Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday, October 13th - Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone is having a great long weekend.

Our weather this weekend isn't exactly ideal but after rain all day Saturday at least today the rain has stopped. I didn't really mind that it was raining yesterday as I had invited some friends out for supper. I really enjoyed my morning working in the kitchen.

As most of you know, Lloyd is once again in Vietnam, having left on October 1st. So I decided to invite some friends to join me for a small Thanksgiving dinner. I had a 10 pound chicken in the freezer that we substituted for a turkey. I also picked up a small ham as well. Mashed potatoes, carrots, roasted beets all made for a nice meal, starting first with a Butternut squash soup. By all accounts it was a successful evening. It was an eclectic group, which seems to be our norm these days. 

Table set and ready for company

I made caramel apples for every place



It was a really nice evening and I'm so glad that folks were willing to come out and keep an old lady company for a few hours!

Earlier in the week, the CBC was hosting an event called "Leaf Relief". They were giving away 800 trees free of charge to help replace some of the trees that were lost during Dorian. They were starting at 6:00 am at the Farmers Market in Charlottetown. So I was up and out the door at 5:30. I was expecting it might be busy and it was. All trees were gone by 8:00. I was very happy to get there early enough to nab a red Maple, my tree of choice from those offered. The radio station was broadcasting live at the scene and because they televise the first hour of their morning show, apparently my back was on TV as I waited for my number to be called. Brenda texted me to tell me she saw me on TV.

Now said tree is securely planted in my front yard. It's a whopping 41 inches tall so it will be quite some time before it reaches an size but I at least have a few colourful leaves to watch each fall.




Meghan is still in Italy and seems to be really enjoying her time there. A couple of weeks ago she was picking grapes at a vineyard.





This week she was exploring some pretty awesome caves. It's hard to believe that her time there will soon be over. I'm sure she's going to return home with some pretty amazing stories and some awesome memories.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday, September 29th - Fall is definitely in the air

After a gorgeous weekend last week, and a pretty nice week, this weekend has turned quite chilly and very windy. Saturday wasn't bad but Sunday, not so nice. Although it's not really cold, the wind makes it feel much chillier than it really is.

In spite of, or maybe because of, the weather, it's been a pretty productive week and weekend. When we were between homes, we had a lot of stuff stored in a shelter that was put up last fall just for that purpose. It held most of the stuff from our old garage, Christmas decorations and all manner of stuff that has long since been forgotten about. But everything was packed in there and it was almost impossible to find anything if you did need it.

This weekend the final push was on to finish the roof on the new garage and get it tightened up before winter. I'm thrilled to report that it's now completely closed in and in use. The front will have a garage door next spring but for now it's just closed in. Our fancy door on the side allows access as well as some light. The lawn tractor, the motorcycle and all manner of large power tools are now housed in there  as well as two shelves full of stuff that was in one of the spare bedrooms. Now I can actually set them up to be used as bedrooms, not just storage spaces (although there may be a little bit of storage in one room). With those shelves out of the way, I was able to move the dollhouse and it's table to the bedroom, opening up space in front of the window in the dining room. Much brighter in there and now there's a place to put a Christmas Tree! Slowly, things are finally beginning to fall into place.


We really thought we would never see the shelter empty again, but indeed it is.



Just in time it's ready for my little car to go away for the winter. This will be the perfect place to house it till spring.

Hard to believe it's only been less than two weeks when we hosted our Pig Roast.  I think most of you saw the photos on Facebook. We were so busy running around we didn't get many pictures but fortunately we did get a couple.


The pig was great but the high-lite of the day had to be the bonfire after. It was a chilly day and the fire was a very welcome treat. Everyone who stuck around really enjoyed sitting around and chatting. Many thanks again to all those who helped make this great evening possible.

As we head into October, it's hard to  believe Meghan is half way through her two month trip to Italy. She had a bit of adjusting to do when she first got there but it seems like she's really enjoying exploring the country as well as the food.  She's attending school there and had Friday off to participate in the Climate Change Strikes that took place around the world.

Her sign reads "Strike today to save tomorrow".

I don't know how much Italian she's actually picked up but she's having a great time. She attends dance classes every week and from the video she posted she's fitting right in, dancing right along with all the other students. She really likes the family she's staying with and Patti will get a chance to meet them when she goes over to pick her up at the beginning of November. I'd love to join them,  but maybe next time!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saturday, September 14th - almost back to normal

We have finally gotten our power back as of Wednesday afternoon. As of this morning there are still a significant number of folks still in the dark. I can understand their frustration. It must be awful to now be 8 days and counting.

