Saturday, December 25, 2010

New Job, New Apartment, New life?

Its been a while, yet in that a while a lot has happened. Ain't that always the case?

Before I start rambling, I want to say, Merry Christmas!! I hope you all are having (or will soon) a relaxing, enjoyable time with the family and friends. I love spending time with my family at christmas time, for some reason we always, more or less, get along. The trick now is, how can we extend this to all year?

Within the past month or so a lot has happened in my life, I started a new job at an environmental consulting firm (Enviro-Stewards), got my own fabulous studio loft apartment, and launched my cookie business! So I am rolling in the new, shiny life and its great, however as a result I have had very little time, and what little time I do have, I somehow just dwindle away doing nothing really at all, do any of you have that problem?

brunch celebrating Lisa's birthday, this happened before I a working lady with no free time on my hands...

The job is great, currently its only an internship, but who knows what it will evolve into, whatever happens in the future, the present is pretty awesome. I have learned a lot in terms of the operating system of buildings, where energy losses can normally be located, what calculations and proposals to make for change, and what goes into writing a report. I have also been able to visit a lot of different manufacturing facilities, often feeling as though I am on some tv show that dives into how random things are made...thats me!

The new apartment is pretty rock star too! The ceilings are crazy high, like, church high! Seriously, if you don't believe me you should come check it out, its crazy! Its in a co-op so the idea is that it is more social, and, although I have said hi to a few people in the hallways, there's not a whole lot of social, but apparently that is all trying to be changed! Its really nice though, and I love living on my own, its nice to come home after a long day and just cook, eat, sit, read. That is essentially (well maybe some sleeping, meditating, and crafting now and then) all I do in my apartment! LOTS of cooking and eating! Yum.

"Traditional" cookies, packaged and ready for their eater!

Finally, to tie in with the cooking, my cookies business. Although its still a little baby, it has been launched, which, was somewhat successful. Not as successful as hoped, but a lot of people got introduced to the cookies, and I came away with some really great feedback. I am hopeful and excited about the future of these cookies. After the launch (for which I made 200 cookies with one baking tray! CRAZY I know!) I kinda went in pause/rest mode for the cookies, just in terms of making more dough, getting the word out there, etc., which is not very strategic, but you gotta look out for yourself right? However, soon, the cookies, will get reeved back up, so WATCH OUT!!

And now, here we are, its christmas! How did we get here? I really don't know. Its been a crazy year, full of transitions, changes, disappointments, surprises, successes, joy, and love. I have really loved it all, and although I perhaps didn't at the time, I appreciate all that I have gone through this year. I can't wait to reflect on the year, but that will be my next entry in a week or so (hopefully!!)!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Biking the countryside

As I am currently not working I tend to have a lot of time on my hands. Which is nice, but also induces crazy spells at times. I can only do so much reading, cooking, and eating before I get antsy (or explode!), which is where biking comes in.

As an already avid runner, I have been alternating my running with biking, which is nice because
a) takes pressure off knees and works on strengthening other muscles,
b) you get to go really fast down hills which is fun
c) I get to escape the city and roam the countryside.

During these roaming adventures I always make it a priority to snap 2 photos. So I thought I would share. I have biked out to conestogo, elmira, cambridge, hidelburg, and all around waterloo and kitchener. So these photos are from all over!


my bike!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Attack of Canning!

Sorry its been so long. I am back in Waterloo now, trying to find a job...if you read this and know of an opportunity in the Sustainable development/environmental education industry give me a shout. Now that I am done my shameless cry for help, I thought I would share my weekend of chopping, stewing and canning...still to continue tonight, just taking a break now.

In the past two days I cut tomatoes, onions, garlic, apples, apples, peppers, peppers, peppers, and more peppers. As my first canning adventure I am sure it took longer then it would those experienced, but it was fun! It gave me time to watch the second transformers movie, listen to dharma talks, and just be. While being I made Apple Chutney (recipe from All About Canning and Preserving), green tomato salsa (recipe from and tonight I will be making spicy pepper salsa!

Apple chutney stewing away

So far I have 18 jars of goodness...unfortunately the canning pot is not big enough for bigger jars, which makes it somewhat difficult (broke a jar that touched the bottom of the hot pot last night). Its been fun though, and I now know why people become obsessed with canning, why homemade jams are so expensive (it takes a lot of time!), and how much work goes into eating only local and preserving the harvests!

Keep it real! Breath, and think about all those peppers that are still out there waiting for you to cut, if you so desire!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Dorje

Yesterday I left Dorje Denma Ling, the buddhist meditation retreat center I had been working at as the head cook for the past month. It was really hard. There were several times yesterday that I had to stop myself from randomly crying in public. I made some really good connections with people that I will really miss.

What made it so great?

1. the people
2. the beautiful area: the trees, the beach, the waterfall, gris mill, octoberfesting!!

3. the atmosphere and daily meditation practices
4. good times in the kitchen
5. the hoola hoop i made and used and forgot there
6. seeing deers on my runs
7. picking wild apples whenever I walked or ran anywhere

8. the crickets that got everywhere
9. movie watching
10. dance parties
11. Changes in myself that i experienced

I'll end there, I could go on forever, but I wont. Although I sad to be gone, I am happy it happened, and excited for what the future has in store.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My New Etsy Account

Hey Everyone!

I just created an Etsy account to sell my jewelry, Rubbish Jewelry (hyperlinked to Etsy store), online, currently only in Canada though.

If you have any suggestions on how I can make it better or publicize let me know, this is all new to me! Also, I have added a link to it as a permanent feature to my blog, so you can always access it at your convenience.

Thanks guys and gals!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Trip to Cape Breton

Slackin Tricia is back! Sorry its been so long since my last post!

