Saturday, August 29, 2015

Seeing RED

View from my little bench under the maple tree.

We picked up a variety of sample bottles of stain, applied it to a board and waited an hour or so to see the real colour.
Why does it never look like it does in the can once applied?
It took seven tries and a mix of two stains to find the colour we wanted.

Once we got the colour, we bought 6 gallons of the stain and the mouse-house got her new outfit.

First we stained all the boards.
He's having soooo much fun.

Me...not so much. I'd rather be petting a cat, gardening or walking my dog but I pitched in where I could.
It's hot and ice-cream would be good right now.

Almost there.

Then the battens were cut, stained and we are now adding them to the mouse-house.

We are almost done but I thought I'd show you how it looks so far.
We still have a few to add to the front and sides.

We'll be changing the trim to an off-white colour when we are done the battens.
The main house will be built to the right of the mouse-house
and attached by a breeze-way.
Right now, we live above the double garage.
That's my teeny kitchen window.

 If you have been following along for awhile you are probably wondering when we are building the main house. The plan was to build this summer but we had some delays that were out of our hands and in the mean-time found a design of a home that we liked better than the one we had designed last year.
Different house..different construction company.
So, we will be starting to build in the spring of 2016.

We find the mouse-house to be comfortable, albeit very small, but I think we'll manage awhile longer in this tiny dwelling. The animals are quite settled and don't seem to be bothered by the small space. Well, I'm not sure what Audrey would say about that.
There should be no complaints from them...they run the show.
(above the stairs)

I'm so happy to have come across the house-design that we just found recently because I LOVE it and it has everything my little heart desires.
The other design was lovely but one thing that bothered me was that I could not have a window over the kitchen sink. It just wouldn't work in that kitchen so I settled. :( Not good.
And I was not 100% happy with the front view because of how this design would sit on the lot.
But, I figured I'd get used to it. I settled again. :(
Now I am so excited about this new design and nowhere am I settling. I wouldn't change a thing and love it from the ground up.

 I just need the strength to get through a whole winter
in the mouse-house.
I have days where it bothers me and I get down about it so I need to focus on planning our Spring build.
Mind you, if this winter goes by as quickly as our summer just did, well, I should be fine. :)
It probably won't, though.
So, I have to rely on the fact that I'm strong, durable, resilient, sturdy, well-built :-b with industrial strength and I'm rugged.
In other words...I'm a tough 'ol broad. ;-)
I'll be fine.

hugs, Deb

Friday, August 28, 2015

Apple Quick Bread and Tasha Tudor

I'm going to have to have a talk with papa turkey next time I see the family because this morning we almost hit him on our road. He came out of the ditch and walked right out in front of us with twelve more in tow. The traffic stopped and all 13 of them  slowly made their way across two lanes. My heart was in my throat as I watched them travel across the road without a care in the world. One honk from a horn got the last one speeding up and rushing to catch up with everyone. That was most likely the same one that dawdles at our house while eating at the feeders.

The weather was cool today so on went the oven to bake a brand new (to me) apple loaf recipe.
I've had a craving for something 'appley'.
I found the recipe in one of my favorite magazines GRIT. The recipe looked intriguing with no butter, no sugar but honey instead.

                                 apple quick bread
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup honey (YUM!)
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups of peeled, diced apples (preferably tart)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 9x5 inch loaf pans
In a medium bowl...
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt. 
Set aside.
In a larger bowl whisk milk, honey, eggs and vanilla together.
Fold in dry ingredients until blended. Stir in apples and nuts.

Divide batter evenly between 2 prepared pans
I then sprinkled a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon on top.

Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Turn out on wire rack to cool completely. Store in plastic bags. Refrigerate. 

This loaf has a very different texture and I believe it is from using honey instead of sugar. Also there is no butter in it. I found it more like a bread than many other loaf recipes that are more like a cake. We liked it and I'll probably make it again. 

 I made one loaf larger than the other (for the freezer) and baked the larger one for 5 more minutes.

 Today would be Tasha Tudor's 100th birthday.



I've always loved her for her beautifully illustrated children's books.
She also reminds me of my grandmother.

She passed away in 2008.
Here is her story...

Linking to Share Your Style at

hugs, Deb

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Around and about the mouse-house (2)

 Annie, Audrey & Sierra spend much of their time in our garage.

 Annie contemplating life.

 They find it cool down there and enjoy the cat-tree in the window. We leave the radio on most of the evening and there are lots of places for them to explore. Audrey sometimes holds yoga classes for the older cats and also thinks that every-time she goes down to the garage she should get a treat.

                                           "Come on ladies...s.t.r.e.t.c.h"

 That comes from me having to use treats to round them up at night when I want to lock up and shut the lights. Last night, while I was sweeping the garage floor, I noticed Annie batting at something on the floor. It was a wee toad that was desperately trying to find an escape hole to the outside world. Poor thing. I picked the hysterically happy cat up and opened the garage door. I don't think I've ever seen a toad hop so fast. Annie's nose is still out of joint.
But still, she enjoys her cat-tree and spends much of her morning, too, enjoying the warm sun and listening to the birds.

