Thursday, 13 November 2014

Off the grid

So it's been a while. A long while. In fact, crazy amounts have changed for us! 

In May, we sold our house. And we bought a travel trailer. Then moved into my in laws front yard. 

It was kind of crazy. I love my inlaws and they love us but that was just too close. So we moved out back and decided to build a small cabin to live in. 

We are still building. We just put the woodstove and chimney in last night. When it was -15. We are sooooo close! 
Technically, right now we are off the grid. We have to subdivide and drill a well. We live off a generator, have an out house, and I pack jugs of water from my inlaws. It's been a learning experience. 

But we are excited to be out of the trailer!!! Travel trailers are not built for -10 living. We have a expensive time keeping it warm and have crazy ice buildup. We have a nice travel trailer but Stetson has no space to run and there is no place to put anything. 

That's mostly us right now! I can't believe it's already the middle of November! Christmas is in a month! 😁😁😁

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Are you offended?

The online world. It is completely entwined in our lives. Phones, computers, social networks, television. People campaign their thoughts and opinions and ideas and emotions. Some sensor what they say, others don't. Some people hate, some people "propose".

Both my husband have Instagram. We post pictures of our lifestyle online which includes hunting and trapping, butchering, fishing and outdoor activities. There has always been haters. People have wished death upon us, told us we were dirty trailer park trash and many much more profane things. At first, it bugged us. Now we don't care. Lots of people don't understand or believe in our lifestyle but we do, and that's what matters. We offer advice and tips to those who ask and we enjoy it.

Ever since the "emergence" of social networks, it has seemed like our society has turned us into haters, lovers, professional judges on all topics, made us pushy and bossy and defensive and someone always has to have that last word! Everything is offensive. Everyone is our judge that we so willingly accept into our lives. People get so caught up in everyone else's "reality show" that we don't focus on our own lives. I am guilty. I have been the judge and the judged. My husband is actually the one who made me realize how ridiculous I was being. I would pipe up something about someone we know distantly and he would look at me and say, "I don't care. It's not my life. You shouldn't either."

I, of course, get irritated cause he's right. It's also made me consider what I post online. I don't need my Facebook page to be a reality show for the world. Facebook is a convenient tool for me which is really the only reason I haven't deleted it yet. I still consider it on some days though. And I realized something.

I am married, I have a wonderful family who I love, extended family I appreciate and love, a house to clean, meals to make, goals, dreams, a body to take care of, a Heavenly Father who loves me. My life is my life and my opinions are my own opinions and people may get offended but does it really directly impact them what I think? No. I have my own problems and I really don't need the acceptance of the world when I overcome them. My reality doesn't have to be a show. I don't need to get offended over other things that people think or say. Because it doesn't really matter. I don't have to be accepted by others to accept myself. I don't have to choose to push or proclaim or be offended. Because it is a choice. It's also a choice to type it into your media device to tell the world.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Trapping Wife

My husband has a trapping license. We also currently live smack dab in the middle of town in a little 1200 square foot house with a carport that serves as a skinning shack/shop/storage room. This year we have been pretty active trapping and have friends that drop off coyotes and critters for us to skin. A couple days back, I decided to make a list of 10 odd things that come with having a trapper as a husband.

1) Your chores for the day may include hanging washed coyotes to drip off.
2) You might end up washing door handles and light switches daily because your husband leaves a blood trail.
3) You may come into the bathroom and have anything in the tub. Whether it's a fisher thawing out or a wolf soaking.
4) Your laundry room or living room could possibly have things thawing or drying at any moment.
5) You believe in air freshners. A lot of air freshners.
6) Your sewing may include hides on a stretcher.
7) You may walk out into the carport and see a carcass hanging at any time of the day.
8) Your town run may include dropping off furs/skulls.
9) Your husband may ask you to wash the truck cause blood is hard on the paint.
10) You end up warning people that there might be dead things in the carport/house so don't be alarmed.

Friday, 31 January 2014


I focus a lot of this blog on venting my frustrations, letting of the past and anticipation of the future. But I would like to take a moment and focus on my present blessing.

My husband.

In the past, I have stated the difficulties of marriage, things that have impacted mine negatively and positively. Last night, as I was loading the dishwasher, I had a fleeting thought that I went back, retrieved and pondered.

I am so very thankful for my husband.

I am grateful for how he sacrifices daily to provide for our family, rain or shine, sick or not. I am thankful for his selfless attitude towards me. How he thinks I am sexy no matter how I look, whether I showered that day or if I am nine months pregnant. I love the fact that when I ask him what he wants for the future, the first thing he states is that he wants me to be happy. He picks up the load when I breakdown or fail and doesn't judge me for it. He holds me when I cry and sometimes cries with me. When I have a hard day, often his first question involves asking me what he can help with. He comes home and shovels our driveway or folds laundry or picks up our son and goes to play with him. He has more faith in my abilities then I do most of the time.

