Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 5th - I guess summer is over!

The last time we connected was in the spring, and I said I'd be back in the fall.

So much has changed since then.

We made the decision in June to put our house up for sale. We have our other piece of property over on Five Houses Road in Fort Augustus. We thought it would be a good idea to downsize and move over there. After searching around and lots of discussion, we came to a final decision to purchase a mini home. We found one we really liked with a layout that will perfectly suit our lifestyle. The nice thing about it, is it's all on one floor so no more stairs. Much easier to take care of and less expensive to maintain.

We didn't really think the place would sell but surprisingly it did, in September. We had one month to pack up everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. That included the commercial kitchen as the purchasers had no interest in it. So we packed it all up and sent it off to auction. I know, only a year after we built it, but we found it was a huge amount of work for not a lot of monetary return. We both decided we're a little old for this job. So sell everything, we did.

We called a local trucking company and they delivered a large trailer to our yard. We packed up all our worldly belongings and put them in the trailer. Our mini home was supposed to get moved right after closing, but unfortunately that didn't happen. We house sat for some friends for three weeks and then we moved in November to an Inn in Charlottetown. It's not ideal, but we have a bedroom and our own bathroom. There's a communal kitchen on the main floor (we're on the second floor). We can cook our meals there and then we bring them up to our room to eat while we watch the news in the evenings.

The only difficult part is Lloyd's working schedule. He gets home at 8:00 in the morning and goes to sleep until around lunch time. Then he goes back to bed at 6:30 so I have to be very quiet again, or find somewhere else to go. He's hoping to retire in January and then we might get into more of a regular routine.  But we have a place to stay so it's all good.

I had the pleasure of going to Halifax last week. Patti had a 24 hour layover there so I got to spend some quality time with both her and James.

We thought about going to Guelph for Christmas but decided against it. Instead we will spend Christmas Eve with Brenda and her family and friends, and then go for dinner on Christmas Day with our friends Jens and Linda.  It won't be the first Christmas that was less than ideal. I worked many a Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day when I worked in Corrections so it's not really that big a deal. I will miss having a tree but we just don't have the space. We'll make up for it next Christmas!

Our internet service here isn't the greatest, but I'm getting a new laptop for Christmas (which should hopefully be here next week). From then on I think I will take my laptop over to the local coffee shop in the mornings and do my work from there. Hopefully it will be much better.

Until then..... stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tuesday, May 29th - gearing up for summer

Well, it may not feel quite like summer yet (unless, of course, you live in any other part of the country), but we know it's coming.

With it comes increased demands on our time - cookie baking, yard work, etc, etc.
For this reason, I'm going to take the summer off from doing the blog, unless there's something particularly interesting going on.

We've cleared all the brush from the north side of the yard and it's now looking really good. We rented a wood chipper on the weekend and it made pretty fast work of the felled trees and branches.  Still lots to do around the place but most of it just work, not really that interesting for most people.

For that reason, I won't bore you with the details each week, unless it's something that is actually of interest.

See you in the fall!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuesday, May 22nd - the cleanup continues...

Our long weekend turned out to be pretty productive.
The clearing of the brush on the north side of the yard is pretty much complete. Now we are just left with piles and piles of branches and small trees. Fortunately we have a wood chipper arriving next Friday afternoon that should take care of all the branches. The beauty of it is we can then spread the resulting mulch back under the trees. Should work beautifully (at least in theory, anyway)

Both Saturday and Monday were lovely days for working outside. I've cleaned up all that I can, mowed the grass for the first time and tidied up the flower beds. Now that the lawn has been mowed, I suppose we can officially declare it spring!

Brenda has been doing pretty much the same thing all weekend as well. Although, we did take a little break on Saturday morning to watch the Royal Wedding. I was up ridiculously early so I made some biscuits for our snack. As most of my cookie cutters are out in the garage kitchen, I used what I had at hand. Heart shaped biscuits seemed somehow appropriate anyway.

