Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday, March 29th - Dear Mother Nature - What the heck????

I know the calendar says it's spring but what's with the blizzard???
Patti and Tristen arrived on Monday afternoon, planning a short visit till Thursday. Wednesday morning we wake up to a blizzard warning? The decision was made to try to get them out on Wednesday afternoon or evening. In spite of the bright sun that was streaming through the windows at the airport on Wednesday, we were able to get them to Halifax and then to Toronto before midnight. We've had several false alarms with expected storms that this one was hard to anticipate with the beautiful evening on Wednesday. But this time they were right. I'm so glad our guys got home.They would have had a hard time getting back  in time for the weekend  commitments.
Patti got home in lots of time for Meg's dance competition on Friday and Saturday.  Meanwhile James was at a Field Training exercise with the air cadets. They are indeed a very busy group of people!

On the bus to camp - looks like too much fun!

Tristen fell in love with Barney. But apparently they will come from far and wide to see him. Tristen came all the way from Ontario and a relative of our neighbour's from the Azores couldn't help stopping by to feed him his bottle.  He's doing so well after his very rocky start and everyone who meets him just loves him.  I'm  hoping to find him a really great home. I have a lead to follow up on - more on that later

Tuesday morning we went into town and had a tour of the Culinary Institute. Tristen is toying with the idea of a possible career in the culinary field but it's a long way off. He'll probably change his mind at least a dozen times. But it's never too early to explore your options.

Brenda and Bernie were away for the week so once the family went back home I've had to entertain myself.. Needless to say it was a pretty quiet week. I even brought Celery out to the kitchen to keep me company one morning (there's no wires near the floor in this room). She wasn't so fond of the tile floors but as soon as she stumbled upon Coopers nice soft cushion in front of the wood stove, she made herself at home, much to the disgust of the dog.

Told you it's a zoo around here sometimes!

Lloyd was hoping to move the big giant convection oven in this weekend but the piece of equipment he needed to do the job wasn't available. He may try one day this week.  Once that's in I can get really into cleaning. Not much point in doing a lot out there till EVERYTHING is in place.
I still have a hard time believing this is all happening...

...and speaking of food - last summer when I was in Ontario I visited my friend Helen. We had a lovely lunch at her apartment and shared some nibbles outside on the balcony. One of the things we had was a Melton Mowbray Pork Pie. This was totally new to me so I had to research it when I got home. I found a recipe and some pretty specific instructions on line and set them aside. One day the week before last, I finally got around to giving it a try. Mine didn't come out quite as pretty as the one I had at Helen's but it was mighty tasty. I will definitely be trying this one again.

... and finally, even though it may not LOOK like spring, I happen to know that it is officially here! Yesterday, Lloyd and I were driving into town via the highway and what did we see coming in the opposite direction?  The one true thing that has always says Spring to me - not tulips or daffodils or robins, oh no, not for me - it was a burgundy coloured Miata!!! Spring has truly arrived! Can't wait to get mine out of storage...but I'll have to wait till some of the snow has melted out of the lane and the mud ruts have smoothed out.  But it's coming!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuesday, March 21st - Spring is now one whole day old! YAAAAY

There's an old saying - be careful what you wish for, it might come true.
Well, I suppose we wished for a commercial kitchen out in our garage and it seems to have actually come true. We're not up and running as yet because some things still need to be installed and hooked up. Spring (once things thaw and the mud has dried up) will see digging and plumbing installed but for now most things are at least in place.

 Not so long ago, this was what the space looked like, at least once all the junk was cleared out!

But just look at it now! Welcome to a sneak preview of the kitchens of :

Wee Bee Bakery, Catering and 
Country Culinary Experience

A very large convection oven is going into the space to the left of the stove but that's going to take a bit lot of effort to move. Some modifications need to be made as well but that will come. For the time being at least, everything is finally in it's place - and out of Lloyd's workshop!!There's an awful lot of cleaning to be done to some of these pieces but my labour is cheap and I have the time

Well, maybe next week I'll have the time. This week I'm thrilled to have Patti and Tristen visiting. He worked all through March Break so his mom is letting him take a few days off school.
Tristen brought me a very nice hand made sign for the kitchen.. The door has been taken off at the moment but as soon as it's back on I'll post a photo of his creation in it's proper place!

He couldn't wait to meet Barney when he got here yesterday afternoon. They hit it off right away so now I'm relieved of my bottle feeding duties for the rest of the week!

 We're going to have some fun in the kitchen this week as well as a tour of the Culinary Institute of Canada. I want him to see just one of the educational opportunities he might be able to take advantage of when he graduates from high school. I can't believe I'm helping my little baby grandson plan his secondary education! I know it's a ways off and he will likely change his mind several times before he gets to that point but he's here and I had the connections to make it happen. I think I'm more excited about it than he is!

