Monday, July 10, 2017

Tuesday, July 11/17 - Britain, here we come...

It was a nice break after our very busy catering weekend. Only had to bake 36 dozen cookies last Tuesday, no really, nothing too taxing at all! Another 36 dozen this week before I head off on holidays as well as another potential customer in the works. No rest for the wicked but it's all good!

This week I'm trying to clear up some last minute things before I leave for Toronto bright and early on Saturday morning. After spending the weekend in Guelph, James and I will be off to Manchester, England on Sunday evening.

 We'll arrive there on Sunday morning and have 4 days to tour around Liverpool area before heading up to Scotland.

James is ever such a good sport to be willing to indulge me all that time to revel in the past. But it will be his turn when we're touring ruins in the Scottish highlands and he enjoys reveling in their past. 

Posts the next two weeks will likely just be text as all I'll have with me will be my Ipad, but I'll do what I can to keep you up to date on our whereabouts. 

Some sort of sad news this week. Lloyd has made the decision to sell the goats and chickens. The amount of time required for their care each day is significant as well as the cost of keeping them. We enjoy the milk from them and the resulting cheese making but we aren't permitted to sell any of it so it's really an exercise in futility. Now that we're busy with our Wee kitchen it just makes sense. Besides, we're not getting any younger either. He really wanted to have goats when he moved here but now he's had that experience and he feels it's time to move on to explore other options.

There are numerous Amish families that have moved here from Ontario over the past couple of years.
Lloyd's gotten to know one of the farmers and they have goats already. They've made a deal with Lloyd to take all 9 of them. They will be leaving later today. I'm sad to see them go, especially Eddie and certainly little Barney. But I know they will be well looked after. Besides one branch of the family has 14 kids, so I suspect Barney may be quite the pet for them. 

The chickens have been gone now for a couple of weeks. We could have sold 100 chickens if we'd had them. Lots of folks looking for healthy laying hens. The two hours per day we spend now on animal care and milk and egg processing, will free up time for other pursuits.  I might actually get my yard cleaned up and into some kind of order. That would be really nice.

I know at least one reader who will miss the goat photos,( sorry about that Mike.)
We'll have to come up with something else to peak his interest from time to time.

Remember back a few weeks ago when I was going to try planting a garden in wooden pallets? One of the challenges has been keeping on top of the weeds between the pallets. No time lately to get to that so this week I just took the trimmer and cut down everything in between the pallets. As for the plants inside the pallets, they are doing not too badly. We badly need some rain and I haven't been very diligent about getting out there and watering (okay, I haven't gotten out there at all). But in spite of my apparent neglect, I still have a few things growing - lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, radishes, carrots, one tiny green tomato on one of the tomato plants...  but if we get rain over the next little while, it should be in great shape. It will be interesting to see it in two weeks when I get back.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Tuesday, July 4th - what a whirlwind...

The past week has been absolutely crazy. In essence we did 7 events over the course of 4 days. But I have to say right off the top that it would not have been possible without the help of Patti, Brenda and Tristen.

Brenda was here several nights till quite late cutting,chopping etc, whatever needed to be done. All in spite of the fact that she was expecting visitors of her own.

Patti and Tristen arrived on Tuesday afternoon and never stopped until Saturday night.

Lloyd and I are truly grateful for their help in getting through our first catering job which proved to be quite a challenge, but was, by all accounts, a great success.

Patti is very organized and has helped out with various events with speedskating and piping. We just referred any questions from anyone to our "project manager". She was always on top of things. Her and Brenda together are quite the dynamic duo in terms of keeping things on track.

Lunch on Wednesday gave us the opportunity to see the venue -a  large tent in Victoria park. It was a bit of a challenging set up but we all made it work.

Thursday lunch was burgers to be followed that night by fresh lobster and BBQ steaks. One of the major sponsors of the event was BIG GREEN EGG. They provided one for us to use as well as someone who was knowledgeable in how to use it. Needless to say, Lloyd is now totally sold on the product. If they weren't so very expensive I'm sure there would be one in our garage as we speak.

