Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Jack and an Egg Hunt

Hi Everyone,

Today's theme for the Scribble Picnic is Egg Hunt. (follow the link for more eggie goodness!)

I tried something different today with my watercolours. I cut out a stencil with a very dull Exacto knife...note to self...get new blades...then taped the stencil on my paper and used my watercolour pencils first to colour it in...then applied some water to soften it up. I did the same for the rabbit, I really like the effect!

Good old Daffy desperate to always outdo Bugs, he'll even dress up as an egg! :)

More watercolours! These eggs think they're hiding under the lemon tree...but they're not so stealthy. :)

My little Jack-rabbit...Sunday night, something happened to Jack - we have no idea what. He was howling in pain for hours...our hearts were breaking because we couldn't do anything (again) until Monday morning when the vet opened. We brought him in and the vet was stumped. X-rays showed no broken bones, no spinal damage and no blockages in his stomach or intestine. He seemed to have pain in his right hind leg. He was put on pain killers.

Tuesday morning he slipped on the snow and omg...he yelped and howled...we rushed him back to the vet and this time she saw a "neurological deficiency" in his right hind leg which could mean a herniated disc or some inflammation around one of his vertebrae. She told us he would need bed rest for a month, no jumping up on the bed and no playing. We think maybe one of the 4 other big dogs may have jumped on him or stepped on him...there is no way to know for sure. 

Our savings are sapped from all the vet bills lately. But that is the cost of being a pet owner isn't it? Sometimes it all comes in one shot! Today I'm going to take an old towel and sew him a support-harness to help him up and down the stairs. We can't carry him because of the potential inflammation so I think this will be a good solution. He's on a pain killer and another medication to help with the deficiency. The diagnosis is good, but it takes time for the healing process. Thank you to everyone who sent me their prayers and healing energy! :)

When we got home last night, I made us a nice diner meal of breaded chicken burgers, fries and ice cream sodas. Comfort food to comfort us! :) Alex and I hadn't slept since Saturday night, but we passed out last night. This was such a test on my emotions, we both felt so helpless. But at least the news is good, and if Jack's deficiency can't be cured, then he will take meds long term to help with his mobility and we will get busy building various ramps so he can still cuddle with us on the couches and the bed. We will do anything to help our pets, we love them so much!

Good news from the window garden! Look at my lettuce growing! I hope we can have a good salad in about a month or so. I'll be succession planting lettuce from now on so we always have some on hand. It's been too long since we had a nice fresh salad.

Look at this :) The zinnias that I planted on February 2nd are blooming. This warms my heart today.  Every time I look at Jack, my eyes fill with tears. Every pet owner knows that pain. We were terrified as we waited for the X-rays. All we could think about was that we've only had little Jack for two and a half years, and we were not ready to let go yet. I have to try to get back to normal, he needs me strong! :)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

March - Out Like A Lion - Booo! Hissss!

I will say it again...March CANNOT be trusted!!! I fall for the "March Tease" every year with milder weather and lots of sunshine...then it ends in a fury. I guess it's my hope that seeing my own shadow on Groundhog Day somehow meant the opposite of all the folklore out there! :)

The good news is that the daytime temperatures will mostly reach above freezing so hopefully the 50cm or so of predicted snow will melt off gradually but definitely. I'm just hoping I don't have to take the car out because I refuse to shovel anymore...if I have to drive, I'm just revving up and plowing right through it!

Pavlov and Charlie eyeing a squirrel

Alex did shovel a little...he had to dig under about two feet of snow and ice for the dog tie-out stake he put into the ground last summer. It's been so sunny and mild in the daytime that I wanted to take advantage and let the dogs out on their ropes. Our errant husky issue seems to have solved itself. The trap has been empty the whole week, no sign of the loose dog, so we felt comfy letting the pack out to enjoy the sunshine.

Marlene and Charlie spying on the loud, annoying, snowmobiling weekenders

The huskies and Pavlov love to be in the snow, they always find something interesting to keep their attention!

Jack and Stella soaking up some rays

The hounds however, prefer to be comfy and warm in the sun on my porch. I had my lovely Canon camera around my neck all day, walking around the yard in my big cozy robe and outback hat on! Who needs to get dressed??? ;)

Every week I challenge myself to a new recipe and post about it on Sundays. Here is the latest: Shaker Orange Pie.

This was really easy to make and delicious, orange rinds and all! They got very chewy and candied in the baking process. The colours were pretty darn cheerful too! Hope you're having a nice Sunday!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Took Out The Camera This Morning

One of my goals this year is to start using my Canon camera much more. I used to have my old Panasonic Lumix camera velcroed around my neck. I've gotten lazy with the phone camera...I think a lot of us have because it's more convenient. But nothing beats a real zoom lens on a good camera! I took this photo from my office as the Blue Jays fed on the sunflower seeds. The glare on my window shows you how sunny it is today!

This little fella waits for me every morning in the tree just above the feeder. He watches quietly as I take each dog out then as I fill up the feeder, he chirps with delight! Another photo through the window. I'm going to make more of an effort to sit outside in the mornings to get better shots of the visitors at the feeder!

My Blogger friend Wisps of Words asked if people would share photos of their kitchens. Some Bloggers have such nice kitchens...oh I wish!!! Mine is the size of a cubicle lol...but I pack plenty of cooking and baking into it! This is the view from my office, not much room huh?

You're all recognize this view, from the "breakfast bar" area. This is where we eat and I photograph all of my foodie shots. When we look for our home to buy, a bigger kitchen is on the wish list. I have a little window that also gets lots of sun. The cats were using it as a viewing area, but I've decided some shelves are going up there for more seedlings.

We have a winner! :) I'm so sorry it took this long for me to announce the winner of my Dom Deluise cookbook giveaway! Cleaning and shopping got in the way! I'm happy to announce that of the ten or so people who entered, Martha's number was picked! Congratulations Martha!! (See Martha's wonderful blogs: Plowing Through Life, Miniaturopolis and The Gateway to Enlightenment)

I'll leave you with some nice closeups of the eight fur-babies, have a great Saturday my friends!! :)





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!