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Monday, 31 October 2016

October 31st

Boo.

This morning the sky was beautiful, pink and puffy.



If you notice, it was also frosty. Now, just after supper time, the weather is ideal for trick or treaters.  No snow, which happens in Canada. No rain, which is worse than snow because nobody wants to walk around in the rain. So  I suspect we will have more children than usual coming to our door. Yes, I am in a little village and at the end of a dead end road, but we still gets kids trick or treating.

I bought two big pumpkins, but now that the kids are older (or away), the "joy" of carving a jack o' lantern has faded somewhat. We cheated and just put this out.


It's plastic, has a bulb, plugs in, and must be at least ten years old. Perfect! No messy pumpkin bits.

The husband threw a few more decorations on the porch.


This guy had eyes that lit up  and made spooky moaning sounds. I don't think he works anymore, but he's fun to hang up.



A few bones beside the walkway to the porch are kind of fun. Too bad they don't glow in the dark.


It always looks better at night. I best wrap up this post, so I can be available when the door bell starts ringing. Happy Hallowe'en everyone.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Scent

At this time of year, the stores are filled with beautiful scented candles reminiscent of pumpkin pie, crackling fires and cozy sweaters just brought in fresh from the line.

When did it become offensive for our homes to smell like, well, our homes? What horrible odor are we trying to mask by burning scented candles, plugging in a little oil filled dispenser into an outlet, or spraying cans of scent throughout our home? We can't all have wet dogs or have been filleting fish.

As well, I think at this present time, most of us bath on a regular basis. We all have access to deodorant and antiperspirant. It is doubtful that many of us stink. However, there are isles filled with perfume, cologne, body spray, the dreaded Axe for men. Why are we masking our own inoffensive scent?

When you launder your clothes, you are cleaning them of any dirt or nasty smells that may have accumulated on them. Why then, do you need to add more scent to your freshly washed clothing in the form of dryer sheets, liquid detergent, or softener? Isn't being clean and free from noxious smells enough?

I wouldn't have been writing these words twenty-five years ago. I enjoyed wearing perfume. I had a selection of day time and evening scents. I burned scented candles. I even enjoyed little glass dishes of potpourri and I burned incense. I didn't know it might cause someone problems.

But then my body, or should I say my respiratory system, turned on me. I often deal with sinus issues and had a cough that literally did not go away for two and a half years which was so severe I would tear the cartilage between my ribs from coughing so hard. I had allergy tests, breathing tests, saw an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor... but the bottom line turned out that I am incredibly scent sensitive. Just being in the same room as someone who is wearing scent gives me immediate nose and throat effects.

Yesterday I was doing my usual weekend grocery shopping. I ended up in an isle with a gentleman who, I swear, went swimming in cologne prior to coming to buy his groceries. Even after he left to go down another isle, the smell lingered in the air. As I continued with my shopping, I was essentially following him and dying in the process. My nose started to fill up and irritate down the back of my throat which led to coughing and further congestion.



I have asked my coworkers to refrain from wearing scent. Most comply, some do not. I was trying to find a dress to wear to a wedding this December (again!) and was in a department store. The dress area was next to the cosmetics and fragrances. It was unbearable. Someone must have sprayed something to entice people to come and make a purchase, or perhaps a customer was trying a new perfume. I literally used my long hair as a filter, breathing through it so I could continue looking at the clothes (no, I didn't find a dress).

About a week ago, as I was listening to the radio while getting ready for work in the morning, the DJ was talking about a recent study that said that wearing Axe makes a man more desirable to a woman. For those of you who do not know, Axe is a brand of body spray, deodorants, shampoos, etc. for men, and more specifically young men or teenagers. It is strong. Overpowering, even. I cringed when I heard that. Just what we need. Even more men who will coat themselves in scent in the age old quest to attract a mate.

I wanted to be able to pull this man in the grocery store aside and let him know he was trying too hard. Or perhaps he had lost his sense of smell and did not realize there was a cloud of scent surrounding him everywhere he went. I wanted to say, "A little dab'll do you!" Better yet, just smell fresh and clean. That's a good thing, being fresh and clean.

