Ready for Release

Easter weekend was spent working on the yard at the little house in the city. Although there was still a nip in the air, no snow remained, and the ground was no longer spongy. The grass was beginning to green as Attila raked. My task was to collect the pine cones from the drive and the lawn, and a huge paper bag meant for garden waste was filled. It was such a great pleasure to be out of doors.

On Friday morning we visited Terra and Lares, and were treated to a delicious pancake breakfast. Wiggler was in good form, she is perfectly healthy and very active. Runner was feeling a little sad, because he needs to be tied up when outside, due to his penchant for running, away into the distance. Wiggler sticks close to her humans, and Runner enjoys and seeks the joy of wide open spaces.

While we were there a neighbour came with his back hoe to demolish the old chicken coop at the back of their property. The back hoe loaded the debris into Lares trailer, and it was hauled away to landfill. The now open space is in full sun, and will be the main garden this summer. Terra has her seeds ready to go!

Terra and Lares love their new home, which is a frame farmhouse, over 100 years old. The aluminum siding, that had been installed over the original wood cove siding, was in bad shape and needed to be replaced. To that end they have purchased Tyvek and vinyl siding. This week they have begun the project of replacing the siding on their house; this is a big project!

My girl! Terra constructing the scaffolding prior to removing the aluminum siding from their house.
2014 terra scaffold
The original cove siding on Terra and Lares century farmhouse. It is in surprisingly good condition; “so far” as Terra says.
1014 Terra siding

As for the rest of the weekend, it was not stellar. After a winter of repressing our feelings in order to survive, Attila and I had a lot of crankiness held back, ready for release. By the time we had worked it out our systems it was time to go home!

We were cheered that a lot of the snow had melted in our absence from the country house. However, we live in the bush, where the snow still blankets the earth in solid white. We are hoping that this week most of that blanket will melt away, fingers crossed. Because the yard is still snow covered, it is too early to tackle the yard work at the country house.

Attila had cleared some small trees recently, that were encroaching on our yard and our septic system. The brush needed to be dealt with, and the logs sectioned and split for firewood. Attila worked on that project until dark last night, before coming inside to share a meal.

Change is not always a good thing. Bigger is not always better. More is often less. Glitter is seldom gold. Self-preservation and self-centeredness are not one and the same.

What am I getting at?

Although we love the country house itself, we are not happy with its location in terms of human settlement. My sense of loss, in observing the transformation from healthy communities in this part of Ontario, Canada, to a human landscape of competitive grasping individuals bent on hedonistic hubris, is poignant. As another person, who knew these confiscated areas when they were actual communities, has said:

“…the people were modest, unassuming, and very likable, and their homes reflected a more gentle and stable society. Today grotesque stone and brick monster homes are taking over, reflecting the emergence of obscene wealth and intimidating power. My mother really misses the down-to-earth people of her past, and neither of us can relate to the selfish, unfeeling, hyper-aggressive types who have invaded the sleepy little communities that were once so quaint and peaceful.”

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 21 April 2014
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 5.0°C
Dewpoint: 4.3°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: ESE 4 km/h


“The poverty on the frontier is shared by all and is not that humiliating poverty that is witnessed where there is class distinction, and, consequently manhood or womanhood is not degraded.” Pollard, William Correll, in Life on the Frontier, page 81.

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We can so relate to that quote above about the “confiscated communities.” Our home town of Marblehead was such a great place to grow up – before the arrival of the rich/wealthy crowd. It’s always been a beautiful little fishing town but the fishermen are few and far between (Paul being only a handful of lobstermen still working out of the harbor), but the tone of the Town is all “me-me-me” and “bigger-is-better.” The little spaces of woods and fields and places we used to play in are all gone and big ugly massive homes have taken over – all looking alike and all big enough for an army of people rather than just a family of four or five.

On the other hand, over here in Salem, right next door, we live in a real working city and though there are spots of urban sprawl here and there, a lot of our city is old-style with small close neighborhoods and more appropriately sized homes.

I can feel a change coming in your lives… do you think you’ll be giving up the country life for the little house in the city anytime soon?


It is a sad transformation we are witnessing Bex! The loss of human community is significant, and is of historical importance, as it will change the way almost all of the humans on the planet live. Of course the me-me-mes of the world will not perceive any loss, because they are incapable of recognizing and participating in healthy human interactions. Their loss, and ours.

I think a change may be coming Bex. We have so little control over what we can and cannot afford to do, it is hard to see the possibilities. Personally, I cannot see myself managing another winter in the bush.

Reenie Beanie


Most often I romanticized your life in the bush this past winter. And then there were times I thought you all were absolutely mad.

I lived in beautiful Laguna beach, CA for 20 years. In 1985 is clung to the ideals of a sleepy little artist community. It was divine. The erosion of that era was heartbreaking. Tear downs were soul-crushing. McMansions rose from the pillaged lots to fill the entire footprint. In my estimation, nearly every single significant landmark that made Laguna fun and funky was razed for progress. Laguna is now all about bling with fancy homes and big-buck stores.

Regarding my current location: Years ago I was driving along with a *friend* when we passed a humble home – very mountainy looking – a little sad, but genuine and original. My friend blurted, “They ruin the area for the rest of us.” I’m ashamed to report that I kept my yap shut, but my inner dialog was full of rage because every time I’d driven by this humble parcel, I smiled. I wanted to retort, “No, we ruined it for them! They were here first, you jackass!”

As ice thaws, one can usually find encased pebbles. xoxo

Reenie Beanie

Sorry for all my typos – I was on the dash when help arrived to assist with reorganizing my home after the carpet installation.


We are on the other side of “them” from your “friend”, and are glad to be so. If someone’s life is ruined as easily as that, then they are living in an indefensible fantasy world, as the majority of the population in north america is not affluent enough to live in anything but a humble home. The original inhabitants and pioneers in North America all lived in humble homes, it is a respectable heritage. I wouldn’t think that challenging your “friend” would have changed their viewpoint, it only would have been worthwhile to say something if it was a positive thing for you.

The carpet sounds wonderful! I remember you posted images of the samples some time ago in your blog, love it!

Tom McCubbin

Hi Maggie:

I sort of dropped out of the blogosphere for awhile. Spring fever, I guess, plus some travel.

Nice entry. Yes, what happened to our lovely and peaceful communities? Same thing going on here with monster homes and rude people.



Tom, good to see you back, hope you had a great rest! It is sad to hear this sort of thing is happening all over North America. Hopefully something benign will throw a spanner into the works of the social dynamic that we are witnessing. The huge homes built in Toronto during a boom era are now mostly split up into apartments, there is precedence for this undesirable sort of growth to morph into something more stable and sustainable.