While our area didn't fare too badly there are parts of the island that took a fairly significant hit. The National Park lost a large percentage of trees, making the clean up that much longer. Dorian will be remembered for quite some time.

I'm just glad our Pig Roast is scheduled for this coming week, rather than this past week. It would have been quite the challenge. The garage has walls now and trusses on the roof. The hope is to have it enclosed by Wednesday, the 18th - BBQ day.



Today we are cooking a chicken (it's almost 10 lbs, more like a small turkey) to make sure everything is working as it should be before the pig arrives.




On a sadder note, I have to tell you that we had to have Cooper put down. He was at the vets for shots the beginning of July and was in very good health, considering his age of over 12 years old. But the past couple of weeks he has been deteriorating. We thought it might just be because it's been so very hot but a trip to the vets a week and a half ago proved to be not so good. She found a tumor in his abdomen.In a very short time his heart beat had increased significantly and his breathing was also erratic. She suspected it was cancerous and had spread to his heart and lungs. As hard as it was. I knew the only kind thing to do was let him go. He was a wonderful companion for the 10+ years that we had him. He is very sorely missed but I know he's in a much better place. R.I.P little buddy.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

September 10th - 3 days post Dorian

It's Tuesday, a full three days since we had our brush with Hurricane Dorian. We still don't have any power but there are lots in the same boat.

We were fortunate to not experience any damage to our house or property, some others not so lucky.




Note the plane on the left is upside down

Cornfield flattened


But there were no reported injuries that we know of so that's really all that counts. I suppose we are luckier than some as we have a generator to keep the fridge and freezer running (as well as our internet) and we have a propane stove for cooking so we can easily heat water for washing dishes, etc.

But I am looking forward to a nice hot bath which will hopefully be soon!
I took a drive into town on Sunday morning to see what the rest of the area looked like. Mostly downed trees, which in turn took power lines with them, of course. But the up side of this big storm is we didn't have to shovel any snow when it was over. In fact it's been lovely and warm so able to get some quality convertible usage in before time to put it away for the winter.

Meanwhile Lloyd is working on his garage and we hope to have the majority of it closed in before the 18th. Needless to say, it's considerably smaller than the one he built at our last place.


Braced ahead of the storm
Other than the weather not a lot is new. We've planned a Pig Roast for September 18th. It's a Wednesday because I have that day off.  I'm working part time at Sobey's in Stratford making pizza's. I think it's more my speed than just being a cashier, although I have done that in the past. So I'm working from 9 till 2 four days a week.  It's going to pay for a cruise I'm going on with a group of friends in September 2020.

Speaking of traveling, Meghan left on Monday to travel to Italy to spend 2 months going to school there. She was pretty brave, I think, to travel all by herself. Patti had gone to Rome a few weeks ago and picked up a sim card for her phone so she can use it over there. (one of the perks of having a mom who works for an airline).

So far we know this: she's made two new friends along the way - one from Thunder Bay and one from Nova Scotia.  She arrived safely and has seen the Trevi Fountain. I'm sure there will be more updates to come.

Arriving in Rome

Snap chat from Meg


James is still in Halifax (fortunately for me). He saw much more serious weather with Dorian than we did. He's on the 15th floor overlooking the water and it was pretty brutal at times. But he managed to survive without power or internet for a couple of days.

Tristen spent some time at Cadet camp this summer and he loved it. He's just started grade 9 - can't believe he's so grown up now. Cadets has been a really good experience for him.
James went up to Borden to pick him up when he was finished.

Our two forces guys
Okay, that's if for now. People have been very thoughtfully texting and messaging to make sure we're okay. Thank you for that - you know who you are! I'll update things soon.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

August 12th - today would have been my father's 100th birthday!

It's been a little while but not quite as long as previously. A few things have happened since we last shared information.

I got another year older and was honoured to share my birthday once again with Ethan VanGaal (not like he had a lot of choice - I just keep showing up!)

We had a lovely meal at Brenda and Bernie's followed by delicious cake complete with candles.

