Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tuesday, November 21st - time to turn up the heat - finally!

After a roller coaster ride of temperatures, it's been cold now for a couple of days, although it appears we may be well above freezing again in a few days. This up and down is really getting difficult to deal with. Just get cold and stay that way! Then we'll get used to it.

We had our first flurries on the weekend but  none stayed. Now the weather people are telling us to expect a lot of precipitation over the winter. Hopefully it won't be like that dreadful winter a couple of years ago.  But I guess the up side of that is I don't have to try to get to town on those really bad mornings.  Bring it on! (just not on the days my friend Petra is traveling here and back home)

It was a fairly quiet week. We're catering the Flying Club's Christmas party in a few weeks. I wanted to add a little something extra so thought I might make individual gingerbread men to put at each place. It's not a huge group - maybe 50 guys at the most. But as I was searching through my cookie cutters to choose just the right gingerbread man I came across a couple of cutters that are airplanes. How appropriate.  Lloyd chose the one he liked and I baked 60 cookies. But they were kind of plain and boring so I asked how I could dress them up just a little. He suggested that a real plane has a red light on the tip of one wing, a green light on the tip of the other and a white light on the tail. So off I went in search of appropriately coloured candies and I found some. I spent one morning last week gluing candies on wing tips and sticking on propellers. I used melted sugar as glue - easy to make and sticks like crazy glue! Here's part of the completed fleet...

This week will be spent in collecting everything we need for the party. The venue it's being held at is very simple with not a lot of supplies, so we have to take absolutely everything. I'm currently working on centre pieces as well. It should be good. 

We had our neighbours over for supper on Saturday night so Lloyd chose a menu with several Portuguese dishes. He spent the day in the kitchen cooking and I got to do some tidying and sorting. We had a nice time at dinner and great food was consumed.  In fact the neighbours both came back for second helpings so that speaks volumes. Well done Lloyd.

Sunday the cleaning continued as I emptied out all the cupboards and cleaned them and pitched a lot of old ingredients and packages. Quite a bit of stuff had been hanging around for a very long time - time for it to go. So it was a pretty productive weekend.  Plus it was easier to stay inside by the fire and keep warm.

Patti's kids had a busy weekend. Meghan just started a new job at the Aberfoyle Mill restaurant near where they live. It's a lovely place and I think she's going to enjoy it as a source for a little extra spending money.  She's just worked one shift so far but I think it will be good for her. Besides busing tables (she's not old enough to serve) she helps plate deserts, delivers bread to tables, refills water, etc. Plus she'll get a share of the tips so that will be bonus. Patti, Greg and Tristen went there for supper on Sunday to celebrate Patti's birthday. Lovely spot for a birthday dinner!

James was also busy this week with the Santa Claus Parade...

( Apparently it was very cold at the parade - a little chilly in a kilt I would imagine!)

  ... and the Cadets Commanding Officers Parade.

Tonight I have my boss from the card company coming over for supper. She's from New Brunswick but is over on the island usually every 5 or 6 weeks. I talked with her yesterday and asked if she would like to join us for dinner and she was delighted. Today was the only day that would work for her so I guess I'll have to skip exercise class - ooops! Oh well, there's always next week to look forward to...

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tuesday, November 14th - a celebratory week all round

Two special occasions to mark this week - Happy Anniversary to Brenda and Bernie who had the family all over for dinner on Monday night to celebrate. And secondly, an early Happy Birthday to Patti who is celebrating her birthday on Thursday.

At Westminster Abbey
It's been a busy week for Patti with Remembrance Day Celebrations. James did two legs of the Friday overnight vigil at the cenotaph so I suspect he needed to be picked up, warmed up, and then taken back for the second shift.( I was checking their weather, and it was much colder than here).

