Monday, September 29, 2008

A Shy Visitor-a warm memory

He arrived just after lunch on Sunday and stayed until mid afternoon. I was thrilled to catch a picture of him and this little squirrel, both quite comfortable with the other. The squirrel scurried up and down the tree, all around my visiting friend, and neither were scared of the other.

The Pileated Wood Pecker. This big boy comes to visit this particular tree at this time every year. When he comes, I always think of my old friend Wayne Harris. Wayne walked by my house one day about 15 years ago and my woodpecker friend and his mate were quite content to scurry up and down the tree for about an hour. Wayne stood on the street and watched them for quite a long time. He was a nature lover and all its creatures were precious, but mostly he loved wild birds. I wasn't home that day, but Wayne was so excited to tell me about them the next day at work. He was amazed at their size and with the thoroughness of the job they do on my tree (whatever it is they do). I sort of have this same picture about every second year, as they truly do come back every year. Whenever they came, I made sure that I told Wayne about it at work the next day. He was the kind of person that made you feel like YOU were amazing because these woodpeckers chose my tree to feed on every year.
My dear friend Wayne passed away, suddenly, 9 years ago in November. He was younger than I am now, and he left a kind hearted wife, Martine and 4 amazing kids behind. His wife, a nurse, helped me and my sister so much when my dad was dying in the hospital. Its with joy and sadness that I think of Wayne today. He was a special man and I still miss him.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Harvest Continues.....

The valley has had frost and frost warnings 3 times this week. This is unusual for us. I checked back over my blogs and the last 2 years we didn't get frost until after thanksgiving. With frost coming so early, it makes my gardens look so sad. the tomato plants are mostly yellowed and dead with my tomatoes still hanging on and turning nice shades of orange and pink. Most of my flowers have gone to seed and my beans that climb in the back are full of pods waiting to dry.

My sweet little vine from Ann in the USA that grew and bloomed so sweetly for her, was a little shy and probably bullied by my big Scarlett runner plants all around her. You can see the sweet little leaves with the pink veins going through them. They grew quite tall, and they have hints of blooms coming, but you can see the big leaves of the Scarlett runners all around her, blocking her sun and doing God knows what to her little roots.

Tons of beans growing and a few pods are drying nicely.

My beloved Saturday was spent making juice from all my grapes. 3 quarts of grapes equals 12 cups of grapes without the stems. Add half a cup of water, one over active potato masher, & 10 minutes boiling on the stove. Then strain for an hour through an old sock (kidding, I bought a jelly bag draining thingy) and you get..... ta da... 4 cups of grape juice.

Then you add 7 cups of sugar, more boiling.. and ta da.... Grape jelly. I made 8 batches of grape juice, and from that I made 4 batches of Jelly. I have 17 more cups of juice in my fridge. I ran out of jars. I love making Jams and Jellies. Not so fun making the darn juice.. but again, I really like making Jams and Jellies... so... gotta do what ya gotta do.

I may go to the Canadian Tire and buy more jars and some sugar and then sell the jars of jelly at school. Maybe as a fundraiser for "The run for the Cure". Sadly I won't be participating in that this year. I am expecting company next weekend and didn't have the heart to tell them they couldn't come. But, my sister is running in it, so I can give the money to her.

I am having a tough time with my lids for my jelly though. Out of 32 jars of jelly, 6 of them didn't seal properly. You know, they didn't suck down into the jar. I am not sure why, but I will give those away right away so they will get into fridges right away. Sort of annoyed me...

My Jelly.... a very blurring picture, I am afraid, but you get it... lots of jelly. the purple jars on the right are "no sugar" freezer Jelly. I had some on my toast this morning... sort of OK, but not as good as the real stuff.!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Fall Harvest

Grapes... last year was the first time I made grape jelly from scratch, or wait was it. I can't remember. But I did blog it last year. My curling team mate and friend Connie get all these grapes from her mom's back yard. This year, if we wanted grapes, we had to come and do the harvest as Connie's mom has been banned from climbing the ladder to harvest them.

