Friday, April 5, 2019

Mexican Fiesta, Loose Husky and Knitting Project

Hello Friends :)

I hope you're all doing well and have a nice relaxing weekend planned. I'm still on the hunt for a home...time is going too fast, eek! I thought the market would pick up in April, but it seems to have slowed down lately. Nothing new to show you! 

But I have one thing to show you in the above's snowing again. This is the snowiest winter I can remember! We are expecting another 20 cm over the weekend. As Lucille Ball would say...whaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

At the beginning of March, I decided I wanted to knit myself something - ANYTHING...I chose a little handbag and it's nearly done! I just have to add a button and I'm thinking about a lining. Thanks to Stefanie for your help! :) Mahalo you sweet lady! :)

Cowboy Jack taking a siesta

Do any of you remember this time last year when I mentioned we had a loose husky in our yard? Well, two nights ago...I guess it was morning, 3am, Jack woke me up barking. Then I heard howling. Alex and I thought it was a coyote! We looked out the window and saw this:

It was that same big male husky that's been in our yard EVERY April for the past 4 years!! He was howling so loudly in our back yard. Poor thing, it was -15C with the wind that night too. We got into our snowsuits and tried to lure him over with some cooked pork.

Last year when I tried to call him over, he put his heckles up and growled and I bolted back to the house. This year though, he barked a bit, then carefully walked right over to our porch and ate the pork. He is SUCH a sweet dog! We ended up calling the police to see what could be done. They suggested we call the waste-of-time-lazy-won't-get-off-her-a$$ local dog catcher. She's the one who only took action last April because I emailed the town mayor. But she basically told us if we needed help, not to bother calling her. We explained the situation to the police officer and she called the dog catcher; so that lazy woman was forced to do something right away. Not wanting to get up off her duff, the dog catcher called Alex and gave him the phone number of the owner of the dog, since we were able to read the number of the license. She gave us the phone number and hung up. Why do they pay her??? We did all the leg work, but whatever...The owner drove over and picked up his dog Ralph. At least we know Ralph is friendly so if he gets loose again, we can just call the owner and avoid that horrible dog catcher!

We think Ralph is after our Charlie who is starting her heat. She has her heat around this time every year. These blokes travel miles for a gal don't they? ;)

I think I uttered at one point "oh, can we keep him???" Get that out of your head Rain! :)

On to the good stuff! ¡Arriba! I made a Mexican Fiesta last night complete with crunchy Cheese Quesidillas, Mexican Rice, Papas Fritas, Enchilada Sauce and a Lemon Ice Cream Pie (without the meringue)! I made some Pina Coladas...though they aren't Mexican, they just seemed to go well with the meal. See the little umbrellas? :)

Some more comfort meals of late: Linguine Carbonara with my Homemade Bread.

And a Pizza Napoletana with a thick diner-style crust.

I'm trying to keep things together lately - what with the house search, dealing with agents and brokers over the phone and by email, doing due diligence on our own by researching the potential towns and municipalities...and now it's nearly time for the monthly shopping. Alex and I are swamped, it feels like work - which I'm not too thrilled about! One little bit of good news though and I'll try to make this short! It's about real estate so if that doesn't interest you, just gaze at my pizza! :) 

Seashell (watercolour)

Or enjoy my latest painting! :) (I'm trying to keep balanced by painting/drawing daily, cooking, baking...trying to keep some kind of routine going so that I don't go loony!)

I found a house that was on 2 acres - the previous owners had built outdoor bread and pizza ovens! How cool is that??? Sadly, there are neighbours within just 20 meters on each side, so it's not for us.

When I say that some of the properties I'm interested in won't be financed by the bank, I'm just kind of making it simple. To qualify for a 5% down payment mortgage, the bank needs to be able to insure the property. That's where the CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) comes in. They will decide if a property is insurable or not. If the CMHC disapproves, the bank won't finance. In fact my new mortgage broker just told me the CMHC will rarely insure any acreage above 5 or 10 acres. That really bummed me out. But...I got some more information, I learned today that there are 2 other companies that also insure mortgages in Canada and they seem to be more flexible about acreages. So perhaps some of those homes I've vetoed due to the CMHC saying no-no...I can revisit down the line and hope the other two companies may be okay with them.

