Monday, October 22, 2012

Celebrating Dad's Farming Career

Last night we pulled off the grand-daddy of surprise parties. My dad retired from farming this year (as I blogged about here) and it has been a transition for all of us. Farming involves the entire family so we all felt that it was the end of the era. I thought this was cause for celebration!

The idea started forming months ago but took some time to develop into a full fledged party. Juggling schedules and deciding on details took some time, but I must admit we pulled off quite the event. I had an absolute hoot!

This party needed to be a surprise because if my dad caught wind of it, he would put a stop to it right then and there. He is not much for crowds or making a “fuss” but I knew that if we could pull it off, he would feel as loved and honoured as we wanted him to.

I have the most amazing family and we really make a great team. Everyone has their own set of skills they bring to the table and when we arrived at the hall on Saturday we set to work. We transformed it from an old country hall typically used for card socials to a trip down memory lane. John provided some bales of straw, we had toy tractors, photographs…the place looked awesome. And smelled awesome too! We had a “farmer’s supper” of roast beef, mashed potatoes, veggies, and homemade carrot cake.

When my dad walked through the door and we all yelled SURPRISE! he was astounded. He thought he was going to a rural farmer’s dinner (or something like that…John made it up) Even after each of us gave him a hug and said “happy retirement” he was still perplexed!

It was the perfect blend of family, friends and neighbours; some who I haven’t seen in years. A really fun night where we shared stories of growing up on the farm and what that means to us, and even sang a song. This last minute idea from Connie ended up being the highlight of the evening! With the help of some Facebook friends, we re-wrote the words to Coal Miner’s Daughter to Three Farmer’s Daughters. Thanks Nadine & Brooke!

I left the party feeling so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people. Thanks to everyone that helped us pull it off  and especially to my family. But most of all to my dad for shaping who I am.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Jacob Moon

This weekend I had the opportunity to see a fantastic local musician. I first discovered Jacob Moon about 10 years ago and was amazed at his talent. He's a guitar virtuoso! At the time, I had never witnessed anyone use looping techniques while playing the guitar and I was in awe.

Using a small machine at his feet, he would record a small sample and then play it back while he went on to play another part of the song. At least that is how I see it with my limited music knowledge! The result is a very full sounding song with just one man on stage.

Jacob writes his own music but also does a variety of covers including Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel. If you know'll know that covering a Paul Simon song is always a hit :) Anyway, he puts his own spin on these songs but knowing the song, you can still sing along. By far, the most amazing cover he does is Come Talk To Me. You must see it to believe it. It is not so much the sound of the song that blows me away but the fact that he is not strumming the strings but slapping them. So cool.

He will be playing London Music Club on November 30 so make sure you check him out!

Read previous posts about Jacob Moon here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Perfect Storm...of Awesome.

This weekend some of my favourite things collided. It was great!

I love autumn. The coloured trees are gorgeous right now and driving to my parents farm for Thanksgiving dinner was a great display. It's still nice enough to be outside but chilly enough that you can really enjoy a hot drink when you're indoors. Mmmm, autumn.

I love going to the Western Fair Farmers' Market. Just wandering around taking in the sights and smells is awesome. I really love the atmosphere and want to make it a weekly thing. Need to work on that. The best part is: it's close enough to walk!

I love Thanksgiving. Who doesn't love a good turkey dinner? Everything that Thanksgiving encompasses... a big family gathering, helping Mom get the food ready which makes the house smell amazing, remembering the things I'm thankful for. Ya, Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays.

Awesome weekend all around. Thanks to all that were a part of it. You know who you are :)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Liam's Big Day

As if a day at Ilderton Fair wasn't enough, the next day I took my nephew Liam on his very first train ride. It was a beautiful day as we set off for Port Stanley and we chatted our way down the road, sunroof open! At five years old, Liam is at such a cute stage. There were many moments that I thought "I need to remember this" but before you know it, it's left my memory. Darn.

At one point, Liam looked at the man in the car stopped next to us at a light who was drinking a Rockstar energy drink. He declared that pop is full of sugar and not good for your body. As I laughed in my head at his maturity, I agreed and said it is not. He told me he doesn't eat sugar. (he does come from a very healthy home) I replied that sometimes it is ok just for a treat but he insisted it is not good for you... until I suggested we get ice cream. Then he thought it was ok!

The train ride was great. It was about an hour long including a stop where kids can get off and check out some parked train cars for photos. We rode in an open air car and it was beautiful to see the fall colours as we traveled through the countryside. Liam was thrilled.

I am so lucky to have such great nieces and nephews. I got lots of high fives, hugs, kisses, thank yous and I love yous from Liam while we spent our day together.

Kaelyn's Big Day

I spent most of this weekend with little people. Tradition states that each of my nieces & nephews spend a special day with Auntie Janice to celebrate their birthday. This weekend I did TWO of these days.

Saturday I picked Kaelyn up and we headed to Ilderton Fair. This is one of my favourite fall fairs and includes a lot of typical country fair events and exhibits. I knew it would be the perfect spot for me & Kaelyn to spend the day. After going to Dollywood this summer, I knew Kaelyn would be all about the rides, so that's where we headed first. We rode the ferris wheel, the tilt-a-whirl, the scrambler and a few that I don't remember the names of. We watched the time and at 4pm we headed over to watch the mutton busting. If you've never seen it, you really need to. Small children don helmets and knee pads and ride sheep until they fall off. It sounds cruel but it's a hoot to watch! (please note: the kids volunteer for the activity)

While we were over at the sheep pen, we walked by Olympic gold medalist Scott Moir. I had a star-struck moment and asked Kaelyn if she wanted her picture with him but she was more concerned about using the rest of our tickets on more rides!

The fair is a really great for observing. On one hand I loved the rural/agricultural feel of being in the country with tractors and animals surrounding us. On the other hand, we were at a fair...filled with the midway, bratty kids with a pocketful of tickets and carnies.

Kaelyn is one of the sweetest kids you'll meet. She nearly always has a positive outlook on things and is always smiling. We had a great day!