I don't think we will ever go back to an unscented world. Nature is full of beautiful scents with some of my favourites being lilacs, peonies, lime, and that camping smell of earth, pine, and wood smoke. Concerning the unnatural, human manufactured scents, it's big money. If you convince people that their homes, cars, hair, babies, dogs, clothing, and bodies require additional sweetening up, the consumer possibilities are endless!

However, I often feel that we, or our future generations, will discover that all of these chemical scents are messing with us somehow. If I cough and hack and get a sinus headache because someone has lit a "Harvest Kitchen" candle, surely there are others who suffer similarly. I make a point of purchasing unscented products like laundry detergent. I wash my floors with a little dish soap, hot water and vinegar. Growing up, houses were "aired out". You would open the windows on opposite sides of the house and let a good breeze freshen things up. I still do, and like to sleep in a bedroom that has had a good dose of fresh air flowing through it.

What about you? Are any of you scent sensitive?

Saturday, 29 October 2016

My Little Corner of the World

This past week is so typical of late October. One morning (was it Monday??) we woke to snow already fallen and more snow to come for the rest of the daytime hours. I didn't think to take a picture (what? a blogger who failed to take a picture of something??). I did however capture a morning later in the week. Much of the first snow had melted, and this was a light dusting.


It was actually a beautiful, crispy clear morning.


This snow would not last long either, but it was pretty while it was here.


Iced pumpkin. That sounds like some sort of Starbucks treat. We don't have Starbucks anywhere close to us. I think my sister might think it unimaginable that we don't have a Starbucks, but somehow we soldier on and survive.


The corn has been taken off the fields this past week. I like when it is corn around us (as opposed to soybeans which are short and ugly for most of the time prior to harvest). The properties feel quite tucked in by the high walls of corn. You are looking at our neighbours lawn there. He cares a lot about his lawn. We are not slaves to our lawn. If it is green, it's part of the lawn, whether it is a weed or not. When it is mowed, it all looks the same.


When the weather gets colder, I gravitate toward what are called "Cozy Mysteries". This is not a great work of literature. It is just a nice, easy read, something I can enjoy before I turn the lights off at the end of the day. Now that I have visited England (albeit just one area), I can imagine the setting even better.

As I was taking a quick photo of the book this morning before starting my blog post, I thought you might enjoy an odd juxtaposition that is right beside the chair on which I set the book.


My husband uses this Buddha to hold the charge cord for the tablet. Ancient combined with modern day.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!




Sunday, 23 October 2016

A Fall Job

Today was a good day to get a job done that needs doing every fall. It was a little bit cool this morning, then the sun started to come out and it began to warm up. It was a good day to empty all of my outdoor pots. Every year I say I will cut back, but inevitably there are many pots that need emptying.

First stop was down by the pool. Our pool is not right next to our house. We have an old house and the septic system, well, and fairly recently, geothermal system are all under the ground close to the house. So the pool was built (by the husband) in the corner of our one acre property.


You can see the pool house and if you look closely, you can see the John Deere riding lawnmower and the attached Gorilla Cart.


I have on my rubber boots, my leather garden gloves and my ancient old L.L. Bean barn coat, ready to tackle a wet, messy job.

Because I have large cement planters at the pool, they will be emptied just outside the enclosed pool area into the Gorilla Cart. They are far too heavy to lug all the way to my compost bin. So, the husband drove everything close by and even used a hand cart to bring the cement planters out so I could empty them. They had gorgeous hibiscus plants in them this summer, but of course those won't survive a Canadian winter, so it is time to say good bye.


The pool has been tucked in under its winter cover for a couple of weeks now.


In addition to the cement planters, I also had pots on the pool deck, the steps, and hanging pots as well. Everything gets emptied into the cart, except for the "spikes", which I know have a better Latin name, but I cannot recall right now.


The spikes are hefty healthy things by now and their roots are enormous. I hack away at the root ball to loosen as much soil as I have patience for, then the spike and its crazy root ball get tossed into the burn pile (one huge benefit to living in a rural area is being able to burn scrap material) because it would take forever for it to decompose in my compost bin.



I use lime green sweet potato vine as a "spiller" in many of my arrangements. Here is what lurks under the ground! I wonder if you can cook that up for dinner?

