Sunday 26 October 2014

October Happenings

Misty, frosty October morning.
This has been a month of many happenings, some wonderful, some busy, some "under the weather", and one quite tragic. Thanksgiving came and went with turkey, outdoor work being done, and then coughing and nose blowing! Our daughter celebrated her Commencement at her highschool being an Ontario Scholar and winning other awards as well. We were very proud and she looked lovely in her little black dress.

Our son just got braces on his teeth, a new experience for our family, as neither my husband nor I had them when we were young (but gosh, I wish I had, would still love to have beautiful straight teeth), and our daughter, who is older, never required them. I discovered that mouths really hurt after braces are first installed and one must have enough "mushy" food available for the first few days. (The discovery of making a protein shake of frozen yogurt, vanilla protein powder, banana, and milk in the blender was a happy one!).

More work was accomplished in our kitchen by hubby, but then he was struck down by evil viruses. It is the ceiling trim that is currently being worked on.

We have wasps in our house. Everyday when I come home from work, there are a few wasps to swat as they gather against sunny windows. We think we know where they are coming in, but do not have  a ladder tall enough to reach the upper most corner of our old house, nor do we wish to crawl around on our bellies in an insulation-filled attic. I am hoping that cold weather will decimate them. Unfortunately, one landed in braces-boy's hot chocolate the other day (unbeknownst to him! with unfortunate results!).

The tragic event is one which has made for sobering discussions and moments. The young mother (42) of three lovely teenage girls, one of whom my son had a special relationship with for a couple of years, died after fighting cancer for a year and a half. In a small community such as ours, this hits people very hard. My heart goes out to that family and I wonder, as a mom, how these girls will cope. I will attend the visitation with my son. I feel, lately, that I have gone to too many visitations of people who have not lived long enough.

To end on a much more upbeat note, when the family was all together after Thanksgiving, with my coughing daughter home from university for "reading week", I decided to get an animal "fix". I grew up in the country, spending time at my uncle's farm a lot. I love watching animals, being around them, talking in ridiculous voices to them... Now that I do not have my backyard chicken flock anymore, I do not have the same contact with critters, other than our two cats. So, I read in the local paper that there would be an open barn at the alpaca farm at the edge of town. Off I went with son and daughter on a cold, windy morning to visit a lovely farm with a small barn filled with alpacas. Many were outside grazing and wandering around, but inside were still others. Moms and babies, weaned young ones, all willing to be photographed. The people who own these creatures take them to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, the C.N.E. (Canadian National Exhibition) in Toronto, sell breeding stock, and have their incredibly soft fur (wool?) knit into gorgeous items. I treated myself to mittens for this winter! I was in my glory in a barn, surrounded by animal / hay smells. My kids enjoyed the experience too, although perhaps not to the extent that I did. Enjoy some of the pictures that were taken that day.

This is one of the young alpacas. Doesn't it have sweet, gentle eyes?

Alpacas eat hay. When you have such groovy, spiky hair as this, sometimes you get a little caught in your hairdo.

These two were brought out into the aisle and enticed with treats so that I could pose with them. Hubby saw the charge on our credit card account before I came home and was worried I had put a down payment on an alpaca, but it was just the mittens I bought.

I'm ready for my close up!

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Autumnal Pics

Here are some fall photos from various years.

I love the combination of yellow and purple with the black eyes susans and the asters.

These are two of our maple trees (they are much bigger now) in our back yard.

I love rainbow pictures. This one was an autumn one.

An autumn display from several years ago. I now grow my own pumpkins and got about 7 or 8 good ones this year.

Hamming it up with my pumpkin pies. Again, a few years ago.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Thanksgiving Morning

In Canada, this is the Thanksgiving weekend. Today we are celebrating as a smaller family. Often, we get together with my siblings and their children. Many years ago, we would gather at my parents' home, but both my father and mother have passed away, so family traditions change over time. Thanksgiving is a time of food and variable weather. This morning there is a definite bite in the air. I can see frost on my neighbour's dark charcoal coloured shingles.

On the menu today is a frozen pre-stuffed turkey. I bought one accidentally years ago. I took it out of the freezer a couple of days ahead of Thanksgiving to begin defrosting it and read the label more carefully. (You don't thaw pre-stuffed turkeys, you stick them in the oven frozen). It ended up being an absolutely delicious turkey. So some years I buy pre-stuffed (usually for Thanksgiving), and other times I just buy a frozen turkey, thaw it in my big cooler with cold water in it and go through the process of making stuffing and stuff the turkey myself. Honestly, it's much less hassle going the pre-stuffed route.

On the menu as well is mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, cranberry sauce (yup, out of a can, although I have made my own at times), buns, gravy, and a little pot of brussel sprouts for me (I'm the only one in our immediate family who likes them). I baked two pumpkin pies yesterday so the oven would be free for the turkey today. I have also, in the past, gotten up early and baked my pies in the morning, so I could put the turkey in around noon so it would be ready for supper.

However, due to the time of year, the Thanksgiving weekend is often a time of getting things done. For example, the farmer who owns the land around our property has been busy combining soy beans. He just drove past in his large truck that they dump the beans in. I still have to clean out flower pots and urns, rip out my vegetable garden (or at the very least take in my tomato cages and other support structures), put mouse poison in my shed, and get started on cutting back my perennials. Tomorrow is a holiday Monday, so that should give me some good time to get things done. My husband was busy cutting and putting up trim pieces to create the moulding around the ceiling of our kitchen which was renovated this past year. My daughter arrived home from University and celebrated Commencement on Friday night, receiving numerous awards (so proud!), and is now going to study for the remainder of her mid-terms.

I will post Thanksgiving, autumn-type photos later when I am able too use a different computer. I tried Google Chrome on this one, but it messed up other necessary things, so I deleted it. Without it, I am unable to put photos in my blog. I also tried Firefox with similar annoyances, so that too went away. So, for now, imagine pictures of beautifully coloured leaves, shiny brown roasted turkeys, and steaming pumpkin pies... Can you smell them?

I will sit on my porch in a moment with my coffee, but might need a blanket to wrap around myself!