After taking part in Remembrance Day ceremonies on Saturday, Patti and James headed to London, England on Saturday night. They celebrate remembrance day on the 2nd Sunday of November, so they were able to participate in the ceremonies there as well. The legion there  has what they call the poppy field on the lawn outside Westminster Abbey. They have wooden crosses that you can get by donation and they have all kinds of different sections. People can write the name of someone who died in the war or something they want to remember and place it in the section that represents it.  James got a cross on behalf of the 121 Red Arrows squadron to remember the Canadians who died and placed it in the Canada section. I am so incredibly proud of this young man.

Nothing nearly so exciting around here. The week was spent (by Lloyd, as least) finishing up the last
Backing into the barn for the winter
minute things around the yard. Once all the outside stuff is done before the snow arrives, it's a huge relief to know that now you can take your time with the indoor jobs over the winter.
Wood is all in, yard has been all cleaned up, barn has been emptied and is now filled with pieces of summer stuff - lawn tractors, push
lawn mowers, BBQ's, and last but not least, my little red car. It always makes me sad to see it get put away but knowing it will be coming back out in the spring gets me through the storm days!

We had a large pile of gravel in the yard as well, and that is now also spread around the place, so it's really looking much tidier, thanks to our neighbour, Frank.  Between all those jobs, we tried to take the dogs for a long walk/run in the back fields and woods most days. Well, we walked but they sure liked the run. Not only is it good for them, it's also good for us as well. When Abby goes home at the end of this week, we'll have to try to keep up this routine with Cooper - he really does enjoy it so much.

I also spent the weekend getting a bit of a head start on some Christmas baking.

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

I'm going to post some photos on our website and facebook page just in case anyone in the area needs some help with their Christmas Baking. 

I also did some baking for a Christmas party we're catering at the beginning of December.  Now it's time to give my Wee kitchen a good cleaning. I think that will be my job for today.

Final confirmation today from my friend Petra. She's arriving from London on the 15th of December so I have almost precisely one month to get the house in order and Christmas sorted out.  Yikes!!!

I just had to include this photo of Cooper and Celery lounging on Coopers mat in front of the fire the other morning. Looks like a fairly serious conversation going on!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tuesday, November 7th - Only 7 weeks till Christmas - but who's counting!

Okay, don't hit me for that one. The time between now and December 25th will go much faster than we would like. Just doing my bit to keep everyone up to date!

Another crazy weather week. Temperatures up and down like a roller coaster but still often on the higher side. Yesterday it was quite windy but 18' so how crazy is that?  I guess the best part of that scenario for everyone is we're not using a lot of heating fuels, be it oil or wood or whatever. I remember the first fall I was here and I had the fire going in September, but then again I was a wimpy girl from Ontario and was yet acclimatized to cool damp weather. But along with all this warm weather we've had some very strong winds. One morning I went out after a particularly blustery day and saw very few leaves on the front lawn, where the large trees are, but a big pile in the back yard. Thank you mother nature for raking the leaves for me (of course the large hill of gravel helped stop them).

Another productive week. I've been working on a project for the past few weeks, but I can't tell you what it is as it's a Christmas surprise. But it's finally finished and I'm ever so glad. One more project to get going on and then I'm pretty much done. It really helps that I don't have tons of people to come up with gifts for.  I also spent an entire day cleaning and organizing my craft room. It's been so neglected for such a long time and had become something of a dumping ground. But now it's looking fabulous again and I can't wait to get onto the next project.

Bernie flew up to Ontario last week to attend a funeral. He flew out of Charlottetown but flew back into Moncton. So on Wednesday afternoon Brenda and I went on a quick road trip to pick him up. We left after she was done her bus run and got to Moncton with little time to spare. We had hoped to have a nice dinner somewhere but we ended up at a Thai fast food place sharing an entree. But actually, it was really quite tasty. It was also very close to the airport so we got there in time to pick him up.
It was a beautiful evening for a drive and not a moose was spotted - we always breath a huge sigh of relief and the muscles just automatically relax once we get onto the bridge.

Brenda was leaving on Thursday along with Meghan and Maureen, to drive up to Montreal, to visit an aunt. Our neighbour, Sharyn is also away, so I thought the only polite thing to do is invite both husbands over for supper. Pat and Bernie came over on Saturday evening and we enjoyed hearing all about Pat and Sharyn's recent trip to Ireland. It was quite a lovely evening - good company, good food, good wine, does it really get any better?

