Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday, May 26th - one more sleep and I'm off for the rest of the week

Currently: 3' and overcast
Expected later: 8' and lots of rain this afternoon.

It's a good thing I had lots to do in the house over the weekend because it sure wasn't very conducive to working outside. Lloyd was putting panels up on the ceiling in the garage and it was chilly enough in there even with the door closed. I had hoped to get the lawn cut but:

 a) I ran out of weekend and and
b) the grass was quite wet for most of the day and
c)  it was just too darn cold !

The house is pretty much ready for guests. We're giving them the two bedrooms and we're sleeping out in the bunky. We had quite a laugh about it at lunch on Saturday. Going out there reminds us so much of the good times we had when we used to visit the island, and because the only thing out there is a radiating heater  it's very, very quiet. It's also very dark so we decided it's kind of like going to the cottage except it's in the back yard. We used to laugh when we were in Ontario that we would tell people we were going to the cottage for the weekend and fly to PEI for a couple of days. We had taken going to the cottage to a new level. Now we've done it again! Only this time there's no waiting on airlines! We now have two double beds out there so there's lots of room for the two of us and the dog.

 Saturday was a busy day and we were rewarded with lobster yet again at the Van Gaals. It's always a treat! I made coleslaw and a tiramisu and Brenda made the potato salad and homemade bread to go with it.  YUMMM! She also sent some lobsters out to Alberta to Caitlyn who was having friends over for an island feast last night.

...and there it was - gone!

After a busy, hard working weekend, it was nice to relax over a nice supper that someone else cooked yet again. Brenda called around 4:30 on Sunday to advise they were going over to the local golf course for something to eat - were we interested? Of course! They picked us up and we enjoyed a leisurely supper. Then it was off to the Fort Augustus Rec Centre for the launch of a new book put together by the committee that looks after the Irish visitors every year. They've been coming to the island every year for 24 years. What started as a tourism initiative between PEI and Ireland many years ago has continued in this little community.  The committee has kept every piece of information they could find, as well as newspaper clippings from all those years and compiled them all into a lovely book titled "Just Another Ireland". It's a fascinating bit of history that I look forward to reading through.

Our final number of chicks remains at 3. Not a huge flock but so far a healthy and happy one. Lloyd has
some investigating to do to try to determine why some of the eggs were fully developed but didn't hatch.One little one struggled for a while and we thought he might make it but in the end he died. The three remaining ones are doing well.

One final note - a big  hello to Richard and Daralen who have visited the blog from time to time to catch up on what's going on back home. At least I assume it's them, as I don't know anyone else in the Turks and Caicos!  Hope you're having a great time and we'll see you soon.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday, May 23rd - Okay, what happened to spring?

This mornings weather: 6' and overcast
Expected later: 7' and a chance of showers

Seriously, what happened to spring? We had a nicer than expected day on Wednesday when it was sunny and mild, and then we're back into much cooler temperatures yesterday and today. It's looking like the weekend will be more of the same. I'm optimistic it will be at least a little warmer next week when the IAAP girls are visiting. Keep your fingers crossed everyone!

Our neighbour, Margie, dropped over last night for a coffee and a chat. She's going to be performing at our conference event next Friday so it was nice to sit down and visit. We ironed out a couple of details and things are shaping up quite nicely.

Our chicken hatching hasn't gone quite as well as we had hoped but we do have 3 new baby chicks downstairs in the brooder. One little one is still in the incubator but I'm doubtful it's going to make it. We also have at least one more egg that has a hole pecked in it but nothing else happened. I suppose that is just Mother Nature's way of taking care of those who wouldn't have otherwise made it. As for the little one that is still in there, I'm getting bits of water into it from time to time but I highly doubt it will survive. Sad to watch but I suppose that's life on the farm. Survival of the fittest at it's most elementary.

