Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015!

Another Christmas has come and gone.  We welcomed six adults and seven grandchildren into our home on December the 19th.  There was much excitement...and love...in our little home!

I try to include homemade gifts every year.  I think that this is an important reminder that gifts should be given from the heart with less inclusion of commercial products.  I think that  a perfect balance was reached.

I total, I made 20 pillowcases!  Below is one, but all reflected the receiver's interest.  There were bears and deer, butterflies and birds, chef inspired, elephants and fish, and so much more!  They were a great hit!

I also knit 10 hats for the all the ladies...big and little...in our family.

My proudest accomplishment this fall, was learning how to make soap.  I gifted friends and family and this, too, was well received!  It was so well received that I will have to make more soon!

The new year is fast approaching and my wish for you is peace...good health...and happiness in the coming year!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Blogging and working...and retiring!

I let my blog go .  I let many things go.  I just found that I was unable to do anything except work and sleep over the past several months, but I have thought about my blog, and what I would write...and the blogs that I used to visit...often.  I haven't lifted a paintbrush, and quit all the lessons I was taking.  I lost contact with the friends I made while putting paint on paper.  This led me to a decision that was made after much thought, and that is, that I am retiring this April.

I enjoy nursing, and I have enjoyed my pay check, but I can no longer keep up the demands of working a 12 hour night shift.

I miss my family.  I miss my friends, and I miss my blogging buddies.  I want to spend time with my dad  who has been patiently waiting for me to retire.

The thought of retiring is scary, however.  Will I be able to make ends meet?  Will I be able to keep myself involved? Is this the beginning of the end...or a new beginning?

Regardless of any apprehension that I have, I am leaving nursing....and I will be leaving in April.  

I wanted to wish anyone who might stop by this blog, a very Merry Christmas!  May your homes be blessed with Peace, and love, and good health!  

I leave again, (hoping to return in April), with a picture of my grandson on Santa's lap.  I hope it makes you smile, as it made me smile!

Friday, July 10, 2015

I am a Lazy Blogger!

Boy!  It's been a long time!  My garden has grown in leaps and bounds...from 3" seedlings to these bushes that are covered in tomatoes!

I have Squash!

My Rhubarb has been harvested!

And eaten!

I have garlic scrapes in my freezer!  And garlic will be harvested in a few short weeks.

I tried my hand at container gardening and was very pleased with the results!

This sure was the first to make an appearance.

I have so much more to tell...but that's for later.  After all, the garden does not weed itself!

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”

Leo Tolstoy

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mother's Day

Mother's Day weekend on the Canal was a busy one!  The bunky was used by Dan 
and his family....and my other son came over for the day to do some chores and meet up with his brother.

Thanks to Bryan, I now have a garden I can brag about!

The garden shown above was a heartbreaker last year.  So much time and money was put into it, and all that was produced, was weed.  This year we decided to give the bed one more chance.  We laid down landscape fabric and cut out holes for the plants.  Hopefully it will keep down the weeds.

The garlic which was planted last spring, has spouted! 

On Sunday, Mandi and her family visited.  The weather cooperated, and the gang were able to fish off the dock.

Thankfully, every child caught a fish...and all fish were returned to the river.

Alexia has the catch of the day though....

All in all, a great time was had by everyone!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is fast approaching. It isn't always a pleasant day for me.  Of course I love the calls from my own children who are now parents themselves, but I miss my mom and I really miss having a place to go and visit her.

Mom passed away in 2001.  That month was particularly hard as we watched the events, as they unfolded, in New York City, in the early days of September that very same month. Mom was in the nursing home at that point in time, and every television was tuned on to that tragic event.  Although she did not fully understand what had happened, (who did?) she understood the fear that we all felt. She passed away shortly afterward. 

I believe that her death was a relief for her. She had been ill for many years and she had experienced pain that most of us will never know. She was a tough gal, but she also knew fear.

In my heart of hearts I know that mom is all around us now. Why is it then that I miss having a place to go and lay flowers and speak to her?

Mom is now resting at my brothers home… At least her ashes are.