This week is March Break here on the island so friends Brenda and Bernie got a bit of a breakaway and are gone on a road trip. No particular destination in mind - the best kind of trip. Hope you guys are having a great time and finding some weather maybe a little warmer than here.

Yesterday at 7:20 was the start of spring, so message to Mother Nature - bring it on!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tuesday, March 14th - waiting for the annual St. Paddies Day Storm

I've been told several times that we usually get a storm around St. Patricks Day and it looks like this year is no exception. We're expecting a nor'easter to strike Tuesday night and may be followed by rain on Wednesday. Dear Mother Nature - if we aren't going to be able to use the snow for anything useful, then we don't need it!

It's been a busy week feeding baby goats. Little Barney is doing very well in spite of his rocky start in life.  He's being bottle fed three times a day and he's getting along famously, although I think he believes I'm his mom! We had to move him in with another mom because his was being pretty mean to him. His adopted mom isn't feeding him but at least she's keeping him warm on cold nights, which I was really concerned about. The feeding I can take care of. When I go into the barn he starts calling to me and when I let him out of his pen, he follows me all around. He's just too darned cute.

Our friend Jens came over on Saturday to see how he was doing and he was really happy to have the chance to give him his bottle.

 The fun just never ends!

Other than that it's been a bit of a quiet week. I enjoyed an evening out on Thursday with Brenda and Meghan. An enjoyable meal and a concert at the Mack made for a great night. Thanks ladies!

It was a really freezing cold weekend so good time to work inside. Our neighbour Frank came over on Friday afternoon and ended up staying until at least 7:00 helping Lloyd with the grout. After a couple of drinks and a turkey dinner, we sent him home. We really appreciated his help.( I certainly did because it would have been me out there all those hours!) 

Saturday was a quieter day with some odd jobs around the place. Sunday Lloyd and I did a bit more on the grout. One more bag of grout should pretty much finish it off. Then we can move things in and see if the plan on paper actually works in real life.

I spent some time on the weekend planning our trip to Britain. James and I are traveling in July to celebrate my 65th birthday. Did I mention that I wanted to go to Liverpool for my birthday? It's that whole Beatles thing, you know......
James is going with me so my few days trip has expanded somewhat. Now we will be touring some of Scotland as well, before heading for London to finish our trip. We're traveling on Britrail passes so we're planning our trip accordingly.  Half the fun is the planning but I'm really looking forward to it. There's still lots of details to be worked out but we've got lots of time.

And lastly, I read my email after doing the blog last week and missed a message from Patti. So,
Where in the world is Patti?  Last week she was in Copenhagen. She tells me she went for a walk and got lost but eventually found her way back to the hotel. She says there are a lot of people who use bicycles over there, in spite of the cold weather.  

Lego were invented in Denmark.. who knew?

Did you know? Lego makes more tires than any other company in the world!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tuesday, March 7th - that's farming, or so I'm told!

Well another crazy week in the books. It was really busy on several fronts.

Wednesday I worked at my new job and it went well.  Thursday Lloyd and I attended an Entrepreneur Forum in Georgetown, where we met some interesting people and made some great connections. Then Friday I was off to Island Hill Farm to help prep for their Winterlude event, later that evening. Lloyd was planning to meet me there when it started at 6:00 but it was after 8:00 when he finally got there. Turns out Annie decided to give birth to her babies just as he was doing chores and getting ready to leave.  Of course the best news is we have 2 more little boys. It's a little hard to increase your milking herd with 5 new boys but as a very wise man tells me, "that's farming!"

Friday night's event at Island Hill was a great time in spite of the very cold temperatures (albeit not quite as cold as last year).  I was fortunate to spend the whole time in the house helping in the kitchen. Warm and lots more fun!

By Saturday afternoon we weren't sure that little Barney was going to make it . But after feeding him with a syringe a couple of times, and bringing him into the house where it wasn't quite so cold, he finally got the knack of drinking from the bottle. He spent the night in the dog crate in the living room. (well, most of the night). By the end of the evening he was somewhat stronger and by morning, he was up and walking around and ready to go back to his mom and brother, Byron  (whom I realize I don't have a picture of - he's all white, just like his cousins Billy and Benjamin)

  Our house on a Saturday night - curled up in front of the TV with a baby goat snuggled under a blanket, a cat on my lap and the dog beside me. It's certainly never boring out here on the island.

