When you close your eyes, you can hear the frogs croaking, birds chirping and bees buzzing -- what you don’t hear is the sounds of a concrete jungle.
© Herald photo by Jodi Schellenberg
Carrie Ann Schemenauer stands outside her house where she operates the bed and breakfast and writers’ retreat Listen to the Frogs.
That is the appeal of Listen to the Frogs retreat -- a bed and breakfast near Paddockwood owned by Carrie Ann Schemenauer.
As Schemenauer busied herself at the counter getting a piece of pie and a cup of tea ready to serve, she recalled why she always wanted to do something that catered to others.
“When I was younger I always thought about it because I enjoy cooking, I enjoy hosting,” she said after serving pie. “One of my favourite things was always having company and I just enjoy serving people and having company so I thought one day I’m going to do that.”
Although her original idea was to open a bed and breakfast when she retired from teaching, Schemenauer found she had the opportunity when she and her husband moved out to the Paddockwood area.
“It is such a big house and it is only two of us,” Schemenauer said. “I kind of got the idea thinking when my family came, they really enjoyed the experience of being out here. They thought it was a very calming place, a very therapeutic place so I thought we are going to do something with this.”
Writing has always been one of Schemenauer’s passions from a young age. Growing up, she would write stories, journals, short stories and poems but found herself becoming more serious about it about 10 years ago.
“I decided I was going to put more effort into it and I took two creative writing workshops at the U of S and then I kind of decided to make a real effort to work on my skills as a writer an spend time doing it,” Schemenauer said. “You can always talk about it and I like to write but it still requires work and time and effort.”
Her passion was something she decided to share with others -- when she was living in Saskatoon Schemenauer started a writer’s critique group, which ran until she moved.
Schemenauer used to be a member of Saskatchewan Romance Writers and is currently a member of the Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild and Sans Nom Poetry Group in Prince Albert.
Since Schemenauer is a writer herself, she understands the time and effort that goes into writing. She thought her home would be a perfect place for writers to find peace and solitude while trying to write.
“I feel a little bit of a calling to it because I think when I got this place it was a blessing to me and I thought I want to share a little piece of this, some kind of experience of tranquility or whatever I can provide,” she said.
Although writing is a passion, Schemenauer said sometimes it is difficult to find time to spend time doing it.
As life sometimes gets in the way of hobbies, Schemenauer said she decided to go on a few writers’ retreats herself.
“I really appreciated it because I found I got a lot of writing done -- It was just a break from your regular routine,” she said. “It was rejuvenating to just go somewhere and have someone else cook for you and walk around and do whatever -- write or relax.”
Her home is welcoming inside and out, with three bedrooms for guests inside and a huge garden and yard for guest to enjoy.
The bed and breakfast is still just a part-time project for Schemenauer since she is still teaching, but is able to take people anytime during July and August, as well as the weekends year-round.
“I’ve enjoyed that experience of meeting and having a place for people to come,” Schemenauer said. “That is what got me interested in a writer’s retreat.”
Not only could her home be used as a writers’ retreat, Schemenauer said it could be used as a spiritual retreat as well.
“I got to go to a silent retreat and it was more like a spiritual retreat -- just very quiet and I thought I’d never last because I love to talk, but it was very rejuvenating,” she explained. “I really liked the chance of just going there and not having anything to do --just walking around on the grounds because it is on the Saskatchewan River so the scenery is very beautiful.
“I thought one day I could offer that too, like a spiritual retreat.”
A spiritual retreat would be similar to a writing retreat but with a spiritual guide instead of a writing mentor.
“It could be from my faith or it could be something else -- it is just more the idea of giving people that experience just to get away from their busy life,” Schemenauer said. “I have all kinds of ideas -- I am famous for ideas and I am just kind of letting this unfold.”
This Saturday Schemenauer will be holding a one day writer’s retreat at her acreage from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
She will be bringing in her friend and writing teacher Lynda Monahan, who she met through the Sans Nom Poetry Group.
“She won a Women of Distinction award for what she has done in the community (and) does a lot of work with writing,” Schemenauer said.
“She really knows how to teach writing but she really knows how to encourage people but challenge them,” she added. “She is just an amazing teacher.”
Right now, there are five confirmed guests and Schemenauer said they could probably host about 12 people.
Although the retreat is a new adventure for her, she hopes it will continue to blossom in the future.
“Just to find time for the creative is very important I think.”
For more information about Listen to the Frogs, visit www.listentothefrogsretreat.com