Our friend, a local oyster fisherman provided freshly shucked, icy cold oysters. What a treat! Those who love them took great delight in slurping down as many as they could, while a few more timid folks were willing to try their first one. All in all a great addition to the evenings events and a great way to welcome some new faces to the island for the first time.

Because this evenings dinner was all at one time, we were on our way back home before dark.  As we passed the harbour, one of the first tall ships to arrive came into view, just as the sun was going down. What an impressive sight. Sadly there was no time over the course of the weekend to investigate any further.

Friday morning was the start of total controlled chaos. Lunch was to be there for noon, till around 2:00 and them supper back in town at 5:00.  We all went in at supper but as soon as the majority of people had eaten Tristen and I came back home to continue prepping lunch and supper for Saturday. Let's just say there were a lot of very late nights and very early mornings.

Because he was appropriately dressed in his little chef's jacket and pants, everyone fell in love with Tristen. He was most helpful and everyone appreciated his coming by their tables. Because he was there for every meal, by the end of the second day, they all knew his name and were asking if he was coming back next meal.  He made quite the impression.

So much so, that on Saturday at supper, one of the Stihl people interrupted the dinner line to make a presentation to Tristen from the whole crew. The slices they take off logs are called cookies. He was given one with autographs from all the athletes on the front and all the crew on the back. He was just ever so pleased.

Saturday evening was not the best of weather. In order for people to be using axes and chain saws up on stage, it needed to be dry but Mother Nature wasn't being very cooperative. It would rain for a few minutes then clear up. Just as the stage was being dried out and they were ready to proceed, it would start to rain again. Things eventually got underway so we walked over to watch after most of the meals had been served. Some wanted to eat after competing. We were offered a place to sit in the gator tractor that was parked nearby. Nice comfy seats and a great view - VIP seating as Tristen put it.

The show had to be stopped for the fireworks at 10:15 and continued when they were finished.  Tristen's favorite competitor was the final winner so he was pretty pleased about that. It had been a long few days but know it was over made for some pretty happy people. Lloyd had taken a truck load of stuff home and we just had to pack up what was left when everyone had eaten. The stress was now all gone!

Needless to say, we all slept well on Saturday night. In fact I slept in till 10:00, when Brenda and Bernie arrived to have coffee on Sunday morning.

Sunday was a pretty relaxed kind of day. We did a bit of cleaning up and then went for a drive to get ice cream. Tristen and I went in the Miata and Patti followed in her car. We stopped for a quick walk on the beach, which was totally deserted, before getting our ice cream in Morell.

 Back home and supper before Lloyd had to go to bed. The three of us watched a movie on Netflix and then headed off to bed. It had been an exhausting few days.

Monday morning, was also a little lazy. Tristen enjoyed driving around on our old lawn tractor. Since it no longer has a deck on it, he felt like he was four wheeling, albeit at very slow speed.

They hit the road a little after 11:00 a.m. headed for Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick before heading home. Thanks for all your help guys and safe trip back to Ontario.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tuesday, June 27th - please stay tuned...

It's been a very busy few days and things are about to get really crazy. I'll report back next week once it's all over. Who knew that our first catering job would be 7 seperate jobs all in one!

Patti and Tristen are arriving sometime this afternoon and Lloyd and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary on Sunday. Other than that, you'll just have to come back next week. Gotta run - my oven is beeping and my phone is ringing....

Monday, June 19, 2017

Tuesday, June 20th - remember what I said about being careful what you wish for???

Lloyd met up with a fellow on Saturday who owns a touristy grocery store in Cavendish. He sells various baked goods from many folks around the area. He asked Lloyd to bring him a sample of our cookies so he could see the quality, how they were packaged, labeled, etc.
He called me  mid morning to tell me that they liked what they saw and they would like 36 dozen assorted cookies for Monday. Seriously?  Are you kidding? Apparently he wasn't.

I had spent most of the day on Saturday baking stuff for our Canada Day catering event. Two of the meals we're serving require hamburger buns so I'm baking my own. And I have to say I'm quite impressed with the results so far.

I also made cheesecake and chocolate brownies but I'm soon going to run out of freezer space!