I am back at the buddhist retreat center and doing great. Today is a day off for me, so after I finish writing this I am going to take off for a run. It has officially become fall here, and its cold, but wonderful.

Lucy and I on a walk to the falls

I spend pretty much every day in the kitchen making meals, cookies, and experimenting with Lucy! Its really great, because we always have way too much fun to call it work. I have already made 3 types of really yummy cookies, and I am trying to figure out a fourth that is gluten free but still yummy, I tried using cocoanut flour the other day but it didn't work so well. If anyone knows any suggestions please let me know!

Beautiful Cape Breton

Last week I went on a trip to Cape Breton with a guy up here at the center. It was so beautiful, Cape Breton is ridiculously beautiful. Everywhere I looked I laughed at how gorgeous it was, it was out of control.

Assembly of Scare Crows we stumbled upon

Destination for our long hike, grey skies, but still pretty

We went on a 20 km hike on the second day of our hike, which was long, very up and downy, but also amazing! Unfortunately the guy I was with got bit 7 times by yellow jackets, out of control eh?! We saw 2 rock whales, and there were cows grazing along the planes by the ocean. There was also these really cool separations of salt water from fresh water everyone, it was neat. The sky was also extraordinarily beautiful! I will let the photos speak for themselves.

Free School

Again, this is a flash back post.

The last weekend of august, was free school at the Waldergrave Farm, and it was some pretty neat stuff. The concept of free school is to encourage learning from one another for free. to take away the price-tag of knowledge and promote the idea that we all have something to teach one another, and to learn from one another. To encourage open and free communication. It was great, although you may think it would be a hippie-fest, it wasn't, there were people from all different backgrounds and areas of expertise, and although most of us had similar ideals, there was definitely a lot of learning and growing from one another.

I held a jewelry workshop, which went well, although somewhat ambushed by another avid jewelry maker, but the more the merrier, right? It was so inspiring to see all the funky stuff people made using bottle caps and other materials, it definitely was inspirational for me!

Other then the workshop I help I also went to a workshop about forestry gardening, conservative politics, how to make a hoola hoop (of which i have already made one), using food as public space awareness tool, and the freedom to choose when it comes to having an aborition in Canada. All of the workshops were really interesting and opened my mind to subjects and opinions I dont normally think about.

Other then the workshops I ate some AMAZING food (most of the produce being from the farm), met and networked with some really inspiring people, and had a lot of fun dancing, watching movies, hoola hooping, learning how to make a hamic, and just chatting with others.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Crazy week of Looking for Job and Soul in Halifax

This is kinda a looking into the past post. I do realize it is September 1st, do you?! How crazy time flies eh?! But this post is about August 15th to August 26th, my 10 days in halifax where I scrambled around trying to find a job.

Within the 10 days I think I put out at least 40 job applications, thats a lot! Well I felt like it was a lot. Every place that had a "We're Hiring" sign I walked into and offered my resume, even places that didn't have a sign! Yet no response. I'm either over educated or under-qualified, it sucks being a university grad sometimes. However, I did get an interview, but no cigar, since I was a university grad it made no sense that I wanted to work in retail, I was unrealible, OBVIOUSLY! So I spent many days unhappy with this unjust world, however I was surprised as how many days I did spend with good spirits under my wings.

Amongst all the job applying madness I did fit in some wonderful times though. Everyday I frequented a cafe or resturant, usually for coffee, but a few times I did buy dessert, breakfast, or lunch. This provided me with a little sampling of halifax's finest joints, and let me tell you, there are some pretty cool places. And also every cafe you do go to, you can totally get fair trade coffee! Woot! Some of my favorite places where Java Blend for an everyday, cheap cup of fair trade goodness, Fred. where its classy and slick (good place for a date or interview, plus also a hair salon seems random but somehow works), The Good Food Emporium where the vibe is chillin and they have lots of veggie/vegan options for breakfast and lunch (although I would advise against the vegan french toast, i got it and it was not good), and The Wooden Monkey which is an awesome friends/family/date place with great vegan pizza and tofu-chocolate cheesecake (best seller even amongst non-vegans!).

Aside from cafe/resturant hoping I did spend some time reading and writing and contemplating my lowly existence. well, not lowly, but my existence. I do have a lot of options, I think the most nerve racking thing for me is not having anything set in apartment, job, team, sig. other, etc. so its all open, but there is also no responses coming back! So I wrote poetry, of which I posted one earlier on my blog.

I learned how to hoola hoop! it was pretty rock star. I just built one today and am practicing and learning tricks.

I went on some great runs. across the bridge. around areas I had never been before. Seeing many friends on my runs too...Halifax is big but small, and thats coming from someone who doesnt even live there!!!

I got to meet up with a few friends at different occasions for lunch, coffee, and going out dancing. It was great to find that even in Halifax, a place thats not mine, I can still have some what of a social life. And it was great to see how easily I met new people and made connections with people that just a few days ago were complete strangers. Some of these people were just friends, while others I met and networked through for job/career related reasons and they were all amazing!

I got to visit the new farmers market, which has its ups and downs, but being a market, was still a great time for me. I discovered a vendor selling vegan cinn. buns so I bought one, and some fair trade coffee for breakfast along with some veggies, lentils, and local tofu for my following week. It was perfect! I also tried a sample of lavendar scone which was delicious.

Finally, although no one showed up, I had two jewelry workshops. Fairly depressing that no one showed, but it did give me some time to work on my stuff.

So that was my crazy 10 days of job serious job hunting were pretty awesome, full of randomness in Halifax! Then I was off to Freee School...which I will write about soon...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Story/Poem

This past week, although all of my time has been dedicated to scoping out jobs (still no success) here in Halifax, I have also had some time to sit and write in my journal and/or read. I find while walking I do a lot of smiling and also see a lot of smiling go round, thus I wrote this story/poem. It is dedicated to my dad!

