Big, bad, bold, brilliant dreams

Not far from our house – the mother of ugly – is a wonderful trail we like to hike that leads up to an amazing open field with sloped land, trees and a creek. It’s about 50 acres (in my poor efforts at estimation) and it’s called the Jackson Farm. Here’s a link to see a couple of pictures and find out how bad my estimate on the acreage was.

While walking the dogs along the path of the upper terrace section the other day, I thought about winning the lotto and buying Jackson Farm. It seems the City of Maple Ridge intends to preserve it as parkland, but it’s hard to say how long that will last with the urban pressures in the area. So, with a few tens of millions, I’d buy it – the whole thing – and I’d still keep it named Jackson Farm (unless The Renovator had major issues with that of course).

We’d build our dream home (insert sprawling rancher with vaulted ceilings and major windows) at the front of the upper terrace to overlook the valley and lower terrace. I’d put in a large fence and trees for privacy about 500 meters from where the trail lets into the field. On that 15 or so acres of private land, I’d put in a farm of vegetables and fruit. The land is flat and it would be amazing. The 5 acres or so at the mouth of the trail would be left as is so people could continue to use the trail and have part of the field to come to. I’d also build trails down the slope and into the lower bowl and up to the other side of the upper terrace.

In my big dreams and love of farmland, I’d lease out smaller parcels of the lower bowl and side terrace. Say 1/4, 1/2 and 1 acre plots. I’d put in a small parking lot at the edge of the upper terrace for dog walkers, hikers and these “spin farmers”. With the lease money from the farm parcels, I’d continue to improve the trails, put in benches, maybe even some doggie swimming pools.

I’d host events. Farm education weekends, environmental initiatives, perhaps late night meteor shower parties. It would be my own farming, dog-walking, recreational paradise that I could share with others. I’d maintain some privacy, but also have the ability to share and care for the land. We would run a private park, just like Williams Park in Langley.

I just hope I win the lotto soon. There’s a set of houses going in right next to the lower bowl. I’m heading out now to look at one with a friend and when I’m there I will look longingly over at the field and my dreams.



Stenciling for cats

It’s been a while since I last posted, but I figure it’s about time to get back at it! In the vein of my Renovator’s Wife posts, I want to show how easy stenciling is  and how it can transform a room. Now, to be fair, I live in “the mother of ugly” house, so… Continue Reading

Cheap, Easy & Available

I had a boss a number of years ago who loved the phrase: cheap, easy and available. It made me laugh every time he said it and I’ve adopted it in many situations Today, I’d like to apply the phrase to paint. Given the latest project The Renovator and I have taken on, I’m reminded… Continue Reading


She wasn’t supposed to be with me. I wasn’t ready for another dog in December of 2002. Still mourning the chow I’d loved for almost a decade and a half, my near-ex husband decided another dog was in order. Giving in, I stressed, “when we separate, she’s your dog.” Brandie was 4. Her October birthday… Continue Reading

I’ve committed to what?!?!

As a recovering Type A personality, I still struggle with finding balance in my life. The thing I find most challenging is that the thought of letting someone down causes me great stress. A lot of times I’ll take forever to commit to something, or I’ll commit, but won’t give a timeline – that’s because… Continue Reading

Dirt Under my Nails

I feel a restorative sensation when I get my hands in the dirt. With this spring’s early heat, it seems everyone has been out in their yards and gardens early. And for good reason! It feels good to be outside – even little things like sweeping off the sidewalk or planting a few flower pots… Continue Reading

I’m Baaaaccckkkk!

After an amazingly long journey, I’m back to blogging. It took a very, very, very long time to get the new web site up (I finally found the right designer – Andrea Walker of Walker Park Media – who did a brilliant job; then like the cobbler with no shoes, it took me ages to… Continue Reading


When it comes to working with a writer, you have to see what they’ve done to get a feel for their style. Here are a few of the Girl with a Pen’s sample projects – don’t see what you’re looking for? Just drop a note through the contact page and ask. Review some of the… Continue Reading

When New Doesn’t Mean New

When you buy a pre-owned car or house, generally speaking, you say something like “I bought a new car” or “we’re moving into a new home” even though it isn’t ‘new’. Over the past few decades, we’ve grown used to the concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle. While renovting often is a case of ‘out… Continue Reading