There is the “we” of this blog, which is our family of four – more on us below. There is also the “me” of this blog, who does all the writing and takes most, though not all, of the pictures. At midlife I’ve discovered that good, hard work outside is much more desirable than long hours at a desk job; I do my best to combine the two. If I had my druthers, I’d go just for the outside work, but that’s part of a longer term plan.

df of Wuppenif blog
That would be me.

We’re a family of four that has moved from the “perfect” inner suburb in Ottawa – where we could walk or cycle almost everywhere, and where we successfully lived without a car for a year– to a parcel of land adjacent to a small town west of Canada’s capital. Where, amazingly, we are still able to walk or cycle almost everywhere we need to go on a daily basis. Except we are also be able to grow more of our own food, raise chickens, and provide our children (and ourselves) with the outdoor life that we crave.

Man using a scythe to cut grass
The other adult of the family, with his beloved scythe. Anything creative that we do on our land will surely be down to him.

Mucking around in the dirt and getting close to nature makes this family function at its best (which doesn’t mean you’ll always find us doing this). Our other big love is books, which make their way into the blog from time to time. As the person charged with reading aloud in the family, at any one time I am likely juggling six to eight books: the family book; the book that my husband, older son and I have on the go; the novel that I read nightly to my youngest son; the book(s) that my husband and I are sharing (in the past this was frequently science books and the odd mystery; these days it’s more often gardening books); and – last but not least – the two or three books for myself that I usually have on the go. I also love to read cookbooks on the side.

Young man holding tray of cinnamon buns
Older son (and desert island pick!).

Our older son, who is just months away from heading off to college to study CAD design, definitely marches to his own drummer. He has his own affection for our land and what we’re doing here. He works at our local library as well as a freelance tech tutor while going to high school. He is an avid R/C hobbyist and extremely adept at campfire making and all things mechanical. I’m pretty sure that he can fix anything. He makes a mean cinnamon bun. He’d be my desert island companion of choice if I (a) wanted to survive while staying on said island and/or (b) wanted to escape said island with my life.

Youngest son, fellow blogger, and coiner of words.

Our younger son, now nearly 13, blogs in his own right as Petkid. He has a passion for animals and plans to work with them in some capacity when he’s older. Our household is very pet-centric thanks to this kid. He has a big appetite for philosophical discussion and debate and loves history and learning about the world around him.

Black lab on a stack of hay
We can’t forget Reggie, our black lab who has been with us since 2012.

“Wuppenif” was coined by our youngest son and is a contraction of “What would happen if?”, something that I think we all need to get better asking as we get older. Some of life’s best journeys start from this basic question.

44 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello =] I clicked here from “30 Ways of Walking”. Your response caught my eye: “I found this whole post very liberating and refreshingly honest; good for you for committing such an atrocious act on a work of words that offended you so much…”
    I, too, am over 40 (you mentioned your age on one of your posts), and have recently redefined myself (56 lbs-worth)
    I morphed from a homeschool mom of 3 into an RPM instructor (spinning), a sign language interpretor (in progress), and a full time artist (wannabe).
    Anyway, thought I’d stop by your place for a bit. Glad I did. Feel free to stop by my places: Gloriadelia = short, sweet Christian devotions. SkinnyandFit = short and not-so-sweet (have to watch calories on this blog =] ) nutrition tips/videos. Both those links tell a little bit about me.
    Happy blogging! Gloris

    1. So glad that you came by Gloris and thank you for the wonderful feedback. I’m absolutely astounded by your transformation; what you have done is truly inspiring. I will definitely visit again and appreciate the connection. Another friend in the over-40 club is always good!

    1. Thank you, I’m glad I was brave enough to use it (but my son gets the credit for coining the term!). My husband reminded me to tell you that he went to school in Bexhill!

  2. I am so happy when I hear about older kids loving Scouts. I hope my boys stick with it all the way! We’re definitely city people, but my heart aches for the country when I read your blog! Luckily, my boys get to go camping, fishing and hiking a lot.