My Story of Smiles

My dad would tell me, when your sad just smile anyways
"BUT I'M NOT HAPPY" I would exclaim
"Just try it, it helps."

As if my dad would try to tell me what to do, but I listened
It hurt to smile at first
I felt as if my face was lieing
Why should my face whisper lies to unsuspecting passer byers?

Yet I continued, and the years passed as I continued in silence:
"Hi I feel like shit, let me whisper lies of happyness into your ears"
But slowly these lies became reality

Less days were shitty and more were sunny
My smile began to trump the shit
Shit was turned to gold

The best part of it all?
When I smile at you, you smile back!

Thanks dad for keeping me smiling, even when I didn't want to! Random post, but I hope you all enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Canadian Roots Trip

Two days ago I arrived back in Halifax from the Canadian Roots trip, a week long trip on which we traveled across Nova Scotia visiting three different aboriginal, Mi'kmaq, reservations. It was an amazing experience, and now that I have had some time to rest and really digest the trip it was even better. The group traveling consisted of 9 "youth", ranging from 19 to over 30 years old, and an employee from Queens who was algonquin and something else which I forget. The group in it self was so diverse, consisting of aboriginal people, jews, catholics, religiously confused, people from Singapore, and lots of experience traveling all over the world.

When visiting the communities I was constantly blown away by the generocity of the hosts/hostess. They always had things planned for us to do, were more then happy to answer our constant borage of questions, and often played games or changed their schedules around to accomodate us. We were fed, housed and toured around. The trip really taught me about the hospitality and generocity of human kind, and how powerful it is to approach one another with open hearts and a smile. It makes all the difference. We are all just trying to find happyness, and its so much easier to do so if we listen to eachother and work together instead of against one another. I can't wait to settle down so that I too may return that favor and be the gracious host that I have been blessed with so many times on my summer adventures.

Now for some things that I observed which perhaps were not so delightful. First of all, being vegan, I was constantly aware of the close relationship that the mi'kmaq people, and aboriginals in general, have with the use of animals. This was constantly difficult for me to face, especially when their reasoning was that the animals give themselves to us to use and/or it is tradition. Not to say that I think they are wrong, I understand their point of view, yet times change. It is also tradition to live in tippees or wooden lodges, yet that does not still occur. So I don't see how the "tradition" excuse can hold, especially when all aboriginal people I met don't just eat responsible hunted meat but also factory farmed chicken, beef, eggs, and milk. I think the ways of the ancestors can be respected without blindly adopting them. It also makes me sad to see the extremely high rate of obesity amongst the aboriginal people. Almost everyone was either overwieght or obese, most likely due to their lack of exercise and diet of refined carbs, meat, and junk food. Although it is not always the peoples fault, since their food access is often mainly junk food, it is definately something that I think needs to be addressed and changed. Everyone drives everywhere in these communities, which is not only detremental to their health but also bad for the environment. Finally, on the whole trip I only met one mi'kmaq person who did not smoke. Again the health.

Now that I have made that extreme rant, please don't interpret it as me saying "looking at how horrible these people are", thats not it at all. Rather, it is me observing and feeling concerned for the health and wellbeing of these beautiful, generous people that I met. During the trip they opened their arms to allow us to participate in a sweat, learn traditional games, attend a pow-wow, help maintain a brook essential to the salmon population, chat, play games, go on nature hikes, learn about traditional medicines, and learn how to make a dream catcher.

Thank you, and if any of them ever come to where I will live one day (currently unknown), I will be more then happy to welcome them and teach them about my culture.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Leaving the Shambala Retreat Center in Sadness

Its crazy how fast the past 3 weeks went by? I guess time flies when you are having fun! I have had a great 3 weeks at the DDL, the shambala buddhist retreat center in Nova Scotia. I met so many amazing people, both those I worked with, and others just part of the community, and I was spoiled with amazing nature, being able to go off for a run through the woods with a high probability of a deer sighting, is something I have gotten used to.

Before coming to the center I had no idea Shambala even existed, but now I feel like I am almost part of the community. I participated in morning practice, a 1.5 hr practice of chanting, sitting meditation, and a little walking meditation. At first i didn't do the chants and would only sit for 30min but by the end i was doing the chants (and was disappointed when i missed them) and sat for the whole thing! I actually really loved it too. I hope I can keep up some sort of daily practice in my life as I venture out into the none DDL (not DNL, sorry for the typo in my last post) world. While at DDL I found this place of peace, love, and playfulness in me, which I know has always been there, but was burried benieth so much stress, anxiety, and other rubble before that it was hard to find. I intent to continue to let this amazing place shine!

At DDL I had the amazing oppurtunity of meeting some really great people. And it was great to realize that no ones perfect, not even buddhists, and everyone at meditation centers arnt always happy, so its ok in the real world to not always be happy too. I know this seems obvious, but I think we often think that we need to be happy all the time and when we arnt we get down on our selfs (at least I used to and still do sometimes) which just makes things worse. Its so important to just accept ourselves as who we are, and rather then hate on ourselves, try to understand where these feelings come from, what reactions do they motivate, and how can these reactions be changed. Finding that place inside ourselves that holds compassion and love for ourselves and others is so important. Once I find this place its funny how things that could make me angry, could and do also make me laugh.

This past week was family camp at DDL! It was really great to have all the kids and energy around to add life and excitment to the retreat center. I went to two workshops, one on japanese flower aranging (since a lot of the asthetic traditions from shambala are adopted from Japanese trends) and needle point felting (super cool, I bought a needle from Angela)! I also lead a workshop in found objects jewelry making! The kids were great and I am totally going to miss them. They actually made me think that perhaps I want to work kids into my career path, since I really enjoyed working with them, and others commented on it as well!

