Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Scribble Picnic: New Year


This week's Scribble Picnic's theme is "New Year" (follow the link for more lovely scribbles!). I mentioned in a previous post that Alex got me a Celtic Tree Oracle deck. It really has inspired me to think of the Earth and how every thing is very much connected. I saw a similar image online and wanted to paint the connection of the animals to the Earth and the trees; for me this symbolizes the Tree of Life and how each year we start with a clean slate to start over again, just like Nature does! :)


On New Year's Eve, we took out the Raclette machine we'd found at a local thrift store. It was a glorious meal! You put your Raclette cheese on the little doo-hickies and warm it under the Raclette and this is what happens...


Gooey melty cheese all over your food! How could I live without it, and I apologize in advance for those who are lactose or dairy intolerant...you poor people. :(


We actually were able to stay awake for midnight! We were watching stand up comics on You Tube to keep us chuckling and celebrated with some Limoncello Sparklers. That is the last of my homegrown lemon I used as a twist! :) I hope everyone had a nice New Year's celebration! :)


It's snowing beautifully today. This is the back woods behind our yard. Part of it belongs to our rental and part to the village. Luckily they haven't used it to build any trails or we'd be overrun with tourists in our yard! It was quiet this morning as it snowed. Love this!


This might look like a cake, but it's not! Alex surprised me on the upstairs veranda last night. He'd brought in some snow and heat up some maple syrup to draw taffy! In Quebec, it's called "tire" (tier) which literally translates to "pull". The photos aren't great because we had candles as our light source.


We made little lines of maple syrup and little puddles in the snow. If you heat the maple syrup up to the right temperature, it should just roll up on your stick like taffy.


Ours didn't quite make it lol! But it tasted amazing. We were going to go down and keep heating up the maple syrup but it was so cold out! We decided to scoop it all up and eat it, then try another time! Anyone have memories like this going to Sugar Shacks, or in French, going to the Cabane à Sucre?


Last night was Twelfth Night. I've often mentioned that I live by the seasons and by my Celtic roots. Part of last night's observance was to celebrate the upcoming fruit crops. My ancestors would wassail fruit trees on this night to encourage them to flourish. Well, I have no fruit trees (though I did give my Meyer Lemon tree a good talking to!), so I made an apple cake and we drank some Apple Cider Wassail. (The recipe called for juices, but I omitted them)

Now it's time to tighten the belt a little bit for the next few months and hibernate in our cozy home! What's going on in your neck of the woods?

70 comments:

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Nothing like cheese melting on food and the snow looks good by candle power. I didn't know there were trees at the north pole!
We are having a heat wave, almost up to the freezing point.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The only time I've had maple syrup taffy made on snow was at Le Festival du Voyageur in St. Boniface, Manitoba (the French-speaking part of Winnipeg.) The Festival is held every year in mid-February.

Dawn McHugh said...

well your traditions are very different to ours and I think I much prefer yours it looks fun and tasty :-)

Christine said...

Lovely piece for the New Year, I love it! The maple taffy sounds a great idea!

Stefanie said...

What a great post; I felt the coziness right alongside you.

laurie said...

Oh Rain, such a lovely post, I see you and i share some of the same interests!
That fella of yours is such a great guy,,
oh and yes I am from the Sault, well I moved into the city a few years ago, we both lived all our lives 30 miles east of the city near St.Joesph Island, a community on the shore of Lake Huron.Now we live in the city, quite an adjustment but my husband became very ill and where we lived we were very isolated,, self sufficient, in a very wilderness surroundings which wasn't easy for us with him ill and my eyesight prohibiting me from driving, one hour from the city,, not good,
I enjoyed your post very much, thank you for sharing! Your submission to Micheals scribble picnic is beautiful!

wisps of words said...

Beautiful water color painting...

Never heard of a Raclette machine. Basically it melts some cheese. Oh mercy! Yummm... And no real problem about having to be Lactose Free, mostly. I can get away with a little, and there are lots of Goat Cheeses now, which I can eat.

Gorgeous back yard view.