 Turns out Mom's not feeding him, much like Amelia and Billy the Kid. That explains why he was so terribly weak. So now I've got two little ones to hand feed. But I guess if you have to feed one, it's not that much more to feed two. 

Sunday was again very cold and extremely snowy and windy so the bulk of the day was spent inside. Besides Lloyd had a wicked tooth ache that still continues. He went to the dentist on Monday but after x-rays he was given some antibiotics to get the infection under control. He sees a dental surgeon on Thursday. Hopefully that will take care of the pain he's been in for some time.

Monday I took Barney and Byron into town to get them de-horned. I had a lovely chat with the Vet there, who's done all the work on all our goats so far. Really nice fellow and a pleasure to talk to.
When we got home I brought Barney inside for a minute while I got his bottle ready before heading back out to the  barn. He found the tile floors very slippery and was pretty comical to watch trying to stand up.

We're expecting some more milder weather later in the week but hopefully we won't have the flooding we've had over the last couple of weeks. Freezing temperatures at night may be a big help.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesday, February 28th - will March come in like a lamb? I expect so...

What an absolutely crazy week. After SO much snow we spent the past few days with very spring like temperatures. Not so great for skiing or snowshoeing but not so bad if you're waiting for baby goats to be born. We'd much prefer it not be so cold for those wet little bodies.

Black Bart, minutes old - my first goat delivery!

On Friday, Lloyd took Ben and Bill to the University to have their horns debudded, before they start growing.  He was only gone about 20 minutes when Leah decided to give birth. I'm so glad I was home. She only had one kid but he (yes, another boy) was a big boy and she struggled a bit but between the two of us we made it through.  He's bigger than the other two little ones who are almost two weeks old now.  He's healthy and happy and has a great mom.

Billy getting a cuddle from friend Margie

 Unfortunately poor little Billy the kid  can't say the same thing. He was always a little smaller then his brother but it became obvious to me on the weekend that he was getting thinner and after some time observing I realized that she isn't letting him feed. The bigger one, Ben,  is doing just fine but poor little Billy is being pushed away every time he goes near his mom. She did feed him at first but I don't know if it's because he's smaller that she doesn't think he'll survive or what.

So I've taken over nanny duties and he's being fed every four hours and seems to be doing really well. I take the milk from his mom and put it in the fridge and warm it up and put it in a bottle. He struggled a little at first but now he's got the hang of it so I'm hoping he'll be okay.  Poor Amelia, is a first time mom and maybe it's just too overwhelming for her. Time will tell.

Our strange weather has made for some beautiful skies

 Lloyd is still working on tiling the kitchen in the garage and the end is in sight. He expected to have it finished this past weekend but we came out to the barn on Sunday morning to be greeted by a good 4 to 5 inches of water on the floor. Most of the day was spent trying to pump that all out. The snow melting so quickly combined with the ground still being frozen combined with the fact we never finished banking the ground around the sides of the barn made for a perfect storm - no pun intended.  The job was made much easier by the fact the weather was so nice - sunny and mild enough to not need a coat as we worked with a couple of sump pumps to clear out the melted snow.  Fortunately the animals pens were actually pretty dry so it was not so bad. As our friend says, "That's farming". It's so true, every day brings a new challenge but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

We have one more little girl to give birth and we hope if she has twins that at least one of them is a girl. If not, we will still only have the three girls for breeding next year. But it will make for a goodly amount of milk this year. Lots of cheese in our future!

We have a busy week coming up. We're both attending a seminar on starting a new business on Thursday and then on Friday we're attending Winterlude, at Island Hill Farm. We've been to a couple of these in the past and this time I'm helping out in the kitchen. Looking forward to that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday, February 21st - what a roller coaster week it was

Today it clear and the sun is threatening to come out and the big news is there are no storms predicted for this week!  Kids on the island only went to school one day last  week because of the weather. Three large dumps of snow in seven days was just a little more than our road crews could comfortably keep up with.  But it appears things have quieted down for a few days.

We ended up postponing our Valentine's Tea until Wednesday. Unfortunately the change in date and the previous as well as expected coming storm lessened our numbers but there were still eight of us. By all accounts a very nice time was had by all. Only when you get a group of people like that together does it become so obvious how small the island really is. Turns out pretty much everybody was either related to somebody or at least knew them or there family. It was almost like one big family reunion. Needless to say this made conversation easier as people caught up with those they hadn't seen in a while. 
Lloyd had gotten home in the morning and stayed up to blow the snow out of the bottom of the lane that had been unceremoniously deposited by the snowplow. Our neighbour, who usually keeps us up and running, wasn't home so we had to resort to desperate measures - like the little snow blower.  It's a lot slower process and took him until almost 11:00.  I always say everything happens for a reason and in this case I was so right. He was having a coffee before heading off to sleep when he realized that one of the goats, Amelia, appeared to be in some discomfort. It became obvious at approximately 11:15 that she was about to give birth.  Great, just before guests are due to arrive. 

