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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.

I really don't need much at all

I'm trying hard to embrace the idea of minimalism. Actually, I've been trying since before they had a word for it but it is hard not to acquire a lot of “stuff,” especially in the kitchen.

I'm a sucker for anything lime green, as if a lime green paring knife magically would elevate my skill as a chef. I am no chef; I'm not even sure I qualify as a cook but that's a story for another day.

Memories serve to help us age well

My thumbs hurt. I hate to complain but they hurt, almost all the time, and I think if I ate more green vegetables, they would hurt less.

And though that seems an easy enough remedy to incorporate into my daily schedule, I don’t seem able to master the excessive use of vegetables in my diet.

So my thumbs continue to hurt and I continue to wince and complain, and my jaw and neck join the party. I think my knees are waiting, ready to pounce, waiting for the day when I might say, “I don’t feel that old today.”

Seemed like a good idea at the time

I like to think I would have made a good pioneer. There is a caveat, though (isn't there always). I would have made a good pioneer who had access to a deep freeze.

That may disqualify my presumption.

I like processing food from my garden. I blanche and freeze bags of swiss chard and broccoli that I use for soups and dahl. Blueberries are the easiest, straight from the bushes to freezer bags.

The beauty of the imagination

Loraine and I have decided to paddle to Finland.

Now, we aren't just willy-nilly with our plans—coming up with some hair-brained idea without careful planning. We want to see Finland's outdoor glass sculptures that look like they are living beings; flames of glass seemingly growing out of the marsh and gardens in blues and reds and yellows.

A PBS program sparked Loraine's curiosity and I'm just game to go along for the ride, truth be told. We thought a double kayak might work nicely to manoeuvre across the big cold waves in the North Atlantic.

We all learn until our last breath

I may have mentioned eight or nine or 46 times that my grandsons started school in September; Aiden in junior kindergarten in Ontario and Linden in kindergarten of the regular variety in British Columbia.

I have never been a fan of sending babies to school. Two of my daughters had junior kindergarten and two didn't, and I saw no difference in their academic prowess. Again, there is lots of room for debate on the merits of both.

Four-year-olds are a challenge

I'm currently in British Columbia helping my grandson transition into kindergarten. My daughter is a single mom and we had the resources for me to fly out to help the glacial move from non-kindergarten to kindergarten.

As I drove Linden to school for an hour one day and two hours another day, I thought of single mothers in entry-level jobs whose employers would have no interest in accommodating such a schedule and whose previous daycare providers would have filled those spaces with children requiring full-time care.

Staring at a fire can be almost hypnotic

I burned a pile of brush the other night. We have burning restrictions here in Nova Scotia due to the lack of rain, so burning is limited to between the hours of 7 p.m. and 8 a.m., when the dew has settled.

I often wonder how forest fires are ignited so easily, it seems, when I struggle to get a pile of dry forsythia branches and old fence boards to burn but I finally had success after three previous attempts resulted in a petered-out fire.

Dealing with the inevitable change

I remember reading someone's words that advised me to become a “student of change.”

I had to do some searching in order to give credit to the proper source for said advice. It turns out it was Anthony D'Angelo, of whom I have no recollection so I must have heard it third hand.

Mr. D'Angelo is involved in some sort of marketing industry so, of course, he has to say such things. But there is some truth in that statement.

We are more the same than we are different

I have a printer that seldom rests due to the nature of my work.

It spews out pages quickly and efficiently because it doesn't have to worry about colour. It is a black-only printer and I opted for such because of the savings on ink and the speed.

I printed off a photo yesterday as part of the research I am in the midst of doing. I stared at the black and white image for some time, my mind circling around one simple fact: Everyone looked the same. There was no colour, no race.

Came down to either them or me

I have had to go to war again with hornets/wasps.

The last time, a few years ago, I was the easy victor, though it was a significant battle. I may have bored you with the details. As such, I rather smugly faced this year's battle with a hint of over-confidence.

It didn't quite turn out as I planned.

First of all, I was picking my blueberries, minding my own business while humming what I considered a happy cheerful tune. Alas, the hornets may have been of a different mind. I was stung six times on my lower left leg before I could blink.