Fun! With the maple syrup and snow. I think this is done in many places. Well, pouring hot syrup on snow, at least. Probably especially where people are actually making maple syrup. But no, I have never done it.

Your cake looks so delicious. Deep and dense and yummy!!!!!!!

Oh wow yes, 'tis time to leave the treats behind for awhile. Start cooking with veggies, and meat-on-the-bone. Actually, winter veggies are delicious baked. So it's not really a hard thing. :-)

Yarrow said...

Wow Rain, that painting is just so beautiful <3 I miss painting, but I just can't fit it in at the moment.
Your cheeses look amazing in the previous post. Well done :D I have a couple of cheese books, so if I get time I'll look up your issues. I'll be trying to make cheese in the new year as I've asked for some equipment for my birthday :D We'll get goats some day and that's what we want to do with the milk. Did you use store bought milk?

Happy new year to and Alex and may all your dreams come true this year.xxx

John M said...

The melted cheese is making me hungry. The cake is a good dessert.

Sandi said...

What a great idea! I'm from waaaay up north (well, Michigan) but had not heard of this!

Birdie said...

“I hate cheese”, said nobody ever. I absolutely feel for the lactose intolerant and now I want a cheese melty thing for myself.

Latane Barton said...

Beautiful thought and picture for the New Year. I hope yours is extra special.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Happy New Year Rain.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

*raises hand* I DO I DO! I have memories of going to the Cabane à Sucre and enjoying that Quebec-style taffy on popsicle sticks. OHMYGOSH...so delicious! I haven't done that in years. My first visit to a Cabane à Sucre was when I was in elementary school. We went to one on a field trip. Such a fun day. I've also gone with my girls. That was fabulous. Hubby and I should really consider doing that this year. It's been way too long. Maybe we'll hook up with some friends or something. Maybe not. We can be such loners sometimes. HAHA

I LOVE your artwork! That is beautiful. Your posts are always so enjoyable. And hunger inducing...haha!

Wanda said...

Oh Rain ~ How I enjoyed your painting and your post. So many interesting things I did not know...Like snow taffy, and your Celtic roots. I love cheese in any form, and the melted cheese looks so dang good.

The painting of adding the tree like horns is a lovely watercolor with so much meaning for you.

I enjoy seeing your table setting and a peek into your home and personal life.

Happy New Year.

Nicole Thomas said...

Yummm...yummmm I will be dreaming of melted cheese tonight.
I never had the snow taffy hut I heard so much about it and I think it would be so much fun, also for the kids, to try it.
We are in deep hibernation ... but planning for the warm season. Life is good, we are warm as long as we stay in the house ;) we biticed today that the days are a little longer already...not much longer !!!

Harry Flashman said...

My daughter is very much into Celtic culture. Music, dress, mythology, she loves it all. We are Scotch Irish so it's not surprising. You are having some arctic weather up there, Rain. We are dealing with unseasonably cold weather here, getting subzero at night, very unusual for us.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

we had a big raclette brunch on xmas day for everyone! we used to do the maple taffy thing in old quebec when we visited. it is soooo good! we are heading to snow country with winnie tomorrow for the weekend!

Marsha said...

Thank you so much for sharing your traditions. I had never heard of the maple syrup/snow taffy. The Celtic traditions are new to me too. I love learning about other places and cultures. You do a fantastic job bringing to life for your readers.

Andrea Priebe said...

First off, Rain, your painting is amazing and I so believe in nature and how we are all connected. Your life is like a fairy tale ... I am in awe of what you and your mate do. You seem to know about so many ways to make yourselves happy, honest and charming. If I were young, I would choose to live a life like yours. And perhaps I did in many ways and still do things that keep me close to nature ... but, you, my dear, are amazing and I look forward every week to seeing what you will come up with.

Andrea @ From the Sol

Lorraine said...

I love your painting too! I'm partial to blue and white and this is so, so pretty and inspiring. I got sidetracked a bit after I read about your cheese raclette looking it up to see what that is all about. Sounds fun...... and delicious! Our friend in VT does that with the maple syrup but we've never been up there to enjoy it! Wishing you a wonderful 2018!

Lisa said...