I have to say, despite the stress, I'm happy that I'm learning so much about real estate and mortgages! I hope this is the first and last time I have to deal with this though! :)

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Italian Feast!

Hello Friends!

I hope you're having a quiet, relaxing Sunday! I am. I took a quick 17-second video of the pets this morning, I love when they all hang out with me! :)

It's kind of a yucky day outside today. Our big predicted snowstorm turned into rain and it's a SLUSHY MESS out there. It's a good day to test if you have holes in your boots that's for sure!! The dogs didn't care so much, they were sniffing around for forest critters!

I mentioned on my Thoughts Blog yesterday that I was making a big ol' Italian dinner last night! It turned out so delicious. I'd kind of lost my kitchen mojo for the last few months, but I'm slowly but surely finding it again!

For the main course, I made pasta. Alex really likes my Linguine Puttanesca. I can't digest the Kalamata olives so I made myself something different.

My pasta was Cappellini with Fish and Olives. So fresh and yummy!

Fresh homemade bread with butter is an absolute must!!! I made my No Knead Bread - but this time I made it the same day as I started it. The recipe I usually follow indicates starting the bread on day 1, then putting it in the fridge overnight and baking it on day 2. No issues here, in fact, I noticed it rose a lot better when I baked it same day. 

For dessert, I made my Italian Cheesecake with Homemade Ricotta Cheese. We had red wine with the meal, it was a great success! For so much was very easy to digest! :)

A few days ago, I was playing around with some "scratchboard" style art. Scratchboard is actually done on a white canvas or surface, covered with black ink - and you scratch your design through. I used black acrylic paint as my surface and a white gel pen to scratch in my tree. :)

Here's another property I found on the realtor pages. But again, it's a property that will not suit the bank's criteria (no foundation). FIFTY acres with a little cabin for 40k. Small cottages, houses or cabins don't bother us if the price and location are right. We're always willing to build or add on over the years. Here's the link: 2749 Pleasant Ridge. (I love the name of the road too!) Gosh fifty acres of land... :)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Wrapping Up March

Hi Friends :)

I hope you're doing well! I managed to get out the other day for a THREE hour snowshoe trek, my gosh it was invigorating! It was a nice sunny day and again, hardly anyone was using the trail. 

Is your March predicted to go out like a lion or like a lamb? I just saw the weather forecast, and go figure...OUT LIKE A LION here with 20cm of snow over the weekend. Sigh. 

I was playing with my watercolours and acrylics this morning and came up with this lonely old tree at sunset. I decided it was probably housing some bats too. :)

Check out what I discovered this morning:

Planting a PIZZA GARDEN...I think this is really a neat idea! You plant all the ingredients you'd enjoy on a pizza! What a nice project! Although, I think I'd rather it look like this:

One can always dream...

I wanted to show you another little treasure of a house that I found. It has electricity, water and septic...but it's not on a cement I don't know if the bank will be okay with it. I'm gathering a list of properties to send to my mortgage specialist and I'll ask him to okay/veto the list in a week or so. It's a small house, but get's $49,900 with 32 ACRES!!! Here is the Realtor link: Little House With 32 Acres.

Here is the cadastral map that shows the acreage. There is a river running through the property! Isn't that just so dang cool? :) And the yearly property taxes are under $500. Very affordable. It's on the list of possibilities!

So...just like Bugs Bunny...I'm still on the hunt for that perfect home! :)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Painting and Pooches

Have you noticed now that spring is (apparently) sprung...that time seems to be going by a little too quickly again? I have! I'm happy to say that it's mild (ha ha) enough that I can take all three furballs on a walk together again! It was touch and go for a while, the temperatures were still falling to -10C overnight and in the mornings. But the last few days they've been hovering around freezing, so as long as little Mr. Jack wears his hand-knitted :) sweater, we're good to go! :) No rabbit sightings this morning, but a wily pair of squirrels got their attention. One on each side of the road up the snow banks, chirping away!

We've been in a soup kind of mood lately. Last night I made Italian Orzo Soup, with some warmed up home-baked No-Knead Bread and a little green salad. I can't wait to grow my own lettuce again! My digestion has trouble with the store-bought stuff.

