Thursday 28 December 2023

All Done, Time to Pack Up

 It's Thursday, December 28 and just like this year was the earliest to get the tree, do the baking, and have shopping done, it will also be the earliest to pack up the merriest of seasons. We had friends over for supper last night, so I wanted all the decor and tree to be in place for their visit. 

This morning, I've gathered all the clean Christmas mugs and got them ready to put away in upper kitchen cupboards and have retrieved the regular coffee cups from the same upper cupboard and put them back where they belong. My goal is to be done with Christmas by this Saturday. Today the village will be torn down and boxed up, and I don't know what else, but I'll set little goals for myself.

Last night, I decided I wanted to make for supper anything that was the anti-Christmas meal. We've had two turkeys (one that I made), and the days of left overs from that, and one ham dinner (and still have the leftovers from that), and so I thought... pizza! I bought the pre-made shells that come with little packages of sauce. I got toppings ready - fried some bacon and cut that up, fried some little bits of italian sausage, pre-cooked some onions, both red and white, peppers, mushrooms... One pizza was the "meat" based one with pepperoni, bacon, sausage, onions, mushrooms and green peppers, and the other was less meat with pepperoni, multi-coloured peppers, red onions, and olives. I served it with a salad based on one I had enjoyed at a restaurant a little while ago. They called it a Christmas Salad because it had red, white, and green in it. Mine consisted of greens (baby spinach and arugula), feta cheese, dried cranberries, red onion, mandarin oranges, and candied pecans. It is served with either balsamic vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing. 

It was such a nice visit and I sent them away with two cartons of eggs (always have too many). We still have no snow and it rained the entire day yesterday, with more to come today. Oh well, the water tables will be high next summer. I didn't go for a walk yesterday because it was a HARD rain every time I thought about it, but I want to get a walk in today, regardless because my body feels it if I don't walk for a few days. That's my post for today, nothing big, just regular life. Perhaps some of you are thinking of packing up as well, or perhaps you leave things in place until New Year's. We haven't done anything exciting for New Years for, well, years, so there's no need to keep things festive in the house. 

Sunday 24 December 2023

Christmas Eve Day

 There will be no "moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow" this year, although we are on the verge of a full moon, there's no reflective snow happening. I don't love a green Christmas, but last year we were dumped on, roads were closed, and daughter and boyfriend got their car stuck on their way to our house. Feast or famine.

Our gathering this past Saturday was lovely. Here are some highlights:

Before some gift opening... Murph in his allocated spot.

I can cook a turkey, but lord I hate carving. I'm more of a rip it apart and hope for the best kind of chef, so I put husband to the task and told him he gets to use a tool, so that made it more appealing. He's getting ready to attack the bird with an electric knife in that picture whilst I am still scooping stuffing from it.

Here we all are during the dishing out of the dinner. Daughter offered to do the selfie - only those under thirty are any good at it, I think. 

After supper, son decided to rate all of his nutcrackers (he's gotten one each year since he was a wee little fellow) in order from best to least favourite. Daughter helped him.

Today, husband will get his mother from the nursing home. We will have an earlier supper (it is a big ham) because she gets a bit antsy if she's not "back home" by a certain time. We will open some gifts with her. Then after she is returned back, son, husband and I are going to open the rest of our presents in the evening with the nice light of the tree and other decor and it will be all cozy and merry. This is a tradition that we did a bit of in my own home when I got a little older. It might be a bit of a German thing, I don't know, but it was always nice at night. 

Tomorrow, Christmas day, we drive to my second oldest brother's house and celebrate again. No storms to navigate through, so easy driving.

And on a decidedly different note, I finally chose to go to emerg. at the little local hospital (that is only open until 5:00 p.m., so plan your emergency...), as I can't get into my own doctor for three weeks and the cough is driving me batty, straining my sternum and I wanted to make sure it wasn't heading in the direction of pneumonia. As I sat in the examination room when the lovely doctor on call was writing me a prescription for an inhaler, I saw this: (I asked if I could take a picture)

Someone with a good sense of humour attached large googly eyes to the poster on the wall. The doctor didn't even know they were there. Perfect. 