Great post and lovely painting. Happy New Year! I envy your ability to try so many cheeses, I do deal with some digestive issues so I can't eat as much cheese/dairy as I would like! Looking forward to reading more posts for 2018 as I have finally retired and have more free time! Lisa

Michael said...

What a fabulous piece and wonderfully warm, cosy inducing post too. I instantly got the connectivity angle btw. Well done. What a great way to ring in the year, and the fact you stay so in tune with nature's cycles, as it were. I love that you teach us something uplifting and delicious too most time as well. It really is a treat reading these and seeing those photos. That maple on ice sounds not only yummy, how romantic to Alex to surprise you like that.

P.S. I am craving melted cheese now. Not sure a quickie microwave warm up of some pre grated cheese on a tortilla counts really. :)

Becki said...

So glad you showed a picture of you pouring cheese from a tray of the Raclette machine. I've never heard of this before (hadn't gotten far enough yet in the story to decide to google it ;^) How glorious - melted cheese!!! And your molasses experience looks fun , if awfully cold. Stay warm, friend.

Mary said...

Great post Rain. Your painting is so beautiful, and, as always, your stories of life in your corner of Canada are so interesting - year round!
Happiest of New Years to you and Alex - stay warm an keep on enjoying your scrumptious cheeses!

Hugs - Mary

P.S. I just know you MUST love the fantastic Wallis & Gromit cartoons - can you image Wendolene not liking cheese!!!!!!

Mary said...

OOOPS! Sorry Rain, should read WALLACE & Gromit!
Mary x

Alexandra MacVean said...

Beautiful painting...and I love the blue you used. Sets the mood and ushers in the new year perfectly! Happy New Year to you & Alex! :)

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Hi Rain, I am slow lately catching up on my e-mails. I have never heard of pouring Maple Syrup in the snow! Love the picture of the snow on the trees. Happy New Year! Have a good one. Nancy

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

Beautiful drawing. It looks like you had some wonderful celebrations. We used to make maple syrup and I remember doing that in the snow too.

Sam I Am...... said...

That raclette is a great gadget! Melted cheese....yummm! I have Celtic roots also but the only time anyone ever mentioned it to me was my aunt who told me it was why I loved horses and why I loved the land so much and that was when I was very young. I learn a lot from you so thank you! My relatives never talked about things like that....maybe because in those days the Irish were still discriminated against. Your celebrations are so awesome! I love your apple cake and lemoncellos and the maple syrup 'taffy' looks so good and fun too. Happy New Year!

RO said...

Happy New Year Rain! I totally love the picture of snow on the trees, and it looks postcard perfect. What a neat idea to do with the snow. I've never heard of using maple syrup to make it into taffy, but that sounds like such a cool idea. Cheese!!!!! Can we ever go wrong with that? Hugs...RO

Rain said...

Hi Gill :) You are right...nothing like cheese melting, I loved that dinner! Lol...don't forget your sunscreen, wouldn't want to get a sunburn during the heat wave. :)

Rain said...

Hi Debra :) It seems to be a French thing with the maple syrup, at least here in Canada. I'm glad you got to try it!

Rain said...

Hi Dawn :) Thanks :) The maple syrup taffee was especially tasty but we have to get the temperature right on the stove to get it to be real "tire"!

Rain said...

Thanks Christine :) We are going to try the taffy again when we have the courage to stand outside in that cold!!

Rain said...

Thanks Stefanie :) I'm glad I could share the coziness :))

Rain said...

Thanks Laurie :) I'm so glad you joined the picnic :)) That is really too bad you had to move back to the city, but I completely understand why. I had to do that in 2004. I was in the mountains but was quite ill and needed to be near hospitals. It was a horrible time for me. I think I'm fortunate I could come back to the mountains now that the worst is over!

Rain said...

Thanks Wisps of Words :) Oh yes, that is basically the glorious job of the Raclette...it melts cheese lol! Seems simple, but it does such a nice job of it! :) And it's fun, a toy really. There are different types, our is just cheese melting. But some of them are higher and you can fit your meat and veggies on the actually platter, top it with cheese and do it that way. Some even have a warming plate on the top...I like basic. :) No, going healthy with the eating is an easy transition after the holidays! We're doing lots of soups currently!

