Thursday, 31 January 2008

...and the Cat came back....

Remember this blogpost back in October? Susan was giving her shed a facelift, but her new artwork left something to be desired. What was it? There's something important missing. Ah yes.... the cat!

Can you spot the addition?

Here he is, a little closer.

He doesn't look very happy to be shut in the shed.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Cedar Fence

How long has this old split-rail fence been here? It looks like it's seen many winters.

Metal fences were expensive, and wood was cheap and plentiful in Ontario, so many pioneer farmers used the split-rail fence to enclose their property. Cedar logs are weather resistant and easy to split and last for many years.

Sunday, 27 January 2008


I've been puppysitting 5 month old Tessa while YoungerSon and The Bride enjoyed a skiing weekend.

I didn't know a puppy required so much equipment. The list included:
1. Padded Bed (for snoozing in the kitchen during the day)
2. Blanket for the Bed
3. Cage (for sleeping in the hall during the night)
4. One blanket inside the cage and another one to cover the cage
5. Folding puppy gates
6. Juicy beef knuckle bone for a special treat
7. Packet of lamb flavour doggy biscuits
8. Tupperware container of special Puppy dog food
9. Collar and leash
10. Generous handful of chew stix
11. Rawhide bone (she didn't like this much)
12. Tennis ball
13. Squeaky toy
14. Food dish and water dish
15. Bitter apple spray (to discourage chewing on the furniture)
16. Carpet cleaner spray (in case of accidents)
17. Puppy handling guide book

WOW. Worse than having a rambunctious toddler come to stay. But we had a great time. Lots of long energetic walks in the forest.

She ate all my plastic flower pots. The back yard closely resembles a Bill and Ben battle ground.

But she's so cute, how can anyone resist her???

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Colours of Winter

Winter landscape can be dull and monotone, almost a black and white world.... until you look a little closer.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

The Burns Supper

As with every Burns Supper, the Haggis is piped in, and paraded around the room, closely followed by three glasses of Scotch for drinking the health of Robbie Burns, even though he's been dead for over 200 years. (In this case it was apple juice, not Scotch... church function, y'know.)

Before the meal can begin, it is traditional to quote Burns' famous poem, Address To A Haggis, you can find the words and the translation here, followed by "The Selkirk Grace".

"Some hae meat, and canna eat,
An' some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit"

Let the serving of the feast begin.

On the Bill of Fare: Haggis, Roast Beef, Mashed Tatties, Peas, Champit Neeps, Coleslaw, Gravy, Killer Horseradish that takes the top of your head off, and makes your eyes water.
Make sure you leave room for the pies and the shortbread.

An evening of entertainment with a Scottish flavour follows the dinner. Lots of singing the old Scottish songs, many of them with words written by Burns, bagpipe music and Highland dancing.

Two of our young dancers.

And the Scottish Country Dance emsemble. We danced "The Minister on the Loch" and " The White Cockade".
Back row: Wilma, Jean, The Space Cadet, Moi.
Front row: Bernice, Helen, Beth, Jean.

I'm the only one without even the tiniest drop of Scottish blood running through my veins. Eating haggis probably makes up for it.
Piper picture "borrowed" from the Stouffville Tribune - thanks Jim.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Preparing for Robbie

On January 25th every year, faithful Albannachs (and some misguided Sassenachs, I'm one of them) celebrate the birthday of Scotland's National Poet, Robert Burns.
This year is the 249th anniversary of his birth in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland. Quite the handsome devil, methinks.

St. James Presbyterian Church celebrated a little early by feeding 160 people a traditional Burns Supper.
This included 25 huge turnips boiled to perfection...

... mashed with some salt and pepper, generous dollops of sour cream and cream cheese....

.... and then baked in the oven with a cheesey topping.

70 pounds of potatoes, peeled, cooked, seasoned and mashed...

... and of course, the HAGGIS, 5 of them, please don't tell me what it reminds you of, I don't want to know!

Wrap all 5 haggises (should the plural be haggi?) in foil, heat at 300F for about 2-1/2 to 3 hours, remember to put about an inch of hot water in the pan. Believe me, there's nothing worse than the smell of burnt haggis. It stinks the place out for days. (If you're wondering about the brick wrapped in foil, it was the only way to get both pans in the oven at the same time.)

Then wrap the haggis in towels to keep warm, put in the cooler and deliver to the dinner venue.... stay tuned to this blog for more pictures of the dinner and entertainment in the next post!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Going to Church tomorrow?

Church authorities removed this sign after they received complaints from the community. A little bit of bad judgement , I think.
Photo "borrowed" from the Toronto Star.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Five things...

