Thursday, August 30, 2012

Love fest

What a day! A glorious, sunshine-infused and love-filled day! I was so honoured to stand up for one of my oldest and dearest friends as she wed the man who is very clearly head-over-heels for her, and she for him. The weather could not have been more perfect, and the bride could not have been more happy, relaxed, and gracious. I've met various members of her family over the last twenty years, but never everyone all together. And seeing her surrounded by friends and family who all adore her, it just made my heart swell. And of course they adore her, because my friend is one of the kindest people you could ever have the privilege of meeting, and she treats everyone with such love and care, it's no wonder that everyone just reciprocates that love. It's just awesome to see.

After the beautiful and moving ceremony (not a dry eye, people, not a one!) we danced and danced until they kicked us out. There may or may not have been air guitar, but I can assure you that the whole shack shimmied. The fun continued with a big bonfire, where the bride's brother played guitar, and we all sang, and celebrated until the wee hours. It was the best.

Reunited! It's been a long time since we were all together!

The idyllic lakeside location.

Some dramatic clouds to keep me company on the long drive home.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Squashmonster! Squashmonstah!

Did I say taking over? Because I meant taking over. It has expanded it's reach well beyond the bounds of the veggie patch. It's creating an empire. What we have on our hands is a fully fledged squash monster. An acorn squash monster.

At one end, it's clawed it's way past the expired peony bush, shot out across the lawn, past the Mountain Ash. At the other end it's got the rhubarb in it's sights. In the middle, in the thick of things, it's mantling over the tomatoes where I can't get to them. From tip to tip, the wingspan of this giant is 49 feet. It seems less concerned with producing fruit as it is on world domination. So far it's produced only three squash, but sadly the squirrels got to the first one and scratched a hole into it that rotted out the center. But there could be more hiding in it's unwieldy depths. I feel the need for a brave steed and chain mail to adventure to find them.

This summer will forever be known as the summer the squash took over the yard.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

So many mountains

Does anyone else's week feel like an insurmountable mountain? This week is a Full On Gong Show, last week too, actually... I would much rather be climbing actual mountains than metaphorical ones... Give me aching muscles from hiking over eye-strain and hand cramping from too much desk time anyday. Sigh.

Early morning sun on Upper Cascade Lake, August 4.
The trail leading up to the peak of Giant.

I love the delicate, yet hardy, sub-alpine flora.
Plus, when the trees start getting scrubby, you know you're nearing the top.

It's worth the 3 hour climb for this view.
Giant Mountain is the twelfth-highest peak of the 46 High Peaks, at 4,626 feet.

That makes five! Last year we got our third and fourth peaks. Only 41 to go!

Could be the addition of green onions to the filling, could be the view after
many hours of exertion, but I've never tasted a better tuna sandwich.

Bit of a sheer drop-off...

At the top of Roaring Brook falls on the way back down the trail.
What a beautiful day!

Though it had called for rain, it ended up being the perfect day for a hike.

The Giant Sandwich: Roast beef, roast turkey,
Swiss, coleslaw and Russian dressing = yum.

But on the plus side, there's only 99 days left to go! The double-digit countdown begins. Mega-woot.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Voluntary simplicity

When I first heard about Tumbleweed Homes, I found these tiny, fully-equipped, portable homes hugely appealing (as well as adorable, let's be honest), but I had no idea that these tiny dwellings were part of a growing Small House Movement. At the same time that I was stumbling across one inspiring article or blog after another, I was reading The Story of Stuff (a must-read for all, describing how we must take our blinders off and recognize the full costs of all of those low-cost things we feel we "need") and I was realizing just how loudly this idea of living simply speaks to me. And how it can be a very good answer to a lot of our environmental, financial, and social problems.

"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude; poverty will not be poverty; nor weakness, weakness." — Henry David Thoreau

We all long to slow down, stop the carousel, don't we? I've been feeling this urge strongly. I think after living out of a backpack for 6 months I will have a better sense of how little I need to live, and will simplify even more. I definitely want to make some changes when I get back, that's for sure.

However, I'm not sure if the notion of living simply could ever really catch on, until we make some other, more radical changes. Living simply is completely counter to our capitalist economic model that demands endless growth and requires consumption to function. But guess what, a capitalist economy does not work on a planet with finite resources. I watched a documentary that said we are consuming the earth's resources at a rate of one and a half earths. I'm no mathematician, but that doesn't seem sustainable.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

We shall not cease from exploration

Photo taken on the bus from Granada to the coast of Spain.

Maybe we can extend our 6 month wanderings into 23 years like Gunther and Christine Holtorf... Inspiring stuff!