Ready for the oven

We enjoyed our morning and I especially loved watching the wedding take place in a spot I visited many years ago. Windsor is such a lovely little town and the weather was perfect both on Saturday and when I visited in 2003.

Other than work not a lot took place. Although Lloyd did walk to Morell on  Friday afternoon. He's done very well with his diet and the walking he did to prepare for his trip has continued now that he's back. He left the house at 12:30 and I met him up there at 5:30, none the worse for wear. Our friends Jens and Linda joined us there to have supper, and accused me of having just dropped him off as he didn't look tired enough, according to them!

Monday morning Jens came over and the two of them walked over to Mount Stewart for breakfast. I picked Lloyd up but Jens walked back. I spoke to him later in the afternoon and the walk back was good except for that very big hill at the end. So, well done to them both.

Monday night Brenda and I went to the movies and then for tea and dessert after. A really great way to end our long weekend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tuesday, May 15th - Hello spring - for now at least!

After two weeks on the road, and then a weekend visit with Tristen, things are finally settling back into our usual routine. Our weather has finally warmed up a little although cooler temperatures will return later in the week. But today is going to be sunny and warm so I'm thinking it will be a top down day for me.

As you all know, before I left on my vacation, and while Lloyd was away, I undertook to paint the kitchen. I was pretty pleased with the final result.  I had moved the large church pew into the living room temporarily. Trouble is, once the kitchen was finished I couldn't imagine moving that large brown bench back into place. SO, I researched painted church pews and made my decision (although this past weekend upon closer inspection, I realized I painted it the wrong colour.) I used the lighter shade of gray, when in fact I intended to use the darker one. Oh well, it's a design feature, I meant for that to happen!  I didn't tell Lloyd I painted it, just let it be a surprise when he got home. I figured he's either really like it or he'd really hate it. Fortunately I didn't have to ask - when I spoke with him after his return one of the first things he said was "I love the bench" - YAAAY.

When I got home, he had installed our new floor. I'm absolutely loving it. It looks so much nicer and is easy to maintain.  Well done Lloyd. I know it was a chore for him as he returned home with a wicked cold and was feeling pretty poorly for the first week back. Good thing I extended my vacation!

Apparently we need to take separate vacations more often!  It's very productive.

Speaking of productive. We've spent most of the past weekend clearing brush from the treed area on the north side of our property. It's been left to overgrow for many years. I tried in vain to clear some of it the first year we were here, but gave up. It was just too big a job for one person. Well, after visiting some spectacular green spaces while I was away, I was motivated to get it done this year. It's going to be an on-going project for a few weeks, but it's going to look so much better. Unfortunately we didn't think to take any photos of the before mess.

Just a small amount of the debris that's been removed

Looking so much better already

But it wasn't all work. On Friday afternoon Lloyd decided we were going for wings at Peake's Tee, around 12 km down the road. He was walking and I would meet him there. Sure enough, he arrived about 3 minutes after I got there (by car!).  Then on Saturday he decided we should have breakfast over in Mount Stewart. So again he headed out walking and an hour later I met him at the restaurant. He was a couple of minutes behind schedule as he stopped to chat with a neighbour along the way. He's done so well, and continues to walk every day.

Sunday we did a bit more yard work but took a break to go into town to pick up a few things we needed. In the midst of all the walking and brush clearing, he also managed to get my motorcycle taken apart and the new carb kit installed. Fingers crossed that I can use it this year.

On Thursday, our TV reception wasn't the greatest so I had to go over to Brenda's for our weekly fix of Grey's, wine and snacks. So thanks to her for that. Her living room reception wasn't great either so we had to camp out in the kitchen. If nothing else, we are VERY flexible.  We can do wine and snacks pretty much anywhere!

This week I came across some photos we took while Tristen was here and we visited Island Hill Farm.  He always enjoys going there and some of the newborn baby goats are just too darned cute for words.

Okay, enough. Time to get back outside and continue raking...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tuesday, May 8th - Well hello strangers. Long time no chat!