Our other friends, Charles and Laura, have gone up to Ontario for two weeks - one week for a conference and one week to visit friends and family. We're dog sitting  Abby - their  Great Pyrenees. She's a beautiful dog and a pleasure to have around. With this nice weather, it's great to take them for walks down the back lane and let her and Cooper run in the fields and explore in the woods. Also not so bad for us either, to get out there and do some tromping around in the fields - a little fresh air and exercise.

Brenda's coming over this afternoon to help make cabbage rolls. We acquired a few cabbages yesterday from the Salvation Army. They have way more than they can use thanks to gleaning. For those of you who don't live on the island, let me tell you about gleaning. We grow all kinds of vegetable crops here on PEI. All crops are mechanically harvested in one way or another. But these methods aren't fool proof. Some produce stays behind in the fields, whether it's potatoes, carrots, turnips, cabbages, etc. So once the farmer had taken what he can, the rest has historically been left to rot in the field, and just get plowed under for the next year. So now it's quite acceptable for groups to go into fields after harvesting and pick up what's left. We've done that a few times in the past with local potato fields. There was actually a story about it on CBC yesterday morning. The person doing the gleaning can keep 1/3, another 1/3 is offered to the farmer, but in most cases they don't take it, and the remaining 1/3 goes to groups like the Salvation Army. So you can well imagine how much product they might receive during this time of year. Lloyd just happened to stop by the church for something yesterday and they were more than grateful to have him take a few cabbages. Waste not, want not!  Hence the need to make cabbage rolls.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday, October 31st - Happy Halloween!

Good Tuesday morning! Gosh, the days are getting so short. As I sit here at 7:10 in the morning, it's still pitch black dark outside. I suppose that will change slightly for a short time when the time goes back this coming weekend.

Our mild weather still continues. It's quite remarkable to have temperatures close to 20' on a regular basis at the end of October, but we'll take it.  This nice weather was a contributing factor in finally getting Lloyd up in the air.

He went for his first flight in over a year and a half, on Saturday. He went out to do some circuits and get his head back into the game. I was going outside to the garage to get something when I heard a small plane overhead. I looked up and saw what I was pretty sure might be Lloyd. As I watched, it made a couple of circles over our property, so I knew it was him. I was standing in the yard waving like a mad fool, but not sure if he saw me.

He flew again on Sunday, when he moved the plane to Summerside to be housed in a hangar out there. Bernie drove out to pick him up when he was landed.

Brenda was away on Saturday and Sunday at her annual girls weekend, so I invited Bernie to join us for supper. Meghan was out helping him so she came over as well. I was making lasagna, so it was easy to make a smaller vegetarian version as well. I made fresh pasta, tomatoes from our garden were in the sauce, and the ricotta used was made from our goats milk. Pretty much a local product, I would say.

I got some great news this week - my friend in London, England, is coming over to visit over Christmas. I'm really looking forward to sharing a Canadian Christmas with her. She's from New Zealand and her family, who also live in England, are going to Australia/New Zealand for 3 months and will be away for Christmas, so I suggested if she had enough time off work, she should come here. I was surprised to learn that she's never had snow at Christmas so I really hope Mother Nature cooperates.  She's flying into Halifax and we're going to pick her up and we should be able to come back on the boat as it will still be running when she arrives on the 15th.  Now I'm really looking forward to Christmas and all the festivities that go with it. I was reading the November Buzz yesterday and Decembers will likely have lots of ideas to keep us busy while she's here. She will be leaving on the 1st of January, the same day I'm planning to fly up to Ontario so Lloyd will drop me off and then take her to Halifax. Again, hopefully the weather cooperates!