That takes care of pots at the pool, but I also have hanging flowers on the East porch and the arbour, as well as four cast iron urns, two window boxes, and many plants on the porch. Eventually everything gets emptied and it is time to dump the contents into my compost bin.


It makes for a very pretty compost pile for a while. Notice that my compost bin is made from pallets. No, we don't create shelves, or furniture, or season decorations from our leftover pallets. We make a sturdy, easily accessible, perfectly aerated compost bin. Actually I had the "kids" make it for me one Thanksgiving weekend a couple of years ago. I figured they needed something productive to do if I was going to make a huge meal for everyone. It turned out great.

As I was outside, I realized something kind of ridiculous. Now that I have my blog, there are so many times when I am doing something or going somewhere that I think, "Oh, I should take pictures! This could be a blog post!" Never, in the past would I have considered ripping out my plants something worthy of taking pictures. But hey, you never know what people might find somewhat interesting, or will read just to be polite!

What about my other fellow gardeners? Are your pots emptied? Where do you put your spent flowers? Have you cut back over the years?

Thursday, 20 October 2016

"Oh good lord, enough of the leaves already!" they thought.

O.k., look. Autumn happens but once a year. I get more excited about the colour of the leaves than I do about Christmas. You don't have to run around and buy presents for the leaves. You don't have to plan a big family gathering because of the leaves. You don't have to bake ahead of time for the leaves.

I get a thrill out of seeing the leaves become so beautiful. Many, many years ago, I was in Nova Scotia and drove with a friend along the Cabot Trail which is a windy, circuitous road in Cape Breton. It was October and every time we went around another curve, it was like seeing a beautiful patchwork quilt. I know that when we retire, that is a goal I have for my husband and I, to drive the Cabot Trail when the leaves are perfect.

When I was little, my parents rented a big old brick farmhouse in the country. There was a chestnut tree with a swing and fall was my favourite time because of that tree. Chestnuts don't really put on a spectacular show with their leaves. But chestnuts are amazing! They are ensconced in green spiny coats until the fall when they drop to the ground and they start to split open to reveal a gorgeous shiny brown nut which separates into two parts. I collected many, many chestnuts as a little girl. My father drilled holes through them so I could string them into a rather chunky necklace.

When my daughter was very young, we would collect the prettiest leaves we could find and then press them flat between the pages of heavy books. Then I would iron them between waxed paper and we hung them in the window. I really love autumn.

I grew up as a child in the 70's. My parents had "harvest gold" appliances. Well, the washer and dryer were harvest gold. They weren't purchased as harvest gold appliances. They were used. My parents never bought new. The money just wasn't there. But then my father painted them. Yup, he painted them harvest gold. The kitchen was done in autumnal colours: olive green, harvest gold, rusty orange. I think earthy colours were ingrained into my soul from a young age. I am not a fan of blues or pinks, especially in decorating. But show me a warm brown, a deep gold, a dark sage green, I'm in!!

It is currently raining out. If we get any wind at all, we will lose many leaves. So, in honour of the leaves we have right now, here are some pictures I took on my way to work a couple of days ago. It was a little bit foggy, the kind of fog that hangs like individual low clouds over the land (yes, I know fog is low clouds) and the sun was starting to cut through. An ode to autumn colour, and I swear this is the end of showing you the leaves:









The end.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Quick Catch Up

Yes, this is a quick catch up, and if said slightly differently, it could be a quick ketchup.

This weekend, we took our daughter back to university. She is really enjoying her role as Don for her floor in residence. It is a co-ed residence and when we brought her back and were carrying various bags and things up to her floor, she was greeted by two giant guys (footballers). It is so funny to see her looking up and chatting with these lads. She looked so tiny. One of them was only 17!!!

On our drive to the city where she attends university, I must have exclaimed about twenty times how breathtakingly beautiful the leaves were. I swear we are having one of the BEST falls for colour. And no, we didn't stop to take pictures, but I should have.

We have a wedding to attend this December and we thought we might do some clothing shopping (me for a dress, husband for a new jacket) while we were "in the big city". I thought I found a fabulous dress ON SALE which fit well, hid some fifty year old bulging with strategic gathering and patterns, but alas, when I went to pay for it I was told it wasn't on sale because if I had read the TEENY TINY small print on the sign, the prices ending with 99 do not count. Not happy.