Tuesday 19 December 2023

Dec. 19, 2023

 It's one of those contemplative, calm, quiet mornings. 

As you can see from the Santa "calendar", it is December the 19th and if you look beyond, out the kitchen window above the sink, we got a little snow yesterday. 

There is the official measurement of snow. Not much, and will likely be gone in a day or so, according to the forecast, but it helps to keep it feeling "Christmasy".

I'm having my "Melozio" coffee (Nespresso) this morning. Usually I just have instant coffee, but I felt like a little something special, so this is using the coffee maker the kids got us a couple of years ago, with cream. It's sitting beside the old computer screen in the corner of the kitchen.

Murphy is having a drink of water after breakfast.

Scooter is grooming, waiting for Murph to get out of the way. Life is tough when you are fluffy. 

I still have to get dressed out of my pajamas and robe and go out and turn on the light in the chicken coop and add food to their feeder. The sander just came down our road. We are on a dead end road in our little village and every year the snow removal equipment rips the grass apart on the edges of the road and digs great caverns into the road itself. We are on a tiny bit of a rise and I guess it's just too tough to raise the blade a bit. But what do I know, I've never driven a salter, sander, or plough. 

I'm in that odd funk whereby you prepare, prepare, prepare and anticipate and then it's over and you don't know what to do, as we had our gathering two days ago (our immediate family) because daughter and fiance leave this Friday to the Great White North. It was a fantastic day, however, with good food, laughter, two Christmas movies, and a game. So now I wait until our little gathering on Christmas Eve day where we will have my mother-in-law with husband and son and I for a smaller dinner, I'm thinking ham, and we will give her some presents and take her back to her nursing home. Dementia is getting rougher on her. I'm not sure how this will go... Then on Christmas Day, we drive a couple of hours to a city where we are gathering at my brother and sister-in-law's home for my side of the family's get together. 

This is where I get a bit maudlin - last year was SO traumatic with my cancer diagnosis and various treatments and my sister being in ICU and us driving like a bat out of hell to get to her bedside, being told that "this was it". In fact, it was a year ago on the 16th that it happened for her. A very different Christmas. She did recover with all the bumps and delays from being in an induced coma and being hooked up to so many machines. It took way too many weeks to finally discover that she was deathly allergic to ibuprofen and that's why her body went into shock / sepsis. I, of course, recovered and got the all clear from the doctor and go on with my forever changed life, taking drugs which will assist me in not getting cancer again and being reminded to live my life fully whenever I turn down an opportunity, or think I shouldn't splurge on the "good stuff", or feel guilty for spending an afternoon reading instead of doing something productive. 

So, this year we have lots to be thankful for, lots of looking back and being glad that's over with. Ironically, both sister and brother have had leg surgery this month (or very end of November for sister, I believe), so they will be the hobbling siblings at Christmas. I must be very careful in my clumsiness and not bump into either one of them! But they will recover in the weeks to come and will have, eventually, less pain and new mobility and will also have a "new lease on life". I have two older brothers and my older sister and I am glad that we can all get together and that it will be something to look forward to. We've not always seen eye to eye and gotten along perfectly over the years, but time mellows things and relationships change and sometimes hardships bring people closer together (and sometimes not). There will be some cousins, but not all, as some live quite far away now. Everyone has two children in my family, my two brothers, my sister and myself. 

I am rambling on, aren't I? It's time to wrap this up and start reading your blogs and seeing what's happening in your lives... 

Wednesday 13 December 2023

Cookies - December 13, 2023

 This Saturday, we will be having our "Christmas" dinner and some present exchange with just our immediate family, as two of them will be elsewhere in the province on the actual Christmas day. For that reason, I baked early and purchased early. On Monday night, we all gathered round to do what is now our annual decorating of gingerbread and sugar cookies. 