I often think about how much we now have in common. My mother was a very enthusiastic rug hooker.  I have taken up the craft, and am using her huge stash of wool that was left. There was a time when we had little to talk about but I have so much to share now.  She'd enjoy seeing my newest rug cutting machine. She'd love some of the new patterns that I have purchased. She'd love hearing of some of the things I'd like to design myself. She'd be thrilled to hear that I ran into one of her old friends last year at the annual rug hooking show.

She would love to see her grandchildren again and hear about all that they have accomplished. 

Shortly after she died, I had a dream. I dreamt that my father and I and my mom were walking down a street in Bracebridge. All of a sudden, mom started running ahead,  but it wasn't in fear....it was with glee, and when I looked down she had two legs.  Mom had lost her leg several years before she passed away.  She was whole again.

I wonder if she has any sense or vision of what's happening here. I wonder if she's pleased with what I am doing with my life.  Am I looking after dad well enough?

This year I am promised that I can borrow moms ashes. It will be the first time in 14 years that I will be able to spend Mother's Day with her.  The whole situation seems surreal. What will I do and what will I say to her that I haven't said already in those quiet moments at night when I stand on my deck and gaze heavenward?

Perhaps I will say what I've said a 1000 times before..." I love you mom."

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Do you have enough?

I had a rather urgent request from my daughter. Her request was that I stop buying toys for the children.   She explained that she had been trying to tidy and organize the children's bedrooms and found that her daughter had 15 dolls.

I know, for sure that I haven't supplied that little gal with any more than two dolls... the last being this one –

I totally understand my daughters frustration. Her first point was that if every time the children visited I gave them something they would come to expect this. Her second point was that the more they accumulate the less they appreciate.

When I was little I had two dolls and I and I loved them dearly. As I got older I talked my parents into more. I'm sure I loved them all but none so much as those first two dolls.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels that I have a cumulated too much stuff. Moving from a 2500 square-foot home into an 800 square-foot home brought many challenges but the biggest challenge was getting rid of years of accumulation that just didn't fit into this small house.  Parting with stuff is difficult. Stuff holds memories.  I have learned however that no matter how hard I hold onto certain items I cannot bring the past back. I can hold it in my heart however.

It is said that you spend the first half of your life accumulating things and the last half your life disposing of those things.

Why do we buy?  Why do we gather?. Is it because we fill all those empty spaces in our life with things that can only bring a temporary joy?

What is your reason for accumulating so much?

Yes...my little Doll...I will stop buying for the children and provide them instead with memories, cookies and all those other good things

THIS is the first sign of spring!

Away with the clothes rack...for today, anyway.  Tonight we can look forward to sleeping on sheets sheets that smell of the outdoors.

I love the fact that I've learned to live without a dryer.  Nothing beats the smell of laundry fresh off the line.

My side door that leads out to my line has shifted and I have to walk around the house because I can't open that door. The walk is well worth it.

Soon house will settle on to its original position and the door will open and my clothesline will get much use.

Oh happy days....oh happy days!

Friday, March 13, 2015

I am resigning...

I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year-old again.

I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four star restaurant.

I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks.

I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them.

I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer's day.

I want to return to a time when life was simple; When all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care.

All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset.

I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good..

I want to believe that anything is possible.

I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again.

I want to live simple again.

I don't want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones.

I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.

So... here's my check book and my car-keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this. further, you'll have to catch me first, cause... Tag! You're it!

Monday, March 9, 2015


Today I lost my best friend.  

I've known Fran for over 25 years.  She was "my other mom."  

When I met her, I was in a very unhappy marriage.  She lifted me up....dusted me off...and loved me unconditionally.  I could do no wrong.

She was my safe port in a storm.

She was my mentor.  

She showed me that one could be happy in the face of adversity.  She knew....

She lost most of her sight when she was just a little girl.  The circumstance surrounding this loss don't really matter.  What matters is how she managed the rest of her life as someone who would be deemed, eventually, legally blind.

She learned Braille.  She sewed her own clothes...with only her worn clothes as a pattern...and she sewed them by hand.  She tells me that she even drove!!

She was artistic.

Eventually she would receive a Cornea transplant which allowed her to see fairly well for a few years.  She was so grateful....

She came by her artistic talent honestly.  Her dad was Frank Hollister who created the Stained Glass windows on the Peace Tower in Ottawa.  One of my fondest memories was our trip to Ottawa where she was escorted to see these magnificent works of art.  I am not sure what she saw as she would never want to disappoint anyone by saying she saw little....but I know her eyesight was fading.