Not much else to report this morning. The weekend weather is going to be gray and cool and dampish all weekend and that's a good thing. I have lots of work to do inside the house to get ready for guests, so I won't be tempted to be heading outside to putter out there.  The grass at the front and side of the house is now needing to be cut so perhaps Sunday afternoon I might get to it, and if not, maybe Lloyd will have some free time on Monday morning.

 I lit a fire in the wood stove last night and it's going again this morning. It's just a little too cool and damp to be without on a morning like this. I love the enveloping warmth from the wood stove on a chilly morning. There's something very comforting in that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday, May 21st - Happy Birthday Baby Chicks!

Today's weather: currently 7' at 5:30 am, expecting a mix of sun and cloud and a high of 18' this afternoon, with maybe a chance of a shower thrown in.
Someone asked me once about my obsession with the weather in my blog. It's not an obsession, but rather a means of documenting so that I have a reference next year as to how things were in the previous year. It's interesting the number of times we've been having a conversation about something that happened in the past but no one remembers for sure exactly when or where it was and the answer is always the same - check the blog! So I suppose it does serve a bit of a purpose.

Having a wee drink of water
The big news out here on top of the hill is finally the successful  hatching of some chicks. Lloyd called me
yesterday morning to advise that when he got home he saw that one of the eggs had a tiny hole in it and something was trying to get out. Later in the afternoon he called again after his morning nap to advise that one was fully hatched and another was on it's way. I got home from town around 9:00 and there were two fully hatched chicks and at least one, maybe two eggs with holes in the sides. Oh my gosh, they are so cute - just tiny little balls of yellow fluff. Now this morning there is a third addition - a little dark gray mini Oscar. Not sure how many more will hatch but another day should tell the tale. Of course we have no way of knowing how many of the eggs were actually fertile so we'll have to wait and see. I'm so glad that he finally has some degree of success after the work he's put into this project so far.

Brenda and I finished our last dance class together last evening. I have one more class left and then we are both done for the year. She's going to take my guests out somewhere while I have class and then I will meet up with them later. Of course this also means the last of our Tuesday evenings out for a beer and some snacks. We're going to have to devise a plan for the summer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday May 19th - Happy Victoria Day

Wow, what a difference it makes having Saturday off. My weekend is so much more productive. Of course being a week away from company coming is also a great motivator. It's cooler this morning and overcast but should be up to 17' later on. Of course, not quite a nice as we had on Saturday when it was a very warm and lovely 22' and very sunny. With a slight breeze blowing it was the perfect day for working outside. I was up early and had laundry done before Lloyd got home from work at 8:30. I had put the new chairs together and he joined me up on the balcony for coffee before he went off to nap for a bit.

 I stayed outside and moved the big piles of branches from the side yard over to the back near the fire pit. We had planned to mulch them all but that's not going to work out so well, so we're just going to burn them - as soon as we have a nice calm day. Now that's going to be some bonfire once it gets going. James will be very disappointed to miss that one. I suspect it will take several days to burn through the pile that's there now, a little at a time.

When Lloyd got up I made us some lunch and we ate outside in the sunshine. BBQ burgers and the great outdoors - does it really get any better? It was such a beautiful day and we've been so long waiting for some nice weather. After lunch I started splitting the logs from the trees, while Lloyd did some badly needed repairs to our eavestroughs.  It was all in all a very productive day. A soak in a nice hot tub at the end of the day was most welcome.

Sunday dawned once again, nice and sunny but just a couple of degrees cooler. I did some tidying up in the craft room and then set about splitting more wood. I split all that I could split. Some of the blocks are just too big for me to lift, let alone put up on the splitter, so those I left for Lloyd to do. Lloyd worked at getting the garden ready for planting as some of the seeds can go in the ground now. It's too early for the inside
plants but some of the seeds can go in. He dug out all the old weeds, and turned everything over. He then added some nutrients that it required as well a some manure and now it's all ready to go. That's high on his list of things to accomplish today. I even got some of the lawn cut yesterday afternoon. The front yard isn't really needing it yet but will by next weekend. The back field  behind the garage has a few areas that always grow very fast and very lush grass. Now it looks so neat and tidy after it's trimming. There were a couple of little trees that didn't make it through the winter so those were cut down as well.