    1. The Scouts have been tremendous for our older son, who this year becomes a Venturer. I wasn’t sure he’d want to keep going (with a part time job and being in ground school for flying), but he wants to make the time for it, which is fantastic. Our younger son is hoping to join this year. Regular camping, fishing and hiking sound pretty fantastic!

  3. I just discovered your blog via the slowfoodsmama……..
    I live in your neck of the woods too!
    After reading your intro and a few posts, I’d like to ‘follow’ your blog…….I think we have alot in common.

    1. I’m just realizing that I never really responded properly to this, as we got chatting in other ways. Just wanted to take the time to say that I’m so glad that we’ve connected. I’m enjoying your blog very much!

  4. Hello! I currently live in what I consider the “perfect” inner suburb of Ottawa and am feeling the same tired-of-the-desk-job / yearning-for-the-outside-work feeling you describe. We haven’t yet made the move outside the city, but we plan to in the next few years. I can’t wait to raise chickens, expand my garden and get more acquainted with the land. I’m glad I came across your blog, I’ll definitely check back!

    1. I’m also glad to have made the connection; your blog looks so interesting and I’m definitely going to be following along. Thanks for stopping by and I’d love to stay in touch.

  5. I’m really enjoying your blog and I’m so thankful that you take time to read mine!

    It’s my pleasure to nominate you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!!

    The rules for accepting the award require that you:

    Thank the blogger who nominated you (that’s me)
    Place the award on your site (snatch it from my blog post)
    Share 7 random things about yourself
    Nominate 15 blogs and let them know they’ve been nominated and how to accept the award.


    1. I’m really touched, thank you. I’m dealing with overwhelm at my house, but will definitely get to this shortly – I’m keen to check out your list of other bloggers too!

    1. Lovely to ‘meet’ in this way and I’m delighted if our experiences resonate with you. It was great to stumble across your blog this evening, it looks really intriguing. I’ll be paying closer attention to the recipes as they definitely appeal. I know she was amongst a Swedish speaking minority in Finland, but Tove Jansson is a Finn who is very popular in our household; we’re all big Moomin fans!

  6. Hi you all , jim from the UK here. Today , took delivery of our Ironheart. It’s sitting on the patio , covered in a tarp. There a bit heavy , so have to think abit on how we get it in place.Came across your blog by accident , nothing like it in UK . We live in a 1860 flint barn in West Sussex , took us 2 1/2 years to convert from derelict.Decided recently to get another wood burner on account of the cost of heating gas . Enjoyed your blog , so will keep watching . Will be me does any cooking on stove so will watch your recipe’s. Regards Jim the Barn

    1. Hi Jim. I thought I had responded to you, but now don’t think that I did! Have you managed to get your Ironheart in place? If not, I know that somewhere in my Ironheart posts some folks gave great tips about how to move the darn thing. In our case four strong guys lifted it into place, very slowly and carefully! Your barn sounds absolutely wonderful, what an amazing find for your home. The work you must have put into it would be incredible. Have you posted pictures anywhere? My husband is from Eastbourne, so we know your part of the world well. So glad to have connected with you Jim, do stay in touch!

      1. Glad to get your reply.Yep stove in place , took 3 of us 2 hours to get it in situ. Pallet truck , Genie lift lots of brain use and braun . But it’s there . Now sorting out flue , co’s it has to go thru 1st floor and then roof not in a straight line tho . But nearly there . Colder weather coming back later this week so want to finish and fire it up , not quite as cold as your weather , but cold enough for us . Barn is pretty cool , will see about pictures , if I can make this electric thing behave. Will keep in touch .Jim

  7. We have an iron heart here in Wales and since we have a very (very) draughty old cottage 1000 feet up in the snowline we burn lot more than your 4 logs a day. More like 12. at the moment suffering from the coldest winter in 100 years we have taken out the wood grate and put the coal grate back in and we are burning coal. Otherwise we cant keep up with its voracious appetite for Oak and Ash. Not that I am complaining – it warms the whole house but this was built 300 years ago before people had worked out what a good idea insulation is. Other than that the iron hear is great. If we lived here permanently we would have to get something less greedy and or rebuild the cottage with thermalite bricks.