Rain said...

Thanks Yarrow my friend :) Oh the cheese issues...they seem to never end! Yes, I have to use homogenized whole milk bought at the grocery store. And most books won't tell you that you have to add calcium chloride to the store bought milk to make up for molecules lost in homogenization and/or pasteurization. It's like going to Vegas lol...maybe you'll win, maybe you won't ha ha! I too hope to get goats one day, not only are they wonderful creatures, they do come in handy for cheese making! :)

Rain said...

Thanks John :) It was really a great meal and the cake was so moist! Loved it!

Rain said...

Hi Sandi :) The next time we pull the syrup for taffy, I'm going to pull out my candy thermometer and I'll post the results. It has to reach 238F apparently to work well. We just winged it but I guess science has its place in taffy making too! :)

Rain said...

Lol Birdie, you are so right! I for one, have never said that!! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Latane :) I wish the same for you!! :)

Rain said...

Thanks TB :) Right back at you! :)

Rain said...

Hi Martha :) Cabane à Sucre was a yearly thing in grade school for us. I remember those big BIG meals too. We haven't done that in a long time, but gosh we really should take advantage of the good stuff Quebec has to offer while we're here! We have one that's only about half an hour from us. It's just the crowds we cringe about. And thanks :) I've had lots of fun with the paintings lately! The next one will be fun too! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Wanda :) That cheese...I went all out and bought a special Raclette cheese from France, and I'm SO GLAD I did! You can pretty much melt anything, but this one was fabulous! I'm so happy that enjoy hanging out at home with me through my blog :))

Rain said...

Hey Nik :) Did you do the Raclette this year too? I think you'd have fun with the taffy, just make sure you get the right temperature on the stove or it all just sinks into the snow, like ours did lol! It's still good though! I'm noticing day by day too how it's just a few minutes lighter out! I love it! :)

Rain said...

Hi Harry :) Everywhere I'm reading, people are really having cold weather, unusually, for their area and this time of year. The poor dogs ALL need boots now...they are going out in shifts...I'm going to try to make some to last the rest of the winter, it seems to be just their hind legs that suffer the most though. I have mainly Scotch and some Irish in me :) I do love the Celtic culture and traditions!

Rain said...

Hi Joyce :) Oooh fun! I bet your Raclette brunch was a thing of beauty! :) I hope you're having fun up in the snow!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Marsha :) Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying my blog! I do love sharing things that go on here. The taffy...I think everyone should try it!

Rain said...

Thanks Andrea :) I LOVE what you said, that my life is a fairy tale!!! I love that really. I guess I embraced the "live life to the fullest" about 5 years ago and no day goes by where I don't, life is just too short isn't it? Your comments are always so sweet, thank you! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Lorraine :) The Raclette is like a fondue I guess, but reverse lol...I love those fun meals. I've been looking at my paintings lately and it's pretty much all blue and white. I go though phases of colour palettes and this one is lasting! :) I wish the best for you too in 2018!!

Rain said...

Hi Lisa :) Happy New Year to you too! :) Congratulations on retiring!!! What an accomplishment! :) I'm sorry about your digestive issues...I do have some dairy problems and I avoid the culprits, thankfully most cheeses are okay with me. Will you start to blog now that you have more time?

Rain said...

Hi Michael :) Thank you! :) I laughed SO HARD at your microwave grated cheese...Seriously I DO THAT...but without the tortilla lol! Alex calls it my "microwave cheese snack". I just cut up some Cheddar usually and melt it and eat it just like that...gooey, greasy lol...he hates it because when he washes the dishes, it's hard to get the cheese off ha ha. It DOES COUNT lol!

I hope you have a chance to try the maple syrup taffy, it's really delicious. Just have to get that temperature right, but I'll be your guinea pig if you like. :) We're going to try it again and hopefully it'll be nice and "pulled" next time around!

Rain said...

Thanks Becki :) I'm glad you liked that photo, can you tell how excited and anxious I am to eat it??? Lol...this is a real treat-meal though. The Raclette cheese is kind of expensive and I haven't found a good recipe to make my own yet!