Her house was a safe haven for everyone...  Why?  Because she loved everyone unconditionally.

When the world was turned upside down, Frances became a Bahai.  She knew that the world needed a healing balm, and the Faith was the path towards peace.  The Oneness of Mankind....the elimination of prejudice of all kinds....the essential harmony of science and religion....the equality of men an women...the common foundation of all religions....the acknowledgment and respect of the station of Christ....these were the principles of the Baha'i Faith that she taught all of us....and she taught us so much more.

She was ever grateful....for all things.

She did not fear death.  She looked upon it as merely a step into another journey...another adventure...
I believe that she will be reunited with her beloved Cameron.

Rest peacefully, my friend.  You have earned your wings.

You and I will meet again, When we're least expecting it, One day in some far off place, I will recognize your face, I won't say goodbye my friend, For you and I will meet again.

Tom Petty

Friday, March 6, 2015

So very little to report from the Canal...  Winter drags on, and becomes a boring blog subject.  The days, however, are becoming longer, and daylight savings occurs this weekend.  This coincides with the delivery of seed catalogues...so all in all, we have much to look forward to.

I have been doing a little painting....watercolour...and enjoying learning how to work with this new medium.  

Have also finished a teddy which has been hand sewn while sitting on my couch with my warming pad under my feet.  The floors in our home our very cold, as this little cottage is on peirs.

Meet Ted....

Today is March the 6th.  This is the last March 6th that I will be heading to work.  If all is well, I will be retiring next March.  Some say that I won't know what to do with myself.  I beg to differ!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Winter on the Canal

I haven't ventured very far this winter.  I am finding that when my day off rolls around, I am spent.  Bankrupt is a better word, I guess...

On occasion, I'll get off my couch, and venture to the side window to see what is happening in our neck of the woods.  I don't wander about in this cold...so you won't see any footsteps in the following pictures!

Above, is the view of the Lock.  The water flows constantly, making this a dangerous place to fish, and in the 4 years we have been here, nobody has ventured onto the ice, knowing it to be thin and unstable.

This is the view to our East.  I love the sunlight on the snow drifts!

Our flag has taken a beating this year, but look beyond to that beautiful blue sky.   

Winters in Canada are harsh, but for the most part, we can choose to stay inside.  And...you don't have to venture far to find beauty in any day!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Onion Syrup

Hubby has been really ill with a respiratory infection.  This will be our second week in...  His cough is relentless.  It is so difficult to watch. 

We ran out of cough medicine so after he went to bed...and continued to cough incessantly...I did some searching.  I came up with a recipe that I found on Pinterest.

I whipped up a batch last night and allowed it to sit for 12 hours.  It is harmless and can be used whenever needed.  I used a sweet onion.  The honey was local but I cannot vouch for it being organic. 

Were you aware that honey that you buy in a grocery store may not be pure honey?

All I did was chop a whole sweet onion and add enough liquified honey to cover.

Please go to www.herbalrootszine to check out this and many more great ideas!

This syrup will store in the refrigerator for several months.  The onions will be removed later today.  The taste is subtle.  Please do not give honey to any child under one year of age, however.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce!

This morning we woke to several inches of snow that was covered with a slick coat of ice.  The safest bet was to stay home, and off the roads, so I got at a task that had been calling for a while.

My son had a garden last summer, that put mine to shame.  He had tomato plants that were huge, and loaded with the most beautiful fruit.  When he harvested them, he filled many freezer bags, and sent them to my house where they would become spaghetti sauce.

Many, may hours were spent in my kitchen....but oh, the results were impressive...if I say so myself!  I filled a large saucepan with frozen tomatoes which had been previously dipped in boiling water to remove their skins.  When they had cooked down a little, I added sauteed onions and garlic, and red pepper.  The sauce was flavored with oregano, parsley and salt.  Towards the end of cooking, I added a small can of organic tomato paste.  The whole dish was, in fact, organic, and so so good!

So...  I'm pleased...and I hope that my son is too!  I'm so proud of the fact that all of our children are gardening in various degrees...and I look forward to seeing what is produced this summer!