Tonight I do my volunteering by inputting information for our community basketball teams and then compiling what sizes are needed and how many and so on and then eventually getting that info to the local sporting goods store that prints up the jerseys with team names and numbers. It's my good deed of the season. (Sure beats coaching!!!)

Anyway, I'm going to wolf down a toasted peanut butter and jam sandwich and get going. I'm looking forward to getting caught up on everyone's blogs.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Does Anyone Sew Their Own Clothes Anymore?

I was putting my little mini ironing board away in my closet today. I do not iron frequently and sometimes if it is just a quick little thing that needs smoothing out, I can't be bothered to get out my full sized ironing board, so I have a little one that I can just put on the bed or the floor. But that's not what I'm writing about. As I was sticking this in my closet on one side of the tower of shelves, I noticed my folded up cardboard sewing cutting board hiding in there.

Obviously not my photo, but this is what the cutting board looks like.

I haven't used it for years. Seeing it got me to thinking. Does anyone even sew their own clothes anymore? Before I had this ultra fancy cutting board (eye roll) I crawled around on the floor, laying out fabric and patterns, pinning, cutting, basically playing a one person game of Twister.

It was only natural that I would learn to sew. I grew up in a house that had a sewing machine in a lovely wooden cabinet in the main kitchen / family room. The sewing machine looked exactly like this, except it folded down into a wooden cabinet.


Oh my god, how many seams did that machine sew? My mother sewed. She was of the era of the polyester pant suit. I HATED her polyester pant suits. I would beg her to stop wearing polyester. But the stuff sews like a dream, so I can understand why she liked to work with it. She repaired anything that needed repairing. She hemmed my clothes. I was the youngest of many cousins and had an older sister as well. I grew up in hand-me-downs. Sometimes things were too long. Sometimes even new clothes were not the correct length. The absolute torture of having to stand completely still while my mother pinned up the hem was unbearable. I was always afraid of being poked.

My older sister sewed. A LOT. She sewed remarkable things. At one point, I swear, she sewed a suit for her husband. A SUIT!!!! Who sews a suit?

So I learned to sew. I started with things like simple two seamed Barbie slip dresses. The kind where you could just pop Barbie's head off and slip her into a basic rectangle with arm holes. I sewed my own stuffed bunny rabbit from scraps of material. I took the mandatory Home Ec. class in grade seven. By then, I already had been using a sewing machine. Many girls in my class were "new order" Mennonite and had also already been using a sewing machine. We made the typical gathered apron (I kept it and my daughter used it to play dress up), the wrap skirt, and the furry stuffed animal made from a kit.

I learned to love fabric stores. At one time, in the relatively small town close to where I grew up, there were three fabric stores. THREE! I can still remember how they smelled, what they felt like, the joy of standing at the rack where the Butterick, McCalls, and Simplicity patterns books were resting on the ledge, flipping through them and looking for what was new. You'll notice I didn't mention Vogue. I couldn't afford Vogue patterns. If you bought a Vogue pattern, it had to be for something very special. I would buy patterns that were kind of like this:


or this:

I sewed my own skirts (LOTS of skirts), dresses, some simple pants, a few shorts, some tops. Shirts that were more tailored were a little harder. I would take my chosen fabric over to the notions section of the fabric store and would do some colour matching. Thread would have to be perfect, as close to a match you could find. How much thread would you need? It was the worst when your bobbin ran out and then you had to load a new bobbin only to discover you wouldn't have enough thread on the spool. And then there were the buttons. Which buttons to choose? There were so many buttons. I always looked at the cute little animal and floral buttons. I had nothing I wanted to sew that would be suitable for those buttons, but I liked looking at them anyway.

Zippers. The selection of zippers was tremendous. You had to check the pattern to see which length to buy and then came the matching of zipper to fabric again.


I wasn't the only one who sewed. I started highschool in 1980 (I think), and sewing was very popular at that time. Many girls sewed their clothes. Patterns were relatively inexpensive, fabric was plentiful, and it was guaranteed to be the way to have something unique that nobody else was wearing. Oh how I wish I had pictures of some of the dresses I made. Yes, we wore dresses then. We went to dances, too. I would find out about a dance coming up on the Saturday night, would buy a pattern Thursday and it would be ready for the dance. (Don't be thinking cotillion here complete with white gloves, these were local community dances, some put on by the Dutch Canadian society and they never checked to see if you were underage at the bar!)

