spring leaves

The cherry blossoms have given way to small wine-red leaves. The afternoon sun today was barefoot-on-the-front-porch balmy, though this morning seamist swirled and billowed across the field, thick as smoke. I’ve been reveling in spring flowers for what seems like months now, but was unprepared for the elation of translucent chartreuse slips of leaves on hungry branches. The leafing out, greening of bony patches of sky, catkins, pussywillow buds unclenching, opening. New leaf tissue fanning out, waxen thin as leaves unfurl into air and light.

Here on our small swath of land, horsetail, thistle and morning glory are vying for the garden. Dandelion, clover and scrubby grass are next in line. I found rhubarb among tall grasses at the base of the sprawling spruce, and a stub that could be currant, and fennel and parsley are coming in along the fence. I’m freeing and coaxing along these and some mystery plants.

I have exciting news but will wait until I have photos to share it here.

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invigorating

I’ve been playing with my spirograph (did I just date myself here? They’re awesome.), watercolour and gouache. I could certainly get used to spending my afternoons at my coffee-table studio with the rabbits snuggled up beside me (or quietly removing the side of a bag of flour in the kitchen… ahem, Zephyr…).

Spring here is at that delightful indecisive stage where an enthusiastic breeze roars into a bright day, the sky darkens and breaks into rain showers (and that weird tension that you didn’t realize was building gives way to relief). Then, still pouring rain, the clouds break and the brightness is blinding even seen through somewhat dusty windows (stand on the porch and take this in). I seem be geekily enthusiastic in welcoming all kinds of weather, but spring weather is invigorating.

Last night after sweet Seven’s 3 am check-in, I lay awake thinking about fermented porridge until I got up to start some for the morning. I’ve mentioned this breakfast before, it’s one of my favorites. It doesn’t hold a candle to my friend Kyrie’s frittata or her eggs benny, but it’s exactly the kind of wholesome simplicity I look for in a weekday breakfast, heartier and more flavorful than regular oats or unsoaked steel-cut oats, with the added benefit of a fairly speedy cooking time.

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Night-fermented Steel-cut Oats
Adapted from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions
1/3 cup steel cut oats
1 spoonful (closer to a tbsp than a tsp) plain, happy-cow, probiotic yogourt
1/3 cup water (you can also use liquid poured off of the yogourt, which will leave you with thicker yogourt – yum!)
Stir ingredients loosely together in a smallish bowl, then let it sit overnight on the counter (you can cover it with a plate or cloth, or tuck it in the cupboard if you like).
In the morning, bring to a boil:
1/3 cup water
Add fermented grain and simmer until it comes together and oats soften (try a little to check, they will be more toothsome than rolled oats), maybe about 10 minutes.
I like to serve this with a pinch of salt, a knob of butter, about a teaspoon maca powder, and a sprinkling of cacao nibs and hemp hearts. It’s also very tasty with heavy cream and maple syrup, or topped with granola and milk. If you have stewed rhubarb, don’t hesitate to add it.
Some days an impromptu coffee date interrupts my intention to make this in the morning and the soaker fares perfectly well sitting out until the following morning, in fact it might even be improved. (Insert Pease Porridge rhyme…)

silver lining

Hi there! The sun has just come out here. This morning was almost dark, so thick were the clouds.

Seven is doing okay. We’re giving her pain medication and she seeks out her food-sludge and kale pesto on her own now. I’ve had the great fortune of being able to stay home with the rabbits these past few days, which has meant a lot of time on the sunset-striped blanket on the living room floor, monitoring and supervising and doing art. Not being able to clean the house or rearrange the kitchen (Zephyr would find something to destroy/remake- my yoga mat has been on her list of interesting objects for sampling) has been a surprisingly wonderful opportunity to sketch and paint and cut and glue and generally revel in a world of imagination and colour.

