Chickens

One of the the things that I have been focussing on with homeschooling is teaching the kids to be more aware of the food chain that they are a part of.

Baby Chick with E
Holding a baby Chick

They’ve grown up with gardens & know the joys of picking fresh veggies from the garden to eat as they desire, at least the veggies that survive the groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels, birds, deer, raccoons & more. We also have farms that we visit, both commercial & homesteads of friends as well. I have also made preserves & pickles with them, so they have an understanding that you don’t just “buy” what you want when you want. Free trade, means that you can get lots of fruit & veggies year round, many of which that don’t grow locally, but to grow them takes time.

Growing fruit & veg & knowing how it grows & where is important, but if you are meat eaters as we are, so is an understanding of where your meat comes from.

When I was younger my parents raised chickens with my Uncle Clifford & Aunt Marion. I only recall it happening once though & maybe that had to do with the amount of work that it can take to process them?

I have only come to appreciate how time intensive it is, since I’ve helped friends process a couple of batches of birds that they’ve raised, but when you taste the results, there is no denying that it tastes so much better than anything that you can buy at the grocery store. Some of that might have to do with the personal satisfaction in being a part of the process or the practice (here in Canada) of injecting salt water into chicken for commercially sold chicken. Honestly, I’m not really sure, but the meat is actually tastier & so much nicer to cut up.

Another 10 weeks & we can taste the rewards of all the plucking etc.

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In the Land of Oz

For a while, we have been reassessing the items that we own, trimming down & decluttering. Sometimes the stuff that we hold onto is more of a weight than anything of real value & you don’t actually need to keep the physical item anymore. For example I came across my speech “In the Land of Oz” that I did at school in 1990/ 1991, just before my family moved to Australia from Canada. In reality, I don’t need to keep the physical speech anymore, a picture of the cue cards & transcription of it here, will more than suffice to look back at in future. It’s funny reading it & the stereotypes I had at the time. Enjoy….

In the land of Oz

In the Land of Oz Cue Cards
In the land of Oz, cue cards

Chairman, ladies & gentlemen, honorable judges, boys & girls, teachers

In the land of Oz, there’s no yellow brick road. There are bitumen roads, as paved roads are called in Oz, and a lot of dusty roads.

No Emerald City here, unless you’re in the tropical forests of Oz. From pineapples to apples, the fruit in Oz is delicious. Sugar cane & grapes deserve an honorable mention too. Plant life is varied from deserts to mountains. Animal life is unusual to say the least. Oz is most well known for it’s koalas, animals that carry their young in a pouch such as; kangaroo’s wombats & marsupial mice are found only in Oz. By now, you know Oz is Australia.

Some of the water dwellers of Oz can be dangerous & even deadly. For example the sea wasp as the box jellyfish is called. Salt & fresh water “crocs” or crocodiles are a protected species and they’ll eat just about anything, so, if you see the warning signs posted, heed them. Tourist’s and locals alike have been had by these “beasties”.

If you are one of those that hates snakes and spiders, Oz is not the place for you, because they have lots. For example the taipan snake, sea snake & tiger snake can all be deadly. Unless you have the bad fortune the stand on one it is unlikely that you’ll be bitten. There are also a couple of nasty spiders including the funnel web, the redback & the whitetail. So, don’t play with any of the spiders you see, pretty or not!

Well, enough of that, now for the people. The first settlers were natives who came from neighbouring islands. The British were the next the use Oz as a penal colony. They transported 160,000 British & Irish convicts to Oz in the 17 & 1800’s. Not to mention the officers & sailors who made sure that the “crims” or criminals served out their seven years for their petty crimes. Convicts were kept busy constructing government roads and buildings, many of which still stand.

As the colonies increased, so did multiculturalism, as you can see when you visit Australia. As you are thinking of this, you might ask “Will I meet a Mick or Crocodile Dundee? Yes, you might meet one or two, but he is strictly a country model. The real Paul Hogan was a Sydney Harbour Bridge painter, a job that I’ve heard that once you finish at one end, you start again at the other.