All and all I am seriously missing DDL. I have been in withdrawl all day. I miss hanging out and cooking for others in the kitchen, i miss running through the forests and country side, I miss starring up at the stars, I miss the deep conversations. I miss so much, especially the people. I learned so much from DDL, something about the culture of shambala just clicks with me.

By the way, sorry about the lack of photos in this post, and perhaps the next one, I lost my camera at DDL, although its been found, so hopefully you wont be too long without visuals!

Monday, July 26, 2010

DNL Buddhist Retreat Center

Hey friends and family,

Today is monday, signifying one week since I arrived at the Shambala Buddhist retreat center. The fact that I remember how to say and spell Shambala means a lot! It took be at least 3 days to accomplish that, it used to be "S....ala... Buddhism"!!

Mondays are always days off here, so I spent the day just bumming around. Its pretty isolated, and I had hoped to go to the beach with a few of the others who work/volunteer here, however they left before I emerged, so alas I was stranded. But no worries, it was a good day! It meant I was able to sleep in (we had a workshop here for the past 4 days, and then last night a few of us had a lagit. dance party, more on that later) till 10am!! I was pretty proud of myself for that. Go for a run that nearly killed me, I am not a morning runner, and do some reading and e-mailing.

I also walked down to the waterfall where there is a fish feeder thing, I am not sure quite how it works, well I have a guess, but if anyone knows I would love to hear from you. I included a photo below.
The fish thing at the falls

I am reading a book about Siddartha right now, the book is non-fiction, but its still a good read to get a better idea of the general idea of the beginning of Buddhism. I just finished Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh, which was fabulous! His philosophy just resonated so well with me! He is Zen Buddhist for those of you not up to date on your Buddhism types! Similar to how there are many different types of christianity, there are also many different types of Buddhism.

The people at the center here are really great. I have had some amazing conversations with both staff and participants of the past workshop that took place here. Everyone is super open and happy to answer my never ending supply of questions too: "Why does your flag look like that?", "Why does Shambala buddhism have a leader?", "why do you chant during practice (communal meditation sessions)?", "Why do some of the chants refer to Lords and Gods? I don't like that!", and so on! I will let you know when some cracks, but I really don't think that will happen, its such a warm and friendly atmosphere that promotes doulbt rather then blind acceptance, which I love!
DJ spin that track!

So back to the dance party, one of the staff here who just arrived here from Kentucky a few days before I did, is a DJ, so we have been wanting to rock a dance party for a long time, and last night was the night! He set up all his equipment in the office and we (him and several other staffers including myself) rocked it out! It was great fun and we were all sweating buckets! It was great to break the stereotype that even I have that Buddhists are always so chilled our and peaceful sitting crossed legged creatures, hells no! Well, at least not last night!

Moving and Grooving

I have been rocking the meditation though. I meditate for at least an hr everyday here, which is great! I really enjoy it, and the other day I laughed randomly during meditation which was super awesome! I feel like there is a little kid in me here! I have been smiling and laughing so much's like my happier state that was always lurking below all the stressness that formed with school is starting to emerge again! That may sound a little cheesy but whatever, ROck on!

Hope your all doing well, and as always, I love hearing from you all, even about your "boring" lives, which really aren't boring for me! Peace Love and Happiness.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hiking the Bay of Fundy

So I have a lot to update with, however I think I am going to split it in to two posts, this one detailing the adventures of my hike along the Bay of Fundy and the next one about Dorjl Denma Ling center I arrived at today.
Me ready to face the wild

So the hike consisted of 8.5km on saturday to our camp site and 8.5 km back on sunday. Initially Serena's uncle, Bo, was hoping for us to hike 17 km to another campsite...thank god we didn't do that! hah!

So we started off with a ridiculous amount of equipment, Serena's uncle being an army man that has done a lot of hiking made sure we were prepared for LITERALLY ANYTHING!!! And food consisted of instant chili and oatmeal and trail mix...NO LIE!! It was slightly painful, however I did discover, thanks to Bo and his wife some delicious tea, Good Earth, that they had and is apparently only sold in the US, so I brought lots of that. SOO good, its like a drug! If anyone goes to the states, please bring me back some!

We also discovered raspberry and gooseberry bushes by the campsite, so Serena and I did a lot of berry picking, which I was already trained for after living/working on a farm for 2 weeks! The hike was pretty awesome, the views were gorgeous, and even when we were surrounded by bush I felt like I was in a postcard. There were times were you would walk through 3 different "lands", as Serena and I referred to them: Jurassic park land, fairy land, and hobbit land. The fog at the campsite was also unbelievable.
Fog on beach at campsite

So at the start of the hike my pack was wicked bad hurting, think digging into my hips and slowly ripping away my skin, thanks to the absolutely horrible packs that apparently Serena's parents used to hike across Canada, I don't know how they did it! So after a few painful minutes I decided to switch packs with Robbie (serena's boyfriend), who had a good pack, it did miracles, although now Robbie was stuck with the shitty pack, a bad shoulder, and a bad knee. I felt just slightly pampered...but they said I should switch, so what's a girl to do?!
On the trail on the second day

While at the campsite I played cribbage with Serena and her uncle and won both watch out, there's a new champ in town, although they did put up a fight. no braggin. After we returned the guy at the interpretive center was apparently hitting on me (my stinky, sweaty, dirty self), which was sweet...never had that before! So you boys, just remember, it does make a girl feel good, esp. when she smells bad. Then we had dinner waiting for us which involved tons of veggies (YES!!!)! We were spoiled by Serena's aunt and grandparents.

It was a great hike, thanks so much for having me Serena!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Saying Goodbye to the First Farm

I have already spend 1 week at Bantry Bay, 2 days left and I am pretty excited but also super nervous about the future. Why? Because I used to have nothing planned for next week, however i just recieved an email from this budhist retreat center that I can go live and volunteer there for the next few weeks. I am super pumped, because that is something I have been wanting to do for a while, plus I will be volunteering in the kitchen! So I will keep you posted on that.

