Being: Conscious, mortal existence; life.
Every month we welcome two families, two people, two voices to share their stories in whatever way they chose. We hope that you find joy in their daily lives, and their simple habit of just being.
When my beloved designed our house he aimed to make use of one very important source of fuel, the sun. We don’t run our home on solar panels, but we do use something called passive solar gain. This is a term used in passive houses and means that when the winter sun is shining, our house is heated for free, the rest of the time we use our wood stove (and new wood boiler) to keep ourselves protected from the fierce cold that is part and parcel of a Canadian winter.
To the eyes of many our house is a little…odd, but by using the power of nature in our design we avoid using any heating at all on sunny days. We’ve had windows open on days that were -22F outside, cold enough to freeze the moisture inside your nose, but in the house we were toasty. Of course as soon as the sun goes down that heat source disappears and the cold would quickly and happily reclaim us, so we have underfloor heating (which uses less fuel) powered by a wood fired boiler and a wood stove for cosiness. The gathering, chopping and splitting of wood is one of our big weekend chores right now, but one that we will reap the benefits of all winter.
In Canada we are always aware of winter, even at the height of a sizzling summer. And when it comes it is always sudden and a little shocking, we are lulled by seemingly endless days of golden autumn an then, snap, the snow, ice and freezing winds arrive. We don’t fear it, in fact it is a season of great outdoor activity and fun, but we know we must prepare for it. Winter here is harsh and unforgiving, you really can never be too prepared. So we slice, split and stack our wood, put up food and plan for power outages, just in case.
But I have to admit to breathing a deep sigh of relief now that winter is officially here. The work of the year is mostly over, we can retreat inside by the fire early in the evening, bundling ourselves under a cosy blanket. The hours packed full of growing, raising, feeding, storing, canning and just plain digging are over; now I look forward to afternoons on the sofa, the snow fall outside sealing out the noise of the world. It is a time to layer ourselves against the cold and go out to play in the shimmering white blanket that will cloak the brown and green for several months. There will be days where it is too cold to do even this, but on those days the sun’s heat will beam in on us and keep us warm behind our shield of glass.
On the kitchen stove we’ve moved from tomatoes to stews, from salads to root veg. In our cupboards the shorts and t-shirts have gone away until next year, thick jeans, warm socks and wooly jumpers have returned. Slippers encase our feet and the burning of wood warms the floor so that it is cosy to our toes. At each turn I’m finding ways to enfold my family in warmth, inside and out.
There are many ways to find warmth, the warmth of a house, a hearth; the warmth of a body, a plate of food. But to me the real warmth is that of a life well lived, a life lived with intention and commitment. Our home is a place we imagined and built ourselves, our farm is the dream of a decade and the product of hard work done each day. Our family is one we created on a continent far from where we grew up, the love we feel for each other and our surroundings is the fuel that keeps us all going. Each day we work and play together, rejoice, laugh, learn, argue, cry and love; it is not someone else’s vision of perfect I’m sure, but to me it is the burning heart, the warmth that gives my spirit life.
This month we are happy to welcome Emma to the Being series here at Rhythm of the Home. A homesteader, homeschooler and creative spirit, Emma shares her life as mother and farmer through words and pictures on her blog, 95 Acres of Sky.
Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do. To learn more about us, please visit us on Facebook,Pinterest, and Twitter.
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