Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Scribble Picnic: Creams

Hi Everyone :)

Michael's theme for the Scribble Picnic today is "Creams". :) I remember back in grade school, it was very popular for the little bullies to say "I'm going to cream that guy after school, man...." Everyone was so tough in grade school weren't they? I always thought that boxing was a tough sport, but it often piqued my curiosity and I watched a lot of it. I was playing around with watercolours today and came up with this one for the theme of "creams". But that's not all folks! :)

I had to draw a Looney Tune! :) Porky Pig seemed to fit the bill for a triple scoop of ice cream! :) I haven't done too much drawing this last week because of the dreaded monthly shopping day, but I'm now catching up and it feels great to be creative again!

What's your favourite ice cream? I'd have to say hands down it's the Creamsicle for me, and for Alex too. Talk about two people who were meant to be together!! ;) That mix of orange and creamy vanilla gets me every time. I saw this image a few months back, it's called "Giant Pospsicles" by Tim Berg. I thought I'd try to paint my version of this ice cream treat: an abstract watercolour way of course! :)

I guess I had ice cream on the brain last night too. I made some Hot Italian Sandwiches and fries with ice cream sodas for a real diner meal. So voilà, here is my contribution to the picnic this week! :)

Guess who is taking the day off COMPLETELY? ME! :) All I'm going to do today is draw and paint...and occasionally run outside to throw snowballs at that annoying nuthatch who wants to drill holes into the wall of the cottage.

By the way, an update on yesterday's post: No husky in the trap this morning. No hot dog touched. No new yellow snow in the back yard. I'm hoping that this dog is back home safe and sound! We will keep the trap for a few more weeks just in case though!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

To Catch A Husky

This is NOT our dog. This is a loose, male, aggressive husky that has been in our yard the last few nights. We saw tracks in the snow and saw/smelled the territorial pee all over the yard. Our dogs went nuts smelling everywhere. 

The tracks showed that the dog walked up the snow banks and down over our fences to access the yard. 

Finally the other day I saw movement through the window and caught this intruder on camera. I opened the door and walked out onto the porch and tried to get its attention. It immediately tried to stare me down, raised its heckles and growled. Back inside I went!! We called the lazy dog-catcher on Sunday and she showed up today. I think the only reason she actually acted this time around was because I cc'd the Mayor of the village on the email. The last few years all we got were arguments from her, was a cold greeting when she arrived.

The trap is set in the driveway. With hanging hot dogs to boot. I HATE the idea of trapping a dog...I really do. But my own critters come first. With two unfixed females in the house it could get dangerous. And the errant husky showed aggression to me, I don't want to think of my poor little Jack in a fight with this mammoth dog. Since we have a feral cat problem in the village, I worry about the cats too...or skunks, or rabbits or squirrels...but this trap is set up so that only a heavy animal can trigger the trap door. I can't help myself, I'm looking outside every few minutes to see if the dog came back or not. I wouldn't want it to be trapped for very long in such cold weather!

I DESPISE IRRESPONSIBLE PET OWNERS. We've seen this dog before last winter and the winter before but it never entered the yard. Ugh.

These lovely creatures are my heart and my priority though. MUST keep them safe and sound. The trap could result in nothing. Alex and I really think that it's an irresponsible weekender who leaves their dog loose when they come up north since it's usually the same time every year we see this dog out alone. We'll keep the trap for two weeks and see what happens.

It's sunny here but really cold. I LOVE seeing the green in my windows this time of year!!! :) Happy first day of Spring my friends!!! Seize the day!!! :) I hope we seize the husky! :)

Advice needed: We have a cottage with wood siding. We are currently being driven mad by a nuthatch trying desperately to make a hole for a nest on the side of the house...does anyone have advice? I read that fake owls might scare them away...didn't work for my pigeon problem in Montreal though! I also read that wind chimes and shiny objects like aluminum pie plates could work because they scare them away. Since it's still winter, I can't really spray them with a hose if I hear them really is driving us crazy.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Window Garden Is Thriving!!! Comfort Food and Snacks :)

Let's talk about comfort food!!! I hope everyone is having a nice weekend! Mine is more or less relaxed for now. :) Last night to celebrate St-Patrick's Day, I made a Guinness Irish Stew on a bed of mashed potatoes. Delicious!

