Thursday, 26 December 2013

My Bucket List

During this holiday I crossed going to a ballet off of my Bucket List.  Today we drove to our daughter-in-law's parents, farm where she was raised, for a family feast,games and gift exchange. The children get regular presents but the adults draw names and give homemade or recycled gifts.  That is such a great idea.  Our continent would profit if we all did that. 

Late in the afternoon as the sky was darkening Judy, her mother, took me to the Skaal's farm down the road.  
I was blessed to see my first cardinal and he was a bright red on the snow under the feeders.

Then I saw a female.


In the end we saw two pairs at the feeder with the other birds.  I felt so blessed.  We have been to this area 4 times and have travelled in our RV all over the Maritime Provinces but never had the chance to see a cardinal in the flesh.  They do not live on the west side of the Rockies past Alberta.  They always look so lovely on Christmas cards.  I really wanted to see one in the wild and today I did.

Also, I need to make a correction about a comment in a former blog.  The sampler I thought was stitched was actually an illuminated work on kid leather done by a pioneer in a former era.  I had put it at the end of my blog for the Carols and Candles service on Christmas Eve.  We live and we learn, hopefully.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Winter Fun in Ontario

Winter is a reality here in Ontario.  The wind was whistling through the door cracks and electrical outlets and it was -26 C.  Then a few days ago it warmed up to about -5 C. but with it came freezing rain and treacherous roads.  It may look beautiful but falling ice or branches or hydro wires can do a lot of damage.
This is a vintage shot that shows this weather is not a new happening.
 And then there was this week.  Church was cancelled for the last too Sundays as the minister fell and broke an ankle and wrist and needed surgery, and anyway the roads were too dangerous to risk going out on except in an emergency.

 Canadians and Americans in the north can be a hardy bunch and make the best of it all.

We can all learn to see beauty in all the seasons.

While we have been in survival mode and trying to keep warm, our son's dishwasher died.  Then
the sump pump went.  Today the geo-thermal pump started to squeal so it was turned off until the service man came.  He says it is toast so he put us on backup electricity which is very expensive.  We also have electric heaters upstairs and the fireplace is going full time.  

We went out for a walk yesterday to the bridge and back, while admiring the beauty of after-the-freezing-rain.  

I watched from inside as they slid down the hill into the creek in front of the house and Jacklyn began building a snow horse.

The Christmas Eve sunset was lovely just after 4:00.  
We had an early dinner of home made lasagne and rushed off to the Carols and Candles service.

 Merry Christmas to all my blogger friends.  

Keep those blogs coming please.  When we get home next weekend I will do a memory blog of the highlights of these 20 days away from our wee house in British Columbia. 
Somebody years ago lovingly stitched this sampler with the scripture about 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills.............' and hung it in the vestibule of the little white church in the cornfield near Russell, Ontario.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Calicos are my favourites.

Our son in Ontario where we are visiting for the season, has three cats.  Two were chosen .... Here is my favourite, Padme 
I don't know why I like calicos so much.  We have had many over the years.  Is it true that 9/10 calicos are female and if so why?  We have also had a few Siamese and some black and white long-haired persian type cats during my lifetime.  We haven't had a cat of our own now for 10 years as after the last one died we started travelling.  I miss having a cat and dog but we are living in a pet free suite and with all the traveling we have done the last 7 years it was just as well.  Below is their other chosen cat, Anikin.  She has the longest hair of the three.
Then one day last summer a starving kitten that looked too young to even be weaned, showed up on their doorstep so they now have three cats.  
Stripey is not the friendliest cat and is constantly skitting behind furniture and up or down stairs but he is fat and happy now.  They didn't really want this many cats but they are all neutered so perhaps that will be that.  They were hoping somebody would leave them a free goat.  The girls are interested in raising goats.  I am glad we will be on the other coast of North America by then. 

It is such a job to get ready to go out in the cold and down the drive to catch the bus these days.  

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Enjoying Ontario before Christmas

We arrived safely on the other side of Canada. We are tucked into this house of Shane's near Winchester.  It is not a well insulated house so we pile on the blankets at night.  We went into Ottawa to see the Nutcracker Ballet yesterday afternoon. The ballet was delightful and I loved all the Canadian touches with the very familiar music.
I am sure I missed half of the special nuances.  There was just too much to take in.  Children danced as beaver, chipmunks, raccoons and loons replaced swans.  Other Canadian touches were Voyageurs, wolves, snowflakes, RCMP, canoes etc. all set in a small village of Bisset north of Algonquin Park.  
The backdrops were changing Group of Seven paintings (a renowned group from the last century who changed the face of Canadian Art) which were enlarged and were very effective.  The king and queen of the Birches did a fantastic job of their more classical segments.