While girls here are playing with their barbie’s, grown men are playing with their barbie’s or BBQ’s in Oz. Here are some other words or phrases I found interesting & would like to share;
Donk – car engine
Duco – car paint
Don’t come the raw prawn – Don’t try & fool me
Floater – meat pie floating in (green) pea soup
Good on yer – this is a clipped way of saying Good on you OR Well done
Manchester – household linen
Lollies – sweets & candies
Lolly water – soft drink/ pop
Icy pole – popsicle (frozen lolly water or ice-cream on a stick)

Thank you for listening. I hope that you have learned more about Oz

There you have it, Australia in the eye of a Canadian kid at the age of 11 or 12, in the early 90’s.

Posted in Australia, Canada, Decluttering, Misc | Leave a comment

Books are wonderful

After over a week on our boat, which I was already exhausted from & then getting slammed with getting my period (which often flattens me for a bit on its own), E decided to read me part of one of the Percy Jackson books.

E reading Percy Jackson

I love that the kids have taken to reading so much. L has been a bookworm for a while now, but since Covid we’ve encouraged E to read more & she’s embraced it more because in part, that’s what everyone else does.

Homeschooling, whilst it’s been hard at times (mostly because I’ve had moments where I’ve been worried I’m not doing it right) has also been incredibly rewarding. I definitely see the kids growth more, but that’s likely because I’m more invested in the process too.

Looking forward to another year of educating the kids & the potential to do more with them too, as it seems more things are opening with more & more people getting vaccinated (at least that’s the case here in Canada).

Posted in Canada, COVID times, Family, Home Schooling, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

At Peace

A little while ago, I wrote an open letter to a friend, because I couldn’t let some things go unsaid. Today, I received a message with the news that I had been dreading. I knew before I even opened the message, she was gone. I am relived that she is no longer in pain, but there’s a sadness in knowing that she is gone. She was a kind soul, who knew how to look after herself. The cards dealt, were not always favorable in life, but that didn’t stop her. I liked her a lot & valued our friendship, more than I can really express.

She reminded me a little of myself & I think that maybe I did the same for her too. I might not have known her very long compared to others, but the time that we had, left an impression.

Sometimes in life, people question your decisions & how you live your life. There will always be those who think you could do things differently. They haven’t walked your path, be true to you. Here are some words of wisdom I think that L would approve of

Being nice doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat
Just because others like mind games, doesn’t mean you have to be a part of it
Spend your time and effort on those that deserve it, walk away from those that don’t
Enjoy life, you have one to live!

Rest easy L, Rest easy

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Sewing

I’ve been teaching my kids to sew for a while, little things & mostly on my sewing machine. Around Christmas I bought a Singer sewing machine for the kidlets (Singer Stylist 7258). It’s not too bad a machine, unfortunately, it came with a faulty sewing foot (C3 error), so I finally called to get it sorted & am now being sent a new sewing foot.

Having fun sewing

Because of the faulty foot, the kidlets now know how to sew without it, which has been a valuable lesson in itself. My youngest loves it so much, she even said “Mummy, sewing is my stress relief.”

She also made the comment that now that we have a boat, she needed to learn how to sew properly, so that she has something to do on the boat, which made me laugh because she loves sailing so much & is part of the reason we got the boat.


To see one of their projects this week, check out this blog post on my twoemu creations page.

Posted in COVID times, Family, Home Schooling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

We bought a boat!!!

It’s official! We bought a boat!

What an upgrade! We’ve never really seen ourselves as owning a sailboat of our own, but here we are, (amazing given about a year ago G had his wages cut & we were genuinely concerned about how things might go, but sometimes the stars align (not to diminish the hard work & determination we had to make it work, but sometimes you really need the stars to align too).

We’ve gone from exploring the waters in a 6 metre (20 foot) sea kayak (which G & I used for over a decade doing 100-200km expeditions not that infrequently), to getting a canoe to paddle with the kids, when they were a little too big to sit in the hatches, to a 30 foot sailboat!

Clearly we aren’t water or boat virgins’, having worked up from small watercraft to a sailboat, & it might not be the manner that most take to get a sailboat, but it’s the path that we have taken. We’ve been on a few boats with family & friends, both sail & motorized & loved it, I’m sure it helps that we got to have all the fun without the reality of owning a sailboat.

