house of dreams

I would like to talk about our future plans, though I am not sure I should.
I firmly believe that dreaming is just another form of doing; of manifesting.
And I have never been one to keep things quiet.
We have no idea when we will be moving to our new home.  
It could be a year or more.
It could be this Spring.
It’s all very much up in the air.
There are days I think we are crazy to think we will have the time and patience to homeschool and parent three kids, renovate an old house in need of a great deal of love, learn the art of farming by farming alongside my dad and step mom, while also figuring out how to make any sort of income with our own farm.   On top of that, Mike will continue to work at his current job and commute a crazy distance each day.  
“Potential” can be a dangerous word.
But, we’ve never been ones to shy away from a challenge or an adventure.
Life is more interesting when you colour outside the lines and take big leaps of faith.
Let me go back to the summer of 2005 for a moment.
That summer, Mike and I were living in Mississauga and a drive to the farm was a very long one, but we went out for a visit to celebrate Father’s Day and my birthday.  We worked all day planting raspberries and strawberries in bare feet with the hot sun upon our shoulders.  We cooled ourselves in buckets of icy water from the hand pump in the front yard and ate a late supper as we always did when I spent summers on the farm as a kid.  I wasn’t crazy about the farm when I was a kid, but something had shifted during this visit.  The next morning, we were invited to church which sits on a small parcel of land originally carved out of Dad and Janet’s farm.  Dad introduced us to a nice man with a round belly and a twinkle in his eye.  He shook our hands firmly and said “Welcome to The Ridge” .  I suppose it was then that our fates were sealed, even if we didn’t yet know it.
It was 8 years later, very nearly to the day, that we found ourselves walking the fence line of the potato field and across The Ridge Road into the mouth of an overgrown lane way lined with large maples.  We were there to see a man about a house.  An old house built in the late 1800’s with good bones, two walnut trees, three large fields, a meadow, a small apple orchard, a new plantation of red pine, and a beautiful view.
We think we might call it Sons & Daughters Farm.  Traditionally, farms are named to honour the family name and usually the sons.  For example: “March & Sons”, but we have hyphenated names and daughters too. “Ellenberger-March & Sons & Daughters”  is a bit of a clumsy mouthful and we both stubbornly refuse to take each other’s names.  Besides, we’re sons and daughters and we have a son and daughters. We’re working towards something sustainable for all the sons and daughters; our own and the ones yet to be.  We are also honouring the memory of the teachers and the farmers; the whiskey makers and the blacksmiths;  the artists and the entrepreneurs; the mothers and the fathers; the sons and the daughters who beat down this path before us.

 {source}  {source}

After the sale of this cabin/house and after paying our real estate agent, lawyer fees, the bare minimum down payment, and covering the cost of all the conditions and various moving costs, we won’t have much left.
 A typical kitchen reno costs anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000.
We plan to fix up the entire house with about 1/5 of that lower number.  
It sounds insane, but we believe we can save a lot by doing the work ourselves, using basic raw materials, hosting work bees with payment in food and beer, and getting really effing creative. 
We hope to be able to:
Lift some nasty old linoleum and then sand, stain, and varnish the original floors.
Build a makeshift kitchen with basic lower cupboards, open shelving and curtains instead of cupboard doors.
Replace the upstairs bathroom flooring, two toilets, a tub and one bathroom sink.
Figure something out for the walls which are layers of painted, bubbling, peeling, tobacco stained wallpaper.
Oh, and build a large kitchen island.
And two beds for the older kids.
Have I ever mentioned that I am as stubborn as they come?
Most people would enter this house and run for the hills.  
Or burn it to the ground.
To be honest, the thought crossed our minds.
But it was only a flicker.
We see the woodwork and storied floors.
We see the view which I am sure will save our weary bones more than once when we close the door on the reno chaos and take it all in.
We see it framed with perennials and picket fencing.
We hear the goats and sheep bleating and the chickens clucking.
We see our kids growing and learning the pleasure and pain of being a farm kid.
On Christmas Eve this year, dad put together a slideshow of old family photos which was a great reminder that I come from a long line of farmhouse rescuers and fierce dreamers.
There were pictures of a young Gramma and Grampa, both  fit and tan,  Gramma, with her hair tied up in a scarf, driving the tractor.  And another taken at an apple harvest that looked as though it belonged in a magazine.
Pictures of them as a young family, enjoying a picnic at the farm they were hoping to buy; the same home where many of my earliest and fondest childhood memories reside.  The smell of railroad ties and the taste of sun warmed raspberries still take me there.
A field full of healthy, multicoloured horses.
A picture of my lanky dad and the stallion he trained to do all sorts of neat tricks and his pride and joy horse Ruby Star who lived well into her 30’s.
We may not have a lot of money.
We may not have a pinterest worthy kitchen.
There will be days…oh my, yes.
There will be days.
We will have what so many green horn farmers would give just about anything to have.
The support of family just a kilometer down the road or an even quicker jaunt along the fence line.
Family who are farmers with lifelong experience, patience and infrastructure. 
When I think about how far ahead that factor alone puts us, I am amazed it took us this long to come to our decision.
It really is a no-brainer.
go gently +  be wonderful
Posted in Uncategorized