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in appreciation of kale and my fianceé

I was sitting crumpled in front of Seven yesterday evening in the rabbit pen when it hit me that she might not be eating or pooping. Rabbits have sensitive digestive tracts that need frequent input of long fibres (like hay) to keep things moving, and things need to keep moving or their good gut bacteria turns to bad bacteria, a toxic and potentially deadly situation. It’s called GI stasis and is feared amongst rabbit people, but usually a good supply of hay will prevent it. The way Seven’s teeth are currently, she can’t eat hay, or much else from the looks of things. She keeps picking up hay like she really wants to eat it, holds it for a second and puts it back down. She grated at a carrot for a while last night but ignored dandelion greens and spinach, then she huddled up making chewing motions without anything in her mouth. Internet research on trusted rabbit sites confirmed symptoms we were seeing. Jer got to work making a slurry of rabbit pellets and water. As I said at the time, if I had any doubt in my mind about marrying this man, watching him feed our rabbit with a syringe erased it. I teared up a little. She turned out to be really hungry and lapped up a fair bit of slurry, then perked up significantly. Thus began the kitchen experiments. More slurries were made, employing various techniques and achieving various viscosities. The hay slurry was sadly a fail, as was grass. Somewhere in my reading I came across kale. Aha! A fine, fibrous green with decent moisture content (we also need to keep her hydrated). Jer, already established as savior of rabbits, ventured out to the late-night grocery store for an armload of kale. To quote his description of the experience: << Misunderstandings at the grocery store. I put down three heads of kale and nothing else. Clerk says “Eating healthy?”. “Nah, It’s rabbit food’ says I. “I know right” says the clerk.>> To our enormous relief, Seven is still able to eat kale, and ridiculous quantities were consumed. At some point after midnight I fell asleep on the floor with the rabbits nestled in front of me. We set alarms throughout the night and got up to coax some water and food into her. At four am she was still eating kale, and at six she had a little more. Adding to his repertoire as top-notch caregiver, Jer also learned to give a bunny tummy massage. Mid-morning, the worries began again as she repeatedly refused water, kale and slurry. Just moments ago, Jer got her eating more slurry. Once she starts, she seems to realize that she’d like to eat more, and went on to eat swiss chard too. Yay! We just have to keep this up, I guess, until she can eat normally again unless our vet gives us another approach. Good news is that the dentist will see her on Wednesday. We’re crossing our fingers that we’ll have the funds for it. We have a decent amount saved, but specialist sounds expensive.

So, with all of the above, today is kind of a strange day. It’s beautifully sunny outside. The wind is blowing down the chimney making our living room smell like lapsang souchong. The rabbits and I are sunning on a blanket and we’re just taking it easy. We’ll get through.

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Seven

I’m hoping to crowdsource healing vibes for my bunny. Seven’s misaligned teeth are long and jagged and have started cutting into her gums where they’ve caused at least one abscess, possibly two. We’re waiting for a call from the veterinary dental specialist to find out how soon we can get her in. It looks so painful. I am hoping desperately, fearfully, that she will continue eating despite the pain. She’s hiding in a cardboard box right now and I am terrified and anxious and so sad to see her like this. She is the sweetest little curious creature. Please send love her way.

Welcome spring, new moon, eclipse. I hope you will be kind to my rabbit. This morning began enjoyably, at least. We had a friend visiting (though I had completely misunderstood when she would arrive so was ill prepared to host), and went for a walk in the drizzle. We were soon joined by coffee and butter danishes, as can happen in our neck of the woods, and paid a casual visit to the ocean’s edge. My mum came by with gifts and treasures from my beautiful, quirky late grandmother, and seeds for our garden. We ventured out to the theme of more coffee and pastries (oh what a way to spend a Friday!), and Jer and Ana came back from downtown with more gifts and delectables. Then we wrangled the bunnies into their carrier for their check-in with the vet. Ever since the vet looked in Seven’s mouth and found that the situation we thought was six months away and that we were going to prevent by getting her teeth done in the next few months had sped up and was already happening, already urgent, the afternoon has crept by dark and tearful. I picked up more strawberry antibiotics in town and, in a sorry daze, made my way towards the Solstice Cafe for tea and solace. Alas, they’d closed for a special event, so I trudged aimlessly into the square. I almost sat on a bench in the rain to eat chocolates and read my sad and beautiful book – did sit for a moment, but some boys were horsing around on the high railing and spitting and I really didn’t feel like listening to them so kept going, into Green Cuisine, where one can be nourished for $6. It was soothing. I sat in a booth near the back, facing a poster of Green Tara and a tree mural. I ate small tidbits each of baked falafel and steamed kale, curried tempeh, vegan lasagna, squash, beans and apple crumble (comfort me with spiced apples please, yes). Afterwards, I sat, unable to read, and gave myself a headache panicking about it all before picking up a pen and doodling in my journal. Never underestimate the therapeutic benefits of making art. It didn’t fix everything, but it helped. I drew some trees, gave them leaves, then filled in ground level with flowers and leafy sprigs, and got the idea of drawing Seven in, happy and well. I drew Zephyr too, to help anchor her in this world and because they are constant companions. Next a field of wheat and flowering clover, both bunnies settled happily in the center.

