May 05

I’m Going Back To The Land

mindofbirdman

But not in a good way.

Yet.

I’m heading back out west in the morning, and I’m not looking forward to it. I know that I never am, but this time it seems harder. Like having to cut off your own leg kind of harder.

I guess everything is harder when I think about it. Life just seems to get tougher as you get older. Better, but tougher nonetheless. Take the internet for example. It’s here to make our lives better, and in some ways it does. I couldn’t imagine not being able to look up anything that I wondered about at the drop of a hat. The knowledge that I gain from having that privilege is immense.

Then there is the part of the internet that isn’t quite as helpful, but helps to pass the time. You know, for when you are bored, sitting on the toilet, or maybe don’t feel like going out on a Friday night.

Social Media.

Sure it lets you keep up to date with who and what your friends are doing, what coffee and supper looks like, and how cute cats are, but it doesn’t take much to get addicted to it. I know. It happened to me.

As most of you probably know, I quit Facebook recently. Strangely enough, I don’t miss it. I miss a lot of the people, but some of the important ones have joined G+, and the ones who didn’t probably don’t need to get a hold of me anyhow.

No_twitter

I watched this yesterday. Two days after telling Mrs. Birdman that Twitter was getting the axe next. They have been ticking me off lately, what with them sending me notifications about who all of my followers are following. Like I care that they’ve all decided to follow Visa back, or whatever the case may be. Oh, and I have just figured out that there is no value in it for me. Anyhow, this really hit home.

It got me thinking about a lot of things, and one was that I need to stop wasting time online. There’s life out there, and procrastinating with my face tanned from the glow of my phone screen isn’t helping anything. I like information, and I need to start using the internet for what it was made for, which I’m certain isn’t trading cat photos and masturbation.

I need to start using the few years that I have left to do things.

Big things.

Important things.

Things like growing food, creating, and enjoying my time with friends and loved ones, which I suppose are one in the same. I love my family, and shouldn’t be spending my time socking away as many hours as I can work, so that I can come home and be depressed about either having no money, or having to leave the love of my life to go back to work in an industry that I only partially agree with.

For twenty some odd years, I have been thinking, wishing, and dreaming about buying a piece of property for cash and building an earthship home on it. Granted, that would take a lot more money than we have, so I guess we’ll have to just keep on working and dreaming. Dreaming of the day where I can get up in the morning, collect the eggs, move the chicken house over to some fresh grass, and empty the compost toilet.

A lot of people don’t understand the appeal of it, but I know that there are a lot that do, so I know I’m not alone. As I was researching I came across this guy.

His videos were interesting, especially this one. I can relate to his feelings, but not to his past. I find it interesting that so many people from such different walks of life are interested in the shift to more simple living. There are doctors, lawyers, truckers, and probably any other occupation that you can think of that just want to get the hell out of the rat race and slow down to a snail’s pace. I think it’s got to be that people are stopping to think about what they’re doing and realizing that everything that they have been taught all of their life is a big load of BS.

If you get a chance, check out The Story of Stuff Project

If you get a chance, check out The Story of Stuff Project

Whatever the individual reasons are, I am very happy to see people figuring things out, even if it is such a tiny percentage. People can see that things need to change and they are effecting the change themselves. That makes my heart smile.

Anyhow, I should go crawl into bed with the most beautiful soul that a person could know, and see if I can get my feet warmed up. I’ve got a long day of travelling and feeding the corporate machines.

For now.

Birdman

May 09

Some Things Make The Day Worthwhile

birdmandesk

Saturday was a long day for me. I started at the crack of dawn and worked until late at night. Things kept going wrong, but everything was pretty great, considering.

I had to start early to get to a farm north of Napanee at a decent time. Things are really busy for us right now, so we are doing what we can to get everyone there fertilizer on time.

As soon as I got out of the truck at the farm, I was swarmed by black flies, but they weren’t really biting yet. This is good. I don’t mind them crawling around in my hair, as long as they aren’t chewing anything. I was greeted by an older guy and his son. I would estimate the son’s age at about 30-35, but I’ve been known to suck at guessing age before.

I was having some pretty good conversations with the dad about hunting, farming in the Canadian Shield, hunting, and the price of old cedar swamps, while we were putting the tote bags on the tines of the tractor loader, when I saw a car pull up with what I assumed was his wife in it.

“You’ve got company.” I said

“That’s the boss. Look busy.” He replied.

As she got out of the car, I noticed that she had a tiny little guest in there with her. Out of the car scrambled a little boy of about five years old. They stood on the far side, staying away from the tractor with a huge bag dangling from it’s forks. When we got half a ton loaded in it, he dropped the bucket and headed over to set it on a skid. That’s when they made their move.

As the little fella was getting hoisted into the cab by his dad, I noticed the little seat that looked like it was custom made for a tiny rider.

“Look at that.” I stated to the grandpa. “That’s every little boy’s dream, and he gets to do that whenever he wants.”