Before we bought a boat though, we did do a Sail Canada, sailing course, which we highly recommend (especially to any random person who reads this that is on the fence), to get more of a taste for sailing on our own eventually (if we proceeded down this path). It resulted in us receiving our PCOC cards, something that you really want to have before you get a boat of your own anyhow. After getting it & proceeding down the path of boat ownership, you realise just how important that little card is, for insurance too.

Catalina30 Mk II (1991) on the hard.
(mast yet to be re-attached after winter storage)

Looking for boats in the middle of a pandemic, when it’s a safe recreational activity, is a shit though. Normally, the market would be awash with boats for sale, now, they were in short supply & demand was bumping costs up. Here in Canada, you could fairly easily get a boat from the States or even Europe normally, but these days, with all the borders shut between countries, you really are stuck with the local market, there aren’t that many out there.

We started looking a little at the end of the 202o season, but nothing really grabbed us & we really didn’t have the funds to be fair. We did however workout that $10K for a boat, wasn’t what we were looking for, which was beneficial in itself.

After some searching online for a few months through the winter, we started to notice the market pickup again at the end of February (2021). By March, we had looked at a few boats seriously already & put in an offer on one boat that we liked, but fortunately didn’t get put forward to the owners (thank goodness for dodgy boat sales guys, just like other sales people). At the time we were annoyed & disappointed, it was certainly a lesson learnt.

Fortuitously, the boat broker (not affiliated with the dodgy AF guy) that we were dealing with locally, told us about the one we ended up buying that same week & connected us with the broker who was looking after the sale directly.

Our soon to be ours boat, went up for sale on a Friday. We organized to physically see it on the Saturday, put in an offer immediately, which was accepted (conditional on a survey & float test) & the boat purchase process was started. To say that the market is HOT is an understatement.

Official sail boat owners, no longer boat maintenance virgins, but still noobs

The boat is beautiful, it’s a Catalina 30 MkII. The previous owner, Ben, was quite unwell & had to sell it, unfortunately. You can tell he loved the boat though, it has been well cared for & we are so lucky to be it’s current owners. It came with a lot of added extra’s because of the manner in which it was being sold, which suited us perfectly too. Whilst we are going to be using some of our sea kayaking kit on the boat, not that much really crosses over, unfortunately.

After cleaning off a little growth, painting the bottom with VC 17, as per prior years (you can’t switch bottom paints from previous applications)

The sale went through officially at the start of April & we managed to get the bottom coated with VC 17 bottom paint to protect it. There are still a few more things to do, like put on a new anode on the bottom, before it’s refloated (this one really has to be done) plus there is some cleaning of the hull, work on the impeller & an oil change. Getting to where the boat is, is a little challenging given the stay at home orders (lockdown of sorts) though. So, somehow we have to sort out how to do that. It might involve asking someone else to get another anode (we took the one we bought home, as we needed some allen keys to install & wanted to make sure we have the right one to do the job, so unfortunately it’s not with the boat)

The boat was originally due to be launched the first weekend in May, but given current restrictions, it’s been pushed until the end of May. So our big celebrations will be pushed back a little longer, unfortunately. I hope that we can get there then, in theory one of us has to be, for the float test. Even though the boat is ours & we have the bill of sale, we have to make sure there aren’t any engine issues to be sorted (not that we are anticipating any issues, but you can’t be sure either).

At 30 foot it isn’t small, but it it also isn’t too huge either for a family of four, the boat actually sleeps 6. A good boat to learn & improve our skills on, because in the end, our plan is, that this will be our first sailboat, not our last one.

We didn’t get a lot of interior images of our own, but here is an image of the layout that I found online with a link to the original image here that seems to represent our boat

Catalina 30 Mk II layout

Here’s to many more water adventures to come, whenever we can do so 🙂

Posted in Canada, Family, Outdoor, Sailing, Travel | Leave a comment

Science with Soap

Homeschooling is a lot of fun. Here is a fun experiment that we found the other day, that I thought that I would share.