My goal today is to bake some bread this morning and them spend some time on the flower beds, trimming up the edges and just getting them in a little better shape. Later this afternoon and evening, I will need to clear out the totes I took out of storage on Friday morning and are still sitting on the floor of the bedroom. It's that time of year again - pack away the winter clothes and drag out a few summer clothes. I also have a pile of winter coats on the chair in the living room that I took off the hooks in the back porch. They were put there last Thursday morning in anticipation of the new fridge being delivered and that's where they've remained. Of course the pile of boots beside the chair should probably be put somewhere else as well.  Needless to say, I have lots to keep my busy today. Good thing it's a holiday and I have the day off!

It's been a very busy weekend and I even missed going out and doing something fun with Brenda on Sunday afternoon. Once this conference is over,  I'll have my free time to myself again.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday, May 16th - now this is more like it!

It's a pleasant 10' this morning at 5:15 am and we should reach a warm and sunny 22' later - absolutely perfect!  The whole long weekend should be nice although it will be cooler on Monday. I suspect there will be a lot of yard work going on this weekend across the island. We may even need to cut the grass for the first time. Lots of projects, just have to prioritize them and see what we get done.

Yesterday I received some photos from Patti of Lloyd finally getting to fly his plane. It's been a long haul to get to this day, but it finally happened when he was there a week ago.

  Not to be outdone by his grandfather, James also took the opportunity to do some flying while at the airport - with his remote control plane

Not so much fun in store for Lloyd this weekend. Aside from the large pile of branches in the back yard, we now have an even bigger pile in the side yard, where two more trees have been cut down.  That's going to be a pretty big pile of wood chips when he's through, not to mention a bit of fire wood for the winter as well.
 The good news I have three days off to help with it all and I'm really looking forward to spending some time outside in the nice weather. .

The best news for me is the arrival of my new refrigerator. The one that came with the house is quite small so we I made the decision to buy a new one. I've been looking for a while and finally found the one I wanted on sale at a good price. It had to be ordered in and has finally arrived. Needless to say that's how I spent my evening last night - cleaning out the old one and moving everything into the new one. It's a huge improvement over the smaller old one and for the time being, it also gives me more storage space as the old one is in the back porch. It will be very handy when we make salads for the conference event! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday, May 14th - warmer temperatures are on the way!

It's a chilly 3' this morning, feeling a little more like -1' but, and there is some frost on my car windows this morning, but we should warm up nicely to a sunny 12 to 14' later. Unlike our friends and family in the Guelph area who were experiencing 28' yesterday with a humidex reading of 35'. Now that's TOO warm. We'd like just a little of that, please and thank you. We're hoping for a warmer long weekend and that will make for some great weather for doing some yard work. We've cut down a couple of trees and there are a couple more that are slated to go so it could be a busy weekend.

Lloyd's second batch of chicken eggs is in the incubator and if all goes well, are slated to hatch sometime soon. I did the candle trick to look inside and there is definitely more development than the last time. I really hope this batch is successful. He'll be quite disappointed if it's not. Of course then it also adds to his daily chores but that's not a bad thing.

 It's going to be a busy few weeks coming up. Lloyd's seed starting project is going very well. (that's the photos) There's a couple of seeds that didn't do much but most are doing great. The garden is needed to be tilled and planted, and the grass will soon need cutting for the first time. Firewood for the winter has yet to be secured and the list goes on and on. But it's that activity that will keep us young. 

It's definitely a busier lifestyle than when we lived in an apartment building in Ontario.  After this past winter it's going to be great to get outside and do things again. We just need it to warm up a little bit more. Hopefully this weekend will be the turning point!

Our dance class has been moved to an earlier time so we're finished by 7:15. That means it's still daylight when we leave our chosen eating establishment. Last night it was the Gahan. They have this potato nacho sort of dish that is really great if the potatoes are cooked really crispy. We specified that when we ordered and they did not disappoint. Crispy potato slices with melted cheese, onions, bacon and a spicy sauce and sour cream for dipping - YUMMM.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday, May 12th - what a feast!