Cold Winter Night (acrylics)
Yesterday I pulled out my last canvas (boo hoo!) and decided to paint something, kind of à la Bob Ross. I haven't painted a thing since early February and I actually had a lot of difficulty with this one. I didn't feel like I had it in me at first and nearly gave up...but I pushed ahead and I'm happy with the result! Since Alex and I are on a spending freeze...I decided I'm not buying any more painting supplies until we're settled, so I'll make do with what I have for now!

On that note, my friends know that I've been participating in Michael's weekly (then bi-weekly) Scribble Picnic. He would come up with a prompt and those who participated would paint/draw/scribble their vision. Well, unfortunately due to lack of time, Michael has put the picnic on hold indefinitely. But I'm going to continue to paint an acrylic or watercolour; and draw my Looney Tunes every week for fun, just to keep my creative side going! I will definitely be sharing those as I create them!

Still on the house hunt! This is such a nice little cottage. Here is the link on Realtor. (I think you have to agree to something before you can see the listing). It just seems so perfect for us, $35k, about 1 1/2 acres, in the woods, a little fixer upper...but the bank will not finance any property that has no electricity and no water...even if they have electricity and water, if there is no septic, they will veto the financing. Sigh...I asked what they thought of composting toilets, they said it didn't meet the criteria. So this house is out sadly! April is just around the corner, so I'm sure our dream home is too!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Lemon Tree and a Snowshoe Trek

Lookie lookie!! :) My lemon tree is coming out of hibernation just like me. :) Little lemon blossoms are popping up all over my plant, oh, it smells divine! I wonder if I'll get any lemons this year!

Yesterday I took a very long snowshoe trek along a trail in the mountains. I spent two hours and snowshoe'd 6 kilometers. It was so wonderful being out in Nature!

The most southern parts of the river were running rapidly.

As I walked more north though, the river was still covered with ice and snow.

Close ups of the frozen waterfall show the nice blue hue of the river!

Then the snow started...Alex and I spent a nice evening playing board games and sipping a cocktail in front of the fire with all the furries around us. 

Looking out my front door this morning, we got another 2 feet of snow overnight.

I think if it were up to Charlie, we'd have permanent winter! She spotted a few rabbits on our walk this morning. I tell ya, if I didn't have a firm hold of that leash, she'd be GONE...she's a Houdini dog!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Happy Spring Equinox!

Happy Spring Equinox!!!

I'm so happy that this day has arrived, even though you wouldn't know it looking out my window that spring has sprung!! Just the fact that the days are longer brings me so much joy. Tonight for dinner I made Poutine with Homemade Baked Fries. Delish! :)

For dessert, and to symbolize the Sun, I made some yummy Lemon Squares! It's also the Full Super Worm Moon tonight! It should be quite glorious if you have a clear sky!

I've taken quite a break from this blog! I think that once you get out of the habit of something, it's really hard to get it back. I thought often about writing here but came up with nothing! I have however been writing on my "Thoughts" blog. If anyone is interested, I started a 30 day Self Love Challenge. We're on day 18 now and here is the schedule so far: 30 Days of Self Love.

Because of my cabin fever all winter, I wanted to do SOMETHING to help myself, so I created that challenge and it has brought my mood up and beyond what it has been since the beginning of the year.

We are still in the midst of property hunting. There were some good possibilities and we came very close to planning a visit to a property in Nova Scotia, but after our broker sent us more photos, we realized it was TOO much work to get it in a livable condition.  The owners had bought the house at a "tax sale" for 11k and did a quick (and very cheap) flip on it. At first they listed it at 99k but had no bites, so over the years they lowered it to 65k. Even if it were half that price, it wouldn't be worth all the repairs that need to be done!  

Planning to buy a home in another province is tricky, you really need a good honest broker to help you weed out the ones that aren't suitable. We found this nice little house with 4 acres of land in New Brunswick. It was a great possibility, but then we discovered a big problem (for us). It has no wood stove or even a chimney. For the price they were asking, it would have cost too much to have a chimney installed and to purchase a wood stove. So the search continues! 

But crunch time is fast approaching! Our goal is to finalize a purchase by end of April, early May LATEST! Wish us continued luck! 

I have to say I miss visiting your blogs my friends. Now that my emotional slump is waning, I'll be back to my usual self, thanks for hanging in there with me! xx

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Back Soon!

Life, cabin fever and writer's block are in play right now. Must be February! 😱 I'll be back soon!

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 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!