into it, but now that the cherry blossoms are coming out, it looks pretty cool.

Sophie loves the blue trees.

So, that’s what we’ve been up to.  I’ll try to be on top of this blog, because it’s a great thing to look back at.

Gymnastics!

My friend Tara told me about this great drop-in gymnastics class for toddlers that she was going to with her son Drew, and Sophie and I wanted to come along.  I took gymnastics when I was young, and loved it – and so far, Sophie is really good at hanging off of things, and walking on “balance beams” (curbs or ledges).

On the way to her first gymnastics class.

The class is a drop-in, and there were about 20 kids at our first class.  There are times throughout the hour that are free time to explore the equipment, and then times to get together and learn and practice a new skill.

Sitting patiently with Drew, waiting for instructions to begin.

The first skill was a somersault, which Sophie was too shy to practice at the gym, but now does over and over again on our bed.  There was also a hanging rope that kids could climb or swing from.

Chillin' with the rope

And of course, the trampoline.  So fun, Sophie really likes to bounce on her bum, or just lie there…..

She had such  a great time, so hopefully this will become a regular thing.

Enjoying a post-gym snack in the sunshine.