The sad part about that is that I am not going to PEI, which is what I was really trying to swing. But I guess that will also be there for next time. Can't do everything, which I have learned on other adventures too.

So this farm has definately been a learning experience. I have held chickens (that are now sadly dead due to a wessle that ate there heads! Gross eh?!), harvested, cleaned and bunched a plentiful of veggies, weeded, cleaned dishes, cooked, sold veggies at the market, and hitch hiked! All of these were first on some scale or another for me. Along with this I have been able to go on some beautiful runs(of which I wanted to go on today, but I only finished work at 7pm, and now i am tired and lazy), read, chilled by the water, contemplated my future too much, watched a few movies, and done a bit of knitting and jewelry making. However, as a WWOOFer I have also felt somewhat out of place and on the outside here at the farm. I have fell into this quite zone of me, which is very interesting indeed. I don't really feel like I belong here, yet I am so grateful for all that I have been given and the experiences and knowledge that I have gained from the time spent here.

So where to next? Well this weekend I am off for a hike, which i am somewhat concerned about (I hope its not too intense) with my friend and her uncle and boyfriend. Her uncle apartly is a hardcore outdoorsyer, hiked in Tibet and elsewhere, so we will see. We are starting in St. Martin and from there hiking the Bay of Fundy...I dont really know whats happening....Then on monday if everything works out I am heading to the Buddhist center! I will hopefully we there for 3 weeks until I head to the tofu production place. Then at the end of August there is a workshop thing I am planning on going to called Free School...sounds really cool.

Know what else is cool? Community Share Restaurants, you should check them out. I am seriously considering them for my future. But everyday I seriously consider something new, so who knows! Miss you all! Don't hesitate to shoot me a comment or e-mail, they seriously make my day!

Peace out.

Monday, July 5, 2010

In New the farm!

Arrived at the farm just outside of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, yesterday. I havn't really done much yet, helped harvest and wash some radishes this morning and now i am sitting at the dinning room table, while we all have breakfast. (Correction to is not tuesday, and since yesterday breakfast i have washed the radishes, washed and picked through lettuce, wieghed and bunched beet greens for the CSA bags, picked off A LOT of potato bugs and unfortunately there poo too from the potato plants, picked strawberries, washed a lot of dishes, made fruit crisp, and thinned out carrots)

So the farm is essentially a vegetable farm, there are 2 chickens, of which i got to hold one this morning, which they have for eggs but not for meat. They essentially keep the chickens as pets, but eat the bi-products, being the eggs. As a vegan I actually have no moral problem with this seeing how the chickens are raised and loved. There are 5 other people, plus a 2 week old baby on the farm as well. So this is my new home, at least for the next week.

So The past few days i was chillin in Fredricton with my friend Serena, it was pretty awesome, quite an experience. First of all, considering Serena and I (friends from Shad Valley) hadn't seen eachother for 5 years, it was pretty sweet to actually see eachother, chat, reminise, and just hang. We strolled around fredricton, made some sweet phymo jewelry, went to Tree-go (which is this awesome obstacle course thing in the trees, cool as a demo of how to make money without having to destroy the forest), and did so much more!

Sorry no photos again, I tried to load them, but the internet on the farm has limited bandwidth, so no visuals...use your imagination!

New Brunswick is an interesting place. The people are soo friendly, and the scenary is gorgious, but the people are not what i would call healthy. in fact, serena was telling me that it has the highest obesity rate in canada, and you sure can see that when you look at the people around you. Its pretty upsetting, the lifestyle choices that are happening here, especially when there is so much farming and ways to be active all around them.

So here i am, im pretty quiet on the farm right now, sometimes feel a little awkward and out of place as i try to find how and where i fit in with the productions. being my first time working in the field, doing wwoofing, in the maritimes, i am a hardcore newby, but you got to start somewhere! Well, back to to work i go!

ps. one of the guys here just put on some bread (ie through ingredients into a breadmaker)...home cooked goodness

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pictures from Hali

Sorry for the lack of pictures on the previous post, I had lost my camera (to the bottom of my bag) and couldn't add any pictures, but alas the missing camera has been found! SO I hope you enjoy the few photos I am including here, they are all from Halifax, although now I am in Fredericton, so stay tuned for new adventures!

Me saluting my audience

Friends by the harbor

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Maritimes Adventures-Halifax!!

Having left for Halifax on June 24th its only been 4 days here, yet I feel like its been soo much longer. Right now I am slightly delirious from over eating at a Hare Krishna gathering in Halifax where we watched a play dealing with the issue of "lonelyness", which was actually really amazingly done, chanted/danced for a hr, and ate some absolutely rock-star food. All of the monks dress in orange, although I am currently unaware of why the colour orange is used, perhaps someone reading this knows, if so please comment and let me know!

Other then Hare Krishna today was spent watching the FIFA game england against germany, woot the germany winning, and working on job stuff at starbucks next to my ginormous free soy frapachinno. Oh I also went for a run and yet again got lost! The weather today was gorgious!

there are soo many graveyards in Hali, its crazy! There are also a lot of public green spaces which I love too. The other day when I went out for a run I was trying to find this park, but I ended up hitting a graveyard with lots of Titanic victims buried there. Until today I had no idea that Halifax was the closest place to the Titanic disaster, as a result most of the bodies were brought and buried in Halifax! There is so much history in this city. What else? Let me tell you!

