Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas is Upon Us

I haven't been blogging much lately.   I was away again to Alberta to pick up my car.  We had to dig the car out of a huge snowbank and knock off the ice before I could even open the doors. I stayed and visited relatives when Barry went back to work up near Fort Mac.  I also did some shopping as well before heading home.

I got home and finished my fall cleaning and got my Christmas cards and letters all sent out.  I also had fun mailing parcels and shopping for the new grandkiddies.  There are such sweet clothes and crafty toys out there.  Shopping for kids is so much fun!

Barry got home about a week ago and we had +15°C when he got here.  The snow was all gone until Friday when we has about 6" and have been shovelling a fair bit since then.

I am planning on taking a break from blogging for awhile as I don't have much to share.  I do have some pictures of Lulu left that I plan to share sometime.  Since it is winter, there is no gardening to share.  And since Barry is away so much, I don't do much baking or trying out new recipes.

In the new year, I will be painting the ceiling in the kitchen so will not spend much time cooking anything too special with that mess in there.

I am still having a hard time missing Lulu.  I finally put away her kennel and stuff from her corner of the kitchen.  I just couldn't bring myself to put it away until now.  I would have never thought I would miss her so much for so long but I still have a hollow place in my chest when I think about her.

I found this poem that I would like to share with you.  One member of a Facebook group called The Chickenistas, that I belong to, posted it.  It is called The Night Before Christmas at Rainbow Bridge by Cindy Morgan.  I hope you take a few minutes to read it, especially if you have had pets that you have loved and lost.

I wish all my friends and readers a Merry Christmas and Happy and fulfilling New year.  Take care of yourselves.  Joan

Monday, November 11, 2013

I Killed A Pillow

It has been a very long week since we got home from Alberta.  There were many loads of laundry to do as I was gone almost a month plus we brought all the bedding, etc. from the trailer. 

I usually do fall cleaning instead of spring cleaning so had that on my mind as well.  We also bought several light fixtures, so Barry had those to put up too.

I revived my sourdough from sitting dormant in the fridge for a month and baked a double batch of bread.

There were carrots to dig and leaves to rake.  The herb garden and ground covers needed to be put to bed as well.  Lots of odd jobs inside and out.

Anyway, back to the pillow.  A feather pillow came back from the trailer stained, as I think it was the one my son used when he had a slight nose bleed.  Now this was not the first time I washed a pillow.  But unfortunately it was the first (and last) time I washed a feather pillow in the same load as a set of fleece sheets.  My mind was elsewhere when I was loading the washer much to my later dismay.

Now Barry loved these sheets and they kept him warm in the trailer on cool nights.  Ever since we got them, he has commented again and again how much he likes them.

Anyway, when I opened the washer after the load was done I found it full of feathers.  The pillow had exploded.  Now I'm sure I don't know how all those feathers fit in one solitary pillow (a fairly skinny one at that).  The machine was full of wet feathers and there was water in the bottom when we lifted out the sheets.  (I think the feathers had plugged the drain.)

The sheets were heavy with water and full of feathers, and I do mean FULL OF FEATHERS.  We took them out to try to shake the feathers off and to wring them out with not much success.  All that happened it we got feathers stuck to our pants and cold, wet hands.  So we left them sitting outside while we tackled the washer.  It took a long day to get enough feathers out so it started working again.  But for many washes after, it still spits our feathers onto the clothes - all clothes - knit sweaters, fleece pants, socks, you name it all come out a bit feathered.

We tried to rewash the sheets to get out the feathers but the sheets still looked bad and now we had to clean the machine again.  The dryer took many feathers out of the sheets but you can only run them through so many times on fluff.

The only way they will be usable will be if I sit and pluck each and every feather out by hand.  (Barry tried a lint brush and the vacuum with little to no success.)  That may be my winter movie watching project but we'll have to see.  I hate to toss them out as they are very new but really don't want to spend hours plucking the sheets either.