We are a funny, sarcastic, and traditional bunch, so when we do our cookie decorating, we see what we can create out of the traditional shapes of trees, bells, ornaments, holly, stars, candy canes. I am super prepared (ha!) with all of my technical decorating tools, those being little zip lock bags of coloured icing with the tip of the bag cut off, so you can "pipe" the icing, some sprinkles, and toothpicks for precision. I must say that this year's icing was superior to other years, so I have Tiktok and my daughter to thank for that. I also realized I am now out of green food colouring, so we had to make our own.

From the left is son, "soon"-to-be son-in-law, and daughter. They are all looking very dedicated to the task at hand. Christmas village is in the background (I went with three levels this year, and no Lego figures).

Catching husband in the act of eating one of the "allowed" cookies. I made other cookies for eating to preserve the ones we were currently working on. We had rum and eggnog whilst decorating.

Most of the gang. Phones were used for images to copy on the cookies.

As you can see, some cookies are traditional (stars, trees, present, ornament) and others are interpretive (snake, cat, skeleton, whatever that swirly white and green thing is...).

Cookie Monster is featured in the lower left (all the while, son complaining that we should have black icing), the Leg Lamp (minus the benefit of yellow icing) , and others. 

Things got a bit political, as some Canadians might recognize some symbols. I won't reveal which ones were celebrated and which ones were scoffed at. As well, please note the Canadian Tire symbol! The gnome cookie is an ode to daughter who despises all the gnome products out there ("friggin' gnomes"). 

Compliments to daughter who took things seriously at the end and created this beauty (there was another one in white and red). I told her it could be a side hustle if the need ever arose. 

The cookies were laid out to set and dry and are now safely packed away in the freezer for future eating. I really love these family times and am very fortunate to have my adult kids close by, as not everyone has this. I get a bit maudlin at this time of year and hope that in the future such traditions will continue within their own families and they will reminisce fondly. 

Thursday 7 December 2023

Remembering my Mom and Chow Mein Noodle Cookies

 I completed decorating the house early this evening. I let husband know that we can probably stop buying me Christmas decor as I didn't even put out everything that is stored in "the twelve boxes of Christmas". However, there are many treasured, special items that I will always put out, that have some kind of memory or meaning. One item is this silly little music box.

It has a wind up mechanism on the underside and it plays the tune of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". It uses magnets I believe so that the two little mice spin on top of the "ice". One tree along the side has a broken off top. One of the mice, or I think it was a mouse, maybe it was a bunny, no longer has any ears.

My mother went through some years where she would buy all of us "kids" (most of us adults by then) the same item. One year it was wooden Santas, another year it was a lovely resin Santa figure sitting in a chair in his slippers with a list in his hand and a cat on his lap (which always made me think of my father, who often had a cat on his lap), and one year it was this music box. We all got one. I don't know if my siblings still have theirs, but our two kids used to love to wind it up and watch the mice spin around. It was simple and sweet and when I wound it up today, I got a little choked up. Mom's been gone many years now, but she would have liked to know that I still put it out for the family to see.

Another thing I do at Christmas is make some of the goodies and treats that she used to make. One of those is chow mein noodle cookies. Our son called them spider cookies, because they kind of resemble a multi-legged creature, so we have renamed them spider cookies. The hardest thing about making them is finding the chow mein noodle cookies in the store.

Ingredients: 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

                    2 cups of butterscotch chips

                   1 package of chow mein noodle cookies (mine was 170 grams)

                   aprx. 1 cup of salted peanuts

Melt the chips over a double boiler, or cautiously, in small increments in the microwave.

I like to snap some of the noodles in my hands so they are not all a long length. Once the chocolate and butterscotch chips are melted, add your dry noodles and peanuts. I honestly just dump peanuts in until it looks like there are enough. Maybe it's a cup, maybe it's more or less.

