Friday, February 15, 2019

Yummy Dinners and Snow


Hello Friends!! ❣❣

I hope everyone is happy and healthy! Yesterday I had a nice surprise, Alex offered to make our Valentine's dinner - I was banned from the kitchen! :) I'd found a recipe for Giant Tacos and wanted to try them out, so that's what he made. One with beef for him and one with chicken for me. We have lots of leftovers...I love that!


This is the chicken taco, he also made a Homemade Enchilada Sauce to go with it! And he made my Nacho Dip to use as a nacho sauce. He did everything from scratch, including grinding the beef and chicken. I was very impressed and it was delicious!! :) He even took the dogs out and fed all the pets AND did the dishes...I was Queen for the day! :)


This is the video recipe for the tacos that I found on the Food Network if anyone wants to check it out.


Earlier in the morning, I made my Sugar Pie. We had that after dinner with some cocktails and chocolate while we watched old episodes of Cheers. :)


We haven't eaten meat in a very long time, but we were both craving it lately...we've had lots of meat dinners in the past few weeks. Last week I pulled out the dusty old meat grinder and made burgers. Alex had his with beef and bacon; I breaded a piece of Tilapia for mine - I love fish burgers!  I was one of those people who ordered the Filet-O-Fish at McDonalds!! :)


The backyard....the fence is completely buried.  We are having record breaking snow falls here in the Laurentian mountains. It's very beautiful, but the shoveling...


Friend and Foe!!! I have a love/hate relationship with this thing...my arm is all better. I have a little kink in my left wrist so I can't use it 100% yet, but the snow continues to fall and life goes on right? Next year there will be a snowblower in my tool chest!!! (I say that EVERY year lol!)


The ever shrinking path to the door (Susan I'm sure you can relate to this!). Every winter we start off shoveling a lot to make sure the paths are wide, but at this point (earlier than usual), it's just about 2 feet across! We are running out of place to throw the snow!


Weather permitting, I'm still keeping up with my daily Charlie walks!


Jack in the sun. :) My little fella knows how to keep comfy. Despite the snow, February brings a lot of sunshine with it and I'm so grateful for that!

Cute little farmhouse on Prince Edward Island

The house hunting continues. I've found some possibilities, but there won't be any visits until the spring. We really were looking for an off-grid property...but found out that the bank won't finance it with a mortgage...sigh. We have lots to think about; we may have to settle for a residential property with power - which means a little too close to other people than we want, but again...we are still pondering our options!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Scribble Picnic: Market


Hello Friends :)

The theme for today's Scribble Picnic is "Market". I figured I'd draw a day in the life of Wile E. Coyote as he's shopping at the Acme Market. He always has enough money for gadgets but never enough to feed himself right? :) Here is a Road Runner cartoon for anyone who wants to watch:


I'm such a Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies fan...I can't get enough of these shorts! I hope there aren't too many ads on this video, I have Ad Blocker so I don't see them!


Watercolour: I am DREAMING of a day trip next summer to my favourite market for fresh produce!!! During the winter months, I really miss the fresh stuff...


...speaking of that, the sixty pounds of potatoes that I harvested last September have served us well! We went through about 45 pounds already, holy potato! The last 15 pounds or so were starting to grow "eyes" so I took Mama Pea's advice and canned them. I kept 5 pounds of the best looking ones so that we still have some potatoes for french fries or baked potatoes. I realize that the next time I set up my old tires to plant my potatoes, otherwise known as my "tater tires", I will have to double them up!! Also, I need a proper root cellar! I checked the temperature in that unheated basement room and it was at about 10 Celcius (that's 50F)...not cold enough?


Gotta use those potatoes!!! Leek and Potato Soup was on the menu last night! Alex actually took the time to strain my soup because I don't like those stringy parts that always come with leeks, ain't that nice? :) I served this with a nice side dish of comforting garlic/Parmesan bread! (I flash froze a bunch of chives before Christmas and they are PERFECT for using in my cooking! Great way to extend the harvest!!)


What's Rain's kitchen without a pizza? :) This is a vegetarian version of my BBQ Chicken Pizza.


Most of the river around the village is covered with snow, only a few spots near the little waterfall are still showing the raging current.


I'll tell ya though, I wouldn't want to be in that water.


I'm still trying to take my daily walks with Charlie despite the deep freeze. She does pretty well with the boots on her! 