I love him more then I thought was ever possible. He is my rock and an amazing father. And with all my shortcomings, I am amazed he picked me. But I am so blessed he did.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


My son turned one on the 23rd of January. One year old. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. I had a suspicion. I was overwhelmed by the fear, the excitement and the nausea. It was just the beginning. The next nine months were a extreme of emotions. I got married, I threw up, I worked in camp till I was 6 months along, we bought a house and I spent most nights in my bathtub begging my womb bound baby to let me sleep just a little bit. People warned me to get my sleep in before the baby came and I got the verbal warnings of just waiting till my baby was born and then I would see or understand or "get it".

Then I delivered my baby. He was adorable. I wasn't necessarily overwhelmed by love at first but by the fact that I was responsible for a little person now. I had no idea what to anticipate.

He was colicky and fussy and frustrating. I grew to love this little person that demanded everything from me as we both cried together in the middle of the night when I didn't know what else to try. I was told it would pass. Often my husband would find me on the bed bawling because I was so overwhelmed and exhausted, I thought I was the most awful wife and mother. I wasn't dealing with this well. My baby was gaining weight well with breast milk but at 4 months, we decided to opt for an antidepressant. On formula my baby changed. He was suddenly happy. I didn't have to buy gripe water 3 times a week. But I gained 50 pounds in 6 weeks. And it slapped me in the face. I stopped the medication cold turkey and the depression compounded.

Over the next couple months I realized some days are good and some days are bad. My husband wants to come home to a happy wife so somedays I put on the happy facade and its ok for a couple days until I crash. I want so much to be the happy wife and mother that it's become a fear that I might fail. Other days I actually have a good day. But I started getting migraines that warrant trips to the hospital. My anxiety is through the roof and I have to talk myself from having a meltdown. I am stressed about money and my family and whether I will make it through the day. I am guilty for crying/begging/yelling at my baby to please stop screaming at me so I can just make dinner and attempt not to have an emotional breakdown. Sometimes I just lay in bed and start crying. I don't want to be touched or talked to. I don't want to sit on the couch. I don't want anything. My body is on edge and tight, every nerve feels raw. My mind is so on edge its shutting down. I can't remember anything and it feels like I am living in a fog to prevent myself from freaking out or maybe my mind just goes foggy cause I don't have the energy to freak out or care. Somedays my body is heavy it's so exhausted, not tired, just drained.

There's lots of days when my baby makes me smile as the tears roll down my cheeks, when he runs to hug me after he just got in trouble that make my heart ache with love for this little person who has literally in so many ways turned my world upside down. I couldn't imagine life without him and when we are apart, I miss my baby. He makes me feel a whirlwind of emotion. Happiness, joy, worry, frustration, guilt, love. I love to watch him progress and to watch him think and learn and laugh. I get irritated when he pulls my hair, rips pages out of my cookbook or presses buttons on the stereo system that he knows he's not supposed to press. But then I hold him and for that brief second of blissful calm, I feel the joy.

So here I am today with a toddler. I am not sure that I will ever "get it" but I also know this past year has been the most frustrating, rewarding, revealing year of my life. It's been hard on my marriage and on me but things are getting better. I see friends getting pregnant and having babies and hope it will be easier for them then it is or has been for me. Because this has very much been the start of a personal journey. Everyday is a fight for the people I love against all sorts of adversity, sometimes against myself. There will still be many nights I am sure where my husband asks me why I am crying and I honestly will have no answer for him. But we made it a year. And I couldn't imagine anything different.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Hi, my name is Anna and. . .

I have a hobby. I love learning about people. I love learning about minds and how addictions, nurturing patterns, habits, abuse and personality all work to make up the complexity of a person. I spend a lot of time reading about different studies and different observations of human behaviours. In addition, I learn a lot about myself. Lately, I have learned something different about myself though, a side I always hid well or never wished to exhibit or accept.

Hi, my name is Anna and I suffer from anxiety.

I always thought I dodged the bullet with anxiety. I have family members that highly suffer from it but I never accepted the possibility that I may have it as well. A couple months ago, I started getting atrocious headaches. To the point where I could barely function. My doctor suggested tension as a source and I brushed it off. Tension? I don't have that much tension. Fast forward to a couple months later,  I have been taking some serious drugs for back pain and headaches and I opted for the chiropractor. She recommends a massage therapist because the muscles in my upper back and neck would take her too much time to work out and I wouldn't benefit as much. Oh well that's ok is my thought process. Fast forward to two weekends ago, we were lynx hunting and Christmas tree hunting. Not a big deal right? Wrong. I felt so nauseous. I was stressing out that I couldn't look for Christmas trees and lynx tracks at the same time. My muscles were tense. My back started aching. I was in pain. I wanted a perfect Christmas tree and what if I missed one? What if we couldn't find one? I couldn't look into the sun anymore. My husband looked at me and asked me why I was so grumpy. I wasn't grumpy! I was stressed and in pain and frustrated and irritated. I was dangling in the no man's land between snapping and crying. But I don't suffer from anxiety. My constant worrying had nothing to do with it. And it was literally over nothing important.