Oh well, some lessons are learned the hard way.  Hope you week was better than mine.  ;)



Monday, November 4, 2013

On the Road Again

Well I'm finally on my way home after almost a month away.  I started out by visiting Barry near Sundre, AB and cooking half a turkey (that's all that fit in the trailer oven!) for Thanksgiving.  He had days off so we just vegged out - eating, snoozing, reading, etc.  It was a nice restful break.

Then we took a trip to Battleford, Sask. for a funeral before I headed to Saskatoon to visit friends and relatives.  I had lots of time to visit mom and dad during the week I was there.  I went over to Michael's several times to visit the new grandkiddies.  Josie, Mikhyan and I decorated the windows for Halloween with skeletons, pumpkins and more.  We then made cheese biscuits cut in Halloween shapes to go with Becky's chili.  What sweet kiddies!  I had so much fun! 

I also had time to visit a number of friends, catching up on each others lives since we last got together.  I had some teary moments talking about Lulu.  I can usually talk about her but still get teary-eyed on occasion.  I ordered photos and made the photographer sad when he learned about Lulu.  He wrote some thoughtful words on their Facebook page under Lulu's photo (originally dated June 21). 

I took a day trip to Shellbrook, Sask to visit Kim and Marj (she wrote the poem about Lulu).  We had Marj's homemade soup and Kim's homemade bread for lunch.  Yum!

I went back to Saskatoon for a few more days to fix a few problems. I had just replaced my windshield before I left and got a big stone chip right in my line of vision the first few days of the trip.  I got it fixed in plus got my car stereo replaced as the cd player quit working and radio reception in the mountains is sparse. 

When I left for Sundre again, I met wet snow and slushy roads starting near Hanna, AB so the trip wasn't much fun.  I needed to wash the car when I got to Sundre because of an unexpected 4 mile detour on soupy gravel roads.  The car was covered with brown ice and mud.  What a mess!

I stayed in Sundre and packed up the trailer as Barry will be coming home for awhile and everything freezable needs to be removed.  We then took a day to visit Barry's brother in Lacombe, AB who had just got out of the hospital a few days ago.

When we woke up Sunday to start home, we found over a foot of snow had dumped overnight.  We decided to stay one more day so the roads would get cleaned before we head out.  So bright and early Monday we are on our way home.  I hope we don't have snow at home because I left carrots in the ground, not expecting to be gone so long.

Anyway, winter arrived on the prairies and I am heading home.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lulu's Photo Shoot


For my mom and dad's 60th anniversary, my sisters and I decided it was time to get family portraits done as it had been quite a few years since we have had them done.

We went to Picture Perfect Portraits in Saskatoon and they said we could choose about six to eight groupings.  When we were deciding what groupings to do, I asked Joyce to let the photographer know that I was bringing Lulu and would like some pictures done of her.  I had been thinking about getting her photo done by a professional  for quite awhile but hadn't ever gotten around to it.

The photographer, Adam was excited to have Lulu as a subject.  His mom had chickens as a child that followed her to school.  Adam couldn't wait to tell his mom about Lulu.

The following are some of the proofs that included (or showcased) Lulu.  We had other photos done while she waited patiently in her crate.

Adam started first with me having my arm around Lulu so she would feel comfortable before I left her on her own.

 
Then he started snapping photos of Lulu alone and I think they turned out marvelous.
 

Lulu was very busy looking around at everything.
 
 
I stood near Adam and called Lulu but there was so much to look at she ignored me.


It is going to be hard to choose which photos to enlarge as I love them all.
 
 
I was so proud of her because she sat so nice on the pillar and didn't make a fuss.

 
I am so glad that we had these photos done and that Adam was such a good sport.

 
I now will have some lovely photos of my sweetie to hang on the wall in her corner of the kitchen.

 
We had the group pictures done last and when we were almost finished, Adam said to go and get Lulu so she was in some of the group shots as well.  She is hard to see in the proofs because of the watermarks.

 
At the end of the session, Adam asked another photographer to snap his photo with Lulu so he could send it to his mom.  They then posted it on their Facebook page.
 