I know, I know, it's been a while and lots has been going on. But here's the Cole's notes version (and if you understand THAT reference, you're showing your age! - but that's okay)
As you know, I did finally arrive in Martha's Vineyard. It was all I expected and even more. It was off season so lots of stores weren't open, but I wasn't there to shop (although I did manage to do some of that). The up side is there weren't as many people. The locals tell me it gets crazy busy in the summer. The beaches are beautiful, although I didn't really explore all of them. I do live on an island after all, and have spectacular beaches all around me so that wasn't such a big deal for me.

Edgartown Lighthouse

I was happy I had taken the car as that allowed me to explore the entire island at my leisure. It's not that big a place so I think I pretty much covered most of it.  The weather was rainy the day I arrived (Monday) but Tuesday and Wednesday were beautiful and sunny.I was able to explore the area with what's known as the ginger bread houses. (here are just a few of over 300 concentrated in one area)

 Mild but a wind kept things feeling a bit cooler. Thursday rained so that was my shopping and driving around day. Friday and Saturday were again gorgeous and warm enough that I could get my bicycle out and use it.

One of the most interesting trips was the short (527 feet) ferry ride over to Chappaquiddick Island and a ride to the infamous bridge. An absolutely lovely place to bike.

 I had seen the movie of the same name, that just opened that week so it was really interesting to see it there. There's a lovely Japanese garden over there that isn't really open as yet but I was able to stroll around the grounds. I can only imagine how spectacular it is in the summer. Lots of great inspiration for garden ideas.

Mytoi gardens

I met some really nice people while I was there and I know that part of that was because I was by myself. It was a really different time share experience but it totally worked.

Back side of the Harbourside Inn

Sunday morning was time for me to leave so I made the ferry crossing, this time in bright sunshine.

After leaving Woods Hole (on the mainland side) I headed for Albany N.Y. I had the great pleasure of spending the afternoon with Nancy and Dean Knight. We enjoyed a delicious meal and I had a really great sleep. Nancy used to live in Kitchener and I know her from my IAAP days. It was my first time meeting her husband, Dean, and they were very welcoming. I'm hoping that at some point they will visit PEI.

I was awake really early the next morning and headed out. I arrived in Guelph mid afternoon. Patti wasn't home, as she was on her way home from Japan. So we went to the store and picked up some stuff for supper so everyone was fed by the time Patti got home.

It was a very busy week. I had lunch on Tuesday with Fran at the airport restaurant. It was just the two of us and it was really nice to catch up.

When lunch was finished I met up with Tristen and we took our bicycles up to Riverside park for a ride around.

 Tuesday evening I met up with some some of my old IAAP friends at Fionn McCools. What a wonderful way to end a great day.

Wednesday I met with Linda and Joyce for lunch at Baker Street Station. Linda is experiencing some health issues and I wish her all the best with her upcoming treatments. After lunch I took the opportunity to walk around downtown Guelph in some light drizzle. A lot of changes in 9 years.  Wednesday evening I met up with our friend Scott and his fiance Suzanna. I hadn't been to Scott's new condo before and it's beyond spectacular. What a gorgeous place. It was really nice to catch up with him and it would be nice to keep in touch from time to time.

Thursday was a beautiful sunny day. I met up with my old scrapbooking buddy, Helen in Elora. I didn't recognize the name of the restaurant but I knew the place as soon as I got to the door. The name may have changed but the patio where I had my first taste of Foie Gras with Stephan and Trish many, many years ago still looks the same. I had brought James' scrap book with me because I knew she would enjoy seeing it.

Thursday evening Patti, Greg, Meghan, Tristen and I went to dinner at the Keg for an early Mother's Day. A really nice treat. (James was busy off piping somewhere)

Friday lunch was spent at a little Mediterranean restaurant not far from our old house on Rogers Road with Nancy. She had a really busy week and this was the only time she had available to get together. It was, again, nice to meet with her on her own. Usually it's a group so it was nice to catch up.

