Sunday, 13 November 2011

Local Produce

After roughly twenty five years of living in large cities, I have been in a very small one for five weeks now.  One of the big concerns I had when making this transition was the availability of fresh, local food.  I mean, if there is a city of almost a million people 50km away, what are the chances of having ANY locally produced food available.  I figured the sucking maw that is the urban sprawl would devour everything produced and I would be left with large chain supermarkets.

I was so wrong. 

Let me start with the local beef farm.  This particular beef farm sells their meat to two of the better restaurants in Ottawa – and it is featured by name on the menu.  I have bought their meat in the past from the Main Street Farmers Market and was astonished at not only how good it was, but how rich it was.  It is a curious thing to suddenly switch from regular supermarket beef to organic, grass fed beef.  I could only eat half of what I consider a “normal” portion.  I have experienced the same thing with organic bison, wild venison and free range chicken from a friend’s farm.  So, has our beef consumption increased because our wealth has increased, or is it because feed lot beef is lacking?

There is also a bakery nearby.  Not just any bakery – they don’t use conventional baker’s yeast.  They also have a complete line of gluten-free bread and treats.  I don’t suffer from celiac disease, but I do have trouble with wheat (and I suspect yeast and lactose as well).  Breads baked here are sold all over North America in speciality stores.  I can drive down the road, chat with the baker and make my selections.  And the bread is lovely.

But clearly I’m not the only person in town looking for locally produced foods.  There is a store here that is devoted to selling locally produced organic produce and other health foods.  They even have milk from the local dairies!  Oh, and they'll ship to you if you can't get to them.

And then there is the pub.  It’s in the tiny little hamlet of Ashton, population roughly 200.  It’s a 20 minute drive from my house so isn’t a good choice for a bender as I still have to get home at the end of it, but they brew their own beer.  But this isn't the nasty plonk you're thinking it might be.  This is good stuff, and well worth the drive.

But you didn't hear all this from me - I'm one of them now.  It's a secret.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

The Stress of New

A quick internet search of stress indicates that there are several common events in our lives that are considered highly stressful.  Weddings, divorce, births, deaths, a new job and moving are all on the list (and I agree with them totally).  Experts claim that if you start combining these, the result is an exponential increase in the stress level. 

So what it is about “new” that is so stressful for us?  Weddings and births are events that are looked forward too and welcomed by one and all, new jobs are actively sought and celebrated and finally being able to buy a house is for many, the final step to being a fully independent and successful person.  All of these events deal with new, usually cost far more than we think they are going to and throw the routines of our lives into uproar.

On September 30, the deal to purchase my Old Stone House closed and I can finally post a picture:

I think the stress of new is not so much about new, as the disruption or total destruction of the old and familiar.  I had my kitchen unpacked and more or less working within 24 hours of the moving van leaving the house, but then I had to go back to work and we were still getting our old house ready to sell so it ended up taking me three weeks to find the rest of my clothes and even longer to find my shoes.  We could live in this house, but we weren’t living comfortably.   I still don’t know where my wool stash is....and that for me is stressful.

My old routines are gone – I have a 90 minute commute now instead of 25.  The TV is more centrally located in the house so I’m watching more of it instead of reading.  A great deal of my furniture is still at the old house (for staging purposes) so I feel like I’m “making do”.  We see the new and different things in our lives and struggle to accommodate them. 

But it doesn’t take long for the new and strange to become comfortable.  I’m finding joy in the long drive to work by watching the sun rise.  I’m PVRing the shows I want to watch, and I found the local yarn shop.