My arm injury is healing well (I strained it shoveling snow), I can function very well again despite still being one-armed most of the time; but I'm thankful that I have one good arm! This week we have rain and snow in the forecast, then back to winter by the weekend. Crazy weather!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Do You Believe The Varmint?

"Sunburst"

Hello Friends! :)

I've been fooling around with the digital art program again. It's fun, but kind of bores me to be honest! I think if I had a proper digital pen it would make things more fun. It's on my wish list for next winter!


Do you believe the Groundhogs today? They didn't see their shadow from what I've read, so that means an early spring. (Except stubborn Shubenacadie Sam, Nova Scotia's Groundhog...HE saw his shadow...and I am planning on moving there eek!)

I often mention that I follow the belief system of my Celtic ancestors. February 2nd is called Imbolc (also called Candlemas). Today is the day halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, traditionally marking the beginning of Spring. Imbolc is the Fire Festival commemorating the successful passing of winter and the beginning of the agricultural year. Though you wouldn't know it in my neck of the woods!


This is what my world looks like today. So if I believe the following weather lore, I have some hope!!

If Candlemas day be sunny and bright, Winter again will show its might.
If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey, Winter soon will pass away.


Some Celtic Lore:

One of the more malevolent creatures in Celtic folklore, the Cailleach, would spend the day of Imbolc collecting firewood for herself if winter was to last a while longer. To do this, she would need a bright and dry day to collect her wood, so if Imbolc was wet and windy, that meant the Cailleach had gone to sleep and winter would soon be over.


Whatever lore you may or may not believe, let's all hope for an early spring! A Blessed Imbolc to those who celebrate! 🌻

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Home Tweet Home

Tweety Bird At Home (Sharpies)


Hello Friends!

The theme for Michael's Scribble Picnic today is My Place/Town/County/Borough/Province/State. Tweety Bird's whole world revolves around his cage, so I'd say that was his home!

Canadian Hug (watercolour)

I think for me, the most obvious place I call home is Canada. I love this country. The politics in my province have worn me down to the point where I plan on leaving for good by the summer - despite that though, I consider myself a proud, happy Canadian. 

Home In The Woods (watercolour)

If I really think about "my place"...where I feel the most at home, where I feel safe and protected...it's the woods. No matter what official name I put to the land, the woods are MY place! If I don't get out into the woods each day, with the dogs or just on my own, I don't feel right. It's my place of tranquility and spirituality. That's why we are being so scrupulous with regards to finding our new place. It has to be surrounded by trees and ideally in the woods!

********************

Kissing Frogs: A Spring Peeper we found last spring on our front porch

Speaking of that...thanks again to everyone who responded to my last post and shared your story with me. I contacted two realtors who were very nice in their responses, one in New Brunswick and one in Nova Scotia. They told me the market booms in April and May mostly, then tapers off again during the the rest of the summer. So I'll sit tight, still keep my eyes peeled in the mean time, but plan to focus on the home search full-time during those two months. And I'm taking the advice I was given to look for properties sold by owner as well. Some of you were so sweet to email me with some links and advice. I really feel grateful! And I do want to enjoy the process! I love how Susan put it..."you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince!" :) 


Some of my friends know that I had my eye on a 15 acre property in the woods by a river and lake. It was only 39k and off grid, though equipped with solar panels, had a septic system and a dug well - and the best? FAR away from any other neighbour!! It seemed perfect! Well, that real estate agent was one of the many who avoided my questions by email so I called her. I found out that #1 there is no bath or shower...okay, that could be worked around...but worse, #2 there is a parcel of land about 30 feet from the front of the house that belongs to another home owner. This means the person(s) would be trampling by our windows, just 30 feet away, any time they please. Now I understand why she avoided the question. This property is now on the veto list! Boo hoo!! 😭


But...comfort food always helps any woes! :) I had leftover filling from New Year's so I made another Tourtière (meat pie).


We're shopping from the pantry lately too! I love that! I canned many jars of spaghetti sauce last fall and I'm so thankful we have lots of it on hand!


And of course, pizza. :) This is a four cheese pizza with Mozzarella, Cheddar, Parm and Goat cheese! Yum! :)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Bogged Down and Slightly Discouraged!


Hi Friends :)

This is my current list of properties I've looked at through realtor.ca. ALL vetoed. The big problem I'm having is that in my price range, they are all too close to other houses. And if I'm lucky enough to find a nice little cottage with some acreage, it's usually missing water or a sewage system. I go to Google Satellite to look at the location of the places, so it's a long process. And the handful of properties I've considered possibles - well the agent either avoids questions or doesn't bother replying!