 I was meant to go to Bridgefest on Sunday and walk across the bridge with Brenda and Meghan. Needless to say that didn't happen. It was mid afternoon by the time Lloyd got home from town on Saturday and we ended up going back in to pick up some stuff we needed. Sunday morning was full on baking mode. But it went surprisingly well. We still have a bit of learning to do with the ovens to get things just right, but it was all done by mid afternoon. The only glitch was, we ran out of styrofoam trays for packaging so Lloyd picked them up on Monday morning on his way home from work.  The dog had an appointment for a "spa day" so after Lloyd  dropped him off he delivered the cookies. Now we just wait and see if they sell and they order more! We are to call on Wednesday to see if they need more...

Compared to our weekend, the week leading up to it was pretty uneventful. Weather was taking it's time about getting warmer but the good news is the seeds I planted in the pallets are peeking through the ground. By next week I should have some photos where you can actually see the plants. I must say, I'm really liking the idea so far. The weeds really stand out so far and are easy to remove and you have a nice solid wooden frame for kneeling on - something my older knees really appreciate.

And finally I had a special request from a follower in western Canada. Not enough goat pictures! The whole crew is kind of in the dog house, so to speak, this week.  They are totally disrespecting the boundaries that have been set out for them and have no trouble going through the electric fence. Of course, Barney is the exception. He follows whomever is outside, regardless of how much of a shock he might get. But really, how could you stay angry with this little face?

 But the others are apparently not getting enough of a shock either. You know what they say, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. In this case it seems to be true.
These are for you, Mike!

Okay, guys, here's what we're going to do...

Monday, June 12, 2017

Tuesday, June 13th - a fast and furious trip to Ontario

I had hoped to post something before I left but that just didn't happen.

I flew out at the crack of dawn on Thursday morning and was greeted by Patti and Tristen in Toronto. After dropping him off at school, at his request, I was back to help do some tidying around the house. Greg's mom and dad were also there doing some renovation work around the house.

Greg had an appointment with the cardiologist in the afternoon and he was given the go ahead to return full time to work and driving again. He's made some substantial lifestyle changes and it's obviously working for him. Well done, Greg.

Thursday evening was the first of three recital performances. Patti and I enjoyed watching it together. (I have photos from the recital prep but just can't find my card reader - will follow later)

Friday was a day for catching up with my old friend Cathy. She was away when I was there in April, so Patti and I joined her for lunch. We were to meet up again that night at the recital as she has a cousin who also dances. My other very good friend Nancy met me there and joined me to watch, as she has for several years. 

Nancy, me and Cathy

Patti and Greg were attending the Black Belt Extravaganza that Tristen was participating in. Nancy and I extended our evening slightly with a glass of wine at a local establishment.

Saturday morning was an early one as James had to be in Georgetown for the highland games before 9:00.  He got there just in time to compete. He was very pleased to place first in his first competition and 5th out of 13 in his second one, so a good day for him.  Patti stayed for a bit then left to attend the final recital and I spent the day at the games. I saw a mass band for the first time and I must say I was mighty impressed. 

When it was almost over, Patti and Tristen arrived to take us back to Guelph.  When we got there we had no real plan for supper. So Patti, Meghan and I went out for a bite to eat, leaving the guys to order pizza. After we returned I took Tristen our for frozen yogurt at one of his favorite places.
Then it was home again and off to bed before getting up at the crack of dawn again to catch the flight home. It was a very busy weekend but a great visit with everyone.

Got home with plenty of time to join Brenda and two other ladies for an enjoyable evening of entertainment as they kicked off this years Festival of Small Halls in beautiful Indian River, always a treat to visit.  

Now it's a new week we're starting to get into full planning mode for our first catering job. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tuesday, June 6th - it's official.......

... Wee Bee Catering/Baking/ everything else is officially in business! We passed our inspection by the health department this morning so we're good to go! You know what they say, be careful what you wish for, it might come true... well let's hope this wish coming true is a good thing.

It's been a huge amount of work and some worry the past few days but all went well today.
Hard to believe we've actually gone from this :

to this:

 A huge thank has to go to Lloyd for all his very hard work. Good thing those Newfies are so stubborn. Once they get onto something they just keep on going - like the energizer bunny! There were a lot of times we wondered if it would ever come to an end and it finally has. Now we can move on to the next phase.

