Sunday, 19 May 2019

Four New Hens and gardening

The four new hens are doing well. This time I'm actually doing it right. First, they were set, still in their large cage, beside the chicken run, so everyone could see each other.

Cue the music , "Getting to Knoooowww You, Getting to know all about you..."  Then super high tech feeding and watering stations were installed in the cage (empty plastic tubs with holes cut in them so they could be wired into the corners).

After a little while, the cage was moved into the run for closer inspection.

That's almost-bald Lacey checking them out. She was the unfortunate favourite of the two big roosters.

Here's a close up.

They are good looking birds and are even a bit bigger than our three that we've had for several months now. Nobody has laid an egg yet, but I'm not too worried about that.

Last night, the cage was carried into the coop and everyone shared accommodations. This morning, the cage came back outside, shaded now that it is actually a sunny day. I think by tomorrow, everyone will be well introduced and I can let them out of the cage to roam around.

Ooops, I hit publish and realized I hadn't written about the gardening part. I've been in my vegetable garden today. It is shamefully covered in weeds and grass. Bit by bit I am getting rid of unwanted greenery. I am alternating between standing and bending over, kneeling on a pad, and sitting on a little stool. That helps my lower back from seizing up too badly. Next, I am taking a break from that to tackle the scary barbecue that is messy from last fall and has disintegrating parts. I really want to put some meat on the grill tonight for supper, so a clean up and possibly a part replacement is in order.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

May 18, Victoria Day Weekend

I was up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 this morning. According to my Fitbit, I had very restless sleep and only slept in one hour stints between being restless or awake. Fabulous. Oh well, might as well be up now rather than continue to fight it.
Just got up for the kettle - I have coffee now. All is good.

Mother's Day was this past Sunday and it was very nice. I received very thoughtful gifts from both children and my husband. Daughter made butter chicken and rice with naan bread (one of my favourites), so I didn't have to cook. Lunch was out at a local little restaurant with husband's mother. She appreciated the chance to be out and enjoyed her meal.

The weather (yes... I'm talking about the weather) has been cold, rainy, rainy, and more rainy and then cold. I am sooooo far behind on weeding, cutting back perennials that I didn't get to in the Fall, and whipper snipping around the fences and edges. Ughhhh. Maybe some will get accomplished this long weekend. (Although, it's calling for rain).

I've been on a quest for a few more chickens. I was down to three sad, partially bald laying hens after finally getting rid of the two roosters. One of them keeps laying eggs with very delicate shells which break in the nesting box. I've starting giving her extra calcium, so we'll see if it helps soon. I called up a hatchery (Frey's) that also sells ready-to-lay pullets. I was told they were back ordered, at least for the interesting kinds I wanted which were barred rocks and Columbian rocks. Then I tried the local co-op, but they get their birds from Freys and I was told forget it until September. That made me very sad.

I went looking on Kijiji (an online buy and sell site) and found a few options, but then remembered that it didn't go so well the last time I did that, with birds that I believe were carriers of a respiratory disease, and three roosters!

Finally after mucking around on a site called Backyard Chickens, I found out about a place called Pullets Plus about an hour and a half away from here. They sell either brown or white pullets. Yawn. However, they are open on Saturdays until 3:00 and have birds available now. So... later today hubby and I will go on a "chicken roadtrip / date" and pick up a few brown hens. I will still keep my name in for September for the other more interesting breeds, but for now, little brown hens will be fine.

In anticipation of the new girls, after work last night, I cleaned out my chicken coop, washed and disinfected feeders, waterers, and nesting boxes (which are actually just plastic bins from Dollerama, but work remarkably well, especially in terms of keeping them clean), laid down fresh shavings, and gave the girls a good talking to about being nice to the newcomers. This is wishful thinking as I know there will be an established pecking order and an adjustment period. I just hope nobody gets too severely bullied.

This weekend is Victoria Day weekend, with Monday being a holiday. Many folk like to go camping this weekend, weather it be in trailers, RVs or tents. None of these are our thing, but good on those who do. In my classroom, I had students away to get going on an early camping weekend with their families. We will get together with friends tonight after supper for drinks and a fire. I'm going to make a hot cheesy dip to bring along.

My ant issue continues (for those of you who actually remember that I had an issue with ants in my house). I thought they were limited to one area in the kitchen. Nope, now they have migrated to the den. I currently have a spray bottle of Lysol cleanser and a roll of paper towel ready to attack every time I see more of the little buggers "go marching two by two hurrah, hurrah". For the record, liquid ant poison and little round ant traps do not work.

The fox that showed up on our back porch continues to be seen around our area. I have no idea why it wants to hang around this vicinity. There is a lot of human commotion happening. We are always coming and going, and the new house which is built kitty corner to us has lots of action and people all day long. It could have a huge woods to reside in if it just walked five minutes to the south. I don't exactly know where its den is, or if it is male or female, but I would really like for it to change locations. I am not worried about the chickens during the day. They are in an enclosed run. If we are home, the chickens are closed up in their coop by about 8:00 in the evening. However, there are times when we are out, and the kids are out, and we aren't around right at roosting time to close them up. I have no doubt that a fox could scale the fence and pop in the little door. Oh well, nothing I can do about those times except maybe try to heard the hens in early, before we leave.

