Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fabric and Running and Driving and Life

I have been exhausted all day today, like a fog is over me. Too much going on. Gram went into the hospital last Thursday and it was a bit touchy, but she seems to be rallying back to her normal spirits. But that has meant trips up to the hospital.

Took the kids to Sudbury yesterday, and they were as good as gold. There is a certain big box store that starts with a 'W', that is cutting way back on their fabric and they had batiks on for $3 a metre, so that was a good score!

Ran again today, just a short one. Have one more short run on Friday then off to Sudbury for the race Sunday morning.

Saturday morning is the first soccer game for my kids. Did I mention that I have never played and I am coaching 11 kids. 2 are my own, so we were out practicing today in the yard. They have never played either. The only way I could guarantee they were on the same team is to volunteer to help, they were obviously desparate for coaches! But since then, I have received a manual from a friend on soccer for kids, sent various emails out and am feeling somewhat confident of what to do. Plus the kids are supposed to be in Senior Kindergarten to play. My oldest is in JK, and my youngest is still only 3. Don't tell.

Hopefully it will be nice out and we can bike, play baseball and soccer. They start baseball in 2 weeks as well. And I didn't lie about their age this time! But I can't find their gloves anywhere and I have turned my house upside down.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Next Quilt

Wild enough? This is my next focal fabric for my new art quilt. It is by Michael Miller, called 'Russian Floral'. Let me tell you, hard to match with another print. The line it falls in doesn't really have any that I totally like. I have dyed yellow, green, pink and orange fabric that all match perfectly, but was looking for one more print to go with it. I have kind of settled on one, but not totally thrilled with it.

I am going to try some new techniques with this one. That is if I don't have to wear sunglasses part way through making this due to the bright colours. I just keep telling myself it is not neon. As I can't stand neon.

I have found a great online Canadian fabric shop called 'Tonic' that I have ordered fabric from, now 2 weeks in a row. I know there may be an obsessive problem here. But hubby went to a gun show today and bought a gun that cost way more than my 2 orders of fabric.

Oh Man!

Okay, so you know I have been getting up at 5:30 am for a few weeks now. I thought I was doing great. Although the other morning, I ran 9 km instead of the 8 I had planned, as I just forgot to turn around. No big deal, just a sign of a runner in her zone. Well, it got worse, you may have read on yesterday's blog that I ran 10 km in record time, taking minutes off! And lots of them... well upon reflection today, when someone asked me where I ran, it hit me.... I didn't run the full 10, only about 9! No wonder my time was so great! Sigh.... so I guess I am not really an athlete who gets right into her training, but rather a sleep deprived nut.

And for those of you, that leave comments, DON'T!!! (that means you rusty rose=)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Last Long Run

I went and ran my last 10 km run before the race, I will run shorter ones now till race day... but I just had to post... I took 14 minutes off my best 10km run time! So am pretty pumped about that.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weight Goal, check

My friend and I made our 5 lb goal today. Believe me, I bounced up and down in the last little bit. I am hoping this summer, being outside so much will drop a few more unintentionally.

We went to the cemetary today, to pay our respects. The boys had never been before and they each brought a flower to put in. Very sweet.

One more long run tomorrow morning and then taper time! That puts a smile on my face.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cute Chicks

Did you think I was talking about myself with that title? If you pick out 6 cute ones, those are mine. Well, I hope they are going to be mine. I should know for sure in 2 weeks. We had a friend drop off 2 watering units and 2 seed units last nite. I just have to get them cleaned up.

Got my sewing machine back today, all tuned up and ready to start my next quilt. As soon as I get the focal fabric back from my son, who has claimed it as his own. It is very loud and bright. He is not happy that I have just sent his favourite quilt out to Saskatchewan for the National Juried Show. I then told him the other hanging quilt will disappear for a month to be judged for our guild's president's challenge. He asked me if the quilt I am going to start making is going to be sent away too. I can only hope!

As for running, just over one week to go, I have one more long run to do this weekend, and then I start to taper. I believe the point is so I have all this power and energy saved up for the big race. I just hear the word 'taper' and get excited, I don't care what the reasoning is behind it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Result

There was no need to workout this morning, as the workout my heart did all day in anticipation for my presentation to Council, was the same as a full fledged run. All in all it was good. I made my presentation, no one asked me questions I couldn't answer and they complimented me on how prepared I was.

