Sunday, May 22, 2011

Boom, Bust, Shop, Garden.

It wasn't my intention to take a week long break from blogging. It just happened.

For part of the past week we were out of town. The boys distributed learning school sponsored a trip for the students and their families to visit Barkerville. Founded in the mid-1860s this mining town was once (according to the brochure) "the largest city north of Chicago and west of San Francisco." As usually happens with towns in northern British Columbia whose economies are based on resources (*cough* My Town *cough*) eventually the boom gave way to bust. Barkerville became a ghost town, and in 1958 it was designated a heritage/museum site.

We visited Barkerville years ago, but this time the boys had more of an appreciation for the old-timey fun of riding in a stage coach, watching a blacksmith at work, attending a one-room schoolhouse,  attending a theatrical performance (insert jazz hands here), panning for gold, and learning a few words in Chinese. Though both Zarf and Klaxon think the best parts of the trip were the Jian swords they purchased in the Barkerville's China Town, watching Smallville episodes back at the motel and running wild up and down the streets of Barkerville with other weapon-toting boys.

Mr Wrath and I enjoyed hanging out with the other homeschool families enrolled with our distributed learning academy, which is administered by a public school board. Because of the nature of our school (secular) this was one of the few homeschool gatherings where I wasn't concerned I'd offend someone with my crush on Stephen Jay Gould. I could speak of Darwin and evolution and natural selection without risk of social censure. Our eternal damnation.

En route for home we stopped for the night in the Big City to enjoy a few hours of crass materialism, unchecked capitalism, and the hotel pool. After four days away, we were happy to get home to our dog, our beds and our washing machine (okay, maybe I'm alone in this sentiment).

• • • • • •

After I typed this last bit, I stood up to stretch my legs. My thighs ache from a morning of gardening. In particular, digging up, and re-laying the stone pathway through the garden plot to the faucet. I walked to the window, to see if it's still raining and spotted two hummingbirds at the feeder. After a brutish winter, a late spring, and cooler-than-usual temperatures, there are very few blossoms around for the hummingbirds. I'm glad at least a few have found our feeder.

The rain has brought a smile to my face. For one thing, it helps stave off the threat of forest fire. Watching the news about the Slave Lake fire has brought home the risk we take by living in a small town surrounded by forest. The rain also gives me an excuse to abstain from the Canadian ritual of spending Victoria Day doing yard work. My thighs. My burning thighs!

Alas the rain does mean I can't truly enjoy the bistro table Mr Wrath's parents bought us for our birthdays:

I want Mr Wrath to buy a beret and role play being a flirty Parisian waiter who serves me red wine, and baguettes with expensive, smelly cheeses. So far he refuses. Harumph.


  1. Glad you guys had a nice trip! There's a ghost town in western Montana we spent 3 days in. Not sure who loved it more, the kids or the husband.

    I'm going to pretend you were reading Calvin & Hobbes at your little bistro table. (My mom bought us a patio table for our anniversary!)

  2. I love your bistro set! I've been looking for one to put out by my garden area. Would you come put a stone path out by mine? I think it would add a lot of character if you would please and thank you.

    I spent yesterday pruning and gardening. Today I look like I was attacked by a cat, scratches all over my arms and legs.

  3. Also lusting after the bistro set. I keep seeing them in catalogues and thinking "I should go buy that" and then...not.

    I'm confused about the comment about Darwin and natural selection - you could talk about it with the homeschooling parents, but not...who? Also, if you ever felt like emailing me about why you decided to homeschool I would love that. I find the whole thing very interesting. Oh, maybe I should check your archives first in case you already talked about it.

  4. @Bibliomama -- Hmmm. It is kinda confusing. Essentially the BC Distributed Learning program includes private and public e-learning schools. The Creationist homeschoolers tend to enroll w/ Christian private schools, and non-Creationist Christians, and other evolutionary proponents go with the public schools. Our boys are in a public school. This truly was one of the few times I've met homeschooling parents and didn't have to wonder if someone was going to mention "the science of things poofing into existence."

    I should edit that part of my post.

    @Omaha Mama -- I'll load the bistro set into the back of the car and start driving toward your place. Maybe I -- like Flat Stanley -- will arrive via Columbia.

    @Eryn -- Ghost Towns! MULTI-GENERATIONAL FUN!!

  5. I vaguely remember going on a class field trip somewhere old-timey back in my elementary days, and distinctly remember that the BEST part of the trip was everyone buying tin penny whistles and playing them together in the vans on the way back.

    I'm fairly sure the poor chaperons did not share this sentiment.

  6. Can he talk with a french accent? lol

  7. Anonymous said...

    Love the bistro set. Love your description of the boys at play.

    I'm glad your ghost town trip was more successful than mine!

    P.S. I am not anonymous. I am MaryLUE. There seems to be a hiccough in the ID process.

  8. I haven't been to Barkerville for at least 10 years. As a kid, Barkerville's biggest draw for me was the giant jawbreakers that I would suck for a time and then let roll around on the carpet of my closet before finding a week later and then suck some more and drop forgotten. Sugar coated carpet fibers from Barkerville were a big hit with me...History?...What?