We watched the final episode of Big Bang Theory and daughter and I had a cry at the end. I enjoyed it and recorded it every week so I could watch it. But I think there were series that were more meaningful to me. I was a religious Seinfeld watcher and still reference the show (low talker, man hands, spare a square, working on the Pensky file...). I remember the last episode of MASH. Now that was a tear jerker! As an eighties gal, my shows that I watched were things like Magnum PI, Hillstreet Blues, St. Elsewhere, WKRP in Cincinnati, Cheers, Soap, Unsolved Mysteries... I didn't get into any of the night time soaps like Dallas. One thing I can't abide with these days are the so called reality tv shows which are just staged competitive ridiculous fluff, such as The Bachelor, or Naked and Afraid. Seriously, who came up with that concept??

It's now 6:20 a.m. and the sun is starting to shine in my windows a bit. That's nice to see. I'm going to start to catch up on some of your blogs now and finish my coffee. I'll leave you with some morning tulips that have just stated to show their colour, a bright little forsythia, and the girls  just starting their day.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

May 3, 2019

My baby girl turned 23. We had a wonderful time celebrating her birthday. She wanted to go out to eat somewhere, and as she is the social media, tourism, knower of all things interesting, we asked her to decide where she wanted to go. She thought Cowbell Brewery would be fun. This is a fairly new place that features its own craft brewery on site and has a large restaurant. When reservations were first made, they were so booked up that we had to have an 8:30 p.m. time. That's pretty late for a Friday night, when I figured I'd be ready to fall asleep within a couple of hours of that, and then they called back as they had a cancellation, so we were able to have an earlier time. At first, son was booked to work, but he was able to switch, so he was available to join us as well.

Cowbell is about an hour away from us, so we had to start out ahead of time. The food is fantastic there! They have their own wood fired pizza oven, so their pizzas are amazing. Four of us had pizzas and daughter had a lamb burger. Of course, the big thing there is their own beer with all kinds of inventive names. I had a glass of Absent Landlord. The three "kids" had flights (four different kinds of beer in smaller amounts, so you can try a variety and see what you like), and husband had a dark beer called Fly Girl.

Daughter and boyfriend. You can see their flights in front of them in nifty rustic wooden holders. They write the names of the beer on the wood.

Mother and daughter. That is my "Absent Landlord" pizza with pulled pork and crispy onions on it. I brought half of it home with me.

Father and son. Son's pizza was like a cheese burger. Husband had the meat lovers (predictably! ). We had lots of laughs and daughter and boyfriend ran into a couple of friends and associates. We amused and maybe shocked daughter with stories of the day and event of her birth. Husband told her how she was such a conehead baby when he first saw her that he was afraid there was something wrong with her! As you can tell, her head went back to a normal shape. We also told her how husband was in such a fluster that day, that he ran out of gas when driving home from the hospital and had to walk to a gas station to get gas. (Good thing it didn't happen on the way to the hospital!)

The facilities are amazing. We've toured a brewery before, but not this one. You can see much of it from the restaurant, and the rest you can take a self-guided, or guided tour of.

They surprised daughter with a birthday desert which she shared with all of us, because the standard chocolate birthday cake was waiting at home for later. We were absolutely stuffed!

When we got home quite a bit later, it was time for cake.

Try as I might to get a "nice" picture, this is as close as I got.

Not to be forgotten, we pulled up the chair and Samson took his rightful place.

He did not partake in cake. He was expecting some kind of handout.

Today (May 4, yes, May the fourth be with you...), is supposed to be much nicer weather than the rainy cold crud we've been having. I'm in desperate need to outdoor yardwork time. So many things to cut back, clear up, weed, and dig. Hope you all have a good weekend as well!

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Happy happy, joy joy

The post title is a reference to the Ren and Stimpy show. They had a "Happy happy, joy, joy" song. Why am I thinking of that? Someone came two nights ago and took my roosters away!!

Oh yes, people, I no longer have to arm myself with a shovel to go into my little chicken coop. Above is a picture of Bruce when he was a bit younger and slightly less of a jerk. My three, poor, sweet little hens can now begin the process of regrowing their feathers. I no longer have to hear crowing at 6:00 a.m. (or earlier). Life is good. As I watched this guy from a nearby community walking across my back lawn with both roosters in his arms (how the hell did he do that????) I was imagining the na na na na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye song...

Plans are now in place to call up a hatchery and arrange to pick up some "ready to lay" pullets. I'm wanting Barred Plymouth Rocks and Columbian Rocks. They are both pretty kinds of chickens and known for their nice temperament. After putting up with Bruce the bully, I'm ready for nice hens.

On a different note, I am looking out at SNOW again this morning. Dear god, will it never end? The wind was blowing like crazy last night, still is in fact, and I am well and truly ready for the real Spring. I always feel sorry for the crocus and tulips that are starting to come up and get blasted by snow.

I think the battery in my smoke detector is dying because every few minutes, it blasts a few blasts and then stops. It is in an out of the way spot in the kitchen ceiling, so I am putting up with it until husband gets up this morning and climbs on a ladder to replace the battery. It is scaring the cat, however.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Easter gathering and the lemon cake

Easter Sunday ended up being just lovely. The weather was the nicest it's been in a while. It's been raining like pre-ark times and husband had two pumps going in the basement (gotta love an old house). The weather cleared yesterday and you were actually able to be outside without a coat, enjoying the sun.