Another great surprise was a visit by my good friend Nancy, from Rockwood. She was in Halifax and drove over for a visit. She arrived around lunch time and I met her in town. We grabbed a bite to eat then headed off to explore. I took her out to Wheatley River to see our friends Charles and Laura. I was in search of lavender  for the sachets I sew for them. Unfortunately it wasn't ready yet but it gave us a great excuse to see some of the island. From there we headed out to our place so she could see where we finally ended up. I had planned on the three of us going to the beach for supper but we ended up having a really simple supper at our place. Then it was off to the beach. She said the walk on the beach was worth the whole trip. I agree.







Before dark I drove her back to her car in town so she could be at least part way home before dark. There are moose on the other side of that big bridge!
I was pleased to hear she made it safe and sound back to Halifax.

Work has been progressing slowly but continuously on the decking at home. There really isn't  a whole lot I can do to be of assistance so I decided to take myself on a little vacation.

We bought the camper in the fall so haven't really used it, although it did serve as a kitchen when we were between places to stay.

I went online and found a campground not too far from town. I knew I'd have to come in at least twice to work. What I didn't plan on was one poor woman in our department breaking her hip so now they're scrambling to fill the hours so guess who's first in line? Instead of working 2 days this week I'm working 5. Not quite what I had in mind. But look at the bright side - it isn't MY hip that's broken!

On Sunday Brenda came out to the campground on her bike and we took a little tour around the north side of the island. We had a lovely lunch at a little cafe in North Rustico then we just explored. We did find ourselves in Kensington  to get ice cream - just before the rain started. We got a little wet but not bad. Brenda made it home in time before the storm really hit. I thought my little screened tent over my picnic table was going to blow away but it managed to stay in place until the storm  eventually passed. Lots of rain, thunder and lightening for the second night in a row but fortunately I was cozy and dry in the camper.


Lloyd is staying at home with the dog and the work on the decks. Things are apparently progressing. He came out to join me for BBQ steaks tonight (Monday) and he's headed off to Nova Scotia on his bike with some folks from his work on Wednesday, I, on the other hand, will be joining Brenda and Meghan for a local comedy and music revue that we've seen in years past. It's always a very enjoyable time. Then on Thursday we are off to see Mama Mia at the Confed Centre. We missed it last time it was here so we're making sure to catch it this time.

More on that at a later date!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Thursday, July 25th - well hello strangers!

Hey there. Really long time no chat! Sometimes real life just gets in the way.

Lots going in since my last post over a month ago.

Brenda and Bernie's son, Will, and his fiance Amanda got married on June 29th. Because the wedding was to be in the yard at Brenda's there was much work put in before hand. They worked tirelessly for many weeks to make sure everything was perfect. It also prompted the start and finish of some long planned projects that had just never got underway. 

The morning of the wedding dawned beautiful and sunny. I was doing the cake and cupcakes and we dropped those off at the hall in the morning. Then Brenda and I set about arranging tables and chairs around the yard. The ceremony was taking place at 5:00 followed by drinks and nibbles before heading to the rec centre for dinner and dancing.

As the day progressed, the clouds moved in. Just before time for the wedding very light drizzle was starting. Then it was all hands on deck to move the motorcycles out of Bernie's shop and quickly move the tables, etc inside for later. Fortunately the rain didn't really amount to much and with umbrellas in hand the ceremony was able to be held as planned in the front yard.


All smiles now that the day if finally here




In restrospect most found the slight dampness somewhat refreshing. Probably much better than really hot, sticky and humid would have been. Needless to say a good time was had by all.


Fresh oysters anyone?

I was challenged with making a cake to look like a birch log in keeping with the rustic theme. I'd met with Amanda and she sent me a picture of what she had in mind. Then sometime later we came across what was labeled a" lumberjack cake" online.  Now there's a challenge if ever there was one. Since the VanGaal boys all spend a fair bit of time in the woods, it only made sense to give it a try and Amanda was a really good sport and said go for it.

I researched how to actually make a cake that looks like red lumberjack plaid and decided this was doable.  I think the results turned out not too bad.

First you bake a bunch of cakes in different colours and flavours.

Then you cut them up and put them back together, just not in the same order they started in


Then you stack them in a very particular order so that when you cut into the cake the inside looks like this:


Yes, this is actually THE cake

Then once the layers are stacked you ice it to look like a birch log


Put it on a table with a bunch of cupcakes and see how many people are fooled into thinking this is just a log as part of the decor - turns out quite a few.



The bride was happy and so was I so that's all that really counts in this case!



All in all a really great day. Congrats to the happy couple.

Once all the work and stresses of the wedding were passed, it was time for some down time.