This weekend, we had a really busy schedule. It seemed like every moment was booked with some sort of goal NEEDING to be accomplished. Usually I thrive in high demand situations but I only do on my own. If Jarrod starts stressing, I feed off it almost and end up beyond stressing. I want to make him not stressed so I stress myself out with his stress which makes for a high strung Anna. On Sunday afternoon, I hit a brick wall. I opened up. I had a mini freak out. I finally told my husband my worries. I told him about the Christmas tree, I told him the road conditions were stressing me out, the fact I would have to drive a truck pulling a trailer, I told him I was worried about leaving Stetson. I told him I was stressed about being worried. I was stressed out from being in pain. I was worried I wasn't a good mom. I was worried we might get stuck driving in the snow. I worry about dinner, Jarrod's safety, about not having clean clothes, about my house being clean, about not having any talents, about not visiting friends or family, about having no time for anything it seemed. He laughed, looked at me like I was slightly crazy and it slapped me in the face. I am anxious. I am an anxious person. And for some reason in the last year it has escalated significantly. I find different people stress me out, every situation seems to have a trigger. And there seems to always be a side of me thats freaking out inside even though I may be all calm on the outside. There seems to be a couple different Annas! The strong one, the one falling apart, the one so stressed out she's scared to move, the one thats got it together and telling others it's not a big deal, the emotional Anna, the feeling amazing Anna, the in pain one, the scared Anna, the defiant one and the submissive Anna. Oh I am sure I am missing other ones for sure and I suddenly feel a pang of sympathy for my husband. He has to deal with them all. The fear and worry of failure seems to have overwhelmed and overcome my little anxious, seem to want to be a perfectionist at everything life.

I can't "fix" it unfortunately. It is something that I will have to deal with on a daily, monthly, hourly basis I am sure. I know I am not alone but the thing about anxiety is that you feel alone and you try to say you are anxious about something and people laugh or think your completely nuts. Or you try and brush it off and it goes into that bottle that presents itself as irritation or temper until it finally explodes and you are in full meltdown and it's hard to pinpoint a cause or a solution. The last few weeks have really demonstrated to me how poor mental health is so much an all encompassing factor in the lives of those affected. I know there are days that I feel it on a very physical and emotional level. To all those who are affected as well, you aren't crazy, alone or overemotional or a hypochondriac. Depression and anxiety often walk hand in hand and they are very real. I know there are days when my brain just checks out it seems because it's had enough. It's hard to concentrate or focus or think and I feel like I am swimming and I can't seem to come up for mental air. How frustrating it must be for my family but I know I am the one who is frustrated the most. But I will make it through. There can always be improvement.

I am not alone.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Why we will teach our kids to trap, hunt and farm.

I was not raised in a farming, hunting or trapping lifestyle. My parents had a few chickens and my dad is a horse lover so therefore owns a couple horses but we only had a small acreage so I was raised a want-to-be-country girl. I moved to a small town in British Columbia and proceeded to meet my husband whom some describe as the ultimate redneck. I then learned about a lot of things that I had never learned about before. I learned how to shoot a gun, I learned the difference between a Hereford and a Red Angus, I learned how to set a marten box and still have many other things to learn.

The experience that led me to this post happened because of our trapping this winter. We had been asked by a couple ranchers to set out traps and snares for certain predators, one of which being wolves. It didn't freeze fast this year and we have had some trouble finding bait for such animals. One rancher was even willing to shoot a cow because their wolf issues were so bad. I called around highway maintenance and local dairies and farms letting them know we are looking for animals that we could possibly use. I was also part of a couple horse sites on Facebook. Trying to target a horse dense community, I posted that if people were comfortable donating or selling their fading or passed away animals to us, please let us know. Oh the replies. The scathing and absolutely atrocious things people said after that were insane. Obviously these people have never seen an animal brought down by a predator and I understood that but they didn't have to be so rude about something they didn't even remotely understand and that totally affects them in ways they do not wish to see.