Try to really stir the contents well so that everything gets coated. Don't worry if you snap more noodles while you do it.

Using two spoons, drop clumps onto waxed paper. I ended up with three cookie sheets full. 

Here is a close up of these weird and wonderful treats. Put them in the refrigerator to cool and set up and store in an airtight container until you wish to put them out at a Christmas gathering (I keep mine in the fridge). They will be fine at room temperature later. 

My mom also made short bread that she put through a cookie press, funny little sugar cookies that were wrapped around a red maraschino cherry, rolled in sugar, and baked, and Hello Dollies which were squares with a graham cracker base, chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut. They may be called something else where you are from.

I like keeping some of the traditions alive, and adding new ones, or ones borrowed from my husband's family. Stockings for instance, were not part of my childhood at all, but his family always did stockings, so we started them with ours. Do you make any Christmas treats that you mothers made? 

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Supervisor sleeping on the job

 This is the absolute earliest we have ever put up a Christmas tree. It was son, husband, and myself trimming the tree with Christmas music in the background (complete with the Muppet’s Twelve Days of Christmas, and Bob and Doug Mackenzie’s version as well). Murphy made sure to sprawl out in any space where we needed to go but he was a good boy and didn’t attack any ornaments ( yet). 

Here is the final outcome, but I still need to vacuum and put the tree skirt around the bottom. As you can see, my progress is somewhat hampered by a very tired supervisor. I can always vacuum tomorrow. 

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Snow Day / Work Day

 I was scheduled to work this afternoon in a town about 15 minutes away. We have snow squalls in the forecast and this is what it looks like this morning from my porch. 

Pretty isn't it? I got a voicemail from the VP at that same school wondering if I could come in the whole day. On snow days, here, it just means that the buses are cancelled, but a ton of kids still show up at school. Parents bring them in. Even the parents who do not have gainful employment. I let the VP know that I would likely give it a go but couldn't promise I would be there right at 9:00 on the dot. She was fine with any time that I could make it. I think I'll be fine, I'll just chug along carefully. I'm not sure if the roads have been sufficiently cleared yet, (I can't tell from my house) but this is nothing new. It's also about visibility if it really starts to blow. Ahhhh, here we go. 

Edited to add:  Oh well, the whole thing has been cancelled. She got enough people to come in and the meeting that took the teacher out this afternoon (for whom I was supplied to be filling in) was cancelled. It might be a good day to start Christmas decorating, or baking. 

Monday 27 November 2023

Early Tree

 When I was out picking up a few things, one of them being a bag of chicken feed at the local "co-op", I thought I should check the prices of Christmas trees. There was one year when we waited too long to get a tree and everywhere was completely sold out. Of course, I am talking about real trees, usually spruce or balsam. Well, the price of everything has gone up and I just about died when I saw the prices - $79, $90, and up! 

So, we did a search online and found a couple of places to cut your own tree. We have NEVER gotten a Christmas tree in the month of November, ever. But, with daughter and future son-in-law not being around for actual Christmas and our mini-pre-Christmas scheduled for December 16, I've been thinking of the holiday in advance. Our son has a big truck, so off we all went to the first place. Unfortunately, the trees were spindly and hadn't really been trimmed properly over the years. We left without a tree. Then we drove further to the second location. These people knew how to do things! 

That's husband walking through the many, many lovely fat trees. Every tree was $60 regardless of the size. There were so many more that I just didn't get a picture of. Look at that beautiful ridge in the distance. It was a stunning property.

That is son carrying one of the sleds they provide so you can drag your tree back to where you parked. Look at all the trees from which to choose! And there were little trees already planted where previous ones had been cut down.

Here is son in the midst of sawing the tree. 