The meal turned out well with this year's  addition of a 1970's jello "salad" receiving mixed reviews. It was called Creamsicle Salad. The general consensus was that it wasn't bad, just didn't really have a place alongside turkey and stuffing. I don't think I'll do it again, and although daughter's idea of doing a regular post featuring a new retro jello-based salad each week was a fun one, I don't see me taking the time. The fact is that I don't even like jello, and I can't see me forcing my family to eat one of these concoctions each week. BUT  if I did, my first one would be the one we found in my old spiral bound church ladies' cookbook from my hometown called, Green Grotto Salad. Ready? Here are the ingredients:
-1  3 oz package lime jello
-1  3/4 cups boiling water
-dash of salt
-3 tbls vinegar
-1 cup chopped celery
-1/4 cup chopped stuffed olives
-1 cup chopped cucumber
-1  7oz can flaked tuna (!!!!)
-3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
I am not going to include the directions because I don't want anyone to actually make this stuff. What the  hell were people thinking back then?? Please share your jello salad memories with me!

Anyway, the lemon cake I wrote about in the previous post was a success and a keeper. It was perfectly lemony and I will make it again. Here is a link to where I found it on Pinterest if you are interested.

       Here it is after coming out of the springform pan and being stabbed with my favourite paring knife. After that you brush it with a lemony syrup you cook up on the stove so it soaks into the cake.

The lemon butter cream icing was perfect!

Easter morning, I did have to wake both kids up (so different from when they were little and would eagerly wake up early to see what the Easter bunny left for them). I think they still liked receiving a little something.

We spent a little time chicken watching outside and giving them dandelion greens which are their favourite. We ate too much and enjoyed a good visit. Nana had a nice time and is always happy when she gets to see her grandkids. By the end of the evening, we were all completely full and lethargic, feeling much like this:

Friday, 19 April 2019

Easter weekend

I have a confession to make. I'm a binger. Let's just get that right out in the open. Easter is one of my favourite times of the year. I still get Easter treats for my two children, ages 19 and 22. Unfortunately that means that I have a bag of Easter treats in the house, over which I have no control. I do not understand those who can "just have one". I wish I could "just have one". But I don't, and then I hate myself, until the next time I open the bag. So, there you have it. That's my dirty little secret. I can't be the only one. You do not have to confess if you don't want to.

Today is Good Friday, for which I have a holiday from work. How am I going to spend it? I am going to clean, and purge. Sometimes when I feel like life is getting away from me and I am discontented about certain aspects of it, I feel the need to take control, even if it is in a small way. So, today I am going to take control of the cleanliness of my house. Here's another confession: I do not regularly clean my house from top to bottom (gasp!). I tend to spot clean, like an old person who has trouble getting in and out of the bath, I only do what's necessary.  Also, since we haven't had company for several weeks, I've not had to do that flurry of cleaning one does when company is coming.

Daughter is being picked up by husband today. She is wrapping up university for another year and will be arriving home with various boxes and bags. Her room is largely unused while she is away, apart from me setting up two drying racks for my clothes that I don't put in the dryer (which is mostly all of them). So I will be freshening thoroughly cleaning her room, stripping and washing the bedding, maybe even squirting a little Windex on the windows.

I'm planning on washing everyone's bedding today. I wish I could hang it all outside on the clothesline, because there is nothing better than sheets that were hung outside, but it is raining today, and the bungalow-sized mountain of turkey manure that's been steaming away for the past several months in the field beside our property has been spread and to say that the air around us is "pungent" is an understatement.

So I shall clean and vacuum and scrub and dust (my least favourite part) until my lower back screams at me. And then I will be content and perhaps stop eating Easter candy.

On a different note, I have an influx of tiny ants. This sometimes happens. I have put little dollops of Antout (ant poison) on their little highway system and have watched them gather to drink like miniature wildebeest at the watering hole. What I really want to do is squish every single one that I see, but the idea is that they take the poison back to wherever they came from and share it with all their friends and relatives thereby wiping out the whole community. It hasn't happened yet. I've had ants now for about a week. I might start squishing soon.

I bought a pre-stuffed frozen turkey last week to have on Easter Sunday (my secret weapon for all large gatherings - the cook-from-frozen pre-stuffed turkey!). It actually won't be all that large of a gathering: our four, daughter's boyfriend, maybe son's girlfriend if he ever gets around to actually asking her if she's able to come on Sunday, and of course, we'll spring Nana from "the home". I'm planning on baking a lemon cake (love lemon desserts in the Spring - maybe it's the colour?) using a new recipe I haven't tried before. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Pets and Others

I commented on Rachel's blog when she briefly posted about all four of her cats being in the house at once. (They are all lovely black cats, by the way). I thought I would chime in that I found feathers this morning. In my kitchen. And that I hadn't found the bird yet. Sigh. Let me tell you about it.

As you may know, we thought it was a good idea to install a cat door.

Right, so, I'm always the first one up in the morning. I came downstairs and saw little fluffy downy feathers on the kitchen floor. I think I said something like, "Oh god, where is the bird? What have you done with the bird?" Scooter had no reply and just wanted to be let out (yes, I realize what I just wrote - yes, we still open the door(s) for the cats even though they have a cat door). I did a quick look about and did not see any bird, or part of a bird. I pondered about the possibility that the bird was eaten - completely consumed- and thought that was highly unlikely. Trust me when I say I have a variety of stories about body parts found on our porch mat, and in the hallway, and in the kitchen...