And I started thinking. My children will be adults one day and how would I want them to react to a situation such as this and why we are working to raise them the way we are. Many of the people replying got offended that I would ask for a dead animal or their beloved pet to bait yet another animal to it's death. Many thought it was cruel or disgusting and stated so very profanely. My thought was that I would like to educate my children to be smarter, kinder and better then that. Some things I would love my kids to learn include:

1) There is always work to do.
One thing I am learning, there is always work to do. Things are always need fixed, animals need watered and fed, traps need fixed and built and checked and your life revolves around the work. Christmas day, -40, raining or snowing, things need done and you don't get rewarded with a paycheck every two weeks. Lots of times, it isn't about what you want to do but about what needs done. The work often comes before your comfort or schedule. We are the caretakers of our animals and they trust us to be fed and cared for. We serve them and they serve us often in life and in death.

2) Purpose and respect for animals.
Every animal has a use on the farm. Chickens lay eggs, dogs herd cows and keep predators away, horses work cows, cows and pigs provide income and food. The better you train, feed or maintain your animals, the more you will get from them. I am a horse lover. I know the more time I put on my horse, the more friendly and useful he becomes. Hunting and trapping is also teaching me that respect. We always try to take the most painless, ethical shot and I get upset if I do not succeed. We realize animals can be beautiful and dangerous. I have come understand the impact they make on an ecosystem and the work it takes to put one in the freezer or on a stretch board. All animals we harvest serve a purpose. Whether it's the fur, the meat, ending pain or protecting other animals, there is always a purpose. And that to us is respect.

3) Death happens and sometimes it's not about you.
I grow emotional attachments to animals but I know one day they will need to serve a different purpose. I will bawl my eyes out when the first horse I have ever owned dies but I will not want to sit back and watch him suffer till death from disease or old age. We will have to put down animals whether it's a foal who broke a leg or a dog that's irreversibly ill, pet or not. It's a point in life and things don't deserve to suffer because someone's emotional attachment makes them selfish. Death isn't pretty or uncommon. Both I and my children will see it first hand but it will always happen and sometimes it will be about feeding our family, protecting our livestock or ending pain. Sometimes it will happen in childbirth, with disease or uncontrollable circumstances. It's happened for thousands of years and will continue to happen.

4) Even toy guns aren't toys.
Regardless of what people think, we are not people who wield guns in an irresponsible, foolish way. Guns are tools that can become dangerous with distraction, inexperience and irresponsibility. My husband has got after me for certain mistakes I have made with a firearm that has allowed me to make it become dangerous. Our children will never be allowed to point any firearm, toy or real, at another person without getting in serious trouble. This is part of the reason why my husband and I have agreed not to invite video games consoles into our home. A game that simulates shooting other people seems way more detrimental to us then a day on the farm, a day checking traps or a hunting trip. Shooting an animal serves a purpose, shooting a person does not. Real or fake.

5) Things don't always come from a store.
Our meat doesn't come from a store usually. I would love our children to learn how to harvest an animal for their freezer, how to grow a garden, how to preserve the fruits of their labours for future use. I am very much in the learning stage of canning, butchering and preserving but I would love to become confident with it so I can teach my children where meat actually comes from, how to plant seeds and make things grow and how to put those things to use. It is very rewarding to know where you food is coming from. At least for me.

6) Nature is not kind.
Wolves kill calf moose, cattle and calves. Boars kill bear cubs in order to throw a sow back into heat. Ravens will eat an animal while it's still alive. Coyotes will too. Wild animals are not pets, they are beautiful and majestic and primal. It's a cycle of life that few these days seem to realize happens. Cougars wait in trees to surprise their prey, bulls and bucks beat each other up in the rut fighting for females. Wolves will eat you alive, a bear will attack you and a cougar will stalk you. They aren't just pretty things that you see on the side of the road once and a while. Predator and animal management is essential to farming and hunting lifestyles. If it wasn't, stores would have empty shelves and many people would be lost as to where to get food.

7) We are always learning.
There is always a new situation, a new obstacle, or a new approach to things. We have to learn and adjust and change. There is always room to be better and to grow and to take advice. No one knows everything and it seems only the most experienced will admit it. Every animal, every day and every season seems to provide different challenges and I learn new things every day. We should always be open to more education. Knowledge is power they say. Everyone has different opinions and we should respect them but also maintain and educate our own.

Those are a few of the things I am slowly learning and that I want to pass on. I firmly believe this lifestyle is an efficient and effective way to teach my children certain things about life and death and self sufficiency. Hunting and trapping are traditional and are way more common then many people believe and allow beef prices to stay lower and prevent ranch and farm losses. Agriculture and farming are necessary to our future to provide food for the many that do not grow their own food. Many may view our lifestyle as one of the past but I know it is still very much present. We do our best to not prolong pain or endorse cruelty and are always upgrading equipment and approaches to provide efficient and quality performance. A lot of work, thought, money and education goes into our actions when dealing with any kind of animal that people do not see or wish to see. The fact is, we find it hard and rewarding to be able to depend on the land for a portion of our living and that will never change as long as we can help it. I will always do my best to pass that knowledge on for the next generation.