Ta Da!! It's a good tree! Son is pulling it on the sled. There were many other people and families with children who were so excited and you could hear them shouting, "How about this one!" It started to snow thick wet snow on the drive home and it is still on the ground now. The tree isn't set up in the house set, it is sitting in the cold in our car port. 

Do you have a real tree? How much do you spend on yours?

Friday 24 November 2023

Snowy Day

 I woke to a white world. It is very pretty and makes me feel very festive. I'm not sure if I'm festive enough to start dragging out boxes of Christmas decor and "decking the halls", but I did have a look at my baking supplies to see what I need to pick up for some Christmas baking (maybe this weekend?).

Scenes from my morning chicken chores. It's the first time most of the hens have witnessed snow. I don't think any of them have bravely ventured out yet.

I finished a book in about two days. This is from a series of books about the "Thursday Murder Club". It is not high brow literature and I have enjoyed every one so far! I highly recommend, but they are best if read in order. 

I imagine some of you are recovering from Thanksgiving and others, like me, are getting used to the idea that our snow is likely here to stay now (rest of the week looks like more to come). Have you started to decorate for the season? Do you bother anymore? Will you be baking or buying? Let's not even talk about shopping.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Catching Up and Possibly Helping Someone

 I can't believe it is November 21st already. I know that my American friends are gearing up for Thanksgiving, which is always baffling to me, as we had ours way back in October. I feel like I'm gearing up for Christmas, and couldn't imagine also having to juggle Thanksgiving in the midst! 

I have not had too many teaching days (Covid causing me to essentially cancel a week's worth, and my procedure also meaning I couldn't book anything around this time). I just got notification that two days running at a lovely school that I hardly ever get into have been cancelled. That made me sad, as I was quite looking forward to making connections at that school.

I have started a wee bit of Christmas shopping already. I have been a bit anxious about that because this year I need to have some gifts purchased earlier (and have some baking done earlier, and some decorating done earlier) because my daughter and her fiance (I can say that now!) are going to his grandparents' and other relatives way up in Thunder Bay (Ontario) for the holidays. So we will have a little gathering and gift exchange prior to that (I'm thinking December 16th). It will be very odd when the actual Christmas rolls around to not have them here, but I know we have been very fortunate to have both of our kids close by and here for holidays up until now! Not everyone can say that.  My one brother has a twin daughter living in British Columbia, and my sister has a daughter living in New York, so yes, we are very fortunate. 

On the weekend, the weather was cooperating, so I went around the property with clippers in hand and gathered evergreen boughs to put into our two big iron urns on the little front porch. I went for a little walk past our property along a seasonal stream where I used to be able to gather armloads of red dogwood branches, but this year I barely found any. It was enough to create some colour in the middle of the urns, though. Later today, I shall drive into town to our local Dollerama and purchase some cheap and cheerful large sprigs of bright red berries to finish the project. Son helped me string the lights along our rail fence on Sunday so all that needs doing is for husband to round up the extension cords and nifty mechanism for the remote to turn the lights on and off when desired. 

Husband is still fighting the Covid effects. He is testing negative (as we all are), but his fatigue and cough remain. He is usually the much better healer of us two, but this time around, he's having a hard time shaking it, and is extremely frustrated as he has a big list of things he was wanting to take care of right now. Oh well, they shall have to wait. 

So now comes the part where I may assist someone. I am always a person who is quite fearful leading up to medical procedures, so I thought I would allay the fears of anyone who is like me and has to have the "dreaded colonoscopy". Don't dread it. I just had mine yesterday. First of all the prep for me was different than silly videos I watched on TikTok. I did not have huge jugs of foul tasting solution that I had to consume. Instead I had a little package of orange flavoured powder that I mixed with water which I had to consume, along with six to eight glasses of water, spaced about 15 minutes apart. I did that twice. Due to when my procedure was to take place, I had to waken at 5:00 a.m. for the second round of the orange solution. The day before the procedure, I could drink clear juice (I had apple), Gatorade or similar sports drink (not red or purple colours), broth ( I had chicken, warmed up, and it was nice), black coffee or tea, and jello (again, no red or purple, so I made lemon, lime and orange and only ate the lemon and a tiny bit of lime). I did not feel starving or deprived at all. The morning of was only water (and the orange concoction). In terms of what it did to my digestive tract, it was very manageable and not terrible and I was able to get some sleep at night, as well. 

