Friends came to visit this weekend. These are our friends with a farm, and the only other homeschooling family we know on the peninsula.
Having them stay for a couple nights was a real treat. Their children speak French, our children speak English. Spending time together is a great way to develop friendship and language learning.
On Saturday afternoon we took our visiting friends to a local greenhouse, owned by some other friends.
They were having a big do on Saturday celebrating the arrival of spring and the greenhouse opening, but also celebrating fashion and design; as well as featuring a local company with aims to produce and sell raw food in the community. Flowers, design, raw food - yep, we are all over that.
While at the greenhouse I ran into a lot of friends. Like I was telling Damien afterward, "I know people here and they know me".
We've lived here for 18 months and the area is starting to feel like home for me. Anyone who has pulled up stakes from one life to start another can appreciate this feeling of friendship and belonging.
Late Sunday morning our friends left and we all crashed. I spent a long time sitting in the sun, watching the birds. And then, leaving the dishes and clean-up undone, I laid down for a delicious Sunday afternoon nap. I was awoken an hour later or so by the sound of different friends arriving at our door.
They were in the neighborhood and decided to pop in. We don't get a lot of friends "dropping by", we live at the end of the road. But these friends were out collecting fiddleheads for their supper, along the river where we live, and they truly were in the neighborhood. A rare treat for us.
It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. I awoke from my nap refreshed and happy to visit some more. Isn't that what weekends are for?
The house was in a state of post-visitor mess, but it didn't matter. Friends don't care. We sat outside in the sun anyway.
(An aside: I never apologize for my house, for its cleanliness or uncleanliness. "Sorry about the mess", is a phrase that makes me cringe.)
Our kids served our new guests some snacks - ricecakes and leftovers from the weekend. And a new posse of kids took turns jumping on the trampoline. And then the water hose came out and it felt like the perfect end to a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
This week, Heather's 30 Day Vegan course starts. I don't know if I mentioned it on the blog this time around. I know I mentioned it in my newsletter.
For this new session I wrote an article about vegan hospitality. And I thought how fitting our weekend was in light of that topic.
Also, I thought it ironic that a lot of the food I prepared and served this weekend - vegan, whole-food fare - were Heather's recipes from her most recent Whole Food Kitchen course.
Heather's recipes are really good and they are becoming go-to meals in our home. They are, "I want that recipe" kind of good. If she ever releases her Lemon Un-Cheesecake recipe - run, not walk, to prepare that for your family and friends.
I want to share one small snippet from the piece I wrote for the current 30 Day Vegan course. I think it weaves the threads of this blog post into a nice conclusion.
Hospitality is a big part of our family culture. Sharing meals with family, friends and even strangers is just something we do, and often.
We've moved around a lot in the last two years and from that experience we have learned even more the importance of hospitality in meeting people and creating friendship.
Someone asked me on my blog recently if I had any advice for making new friends and settling into a new community after a long distance move. Without a doubt the most important thing for us has been our eagerness to accept, and willingness to extend, hospitality.
For us, hospitality is about building relationship. And relationship building is one of our core family values.
Health and wellness are also core family values. We eat a plant-based diet to maintain and build our health. We've eaten this way for over a decade, raising our children on mostly plants.
Building relationship through regular hospitality and building and supporting health with plant-based eating - both of these are key pieces to our family culture.
The rest of my piece, to be published at 30 Day Vegan, is about bringing together these two values - hospitality and plant-based eating.
It's going to be a good week around these parts. Celine turns fourteen in a few days. More friends, more food. (Not all vegan, wiggle room is part of our plant-based eating philosophy.) We're two weeks away from race weekend (health and physical fitness in the context of community) and a short visit with my parents. More food, more family.
And then we launch into June and a full summer of local plant foods in our kitchen (yeah!), travel and hospitality, family, friends and community.
Fiddlehead season into summer, it's a good time of year.
This just in - registration is still open at 30 Day Vegan, until Wednesday this week. If you haven't joined yet and want a gentle (in Heather's signature style) nutritional boost for this spring, there's still time to sign up. I highly recommend Heather's courses, but I think you got that already (smile).