Friday, February 26, 2010

The Passing of February

Another month almost over.  they do seem to go buy so much faster as you get older.  This has been a difficult month with my computer down, a friends illness and another who was in a vehicle collision. I have also just learnt that another friend is moving away. So, all in all, I am not sad to see the end of this month.
Having said that, however, it has also been an exciting month with the Olympic games. So many tears of both triumph and sadness; it is a time that I think Canadians will treasure for many years. And, it is all over this weekend.
I have been knitting a sweater as my Olympic project.  I am just finishing the final sleeve and then am adding some crochet edging to the sleeves, neck and hem.  I will post a photo when it is done.  Have you been working on anything special or have you done anything to celebrate the Olympics?  Let me know and I will share it will others. 
Have a great weekend and, for one final time; Go Canada.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Don't Hurt the trees

Before I share today's thoughts, I would like to take a moment to thank those of you who have taken the time to post a comment or reaction.  There are many blogs available to be read plus a miriad of other things to take our time so I really appreciate my readers.  Hearing your opinions helps me know your interests and that there really is someone out there.
We have started buying a Toronto newspaper a few times a week to get a wider view of what is going on in the country and the world.  It is so easy to feel that your own area is all that there is and this is especially true when you live in the country.  The limited media adds to the feeling of both isolation and insulation.
While reading through the Toronto paper yesterday, I saw an article that piqued my interest.  It was about tapping trees for syrup.  It seems that our large neighbours to the south consider this to be injurious (their word) to the trees.  Residents are warned that tapping trees is "not a venture to be taken lightly."  They are further urged to not undertake the practice without " extensive research and proper training."
This advice was for the trees on a residents property!
As I read this, I reminded myself that the environment in a large city does make trees more vulnerable to disease etc. but, for goodness sake, how much sap are we talking here.  Are people bleeding the poor trees dry?
One of the pleasure of our rural home is the making of our own syrup.  Before tapping our trees, my husband talked to the neighbours, a commercial operator and did some on line research.  Just common sense stuff to make sure the trees wouldn't be damaged and so he knew what he was doing.  I  am sure Toronto's Forest and Natural Environment manager (yes, there is such a person) wouldn't consider that extensive research or proper training.
It is wonderful that Toronto is caring for the natural environment but sometimes, to those of us who live in the country, it feels more like big brother saying that people are incompetant.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Return of the Robin

Do you ever read all those little additions to your calendar?  They tell us about the moon phases (not sure why. Are there vampires or wolfmen/persons living amongst us?), and any special days.  Did you know that the 15th of this month was Canada's National Flag day as well as Heritage day?  Last Saturday, as well as being my friend's birthday, was when the robins begin their return to northern nesting grounds.
This week nothing special happens until Friday and then, if you are of the Islamic faith, it is the Prophet's birthday.
Of course, March the 14th is a biggie.  Not only is it the new start of daylight savings time but also when male grizzlies leave their den.  Do you suppose this is about the time that the female grizzlies have had enough of their snorting, snoring and letting off of noxious smells?
I am afraid that now I am retired (read not employed) my special days are the ones following a good nights sleep or the ones spent in my quilt room.  Special days are also those when my husband and I do things together even if it is just going for a walk, getting wood or laughing about something we both find humerous.  Those times won't be on anyone's calendar but they are, nevertheless, important.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

And on Tuesday We Bake

I woke up early this morning and decided to get up even though it wasn't quite seven.  After getting the fire going, feeding the dog and myself, I sat down to watch last nights Olympic results.
Usually my husband is up first and takes care of all the aforementioned duties (with the exception of feeding me), so when the television reception didn't work, I thought it was something I had done-or hadn't done.  However, it seems that the dish needed the snow removed so dithered around for a while until Roger got up and ate and then I started baking.  I had a new recipe I wanted to try for zucchini bread  and then would do the regular loaves.
I have a wonderful book that was given to me when we married called Muffin Mania.  It contains muffin recipes that are nothing short of imaginative.  I have made some of the more unusual ones but usually stick to those that are a little more traditional.  However, when I make muffins, I don't put them in the pan designed for that purpose.  I refer small loaf tins.  I am then able to cut small slices rather than being committed to a whole muffin.  It is also a nice size for giving to someone.
I doubled this recipe and added grated carrot in place of the apple.  The six loaves are cooling on the rack and I am looking forward to cutting into one at lunch time.
My bread is rising in its bowl so I can now take a break. The quilt room is looking a bit lonesome so I think I will make a cup of tea and spend a few moments sewing the blocks that I made yesterday into rows.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pig Round-Up