They want to ask their lawyer about the legalities of initiating a pilot project within an existing bylaw and if he gives a go ahead, at the next meeting in 2 weeks, I believe they will grant me my chickens.

They, the little chicks, arrive tomorrow and will go to their foster family for the scheduled 3 weeks. I hope by the time this is up, that I will have permission to bring them home. It is a waiting game, but I do believe that I have council's blessing as one councillor stated that she would like to see a pilot project and the others nodded. I have gone online and found other municipalities doing pilot projects on various topics, so I cannot see it being a problem.

We are not going to start building a coop until we get the definite go ahead, and when we do, I will post pictures of their arrival.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Can you believe this is a door mat? I got it in Elliot Lake and am disappointed I didn't think to get my mom one for her birthday. It looks just like the quilt pattern, square in a square.

Tonite is the big night.... when I go before Council and present my case to raise chickens. I spent Sunday nite doing more research, and the past 2 days, practicing my speech. Crazy, I know, but now I think I am ready to answer whatever question they throw at me, whether it be about neighbours, pests, or the avian flu... did you know the dangerous strain is called H5N1, well I do, and I can tell you all about it, the effects in Canada and world wide. I can even tell you how many vials of the antibiotic to combat it Canadas has purchased. 23 million, in case you were wondering.

Yep, my homework is done, now I just have to present it and hope for the best. The late Dr. Jeno Tihanyi said that swimming the actual race is only 10% of the job, and 90% is the practice that takes place before it. So in this case, 90% is the homework I have done and the 10% is just showing Council my stuff. According to this logic, I should win=) I should mention he was Alex Baumann's coach, ya, the Olympic Swimmer that captured 2 gold in the '84 Olympics. As an aside, there is a painting in my house of him, autographed to me, wishing me 'all the best'.

I can use that tonight, Sasha!

Elliot Lake

I attended the Elliot Lake quilt show on Saturday. Actually they asked me to open it. That was a first for me, the Mayor and I cut the 'ribbon' which was actually fabric, I did hate cutting that! The show was splendid, and the ladies of the guild were so helpful and extremely nice.

The best part was the whole family came with me. As it is a 2 1/2 hour drive each way and I had my boys and hubby to keep me company. We went to a terrific 'Dollar Store' where I stocked up on beads and beads and beads. The boys got this metal build it yourself helicopter and we did that for 45 minutes when we got home. It was a great toy as they helped screw in all the pieces and it is very durable. And of course we went to McDonald's. My boys are good though, they pick the grill cheese sandwich, my hubby picked the Double Big Mac, twice! Sigh....

After the kids were in bed, I did more beading. And this morning, after my workout, did some more. This is day 4 of getting up at 5:30 am. I am going to try it for 7 days and see if I can get into the habit of it. It is nice to get my workout in, and not miss getting the boys up.

And don't forget, Tuesday I speak in front of Council to see about my chickens... coincidentally the day old chicks arrive the next day... on Earth Day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

All My Eggs In One Basket

I have all my eggs in one basket now. If you read our local paper, you would see an article about my chicken dilemma. It is now up to our town council to decide if I can raise chickens. Unfortunately there are no councils that I have ever come across that are proactive, most react. Not sure why, maybe too scared to take a chance on new ventures. Also no one is ever satisfied and they will always hear from the unsatisfied ones. And of course, ensuring they get in the next election, better to play it safe. I have written a letter to council explaining what I would like to do, and then I must speak to the situation at the next meeting.

I am not very optimistic. This council prides themselves on 'deferring'. But I will have all my research with me and will be able to hopefully provide answers to their questions. This does sound negative, but it is not meant to be. Politics is just not a winning type sport and it is not one I enjoy playing. But sometimes you just don't have a choice. So I will do my best and hope it turns out! Here is the letter that I sent to council.

Dear Reeve and Council;

We are asking permission to raise chickens in our yard. The reasons we would like to do this are for the health benefits to our family. With the number of statistics discussing growth hormones in animals, pesticides and other environmental concerns, we feel it is best that our children eat the healthiest of foods. Having said that, knowing what we are feeding chickens and then eating those eggs and that meat, couldn’t be better for our children.