After a shower, doing my face, fighting my hair fight, coffee, raisin bran, and reading a few blogs (and commenting on Rachel's), I went upstairs to get dressed for work. As I came up the stairs and rounded toward the front hall, I saw a bird on the windowsill. It was a little brown wren. It jumped up and bounced off the window. My husband was in the bedroom and I told him what I saw. I was all ready to grab a shirt out of the laundry basket, creep up to the little bird, and catch it in the shirt, take it downstairs, and take it outside. Husband suggested we just open the window and take out the screen. Fine. Do it your way. His way worked fine.

The bird seemed totally fine, by the way.

As I was bemoaning the whole cat door decision, husband then shared with me that  he had been sitting in the livingroom,  alone, very quiet, no tv or radio on, no clanging about in the kitchen. He was on his laptop and heard a meow. This was a meow he did not recognize. He heard the "clinking" sound of a cat eating dry cat food out of a bowl. He got up and quietly walked out to the kitchen. That's when he saw "orange cat" eating cat food, as calm as can be.

We don't own an orange cat.

He looked up, saw husband, and ran away, undoubtedly out the cat door. He obviously gets the concepts of going in the cat door. We've seen orange cat around. In fact, he has been in the house twice before. Once when just our son was home, and once when husband came home from something and walked into the livingroom to see him on the windowsill, inside, looking out. Both times he took off in a hurry. I'm not a fan of orange cat. We already have two cats. We are not looking to adopt. But I think we've been adopted. Who knows, maybe he's the one who brought the bird in the house!

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Pushy Salespeople

Let me just ask, do I look like a criminal to you?

No, I don't. I look like a middle aged woman who cheated by using dry shampoo this morning and can't turn her head in a hurry because her neck hurts.

However, the salespeople at our local Shopper's Drug Mart seemed to think otherwise. I guess. I mean, that could be the most logical explanation as to why I got asked three times if I needed help with something in the cosmetics section and then noticed the same ladies surreptitiously finding something to shift or tidy up in the aisles that I was in. This is not a high end store where people get makeovers or require advice on how to use the latest beauty product. No, this is a place where there is a display of regular drug store makeup: Cover Girl, Revlon, Maybelline, etc.

I was moving slowly and checking out each display because I had run out of my favourite Clinique shade of eyeshadow and I was hoping to replicate the same colour in a lower priced product. Yes, oh my god, I reached into my purse... to get my reading glasses so I could read the tiny print on the bottle of yet another anti-frizz, smoothing hair somethingorother that I was looking at. No, I did not slip a rogue mascara in my purse when you weren't looking.

In fact, I have never stolen anything in my life, apart from a fat blue crayon from a box brimming with fat blue crayons in a school store room when I was around 8 years old, for which I felt horribly guilty and didn't end up ever colouring with because I was so consumed with self-loathing!

I'm so honest, I do not even sample a grape in the grocery store to see if they are sweet enough to purchase.

But back to the story at hand. I like to do my own thing. I rarely ask for help in a store unless it is a place that sells things with which I am not familiar, like automotive supplies. Trust me, by now I can pick out my own makeup. I don't want your advice. I don't want your suggestions. Just leave me alone and let me browse through the displays. In fact, I am more likely to purchase more things if I am left alone. If you bother me and ask me what I am looking for, repeatedly, I will likely leave the store quickly. No doubt, these salespeople have been encouraged to approach customers and be smiley and helpful. I am fine with that... once. But if I have told you  I'm fine, or just looking, believe me. The following around bit was insulting. I almost thought I should suggest they look in my purse to make sure I hadn't performed a little slight of hand. I admit that I was a bit short with my final, "Seriously, I'm fine."

I did choose a few items, made my way to the cash register, and upon leaving with my purchases, wouldn't you know it, I set the beeper off. Of course. When I turned back , bag held up, questioning look on my face, the cashier said I was fine and to just go through, but I'm certain the makeup spies were pointing fingers and proclaiming, "I knew it!!"

Ughhhh, it's going to be a while before I go in there again. Anyway, off I went to get groceries and my disappointment with humans was replaced with absolute glee upon finding these:

These are THE BEST paring knives on the face of the Earth (in my opinion). Tomatoes? Not a problem. Cutting out potato eyes? Perfect. Slicing meat? A breeze. These knives are small with a thin blade that is serrated and they are fabulous. Husband was trying to pry something with one and broke it, so I was down to two (yes, I had three of these at one point just in case one was dirty, or had been used to cut raw meat, and I was still cutting something else in food preparation). I like these better than Henckel paring knives and others that I've accumulated over the years. What about you? I'm sure anybody who cooks has a favourite knife that they reach for.

Sunday, 31 March 2019


I've been absent from blogging for a bit. I haven't really had the compunction to comment a whole lot either, but have been reading blogs. I think I'm ready to be back now, however.
Had a little health "scare" about which the scary stuff was eliminated, but am still dealing with not feeling quite right. After phoning to make an appointment with my dr. (who had been on vacation when I was dealing with the initial problem), I was once again disgusted by the amount of wait time until I can see him. A month. It takes me an entire month to see my regular family doctor. Therefore, if it is something quite urgent, I would have to go to the emergency ward at a hospital and deal with a doctor who knows nothing of my history. I know people whose doctors have retired and they are now doctor-less. They always have to go to emergency and deal with an assortment of physicians.