The excitement never stops here in the backwoods and it often occurs on the road.
When you are driving in a rural area, you have to be watchful of deer, moose, fox and bear.  Sometimes you will even come across a domestic animal that has decided to expand its horizons.  Our neighbour met a steer on the road while going to work and it charged his truck.  Ted had to do some fancy 4 wheeled manouvering to avoid damage to his expensive grill.  The beasts owner didn't seem particularly bothered when he was told about the situtation.  Guess it wasn't the first time it happened.
Yesterday, on our return trip to Huntsville, we had a little adventure of our own.  We had just swerved to avoid a driver in the middle of the road on the brow of a hill and were voicing our opinion of his driving when we saw the reason for his actions.  On the other side of the hill was a very fat, black, potbellied pig wandering down the center of the road.  A small dog was trotting beside it and the two looked as though they were on a journey together.  We stopped our vehicle and my husband told the pig, who apparently was named Penny, to 'go home'.  Penny seemed to think that might be a good idea and turned back just as its owner arrived in a truck.  The little dog jumped into the front seat so Penny was doomed to walk home on her own.  The poor thing wasn't properly shod for  winter and its feet would periodicall slip which resulted in a face plant. We sat on the side of the road and watched the strange procession:  black pig leading large truck along a snowy road. Why do you never have a camera when those things happen?
Penny's owner told us that the pig is usually content to stay in its own yard but as spring approaches it gets wanderlust and starts to travel.  Sometimes, if it is angry at them for going away, it will go visit a neighbour.  I guess a pig has got to do what a pig has got to do.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Everyone is Enjoying the Olympics.

Here is our dog, Heidi, in her Olympic finery. 
I wonder if anyone in Canada is actually accomplishing anything while the games are on.  I know that some quilters are working on projects that can be done while watching television.  I am knitting a sweater which is almost done so not sure what I will do after that.
Today we are back to Huntsville for some much needed supplies.  I also have to take my computer back in to see why I haven't been able to access my book.
I got so discouraged over the possibility of losing everything that I didn't do any designing for a while.  I have got back at it and I did one yesterday that I am pleased with.  Once I get the printer set back up (still waiting for disk) I will be able to finish the pattern.
What are you doing while you watch the games?  You are watching them, aren't you?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I got an e mail yesterday from my sister and she mentioned that the flowers in her garden were blooming.  She then asked if ours were up.  I had to laugh when I looked outside at our three feet plus of snow and the sky filled with another few inches.
My family-or most of them-live in England and, although they do get winter, it is shorter and less 'winter-like' than ours.
My mother used to put a flower in my birthday card every year.  I always told her that she probably went out in the garden with her hair dryer and forced some of the delicate things to bloom!
Canadian's tend to pride themselves on their ability to survive a 'real' winter but even in this country there is a lot of variation.  Certainly, nothing we get in the Provinces equals the Territories. There is also a lot of difference in the Province's as well, especially in the larger ones.  Ontario can vary from almost Florida weather to the other extreme.  My previous home town, Edmonton, got severe winters but, I suspect that the people who lived farther north used to snicker at our reaction to a few days of minus forty.
Where ever you live in this country, we can celebrate its diversity and beauty and, no matter what the weather, we are still blessed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The Olympians are certainly putting in a great effort.  We can only get one coverage channel but it seems that every event has at least one heart stopping moment.
Of course, the games were a major topic of conversation at our quilt group yesterday as well as the usual discussions of fabric stores, poor instructions and various ways to make a block.
We are, as a group, finishing a quilt started by someone else.  The instructions are, to say the least, challenging.  The applique pattern shows the design as slanted which results in not material left for seams.  A reexamination of the quilt photo shows the same block with the pattern vertical!  A simple directional arrow in the applique would have made all the difference.
There is a lot of responsibility involved when writing instructions.  Imagine a learn to drive manual that omits or describes incorrectly the method for braking.
We do depend on the written word to mean what it says and ommissions can be as important as what is included
The snow is falling gently here in the backwoods. It is just enough to look pretty and soften the landscape but not enough to need removal.  I treasure these last few snowfalls as I know that they soon will give way to the mud and bugs of spring.  I do enjoy the sprouting buds and the flower shoots that push their way above ground but spring is not one of my favourite seasons.  However, as with everything else, we take what comes, don't we.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Olympics

