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Wendi Stewart - Wendi with an 'eye'

Wendi lives in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, but the farm on Rainy River in Crozier will always be her home. MEADOWLARK, her debut novel released September 15, is published by NeWest Press of Edmonton. She is the mother of four daughters who did the unforgivable: they grew up.

Love our Maple Leaf

I’ve been flag-watching since the Sochi Olympics opened and though it is impossible to contain my bias, I love the clean, simple freshness of our Canadian flag and its uniqueness.

The Maple Leaf conjures up any number of concepts for me: our vast natural wilderness, what I think of as French Canada’s maple syrup, and the points of the leaf representing our diverse history.

Can you come out to play?

I was a farm kid, content with my own company and the company of my siblings.

But play often was solitary—building secret hideouts in the haymow, or finding the perfect tree for a fort and then lugging lumber to build something in the tree using more nails than I could count.

Catching frogs was a favourite pastime, in the ditches that lined our long lane, and lots of exploring—exploring the deep woods on our farm.

And sometimes just lying on the hillside and studying the clouds for certain shapes was fun enough.

‘Wood’ you be mine

I’m not a fan of winter.

I suppose I was an enthusiast at one time, when building snow forts was obligatory, throwing snowballs unavoidable, and careening down the hill on a long wooden toboggan or aluminum flying saucer was requisite—all part of the natural rights and privileges of childhood.

But now I grimace through the frosted glass, hoisting my shoulders to my ears while I watch the wind pile the snow up on my rights-of-way, obliterating my path; and all the while I am longing for the freedom of spring and summer and fall.

Knitting is perfect therapy

I am a big fan of knitting. Do you knit?

I taught myself to knit when I was 20. I call it therapy—perfect therapy—but at 20, I didn’t know it was therapy.

I thought it was just a bunch of stitches cast on that took a few tries to get right (actually, a whole lot of tries to get right), followed by some knits and purls and yarn-overs and slip-ones until it became something else.

But now I know, beyond a doubt, that knitting is therapy.

And the award goes to . . .

Did you tune in to the Golden Globes a week ago Sunday?

I would like to hear you say a resounding no. But sadly, some of you, like me, have weak minds and I tuned in—but only until Jacqueline Bisset’s long, drawn-out who-me speech had me wanting to kick in the television.

Why? Why? I shouted at the television. Why do I tune into this group of pretty people who tell each other how wonderful they are, and who wear ridiculous clothing and no one feels any obligation to check his/her ego at the door.

We can alter the world’s course

There’s change afoot. Can you feel it?

I can—and it has me happily rubbing my hands together and doing a high-five with anyone willing.

We’re starting off 2014 with a positive foot forward with the UN declaring that “Small-Scale Organic Farming [is the] Only Way To Feed The World.”

This is a significant statement with so many considerations: animal well-being, diversification to eliminate monocultures that are harmful on so many levels, the decentralization of food production, and reduced demand for transportation of all foodstuffs, to name just a few.

Come skate with me

Winter is raising her icy fist around the country as we Canadians of the middle-aged variety—and beyond—tune into The Weather Network with dreadful regularity.

Storms and records of cold and snowfall fascinate us it seems; winter’s entertainment.

Here in Nova Scotia, we have had an unusually early winter with dumps of snow and freezing rain coming to stay. But when people complain to me, I sneer and say, “You ain’t seen nothing” (except I try to use better grammar).

The Joy of Making Lists

As soon as Boxing Day has passed and I know for certain that Christmas has departed and taken my visiting daughters with it and I have managed to quit sobbing and have dried my eyes, then I have a tremendous urge for lists.

These lists need not necessarily be of the New Year’s Resolutions variety despite the season and all. Those particular resolution lists tend to fade as quickly as my promise not to eat my weight in Turtles over the holidays.

Oh those toys that endure

What do you want for Christmas?

We all have asked that question, and have been asked it. I always come up with a blank.

Socks, underwear, fresh tea towels. I just shake my head—coming up with nothing much.

I remember wanting a Wonderful Wendy doll, from the Eaton’s catalogue, when I was six or seven, but had to settle for the Loveable Laurie version because the Wendys were sold out (must have been a Peter Pan year).

Mandela certainly was a hero

I miss Nelson Mandela. I can feel the shift as if his very presence on Earth, the simple fact that he was breathing, kept us safer.

I felt the air go out of me, felt my insides collapse, when I heard the news of his death—despite his death being imminent for months now.

We all should mourn the loss of this man, this symbol of anti-apartheid. A man who said, “enough;” this gentle inspiration of change.