Friday night was quiet as Patti left for London around supper time and Tristen got ready for his Karate tournament in Stratford on Saturday. I dropped James off at the armoury for his weekend survival training and Meghan was staying over at a friends so it was pretty quiet. Greg had a dinner to go to so it was T and I.

Saturday morning Tristen and I were up early to drive to Stratford. The karate tournament went well and he was happy with his results.  When we got back, I packed up my stuff and loaded the car.

I was up and on the road really early on Sunday morning and hit the road. In spite of fairly heavy snow falling (?) I made good time to Brockville and was at Stephan and Trish's by 10:00, just in time for morning coffee. Trish is recovering from surgery yet again, on one of her feet so she's taking it easy (yeah, right). After catching up, Steph and I went into Merrickville to explore the little shops and have some lunch at a small chinese restaurant. It was delicious and a great time to do more catching up. (it seems like all I did for the week was eat, and that's pretty much true).

When we got back we chatted and had wine until time for supper. Another great meal and off to bed. I was up early in the morning and just headed out. I had a long day ahead of me.

It rained pretty much the whole way, but eleven hours later I arrived in Fredericton to stay with one of the teachers from the kids Montessori school. ( I had mentioned to Patti that I might stop part way home and stay over and she said "You can stay at Wanda's!) Wanda and her family moved east last summer and although I've known her as a teacher for a number of years we really don't know each other very well. But they were very welcoming and I enjoyed getting to know her better after yet another nice meal. Many thanks to Nick for giving up his room. Sorry buddy! They are fortunate to live far enough away from the flooding but a week later and record high flood waters have not yet subsided.

Again, I was up at the crack of dawn (well, actually way before) and arrived in Charlottetown in time to meet Lloyd for coffee at 8:00 in town.

All in all a really great trip,  a little over 4,800 km by the time I got home. Huge thanks to all those who hosted me along the way. It's very greatly appreciated!

I got home on Tuesday and Tristen arrived on the island on Thursday night (well actually very early on Friday morning) to visit for the weekend. We managed to keep him entertained by giving him jobs that required driving the little lawn tractor. (we did visit Island Hill Farm but more photos from there next time)

 In fact on Sunday we were outside by 8:30 and he spent the entire day outside, only coming in to eat and take a break and watch a movie after supper (hot dogs and marshmallows cooked over a bonfire) and then he was back outside playing by himself in the trees and yard until almost dark.

 A great day by all accounts. The yard was tidied up and the flower beds cleaned up.The very warm weather helped. We did take a little break and went for a ride in the Miata to the Irving, and then down to the Spirit Spring. He's already planning his next trip, that he hopes  will be with one of his friends.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday, April 17th - Good morning from beautiful Martha's Vineyard

Good Tuesday morning everyone. Hope all is well with everyone. I didn't bring my laptop with me so  it's more difficult to do this with the iPad. I had a great first day on the road. Clear skies and dry roads. Can't ask for more than that. Day two was a little more challenging. I woke up in Freeport to an ice covered car thanks to freezing rain overnight. Fortunately the temperature had risen to 1' so the roads were fine. Trouble was it rained the entire way so not such pleasant driving conditions.

I'm ever so grateful for Bernies advise to take the 495 around Boston. I hadn't realized that the Boston marathon was taking place yesterday so there were lots of police along the highway monitoring the exits into the city. Good place to be avoiding. Anyway long story short, I'm here and weather is supposed to improve somewhat today. Had a great first day. Met an older lady who invited me to join her and a friend at the movies. We saw "Chappaquiddick". It was opening here first before being shown across the country. How great was that to actually be here to see it. More on that at a later date.

I'm going to sign off for now and hopefully find a real computer I can use at some point later. Stay tuned.....

Monday, April 9, 2018

Tuesday, April 10th - and it's still winter...

Another busy week both here and abroad! Lloyd has been video chatting with me most days. Now he's staying with a family somewhere near the Chinese border so he expected internet access to be sketchy at best.  He tells me via email, that he walked 14 miles yesterday and he was very tired to say the least. Not many goats there, just one old goat who survived his trek!