The day of the procedure (which was yesterday), husband dropped me off at the small hospital in which it was to take place. I went to day surgery and sat around for a while. Then I went to a little room off of the day surgery waiting room where I dressed in the ubiquitous hospital gown and robe and was given an i.v. (that honestly was the worst part as the nurse had a heck of a time getting it in a vein and a second nurse had to step in, but maybe if you have nice hefty veins it won't be a problem). I waited around some more, then I was walked down to the room where I was to have the procedure done. There were lovely nurses and the doctor who chatted casually with me, I was even able to leave my socks on, and then ... nothing. I remember nothing after that. I woke up in a different area feeling like I had just had the most lovely sleep ever. I was in no pain whatsoever. I felt like I just wanted to cuddle down and sleep some more. I was given a nice little glass of ice water that felt like heaven, the doctor reassured me that he saw nothing that looked like cancer and that he took some little biopsies and that we would have an appointment again in a few weeks, and then I was given back my clothes and dressed in a different area. Someone called my husband to come pick me up and away I went. I was still a little drowsy and a little unsteady for a bit and fell asleep on the couch for a while (until the cat woke me up, thanks Murph). 

This morning, the morning after, I have zero pain, zero issues. I can eat whatever and it doesn't bother me. I'm glad to have a day not teaching, just because I feel like I'm still catching up on a bit of sleep, but all in all, it is nothing to be feared (just hope for a talented i.v. nurse) and the "sleep" is delightful. Hope that helps someone. 

Tomorrow the vehicle (I drive an older model Toyota Rav 4 and love it) has to be taken in for an undercoating and hopefully the guys can have a look at it and determine why it is making an annoying squeaky sound (husband has some theories, but obviously right now can't really be fixing it himself). Fingers crossed that it isn't ridiculously expensive, but honestly, that vehicle has been very good, with just general maintenance required over the years.

 'Tis windy, cold, rainy today with a possible high of 6 degrees (that's 42 in fahrenheit - which means nothing to me). What's funny is husband and I are two years apart. Celsius and various other metric teachings in school started when I was in the younger grades. Husband had already had imperial measurements firmly embedded in his brain by then. He is still very comfortable thinking in miles per hour and fahrenheit temperatures (even sets our thermometer for our heat in the house in fahrenheit), but it is meaningless to me. 

It shall be a quiche night tonight in an effort to use some eggs! Have a lovely day, everyone. 

Monday 13 November 2023

November 13, 2023

 This past week has been unforeseen. I was supposed to be working a week at my old school, something I was looking forward to. Unfortunately we caught Covid - for the first time after our Toronto adventure helping our friends with the Royal Winter Fair. I had a relatively mild dose, feeling better in a few days, but still having to cancel my teaching that week. Son was barely symptomatic and only took three days off of work. Husband had it the worst and still has a cough and not much energy. Oh well, that’s how it goes.

Today was “ mild” so I took advantage of the day and got out my loppers and cut back most of the shrubs along the pool fence. This is something I really wanted to get done and I’m glad I did it. I was tired by the time I had carried all the branches away! I have three days of teaching this week. Then I get to prep for a colonoscopy a week from today. Yippy! I’ll be glad when that’s done, although I know it’s not a big scary thing, but not something you want to be participating in often!

I was feeling like I wanted to disinfect the house after all the coughing and sneezing. I cleaned counter tops and mopped floors and disinfected doorknobs and the tv remote! I’m sure I’ll do it all over again but it felt good to do that to begin with! 

Have a good week my blogging friends! 