This is not something we have jumped into, we have thought about this for some time. We already eat venison until it runs out, we have had a garden since purchasing our house, and this year are doubling the size of it. We freeze, can and pickle our produce so it lasts as long as possible. And after watching a news report showing a study of 500,000 people that promoted eating red meat only once or twice a week, and eating more chicken and fish, made us realize now is the time to proceed.

Chickens can also be fed our garden weeds, and our table scraps, and their droppings becomes manure for our garden. So it is good for the environment as well. You only have to go on the internet to find the positive aspects of raising chickens.

We recognize that this is not a new venture in our country. Vancouver has passed a bylaw introducing raising chickens in backyards, and Toronto is following. Living where we do, in a farm community, we were surprised to find a bylaw existed prohibiting this.

We are asking council to change the bylaw so that people may raise chickens in their backyard for all the positive benefits it brings. We realize this would be a big step for council. We also are prepared to follow reasonable parameters that council may want to establish. We suggest do as Longmont Colorado did, and limit the amount of residences that could raise chickens. We own 2.2 acres, and Vancouver prior to the new bylaw, did allow raising chickens if you had 1 acre. Our coop would blend in nicely to our house, and not be an eyesore. It would not be big and would have a fenced in area for the chickens to run, again not a large runway. The chickens would never be allowed to roam the yard. We would not get a rooster, only laying and meat hens. We would not have more than 8 hens at a time, and this would not be for commercial purposes.

We have done extensive research on raising chickens and building a coop. We would ask that Council, at the very least, let us try and see how it would work for one year. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at home

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Running Outside

Yep, that is no typo! I ran outside. It had been five days since I had last ran... we were busy in the evenings, hubby was going in early for work, so no time. After the 3rd day, I refused to shower till I ran, so by the 5th day, well, you catch my drift.

I got up and went out first thing in the morning. I decided to go thru town and then hit the highway. I looked at my watch as I finished going through town thinking abou 6 or 7 minutes had passed, and 16 minutes had passed! I was so frustrated, I definitely was thinking running was for the birds! At that point I was contemplating, when is it called quitting or just being smart and realizing you are not a runner? But my guilt and perhaps perseverance kicked in and I continued.

I decided to run for 30 minutes, turn around and go back. So I did, then immediately jumped in my vehicle and hoped that the distance wasn't so little that I would be discouraged. And it was perfect, I ran 8 km in 1 hour, the exact same time I ran on my treadmill! I was ecstatic, because it really felt like I was running a lot slower than the treadmill... but it could be that on the treadmill, I never think about a pace, as it is always set for me. I do like the not having to think part.

And today was Easter, I ate so much it was ridiculous. We hosted a brunch and Easter egg hunt for 11 children and 16 adults... yep 27 in the house. And it was easy, no big messes, no yelling... quite uncanny actually. And the best part, I forgot to serve my chocolate trifle, so guess what I have to eat with my coffee tomorrow morning?

And my friend and I still have 2 weeks left to lose those 5 lbs we decided on about a month ago. (mine was 7, I just told her it was only 5) I had , and notice I say had lost a few of them, but not so sure after this weekend. We shall see=)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Back to Quilting

It has been a very fun week. I don't remember laughing as hard as I did this week in a long time. I have four very humourous friends, one in particular, who had the rest of us in tears of laughter with her amusing emails.

I have also spent many hours this past week browsing fabric online. And have decided at this point in my art quilting life I have 2 very favourite fabric designers. Amy Butler and Michael Miller. There fabric is so crazy and outlandish that it just begs to be used in an art quilt. The picture I have attached is actually not their fabric, but it goes well together and I wanted to show it to you.

I am getting excited to get back to the drawing board again and start designing. I have just this past week, thought of 2 more designs I simply must try. And I want to pick out fabric for both from my stash as well. But the beading must continue. I have 13 objects to bead on my current project. I have got 7 done. Each takes over an hour and a half to do. I have never spent this long on the embellishment part of a quilt before. And I even took out 2 hours worth of beading part way through as I came up with a different colour scheme. And to those of you that know me well, that is impressive. As I get to a point in any quilt and have had enough and tend to rush throuth the rest.