a love letter

A blanket of snow has begun to fall.  
A good, sweet snow that comes quietly.
It is on days such as this, that I fall more deeply in love with this cabin.
With all her faults and crooked joints, she holds us safely in her embrace.
Scented with wood smoke and cinnamon, she glows warm and we watch the snow swirl around us.
This is the house that taught me to love Winter.
This is the house that taught me a lot of things.
Yes, it’s true, our cabin is for sale.
We have dreams of personal growth and lots of stretching ahead.
We’re choosing another adventure.
But today, I want to talk about our cabin.
And the stretching and growing and adventuring that has been done here.
It is here that we began to believe in ourselves.
It is here that we became more comfortable in our flawed skin and bones.
It is here that we foraged for berries and made jams and jellies so that we might eat sunshine in the winter.
It is here that we built our own furniture that will last for generations.
It is here that we burnt sage and released our fears of the unknown and untested.
It is here that we raised and butchered our own chickens with love and bare hands.
It is here that we sat beneath the cedars and pines, laughing with friends and family.
It is here that I was brought to my knees with morning sickness and motherhood.
It is here that I learned I am tougher and grittier than I gave myself credit for.
It is here that we realized our dreams and found out what we’re capable of.
It is bittersweet.
This house will always hold a bit of heart and soul with it.
All good homes do.
Much like country life and country folk, country real estate is slow and pretty straight forward.
So we wait.
We sit by the wood stove.
We chop wood.
We read our books.
We homeschool.
We crochet and play ukulele.
We make snow angels and snow people.
We make soup and pie from scratch.
We let the bread dough rise by the fire.
We keep a few chickens and wait for the first egg of the year.
We traipse through the woods when the mood strikes.
We watch the snow fall and dream about the wildflowers
The poppies.
The lilacs.
The peonies
The blackberries.
The apples.
The chokecherries.
The raspberries.
The blueberries.
We dream about all the beauty and fragrance that will dance around our house once again when spring returns.
We dream about afternoons and evenings spent at the beach when the tourists rush back to the city.
We wait.
We wait.
But the wait really isn’t all that bad.
go gently + be wonderful
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged |

back at it

I am back.

What’s new, you ask?

Well, let me see….

Our little cabin is for sale.

We’re moving to a run down, but lovable farmhouse just a hop, skip and a jump away from my dad and step mom’s farm.

More on that later, I promise.

I made the leap and deleted 340+ friends on Facebook in an act of self preservation and in hopes of getting back to a place of creativity and productivity.

I will still be posting often on

the Feather + Anchor page


And I can’t see myself ever leaving Pinterest 😉

I am sure there will be more on all of that later too.

I picked up my crochet hook again and taught myself some new moves.

I made a slouchy hat and had so many requests to make them for others that I decided to make and sell a few to do just that.

It feels so good to make pretty things again.

So good that I decided to unearth some beads and challenge myself to more making and story telling.

I will be tucking a pair of the sweetly simple Story Girl Earrings with the first 10 hat orders.

Each pair comes with a little story inspired by the woman who may wear them or the jewels themselves.

I have mentioned before that if I don’t carve out time to make pretty things, I will surely burst.

It feels good to be back.

Tell me what you’ve been up to.