Saturday 4 November 2023

Beginning of November

 I went for a walk today and it is pleasantly not too cold. I like my walks, it is my thinking time, my talking in my head time. Other people listen to books or podcasts or music while walking. I prefer the quiet. 

We just returned from helping our dear friends for three days to set up their huge booth (more like a giant store) in Toronto at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. It is a big deal and goes for ten days I believe. We were only there during the designated set up days, so we did not have a chance to see the shows or exhibits or tour through all the many vendors and eating areas. People come from all across our big country bring the best of their best livestock, anything from beef cattle to dairy cattle to pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits, alpacas, you name it. I hope our friends have fantastic success with their tack business this coming week.

I'm just throwing this out there, as when I shared about my breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, many of you had your own stories to share, which made me feel very good indeed. Now I am experiencing a side effect of taking the A.I. (which prohibits estrogen from being produced), that being significant hair thinning. Nobody warns you about this one. It is distressing, as I have always enjoyed caring for and styling my hair over the years. I did a bit of research and found out that manoxidil (the ingredient in Rogaine which is often used by men who are experiencing hair loss) can possibly help. This is not a result of chemo, as I did not have to have chemo. This is a result of the prescription that I am to be on for ten years (I may decide to not do the full ten years, but as of now, I am on it). So, any relatable tales or suggestions would be welcomed.

On a different note, I gave the girls a treat today. I had three pumpkins on my porch for decoration through October and today I brought one back to the chicken run and cut it apart with a shovel. 

Cautious exploration at first.

Definite interest now.

Not to be forgotten, here is a picture of Murphy in all of his glory. Son was making his work sandwich the night before and playfully tossed a wrapped piece of cheese on Murph's ample belly. He didn't care at all and would have casually laid there, cheese in place, for as long as was necessary.

Murphy isn't the only one with a penchant for lying on his back, underbelly exposed. Here is Scooter.

He is so fluffy it is hard to distinguish where his head is, but you can see one ear. The difference between the two cats is Scooter will adore a belly rub, whereas Murph will only tolerate it for a moment. 

I have a busy two weeks ahead, as I picked up seven consecutive teaching days at my old school, all in the same class. The lovely part about it, other than being in a familiar setting, is the teacher who will be away is the one to plan everything. I just have to execute the plan. Nice. 

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, everybody!

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

 I do not think we will be going on our long eight hour drive each way trip for a memorial service this weekend. Husband has messed up his back and wants to let things heal and calm down, rather than being in a car for that long and standing and sleeping in a spare bed somewhere. I don't blame him and truth be told, I'm rather glad (not about his back...).

I seized the opportunity with this mild weather today to do some cutting back of perennials late this morning. I stop when I have filled my five big "buckets", that way I don't mess up my back.

Here are some pictures of what my neck of the woods looks like right now - still lots of pretty leaves, even with the recent wind and rain.

The above picture is facing south (pool house in background).

The above picture is facing north (neighbouring yard in background).

A couple of you expressed an interest in seeing more chicken pics. Here is one of the whole chicken coop and covered run.

Husband built all of this. The large black container in front of the coop holds a bale of shavings and some oyster shell. I can't store it inside the coop because there isn't quite enough room (and the chickens would just roost and poop on it). 

This is inside the coop. I call this brown chicken "Rover" because she is more like a dog. She always has to be underfoot, wondering what I'm doing (mostly hoping for food). She is old and hasn't laid an egg for about three years. This is a retirement home for chickens.

This girl was in one of the nesting boxes (I get these from Dollarama - sturdy, stackable, and washable). She is a Noiran which comes from the line of Marans (for those of you with poultry knowledge). Her eggs are a lovely dark brown.

Here are some more members of the flock outside in their run. They spend most of their days outside and come in to roost at night. 

This afternoon I am meeting up with a friend with whom I usually go for a long walk when she has Wednesdays off work. I am working tomorrow, teaching in a grade one classroom. I hope you are also enjoying a bit of mild autumn weather wherever you are. 