It's getting frustrating. Do you have home buying stories to share? Good or bad? Alex and I didn't think it would be this discouraging!!! Any tips?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sweet Treats


Hi Friends! I hope you're all doing well! I'm barely hanging on these days...I had such a bad few weeks. First the stomach flu; then we did the dreaded monthly shopping in -25C weather...then somehow I got a pet hair in my eye and it was two days before I could flush it out. I still have some irritation...Onwards and upwards right?

Yesterday we celebrated Alex's birthday and I made him this Fruit Tart with Custard. It was a great hit! I used the nectarines I'd canned in September. The rest of the fruit was frozen...I can only imagine how good this tart will be when I make it with fresh fruits!


Since we decided on no gifts until we manage to buy our property, I wanted to make him something as a gift! I found a recipe online for Kahlua Pecan Fudge. I'm not a fan of anything white chocolate but he said they are delicious. VERY sweet though!


I made him a Strawberry Gin Fizz as an apéro before dinner. It's a nice refreshing cocktail made with muddled strawberries and gin. It was such a great foodie day! :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Holiday Party!



Hi All! :)

Michael's theme for the Scribble Picnic today is "Holiday Party". This is what I drew for the picnic this week!

Thoughts?
Observations?
Any Marx Brothers fans out there? 
😀

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

I'm Excited About The Future!!!


Hello my friends!!!

Happy New Year to everyone! How did you ring in the new year? We had sugar OVERLOAD...chocolates, homemade Sugar Pie and Brandy Alexanders! We went outside at midnight with cocktails in hand. It was snowing...a very magical night! :) I tossed a silver coin out the door to leave the old year behind and attract prosperity for the new year. I'm a superstitious gal and I love folklore! :) 

2019 is here and I am so excited. I had some great enlightening thoughts recently on how I live my life, how I want to live my life and how I DON'T want to live my life! I discovered a lot about myself recently that I'd been hiding for some reason or another - all good stuff, so I'm very happy and my confidence is through the roof! I'm excited about 2019!! The pets are all happy and healthy, we are happy and healthy...and I am actually enjoying winter this year! Who-da-thunk-it.


I'm so happy 2018 is over, honestly. It was an up and down year for me. I experienced more stress-related illness than I have since I burned out in 2003. Most of you know that we babysat a friend's dogs for 9 months...which was supposed to be for a weekend. I personally had major issues with Pavlov and Stella's owner - constantly putting us on the back burner and waffling over and over about when he was coming to pick them up - IF EVER. It was tumultuous, yet it was wonderful. I LOVED those dogs and still miss them. They were so sweet, but it was a lot of work, a lot of stress; and due to that stress, I had issues eating and swallowing food up until a few months ago. That's how my body reacts to high stress...it basically says "Nope...no eating for you Rain...T.S." It's hard to be a food lover and not be able to eat what you cook and bake. :(

My favourite thing in the world is to be out in the woods walking the dogs. But with five, I had to put that on hold. I know that affected me very badly.


Both Jack and Charlie got very sick in 2018. Charlie had a terrible allergic reaction that we still have not determined the cause for. We assumed it was some kind of insect bite. Her face blew up and it was a scary situation. Of course it happened late on a Sunday night when we were basically helpless. 


We still don't know what happened to Jack, I really thought he was going to die. :(  Again, we felt so helpless. It was a devastating time, you guys know that Jack is my little fella and the thought of losing him was hurting so much. I am grateful every day that he pulled through. We were told he would never run, climb stairs and jump again (not true).


Pavlov and Stella got injured. The vet bills were very difficult to manage. The car had so many repairs...we started to drown in debt.


I tried to escape the stress through art. I started drawing and using pastels and it was art therapy for me!

In May, we said goodbye to Pavlov and Stella. I was relieved, but at the same time very upset. I felt as though they were taken away from me after I'd bonded with them and taken such good care of them. I'm an emotional gal and the mixed feelings of relief, heartbreak and bitterness towards their owner...it reeked havoc on me. The depression got worse and I stopped blogging regularly all summer. I stopped drawing and painting. I could barely get any food down. I ate a lot of "blender" meals believe it or not. I just didn't feel well. I know I don't talk about this publicly, it was such a rough time. It was so bad I considered going back on meds and seeking therapy. I'm glad I didn't because...