For my weekly kitchen challenge, I tried a new recipe, Carrot Soup with Orange and Ginger. It was really nice for a change, but we found it a little too tangy with the orange. I think my vision shot up after eating this soup though! :)

For our 5th Anniversary last week, we had a Raclette dinner. It was so delicious and fun! One thing we are giving up in the next year is the monthly fondues...sigh...but you know, that cheese cost adds up! Home ownership is a big priority now! :)

Kunde Estates California Zinfandel 2012. When Alex and I met, we had a good combined income and we invested in a dozen or so good wines to age. We decided to open one up on our anniversary...this is the smoothest, fruitiest Zinfandel I've ever tasted! I have to get my hands on another one to age another 5 years!!

During the extreme deep cleaning weeks, we took a break one day for a Mexican Fiesta! :) We made a Mexican Dip with Homemade Tortilla Chips, my Homemade Salsa and a pitcher of Sangria. We spent the day in bed watching westerns, it was really nice! :)

Hope that got your appetite going! Speaking of appetites, we are CRAVING salads....since we can't digest store-bought lettuces, we have to rely on our own. I planted 4 containers of lettuce a week ago and looky here!

Huzzah! They are all sprouting!! As soon as they get big enough, I'll transplant them into bigger containers and start 4 more. I want to always have lettuce available. I love that I'm growing lettuce when it's still -20C out!! :)

My Meyer Lemon tree seemed to have died in January. But I kept babying her and fed her some of the leftover whey from my Ricotta cheese and it seems like she came alive overnight! I hope we get lots of lemons this year! :)

The flowers I planted are all doing well, except the Marigolds that never sprouted at all!

Nasturtiums, Zinnias and Chamomile.

My herbs are thriving as well:

Parsley, Thyme, one little Chive is growing and my Cilantro is gangbusters! :) (All planted on Feb 2nd)

I am finally back to monthly shopping! Woopee!!! What a relief not to have to go out every few weeks or so and plan like that, it's stressful for me. But I was stalling a little on menu ideas. I browsed Pinterest and found some themed nights, so that's what I'm going to follow for the next month:

I'm posting this to share my ideas. If you are the chef in the home, you know sometimes how challenging it is to come up with meal ideas! This is what I'm working on today. I'm checking the flyers to see what's on sale, then I'm going to come up with meal ideas based on the themes. I have to plan each meal according to the ingredient. The fresher ingredients will get eaten first. I don't mind heading to the local grocery store in a few weeks to pick up more fresh veggies and milk. 

What are you up to today? It's sunny but frigid here. Good thing though, no weekenders to upset the quite this weekend!! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Crawling Back To Blogger and the Picnic! :)

Hello my friends :) Did you hear that??? That was the biggest sigh of relief you will ever hear!

Spring Cleaning is DONE...I never thought it would take this long and be so tough! Ten days in total of cleaning, with a few days off in between. My body is SO sore...this is very physical work, and I'm not buying into the idea that it's good exercise either lol...just work that results in an achy breaky body! The big deep cleaning idea was for us of course, but mostly for this pack:

Click for a better view :)

Jack, Charlie, Marlene, Pavlov, Oscar the cat and Stella (butt to butt), Leo and Dana. Alex got a panoramic photo of the eight pets together, not an easy task!! Three of the five have mystery allergies. I'm hoping those ease up now.

I have a daily upkeep plan for the house to keep it clean and dust free now. You'll note the basement is nowhere to be seen on this list...if it were up to me, I'd never go down there, but my darling Alex vacuums it regularly so I don't even have to worry about that anymore. :) I also made a Spring Cleaning Checklist if anyone wants to be inspired to get down and dirty lol! :)

I'm so happy to get back to painting!! I didn't think I'd make it to Michael's Scribble Picnic this week, but I was up so dang early this morning. Good thing! :) The theme this week is Across the Universe. (check out more lovely scribbles by following the link - why not join yourself?!) :) I felt like doing a little abstract Nebula today. What's happening on your side of the universe? :)

This is what my world looked like this morning at 7:12 am. I love the hue of blue on winter mornings!

Today Alex and I celebrate our 5th Anniversary together. :) We're having a Raclette dinner and I'm making an Amaretto cake! During the spring cleaning, we realized how much work this rental is...and how it's WAY too much house for us. We don't want to go through this back-breaking cleaning ever again on a rental...we really want to buy our own place next year, downsize and live in the woods. We put together an extreme frugal plan for the next year so we can try to buy our home a year from now. It's going to be tough, but our motivation is very high! As long as pet, car and/or dental emergencies don't get in the way, we can do it. :) 

Big ol' icicles are a sign of warmer weather! We lost internet for about 3 days and had to rely on our phones, which I now accept is a good back up for the internet-addicted lol...I'm not that addicted, but it definitely comes in handy. I'm sure I could do without it, but I don't want to. :)