Well, I must say, I have never picked grapes. I have picked a lot of fruits and veggies but never grapes. And actually, my cross the street neighbour has a wild crop each year, that grow threw his trees and this year was the first time I have even seen them growing. Very cool. This morning was Grape HARVESTING morning. We hit the road at 9:30 and landed at Connie's mom's place around 9:40am. We were back in the car with TONS of grapes by 10:30am. I was in awe, first, of Connie's mom. She is teeny tiny, and as beautiful as I thought she would be. I have a special place in my heart for the seniors of the world, and Connie's mom is as bright and clear thinking as my dad. What a gift to have such a healthy parent. Of course, along with bright and healthy comes stubborn and frustration (at getting old). My second awe was the grapes growing all thorough the plum tree. This is the challenge for Connie's mom, because they grow so high up. Her Arbor is loaded as well, but easier to get to. Our job today was to clean out the tree.

We picked the tree as clean as we could, with 5 of us picking, one ladder, two chairs and some scissors. It was a wonderful morning filled with friendship, fresh air and fresh laughter (At Debbie's story of her visit to Lily's) After we picked all we could, we had a little visit with Connie's mom as she picked the grapes on her arbor. She didn't want me to take her picture because she thought she looked too old. I think she looks amazing and beautiful.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday... my favorite day

Have I mentioned that. Well, it started with breakfast made by Terry... eggs, bacon and toast.. yum. I think he remembered how yummy Mel and Jill's breakfast was last week and decided we can try to do as well at home. Not quite as good, but close.

This time last week, we had already been through several drizzly hours of camping, but this weekend, when we are home, its sunny and somewhat warm. We had a kayaking afternoon planned for today, and while Terry poured over the google maps trying to decide which adventure we would traverse, my friend Linda and I worked on a bedroom project as a surprise for her teen daughter when she gets home tomorrow from a weekend with her dad. We bought some bright colored fleeces and cut, measured, pinned, cut and tied some funky pillows for her daybed, and with new bedspreads and pillows in bright pink and purple, it will be the coolest teen bedroom, fit for several girls sleepovers.

This afternoon Terry and I went off to McGill lake and set sail for the far end of the lake where there is a channel or creek (hard to tell from Google Earth) and see if we could maneuver into the BIG MOLLY LAKE...

Well, the wind was high, the waves were too, and we paddled against the wind and the waves for 45 minutes, until we could hear the roar of either the wind, a road or a WATERFALL.
we weaved in amongst the old tree trunks, around large rocks and finally around a sharp turn in the river/brook and tata da... a sweet little waterfall. Nothing really big but big enough that we couldn't really go on. It was very fast moving and had about a foots drop and we were on the lower end. We would have to go UP the little falls... not likely, and we couldn't really portage, as it was very rocky... so we sat for a bit, in the still waters and took a couple of pictures and then road the wind and waves back down the lake. easy paddling back, that's for sure. Everything is still pretty green, but there was a crispness to the air. It feels like fall. Our next trip out won't be for a few weeks and I bet there will be a big difference in the colors by then. This lake was originally a river and about 50 years ago, they damned up a bunch of rivers and make a chain of lakes which is part of the Shannon river channel. These all link up to the Nictaux River and falls. Its all very intriguing to see how they are all connected. The scenery is amazing and the lakes are full of dead trees coming out of the water near the shore line.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


My favorite information blog...Unclutter features an item on most Wednesdays that has one purpose in this world and there for is a "clutter" in your kitchen. In the past they have had some pretty funny things, but I think the one from yesterday.... really takes the cake for "waste of space" in the kitchen. Check it out here.... SMALL APPLE DISH!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

6.2 lbs

yup.... 6.2 lbs so far in weight loss. ummm, Ok, so, not me, ok....I mean the dog!

