Relocation Woes

I’ve done a lot of it – moving. I hate it. We pared our possessions down to a minimum – I could pack and move in about two hours – and I still hated it. Homesteading again will have some different challenges, so I had to buy some things and keep others that I would not have chosen to move.

Canning jars for instance. Who in their right mind moves empty jars? Me, if indeed I am sane. Cannign jars are expensive, they last for years, and they are hard to replace except by spending more money. I got almost all these jars for a pittance. People here ar eno longer canning. They still do where I am going, so I don’t expect to find canning jars at rummage sales for $1 a box anymore.

I am moving bags of flour. The Loblaw’s chain store here had flour on sale at $3/5 kilos. That’s about 11 pounds. I bought eight bags. It is in the freezer right now; I will take it out today, seal it into plastic bags, and move it. Grain products are outrageously expensive in Canada. We grow grain, I know. Why are we paying so much more than Americans?

I have bought some kitchenware that I know won’t be available in New Brunswick – Ontario has a larger, wealthier population, and they discard higher quality goods sooner, so this all came from rummage sales and thrift stores.

I am moving fabric, even scraps. There isn’t that much of it – it amounts to three half-full garbage bags, which will pad things in the trailer. Again, cost and availability are factors. Once this supply is used, I will be haunting the remnant bins and thrift stores for bargains. Occasionally someone has cleaned out a closet or even a relative’s house and given me good fabric. I just received some good wool pieces that way. I see on Kijiji that treadle machines are sometimes available; I hope to get one in the next year. They are probably long gone in Ontario, turned into decorative end tables.

I still have a box of vet supplies (not drugs) and my electric sheep shearers, as well as my hand shearers. I was tempted to offer them for sale, but now I’m glad that I procrastinated. I don’t know if I am proficient enough to offer my services shearing, but if a friend will let me practice on her sheep, I might get good at shearing again so as to hire out in the spring. Shearing is dirty, hot, strenuous work – it’s the main reason wool is a high labour industry. Shearers get butted, kicked, bit and peed on. It is an Iron Man competition every day of the season.

I will finally get to unpack my spinning wheels! We have moved so much, and into such, well – genteel – surroundings lately that my wheels have been packed for almost two years. I have old wool to get washed and carded; I will probably take it to a mini-mill and just get it done, assuming any of it is worth keeping. Fairly clean unwashed wool will keep for a few years assuming insects and mice don’t get into it, although washed wool lasts for decades if it doesn’t get too hot or wet.

I feel as if we are pioneering, or headed to some foreign country, although we are going home, at least for me. It is a different life from the one we have been living. I am no neophyte to it; I know that these winter days will be filled with food preparation and craftwork – and not for recreation, but for our use and possibly income. It is a very slow pace of life. There will be reading, and sleep, and shovelling snow. There will be some exploration of our environment, and more preparation, as we look to gardening and keeping a few small farm animals.

I expect that if done properly our physical and siritual health will improve. I will have time to focus on Nicholas more. I look forward to the slow winter days.


13 thoughts on “Relocation Woes

  1. Move is one of those four letter words I loathe! We will be moving, God willing, in a couple years. I dread it already. I would love to be there to help you!

  2. I use the jars that things come in to can with. When we moved in, oddly enough (it was an estate sale) there was a large set of canning jars stored downstairs. We can’t use them because we’re kosher.

    Canning is coming back into vogue.

    Flour costs less in the United States because the government subsidises its production more than Canada subsidises our grain production.

    Real Canadian Superstore sells flour for $9/10 kg, which is more than what you paid but not significantly. Costco sells flour cheaply if you buy in large quantities.

    I got my treadle machine off of Craigslist. I can’t imagine that metro Vancouver is less citified than Ontario is. There are lots of them around. You will probably need to replace the treadle belt.

    Spinning is a middle class and up hobby in Vancouver.

    • We see flour usually at $12-$14 per 10 kg bag here, sometimes higher in the Maritimes. The same brand of flour is now $7.50/5 kg. I’ve seen three treadles on Kijiji lately, so I should be able to get one. I used one at the museum where I worked. Funny thing, but most spinners I’ve known in the east were homesteaders and Mennonites. Weaving was kind of an upscale hobby, though. It’s probably different further down in New England, where the only people who can afford farms are established professionals!

    • Canada subsidies grain production?? Where’s our money then. Farmers aren’t subsidized (believe me) we just aren’t paid a fair price (or even cost of production some years).

  3. magdalena,

    As one who has moved more times thank i care to recount, I fully understand your loathing of the procesws. It is hideous, no doubt about it. I pray that all will go well and with as little incident as possible.

    When will you be hitting the road on your way making the final journey to your new residence?


  4. I hope the move went well and you’re settling in.

    (I discovered your blog through kindred of the quiet way and it’s a real blessing).


  5. I have been thinking about you in the last couple days. I was thinking about what you wrote about “things that work.”

    For Channukah my husband bought me a very old Welsh nursing shawl, of the type passed down from mum to daughter.

    It is definitely a “thing that works.” Warm as toast to wear, easy to tuck up to do housework, and perfect for nursing a little baby and then lugging him around.

    Only problem is I look like a refugee from Russia, circa 1900 😉

  6. My dad finally got rid of all my sheep sheering stuff a couple years ago when he sold the house. He gave it to the local 4H sheep group.

    On the other hand, one of our friends bought a house recently. When my husband helped her move, they had so much stuff. Not useful stuff, but stuff she collected from the reuse area or kept “just in case”. Things like empty milk jugs and butter tubs she keeps so they don’t go in the landfill. Instead they pile up in her shed. What’s the difference? And she encourages others to hoard this type of stuff too. Broken electronics and other stuff she takes home because “someone may fix them” Who, when? It’s just junk if you have no real use.

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