I’m drinking strong peppermint tea, adaptogen extraordinaire. I’m hoping it will help me cope. It’s hard to stand up straight under the weight of this, my fear and sadness for my darling pet. The vets know what they are doing, this I trust. I hope that we can get her treated sooner than soon. Now, to think positive and give my bunny love. May she be well.

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mellow

I had the immense pleasure of deleting and changing alarms in my phone last night. It is so enjoyable waking to daylight. Home coffee and drawn-out breakfast is also a delight after so many rushed and bleary-eyed dark ‘mornings’.

Even though I’m not a baker at my new job, I still come home covered in flour. It is somewhat of a wonderland of rustic breads and buttery pastries there.

The rain is continuing in a very mellow, Spring sort of way.

A police officer rang our doorbell (which we were surprised to learn we had) about twenty minutes ago and scared the crap out of me. She was here to talk to Jer about some work stuff, totally normal, everything fine. Later on we realized that the bag of catnip on the shelf by the door might not have looked so good, especially not when combined with our coffee table strewn with stuff and two enormous rabbits in a pen with hay everywhere. Oh well, apparently we are not of great concern.

Seven loves to hold and carry things (hay, straw, paper, leafy greens…). Often when I look over she has hay sticking out both sides of her mouth, or just casually draped like a cigar. She got very excited about some large scrumpled sheets of brown packing paper a few minutes ago and circled the living room and me twice, dragging the paper behind her. Zephyr (bunny) is determined to get to know Michette (cat) and cranes her head to nose-bump her as she passes by.

(Seven’s contribution as she passed by with paper in tow: =\=8764\iouyt…0`435.'[;m*-k)

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delicious

This evening we wrote down our fears on little slips of paper, and possible solutions on the reverse, then took turns reading and responding before giving them over to smoke and ash in our fire.

Tonight in rabbitland, Seven is going through my purse and snacking on bits of crumbs from this morning’s toast. Zephyr alternates between cuddling up for nose rubs and adventuring onto the couch.

My right hand is all seized and sore from scooping hundreds of cookies yesterday. Only three more days of working as a baker making sugary cookies and then I’ll be selling delicious wholesome, toothsome, locally milled and lovingly cultured breads and pastries much closer to home!

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choruses of frogs

This evening we drove up island with Jer’s parents (there is a long story here but they tell it better). The overcast day had given way to light rain and glowing golden haze in the west. Beyond the city, the mountains were faint as carved clouds. As we drove into the hills around Goldstream, swaths of cloud clung in chunks to the wet trees. Up on the farm under the dark, spangled sky, choruses of frogs were singing. On the way home, mist swirled on the road. Now, here at home on the striped blanket in our living room, Zephyr the bunny is getting extra sly at sneaking bites of houseplant.

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out of the shade

This afternoon, still somewhat dazed from not enough sleep and stepping out of the shade-dark bakery and yesterday’s grey drizzle into a dazzling blue-skied sunny spring day, I lingered in the street for a moment before starting the car. A moment was long enough to watch a miniature tornado of white-pink cherry petals spin down the street like an invisible whirling dervish delighting in the wayward blossoms.

I start as a counter girl at -my favorite- our local bakery this week. I don’t remember ever being so excited about a job before. It feels right.

I feel tonight’s dinner deserves a mention: local happy eggs fried in organic butter, salt and pepper, a perfectly ripe avocado sliced haphazardly, a slosh of lemon juice, sprinkling of hemp hearts, generous grating of grana padano and handful of spring greens. Last night the man made pancakes with carob, cinnamon, ginger and raisins.

Today’s porch-rail observations/ramblings: There’s a crow in the closest spruce tree making rattle-croaks, like a glossy black wind-up clock counting up its own enjoyment. Soft wingbeats to my side announced a bird passing by, hedgebound. I turned to look and saw cherry petals glitter like snowflakes in the chiaroscuro edge of the shadow of a house. The clouds are a mottling, almost mackerel sky but too puffed and sprawling. Cirrocumulus castellanos, perhaps. The narcissus nod, thin green stems bending as six-petalled white stars and orange crowns bob. A moth that looks like it unfolded itself out of narcissus petals drags across the sky above the low garden.

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Of course the clouds were doing something different by the time I photographed them. Michette loves the sunshine.