This feels right.

go gently + be wonderful



Pin It
Posted in craft, life, our cabin, photography + writing, Uncategorized, wellness Tagged |

this + that + then-some


It’s official.  
We will be taking a family road trip to Newfoundland (and, may I just say, they killed it with their amazing tourism videos) in the beginning of September.
It’s been 9 years.
Silas is thrilled that we will be spending his birthday in a yurt by the ocean.
I am thrilled that the kid’s “first day of (home)school”  will be taken at the rather famous Hopewell Rocks at low tide.
It feels like a great rebellion.
Our time in Newfoundland will be spent with family, some of whom we haven’t seen in years, and taking day trips to places with names like Leading Tickles and Twillingate.
On the way back we will make a quick visit to PEI.
Because Anne.
When we return, we will be starting our more structured homeschool days.
Silas would officially be starting Junior Kindergarten this year.
Poppy would be going into Senior Kindergarten.
I chose to go with the Moving Beyond The Page Curriculum this year.
It seems like a good fit.
Last year we kind of decided to wing it with workbooks from Chapters and informal learning.
It was fine.
The kids learn.
Poppy can read the first two books of the Bob Book Series without help and the third and fourth books with a little help.
Reading and writing are what intimidate/worry me most about homeschooling.
I have no memory of learning how to read and write.
But everything hinges on getting that right.
So, I am over the moon that we are seeing progress and that we (us! ) are facilitating that growth with pure gut instinct and a few simple tools.
The reality is, they’re always learning.
While we read, and bake, and visit, and watch tv, and explore.
The world is full of stuff to learn.
And they are endlessly curious and observant.
It’s a beautiful thing.
To be honest, the curriculum is more for my schooled mind.
And I am ok with that.
We will still have lots of informal learning, but balanced out with structured activities as well.
I think it will be good.
We’ve also enrolled Poppy in Sparks come Autumn.
Which means we will have access to those thin mint cookies dreams are made of.
And she will wear a sash and earn badges and foster friendships.
It’s all good.
And just because it’s Friday, I may as well make it a Fawned Friday…
08)  When I was 17 I had short hair so I missed out on this trend.  It might just be on today’s agenda.
09)  I just love this little gallery wall.
10)  This bathroom is perfection.
01)  Shake, woman, shake.  Love that.
012)  I just happen to have $12 left on a Chapter’s gift card
13) This is pretty damn inspiring.
Happy Weekending Deer Hearts!
Posted in family, homeschooling, life, photography + writing, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , |

earth’s best sundays | birthday edition

34 trips around the sun.

More sun warmed berries.

Homemade ice cream cake.

A couple of my favourite meals.

A handful of wildflowers picked by my loves.

A pretty little pottered mug.

A walk through the pasture and along fence rows.

Feeling a little like Anne Shirley dreaming about the possibilities.

Kid playing in the old claw foot tub.

Oh my.

It was another nice one.

go gently + be wonderful


Posted in #100happydays, bits + bobs, celebration, earth's best sundays, ellenberger organic farm, family, life, photography + writing, Uncategorized

earth’s best sundays + weekending

We had a good full weekend.
We took the kids to see How To Train Your Dragon 2.
We all loved it.
We came home Friday evening to find that our 5 chickens had ALL been taken during the day by some mysterious predator.
I always feel like we failed them when one gets taken, but this was a heart breaking loss.
The silver lining is that we MAY take a family road trip to Mike’s homeland of Newfoundland in late summer since we don’t have to worry about someone coming to care for the chickens daily.
We may even drop in to see Anne of Green Gables along the way!
We shall see.
On Saturday we celebrated 7 years of marriage by making the drive to Cobourg for their BuskerFest.
It was a bit of a bust, but the Beavertails and beautiful sandy beach more than made up for it.
We also got 10 minutes to wander quietly and aimlessly around Chapters while Gramma and Papa wrangled the kids.
It was glorious.
It has become a bit of a Father’s Day tradition to go to the Farm for the day.
We tasted the first sun warmed berries of the year.
The kids “helped” Nana transplant the peppers and tomatoes.
(We decided to skip putting our garden again this year…for a few reasons.)
The two dads worked at cleaning seed with a 100 year old fanning machine.
Like I said, it was a good one.
What were your weekend highlights?
go gently + be wonderful
Posted in celebration, earth's best sundays, ellenberger organic farm, family, homeschooling, homesteading, life, Uncategorized