...I dove into garden therapy. I needed it and it worked. :) I started to feel better. I could eat a little more regularly. I started feeling the desire to be creative again. And I started the daily dog walks again!! :) Our experiences at the veterinary clinic motivated us to find remedies and cures at home, and to try home cooked pet food. The dogs and cats are thriving now! :) Knock on wood there hasn't been a vet visit since last April.


Then...in November, I made the final payment on my car...I saved a little more money...I paid back a little more debt...I checked my credit report and I'm in good standing...this means mortgage approval is very likely! The way things are going, my score should improve even more before the spring! :)


Unless we have arctic conditions out there, I walk Charlie almost every day in the woods. I'm convinced that before we adopted her, Charlie HAD to have been the leader of a sled team lol...she LOVES winter and the snow and loves to lead me through the woods!! Marlene and Jack don't like to get too cold so they are happy to stay home! I'm grateful for my time with Charlie each day. :)


What have I learned in the past year? Well, I learned that a part of me that for many years I thought was "negative" was actually a positive. I also learned that nothing will stop me from achieving anything I want to achieve. My friend Suzie from the blog Suzie The Foodie posted the above photo on Instagram the other day. This is a lesson everyone needs to learn - man or woman. I learned that I'm too nice, which is not a good thing. I tend to people please - put everyone else's needs above my own. I put a stop to that recently and I feel so much better.

I've learned that ME, Rain...she's my priority. :)


Another wonderful thing that touches my heart? My friends. All of you wonderful people I met through this blog. I get emotional when I think of all the love you guys have shown me. These are cards I received this Christmas from my precious friends! 💖 

Things are looking up and I know this will be the best year ever! I wish the same to all of you friends! Thanks so much for all of your support, love, care and words over the last year...whether you realize it or not, it's meant the world to me! 💚

Sunday, December 30, 2018

"Caged-In Kitchen" and Home Cooked Pet Food Update

GUILTY

Ever since I started the pets on a home cooked diet, my gosh the cats are driving me batty. They jump on the counters, try to open cupboards, knock down dishes, knock down food and even rummage through the garbage. I even found Oscar up on the hood of the oven while the oven was on. That was the last straw.

I tried EVERY suggestion given to me and ones I found online about trying to keep cats off counters. None of them worked. It's almost as though the cats tried even harder to trick me. I felt like a prison warden at one point, keeping guard so I could catch them in the act.

Who needs that stress? I put my foot down! I caged in the kitchen! "Caged-In Kitchen"- How often do you see THAT on a real estate listing??? :)



The tiny little kitchen in our rental has two doorways and one open area over the breakfast bar. I bought some very cheap 10x2 pine at the lumber yard and used leftover chicken wire to build the "cage". The entire project cost less than $30. This is the barricade over the breakfast bar. It just hangs off of hooks and I can remove it for suppertime.


These are the two "screen" doors. They fit perfectly and hang very well if I do say so myself! I did this yesterday, it took me about 7 hours but now I can sleep better knowing that my kitchen won't be destroyed when I wake up in the morning. If this were my home, I would have painted the doors and made them a little fancier I think. But this is a perfect temporary solution.

Home Cooked Pet Food Update

I started the three dogs and three cats on home cooked food in August. Through trial and error I believe I can finally say I've got it right. :)


The dogs now get only slow cooked pork and a mix of carrots and beans. Charlie and Jack were having bouts of vomiting now and then and I read a tip online that it could be due to the starch in the diet, i.e. the rice. Ever since I cut the rice out, no more vomiting, go figure.

Tip: If you want to feed your pets a home cooked diet, TALK TO YOUR BUTCHER!!! We go through about 100 pounds of meat each month. I talked to the butcher at our local grocery store and she gave me an AMAZING price on top sirloin pork - hardly any fat on it. I just call her a few days before I need my order, she preps it and I pick it up. Easy peasy and very economical!!


Marlene was losing a lot of hair. I thought she was shedding, because she normally does this time of year, but it lasted a long time, so I added some coconut oil to her food and her coat is back to normal.


The cats only eat pork with some taurine supplement and a multi-vitamin Kelp powder (the dogs get the Kelp too). Dana and Leo the cats are doing so well on the new food - no issues at all. Oscar can't eat the pork, we found out he was allergic to it, so he eats chicken breast. He still has some issues but we have really cut down his allergy meds. We found out that he is allergic to many things during the last few months: pork, eggs, coconut oil, rice...the list goes on.

Overall it was a bit of a learning curve to figure out portions, allergens and supplements. But all of the pets are doing so well on the home cooked food, I'm so pleased!!