Friday 20 October 2023

Regular Life

 The world is crazy enough, so here’s a whole lot of boring old normal:

- I cleaned out the chicken coop today and spread the contents in my vegetable garden to be tilled in for spring.

- Yesterday was Nana’s 86th birthday ( my husband’s mother) and we brought her to our place for supper and watched the Croatia episode of “Somebody Feed Phil” on Netflix. She was born in Zagreb and now has dementia but still has some memories of long ago.

- We drove daughter to a city about an hour away so she could take a train to another city and then finally to Ottawa to see a friend from university. This was her first time doing something like this ( we are very rural and don’t have public transit). The autumn colours were still lovely.

- I finished reading Ann Cleeves new book The Raging Storm and enjoyed it very much. I take books out of the library which is twenty minutes away.

- Why is flea treatment so bloody expensive?? It’s ridiculous.

- I recently discovered the series, Doc Martin. I am now recording both new and older episodes.

- My husband recently did my rear brakes and my parking brake. He does almost all of our vehicular maintenance, being self taught over the years. 

- We are going to a big city about eight hours away for a memorial service/ celebration of life for my husband’s uncle next weekend. Things like this wear me out even if I’m not the one driving. I really am more of a homebody, perhaps even an introvert. 

- This morning I got up earlier than my husband and when I went back upstairs to our bedroom a bit later to get properly dressed ( and he got up), I opened the curtains and looked down at the yard. Within about a minute I saw a red squirrel find a walnut and leap along the rail fence and into the trees with it, a nuthatch hopping head first down our big old spruce tree, and a big cottontail bunny jump up our cement steps to our little front porch. I joked that it was Peter Rabbit coming to ask if we had found his little blue jacket and that husband should go down and open the door for him. He did, but the bunny was gone.

- I made fried eggs, fried mushrooms, and little breakfast sausages ( which I despise but son and husband like) for supper tonight. I’m always looking for ways to use up eggs.

- That’s it. I hope you too have a normal ordinary weekend! 

Sunday 8 October 2023

To My Canadian Friends


Whether you are celebrating today or tomorrow, or not at all, I hope you all have a cozy, contented Thanksgiving!

Thursday 5 October 2023

October 5, 2023

 It has been the weather of July lately, but some decidedly October weather is on its way. 

Here is a little autumn chicken picture for you.

I spent a good part of yesterday clearing out my vegetable garden. The girls enjoyed some rutabaga greens.

As well, they received the last dregs of the tomatoes.

They will happily convert all of this into eggs for us. (Except for that brown chicken, she hasn't laid an egg in about three years!)

This is what I salvaged and I'm done, completely done. I don't care if I don't see another tomato for months. The mystery vine turned out to be spaghetti squash (from some that I threw in the compost months earlier). 

I'm not even sure what those squash are like on the inside, hopefully o.k. 

Today we have a technician to come and finalize wiring and set up a proper working internet system in our old house. We recently had an excruciating ten rounds with two providers as we were not happy with losing services and the amount we were paying, only to find out the other provider couldn't even get us internet here. Reliable internet in rural Ontario is still not a given for everyone. We have a choice between two providers. That's it. And neither one is inexpensive or perfect. In order to save some money, we finally dropped our land line. I know, most people who have crawled out of the dinosaur ages have already dropped their land lines ages ago, but change is hard for some (cough husband cough!!). Our problem is due to the physical nature of our home with an addition built on with double brick old walls and a big expanse of metal roof over a car port in between. Our son is in the addition, and in order for him to have a strong enough, fast enough signal, hard wiring has to be put in, and boosters, and other such stuff that I'm not sure I fully understand. Husband and son pulled through some wiring last weekend in order to prepare. 

So how are the other gardeners on here? All done for the season? Anyone else done battle with Bell in rural Canada?