A big thanks also to all the people who have helped in some way - tiling, moving equipment or just lending moral support. It's very much appreciated.

And finally a shout out to Tristen and Meghan for this sign they hand made for me. It had to find a place on the wall of fame!

A few other things went on this week but since I was late posting this morning, I want to get this done. Stay tuned, another post may just follow tomorrow morning with the rest of the news!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tuesday, May 30th - it's seriously June this week? How can that be...

Time's flying by but things have finally started happening out in our Wee kitchen.  Monday was a holiday but Tuesday things got crazy. We'd been waiting on the plumber and the gas fitter and wouldn't you just know they both arrived on the same morning. Fortunately the plumber had work to do in the basement so he was able to work out there while the gas fitter did her work in the kitchen. Wednesday morning they were both back again to finish up the jobs and by the end of the day we have water and propane! YAAAY. Still a few things to be attached to walls ie. paper towel dispenser, soap dispenser, racks for knives, utensils, etc. Once those things are in place we can get down to some serious cleaning. Up to this point cleaning was an impossibility as every time something needs to get installed it entails drilling into the ceramic tile, causing all manner of very fine dust.

But, with any luck another day should do it. Then we can get our inspection done, which we are hoping to have done next week. I sometimes still can't believe we've actually gotten it done.

The weekend was spent working out in the entrance into the kitchen. For all intents and purposes it is really an extension of the kitchen. New flooring has been put down and beaded board installed on the walls. Saturday was a painting kind of day. The walls are painted a soft grey, similar to the ceramic tile in the kitchen and the trim and doors are all white. It actually looks quite nice in there now.

We've moved a couple of things around and are looking at where we can put storage and have a look at exactly what needs to be stored. 

It's all very exciting but also extremely scary. Everyone else has much more faith in my abilities than I do but I guess at this point its sink or swim.  But I'm going to try to do my very best to make this work. But as Lloyd points out, if it doesn't turn out to be worth while, we have a great second kitchen for making sausages and cheese!  Takes some of the pressure off for sure. The other plus is that it's on our own property so it's not like we have a rental payment to make each month. It's all good!!!

Hopefully next week I'll have pictures of the entire finished results of our labours over the past few months.
I've been playing around with recipes in the house the past little while. I came upon a recipe for hamburger buns that turned out really great. The buns are not the light fluffy ones you get in the store but they are very soft and delicious and can stand up to the juices of a nice fat burger and it's toppings without getting soggy and falling apart in your hands. . One of our upcoming events is a BBQ burger lunch for 10 people  . You can be certain I'm going to be making the buns for that one. I'm really pleased with the results.

In the midst of all this, I had to decide if I was going to find time to put in a veggie garden this year - yet one more thing to look after. Our neighbour came by a short time ago and ploughed our garden patch and that made the decision much more difficult. But ironically one night a really neat idea popped up on my computer. I thought it's worth a try and may help keep weeds at bay.

Step 1: Start with a patch of freshly prepared soil

Step 2: Gather together all the old pallets that are hanging around the yard (we have lots as our neighbour collects them, fixes them and resells them and they've come in handy for oh so many uses)

Step 3: Put pallets in place on the ground

Step 4: Fill spaces with soil

Step 5: Plant seeds and see what happens, hopefully something like this:

Looking at the final result (or what I hope will be) I see that I've been digging down and putting my pallets in the ground, but perhaps I'm making this more difficult that it really needs to be.  I'll have to look at this again. So far I only have three in place but the others may not be quite as much work. I'll get back to you on that one!

Of course it's always easier if you have lots of help. Lloyd was working on building an outdoor pen for the chickens and the goats were constantly under his feet, checking out just what the heck he was doing. There's lots of lush grass on the other side of the fence so they were let out to graze. But being the curious beings that they are, they had to come over and see what I was doing. And there just happens to be some pretty great grazing over on that side of the yard as well.

And finally, we're shocked to report yet another heart attack this week. This time it's Lloyd's brother- in-law, Kim. He had triple by pass surgery yesterday in Saint John. Last we heard all went well. Please keep him in your thoughts as well. Greg is doing well although probably getting a little bored being at home, but so far it'sl good news on all fronts.