Above is the opening about a school concert and dance afterwards.   Jacklyn didn't really want to go as she saw it last year but she humoured me because she is a good girl.   Actually her mom kick-started her manners.  Dana helped conduct the very lyrical music and told me her Dad, who looked much like the Lord of the Birches could dance like that, and her mom could be his partner.  I can just see Shane in tights soaring through the air.  I didn't laugh at her though.  All the children enhance the production of course.

Quotes from Dana:   

"Hickory dickory dock, hang your sock on the clock.

I've got this covered.....when I tried to explain how to do something on Duncan's e-book.

I need some private time with Nanny.  

Nanny is the most exciting person I have ever met.  (deprived childhood I guess)

Nanny, you have to stick with the programme. 
(that means what she has planned). "

Sunday Dec 15   
Above is a photo facing west across the fields behind the house.  Sunday church and concert practises were cancelled and it was declared a snow day as the roads were not cleared yet and it was -25.  So we are having a PJ day.  Shane and Bonnie and Jacklyn slept in, and we later had a lazy puzzle morning.  
We finished one of Santa feeding woodland animals then began sorting to start a primitive-painting of an pioneer era village.  Dana was honoured with the privilege of inserting the last piece.

Shane had to use his new (free gift) snow blower to clear the driveway and parking area.  
Dana showed me how to grow a bar of ivory soap in the microwave.  I made Saskatchewan Squid seafood dinner for lunch ( inch size chunks of all beef hot dogs with 4 spaghetti noodles stuffed through the half way to make 8 tentacles).  

Shane went to an archery tournament after lunch and we girls showered and changed into clean pajamas to play cards and have an inside interaction day with no techy toys allowed.  Uno and Dutch Blitz and Go Fish and jigsaws etc. were undertaken.  It was a lovely lazy day... very Canadian...inside avoiding the cold.  Jacklyn has set up a nail salon so we are getting multicoloured toes.  I hope you had a relaxing day too, but perhaps not fighting the cold.  Below is the summer bbq porch and the children's play area/fort.

Friday, 6 December 2013

December 10 is International Human Rights Day

We will be gone flying across Canada to our oldest son's house and his lovely daughters on Dec. 10.  So I announced in church last Sunday that I would be writing on Friday the 6th after Soup's On kitchen work and on Saturday afternoon if any
body wanted to join me to sign a letter or write some.  Only 3 people showed interest but we wrote 22 letters today and may do more 

When you read the case studies you become appalled at what humans do to each other.  

I am not sure what this map below is explaining....countries that support Amnesty? or countries that need letters written to them.  I know I sent some to our Canadian Prime Minister today about how indigenous people are treated.

Our day started with sadness as the CBC announced our champion, Mandela, had passed on.  Nelson Mandela was a true modern prophet. He turned his weapons into plowshares.  I admire his desire to promote human rights for everyone.   I also suspect that the word mandela will become a verb, as in "He mandela-ed the situation."  Can you see that happening?  It was something I heard today that made me think that the name was already becoming a verb.  He taught us to take action and stand up to bullies.

Folk who have been delivered/freed due to this yearly blitz by Amnesty International are more than willing to tell their stories.  

Licking envelopes is yucky but I am trying to get rid of some old ones so I can buy newer self-sticking ones.  These logos amused me


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Christmas is coming

Advent is in full swing.  I didn't realize that Advent has an element of Lent in it.  As Christians we are called to deprive ourselves somewhat in anticipation of The Birth and The Light coming back into our world after the winter solstice.  It is a tradition that leaves us a little out of step with the consumer-oriented society around us.  It really made me think more about helping others and cutting back on all the shopping and baking and over-consumption.  I am assessing what I cherish more and more this year.  Or maybe getting old does that to one.  However I still am easily sucked into admiring the time and energy that some folk put into making novel trees.  So I decided to do my yearly contest to let you choose your favourite of these that struck my fancy this year.


Which one is your favourite of these 5?  I will tell you mine in a few days.