You have to use Ivory soap for this experiment to work. Ivory soap has a large amount of air in it (it gets whipped with big beaters apparently). Air, contains water moisture & microwaves “excite” those water molecules. This experiment shows you the microwaves radiation at work.

In terms of materials, it’s fairly easy. You need a microwave, bar of Ivory soap & plate.

Fluffy

We only zapped our Ivory soap bar for a minute at a time. We found that after one minute it had expanded so much that we had to stop it. Note that when you open the microwave it collapses a little.

There was still a fair amount of the bar left that had not expanded so we put it in for a further minute.

If you really don’t care about your microwave, I guess that you could do it all in one go, but we weren’t quite that game.

When the expanded soap first comes out it is a little rubbery in texture, but that soon changes to being fairly brittle/ flakey. The soap is still usable afterwards too, so you don’t have to throw it out.

SIDE NOTE: I would HIGHLY recommend getting unscented bars. It appears I accidentally bought the scented ones & I have to say that I am NOT a fan. You can’t buy just one bar on it’s own, but thankfully, we have other friends with kids, who are keen to have some.

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Happy Spring

Egg hunt underway

With spring, comes Easter. As 2021 is pretty much just an extension of 2020, we had another really low key Easter celebration, in isolation.

To be fair my use of the word Easter is done so loosely, there is an egg hunt of sorts, but beyond that we don’t do anything else. There isn’t any religious attachment to the event, at all, & we don’t do baskets of gifts or new bikes and other toys, like so many other families tend to do. The kids seem to enjoy the hunt though & it has evolved in difficulty over the years, to keep it interesting for them & us.

Pre pandemic, we used to have a lot of kids over to do a big hunt, and it was fun, but I have to say, these days, a quieter pace is pretty enjoyable too.

Last year, we actually gave away the bulk of the eggs, so in reality the days of big egg hunts are done, even when things settle. We only have an eco shopping bag full of eggs left (about 120, which is still a fair amount (the bag that kidlet2 is holding is actually the bag they are stored in). I think we had about 1500 at one point, so you can imagine just how HUGE & chaotic, the hunts were, they were also a lot of fun though too.

Egg nestled in a tree

With the kids getting older, we actually only filled 16 with treats of some kid (smarties, actual berries (fruit not just treats) and some jellies), whilst the rest contained a story that G quickly wrote & then cut up into over 90 pieces, for the kids to put together. It had moderate success, with the youngest giving up a bit earlier than Kidlet1, though the sorting process, but it did entertain them & it was something different. We managed to get a decent amount done, before the whole printed story was shown & kidlet 1 took it upon himself to sort them & then glue onto a few sheets of paper.

Story being pieced together

At the end of it, they both asked if we could do something like that again, so I would call it a success. It’s quite a fun activity, not much different to the scavenger hunts we have done in the past either, except a lot more reading & problem solving.

I can totally see it resurfacing for Kids Day in July (a tradition that we started last year) and likely for birthdays & Christmas too. It’s a fun, distracting activity from the current reality too, which is a bonus. 🙂

Posted in Canada, Family, Just for Fun, Our House, Outdoor | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Family History – Cemeteries Excursion Part 1

Yesterday, was a lovely day, we had a high of 17C & it was SUNNY. The perfect day to go out & do some family tree research in person.

To make things easier, I have made a quick family tree to refer back to, which shows the direct family line & is a bit of a point of reference for the headstones/ monuments we found, below. I only did dates for males on this one, because at the time there was hardly any creativity with names & the repetition of names without any other reference can be confusing.

Please note not everyone mentioned in this post, is in this graph.

Honeywell/ Watson Family Tree

Our first stop was Bells Corners Union Cemetery. We came here to find the graves of James & Anne Watson (McCallum). They were the parents of Lillian Edna Philomela Watson.

The cemetery was quite small, so not having a map of the gravesite/ monument location, wasn’t too bad. I had found a picture online via findagrave.com which helped in locating the gravesite though & we all had fun working out the location from that clue. The pictures previously found online were clearly taken a while ago, as when we saw the monument/ headstone it was definitely showing some weathering.