you were wild once

Within my rib cage, there lives a bear.
And a wolf.
And a bird beating her wings.
Sometimes I find myself barely breathing;
Aching to know what it is to run again;
Lithe and wild through the night as the wolves do.
Noiseless. through the trees.
To remember again what it felt like to have hollow bones;
Gliding among the clouds and leaves.
I am well acquainted with the watchful, thundering bear.
Ample and laden with love and duty,
She lumbered from the mouth of the woods in the moment my first child was born.
I heard echoes of her thunder long before that day though;
Snapping branches behind me,
I knew she was there.
In the beginning, I thought the wolf would have to starve.
The bird would have to be tethered.
After all,
if I could only feed one, it would have to be the mama bear.
But I see now.
I see they must co-exist in a careful dance of survival.
They must feast together in the light of the moon; in the wake of an arduous day.
Because without perspective and breath, there is no endurance.
We must show our sons and daughters what it is to nurture the wild bits
To say, each night,
Before sleep comes
“Stay wild my child.  Don’t let them tame you.”
I am grasping at straws, trying to replace Facebook
I joined Twitter.
I hate it.
I check my Instagram more frequently than necessary.
It is unsettling to be so invisible and unheard.
But I am staying with the unease in an attempt to pin it down.
Is it the camaraderie I miss?
Or is it the distraction?
Something that allows me to avoid the guilt; the conflict; the issue at hand.
Have I really forgotten how to enjoy my own company;
How to be still and quiet?
And before I stir up too much anger and self defense, let me say this:
It isn’t Facebook.
It’s me.
It isn’t like this for everyone.
But it is like this for me.
It all has its place.
I am just trying to figure out its place in my life.
Truth be told
I was wavering last night. 
Ready to sign back in and be done with it.
And I may do just that again at some point.
But first,
First, I need to nail it all down.
Who are we without the quips and witticism? 
Who remembers us when the constant reminders disappear?
Don’t get me wrong.
There have been a great many acquaintances who’ve turned into cherished friends there.
I am talking about something bigger.
Something a little deeper.
For me, it is all a distraction.
A distraction from the task at hand
A distraction from the messy house
A distraction from the lingering baby weight
A distraction from the self work
A distraction from my light
A distraction from my happiness
A distraction from my wildness
A distraction from the important little bits that make up real life.
Instead of looking at my daughter’s face and soft hair while she nurses
I refresh the page and see what has happened in the last ten minutes.
I look at pictures of other people’s kids
When my own are growing just beyond the screen.
Faster than light.
Instead of apologizing immediately after harsh words were spoken
I forget them and the hurt I’ve left hanging there, to see if anyone liked that funny thing I posted.
Is it avoidance of the gritty stuff?
Is it a place where wild hearts sit sedentary?
Yes, we all feel connected, but are we really?
And to what?
I can’t help but wonder.
go gently + be wonderful
Posted in distilled, family, life, photography + writing, Uncategorized, wellness

feeling good


awake at 2am to hear the hungry screech of the Great Horned Owl in the tree outside our bedroom window


sitting under the apple tree

these kids

my poppy girl picking me a lilac and a stalk of rhubarb

our whole bedroom scented with yesterday’s lilacs

spontaneous hugs from my wee boy

afternoon coffee

a good strong breeze keeping the bugs at bay

oh my

so many things

this is going to be a good project


a husband who let me sleep an extra 45 minutes after another restless night with Clemmie

a little girl who seems to be feeling a touch better

taking steps to break the facebook habit

feeling empowered by that decision

maps of the world, moon, and solar system

meal planning with a sleeping babe on my back and an afternoon coffee

watching this sweet girl bat her ball and the dog dishes around the kitchen like a kitten

old time jazz streaming

poppy’s adoration and silas’ intensity

pay day

baby gates


making caramel popcorn with the kids at 9am

being at a stage where cooking with kids is enjoyable and full of learning and laughing

two loaves of banana chocolate chip bread

finding paneer at our grocery store

orange is the new black

a pantry and fridge full of good ingredients

feeling light without facebook




spontaneous trip to haliburton

watching the kids play, fully clothed, in the lake

ice cream treats

silas fishing with his homemade fishing rod in the fountain

it feels an awful lot like summer


a challenging day, but…

more purging and tidying

laundry on the line


all three babes giggling under the blanket parachute

a tidy upstairs

the kids showing interest and progress in reading and writing

a working lawn mower


poppies, peonies, and irises getting ready to show their pretty faces

raspberry promises


hearing the crow swearing at a most brazen little fox lingering at our chicken coop this morning