I am late getting this done today.  Our dog kept us awake with its barking most of the night so my energy level is low.  There was a coyote outside howling and, of course, all the neighbour dogs were joining in.  Heidi gets nervous when she smells the wildlife and barks and woofs and carrys on. She stops when she is held but you can't sleep that way either.
Later on in the morning, we went visiting a quilt friend.  I am helping her set up her long arm quilter.  When I left, she was ready to go which made me feel good.
The rest of the day....Olympic fever.  We watched the last of the torch run, the native Canadians, the tragic news of the death of the young Olympian and are now waiting for the opening ceremonies.
My husband and I motorcycled to B.C. quite often so seeing the mountains is a wonderful reminder of those trips.  A person cannot imagine the immensity of the Rockies without actually seeing them.  There were times on our travels that we would look back up at the road we had just desended and see transport trucks that appeared to be matchbox size.
If you live in Ontario or Alberta, enjoy your long weekend and, whereever you are, I hope you take time to watch the games.  Go Canada.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I have all but finished washing, folding and organizing my fabric.  It has been an interesting experience as I found/rediscovered material that I had forgotton that I had.  To prevent that from happening again, I have employed some different sized containers.  I believe I previously mentioned the soda cracker sized ones that hold my rolled fat quarters.  I also have a decorative tin for smaller landscrape and other themed fabrics as well as a round, plastic garbage can for bigger pieces.
I am using plastic bags for strips but want to get them in hinged lid containers.  Also need another thread spool tree.
While I was doing all this, I kept putting my knitting wool into a large garbage bag. This, of course, has led to realizing I need to get that organized as well.  I will probably get everything done in time to move the quilt room.  We are planning on adding a sun room to the side of the house and that may become my new studio.  My current room will be my husband's area, his current area will be a guest room and on it goes.
This probably won't happen until next year as we have the garage to put up first.  Moving is a long process isn't it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back to Normal-I Think

I am gradually getting things back to normal on the computer.  My husband, bless him, has taken over the making of meals while I get things sorted out. 
Are you going to be watching the Olympics?  Roger has always watched them wherever they took place but I tend to be less enthusiastic.  This time, however, I think we will both be spending a lot of time in front of the television.  There just seems to be so much more excitement with the Vancouver games.  I remember the ones in Montreal and Calgary but they didn't seem to have the same national appeal.  Perhaps it is because we are coming out of a depression (economic) but I don't think so.  I believe it is the torch relay that has drawn us all together.  Having it cover such a large part of Canada and being able to follow it on-line has given more citizens a chance to be involved.  And, of course, is there anyone who hasn't bought or tried to buy a pair of the red mittens.
A lady on one of my on-line quilt group asked what project we are going to be working on as we watch.  I hadn't thought about it as I am still trying to get a hand pieced and top stitched quilt done but I was going to knit my husband a vest so I may do that. It will be a nice remenbrance of the events for him.
It will be nice if our athlete's win some gold medals but, if they don't, I still think this will have been the best games ever.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm Back

I picked up my computer today and am now working at getting everything up and running.  It will be a long process but hopefully, I can find all or most of the pictures and documents I had. 
Saturday, my husband and I went to the dog races in a nearby community.  It was something we wanted to do last year but something else came up.  I am glad we decided to go.  It was a cold day and we had to walk quite a distance after we found a parking place, but it was worth it. 
We watched one of the professional races and then one with children and some very willing family pets.  One dog decided the whole idea was not worth while and wouldn't run.  Another tried to visit all the pedestrians along the way.  One was a real standout and focused on why he was there and gave a good show.  All in all, a lot of fun.
With the arrival of February, Roger is starting to think maple syrup time.  The sap should start running next month and he is already getting his supplies ready.  Now that we know what we are doing, we should have more result for our effort this year.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Still Waiting

My PC is still in the computer hospital.  I expect it will be ready to bring home tomorrow or Monday and I will then find out what the tech has been able to recover.
I found out that when the pc deletes everthing, the tech has to sort through all those files plus ones that have been deleted on purpose.  I can't imagine what a tedious job that must be.  No wonder they ask what you would like to have recovered.
I have also discovered how much time I spend on the computer.  I feel as though I am rattling around with nothing to do and that is with me still being able to access my e mail.
I am still working on getting my studio organized, cutting strips (still!) and working on WIPS.  My husband has been getting some extra nice meals and the house  work is getting a bit more attention. 
When my son was young, we didn't, by choice, have a television.  Every so often someone would give us one and all our time to read, play games together etc. was taken away. I was always glad when the TV broke down. As wonderful as the computer is, it is as much a time user as  the television.  I still do well at not watching the later very often but I see I am going to have to be more aware of the time spent in front of this smaller screen.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I may not be too regular on this blog for a few days as my pc has crashed.  I can use the lap top but it is a bit inconvenient.
At this point I don't know what is lost.  If the hard drive is the problem it may mean that I have lost my book, quilt patten designs, pictures etc.
It is devestating but, as people realize after any crisis, it is only stuff.
Will be taking the tower in today or tomorrow and will see what happens.