 
All in all, it was an exciting day.  The photo session went great plus then at supper, Michael, my youngest son told us he asked Becky, his girlfriend to marry him the evening before.  Michael has always been fairly mum about his girlfriends and we didn't meet Becky until that night at supper!
 
After spending time with her on that anniversary weekend, I couldn't be happier.  She is a lovely girl plus as a bonus, she has two young children so I am instant grandma!  Woohoo!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sourdough Sharing - Muffins

October is the time of year I finish putting the yard and garden to bed and to finish making juice, jam and other preserves.  I then travel to Alberta and Saskatchewan for several weeks visiting relatives and friends before winter hits with a vengeance.  So this month, I am linking to a previously blogged recipe.

This month's sourdough challenge is muffins and quick breads.  I have a preference for muffins as you can freeze a batch and then just take out one or two as needed.

I have tried several muffin recipes but always come back to this Bran Muffin recipe.  It is moist and tasty - I always loved bran muffins with molasses as an ingredient and this is my all time favorite recipe.

 
The recipe calls for raisins and nuts but I sometimes add chopped dates instead of the raisins and nuts.  I have also used dried cranberries or dehydrated cherries instead of the raisins and I have substituted sunflower seeds instead of nuts.
 
 
I hope everyone enjoys this month's offering of muffins and quick bread in the links below. 
 
 
 



Monday, October 14, 2013

Canadian Geese

** photos taken in June 2013

Lulu and I spent the week after my parents' 60th anniversary visiting in Saskatchewan.  The following weekend, Lulu and I travelled to Regina with my parents to a reunion on my maternal grandmother's side and to meet relatives visiting from England.

While we were there, we visited the Legislative grounds and saw the Canadian Geese.


There are geese that stay in Regina all year long and no longer migrate.  There is a warm inlet on Wascana Lake that doesn't freeze all winter.


Lulu had to stay in the car while I was taking photos of the geese because there were a number of very large dogs around and I didn't want to take any chances.


The geese seemed to have set up babysitters (gosling-sitters?) because most of the adults were on the lake-side on the road and the young ones were on the tree-side of the road.


Oops!  These guys stopped traffic while they crossed to be with the others.


The goslings were all the same size except for one.  Can you see him in the crowd?


There he is bringing up the rear.


Here are a couple adults near the lake.


For some reason, none of them were in the water.  Everyone was on dry land.




Monday, October 7, 2013

Mincemeat

I have tomatoes coming out the ying-yang.  Even though I only planted 6 plants (4 regular and 2 cherry type) I have boxes of green tomatoes in the garage.  I picked and pulled out my tomatoes yesterday because they have been threatening frost for the last few days.  It went down to +3°C last night but since I am going visiting over the next few weeks, I decided it is time to put my yard and garden to bed.

So back to the tomatoes.  I have made spaghetti sauce and canned a number of red tomatoes but wanted to get rid of some of the green ones.

My sister-in-law, Barb sent me her recipe for mincemeat since I have an abundance of green tomatoes and apples.  I decided to give it a whirl since I love her mincemeat.  (I was lucky enough to have received a few jars from her last year.)

Ingredients

6 c chopped green tomatoes
6 c chopped apples (cored and peeled)
3 c raisins
1 c suet or butter
3/4 c vinegar
1 c mixed peel
4 c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp allspice
2 tsp salt

Core and chop tomatoes.  I used my food processor on pulse.


Place tomatoes in a large pot and cover with hot water.  Bring to a boil and the drain thoroughly.


Do that 3 times.


Add the rest of the ingredients.


Mix well and cook for an hour.


Fill sealers and process in hot water bath for  25 minutes.


I got 5 quarts of mincemeat.  Barb's was slightly browner in colour but I added a bit more tomatoes and apples since I had lots. 
 
Store until needed for pie, tarts or squares.  Last year I made some squares similar to matrimonial cake but used mincemeat instead of the date mixture.  They were very yummy.  ;)