Mollie... is struggling a bit with arthritis and is over weight... so Dr. Sarah said.... she needs to take some off! So August 1st, we changed her diet and we added some magic powder to each supper to help her hips and she is springing in each step now. She has lost 6.2 lbs in 6 weeks. She lost a lot at first because she just wouldn't eat. Are you kidding... it was like horse pellets... LOTS of fibre and not very tasty. But we added some soft food at supper, and it seemed to go down better. These past few weeks, she is eating it pretty happily because I think she is pretty hungry. I think with the hip meds, and the 6 lbs off, she is feeling better and she is looking a bit better too.

She had a ball at Keji, mostly because Jilly was there.. her second and better MOM. She walked, swam and ate like she was not on a diet....... right off the fork... sausage, french toast... etc. What fun for her. I was pretty worried because she is sort of a scaredy dog... afraid of the dark, and bugs, and is not the best behaved around other animals. But, she was excellent, just the odd bark when another dog would walk by. Most of the dogs who walked by were wearing raincoats (since it rained all weekend) so it could have been just Mollie giving her opinion on how stupid they looked in rainwear! Such a snobby dog, my Mollie is!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The end of an ERA..

26 years. We bought her new. She was deluxe. State of the art...huge by 1982 tent standards.
She had rooms and a floor. It was a good floor...nice windows.... compact (for the 80's). We have camped in our canvas tent every year at least once, and several years we have camped numerous weekends, especially when the kids were young.
This weekend, we headed to Keji to spend the weekend with two very good friends and their families. Keji is one of our favorite camping destinations, filled with nature, peace and tranquility. We have hiked almost every trail, except the "over 20km" trails and the Mills Falls trail. We haven't even found that one yet!

And, like last summer, our camping adventure with Jill, Mel, Meleigha and Tyler, started off with a damp and drizzly night putting up our camp gear in the dark and then feasting on a big pot of rice jumbolaya... We added in the Griffs on this trip, to change things up... cause we wouldn't want to change the habit of camping in rain, now would we. The evening was looking like it would be cut short due to rain, but through perseverance and stubbornness, we waited it out and ended up with a lovely campfire and a late evening after all. Saturday morning was a FEAST of food for breakfast... yuuuummmmmy... eggs, ham, toast, potatoes, beans, and friends to share breakfast with! oh, and RAIN. We ate under the glow of blue tarps. the weekend had so many similarities to our trip last summer, it was uncanny. The biggest difference was that our little "beginner" campers from last summer are now EXPERTS in tarp hanging and have acquired several amazing camp props to help with life on the ground! I was totally jealous of several of the tools and gadgets. The Griffs are somewhat new to camping and certainly know how to keep the camping gadgets to a minimum. They were able to transport their entire living quarters in the back of their matrix while the rest of us caravaned down the highway toting utility trailers piled high with gear. What the Griffs lacked in "extras" for camping, they more than made up for in the size of their air mattress, hee hee. Glorious and comfy to say the least. But all the height and beautiful of a deluxe air mattress can not protect you from the MEGAPHONE snorer that slept in the campsite next to them! Even we could hear that fella, and he was two sites away from us and across the ROAD! Actually, I did hear Gilles mention, not once, but twice, that he might like to have a utility trailer!

Highlights from the weekend were first and foremost... the meals. We all took turns providing for each other, and when all you have to make is one possibly two meals the whole weekend, you sort of put your best effort forward. THEREFORE, we ate better than any royalty in England! We had Spanish Rice Jumbolaya, with brownies for dessert. We had TWO mega breakfasts including french toast, bacon and coffee with Baileys on Sunday morning. We had homemade soup, rolls and brownies for lunch and a fun and filling meal of tacos and fajitas, with three different desserts!!!! The other highlights were the wild life, the trail and the games. We had a stimulating game of RUK-SHUK before supper and of course an over the moon game of Dice. Ty Ty lost this game to Meleigha and tried all weekend to get us to play again to redeem his title but it just never happened!
So back to the start of my blog. Saturday, long after the campfire burned out, we made our way to our tent. Mollie was stiff and sore from her hike and swim in the lake. She hobbled into the tent and planned herself in her spot right in front of the door. We cleaned up our site, and got settled into the tent, and the final task is to zip up all the flaps and front door. That's when the zipper gave way... totally pulled off the track and lay ruined. We both tried to get it back on but to no avail. Our night was spent with our front door wide open, to the dampness and dark. Mollie slept in the doorway, which we covered with the porch flap, but it didn't keep the dampness and cold out. We have had to make a few repairs to the door over the years, but the zipper was definitely getting weaker, and I could feel it coming. I slept with one eye open, because I had visions of a night critter sneaking around the campsite and Mollie catching a scent and taking off out the door!

