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Thursday, January 29, 2015

A much-needed visit.

Waiting on Spring

There is nothing nicer (in my books) than to share a bowl of home-made hot soup with a friend on a cold, wintry day. Which is just what I did today.
I took a break from packing and animal-related chores and headed over to visit with my good friend, Barb. Barb would remind you of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. She cooks like a master and to share any of her wonderful meals is a delight for the taste-buds. She has an infectious smile and is always interested in how you are doing. Her kitchen is filled with wonderful aromas as you step through her door. And what a neat kitchen it is. You are instantly taken back to a time when cooking hearty meals was part of a normal day. Spices line the many shelves while herbs flourish in pots along the window-sill. Jars are filled with fresh treats for tea-time and tea-cups sit close to the kettle.  It is a busy, functional room with lots of personal touches. I told her that walking into her kitchen was like getting a big 'ol hug. Which I immediately got. :)

After a hot cup of creamy coffee, we enjoyed a big bowl of home-made pea soup with home-made bread. It was so delicious. And one of my all-time favorites, home-made date-squares. We chatted up a storm by the fire while watching the snow fall through her living-room windows. A beautiful, peaceful afternoon.

Barb plants a huge garden every Spring in her spacious back-yard. She grows every type of veggie along with plump, juicy grapes. I took these photos a few years back when her gardens were at their finest. Not only did I have a delicious meal with her but I came home with a bag full of healthy, organic produce.



Would you say this woman has a green thumb? These photos are a delight for the eyes as I sit here looking out the office window at the snow coming down.

We have a lot more snow today than we have had for awhile. It has been a cold winter so far but not nearly as much snow as last year. Let's hope February is a bit warmer as we start to dream of Spring.

Stay toasty,
Deb


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A 'to do' list.

I've been making a list in my head of things I want to do or change this Spring when we are finally settled on our lot.
I want to paint the old well white just like I remember it as a child.

A rope swing must find a place amoungst the trees at the back near the old stone fence.
The one that was always there rotted and fell to the ground.

The old two-seater out-house needs to move closer to the front where we can fix it up.


I often wondered why it had two seats when I was young. Never did I see two people in there at the same time nor would I have wanted to.  Seemed rather weird.

We have a fence to mend and a gate to change at the road.

A country mail-box will be placed right outside the gate. Oh, and flowers...yes, yes, lots of flowers.
                                                                  (pinterest)

And ...most importantly, I have to get to know this feline that loves to drop by and visit every time we are out there.
I now know that it lives at the property next door where there are many out-door buildings and another cat that it chums with. My guess is that it is an indoor-outdoor wanderer as it's coat is shiny and clean. I expect our property has been its' hunting grounds for some time now.

I'm guessing 'male' but have not taken the liberty to check that out.
That face makes me think of Davey Crockett.
You know...King of the Wild Frontier.

I'll probably find out that it's a female and she goes by Sally.
All I know right now is this cat loves tummy rubs.
And what a beautiful tummy it is.

 Tomorrow it warms up for one day.
Who can argue...we'll take it.

Stay toasty,
Deb

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Waiting on Spring and more on those delightful Chickadees

Spring flowers
                         can chase away the winter blues.

And it's still very wintry in our area. Snow on the ground, frigid temperatures (red nose) but lots of sun-shine to make it tolerable. 

Kane and I were out feeding the birds again today. If you notice the suet holder it is just about empty. It held four of my suet cakes. Time to make more for those hungry blue-jays. When we pulled up in the car today there was one hanging off the cage. They are so fast to disappear, though.

this photo made me laugh. Lesson to all you bloggers...do not hold camera up for a silly selfie where shadow can be seen in photo) :-b
You can see that we don't have a lot of snow right now; just enough to cover the ground. It will be February before we know it and that, being a short month, will most likely fly by. I can't wait to smell and hear Spring in the air.

The feeders were active with black-capped Chickadees today. 
I read (yes, I'm doing a lot of that lately) that Chickadees tend to stay around if you keep their feeders full. They actually will live in your trees all year not wandering too far from 'home'. Attaching houses right to the trees will encourage them to nest come Spring. Providing nesting material such as short pieces of string, wool or pet hair can also attract nesting Chickadees. "Hell...I can do that."
Audrey is so willing to shed just for the birds. 
So, knowing it's the same Chickadees every day that hang around the feeders and entertain us with their familiar song, makes feeding them all that much more attractive. Now, if I could just tell them apart. :)
Here is a link to information on attracting them to your yard.
http://birding.about.com/od/Specific-Birds/a/How-To-Attract-Chickadees.htm

"Audrey....you're awfully quiet. What are you doing?" 

"oh, she's such a bother. Can't I just nap (and shed) in peace?"
                                                   =^..^=

Stay toasty,
Deb

Monday, January 26, 2015

A china & treasure cupboard.

I'm happy to know that my step-back cupboard will fit ok in our mouse-house. I'm packing up the little treasures that will come along with it.
Some of my favorite things I have collected over the years are tea-related (no surprise there), white china and beautiful pottery. My blue and white dishes will most likely come along, too, as I hope to use them this Spring.
I love to walk up to this cupboard with the grandittles and let them look in to see what catches their eye. That's why I put little 'treasures' here and there as I am sure dishes would bore them in seconds. I try to have some un-breakables so they can carry their 'find' to show mommy.





I'm home today to do some packing. The retired-guy left bright and early to finish the painting while the workers tile the bathroom.