Anway, I am not dying, so my whining is going to cease now.

Daughter called last night with delightful news about a summer job lined up, created just for her! She had a job as a summer student (in her field of study- communications) last year and she loved it - driving about to various events, talking to people, helping to promote, working with social media, etc. The people she worked for saw her potential and her skills and created a position for her that she will have this coming summer. She's thrilled and so are we. Well done, daughter!

Yesterday, husband, son and I drove to a city to visit another college where he might attend this coming fall. We were all impressed. There are many newly built sections and he had a chance to speak to the advisor who would actually be one of his teachers if he chooses this college. This one is about 2 to 3 hours from home, versus the 6+ hours that the other one is. It is his decision, but I sure hope he chooses this one.

Prior to yesterday, we have been experiencing some milder weather and much of our snow was gone, apart from where it had been piled up after snow removal throughout the winter. This was a pretty early "spring" for us. We have certainly had snow that stayed well into April and have had storms in April as well. Yesterday there was a light dusting of snow that disappeared after some rain. However, this is what greeted me this morning:

It is disheartening.

I am currently without reading material. The local library does not open until 1:00 on a Sunday, so I shall postpone my grocery shopping until a bit later this morning and then go to the library and find some good mysteries. As I am sitting here in the den, typing away, I can hear the rooster crowing from the chicken coop. I have not opened up their little door, mostly because I don't want to get out of my pajamas (although I've certainly gone out there in them) and brave the snow. The two roosters had a huge fight a while ago. It was hard to tell who was the victor, as both of them looked pretty rough afterwards. One of them must go!!!!

Tonight is "Curse of Oak Island" on tv. Does anyone watch it? Every week we joke that  this will be the week where they find the "treasure"! Not yet. They had to have spent a treasure's worth of money trying to find it so far.

Have a good week all, and try to stay away from all those Easter treats flooding the stores right now! (That's probably more a message to myself!)

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Snowy Owl!!

Today I saw the snowy owl that my son has been telling me that he sees on his drive to his highschool. This is only the second time I have ever seen a snowy owl, up close and personal and it thrills me beyond belief! I absolutely love birds of prey. I get pretty excited just seeing a hawk in a dead tree or on a hydro pole. But a snowy owl?? Bliss.

Getting a picture was a bit difficult. The sky was a whitish grey, it was snowing a bit, and the owl is white, so there wasn't much distinction. Add to that, I was using my phone to take the picture out my vehicle window. I was so happy that the owl did not fly away while I was stopped on the road trying to take its picture.

These pictures were enlarged on my phone. It is a male snowy owl because there are no bars in its colouration. Snowy owls are different from others in that they hunt during daylight hours. They are native to Canada.

I think this fellow had his eyes closed most of the time. It is difficult to see how big he is, but he was impressive. I got some good news today about a little health scare today, and I will take his appearance as a "good omen" (even though I'm not really into omens and things). Do you have owls where you live?

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Just finished Kingdom of the Blind (spoiler alert for comments)

O.K., Jeanie, I just finished Louise Penny's latest book, Kingdom of the Blind. The best part of the book was the end, not the actual ending, but the "Acknowledgements" at the end. Is this now really the last Gamache novel?

There were a couple of events at the end of this book that disappointed me. I like characters to remain true and consistent. They are characters, not real people. Real people do sometimes take different directions and make unpredictable choices occasionally. The characters in Penny's novels, well I wanted them to stay who they were. Not my decision, however.

If anyone else has read this book, please feel free to join in on a little impromptu book club here. Bring your own wine.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Back again

My laptop died a bit of a death, so it's been a while since I've written my last post. I've had a look at other people's blogs and made the odd comment here and there. Seventy-five dollars later, my cursor no longer freezes and I no longer get spontaneously booted off wifi. I'm also no longer caught in a loop of windows recovery. I think it was money well spent.

I have nothing exciting to report. I'm just busy with regular ordinary life, daughter is home from university for reading week, son is currently off at a big time basketball tournament, and we ate a variety of leftovers for supper tonight.

I have no idea how people blog on a daily basis, but lord knows I've Pinned lists of blog post ideas you can write about to make your blog as exciting and captivating as possible.

I did my first pulled pork in my Instantpot and it was succulent. The roosters "attacked" husband - he thinks it was due to red pants (don't even ask), but I"m not sure chickens even see in colour.

Several nights ago, I was pleasantly fast asleep, but then wakened up by the sound of...  coyotes! They were so loud I actually looked out the bedroom window, expecting to find them in our front yard. It was such an eerie sound. I rushed downstairs and asked husband, who is more of a night owl than I, if the cats were inside. They were, so we closed the cat door and kept them in. I heard the coyotes two more times that night.

Now, I am going to go out in the dark with my flashlight to turn off the chickens' light and settle in for an episode of Coronation Street, and to keep reading my wonderful Louise Penny book - her latest called Kingdom of the Blind. I am intrigued and thoroughly loving it.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Old Houses

Our house is old. Probably not old by England standards, or France standards, or anything other than North American standards, but old here. We don't know exactly when it was built, but researching it is on my "what to do when I retire" list. It is definitely more than 118 years old.