So I leave for Fredericton tomorrow after an action packed week in Hali. Other then Sunday with the Soccer game and Hare Krishna gathering, I also walked a lot through gardens and graveyards, went for 3 beautiful runs, visited the maritimes museum where i learned that Theodore the tug boat is from Halifax, who knew?! I also edited and updated my resume which i handed out to many places in Hali, visited the amazing farmers market where I sampled raw chocolate, bought strawberries and peas, a vegan muffin, lots of soy products from this local production which i may WWOOF at later in the summer, yummy curry dip, some really good coffee(but it made me crazy), soup, and i think thats it! I also bought some pins and shampoo soap, there was soo much and it was in such a beautiful building! THe busking musicials were pretty amazing too. Other then the market I have eating a bunch of great meals, weather it be cooked by me, or others at potlucks or free Hare Krishna food, or at one of the two restaurants i went to, i definitely have not been food deprived. We also enjoyed some shesha on the porch, had some deep philosophical discussions, and per usual I had a few freak outs about my future!

What else?! Well, I also went to the pub last night with Liz to see an amazing fiddler, just reg. business for thems maritimers, rockin it out on the monday night, and a few of the ppl in the audience got up and did the jig too! SOo cool! This weekend was also an aboriginal festival, so we saw some singing, drumming, dancing, and demos of traditional mikquaw (prob. spelt that wrong...sorry!) lives!

Liz and I have also played a few intense cribbage games, thats right, she converted me, I am a follower now. So who ever is interested, lets play! Well, I'm going to end here, tomorrow I plan on going to Sentinel Hill before catching my bus to Fredericton, for some more adventure I'm sure!

Miss everyone, hope your lives are fun filled and exciting! Can't wait to hear from you via email, facebook, or comments on this post!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Third and Last Post from Trois-Pistoles

Last post in Trois-Pistole. Today is the last Monday I have here. I am sitting my Madame Hostess’ kitchen, at her dining room table typing this. I really should be going to sleep, cuz I’m super tired, but I’m not. Soon…

Liz, Roslyn and Steve licking up the water at a sexy fountain in Quebec City

Before typing this I read and looked up words I didn’t understand the dedication of “Le Petit Prince”, a children’s book in French that I bought today to provide me with something to use to work on my French after I leave TP. As the end nears it has been a good experience, although extraordinarily tough. I have found a new respect for French, and I love the artisticness of Quebec culture, although don’t love so much the unhealthiness of the traditionally food. Very few ppl in Quebec are veggie, and the staples are poutine, processed meat and beer…at least from what I have experienced! However, there also does seem to be a love for “veggie pate” in Quebec, which I’m down with.

It has been raining and shitty weather for the past 3 days which is rough on my mental well being. I need to be outside, especially here in TP, but we have been spoiled with gorgeous weather for the 3 weeks prior to this one. I leave this Friday, and although exciting, I am sad to leave the St. Lawrence and all my new friends! But new adventures are already being formed; I plan to catch a plane to Halifax at the end of June to WWOOF on farm(s) for a few months! Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Still in Trois-Pistole

Hello there!

Another update from TP (aka Trois Pistole)! Commencing the third week here I am approaching mid-way point, and although there has been definitely a lot of great things about the experience and program I am also excited to be almost midway done! Why? Well…let me start at the bottom(bad) and work my way up to the top(good).


  1. being paralyzed and trapped in language that you suck at! Although I am getting better I am still not very good and can’t be my self, communicate my desires, or take control of my life when I can only speak French. I see how hard it must be for immigrants in Canada who don’t speak English very well, and why they flock together to speak their mother tongue whenever they get a chance!
  2. The food here sucks. Well, ok, perhaps that’s SLIGHTLY harsh, it could be worse, but its definitely lacking. For example tonight was “spagetti” however the tomato sauce was more like tomato water with a few pumpkin and sunflower seeds in it with ice burg lettuce salad. Who likes iceburg lettuce salad, really, who?! The food hardcore lacks nutrition and paluability, but much to my shirgrin I have grown used to it…can’t wait to come home and be re-united with spices, fresh veggis, and cooked (rather then raw) tofu!
  3. Lastly for the whine fest, is …

Now for the Good:

  1. there are tons of super fun activies, such as tonight when I finished my sweet mask for the maskerade ball next Friday! Its made from bandage plaster and painted and I love it.
  2. weekly movie nights, although in French, its still pretty sweet to aller, and its at the school aditorium, so its like going to the movie theatre for free. This week was this crazy messed up movie with this guy that fantasized about women…
  3. Although class kills me every morning, I am happy to have it and to be learning. I do love learning, yes I am a nerd, and I am happy to be one. I am so grateful for the sun though, when we have our breaks and I am able to sit outside with my friends in the sun on the grass. Ok, computer about to die, that’s all for now.
  4. meeting lots of really interesting other people from all over Canada! We all seem to have such diverse lives its really awesome! This weekend there was a trip to quebec city that I went on and it was absolutely fabulous to have a break to speak English and actually get to know one another…and to be in a big city. And what a beautiful city, its like your in Europe, so many ppl out and beautiful architecture! Ahhh!!!
  5. the gorgeous exterior here! Just spend 2.5 hrs outside tonight biking and sitting and journaling and its so calming and grounding. I love it!
  6. although I don’t think I could do a small town, I love the community feel of it. Everyone saying hi to others as you walk, recognizing people, etc. although annoniminity is nice sometimes…but I guess when that is wanted is when you go off for bike rides in the woods!
  7. I also love the water. I have found my sole mate, the ocean.

I could go on, but I will stop here! The experience is a challenge, and its got its bads, but also its goods. And its important to keep the goods bright and shinning, cuz those are what are really important (cheesy but I really thinks its true…although I have to remind my self of this!)!

Well, thanks for listening! 2 weeks left in Trois-Pistoles before I come home, I will try to make another post before I leave, but if not, desolate (sorry in French).