And to start preparing for our Christmas feast, the wild cranberries over on the VanGaal property are now ready. Brenda has picked quite a few so I think I'll need to go over and pick some to freeze to make our own festive cranberry jelly in December.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Tuesday, October 24th - Glorious weather in store

Mother Nature has given us a great fall this year. We had a couple of cooler days last week but we've had more nice days than bad. In fact, last week I was in town twice with the Miata and I was able to drive home with the top down! Not so shabby for mid - October.

If the old adage of "red sky at night, sailors delight " is true, it explains some of our great weather, not to mention some pretty spectacular sunsets.

But it seems to work

Even Oreo was outside basking in the sun

It was a pretty quiet week out here. Lloyd spent pretty much the whole weekend working on his airplane. It was in need of some repair as well as an annual inspection. All is now complete and he hopes to get up for a flight this coming weekend. He thought about it on Sunday but it was a bit too windy. He wants good weather for his first flight in quite a while.

There's a lovely flag display in town that is put up every fall, and will remain until Remembrance Day. It really is quite a sight to see, especially when there's a breeze (which really is most of the time).

Meanwhile I've been working on a couple of projects that will become Christmas presents eventually.  Other than that, not a lot going on.

I have to do cards at all three stores this week. Last week I only had one to work. We've already put out some of the Christmas cards, and the rest will go up once Halloween is over. Hard to think about Christmas coming up when we have temperatures inching towards 20' later this week.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Happy Anniversary Patti and Greg - Monday, October 16th

Hey everyone. More than one person questioned why there was no post last week. Turns out I got my days all mixed up with the holiday and I missed it! Not much of an excuse, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

A big happy anniversary to Patti and Greg. Hopefully they might find some time to go out for a nice
dinner or something. Although I know what that family's schedule is like so it's doubtful. Regardless, hope it was a great one.

Last week I was busy planning and prepping for our home town hockey function. Then on Friday I was advised that due to circumstances beyond their control, they were withdrawing their request for our services. Seems they moved their operations to a local hotel and said hotel wouldn't allow an outside caterer in the place. It would have been helpful to know that a few weeks prior, but that's business I suppose. We hadn't asked for any kind of a deposit (didn't expect to need one) but in retrospect, we should have. Lesson learned. We're still new at this and we still have a lot to learn. Just one of the many hurdles we are likely to encounter along the way.

The up side is I think we have a booking for a Christmas party in December. We'll be asking for a deposit this time!

Other than that little set back, it's been a good couple of weeks. The weather has been great for the most part. We're working on getting all the outside stuff done before it gets cold. We worked on wood on the weekend and now have the wood shed packed to capacity. One of the less enjoyable jobs done and out of the way. Lloyd had booked some vacation days later this week for the catering event, but I think he's still going to take them. Good opportunity to finish up a few more chores. One of the big ones is clearing out the barn. He's taken out all the pens and is in the process of removing all the old straw and manure. Our neighbour has brought over a manure spreader and parked it in the back. When it's filled, the manure will get spread on the fields. Win/win for everyone.
Once that's done, we'll be able to use the barn for storage for lawn tractors, etc. Rumour has it my little car will also fit in there for the winter. Yay!

Lloyd had a few guys over for a BBQ on Friday night so Brenda and I made ourselves scarce. We watched a movie in the house and had snacks while Lloyd BBQ'd three chickens on the spit, with supervision of course. They turned out really well, in spite of the cooks having quite a  few beverages. By all accounts a good time was had by all.

Brenda and I are going to community school on Tuesday nights for an exercise class. It's not too bad - mostly low impact so my poor old knees don't suffer too badly.  Of course the tea and cookies at the end are the added bonus.

In keeping with the fitness efforts, she and I and Meghan went for a hike in the woods on Saturday afternoon. It was a decent kind of day, not too cold or hot, and the leaves are just starting to fall. It was a lovely day for a walk and we got some great photos of PEI in the fall!

Some areas of the trail have very little colour
Some areas have a tiny bit of colour

And some areas are absolutely brilliant!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tuesday, October 3rd - summer is still trying to hang on a little

In spite of a very chilly day yesterday, the rest of the week is meant to get warmer as it goes by, maybe almost 20 by the end of it. We'll take it!