Billy the kid on the left, Benjamin Button on the right aka Bill and Ben
Lucky for me that he was still awake and could take over the midwife duties. He sent me inside to retrieve a couple of things just as Brenda arrived so she took over the fetching and carrying for him.  He stayed out there and looked after things while I greeted visitors. Once all was well and mother and babies were well taken care of, he was finally able to go upstairs to get a bit of sleep.

The good news is we have two healthy little babies, the not so good news is they are both boys. But gosh are they cute - both look like almost carbon copies of their daddy, who is also very cute, even as an adult.  Now we are waiting for the second one, who we estimate should be Leah, sometime in the next few days.   It was good on Amelia to provide some entertainment for my party as we all trooped out to the barn to see the babies before everyone left to go home. It's never boring out here on the hill!

I recently obtained a little part time job and yesterday was my first day. It should have been last week but the weather kind of interfered.  I'm now a merchandiser for Carlton Cards. I have three stores I'll be looking after restocking, ordering and keeping track of their card displays. I had a few hours training yesterday and I think it will work out just fine.

I finished just in time to meet up with a few of the girls at Meghans for some snacks and a glass of wine before leaving to see a movie. We saw Lion, which has been nominated for an Oscar. We could see why, it was an excellent movie, made all the more special because it's based on a true story. Often the true stories are much more amazing than anything that writers can make up. Very inspiring and well done.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tuesday, February 14th - Happy Valentines Day..

... or should we say, Happy Blizzard Day. Wow, February has certainly made up for the not so bad weather we had in January. Last Friday was a snow day with some 20 cms of snow falling. Just about finished cleaning up from that one when we were hit with a major blizzard yesterday. Lots of snow being blown around by 90 km/hour winds made for a pretty messy day. We knew there was no way Lloyd was going to be getting to work at midnight last night so he was home, safe and sound. We were fortunate not to lose power in those strong winds so all was well.

The wind is still pretty gusty out there this morning so not sure if I'll be able to have my Valentines Tea. In a perfect world the schools will be cancelled today and we can simply postpone our tea to a little later this afternoon. I had scheduled it for noon as Brenda would have to leave by 2:00 to pick up her school kids on the bus. But if school is shut down, we can move to a later time. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Or we may just have to put it off till tomorrow.

Thanks to Friday's snow, we were able to get out to do some snowshoeing on Sunday afternoon in the woods behind our friend Sharyn's place. Her husband has cleared a trail back there and it's quite lovely.

Just what our tired feet and legs needed. Brenda and I helped out as volunteers at a fund raising gala hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation at the Delta on Saturday evening. It was a really nice evening and we were very busy from 4:00 until we left shortly before 1:00 am. It was a long evening but an enjoyable one.

The other big news this week is we have obtained all the equipment we need for our kitchen. We were pleased to negotiate a price for almost all the things we need. The only thing we didn't yet have is a gas stove. We found a suitable one on clearance at a local furniture store so we're all set now. All we have to do is finish the tiling and get the stuff moved in. We also need to run some plumbing but that will have to wait for spring when the ground thaws. One item on our wish list that we really didn't expect to get until somewhere down the road is a convection oven. But boy did we get one. Trouble is it's massive and💘 will take quite a bit of planning to move. It's actually two large ovens stacked on top of each other. It's going to take quite a bit of planning to make that happen. But it opens up all kinds of possibilities for us. So much to think about that sometimes it seems a little overwhelming but it's all falling into place so it appears it's meant to be.

James had a busy week. They had a parade night at Cadets last week and he received his four year service ribbon and his biathlon pin.

Then on Friday the cadets traveled by bus to Sault Ste Marie to participate in a biathlon competition there. He tells me had had a great time and did well. This was only his second competition but I'm sure there will likely be more in his future.

 We are patiently awaiting the birth of our first baby goats of the season. Little Amelia is due at any time. The resident computer geek has hooked up an old cell phone in the barn with the camera facing her pen. Then it's hooked up by internet to Lloyd's Ipad. Kind of like a high tech baby monitor except he can watch from work at night. So if anything's happening he can just phone me and I can get up and go out and check on things but I'm really hoping that nothing happens while I'm here by myself. I'd much prefer he was here when they give birth. The other two are due over the next couple of weeks so stay tuned...

And finally "Where in the world is Patti?"

Not sure but I know she missed James award night as she was leaving for Paris..