I know the calendar says spring, but it sure doesn't feel like it. After a couple of milder days, the temperature dropped significantly yesterday afternoon and this morning it's a very frosty -1'. The sky is clear at the moment but we should have a somewhat rainy 8' later on this afternoon. It's a ways to go yet before we can begin to think about gardening.

In spite of the weather, it was a great weekend. I spent the day working inside on Saturday. We're expecting delivery of a new refrigerator on Thursday this week so I worked on moving the old one out to the porch, temporarily, and cleaning up underneath where it used to sit. Because the weather was drizzly all day it was a good day for getting some inside jobs done.

Fortunately I had also been invited to supper at the Van Gaals - the first lobster of the season! What a treat that first taste of fresh from the sea lobster is. Brenda made potato salad and I made coleslaw. I also brought along a small plate of cookies that I had made earlier in the day. All in all it was a terrific Saturday.

Sunday was more of the same - cool and damp. I spent Sunday morning out in the craft room working on finishing up some projects that needed just a bit of work to be complete, for the conference. I had just finished up and come in the house for a cup of tea when Brenda arrived. Over tea, we calculated numbers for meals for the Rec Centre, as we have a meeting with them this evening.

I spent the rest of the day puttering about before heading over to the VanGaals once again for Mother's Day dinner. The boys were both there and were in charge of cooking. Potatoes roasted on the BBQ, broccoli salad and BBQ pork chops hit he spot quite nicely. Of course we tried to use up some of the leftovers as well, so we also finished off a couple of lobsters left over from the previous evening.  Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. 

Lloyd should be home sometime later today.  He's had a fairly successful week. He managed to sell Meghan's car, fixed the mechanical issue with the plane and finally got a chance to fly it. Unlike us, they had beautiful weather all weekend, although it was too windy to fly on Saturday. I'm sure he was thrilled to finally get up in the air in his creation. 

Meghan(2) also had a successful weekend. She held a lucrative garage sale that netted her enough money to buy the dance costume carrier that she's wanting. Well done Meg.  Unfortunately Lloyd missed the sale as he had sold the wheels he was using. But that was a good thing so it all worked out for everyone!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday, May 9th - Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!

It's consistently cool in the mornings this week. I've had to let the car warm up to melt the heavy frost off the windows the last two days and this morning is no exception.  It's a chilly 1' right now but we should reach a sunny and mild 13' later, pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday. It was so nice to head out at lunch with just a very light jacket instead of the usual coat. Spring is coming but it's certainly taking it's time this year.

Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of dining with the Van Gaals. Some kind person had dropped off some braised short ribs to them, so the first thing Brenda said to Bernie was "better call Sandy".  She made delicious whipped potatoes to act as the base for this beefy goodness and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal, so thanks so much for including me.

Last night we went over to the Rec Centre to measure up tables for the conference so we can get an idea of how many tablecloths we will need and then we headed into town. I had heard there's a Scotish Fiddle Jam a the Old Triangle on Thursday evenings so that's where we headed. It was a most enjoyable evening, and I suspect we may be doing that again from time to time.

Each year that the kids have been in Montessori school, those in the lower elementary treat their moms to a Mother's Day Tea. This will be Tristen's last year in that level, hence the last Mother's Day Tea for her. How sad. Tristen looks so grown up in the photo she sent of him all dressed up for the occasion.

Speaking of dressing up. Apparently there is an item out there called Rac N Roll. It's a special suitcase for dancers to transport their costumes back and forth to recitals, etc.When you unpack it, the rack is put together and holds all your costumes for quick changes between numbers.  It's just come to Meghan's attention that  she desperately needs one of these for her upcoming recital.What, no desperate races home because you've forgotten a piece of your outfit? But how is she going to pay for it?  It seems her mom told her she can host a garage sale - literally - and try to sell of the stuff that's lurking about in the garage. So apparently that will be happening tomorrow. She can use whatever money she makes with that endeavor. It's a bit of a win for Patti as well, as it will help get the garage cleaned out.