Yes, old homes can be charming. However, I just got done trying to treat mold around the windows and crawling up the outside walls on the upstairs landing. My basement is unfinished and a spider's dream. Some spots in the house have been renovated (by husband) but there are other parts where more insulation is needed, and we really need new eavestroughs, and it's hard to heat because the hot air doesn't flow well into individual rooms, and I'm pretty sure there are wasp nests in the wall behind the upstairs bathroom where they come in between the bricks and the soffits. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes I dream of moving into a newly built, small house with enough closet space in each bedroom and doors that shut properly and a finished basement. Then I remind myself of how much work would need to be done in order to sell this place. Then I have a small cry.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Four Things About Me

I have borrowed this idea from a couple of other bloggers, so thank you Thickethouse and Granny Sue for the inspiration!

Four Names I Go By:
-Mom (Momster)
-Mrs. Yale

Four Places I've Lived:
-close to Cassel, Ontario (population 39, Saaaalute!) (Hee Haw reference - we didn't have cable growing up)
-London, Ontario
-Antigonish, Nova Scotia
-Mount Forest, Ontario

Four Things I Love to Watch:
-animals - birds at the feeder, cats rolling on the floor, chickens pecking, bunny rabbit on the lawn, cows in the field...
-British murder mysteries
-"Modern Family"
-beautiful scenes in nature - sunsets, rainbows, waves...

Four Places I have Visited:
-Cotswolds, England
-Dominican Republic
-East Coast of Canada (Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick)

Four Things I Love to Eat:
(first of all, only four????)
-Greek chicken souvlaki meal with rice pilaf, Greek salad, tzatziki sauce
-Dairy Queen Smarties Blizzard
-sticky toffee pudding
-butter chicken, naan bread, other items from a really good Indian buffet

Four Favourite Drinks:
-coffee with milk first thing in the morning
-ice cold coke
-red wine
-ice cold beer, preferably Bud Light Lime, on a stinking hot summer afternoon by the pool

Four Favourite Smells:
-freshly cut hay
-lumber (tied with something baking with cinnamon in it) (oh, and lime) (and autumn leaves)

Now you know.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

First Sunday in February

I posted on the last Sunday of January, so I might as well post on the first Sunday of February.
Yesterday we watched two basketball games of our son's highschool tournament. It was at his school, so at least we didn't have to travel. They play very well together as a team and won both games.  Yesterday was also groundhog day here. Wiarton Willy predicted an early spring, so take that for what it is, a weather prediction from a 'domesticated' albino rodent. Yesterday was also my brother's birthday. I guessed his age wrong by one year. I'm quite terrible at birthdays. I texted him. As a whole, our family doesn't really do frequent big birthday celebrations (among the cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.). We don't all live within close proximity to each other. Many of the cousins would only see each other at Christmas, maybe Easter, maybe Thanksgiving, or some other special occasion. Myself and my siblings are spread quite far apart in age. I wasn't even at highschool with my sister who is closest to me in age, as we are five years apart (and didn't even attend the same highschool). We seem to carry on separate lives. It is what I am used to. I'm also a terrible phone caller. I really don't even like to talk on the phone. It's just who I am.

Today is much, much more mild than the past week with the polar vortex and skin freezing temperatures. It is actually above freezing! I took the opportunity to do some 'farm work'. I shoveled enough out of the chicken run so I could open the gate a bit more and provide some even ground for my flock. I opened up their little door and out they came, happy with the old grapes and ends of romaine lettuce I laid out for them. I then closed off their door and started a decent clean out. They got fresh water, their various places where they roost were scraped clean, manure was dumped on the compost and over the snow under which is my vegetable garden. Fresh shavings in the nesting box and  a topping up of food, and it's practically the Taj Mahal. However, I was almost dying slogging through the very deep and now heavy, wet snow to the garden and the composter carrying full loads of chicken manure, and then back and forth with full buckets of water. Ahhh, good exercise.

I've been enjoying Ann Cleeves as an author. I had watched the entire Shetland series on Netflix and loved it. Then I was on somebody's blog (sorry, can't remember which one because there are a few that recommend books) and her name came up and I made the connection that she is the author of the Shetland series. I read a couple of those and then picked up another Ann Cleeves only to discover it wasn't a Jimmy Perez mystery (Shetland), but one featuring a detective named Vera. I liked it just as much and then discovered it had been made into a television series. This morning before anyone else was up (as usual), I went looking for it and found I could watch full episodes on You Tube (which I can view on my tv). I've watched one from season one and am eager to work my way through other episodes. They're very good, but sometimes I really have to strain to catch what some of the characters are saying. I do love a mystery series, whether I'm reading it, or watching it.

One last thought... how long do most of you have a properly functioning computer? I am working on my Asus laptop which I bought somewhere around four years ago. It is certainly not top of the line, but it should suffice. Recently, my cursor has been freezing up, so I do what one does, I turn it off and turn it back one again, I get booted off my wifi (which may or may not have to do with the laptop), when I pick it up in an open position and I've just been working on it, it goes into sleep mode... and the list continues. I really, really don't want to buy something new, nor is it in my budget right now. I google how to deal with some of these problems, or I just sigh and put up with them and do a whole lot of  'hard restarts'. Anyone else experience limited life spans of their computers? We also have an old computer with the separate hard drive and monitor and keyboard, etc. that is as slow as molasses and doesn't have all the upgrades so some things aren't compatible with the windows 10 that we were convinced we should install on it. I can't actually load photos into blogger on it. I can make comments, read blogs, etc., but can't write a blog that involves any images or pictures. So, this laptop is the one I use for work things if I'm not on my work computer, and for any other things I wish to do like watch a video, write on my blog, look things up, save items into favourites, etc. I suppose I could take it to someone to have it gone over, but I'm not sure what they even charge these days. Good lord, I've rambled enough about that...