(i may make a terrible farmer, but i do love foxes)

sitting on quilts under the trees

reading three whole pages of my book

fire flies exist

kitchen sink baths after a messy, spinachy lunch

the waterlogue app

wild strawberries and buttercups

windows and doors wide open and a heavenly breeze

silas ate spinach knowingly

saving the dragonflies from the inside windows with the kids

poppy’s drawings and silas’ stories

homemade lo mein

Letting go of Facebook feels right for me.
I miss aspects of it.
Mostly being able to spurt out tiny sound bites when the mood strikes.
And the commiseration of other mothers.
And the good people.
But the thing with facebook is that you can’t separate the wheat from the chaff.
I don’t miss the anxiety that bubbles up when people post about important, but overwhelming topics.
Secondary drowning
Car seat deaths
Climate change
The danger of television and smart phones
You know, imminent doom and the like.
Like I said, the point of the unplugging wasn’t to leave the internet completely, but to use it more wisely.
#100happydays has been helping with that too.
It forces me to break the habit of ungratefulness.
Our days are still filled with frustrations and annoyances,
but they are also never lacking in something to be happy about.
I feel like spending some time in this space again.
I feel creativity just beginning to bubble up again.
I feel good and light and empowered by having and doing and refreshing a little less.
I feel like I am finding my way back to center.
And that feels good.
Come follow me on Instagram, friends.
go gently + be wonderful
Posted in #100happydays, Uncategorized, wellness

#100HappyDays – Day One



A sweet breeze

Good rain

A freshly mowed lawn

Watching two pretty hipster girls help a turtle cross the road in front of our house

Homemade pizza

There are so many things.
Too many things.
All pulling at us
Demanding our time
Our admiration 
Weighing us down
Distracting us from our own happiness.
That is clear to me now.
I’d like to retreat.
To take a breath and remember what it felt like to live quietly.
To remember what it was like to live each moment without a screen or shares or likes.
To nail down the insatiable need to be heard, understood, seen, thought of, or defined.
To parent our children with guts and heart and without the articles, studies, and blogs telling us we’re doing it wrong.
To wander out the door without considering the story or photos ops.
To spend hours reading a good book and cheering for our own wins.
To cook good food and share it with people rather than Instagram.
To see what may come out of the silences we allow.
And yet I am terrified too.
But OH!
All the hours spent refreshing and checking in
minutes and moments we can’t get back.
All the jewelry I will never wear
gathering dust on the dresser
All the skinny clothes
taunting me from the dark corners of the closet.
All the books I will never read
begging to be set free
All the baby clothes with scents and stains and memories embedded in their fibers
Sit, musty, in the basement when they could be keeping another babe clothed and warm.
All the broken, chipped, mangled, stained pieces I feel so compelled to hold onto.
As though my life depends upon it.
With a sigh, I let it all go.
I release it into the wild world and hope that it warms a body, decorates a nest, or brings a simple joy to someone else.
I welcome the space it leaves behind.
I am a collector and a story teller with a gypsy heart.
It’s true.
But I am trying to reconcile the two in hopes of finding
and the incredible lightness of being.
go gently + be wonderful
Posted in distilled, life, photography + writing, Uncategorized, wellness Tagged |

