For the last 10 years at least, I’ve dreamed of leaving this city I grew up in. This beautiful city on a beautiful lake that (almost) everyone else I know is so happy to live in. This city with the perfect climate (hot), perfect beaches (crowded) and the worst traffic (aside from Vancouver). Most of the jobs I’ve had involved a fair amount of driving around, so I know many parts of this city like the back of my hand (where did that freckle come from?) and when I daydreamed about leaving, I felt a little sad thinking about how well I know it, and how long it might take to learn my new town so well.
But now that I’m actually gone, I honestly don’t miss it at all. I think I’ll enjoy visiting it once in a while, asking my kids if they remember the bridge, the giant flag and the impressively large christmas tree. They’ll probably remember the stop sign and the fence that keeps the animals in on our old street, or how we could look down at a sea of houses as we drove down the road from our 10 acres of bush so thick we couldn’t see any of our neighbours.
Now I’m in a new, much smaller town and the streets are a worse maze than my previous residence (which I thought was bad before, but at least I knew how to get around in it). Darryl has been the driver every time we’ve gone to town, and I see a few store names I recognize, but I don’t think I could find them again if I wanted to. Even the people I meet here say it’s a great town once you figure out how to get around. I believe them. And speaking of the people, they are super nice. We do have an advantage in that my little brother and his wife have lived here for a few years and know a lot of people. But we went to a wednesday night dinner at their church and quite a few people introduced themselves not knowing I was related to a friend of theirs. Once they found out Luke was my brother, they could see the resemblance (he looks like me). Hehe.
We don’t live right in town though. Because we have a horse (we sold Sonny, the white horse) and a cow and 3 chickens, we had to find a place with a bit of land. And find one we did! Our place is about 25 minutes from town. Nothing when you come from the big city and it takes that long to drive to your friend’s house. Around here, that might as well be a day’s drive away. But it’s beautiful here. We’re renting 10 acres again, only it’s mostly cleared, gently sloping down to a lake(!) and it has a log house! The whole property is fenced, but the animals are in the large back yard right now, until we can fix the perimeter fencing once the snow is gone.
I will tell you about the house, cause it’s such a great change from where we used to live. It looks old and small on the outside, but inside is bright and spacious. We never saw the sun in our old place, but now it streams through the windows all day long and we can see 180 degrees of open, rolling fields or clumps of aspen and cottonwood. There’s a little airpark across the lake where we can watch the little planes take off and land, and once in a while on sunny days they buzz high over the house and Chad shouts “Airplane!”. At night we see a few lights dotted around us, but they’re a couple kilometers away so it still feels like we’re in the middle of nowhere.
The kitchen is huge! A little dated, but it’s a good layout and there’s so much storage I still have empty cupboards. It’s so dated, in fact, that I have a portable dishwasher, which is actually not as bad as it sounds. I usually run it at night while we’re sleeping and unload it in the morning and roll it back to it’s corner in the dining room.
I have a dining room! Our old place had a combined kitchen/dining room (like most mobile homes) and it got a little crowded when we entertained. This dining room has a sliding door out to a covered deck spanning the backside of the house, overlooking the lake and the farmland beyond. The living room is the size of the kitchen and dining room put together, with a window at one end and a large brick fireplace at the other. Kind of awkward for furniture placement, but the room is big enough to have two furniture groupings, so I split it in half with the couch and chair facing the fireplace. Once I get some more furniture, I can finish the other half, but for now it works quite well to have my little white table behind the couch for the kids to draw at and the rocking chair by the window. Behind the fireplace is the front entry and the stairwell going to the basement. On the other side of the living room, opposite the kitchen and dining room, are the bedrooms. Two of them, with a bath in between. And a linen closet! That’s a new thing for me. The bedrooms are cozy with large windows, the kid’s window overlooking the driveway and the master bedroom window looking out over the deck and the view. These rooms are also pretty dated, with blonde faux wood panelling and valences, but I think the bathroom takes the cake with the brown and orange flowered tiles in the shower and the fake marble sink and counter. I hung a large gold-framed mirror over the tiny one that was there and I think I can pull off a vintage, hollywood glamour theme pretty easily now.
Most of the logs on the inside of the house have been slicked, which is taking off the outer layer with a long, chisel-like tool, revealing the lighter wood underneath. It makes a huge difference in the brightness inside. The bedrooms haven’t been slicked yet, but they’re just for sleeping in anyway.
The basement has a long laundry/storage/workshop on one side, a cold room, bath, and bedroom on the other side, and a big room in the middle with a wood stove! The stove heats the whole house easily, but there’s a backup propane furnace too. We found the switch to turn on just the furnace fan to circulate the heat without using propane. The wood stove room is set up as a media room, and though it’s in the basement and has a drafty (slide your fingers between the frames) sliding door to the backyard, it’s the warmest room in the house.
Back upstairs, there’s a little dead end hall behind the kitchen with another door opening to an attached carport. We use that as a mud room/pantry.
Our landlord is just a kid (ok, early 20’s) and lives with his parents in a log house across the lake from us. He works for Pioneer Log Homes…you may have heard about it on the show Timber Kings. My brother also worked for them for a while and that’s how he knew our landlord and that he needed tenants.
To be continued…