I even sewed my own prom dress with boning, made out of a lovely lilac coloured "satiny" kind of material. (I went with a friend... that's sad isn't it?) (but I had a great dress!) Sewing was fun and rewarding. It could also be really flipping frustrating. My best friend at times was my seam ripper! And it was always great when you turned things right side out and you realized you sewed the sleeve in inside out. Get out the seam ripper again. I ironed and ironed and ironed. A great piece of clothing depended on how well you ironed your pieces as you were sewing them together. I ironed a lot of interfacing, too. That was the slightly fuzzy white inside layer that provided some extra substance and helped create a shape around neck holes, for instance. It was the 80's so I bought a fair amount of shoulder pads and sewed those in place, too!

When I was in university, I sewed my own stirrup pants. Yes, stirrup pants. My housemate and I went to a vintage clothing place and found a neat ornate dress. We took it home, and I took it in at the waist and hemmed it up a bit and turned it into really neat New Year's Eve dress for her. I made lined skirts, big boxy unstructured jackets, and all sorts of other "stylish" 80's fashion pieces.

When my daughter was a tiny girl, I made a couple of little dresses for her. I've made a few curtains over the years, but honestly, I cannot remember the last pattern I've laid out. I don't even know how much a pattern costs now. The closest actual fabric store is 45 minutes away and I haven't even been in it. With stores filled with cheap clothing made in far away countries by children younger than I was when I started there is probably very little need to sew clothing anymore. I did it because you really could save money by making things yourself.

I still have my little sewing box filled with pins, bits of left over elastic, some hook and eyes, more bobbins than matching spools of thread, and a trusty seam ripper. Sewing was such a part of my teenage years and early twenties. Maybe it is something I might rediscover when I am done working. But the old Singer sewing machine is long gone. It made beautiful button holes.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

"My New Favourite Apple Pie Recipe"

After my rousingly successful post about pastry, I was asked for my apple pie recipe. I used to make an "open apple pie" from a Mennonite cook book because it was most like what I was used to growing up. (No, we aren't Mennonite, but my mother is of rural German heritage and there are similarities in food).

Then I discovered this recipe (likely somewhere on Pinterest) and tried it and it turned out even better than my usual, so when I wrote it up on a recipe card (yes, I still use those), I named it "My New Favourite Apple Pie Recipe". So, here's to you, lovely Martha from Plowing Through Life.

Preheat to 375 degrees

Ingredients: 1 pie crust
                  5 1/2 cups peeled, cut up apples (I used Courtland)
                    1 tbls lemon juice
                    1/2 cup white sugar
                      1/4 cup brown sugar
                      3 tbls flour
                     1/2 tsp (or more) cinnamon
                      1/4 tsp nutmeg
Topping:
                3/4 cup flour
                1/4 cup white sugar
                 1/4 cup brown sugar
                  1/3 cup butter (room temperature)

Place crust in pie pan. In a large bowl, mix apples and all other ingredients except topping. Feel free to use your hands for this. Pile into crust. Make topping in a med. bowl, mix with a fork until coarse / crumbly. Sprinkle topping over apple mixture. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes. Cover edge of crust with tinfoil if it is getting too dark.


And that's it. I sometimes reduce the sugar somewhat and there is very little difference. If you have a little cream, you could drizzle a little over the whole mixture before it goes into the oven to make it a bit more liquidy and delightful. Also, make sure you use baking apples. It does make a difference. If you aren't sure, it even describes the best uses for the apples if you buy them in a bag. Courtlands are a nice multi purpose apple that work well in a pie but are also o.k. for cutting up and eating.
Have a lovely day. I have pulled pork tenderloin  in the crockpot swimming around with some Diana chicken and rib sauce. I think I need a break from turkey. Of course, daughter is working (home from university for Reading Week), son is with girlfriend, so once again it is just husband and I. Oh well, they can show up for leftovers. TTFN.