I'm off to get caught up on your blogs now - no doubt with posts of far greater interest! Have a good Sunday.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Good Old Fashioned Winter

Yes, I know I post too frequently about weather, but this must be written about. We had snow squalls and blowing snow yesterday, which meant white-outs (for those of you who do not experience winter, that means the snow is blowing across the road so much that you lose visibility and you just creep along (because you dare not stop on the road in case someone is behind you) and wait until the wind dies down enough so that you can see the road again and figure out if you are on the correct side or not). Schools were open, as they always are, and teachers take turns supervising the 50 or so children who get brought in by their parents because buses are cancelled.

As the day proceeded, a lot of nervous staff members were watching the weather out the windows, looking at their phones, checking for road closures... which did happen. When school let out at 3:10 and parents came to retrieve their children, some teachers drove home and some teachers went to other teacher's homes. I managed to get home, and we had our daughter's boyfriend come to our house because the road that he lives on had been closed. He spent the night (she's in the city at university, he's now done and employed in a town relatively close to us). The storm raged on through the night.

When I woke at 6:00 a.m. and started checking emails and the Board website, it said buses were cancelled but school was open. However, within moments, I received an email put out by our principal that the school was now closed. This NEVER happens. It was because the road the school is on was declared closed.

We live on the boarder between two counties. The county to the east of us has declared all roads closed. The county to the west of us has closed most main roads. Now at 9:30, the sun is shining and it looks beautiful. If you travel 30 minutes to the west, there are whiteouts and the same mess as yesterday. When you get a guilt free day like today, where you don't feel obligated to try to get to work, it is a gift!

Here are some pictures of what it looks like right now.

This is a spider web on my back porch.

My forsythia shrub!!  The branches look like big fat pipe cleaners.

Snow drifted up against a back door.

My footprints (wearing hubby's big boots) slogging my way back to the chicken coop. It was thigh deep.

Everything is coated. It makes me think of spray foam insulation.

Beautiful drifts in the chicken run. They will not be going outside anytime soon!

The plough just went past our house. I wonder if roads will be opening up? We have a visitation to go to for a dear woman in our little village. I need to check if it will even happen today or be postponed. Otherwise, it's a good day to curl up and read.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Pinball Wizard

There is a programme on tv that my husband enjoys. It is called Vintage Tech Hunters. Two mismatched men go around to various second hand, flea market type places and find old technology and purchase it in hopes of reselling it. There is usually an interesting explanation of the history of the item and as we are both over 50, there are moments of, "Oh, I remember that!" or "I had one of those!"

On one programme, the men found an arcade game called Berserk. My husband was gleeful because that was his favourite game when he was young. I never went to arcades. I lived in rural world surrounded by farms and new age Mennonites. He grew up in a city and hung out at a downtown mall after taking the city bus from his house. I had no clue what Berserk was. I have never even played Pacman.

This did bring up a memory of a game that was always at my grandmother / uncle's farm. I don't know how old it was when I was young, but I'm quite sure that grandchildren before me played with it, and probably their own parents. It was always referred to as the bagatelle game, although I didn't know if that was even the name of the game or the manufacturer (I'm assuming it was purchased, not homemade). I looked around on the web for pictures of it, or something similar.



This was a very early version of pinball. You loaded up a marble in the chamber are the right hand side and pulled back the little wooden handle which had a spring on it. The marble shot out, rolled around the curved top wall and pinged its way down, hopefully getting caught in the u-shaped traps which had different scores. I spent a lot of time playing with this old game. No lights, sounds, music, killing, headphones to communicate with someone across the country at the same time, graphics, electricity or computer chips required.

I would sprawl on the floor in the living room of the farmhouse, propped up, shooting marbles and having a great time. The only danger was accidentally leaning forward and putting your hand on the game board. The little pins were not protected with a nail head. They could practically impale you if you leaned too heavily!

I have no clue what happened to that game when my uncle died, grandmother moved into a senior's apartment, and the farm was sold. Hopefully whoever ended up with it spent a few good hours enjoying its simplistic fun.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Last Sunday in January

It's been a cold and snowy week. Any thoughts of "this hasn't been such a bad winter" are long since gone and the process of bundling up, shovelling, navigating white outs and drifting, and generally freezing one's ass off is well under way.

As I was attempting to take a decent picture of poor Aristotle this morning, I accidentally took this picture and then my phone died. I have no intention on going out again, so here you are, complete with finger in the corner.

Feel free to decide what his caption might be.

On different, less thrilling notes, I was given an amaryllis bulb at Christmas time and it is making a show of itself now.

It is not something I would have purchased for myself because I am NOT a houseplant type of gal. I much prefer to tend flowers outside in the nice weather, but it does give a little colour to the kitchen.

This morning I had an old favourite for breakfast, steel cut oats. I put raisins and cinnamon in it, too. Are you familiar with it? It's much chewier and filling, I think, than regular oatmeal.

If you look closer, you can see my Sharpie marker writing of quantities on the side of the container. This is so I don't have to keep putting my reading glasses on to remind myself of how much water and how much oatmeal to use each time.