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Last Friday I set off to Northern Quebec, Trois-Pistoles to be more specific! I am spending the next 5 weeks here with 260 other University students from around Canada. Why would someone do such a thing you ask?? I have asked myself the same thing every day the past 3 days, but the reason remains, to learn French. I am here through the Explore Program which is a government funded program that promotes the learning of French by Anglifone students in Canada by providing an oppurtunity for us to travel to a French speaking area where we can only speak French for 5 weeks!

So here I am in Trois-Pistoles, the town of 3 200 people, yet it contains many suprises! 1st of all, there is a shopping mall, containing 5 stores (dollarama, Harts, Ardenes, a pharmacy, and a grociery store)!! I was so surprised that there was even a shopping mall, this is very exciting stuff! Also, the grociery stores (of which there are two!!) carry tofu, soymilk, and other fairly hippee-ish things, again the surprise!

We are on the St. Lawrence, so the weather here is pretty cold and crazy, although today was beautiful, clear skies and no rain that is. Unfortunately the food sucks, and I wish I could cook for myself, but alas the facilities are not available. I am learning to love the taste of raw tofu with peanut butter, something on a regular bases I wouldn't eat, but I need to get nutrition somewhere (I am constantly eating nuts and raisons during the day too). However, the lady that makes our food seems to be really happy to have us there to cook for.

Everyone here is super nice, both the towns people and the students, and I have met soo many people already, I can't believe its only Tuesday!! Yet being social is an extreme challenge when I can only speak French and my French is extremely limited!!!!

The picture above is of a concert I went to on my first night here, it was hip-hop-ish, but in French of course!! The guy singing is rapping, and he apparently is the mayors son. After him a group called Radio-Radio came on. Apparently they are famousish...also were very good! The concern was in an old blacksmith shop, which was pretty sweet! Well thats all for now mon aimee! this is a week late due to my shitty access to internet...but next time.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Epic Bike Ride to Guelph

Biking is fun, I love to bike around town, and even on mini-trips out of town, especially in Waterloo where we are spoiled by how close the scenic country-side is to the city. Bike for 20 minutes and you are in rolling hills farm land.
Enjoying the scenery after turning back from our 2nd wrong turn

Based on this love, a friend and myself decided to go on a long bike ride, and bike to Guelph to visit our friend for lunch. What started out happy and cheery ended exhausted, with ACHING bum muscles!!
Lynn re-fueling during our first picnic rest of the trip

Let me explain, the bike ride was suppose to be 35 KM, but after going the wrong way 3 times it ended up being 55 KM!! To make matters worse it was a very windy day, and we had to bike of 2 busy highways!! Plus, I think I now have several areas of sun-burness!! But we did get to guelph, ate delicious lunch at the Cornerstone, got to hang out with our friend, and walked half-asleep around for a while before my amazing parents picked us up saving us from having to ride all the way back to Waterloo.
We made it to Guelph!

It was fun, although slightly painful, and I DO look forward to doing it again, since next time we WONT get lost!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

KW Vegan Bake Sale

About a month ago (during exam time) I randomly decided to organize a vegan bake sale in Kitchener Waterloo as part of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale which occurs within the weeks of April 24th to May 7th all over the world.

Jacki and I working the table

When I made this decision I did not consider how it would pan out, but it was a great event! With the help from several friends we publicized, rounded up many bakers and recruited even more eaters, all to make an amazing day!!!
Muffins, Brownies and Baklava Hanging out with the flowers

All proceeds of the bake sale are going to the KW Humane Society, and after counting it all yesterday, it totaled $419.78!!Various Baked Goods

The Bake Sale was a great success, and I look forward to it becoming an annual Kitchener Waterloo event! Thanks to everyone who made the day ROCK!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Hey, so as I follow so many yummy foody blogs I decided to try to document the food I make/eat too! Although I have been failing horribly! We had a wonderful vegan easter dinner and I forgot to photograph any of it! Bahh, oh well, I did get a photo of a few of the left over desserts (recipe from VegNews), which were super yummy, after the dinner.

I have captured a few shots of fun times/food though, here they are:

A few weeks ago I went to guelph and we ate at Cornerstone, a yummy veg. resturant, and here I am with my wrap, I look like such a crazy hippie, I swear I don't always look THAT crazy!

This is a shot of a delicious lunch I made a few weekends ago, isn't it pretty?! Its fried silken tofu with a veggi/noodle stir-fry, YUM!

Here are the delicious desserts I made (recipe from VegNews) blending together soycreamer, cashews, liquer, oranges, and sugar, and freezing it! What more could you want?!

Hope you enjoyed, hopefully i get better at both remembering and the photo taking itself!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I love me!

Last night I spent time with me and it was glorious! I dont remember the last time i just dedicated a night to hanging out with me and not feeling guilty about not doing school work! It was great!

Even chopping vegetables had so much more enjoyment in it! There something to that concept where when we are constantly worrying about whats next that we forget to experience the moment, and the joy that every task (like chopping vegetables) has!

Not yesterday, but the day before, I also made some wonderful muffins with a little adaptation due to limited ingredients. The original recipe was from "Eating with Less" but of course I veganized it and changed it a bit based on what I had on hand. The muffins became Whole Wheat Rhubarb, Peanut Butter, Pinnapple!! Actually really good!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Why do we consume cows milk?

This has been a probing topic for me, and as I sit here, exploding from the fabulous grilled veggis/tempeh I just feverishly consumed (sorry no picture, however I really need to start documenting my food!) I ponder this dairy conundrum.

People tend to think that cows milk is a human right, we are suppose to drink it, I mean, after all, why else would cows produce it? But wait a second, why do humans produce milk? To feed new borns, that is why women are not constantly lactating, but rather they only lactate after pregnancy. Humans arn't cows, but we are both animals, and cows, similar to humans, only produce milk to feed their young. Thus to keep those cows producing the milk they have to be impreganted, and then their caves are taken away from them when they are only a few days old.