To keep sane the last few weeks, I continued my daily drawings...all cleaning-related! (I post a daily drawing on Instagram)  I'm so glad to be back and catching up with all of you! :) It feels normal again. Hope everyone is having a wonderful day! :)

I was so sick that day...I think it was all the ickiness of the unfinished basement!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Charlie: One Of A Kind

Hi Everyone :)

Today's theme for the Scribble Picnic is "One of a Kind". I guess this watercolour is a self-portrait in a way. After all, I am one of a kind :) I was told once that "they" broke the mold after they made me...but I wasn't sure if that person said it in a good way or a bad way, so I'll assume he meant in a good way!! This painting is called "Thoughts". What goes on in my head, in my world and in my heart is unique to me. Sometimes the thoughts are good, sometimes bad, but they definitely are my own. :) Thoughts lately have been troubling. I can very firmly say "Oh, my shattered noives...(nerves lol)"!!!

We heard something in the woods!! (September 2016)

Swimming in the Rivière du Nord (August 2015)

Charlie, our fiesty female husky gave us quite a scare Sunday night.

Look at this poor little girl! We were sitting in bed watching a movie, when suddenly she started to whine and scratch at her face. Her face must have tripled in size, her eyes got all red and nearly closed. Veterinary emergencies ALWAYS seem to happen either on a holiday or a Sunday night...

Charlie Art

We called the emergency clinic that is just north of Montreal for advice. I have to say I was scared we were going to lose her. The drive is nearly 3 hours away, we were in the middle of a blizzard and you can imagine how much money they charge. The first thing we checked was her gums. They were still pink though it was nearly impossible to open her mouth, that was a sign that her windpipe was not compromised. Phewf. The vet tech (who was ridiculously reluctant to share information and refused to speak to me in English) finally told me to give her 75mg of Benadryl but that "it won't work anyway". What a {insert derogatory expletive if you wish, in my thoughts, I did!!!}! My gosh, how about some compassion and care for the animal instead of your damn cash register??? Anyway, we only had 50mg in the pack so we gave it to her in some yogurt, she had such a hard time swallowing the pills. :(

Charlie: One of a Kind Husky

Sunday night we were both wide awake keeping an eye on our Charlie. After Pavlov's allergic reaction and now Charlie's...we are completely bewildered as to what is causing these poor dears such allergic reactions! She didn't eat anything she wasn't supposed to, we didn't see any bites on her, or hives or physical traumas, cuts...

Her first walk in the woods in 2015 She LOVED it!
We adopted Charlie from a shelter in July 2015. She was skinny, depressed, had been abandoned and was at the shelter already 3 months when we fell for her.

On Monday morning, as soon as 8am hit the clock, I was on the phone with the local vet. We brought Charlie in at 9:30am. The swelling was going down but she was still so itchy and uncomfortable. The poor husky gal was burying her nose in the snow for relief when I took her out to pee in the morning! We didn't have enough Benadryl on hand to see if it would work or not. (btw, safe doses for dogs is 1mg of Benadryl per pound of weight...please keep some at home for emergencies my dear dog lovers!) She was given a shot of anti-histamine mixed with cortisone and a pain killer. She is now on day 3 of the same medicine in pill form. Thankfully the swelling is gone and she is almost back to normal but oh so drowsy. :(

I feel like a drug pusher lately giving all of these pills to our pets...with Marlene's bladder stones, Oscar the cat's mystery allergy, Pavlov's mystery allergy and now Charlie's mystery allergic reaction.

Yesterday I took about an hour to write a list for some major deep cleaning of this rental. Each room has a page like this one. OMG it's going to be a big's an old cottage...the possibilities of things that the pets could be allergic to are endless. Even Alex and I have noticed that we get more congested during the winter. I have to get out and get some natural cleaning supplies tomorrow and then the cleaning overhaul begins. I'm even going to vacuum and wash all the walls and ceilings.

So that's what's been keeping us busy. When it rains it pours doesn't it? I don't even want to think about how much this has all cost...Dinners have been whatever we can find that's quick and easy..Things seem back to normal this morning, so I'll be cooking again today. I need some kitchen therapy before the big deep cleaning!!!

I'll leave you with some of the drawings I've done lately. One thing I'm doing very purposefully is to draw every day, despite the stressors. We haven't eaten or slept well at all this week. Drawing and painting calms me and I don't want the anxiety to take over again!

"Lost" - another patented Rain nightmare, yeesh!

Enchanted Forest (one of a kind trees!) :)

Green Trees
The Sun
Howling at the Moon
Take care everyone, give your little fur-kids a big hug!! :)

PS: I have picked a winner for the book giveaway, and I promise I'll post about that soon!!! :)