Comfortable Minimalism

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Their lovely fully sustainable home! What a dream.In the days building up to the official release of the blog, Jon and I took a break and went to visit my aunt and uncle, who own a farm on the Niagara Escarpment. Since we had both been working long hours in addition to spearheading a number of new projects, we were thrilled at the opportunity to spend some time outdoors, in great company. And since they have a forest on their property, and a beautiful hand built tree house, I know Jon was also secretly hoping to sneak in a little tree climb here and there. Oh, my not-so-little monkey!

 The night before, I baked a paleo chocolate raspberry torte (an adaptation of Primal Palate’s new recipe – we love their blog!) as a treat for all of us. My aunt and uncle are a super cool couple - they read Wheat Belly a few months ago, adopted it completely with success, and are now easing their way into ancestral health itself. So they were able to truly appreciate the torte. Horray!

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Jon with the BEAR!The day was spent on some fascinating discussions about food, all the while exploring the lovely town of Creemore nearby. I love farmers markets! - Particularly when everything is local, organic, and clearly grown/made with love. I picked up some dried juniper berries for the fermentation spree I am planning this summer (posts to come), and Jon hung out with either a bear or a dog (the breed is called Leonberger. I’m taking notes for the future). Or maybe it was both. Cute though.

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The highlight was a trip to the 100 mile store – a cooperative venture that sells only local products. Needless to say, we were in heaven! Grass fed meat, organically grown veg, chocolate, and natural, handmade products galore. It really made me wish we had something similar in each town. Jon and I are blessed to live near Nature’s Emporium (our other home! They should have a cot there just for us), but nonetheless it would be great to see local farmers and artisans getting more support in communities.

 After the torte had been DEMOLISHED (and seriously, I am not exaggerating), courtesy of the gentlemen, we sat outside of their newly built, and perfectly energy efficient home. I think this gave us both the opportunity to really reflect on the lives these two people had chosen to build for themselves. As I mentioned, they recently built this home (+organic garden. Exciting) and it is a marvel, one of 2 or 3 such homes in all of Canada. Not only is it "green", but beautiful in its simplicity. Open, wooden, and uncluttered. Minimalist. And yet warm, cozy, and with an atmosphere of care and love. So comfortable. The true definition of a Home.

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 My uncle shared with us their journey, and conclusions they have come to on the importance of quality versus quantity; sadly a distinction that is only now starting to be made in our societyI AM IN LOVE with the KITCHEN!. Quality being quality of food, or building materials, or products, other possessions, and quantity being a nest-like accumulation of stuff that I know I have been guilty of in the past. The simple truth is, hard as you try, you cannot hide forever in all this “stuff”. In my mind, the answer is found in mindfulness – the simple and yet profound activities like cooking as a family, or hiking, crafts, writing, art. Sure, we need some stuff. But wanting with abandon and needing are two different things. My father always used to say that there is nothing wrong with wanting something, it’s a very natural feeling, (perhaps even an evolutionary compulsion), however, it is when we allow this to rule us that we run into trouble.

 This is an approach that we as a couple are trying to employ in our lives. It is challenging sometimes, when we fall into old ego driven patterns, stumble, and lose our way. But that’s what family is all about. We help each other up, and move forward with new purpose and direction, and over time we discover that this wanting no longer has power over us. We grow, we mature, we bring each other happiness, and keep learning…Slowly making our way towards a comfortable minimalism, where we have all that we need, and find joy in it.

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  - Barbara

A token pic of us! HELLO WORLD!