Monday, 10 October 2016

For the Pastry Challenged

When I was a kid, my grandmother whipped together flaky pastry using real lard, rolled out on her lower-than-standard counter top because she was a short little thing. My mother made pastry as well. She never measured or checked a recipe, or if she did I didn't see her do it. When I left home and wanted to try to make my own pastry, I would phone my mother and ask her for guidance. She gave me ever so helpful hints like, "there's just a feel to it" and "just use your hands". This was not helpful.

Over the years, I have tried a variety of recipes, including the one on the side of the shortening box using an egg and a bit of vinegar. I've tried vegetable shortening, lard, butter, the whole kit n' caboodle (did I even type that correctly?).

I think my pastry turned out perfectly once. Just that once it was beautiful and pliable and didn't crack and rolled out with the greatest of ease. I have no idea what I did differently. I have used knives to cut the shortening into "pea size" pieces (which I have NEVER achieved) and I have used my mother's old pastry blender. I have even tried to "use my hands" like my mother told me to. I usually have to do a bit of patching after I get the pastry into the pie pan. Sometimes I roll it out onto a floured counter top. Sometimes I roll it between or on top of waxed paper. I think I even tried parchment paper once.

But then my life changed. I bought a full sized food processor (as opposed to the ridiculous small size one I was given as a wedding present). I researched how to make pastry in a food processor. This is how I do it (I got the recipe from thebakerchick, but I suspect there are similar ones out there).

2 cups flour
2 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes (I used salted, this would be the same as 1/2 a pound of butter for us Canadians who don't buy our butter in sticks)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Pulse the flour, salt and sugar together in the food processor. Add the butter and process until it seems a little chunky, little pieces, about 10 seconds. While the processor is running, slowly pour ice water through the tube until the dough holds together. After you take the dough out of the food processor, divide the dough into two equal sections and form them into thick discs and refrigerate for about an hour (or more). I wrapped them in waxed paper.

After an hour,


I put some waxed paper on the counter top and rolled out one of my discs of dough (Note the red wine which also helps with pastry making).


You can roll the pastry around the rolling pin so you can transfer it into the pie plate.


Hey! Look at that! It is almost big enough!! Only a couple of patches required around the edge! 



Next I use a sharp knife to cut around the edge of the pie plate (see the spot where I will use some of the cut off dough to make a repair?)


Then I use both hands to pinch the dough between my fingers to create an edge that looks pretty, but also serves to hold the contents of the pie inside so they won't ooze out over the edge.


I used the second disc of dough to show another way to transfer the pastry into the pie plate. You gently fold it in half...


then fold it in half again (quarters!! see, you do need to learn fractions).


Then when you place it in the pie plate, put the folded corner in the middle and unfold.


One pastry became this apple pie. Oh my lord, it was sooo good!


The other became pumpkin (what else?) which was also very good.

If you are already a pastry wizard, then this post won't really apply to you, but there just might still be someone out there who could use a tip or two. Or at the very least, this will serve as a tutorial for my own kids should they ever want to make pastry. Far more helpful than "there's a feel to it."

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Thanksgiving Weekend

This is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Sometimes we get together with a bigger extended family. This year we are just having a small gathering with husband, myself, our two kids, and my husband's mother who is in a senior's home fairly close to us.

My secret weapon for these kinds of events is a pre-stuffed cook-from-frozen turkey. It never fails to be delicious and worry-free. I will, however, be making my own pies. I have tried making pastry in my food processor once before and it was pretty good, so I shall do that again this year. My kids and husband LOVE pumpkin pie, so we will have that, as well as apple.

On my way home from the madhouse / grocery store today, I took the alternate route home and pulled over a few times to take pictures. These are just iPhone shots, but hopefully they capture the beauty right now.





The most common colours that people think of at this time of year are the oranges, reds, and bronze shades, but I can attest to the fact that there is a great deal of purple and yellow at the roadsides, as these wild asters show. At least, I think they are a form of aster.

The weather was overcast and windy. I love when the wind carries leaves through the air. It reminds me of these scenes:




Oh, how I loved those scenes from the Winnie the Pooh movie we would watch with our children when they were young. I love the innocence and simplicity of those stories. I think I could be perfectly happy living in the hundred acre wood.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian blogging friends, and a wonderful weekend to all.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

What's Your Favourite... ?