James & Anne were married on the 9th of January 1873, in the Carlton area, Nepean area.

I am including pictures of the monument, as well as some notes:

On this side it reads;
James Watson
Died Oct 8, 1878
Aged 40 years


Underneath it says
James H Watson
Died Oct 9 1879
Age 1 year 9 months

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is James-Herbert-Watson-Death-647x1024.jpg

There appears to be some writing at the bottom but I was unable to decipher it

James H Watson was Lillian’s little brother. His full name was James Herbert Watson, his cause of death is noted as “not stated” & apparently a certificate was never issued by a physician. The full scanned record (a page), containing the details of his & other deaths can be found here, otherwise you can see the cropped record to the right (or click on the underlined text link, found just above the full page record).

James was born in Nepean, although his parents are actually Irish (more details later on).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20210330_101316-576x1024.jpg

Anne McCallum is noted on another side of the monument & was the wife of James. The inscription pertaining to her states;
Anna McCallum
Wife of James Watson
1842-1932

Some additional information not on the gravestone, is that after James died, she remarried a William Argue (1831 -1915) He is buried at Huntley United Cemetery. William had 3 Spouses Elizabeth Fenton (1837-1871), Margaret Fenton (1838-1881), & Anna McCallum (1842-1932)

Anna is listed on the 1891 Census as the spouse of William Argue. I haven’t yet found a record of when they were married but it would have been some time between 1881 when William’s second wife died (James died in 1878, so she remained a single for a few years) & that census date of 1891. They didn’t have any children together, but she did help in raising his children from previous marriages

Anne was born in Osgoode & her parents are buried in Kars, we haven’t been to their gravesite’s yet, but I will do a post once we have. Going to wait for another nice day out.

Her father, James McCallum (25 Sept 1816 – 14 Oct 1900) is from Glasgow City, Scotland, whilst her mother Penelope Philomena Jones (12 Sept 1820 – 13 June 1864) I am still trying to workout. Some have her as being born around Glengarry (near Cornwall) and other records have her born in Lewiston, Niagra County, New York, USA.

Her parents, Peter Jones (1789-1871) & Anna Eastman Jones (1789-1875) came from the USA. Both her parents & a sibling, Nehemiah Jones (1829-1912) are all buried in Kar’s. She has another sister, Hester who moved to Alberta & is buried with a son there.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20210330_101240-576x1024.jpg

What I didn’t realise at the time, is that we would find James Watson’s parents were also buried there. ** (see note at bottom for even more family found as a result of this)

This side of the monument reads;
Edward Watson
Died Mar 25 1884
Aged 84 Years

Also his wife
Sarah Vincent
Died April 30 1880
aged 88 years

There was a 4th side that remains blank.

Further family tree research shows that Edward Watson was born in Donagal, Ireland in 1800. It appears he moved over to Canada with his parents, who were also born in Ireland.

Sarah Jane Vincent (James Watson’s mum) was born in Chambly, La Vallée-du-Richelieu, Quebec. She’s of Irish/ English decent though with both of her parents born in Ireland.

Sarah’s parents were;
Robert Vincent who was from Coothill, Cavan, Ireland (1783-1844). He was born in Ireland, but his parents were born in England (thus the English decent mix) &
Sarah Jane Malcolmson is from Near Kings Court, Belfast, Ireland, 1781-1881.
I need to research more where Robert is buried, he could be with his wife Sarah, who is
actually buried at Beechwood.

Now, that I have thrown all those names out there here is a bit of a rough graph again, to show relationships, it got a little cramped at the bottom & there are still more to add, but this should give you an idea of where the people I have mentioned fit in. I will include more information on these relations, as I go.

Watson/ McCallum Family Lines (above)

On that note, I will finish up this post here. Part 2 will follow on with our next stop, at Pinecrest.