Where better to relax and destress than supper on the beach. Caitlyn and Mike were here for a few extra days so it was only fitting.



The summer is quickly passing by.  It seems like it took forever to get here but it finally arrived. We've had some pretty warm and humid days but certainly  nothing like southern Ontario has experienced this past while.

Patti, Greg, Meghan and Tristen got to escape for a short time (although maybe not escape the heat) as they traveled to Spain with Meg's dance group. She left a few days before the family and traveled with the other dancers and guests. Greg's mom went with them to enjoy the whole experience. The rest of them arrived a couple of days later and they all spent quite a bit of time touring around. The kids were performing at several music festivals but along with that they had a fair bit of downtime.
As the family had rented a car they were able to travel a little further afield and enjoy some great experiences.  By all accounts a great time was had by all.







Lots of fun but bittersweet that the girls of Comp A danced together as a group for the very last time. They've become such a tight knit team and have been through a lot together. I know there are some friendships that will last a lifetime.



But just before they left for Spain, everyone drove out to Quebec for  James' graduation from his basic training. Very proud of this young man...



and his scary looking friends! (yup, that's him, far right in the back row)


Meanwhile, back on the island, things are slowly progressing. Bits of grass are starting to grow,  the skirting is all in place and a fresh coat of paint has been applied. Work is now underway on the front and back decks to replace the temporary stairs. Needless to say Lloyd has been busy.




We have a small semi circle of grass beside what will eventually be our lane. I wanted an old hand pump to put in the centre. Not an easy find. But I kept looking and finally found one locally. It was old and brown and missing a handle but I could absolutely see past that. I think the end result speaks for itself.


When I first got it home, Lloyd pointed something out about it I had failed to notice. It was made by Beatty Bros. of Fergus, ON.  It's like a little piece of history from home!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Wednesday JUne 19th - It's all good!

Lots has happened since my last post almost 3 weeks ago.
We are finally pretty much moved in. I still have one small bedroom that's being used as a storage room but I'm grateful to have to space to do that.

There is still much to do outside but the inside has finally taken shape just as I had imagined. While we have a little less space than the last house I'm really impressed with the functionality of the layout and the roominess. It's also very easy to look after (aside from the sand that gets tracked in everyday by both us and the dog). Eventually that will lessen once we have a front deck and some grass as well as stone on the laneway.

I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days in Ontario. I went up to watch Meg's dance recital(s). It may well be the last one I'll see as I'll not likely go up next year. I'm more likely to arrive in Guelph for her highschool graduation next year instead. It was cool and rainy the day I arrived in Toront  but the rest of the time the weather was glorious.





 I didn't have time to connect with everyone but I did manage to
squeeze in a breakfast with Fran and Walt and a fast supper before a performance with Nancy and Stu, Marla, Jan and Robin.





Another unexpected treat (because Patti and I were running late) was a hot dog at Rocky's, an Guelph Institution since I was a kid.








When I got back to the island our weather began improving as well. Lots of BBQ suppers (even though I now have my stove back!) Lloyd's working two nights a week at the homeless shelter but on his days off he's busy getting everything underneath the house sorted before the final step of putting on the skirting. He needed to rent a hole digger to install the anchors (that hopefully keep it from blowing away in a hurricane) so while he had it he dug the holes for my clothesline. I've been wanting one for quite some time so I was ever so thrilled to arrive back to see the posts in place.

We had our friends Jens and Linda over for lunch on Sunday. They were our first official guests to eat in our dining room! I've always liked to have a seperate dining room and believe it or not, I have one now. My doll house is sitting in front of the picture window. It's not meant to be there permanently but it will have to stay until I clear out the storage room. It's meant to live in there with a single bed but for now the single beds are set up as bunk beds in the other spare room.

Last time I posted some photos of the house being moved. While there are still little areas that need attention, for the most part we're unpacked.

Finally have a dining room

The den is just the right size for a small living room. The other side of the room houses the TV, stereo and recliner. More than enough room for the two of us


My slightly messy kitchen, although it seems to be pretty easy to keep fairly tidy


My fridge didn't fit in the designated spot so found another place for it. The usual spot is jut the right size for my upright freezer.

The master bedroom. It's not huge but we can fit both night tables for the first time (even with a new king suze bed). The two dressers fit and we have a two piece ensuite and a small walk in closet.
All in all, it's starting to feel like home. It's pretty quiet where we are and we have a huge back yard that's bordered by trees. Photos of that next time.