Tuesday I was meant to help out our friends bottling wine but due to some slight technical difficulties they had to postpone to Wednesday. Unfortunately that didn't work for me as I was meeting with my card boss that day. Fortunately they found someone else to fill in for me.

Wednesday was an interesting day for Lloyd. Not only did he go to a cooking school and had what amounted to a private lesson, he met a fellow traveler while at his morning coffee/breakfast place. They got chatting about where they were from. Turns out this fellow was from Cape Breton. Interestingly enough, we know exactly one person in Cape Breton, and of course, this fellow knew our friend Seward. It truly is a small world.

 I was fortunate to be invited to the VanGaals for supper that night so I took my Ipad with me. Lloyd called while I was there and he had a chance to have a chat with Bernie. We both were able to catch up with them on their recent trip to Arizona.

Thursday he was going to Hualong Bay (not sure of the spelling of that one!). Patti and Greg had been there last year so now they'll have something to compare notes on when he gets back.

Our friends Jens and Linda came over on Friday for coffee and to see how Lloyd was doing so far. When they arrived, I was in the middle of painting a small shelf. I had picked it up at Value Village so I could display the T-towel that Brenda bought for me.( Not sure what made her think of me when she saw it!) The shelf was burgundy when I bought it and not so pretty, but not something a coat of paint wouldn't fix, and I just happened to have some on hand.

I had committed to driving our friends Charles and Laura to the airport for their early Saturday morning flight to Montreal, and then on to Toronto. We were discussing what time I should arrive and in order to get there in time I was going to have to leave pretty darned early. There was also a threat of snow overnight so in the end I went out to their place at 9:30 Friday night so I could be there. Good thing I did. We went to bed at 11:30 and got up at 2:45 in the morning.  It had indeed snowed and it was still coming down pretty heavily. Driving was quite slow due to the poor visibility so I was ever so glad I'd come out the night before. After dropping them at the airport, I headed home. The snow wasn't quite as bad out our way so the second leg of the trip went a little smoother. When I picked them up, I also picked up their dog, Abby, who will be staying with us for a month. She's really a sweet dog, and no trouble at all, and Cooper loves a run through the back fields with her.

Saturday was a fairly quiet day. Some cleaning, laundry, etc so I called Brenda and Sharyn and they came over for tea mid morning. It certainly was a nice little break.

Patti had been chatting with me off and on during the week concerning an event she was helping with. The air cadets were hosting a fund raising spaghetti supper that was initially expected to be about 60 people but by Saturday the numbers had swelled to 175.  That alone was a challenge but throw into that mix the fact that the venue it was being held in  has zero kitchen facilities.   She's very creative and came up with a plan that for all intents and purposes worked beautifully. She says it was a success because they had a great group of volunteers but the fact that they've asked her to return next year to help out, even though James won't be there anymore, speaks volumes. Only she could have pulled that off. In reality, SHE'S the one who should be running a catering company!  She's much more organized than I am.

 ...and of course there was piping!

When I was painting last weekend, I had taken the spice rack down off the wall to paint behind it and it was still standing in a corner. That was this Sunday's job. Wrestle the rack back onto the wall, and clean up the spices. The jars needed washing and some things didn't have labels, etc so it took most of the day to chip away at that job. But it's really nice to get those things done. No one sees your efforts but you know it's completed. Another thing to cross off the to-do list!

Sunday evening it started snowing - again - and  I was the only one out to craft night at Sharyns. I left a bit earlier than usual and good thing, as the roads were a tad slippy on the way home. 2nd snowstorm in 3 days. Dear Mother Nature - please check your calendar.

Monday I just couldn't seem to get warm. The temperature was below freezing and the wind was just howling, I spent the first half of the day cleaning out cupboards upstairs and the rest watching TV in front of the fire. I guess I can do that, I'm semi-retired!

One more week till Lloyd returns and I head off on my own adventure!