We have decided to retire the canvas tent and look at getting a new, modern tent, that we can stand up in, and is water resistant and light weight. I know we can get the zipper replaced but its time to give her up. I am sad in a way but excited to see what's out there for tents. We sure liked the look of Griff's tent and Mel/Jill did too. We may end up with matching tents.... then won't the keji patrons have something to gossip about.!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Random Notes

Back in to some sort of routine.... kind of nice actually.

Some cute quotes from school... a little fellow wanted to call home because he didn't feel well. When I enquired what his ailment might have been, he said he thought he might be in a "Growth Spurt". Words directly from his mom don't ya think?

I have a "Follower". How cool is that. Ann the Ancient One figured out how to be a follower and it shows up on my blog... hee hee ..... Well, I am a Queen, and even though I don't have my own country... I have a follower. Thanks Ann for making my day.

I am camping this weekend.. with the Paynes and the Griffs. Bring the kayaks.... maybe the bikes....the dice for sure. we have already planned who's cooking which meal, and the rules still stand in my rule book that the kids do the dishes so Meliegha and her friend better bring rubber gloves since they will be the only "kids" there... heeeeeeee hhahahhaaaaaa

There are changes coming to my house. My bathroom was built along with my house in the 1970's. Its tub, sink, floor and counter are that Sea Foam color from the 70's. I have never liked this color but just couldn't ever afford to change all the big pieces in the throne room. But... like bell bottoms and platform shoes, apparently "Sea Foam" is back in. So, my friend Paula has come to spend time in my bathroom, with plans to give it a face lift. She has come twice, and is now on a little vacation in the USA and she has my bathroom in her mind. She is excited and so am I. She is a natural at these things, and last year she told me that my bathroom colors were coming back in, so now she is going to "modernize" without changing all those colors! below is the before pic. After paint, and a few changes, and additions, I will post the new and bearable bathroom!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


well, as far as blogging is concerned. Maybe in a rut at home too. Who knows. After a quiet, soul searching summer, I was looking forward to back to work. Somehow, I thought going back to work would put things back in place. Some familiarity to the day, one would think. And it did. Work is the same, most days fun with a bit of stress and frustration to keep it from being mundane. And maybe it is too early to tell, but going back to work has only brought back the "beat to a snot" feeling at the end of the day. This weekend was rejuvenating in that respect, filling my day with nothing really important and taking time to relax too. But the mental energy I was hoping to regain is yet to surface.

I had the utmost pleasure of getting a tour of a young mom's home, when Linda and I picked up her two children for a trip to Avery's for ice cream. This young family consists of a young single mom of two, who lives on Social Assistance, and has had the uplifting experience of moving out of a disgusting hell hole, into a bigger ground floor apt, with new carpet and kitchen floors. It has 3 bedrooms and heat included in the rent, as well as room for her washer and dryer. She was so proud of her new apt, and the kids were high on excitement to show us all their belongings and there very own rooms. The young boy was thrilled and proud to show us the box of hot wheels cars he owned and his sponge bob bedroom ensemble. His older sister showed me her great big room with her mountains of clothes. Each room had minimal furniture, no wall hangings, pictures or knick knacks. Just a bed and broken dressers in each room. This young mom is doing the absolute best she can, and is 4 steps above what she was raised in. This move did more for mom than the kids, filling her with pride in her home, the feeling of taking good care of her kids, and it was easy to see her lifted spirits in how she is taking care of herself now. Being invited in to their home was definitely the highlight of my weekend, and the shared ice cream later on with her two kids was second best!