    1. Hi Andy – we were so pleased to read your comments recently. Your setting sounds so amazing, we are all envious! We would absolutely love to see a picture of your place if you were happy to share (you could email me at df AT wuppenif.com). Now, we don’t envy you having to feed the Ironheart so incessantly, but it sounds as though you’ve got that sorted. A three-hundred year old home is quite a treat and your views must be something else!

  8. PS very envious of your living space there. Our house is on a steep slope so we have a separate dining and sitting and living area meaning we need two stoves to keep us warm – not a problem if you don’t mind feeding then all day. But can become a bit of a chore> The best part is felling my own wood.

    As for recipes tonight is butternut squash risotto on the iron heart of course! Last night roast lamb.

    1. Two stoves – wow! I’d love to see what that looks like. Many thanks for the kind words about our living space; we do feel very fortunate to have this space. Felling your own wood sounds pretty fantastic. We have dead wood aplenty on our land, so we’re gradually getting into the habit of chopping and hauling it. It’s a lot of work! We’re also realizing that we need to be planting succession wood. Your butternut squash risotto sounds absolutely delicious, and my husband was so envious when he heard about the roast lamb. Do stay in touch!

  9. Hi all,interested in Andy’s comments . Yep weve had it pretty cold in W. Sussex.My barn sits on the edge of a 55acre field , plus we are only one and a half miles from the sea.So when the wind blows (as it does most days) it cools the barn of loads. We have underfloor heating which is brilliant if on all day, but v.v exspensive to run on tank gas.I am a bit dissapointed with the heat from Ironheart , we have to have hob lids up and oven door open to get much heat using the coal grate as wood box does’nt work all that well . Like Andy , burn about 8 logs a day . Wood is hard to come by here so I scrounge any trees I can . Luckily I am able to store plenty and season them.
    Regards to you Jim P.

    1. Thank you! I know the day will come when my youngest son doesn’t use ‘wuppenif’ in his speech any more, and then I’ll probably forget how it sounds too! I love the name of your blog too and am looking forward to checking it out.

  10. Just clicked on you through “one equals two” (keep seeing your comments and finally thought I’d better see who leaves these wonderful comments! 🙂 I really enjoyed looking around your posts. Very lovely blog. “wuppenif” is brilliant.

    1. What a nice gift to find your comment today. Thank you so much for the kind words and taking the time to come for a visit. I’ve just had a little peek at your blog and love what I see! I’m looking forward to following what you share; the way you cook is very appealing to me!

  11. Hello wuppenif, I have been wanting to ask you for ages about how the Ease does in the shoulder seasons, or any time you only need a small fire to take the edge off. We live in Perth and will be building our off grid home this year (well, that’s the plan). We aren’t using ICF’s but our walls, etc will be equivalent. We know the Esse will be great when we really need to heat up the house but are concerned about those in between days. I would be very grateful to hear about your experience. Do you have any trouble with the window getting dirty? Thank you for blogging and so generously sharing your experiences. As soon as we have landed on a name, I’ll do the same. ..Merci. Anne

    1. Hi Anne, it’s great to hear from you. You must be excited to be building your home off grid, it’s a tremendous thing to be able to do. Apart from perhaps a little extra dust in the house, we really have no visible or telltale signs that we run a woodstove for much of the year; the Ironheart is so clean that our air is always clear, as are the windows. In terms of shoulder seasons, it’s a good question. It is challenging, but quite possible to build smaller fires and to keep the burn intensity down, which is basically what you want to do when the weather isn’t very cold but you still feel the need for some supplemental heat. We’re very fortunate in that with the ICF, we find the shoulder seasons very comfortable as our home maintains its temperature so well, but there certainly are days later in the fall or early in the spring when it’s warming up outside but we still need a bit of heat. Smaller burns were definitely the larger part of the learning curve, but the Ironheart is up to it.

      Good luck with everything – if you end up going with the Ironheart, we’d love to hear how it goes and to see a picture of how you situate it in your home! cheers, df

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