“He’d stay in there all day if you’d let him. His dad was the same way. I used to babysit him when he was a little boy, and he would spend the whole day in the fields with me. Just loves it.” Continue reading

Jan 17

Local Flavour ~ Keep Small Business In Business!

 

 

 

 

Last Friday night I found myself in the enviable position of having a free night to myself.  The kids were with their dad, and I was basically caught up on work, after a fun week of hockey photos nearly every night.  I was ready for a break and some time to unwind.

I had plans with one of my best friends to go out for dinner and catch up, as we haven’t seen much of each other in the past couple of months.  We spent a couple of hours chatting and examining our navels until the topic of where to eat came up.

I had been wanting to get dinner at a new little place downtown, called the Starlight (find them on Facebook here).  I heard about it from my friend Holly, who knows ALL of the best places to go for a nice dinner.  I had been there for both breakfast and lunch, and was very impressed each time.  It was decided we would hit the Starlight for dinner and see what we thought.

20 King St. W. in Cobourg

One of the things I like best about this place, is the feel of the interior.  It has this awesome, funky, warm vibe that is perfect for an intimate dinner with friends, or a cozy date night.  The warm colours and glowing fire place makes it very inviting to spend some time.  As soon as you walk in you feel at home, and comfortable.

It's swanky...but in a good way!

The menu is a bit limited, but not when it comes to taste.  Annie (the cook and co-owner) makes everything from scratch, and man she can cook.  We ordered the Moroccan special, Tajine, with chicken.  It came with a most delicious house salad with balsamic vinaigrette (mmmm) or the home-made carrot-apple soup.  It sounds awful, but it was absolutely incredible;  Warm and spicy with everything a soup needs to impress.   The Tajine was also incredible, on a bed of cous cous and full of flavour and colour.  For dessert, (and of course we had to try it!) there was home-made blueberry cheesecake.  Seriously, it was sublime.  Everything is so fresh and full of flavor, and totally home-made.  I have officially found my new favorite spot.  (Sorry Capers!)

We had a chance to chat with the other co-owner, Joey, who told us a bit more about the place, and generally made us feel very welcome.  Annie came out a few times to check on our meal, make recommendations and see how we were doing.

It’s been years since I remember seeing a cook look interested in what was going on out front, but I don’t remember a single time when the person preparing the meal has come out personally to see how it is being enjoyed.  It wasn’t the first time either.  She did the same thing the previous times I was there, which makes me think this restaurant has really figured out how to appeal to its customers.  We felt like honoured guests, not like people rolling in to occupy a table for an hour.  There was no rushing any part of our experience, from ordering to our final exit.   We truly enjoyed being there, and they seemed to enjoy having us.

As a small business owner, this kind of customer service impresses the hell out of me.  I recognize that we were just two in a long lineup of people that walked through the doors, but it’s pretty special when they can make you feel like you were the ONLY two who walked through the doors.  I think about how I can spend $50 at Boston Pizza, and see the waitress once during the order, and once during the obligatory ‘How is everything?’, spoken as she sails past the table.  Since joining my life to a granola like Birdman, I notice that the way he thinks about things has given me cause to re-examine my own opinons, or lack thereof.  He likes to rail on about Big Box stores, and the commercialization of nearly every life experience we have as humans.  He despises spending money on foreign products, and I have seen him check labels of dozens of shoes to find one that was made in North America, only to find none.  He really does try his best to make his dollar count in a global way, and as a casual observer who never thought that much about it, I have been ashamed at how little I do in my own life to shop locally and think globally.

It’s not that we don’t care about small business, but rather that we don’t really think about it.  When I consider a dinner out, my mind automatically goes to the larger, chain-type restaurants that are available in the area.  I don’t always consider the smaller restaurants and  bistros that often have better food, and cozier atmospheres.  It is true that some of these places might be a bit more expensive, but truly, we are talking about a dollar or two per entree, not dozens of dollars.  If I really stop to think about it, I have to admit that I am far happier to pay a bit more for a truly fantastic meal and experience, than save a few bucks and do what I always do.

I had Moroccan last night, and it was delicious!  I’ve never had anything like that, and I likely wouldn’t have if there had been dozens of choices of entrees, like at Kelseys, or Outback or whatever other big chain restaurant I visited.  I know I like the stuff at those places, because it’s all the same.  The sign outside is different, but the inside is just a differently packaged box that I am already very familiar with.

A good idea, plus there's boobs for the fellas...

Baby, you are rubbing off on me, in a good way.  I am trying harder to spend my money in ways that do more than just help me out.  I want to support small businesses, who struggle to compete in a global arena.  I like feeling good about where I put my money, and more importantly, where I don’t put it.   As soon as I tasted that delicious salad, I knew I had to tell as many people as I could about this fantastic jewel of a restaurant, tucked into our very own downtown.  If you haven’t heard of it, now you know.  Tell Joey and Annie that I sent you.  😉

 

Don’t let them pave paradise and put up a parking lot,

 

Mrs. Birdman

PS. If you have a great restaurant, or business that really impresses you, let us know!  We need to share the word and give people lots of chance to try new businesses that really need local support!)