It was a very busy week. All efforts focused on preparing things for our first 'Farm Day in the City'.  Our plan was to pass out samples of various items we might include on a catered menu. We saw on the news last night that there were approximately 15,000 people who passed through the event over the course of 6 hours, from 11 to 5.

Getting set up
Of course, it helped that there was a VERY large cruise ship that docked early that morning so that added at least another 4,000 people to the mix. The fact that it was a sunny and mild day helped tremendously to bring people out.  And what a great event for all those tourists to experience.

Our day started very early, and we were on the road shortly after 8:00. There were a few challenges along the wa,y and while setting up, but we managed to overcome them.

We were located at the corner of King Street and Queen Street. Once we got there and unloaded the car and truck, it was time to get busy setting up our booth. We had brought straw bales and corn stalks for decorating and all the supplies we would need to serve our food.

Our menu included:

  • BBQ pulled pork on a lightly toasted baguette slice
  • Buckaroo Baked Beans
  • Savoury Phyllo Tarts with cream cheese and red pepper jelly
  • Lemon glazed shortbread cookies
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Mini apple tarts topped with whipped cream

Besides the food, we also had a draw for a small gift basket that contained a jar of honey, a jar of raspberry blueberry jam and a dozen short bread cookies.

We had a limited quantity of honey and jams for sale and we sold out, all except one jar of jam.
We also had a power point presentation that looped around and played all day, telling our story.

We probably had close to 1500 pieces/servings and it was all gone. We received a lot of great feedback from folks so that was good. Several people asked for more information on our services so we may get some calls. In fact, one lady loved our beans so much, she emailed us and asked if she could buy some. Then she also asked about a date next summer for her nephews wedding. He lives in Toronto but is getting married here on the island. We could become very busy.

All in all it was a really great day. Of course, Meghan and Brenda saved the day. I'd forgotten to bring anything to fill out the ballots for our draw. We had ballots and a ballot box but no pens or pencils. A short text to Brenda and within a very short time Meghan arrived with pens. A little while later Brenda arrived with more. They brought us coffees and Brenda was still there to help pack up. I could not ask for better friends.

I was a little sad that Tristen had too much going on to be able to come out as planned. I think he would have enjoyed the day, but maybe next year.  Our baby is growing up and has a life of his own!

 Lloyd finished up my storage shelves in the garage. It's a really functional space. It was meant to be painted but I just wanted to get things put away. The clutter was making me slightly crazy. Since it's a space few will ever see anyway, I opted to just go ahead and fill it up yesterday. And fill it up I did. Now things are super organized and I have space for more equipment that's arriving later this week. We've ordered 3 more chafing dishes and 2 hot boxes. We don't know for sure if we're getting the job we submitted a proposal for last week, but even if we don't, they were things we are going to need going forward.

Things are a little quieter this week so we're taking advantage of the chance to get some work done around the place before winter gets here. Lloyd worked yesterday at gutting the barn. All the goat and chicken pens are gone and now it just needs to have the old bedding taken out. It will be a great storage space for the winter for lawn tractors, motorcycles, etc.

Later this week when the weather is warmer, I may get to cut the grass one more time. But who knows. Everything is still so green, and all the leaves are still on the trees, with very few of them having changed colour yet. It's hard to imagine that in a few weeks, we'll be into November and snow will be on the way. I know we've just gotten into October but the time seems to really fly this time of year.

This week I felt a certain sense of permanence for probably the first time in my life. I've moved around so much both as a child and as an adult and believe it or not, the 8 1/2 years I've lived here has been the longest I've ever lived in one place in my entire life. My friend Sharyn has a couple of us over to her house on Sunday evenings to knit, or do whatever crafty item we're working on, but mostly just to sit around and chat. This Sunday she had to cancel as it was her mother-in-laws 87th birthday.   Then is struck me, that I remember when Anna turned 80.  I really felt settled in one place for the first time ever. So, thank you PEI.