On a different subject, I think I may just try a run outside this weekend. I got off schedule this week as I was out Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and my husband went into work early so there wasn't the chance to run like I usually have. So I must try and get a couple of runs in this weekend. To date, there were 7 of us who talked about doing it. 1 is out for sure, 3 are vague about the whole topic, one is on a sick list and 2 of us are still committed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Which Came First.....

The chicken or the by-law?

This post has already provided quite a few giggles between myself and friends. My husband and I have decided to raise a few chickens at home. For several reasons... one is fresh eggs and another is fresh chickens. I am very conscientious about what my children and ourselves eat.

My grandmother is one of the smartest people I know. She was a farmer and everything was fresh from the garden and the farm. Gram and her husband have been healthy their whole lives... and Grandad passed away at 94 and Gram is turning 89 in a few weeks. I remember getting eggs from her coop and plucking chickens. But what I remember most, was how good the food always was at my grandparents. My mother continued in that fashion and always had a huge garden, and canned and froze and pickled.

I, in turn have always had a garden and this year we are doubling the size of it. The boys are turning into bigger eaters, and they are no longer toddlers so it is easier to take care of. I have always been nervous eating red meat from the grocery store as I never know what it has been injected with. We try to get a deer each year as I figure the venison is much healthier, and when I say 'we', let's be honest, it has been me for the last 3 years=)

And just in the last month, the news was discussing a study that encouraged eating more white meat as that is healthier for you. And what better way than to know exactly what you are eating than raising your own chickens? And having fresh eggs every day. We are big egg eaters here and knowing where they are coming from is wonderful.

Living on Manitoulin Island, you know, the farming community of the north... I decide to do a double check and call our township office. Guess what? There is a zoning by-law that states no raising of chickens in the town. But it gets better from here. I mention it to a few people, and by the end of the day, I have a list a page long of people in town who have raised chickens.... defying the coveted by-law.

Being my sweet self, I kindly ask that the procedure be put into place as to how I go about changing the by-law. I was told that the administration would look into the by-law themselves and see what it says before I need to go and speak to council. They asked for one week. Being my gracious self, I will give them that week. And then we shall proceed.

I fully expect they will get a letter back from their planning guy stating no chickens, and if it is to be changed, council will have to approve it. I will have to then go to Council and ask for it to be changed. They will have to file an application with the planning board or try and make me do it. And then my neighbours will all be sent letters asking if it is okay.. they will say no as chickens are noisy... and so on.

But I am sooo ready to take this on. I will let you all know the date of any meetings and you can all come and cluck in support of me. There will be an egg in it for you!

My best defence took place on March 6, 2009 where the tiny place called Vancouver, BC passed a by-law allowing raising chickens in the backyard. You have to meet criteria such as an adequate sized lot, the coop must be so far from the property line, the chickens must be contained, and no roosters and so on. All of which are totally fair and I meet that criteria... although having a rooster would be nice to deal with a few 'interesting' neighbours.

So if Vancouver can do it, how ridiculous would our township look if they refused to pass it? Yes, I hear you already, politicians were put on this earth to be made to look silly... but let's hope sometimes they can make the right decision too.

I will keep you posted on my chicken saga and how it unfolds. And if you run into any of the councillors in my town, give them a friendly cluck!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pink Eye

That's a pretty picture to start the day with. This is how my Friday started with my youngest. Now I can't really complain, as we got medicine at 10:30 pm that night from a dear friend to get a start on treating it. And after spreading it around to as many people as possible, it was gone by Sunday. I am only half joking about the spreading it around bit. I didn't realize what it was till Friday nite. And this is after my child hung out with 3 kids in the afternoon. Then another 2, Saturday morning.

I did another 10km run Saturday afternoon, and managed to maintain my time from last week. I also did some more beading and was making fabric from my printer. I will post pics of that later this week.
On Sunday, spent the whole day outside, it finally was a beautiful day and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

5:30 AM

That is way too early to start a day. My husband had to go into work early and the only way I would get my run in was to do it then. I could have done it at night, but who wants to do it then? I ran 7 km this morning. It didn't feel great, I hadn't eaten anything, just got up and started running, so I think that had an impact. Breaking it up by 500 m doing different speeds really helps. And so does getting off to get a drink and let it run, also helps.

I will be pouring the caffeine into me today I think.