See note below in reference to earlier comments

** As I was caught off in finding Edward & Sarah’s gravesites, I had to do a little research to confirm the relationship to James (they are of course his parents, as stated above). In doing that research though, I discovered that Annie & James had another son, & his name was Edward (7 Jan 1874 – 25 Sept 1945), he was the older brother of Lillian Edna (g grandmother), a new great uncle to add to the family tree. 🙂

Dr Edward W Watson 7 Jan 1884 – 25 Sept 1945


Dr Edward Wesley Watson & was a dentist in Medford, Wisconsin. Other research revealed that he married a woman called Lucy & had at least 2 children (Eleanor B: 1915 & Harriet B: 1917), was drafted in WWI and died in 1945. Here is an obituary, I happened across for him (it appeared in the Marshfield News-Herald
Marshfield, Wisconsin
26 Sep 1945, Wed  •  Page 11)





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Family History – Daniel Witt


I have been researching my family history on & off for a while, but with homeschooling the kids, it has become a bit of a project for me to do with them. I love it. I did a family history project about 30 years ago in school & found it fascinating & now that I am older & can appreciate it even more, it’s even more exciting. It’s the perfect time to pick up the quest to find more family too, both with COVID & living in the vicinity of so many relatives, something that I know won’t always be the case.

Not all the information I have found is readily & easily accessible to everyone, so I am going to share some of my research here, via my blog to make it easier. So “Hello” to the family reading this, including the blood relations that stalk the page, but don’t like to admit it. Hey there, hope you’re well. 🙂

This week, I came across this gem. This is my gggg grandfather. At this moment I am unclear what his name at birth was. Most of of my German relations changed their names, likely in frustration with others that could not pronounce their names. Although, for some it seems to have occurred due to transcription errors too. Witt changes a few times to Vitt & there are more examples.

Daniel Witt was Married to Sophie Thom (1802-1870)
He was born around 1794 & died 26 Mar 1892. He lived to the age of 98 years, which is pretty good, especially for that time. His death certificate/ record of death is rather interesting though. Have a look, he’s bottom middle.

Daniel Witt – Death

His profession of Farmer was pretty standard at the time, so many were farmers (look at all the other’s on the page) His cause of death is rather interesting though:

effects of La Grippe – one month

This is where knowing how to read cursive is a great skill, but I admit that it still took a while & several google searches to figure out it was La Grippe which was also known as the Russian Flu or Asiatic Flu. I actually tried several spellings & then added “cause of death 1892” to actually bring up anything of use, as La Grippe, on it’s own was absolutely useless.

So what was La Grippe/ Russian Flu? It was apparently the first recorded global influenza pandemic, something which I found interesting given our current state of affairs with COVID. The next major pandemic was be in 1918, the Spanish Flu. For more information about La Grippe see The Canadian Encyclopedia.

For my gggg grandfather to have died from La Grippe, is unfortunate, but given his age, probably not that surprising.

Then there was this;

Fought under Blorisher (sp?) at Waterloo

This last bit of information, at the bottom of his death certificate, was a huge bonus. I can understand why they wrote it too, it would have been very rare to find someone who had fought in the battle of Waterloo here in Canada. Something that I am very grateful that they noted, because I’m not sure that I would have found this otherwise.

I couldn’t find anything under what looked like Blorisher, but a search of the Battle of Waterloo & the Commanders/ Generals revealed a Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher with his Prussian army that defeated Napoleon & I know that was him.

How did I know that? Well, in researching your family history & sifting through hundreds of documents & reference materials, you become aware of how often names were sounded out & then transcribed with errors, so it isn’t hard to see how Blücher became Blorisher. Then there is the fact that so many of the documents I have for my family (including his children) list Prussia as their place of birth/ area of residence for a time, so it isn’t hard to see how my gggg grandfather did indeed join his fellow countrymen in the battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Finding pieces of history that you can link your family back to, certainly makes teaching the kids about those historic events a little more interesting. For those interested in a little more information about the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, here is a video that we watched, which depicts how the battle played out.

I am not 100% sure where he was laid to rest. Most of the Witt family has gravesites in Alice township, Renfrew/ Pembroke area, which is where they settled & the area that he died.

There are a couple of issues in finding headstones of people from so far back. One is that many of them sink over time, the other is that it’s harder it is to find records that remain from that far back. I may never find his exact grave, but I will certainly try to see what else I can find.

Posted in Family, Family History, Witt | 3 Comments