This is something that I do every once in a while with a group of people. I ask what's your favourite _______?  Often it is a food related question. It becomes interesting to hear what people choose and how people have pretty strong feelings about their favourites, and how much they wouldn't want someone else's favourites.

So, let's play. With the stores brimming with Hallowe'en treats, I pose this to you:

What's your favourite chocolate bar?

I'll start. Of course I always have trouble picking just one of anything because I like things for different reasons and in different circumstances, but if I can only choose one, (oh gawd this is so hard) I would choose Skor Bar.

Now it's your turn.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

And so it begins...

You begin to worry about them while they are still in the womb. Then they sleep or don't sleep, crawl toward "danger", pull up at the corner of the coffee table, walk early, scale the side of their crib and throw themselves over...

He had some sort of facial injury for two years running when soccer pictures were taken. He walked in his sleep (oh my god, what will happen when he goes off to university and he sleep walks and no one will know what to do...), there were the usual scrapes and bumps (when the gravel embedded in his knee dropped out with a 'clink' at the supper table), the fevers and braces and dealing with bullies who weren't really bullies but just normal kids acting in normal pre adolescent boy ways, and losses of lives both animal and human, and good grades and not as good...

Yesterday my son got his license. He drove himself to his part time job after school. When he came home after work he was grinning like a fool. He drove himself to early volleyball practise this morning, and home again after the volleyball game out of town. I know he is a good driver. I am usually the one in the car with him while husband is doing other things and because my work place is in the same direction as his highschool . I believe him when he tells me he won't be looking at his phone while he drives. I know that he slows down in inclement weather.

But it's all the other idiots out there on the road that worry me. I went through this with our daughter, but in a different way. She waited a little longer to get her license. She also spent more time being driven around by her boyfriend. (Then I had to have enough confidence in him, as he had to protect my baby girl). My son has a girlfriend. She lives about 35 minutes away, driving a normal speed in good weather. He will be out on the roads, driving back from her house, perhaps driving to the only decent movie theatre which is 45 minutes away.

I am not so old as to forget the freedom and unmitigated joy of driving by yourself. Going somewhere in a car without your parents along for the ride. I suspect it is even sweeter for young men. I don't want to squash his joy. But I will expect him to text when he gets "there", wherever "there" is. I will forbid him to take the car in horrible winter weather (and we get that by the truckload!). I will have his hide if he gets a speeding ticket! But as a mother I will continue to worry and hope that everyone behaves themselves out on the roads, and those who don't are anticipated by my newly driving boy and he continues to learn and be cautious and be confident.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Soggy Sunday

Before I set out for a walk today, I spotted this little fella on the front porch. He wasn't very big.


Here is a closer look.


I have no idea which end is front or back. He wasn't moving when I took the picture.

Someone else was moving. As he approached, he announced his presence with a continual string of meows which got progressively louder as he made his way to the porch.


He is such a weird cat. He still won't curl up on anyone's lap. His affection is shown by rubbing against your leg when you let him in followed by rolling over on his back and exposing his underbelly.

I convinced the husband to go for a walk with me. It was lightly sprinkling when we left so I grabbed an umbrella in case it became heavier. It certainly did become heavier and the rain was very loud underneath the umbrella. Within the time span of just a couple of days, the leaves are starting to reveal their colours (did you know it is because the chlorophyll is dissipating as the trees approach dormancy?). I took a quick picture of this Virginia creeper vine. I love the deep red it becomes.


On this day, October 2nd, I would like to take a moment to say a fond farewell to fresh tomatoes. These are parked on my windowsill, being eaten day by day.


I hate putting them in the fridge because refrigeration does nothing to improve the taste of a fresh ripe tomato. No more will be picked from the garden. There are a few hanging on here and there, but their quality is poor and I'm basically just done with them. I froze many in ziplock bags after washing them and cutting out the stem. I think tonight, with it just being the two of us for supper, we will be having B.L.T.s again. You just can't go wrong with a B.LT.

A couple of bloggers that I have been reading, recently posted that they felt their posts were becoming boring. I have a similar feeling today, but honestly, sometimes it is nice just to have normalcy and routine, rather than rushing around finishing up projects or getting ready for big events. Sometimes it is nice to just look at the leaves, have a cup of something, and know that you don't have to clean your house for company!