Yesterday I filled the feeders again for the next few days.  It was a cold but sunny day so I stood by the trees watching the local birds 'fly through'.
Caught this little one as he was leaving with his peanut.

I'm reading a good book on feeding birds right now called  'Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Headaches?'  by Mike O'Connor. It is so informative and funny, really funny, and it is through this book that I realize that the month of May will be the most exciting time to watch the feeders. In our area, birds such as Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, Scarlet Tanagers and many of the brightly-coloured warblers could make a pit-stop in our yard during Spring migration. I don't think I have ever seen any of these birds so I'd better brush up on what they look like so I don't look too dumb if I photograph them.

I always have company when I am working in the dining-room. That is where the sun shines the most in this old house and today Big Bad Joe joined me to soak it up.


It's a good day to stay in and

stay toasty,
Deb

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"I think this belongs to you." :)

Almonte is the little town that we like to visit for not only great food but their antique and thrift shops.
A few weeks back I was looking through a box of pottery in my favorite antique shop when I heard the retired-guy say, "Ummm...I think I found something here that belongs to you."
Now, when I'm engrossed in beautiful pottery it is hard to get my attention but I wandered over to the aisle he was poking around in and he held this up.


A mouse-house tea-pot music box.
I almost split a gut.
It plays "Oh, what a beautiful morning."
This is from a well-known collection called
ENESCO Small World of Music

This would not 'normally' have been my purchase of the day but how could I leave without it?
Plus, it was in perfect condition and cheap. 

Inside the kitchen
Where mama's on the spinning wheel and the little one, well, I'm not sure what she's doing. There is another wee mouse sweeping the front entrance. Papa's outside trimming vines.
And there's a little loft with a crib above and when the music plays a baby mouse pokes it's head out the lid of the pot.
There's a lot going on in this mouse-house.

There was no doubt that this was meant to live in my mouse-house.
And, to make it even more irresistible
it lights up.
I will try to photograph that as soon as I replace one little bulb.
I know the grands will love this and it will have to sit on a shelf in our teeny-weeny kitchen.

I'll show you it all lit up in a later post.

I'm going to miss this gorgeous face waking me up each morning.


                              but then I do have this face.
"Oh, she's alive. What do ya know."

                                                 =^..^=
Stay toasty,
Deb

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Looking forward...

We have had countless days of wonderful sunshine. I finally got back into my daily walk; a slow one with Kane and a much quicker paced one by myself after he drifts into his afternoon nap. It feels so good to walk with the sun on my face as thoughts of how to organize the next week fill my head. I have so much to do yet but no matter how much time I spend getting prepared I know I will be running around the day of the move like a frantic hen. That's me.

Of course, I'm excited and terrified at the same time. I'm leaving my home of 25 years; a town where we raised our children and I ran three home-based businesses and was in awe of the support I received. I made many friends and still cherish those women. One was my dearest friend, Christine. It was from volunteering at our local animal shelter that a wonderful friendship of 15 years was formed. We had a lot in common and spent many hours fundraising to help the local homeless animals.
(a Valentine bake sale)

LAWS Fur-ball (a yearly fund-raiser)
2007

Awww- she was unbeatable in that area. She gave her heart and soul to the cause. Stores in this town would open their doors to us and let us set up bake sales, book sales, you name it. We had a great time. All for a good cause.
Chris passed away almost five years ago from ovarian cancer and this town has not felt the same to me ever since.  I cherish the close relationships I have here and yet the loss of Chris and my children all leaving the nest changed how I felt about this town. It just didn't feel so much like home anymore. I've watched as this town progresses. Too many Mom and Pop shops have closed down as the Big Box Stores have moved in. The landscape has changed with more and more new homes enticing young families to the area.  The small town feel is quickly diminishing.

So, the plan we now have  is going forward and a new town and it's residents await. I've wanted to live on this family property for a long time and it's only now that the timing feels right.

I may start my in-home cat-sitting service up again. It would be a great way to stay busy doing something I love and it will give me the opportunity to meet the locals. But I will wait awhile and get to know my surroundings first. There is a big mess to deal with on this lot from all the construction and we are only half done. The main house is yet to be built.

So, excited and terrified...that's me. But, looking forward....always forward.

Here's Mr. Woodpecker enjoying the home-made suet. I counted 4 of these beauties visiting my feeders yesterday. And the little red squirrel is back.




If you're wondering what Audrey's up to today, she has her day all planned.


Have a good weekend everyone
and stay toasty,
Deb

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Shhhhh.....

*whisper*
"Please...don't anyone move a muscle.
What you are witnessing is a rare moment.
And....I need to dust.
And....I don't need (or want) her help.''


and maybe a little snack without her face in it. That would be appreciated, too.

I hope you tried the muffin recipe on my previous post. They are the cat's meow. *smile*

It's has become cold again in Ontario. The weekend coming looks warmer so I'll head out to the property on Friday and fill the feeders. My new feeder gives me a few extra days of not worrying about the property birds. The tracks, where food is put down for the ferals, identified a few hungry species last night. Rabbit, possibly fox, many birds and one cat track coming from the bush showed clearly in the snow. Everything needs food.

The mouse-house is coming along at break-neck speed now. The retired-guy has been out there helping where he can every day. Unfortunately, until it warms up a bit, the siding will have to wait. I'm told to start preparing to move so I guess I'd better get more bins.

Stay Toasty,
Deb