And now for something that I am gleefully excited about... yesterday I bought this two-pack of sunglasses which are also reading glasses (magnifiers). For a few years now I have either just put on my reading glasses and squinted away in the sun in order to read, or I have done an awkward job of wearing reading glasses with sunglasses propped over top of them in order to read (beside the pool, on vacation, in the car, etc.) I have no idea why I waited so long to buy these, but I can't wait until I have an occasion to use them! Granted, I'll still have to have regular sunglasses just for walking around or driving, because I won't be able to see long distance properly with reading glasses on... Anyone else have these?

It's a mind numbingly exciting day of grocery shopping and a bit of cleaning ahead. I have a frozen roast of beef which I might do up in the Instantpot with some onion soup mix. I might even throw another mason jar full of bird seed on the snow for the little freezing birds. Will the fun never end!

Thursday, 24 January 2019

anthropomorphism - my love of rabbits and woodland creatures

I am sitting down to a small after dinner decaf coffee in the bunny mug my daughter gave me for Christmas. It's on the small size and I love the pictures on it. I saw many of these types of bunnies on prints and cups and other items when we visited England two years ago and was so tempted to buy something at the time.

I adore anything with a rabbit on it. What's even better is if the rabbit is wearing a little coat, or holding an umbrella, or having a moment with a mouse who is also wearing clothes.

Anthropomorphism is the applying of human qualities to things that aren't human, such as sweet little woodland creatures. When I see illustrations that show darling, furry animals in their cozy little homes drinking tea and reading the paper, I feel warm and happy.

(from Celebrate Each new Day, illustrator unknown)
(illustrator unknown)

(Chris Dunn illustration)
(Jill Barklem illustrator)
These all make me smile.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Slept in a bit this morning. I love when I can sleep past the time I normally get up with the alarm. Is it bad that I am still using my night time cold medicine so that I can get some decent sleep? (In my defense, I am still coughing!).

This morning, when I came downstairs, and yes, I was the first one up, I was greeted with what I thought was a big cluster of feathers in the downstairs hall. Upon closer inspection, I noticed it was more a partial bird, complete with feet, rather than just random feathers, although there were those, too. Again, I question the cat door as a good decision. Oh well, at least it wasn't brought into our bedroom in the middle of the night. There I was, before coffee, vacuuming up downy feathers. In case you are wondering how little birds stay warm in the winter, I can vouch for the huge amount of little downy feathers that must act as insulation they possess (or possessed in this case).

After all bird remnants were dealt with, it was coffee. Then, happily, I watched some more episodes of Grace and Frankie on Netflix. The most recent season was released on Canadian Netflix yesterday, or maybe the day before. I quite enjoy it.

I lazed around for a while doing that and thought I'd better check on the chickens, so got dressed, threw a load of laundry in, and got ready to go outside. OH MY LORD, it's cold outside!!! I even put on snow pants!


I scooped a bit more food into their feeder, then unplugged their heated water bucket and dumped it outside. It was time for fresh water. The heated bucket is quite large and holds almost three regular sized buckets of water, so there was a lot of back and forth to the house. They also got some leftover lettuce, about which they celebrated like they'd won the chicken lottery! I collected eggs (two from the three hens), and then spread some bird seed out for the regular, winter birds. I really feel sorry for them right now.

With a tiny bit of energy left, and my socks completely slipped down to my toes inside hubby's big insulated rubber boots, I thought I'd shovel a little of the path for the cats on the front porch. Like a gross, freezing cold pig, I realized my nose was dripping. I thought, boy, it really is cold outside, but I'm not going in for a Kleenex right now, I'll just wipe it on my yucky chicken gloves. Well it kept dripping and I thought, I'm glad nobody sees me right now. Then I looked down and saw red. My nose was actually bleeding. Huh. I put the shovel aside and went into the mudroom and grabbed a paper towel out of the closet. Wow - it was quite a nosebleed. I hadn't had a nosebleed in years and years.

Still holding the paper towel to my nose, I one-handedly got out of my boots, snowpants, coats, etc., then grabbed the coat and took it to the laundry where I sprayed the blood spots with spot remover. (We'll see if that works!). I have decided now that my outdoor work is done for the day.

There's a load of laundry happening, and a book to enjoy. Yesterday I finished Louise Penny's Glass Houses.

I've been reading her books for years and years and am always waiting for her next one. There is a new release coming soon. I have it on hold at my local library. This one did not disappoint. If you are looking for a new mystery series, I would highly recommend this one, but it is best to read the books in order, the first one being Still Life.

I have another Ann Cleeves to read (of Shetland fame) and this one:

As a lover of Python movies, I am looking forward to this. I've already flipped through and looked at all the pictures. I enjoy biographies, but not the 'sensational' kind. I just like a look at the lives of people. I guess that's why I enjoy reading blogs, as well.

It is currently -15 degrees Celsius out, but 'feels like' -26 degrees with the windchill. No wonder my nose bled! I have no idea what that is in Fahrenheit for my American readers. Bloody cold! Ha, ha!

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Cold Chicken

No, it's not leftovers. Just thought you might like to see that the chickens still actually choose to go outside, even in the winter. They aren't fond of days that are very windy, or if the snow is deep, but if there is a hint of sun, they will spend time outside.

They can stay in their coop if they choose. I just open their little door in the morning and they decide what they want to do.

A handful of chicken feed makes them happy.

Happy Wednesday everyone, we're past the halfway mark to the weekend.