3 of 12


  • You’ve started to take it upon yourself to pick out your clothes for the day and proudly prancing downstairs to show us your choice of attire.  It is often on backwards, but the colours almost always coordinate.
  • You are going through a rather new phase as you become more a girl than a baby.  You put your hands on your hips a lot and are trying your hand at defiance.
  • You continue to adore Clementine and get lots of smiles out of her.
  • You continue to love painting and were inspired to paint some flowers.  We picked a flower book off the shelf and you spent most of an afternoon painting flowers.
  • You are quite enamored with your friends M and N.  You draw pictures of them and told me they are your sisters.  It’s lovely to watch you form bonds.
  • One morning you informed me that “Princesseses are so brave, and soo strong (said while flexing), and sooooo smart!”
  • You spent the better part of two days decorating a cardboard box with yogurt labels, glitter, glue, paper bits, twine, tennis balls, spoons, lids, and other random bits.  Then your dolls moved in and had a party.
  • When I put makeup on the other day, you exclaimed that I looked like a Bratz Doll.  Oh boy.
  • The other morning while Silas melted down, you donned my sunglasses, laid down on my yoga mat in a bean of sun with your arms folded behind your head and legs crossed while saying “Awwwwww, what a beeeeeautiful day!”.  Even though you’re more defiant than usual, you are still pretty easy going.



  • One of the most exciting developments is that you peed on the toilet for the first time on March 10th!  Since then you have been potty training and wearing big boy undies.  You have had two full days (going on three?!) with no accidents, consistently wake up dry, and tell us when you need to go.  We are all thrilled.
  • In the past few days, you’ve started showing interest in drawing things like treasure maps, lions, dinosaurs and even some letters!
  • Silas is already planning for his 4th birthday party…in September.
    Me: Who do you want to invite to your birthday party?
    Silas: The boys.
    Me: Why not the girls?
    Silas: Because they will ruin my party and eat all my cake.
  • Silas just woke up from a late afternoon nap. When I asked if he had a good sleep he nodded and said:
    “I had a dream about a super hero who saved a guinea pig and took him back with his mudder and daddy.”
    Then his tone changed to sadness “…and then I had a dream that I had no home and no daddy”
    I asked if that made him sad and he brightened, looked around, and gestured all around him “But this is mine home and daddy will be home soon.”
  • You make all sorts of demands requests for costumes, and things.  Roll the paper up like a map, build me a ship/car/truck/tiger/etc, make me a doggy’s tail, make me a mermaid tale, etc.  Most often it is ALL WRONG.  We’re working on the “I can’ts”.
  • The other morning we had the 90’s station playing on Songza and you broke into spontaneous dance and air guitar.  You always make us laugh.
  • You don’t often play with actual toys.  If I am ever missing a slotted spoon or spatula, I ask you first regarding its whereabouts…in fact, as I write this I can hear you clanging about in the kitchen making a robot face out of lids and butter knives…oh wait, now you’ve donned your pith helmet and are digging dinosaur bones with a ladle and spatula.


  • You’ve been sitting up on your own.
  • You continue to smile easily, but this week you have been hollering wildly until you’re in someone’s arms.
  • Our days have been demanding, but you’ve been waking less in the nights.
  • You are wearing 6-12 month clothes.
  • You tend to like your food with flavour such as cinnamon or thyme.
  • You love mushed brown beans.
  • Your hair continues to grow wilder by the day.
  • You are Daddy’s biggest fan when it comes to his ukulele playing.  You often cry when he stops playing.


  • I’ve cleaned off the desk by the wood stove to make space for the sewing machine and have high hopes of sewing a few of these pinafore dresses for me, as well as a couple reversible pinafores for the girls.  Like I said, high hopes.
  • Brainstorming ideas for article submissions.
  • Dreaming of a small addition to our small porch with a screened in area so we can sit outside in bug season.
  • Wondering when Old Man Winter will loosen his grip.  We are still buried in at least three to four feet of snow.
  • Wondering if I should even be posting this stuff on my blog.
  • Thinking a lot about breaking up with all the stuff and and finding balance in the online world.
  • Project333 seems like the perfect place to start.
  • I find myself fantasizing about calling 1-800-GOT-JUNK people and starting fresh.
  • Finding great comfort and clarity in Buddhist/Zen philosophy when it comes to daily work and the “point of pointlessness”.
  • Looking forward to doing more cooking with the kids each day/week.
  • I am compiling a playlist for jogging.
  • As the saying goes, “I was uncool before uncool was cool”, but I love me some catchy dance music.  This will be on said jogging list.
  • We’ve been making smoothies full of spinach and chia seeds and the kids gobble them up.  It helps me stay calm when they refuse to eat veggies at meal time.

go gently + be wonderful


Posted in 52 portraits, craft, family, frugal living, homeschooling, life, photography + writing, Uncategorized, wellness