I'm starting to see the end of the perennial garden for this year and if I find any blossoms still looking good they now fill my pottery vases.
The print is by artist Deidre Wicks.

I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone that I have a few favorite cat prints and drawings in the tiny mouse-house.

           Lie around the house and do nothing,
                              It's wonderful. 
The top one is a drawing, done by my daughter Jess when she was a young girl, of our persian, Maggie.
A cat that is still missed today.
The painting to the left was done by artist and friend Donna Baskin of her three loved cats and my kitty-clients, Rosie, Otis & Lola. The painting to the right is of three black cats and was a gift from my friend, Martha, when I started the cat-sitting service. All the memories make this a very loved little corner of my home.
hugs, Deb

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lighting things up & National Dog Day

Last night Audrey and I set up a little stained-glass lamp on the kitchen window-sill. I wanted to brighten up the teeny kitchen in the evening and so I hunted around until I found this little lamp amongst our many unpacked boxes. "It's perfect, right, Audrey? OK...It's purr-fect. :)  =^..^= I love it." :)

"Believe me, it don't take much to excite her."

On the cat-sitting front...
I'm enjoying getting to know two shy kitties that I am caring for this week. I've been told they will take some time to warm up and the male may never come near me but you know me; I'll try to win him over. The female is a bit more brave and such a beauty. Neo & Serena are my latest kitty-clients.

BUT...Today is not all about cats. Today is a very special day for canines. 
It is National Dog Day so we want to wish our one and only a grrrrrrreat day.
He's outside protecting his property and scarfing down a cheese scone I threw out for the crows.
Well, why not? It's his day today.

Don't forget to spoil your dog today.
hugs, Deb 

Monday, August 24, 2015

A teeny recipe and going about our day.

1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 Tbsp. of cinnamon

Mix together and store in a container with a lid or a shaker.

Does anyone else love this on toast? It's really a Fall delight for me but sometimes I just crave it.
 If you use a 9 grain bread like I do it doesn't sound so bad for you. ;-) Or am I kidding myself. ha!

I went for my daily walk early this morning and was delighted to see all the cattails in the ditch along our road. I always loved them as a kid and would bring them home whenever I came across them. I remember they would puff up, then open and the inside that was filled with tiny developing seeds would explode all over my room. I imagine they weren't my mom's favorite. ;-)

We do not have sidewalks on our road so you basically take your life in your hands as you trod along but this is the route I prefer rather than going into the new development where the cars are fewer and drive slower but the scenery is not as nice. There are older farms along our road and a very active ditch that houses many beautiful insects and frogs. I just stay very close to the ditch and keep my wits about me. I do not plug into a radio.

I thought Audrey might like to say "howdy" but every-time I put the camera on her she gets her knickers in a knot.
                                                                       "Stop it."

She was purring just a minute ago.

The weather is changing quickly here and the days are getting shorter. If I dare look up I can see some colour change in the maples way at the top. We've had many little showers and the humidity is gone for now.
 I haven't shown my perennials at the back of the lot because, well, they don't look all that pretty right now. It's been a challenge keeping the wild morning glory away from them but every day I am back there pulling those nasty vines off. There has been too much rain for some of these plants, too. Things are either done or just not at their best anymore and the tomatoes have really taken over.
I have a teeny bird-bath back here that is hand-made using a dish and an old post.
And a stump of a tree is where I leave some food for the birds and chippies.
It's not fancy but lots of visitors come for a snack.
Believe it or not, there is a whole group of birds back here that never visit my feeders at the front. It was fun discovering them amongst the sumacs. I believe they are mostly sparrows.
I leave them lots of seed and an apple to feast on.
Everything gets eaten every-day.

Our tomatoes are still producing and I'm enjoying at least a few each day now. Amazing tomato sandwiches.
If you look to the right of the photo (2 above) you will see where there is a path leading into the sumac bushes. That path takes you to the end of our property that is bordered with a stone fence. There is also a bit of a 'forest', as the wee ones call it, that is mostly maples and elm trees. It's not a big area but to a little one it is a fun spot to play in. The retired-guy wants to build a tree-house back there for them someday. I'll get back there with my camera later.
For now he is just cleaning up where the old coop was and filling in the hole.
The temporary fence just to show the lot-line will be down when there is time to build a proper one.

Two little chickadees dropped by for lunch.

                                                          Aren't they sweet. :)

Hope you enjoy the last bits of summer.

hugs, Deb

Sunday, August 23, 2015

From the garden bench

This is my view as I have a snack and wait to see what birds show up this morning.

A nut-hatch, young wrens and numerous chickadees dropped by for a bite. The shy birds will wait until you have left the area unless you hide from their view.

The morning glories are still blooming but the glads are all but finished. Just one sweet sun-flower is blooming by the bird-house.

"Mornin' Chickadee. I see you chose a peanut for your snack."

The sack of potatoes are blooming near the freshly scrubbed bird-bath.  At some point today the family of blue-jays will be by for a drink and a bath.

Oatmeal Cranberry cookies go well with tea while I enjoy my little oasis on this gorgeous, lazy summer day. 

"Thank you for all your sweet comments on my last post."
 hugs, Deb