Xtreme English tagged me to do one of these crazy memes that are going around.
I'm supposed to name five things in my current life that I never dreamed would be in my future when I was 25 years old. Then I have to tag five other people who, hopefully, will do the same and report back! OK... let's go! (be warned, it's pretty boring)

Thinking back to when I was 25, I had been married for 4 years, I had emigrated to Canada and was living in Toronto, a very long way from my family in England.
  • At 25, I couldn't imagine how my life would change with the responsibility of children, but OlderSon was born the following year, and YoungerSon followed a few years later. And I managed fine. My family has grown. I have two gorgeous daughters-in-law. A bouncy grandpuppy, two grandkitties and two grandhorses. And a beautiful grandbaby about to make his/her debut. Yippee!
  • International travel was non-existent during my childhood, so I never throught I would see the wonderful places I have visited... Egypt, Israel, France, Greece, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, USA... the list goes on.
  • I didn't imagine working for the same company until retirement, but I did.
  • I certainly didn't envision having a computer of my own, or a fax machine, or a cell phone, or playing video games, or being able to communicate with people all over the world via the magic of the Internet.... all futuristic technology back in 1970.
  • As children, my friends and I would wonder if we would be alive when 1999 turned into 2000. It seemed so far in the future. But here I am, I survived Y2K and I intend to stay around for quite a few more years.

I'm not tagging anyone to do this... if you want to take up the challenge , please do!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Is Red Dead?

How many redheads do you know? Are there any in your family?

This article in theToronto Star says that redheads may be a thing of the past in 100 years time.

Both parents need to carry the recessive gene to produce a redhaired baby. My father had red hair but nobody in my mother's extended family did, so I was a surprise. I have quite a few redhaired cousins on my father's side of the family.

It was the bane of my life as a kid. I was called GingerNut, Red, Carrot Top. One girl wondered how I could sleep at night. "Doesn't your hair keep you awake?" she asked. Hmmmm.
My mother always dressed me in blue, she said it went well with my hair. I avoided wearing blue for years, but I like it again now.

There must be lots of redhead bloggers out there. A few that spring to mind are Ginnie at In Soul, Sue at Photowannabe and MaryEllen at Xtreme-English. I'd love to hear stories of how you all survived the inevitable taunts that go with being a redhead.

Only a month to go before my first grandbaby arrives.

I wonder if........

Thursday, 10 January 2008


Some people love to be the centre of attention, we all know one or two, don't we, always telling jokes or slipping on banana peels. Does this apply to cats too?

Leon doesn't know he's a cat. He thinks he's a stand-up comedian. He's convinced himself that his mission in life is to entertain an adoring public.

Leon was a wild cat. He was taken in by an elderly lady, but when she moved to a retirement home a few years ago, she was only allowed to bring two cats, and Leon was number three, so he came to live with OlderSon and The Equestrienne as JoJo's step-brother.

He's expert at falling off the bed, falling off chairs, falling off knees, falling off anything. He can turn somersaults on the carpet, and make funny noises at the same time. And the more you look at him, the more he loves to go though his roly-poly vaudeville routine.

Quite a character. What he really wants is a booking at Yuk-Yuks.
First two phots by OlderSon... see, I give credit where credit is due!

Monday, 7 January 2008


On a visit to OlderSon and The Equestrienne's house, I consider myself lucky if I catch a tiny glimpse of JoJo. She's not a lap cat. She stays in the basement, only reluctantly showing her face upstairs if she hears the rattle of the kitty treat bag.

Her mother was a feral cat who gave birth to a litter of kittens in the wild. JoJo was the only kitten to be caught and brought home. Nobody knows what happened to her brothers and sisters. That was almost seven years ago, and she's still very nervous around people.
She'll never change. Her mother taught her well.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Fogged In

Not quite a pea souper, but almost. At least some of the snow is melting.

California has rain and wind, Eastern Canada is digging out from four big snowstorms in the past week, and here in S. Ontario we have fog.

Strange weather for January. A good day to stay home and bake bread.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Movie'n'Mexican 2008

This year's Movie'n'Mexican took place last night.

I don't really know how this annual event got started. I think just after Christmas about 8 or 9 years ago OlderSon and The Equestrienne went out for Mexican food, and then saw a movie, and the following year, more family members joined in, and it's now become a family ritual, all part of the Christmas and New Year holiday celebration.

And it always has to be Mexican food.
Chinese, Greek, Italian.... just not acceptable! Viva Mexico!

We saw JUNO. A great little movie. Nobody dies a horrible death, there are no fiery explosions and no guns, knives, or other weapons of mass destruction. No detectives. No FBI agents lurking in the shadows. Just a story about people and the human condition. And the leading lady, if you can call her that as she is definitely no lady, is a marvellous character, memorably played by Canadian actor Ellen Page. See it... you'll like it!

And then to eat. BarBurrito on Yonge Street. Qesadillas. Tacos. Nachos. Steak Burrito with hot sauce. The Space Cadet thought he could eat two large ones, but finally had to concede defeat and share the second one with OlderSon.
That's it, folks.
I declare Christmas and New Year celebrations are now officially over.