Patti went to a performing arts school, and we've figured out that's why they never made it to the big time as dancers, because the school just didn't provide the proper education on how to transport costumes.  We don't know how they managed to dance all those years without the aid of a Rac N Roll. As Patti said, Meg will  be devastated if she doesn't make enough money to buy one - but only till the next crisis hits! Ah, the joys of raising a pre-teen girl.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wednesday, May 7th - it's still not quite spring

It's a very chilly -3' this morning although the sun is coming up nice and bright. We will hopefully reach a little warmer 8' later. Tomorrow is looking even better but it's still unseasonably cool. I'll bet it's cold out on the ocean in a lobster boat on mornings like this. Hard to believe it's a whole week into the season and we haven't had any lobster as yet. Perhaps we will this weekend as it is Mother's Day, after all.

We had coolish weather on Monday morning but that soon deteriorated as the day wore on. By mid afternoon it was almost blizzard conditions for a while. Not a sight you want to see as you look out the window on the 5th of May. Fortunately it turned to rain later in the afternoon and by 5:00, it had almost stopped, but it was  still quite chilly. The first thing I did when I got home was light a fire and warm up the house.

I still had a bit of sewing to do on the conference scarves and I was able to finish that off in no time. I'm really pleased with how they turned out and hope the rest of the committee agrees with my choices, but I never would have been done so quickly without Brenda's help.  The clever use ( I think) of discarded metal rings and a collection of old buttons with shanks on the back,  makes for a rather unique scarf clip to hold the two ends together while allowing some flexibility of length. On Tuesday evening, Brenda came over and we worked on finalizing a few more little details that can now be taken off the list. We're moving along wonderfully now!

I stopped at the grocery store in town on my way home on Saturday afternoon and picked up a copy of the current Saltscapes, which is almost out of date. I was flipping through it when I got home and spotted an article about ways to fish without a fishing rod. I was drawn to a photo of some people digging clams on the shore and it brought back some wonderful memories of a trip we'd taken the first year of Fall Flavours, out to the shore to dig clams. When they were dug, we headed to a local park where our guide brought out a big pot and we steamed the freshly dug clams in beer. They were some good eats. As I was reliving this happy memory in my mind, I took another look at the photo on the pages of the magazine and realized it as actually Lloyd and I. A local photographer had come out with us and taken a bunch of photos. That had to be at least 7 years ago. What a surprise. It must have been meant to be. I haven't bought that magazine in a very long time and the new issue came out today so it was just by sheer chance that I was able to discover that it was there.Everything happens for a reason!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday, May 5th - it's a cool and damp one this morning

After a lovely weekend, we're back into rain and cool temperatures again - maybe even a few flurries, if the radio is correct. It's a chilly 4' right now, feeling more like 2, and that's pretty much where it will stay all day. It's not raining here right now, but it has been and will likely start again. No worries, there are still bits of snow around so we need that rain to clear that away, once and for all.

Lloyd left on Saturday around lunch time for Toronto. He was meant to be on the early 5:30 am flight but for some unknown reason, it was cancelled and they moved him to the 11:45 am flight. Made my day not having to get up in the middle of the night, only to come home for a couple of hours and then go back again for 9:00. Thank you Air Canada! It all just worked out so perfectly. I picked Brenda up on my way to town and we went for coffee and a bagel. She dropped me off at work then went and did her shopping and went home. Lloyd came into the dealership mid morning and I left for a few minutes and drove him to the airport, taking his truck with me. Then the best part is that Meghan (1) has a car in Toronto that she very rarely uses. She wants to sell it but that's not an easy thing to do when you're by yourself and lead a very busy life. Solution: Meghan picked him up at the airport, he dropped her off and is using her car for the week and will attempt to find a buyer before the end of the week. She has no idea how marvelous that is for Lloyd - to have transportation and not have to be bothering others for rides everywhere he needs to go. If he can sell it, it's a win/win for both of them, so thanks so much Meghan!