Rain said...

Hi Mary :) Yes! Wallace and Gromiy...cheeeeeeese, lol! I used to watch that along with Bob and Margaret...I loved those but we didn't get them too long here in Quebec. And thank you for the compliment! I'm so glad you enjoy my blog and my paintings!

Rain said...

Hi Alexandra :) Thanks!! This time of year especially, it looks blue outside with the snow and the moon, I'm bring all aspects of Nature to my painting. :) Plus I'm really loving those colours lately in general! :)

Rain said...

Hi Nancy :) Thank you :) The maple taffy is really delicious!! I wish you all the best for 2018 as well! :) We're this much closer to gardening season!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Pilch92 :) Thanks for visiting :) We do have fun! Alex and I don't like to go out much, so we try to celebrate and enjoy our home life as much as we can. :)

Rain said...

Hi Sam :)) Isn't it a great gadget??? And we found it at a thrift store for...it was either $5 or $7. We'll likely only use it a few time a year, but it makes the meal fun. :) My family rarely talked about the ancestry either, my grandfather opened up a little more the few years before he passed away. I am so glad to have retained lots of knowledge and I also rely a lot on Celtic heritage sites to fill in the blanks. :) I do wish I knew more though, but life is also about learning! The food was so good...we have to go a little lean now so the clothes fit again lol! :) Happy New Year and Happy Birthday!! :)

Rain said...

Hi RO :) Happy New Year to you too! Lol..you can NEVER go wrong with cheese...imagine all that gooey stuff on your cheeseburgers! :) Hugs!! xx

RO said...

Hey There Rain and hope all is well! Yay to more cheese on my burgers for sure! I just popped over to toast with a glass of champagne and to admire that artwork. Happy Monday! Hugs...RO

Rain said...

Thanks RO :) All is well :) Have a great Monday too!

Connie said...

Your cake looks amazing. I am always so intrigues with the way you present your meals. Each night being a celebration of sorts. I can only imagine how wonderful your cheese is. Your blog is so earthy and homespun . . . I love it!
Thanks for coming by and joining in on my Give-A-Way . . . good luck.
Connie :)
Oh, when I was a kid, Momma would make snow ice cream, she would use boxed pudding to flavor it. I have no idea how she made it, but it was always a treat:) My Alaskan granddaughter eats fish ice cream . . . do you know what it is? Not for me, LOL

Harry Flashman said...

Just stopped by to see how you are doing. I haven't been doing much on the blog here, too cold. Temps at night have been single digits or below zero, while during the day it never gets above freezing. Two weeks of that. We have freezing rain today. I know I promised not to whine about the weather, but gosh!

Hope all's well on your end.

Rain said...

Hi Connie :) EEK! Fish ice cream...I couldn't eat that lol. I do love to eat fish, but not as a dessert!! Oh, pudding with snow sounds delicious! And thanks :) I do enjoy mealtime :) I can't wait to see who wins your give-a-way!! :) Fingers crossed!!! :)

Rain said...

Hi Harry :) I've been slow with the blog too. It's shopping week this week so I've been really focusing on budget meals, it takes a lot of time to save money. I CANNOT promise ever not to whine about the weather lol! It's part of our lifestyle lol! All is good here, hoping the same for you! :)

Jenn said...

HI Rain! That taffy surprise is so cool! I have never heard of that before! Hope all is well there. We had a few warmer days, now it's getting cold and snowy again.

Lisa said...

Thanks Rain! Not sure I would make a great blogger :) I do enjoy reading yours and a few others though! Are you on facebook or pinterest at all?

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

How did I miss this post????!!!????

Oooh that melty cheese looks amazing! When I was younger - I would cut up cubes of cheese and pickles and put it all in a bowl and melt it in the microwave. Then I would eat it. So delicious! I still make cheese and pickle sandwiches. My favorite!

The only time I have had maple snow is (and I echo Debra) at Festival du Voyageur. An annual festival here in the city in the francophone community of St. Boniface. The festival is great, great fun. Lots of things to see and do. And they have the maple snow! My fave!