I know this may all sound a little extremist, but really, I'm not being extremist, even wikipedia talks about it: There you can learn about the hormones that are used too!

Wait, but isn't milk needed for calcium? Again, lets evaluate this concept. Calcium doesn't appear from no where, cows get it somewhere, and that SOMEWHERE is grass and green leafy vegetables. However, with factory farms, most cows don't get to eat such yummy green things, thus the diet of the cows are fortified with calcium. So, really, as long as we eat those green leafy veggis then we are getting what we need.

Whats more, drinking cows milk can actually, potentially reduce our calcium in our bones rather then increase it. Now this surly must be a lie right? I mean, we get plummet with all those "Drink Milk" ads all the time, its not a lie! Cows milk has a large amount of amino acids (acidic-ness) that your body needs to neutralize. Since calcium is a base, your body often draws calcium out of your bones to neutralize these amino acids. Plus, your bones need a lot more then just calcium, check out the msn health article! No she's not some radical vegan!

Well, I think I will end next time, think twice before reaching for that cows milk and opt for soymilk, almond milk, or even oats milk instead. It helps you, the cows, and the environment!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fair Trade Bananas

I have been wanting to post this article that I wrote in the summer for a while, so here it is:

Bananas: What is this fair-trade nonsense?

Someone stops you on the street and urges you to buy fair-trade, the activist tells you that by not drinking fair-trade coffee you are keeping thousands of people in poverty. What is going on? What are these people talking about?

When you walk into a store to buy your week’s worth of delicious, yummy, potassium rich fruit (which, by the way, are the 4th most important staple food in the world) you are faced with the decision to buy the standard, perhaps Dole brand, bananas for $0.59/lb, or you could buy the fair-trade (usually organic too) bananas for $0.85/lb, your thrifty side urges you to reach out for those Dole bananas…I mean come on they are cheaper! But lets take a moment to think about this decision. As citizens of the world, often the best way to get ourselves heard is where we put our money, so where is our money going when we buy the, say Dole, bananas? Well…

1. Currently 85% of the banana industry (including small farms and large plantations) are owned by 5 banana industries (Chiqueta, Dole, Del Monte, Noboa, and Fyffes)
2. In Costa Rica, a major banana growing country, there are 280 different pesticides approved to be used on bananas. This amounts to 44kg/hectare/yr of active pesticides being used, that’s 10 times the amount of pesticides used on agriculture in industrialized countries. These pesticides grossly contaminating both the environment and workers.
3. The run off from these pesticide saturated plantations kills millions of birds, animals, and fish in surrounding wetlands and coastal regions. The run off is so toxic because banana plantations are situated in tropical regions, where lots of rainfall occurs, thus resulting in 60-85% of the pesticides used actually leaching off into the water and surrounding environment.
4. However, environmental degradation doesn’t stop there, because these bananas industries are so large, they often have no means to properly deal with their organic wastes, which on smaller farms could be composted, thus it is thrown away, dumped in massive piles at the edges of plantations or rivers, killing more fish and animals.
5. Surprisingly, extreme amounts of plastic is used in the banana industry for encasing banana stalks for protection, and holding the stalks erect to not collapse from the weight of the bananas. Massive banana companies discard the plastic waste into the environment, choking and smothering many fish, birds, and turtles.

Okay, so you get the point, those $0.59/lb bananas aren’t so great for the environment, but what about the workers? Well…
1. Many of the major banana companies in South America having close ties with the government making it possible to manipulate the countries minimum wages and rules to ensure the company, not the workers, get most of the profit.
2. It is harder and harder to keep family farms, because banana producers pressure such farms to sell their land to the companies, using threats to make sure they abide. Commercial producers apply such stringent rules on small farms that farmers are often forced to turn to wage work on corporate plantations to survive.
3. As the commercial price of bananas continues to drop, workers are forced to work longer and longer hours. Often workers will work 12-14hrs a day, with no weekends or holidays.
4. To keep costs down, and wages low, commercial producers only offer 6 month or fewer contracts, making income very unstable for the workers. This makes it impossible to save money for the future or invest in education with no stable income.
Hmm, well, you decide that maybe you should reach for the fair-trade bananas, but how do you know that extra dough you are shelling out really is going to help the workers and improve the enviro. Is your extra money going to actually change any of these social and environmental problems? Well, yes…

1. Each fair-trade box of bananas carries with it a US $1 “fair-trade premium” which is invested in social and economic projects in the plantations and surrounding communities.
2. On small farms, the fair-trade premium is evenly split between all workers, however on larger scale plantations a joint body is formed to decide what to use the premium for. The premium must be used to improve the living and working conditions of the workers themselves.
3. Fair-trade banana producers must guarantee the growers a fair-trade price that covers the sustainable cost of production. This is why the cost of fair-trade bananas is more expensive then conventional ones.
4. On the plantations, all workers have a say in any major decision making process, this ensures that everyone’s voice is heard. If desired, workers are allowed to unionize to further their power and influence in the business.
5. Children under the age of 15 are not allowed to work. If they are older 15 they may work as long as it does not interfere with their schooling.
6. Finally, the workers must be paid at least as much as the regions average or minimum wage.

Buying fair-trade really does mean more then getting your bananas with a fancy sticker on them. It means providing a sustainable livelihood for thousands of individuals. It means decreasing the number of toxins that are leached into the world. It means saving the wildlife struggling to survive in these tropical countries.

If you demand fair-trade, then companies will provide. As a consumer you have a lot of power that should never be underestimated. Most health food stores and natural food stores sell fair-trade bananas, even some standard grocery stores do! And if they don’t, ask them if they would consider carrying them, you never know!


1. How Your Money Helps the Workers (

2. Where does the money go (note, that although this article refers to coffee, it is very similar when considering bananas) (