Sunday morning dawned cool and damp after beautiful warm sun on Saturday. Good thing because I had lots to do inside. Somewhere along the way I volunteered to make some sort of scarf for the committee members to wear to identify them at the conference. We only need 25 so sure, I can do that.  I purchased the materials needed and designated yesterday as the day to work on those. There was cutting and sewing and pressing and a little bit of hand sewing involved. I was up early and finished off a couple of other little jobs that needed tending to, but now they are things I can cross off my list. Then I started cutting. Fortunately for me I have a great space to use for that and it went very smoothly. I was about half done sewing them together when Brenda arrived to help out. And what a great help it was. By the end of the afternoon they are all sewn, turned, pressed and half have the little bit of hand stitching done. The rest will work nicely tonight in front of the TV or listening to music in the craft room or perhaps watching something on Netflix out there. That's a pretty major task off my list, so thanks  to Brenda for coming to my aid yet again. It was actually a pleasant way to pass the afternoon - sunshine coming in the windows and a glass of wine to keep our spirits up. It's all good!

To show how much I truly appreciate all her help with this project, I thought it only appropriate that we go to Peakes for a burger. In retrospect, we really should have split one - it's a lot of food when you add the fresh cut fries. We'll know better next time.  Then it was off the the Fort Augustus Rec Centre for a fundraising concert in aid of the local bowlers who are off to a tournament in Calgary. It's unfortunate that it wasn't better attended because the entertainment was very good. A really pleasant way to end the weekend.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday, May 2nd - let's hope May's weather is better than April was!

It's a chilly 3' this morning but at least it's stopped raining for now. It should start again this afternoon and reach a high of 9'. There's still pockets of snow hanging around so the rain should finally clean that up.
Not a lot going on right now, although I did make myself a list of things I have to complete before the end of the month for the conference. It looks a little daunting but really they're mostly all small tasks so it should be fine. I'll have a good chance to get lots done next week as Lloyd will be away. I'll have no excuses.

He's heading up to Ontario to see if he can figure out what's going on with his plane. It seems to be having some kind of mechanical issue so he needs to get that fixed. Then hopefully someone will want to buy it. In the meantime, I'm left in charge here. Last night was spent getting last minute instructions on how to manage the live chickens, the unhatched chickens, and the seedlings that seem to have taken over multiple horizontal surfaces throughout the house. Some of the tiny plants have grown enough to be transplanted into larger peat pots so now they take up a bit more space. When he gets back, he'll be busy getting the garden tilled and ready for planting (hopefully the snow will all be gone from it by then).

The branches and pieces of wood have now all been cleared from the front yard and are resting in two huge piles in the back. He had planned to burn them but we just haven't had a calm enough day to do that - not an easy thing to find out here on this windy hill. I was wondering if we can rent a chipper for a day and turn all those branches into mulch. It might not be as pretty as the mulch we get from the nursery but it could work. I'll have to do some investigating into that to see if it would be usable and if so, that could be a better use of all those branches.

Burger love has ended and I don't know what the final tally was but a fellow at work was telling me he had the burger at Mavor's on Wednesday night and was told they had sold in the neighbourhood of 6,000 burgers, and that another restaurant in town had sold 10,000. That's a lot of burgers! This has certainly turned out to be a very popular promotion and likely a very lucrative one as well. The nice thing is it's pretty much all islanders who are supporting it, as it's  too early for many tourists to be around.  Great idea well executed!

I was working on my list last night when I got an email from Meghan(2). Very clever and creative, that one. She used some left over Easter treats to make a Peepmobile (Peeps also come in rabbit shape as well as yellow chicks for those folks who are not familiar with Peeps!)

"I made this with the left over peeps from Easter! I used a peep,a twinky, 4 mashmellows, and a small pretzel.
Love Meghan (2)"

Well done, Meg!