Tuesday, October 30, 2018

simmering soup will cure the gloom

I'll never lose weight at this rate... with the snow (still) falling Sunday, and the day gloomy and grey, it seemed the perfect time to use the lovely leeks that our friend Jim gave us fresh from his garden. I've never cooked with leeks but thanks to the internet a plethora of recipes was at my fingertips.

'Leek and Potato Soup with Bacon' caught my eye with the bonus that it would be made in the instant pot, my favorite kitchen tool. I washed and sliced the leeks while Carm peeled the potatoes. With both of us working it took about 30 minutes to get the soup in the sealed pot. Seven minutes (once it came up to pressure), followed by fifteen minutes of natural release and we had steaming bowls of the most delicious soup warming us. Oh my it was tasty, but gosh, not low calorie... We have soup for two more meals - hurrah.

The warmth from soup rivals the heat from the sun, warming not just my tummy, but also my mood as it chases away the gloom of a dull day.

Monday night we had another meal of beef bourginion but instead of rice made some fluffy mashed potatoes. I use the instant pot for those too - instead of losing all the flavour in a boiling pot of water, the potato chunks are steamed in chicken broth. Carm uses the broth to mash, and last night since I didn't have any butter we used goat cheese. Not low calorie...

Food, glorious food.

Yesterday I visited my brother Graham. When we run out of things to say we transition onto the ever popular topic of music. Graham is 15 years younger than me so it isn't a surprise that our tastes diverge at some points - rap isn't my favorite - but sometimes I am introduced to newer music that suits my ear.

Carm bought a water pick yesterday... the first test spewed water all over the bathroom which has necessitated reorging the bathroom counter and moving all my stuff into the depths of cupboards and drawers. Not very convenient when all I want to do is put on some lipstick! I suppose the counter looks neater, and all that water everwhere will mean that it gets cleaned up more often :-0

"The lore has not died out of the world, and you will still find people who believe that soup will cure any hurt or illness and is no bad thing to have for the funeral either.” 
~John Steinbeck

Sunday, October 28, 2018


The warmth from the roaring fire pushed back the horror of snow sleeting against the house. An east wind blew, howling through the bare branches of the trees. The dark night bore down on us as we huddled in the warm circle of light cast by a hundred LEDs. A taste of the months ahead.

This morning thoughts of caribbean cruises drift through my head. No, they do more than drift... I spend some time on the Princess site dreaming of escapes to warm blue seas.

We were supposed to go to the Acapulco last night, but a 45 min drive in the snow did not appeal, so we stayed inside off the slippery roads. I was relieved that we had said no. Instead we watched the first new Dr. Who with the new doctor - a woman! I think she'll be okay?

Earlier in the day, before the snow, we dashed into Orleans to pick up a case of a new wine we tried. 'Don David' is an interesting malbec that we had tried the night before. We both loved it so much we wanted a stockpile... plus it was $3 off this week.

I'm working backwards in time again as I can't seem to re-start a daily habit of writing. I know that it would be good for my brain so maybe I have to stop worrying about having nothing to say and just write. I don't have to alert you on facebook if it is all gobbly goop, and can let the post sit unread on my blog. I like to capture my life for myself as I enjoy reading back in time and seeing how I was in the past. I suppose my blog is a bit like the tardis - a time travel machine.

So, looking back to Friday: I visited my brother in the afternoon, we planted more garlic when we got home (133 cloves now planted), then we had supper at Trudie & Leo's. A rather busy day.  Thursday Carm dug the garlic bed bigger, we put the patio furniture away (yes, another summer on the swing has come and gone), then as an excuse to get out we went to liquidation. Didn't buy anything there for a change.

Finally, way back on Wednesday, we had Pat, Trudie & Leo over for supper. This time I tried making beef bourginion in the instant pot - the bottle of yucky wine shone in its new incarnation. It was a kluge of a few recipes so I made sure to write down what I had done. I've been dreaming about the leftovers, which I have saved for tonight's Sunday supper.

"Fall hurries you along as you walk the roads, crunching the leaves that have fallen in mad and variegated drifts. The wind makes you ache in some place that is deeper than your bones. It may be that it touches something old in the human soul, a chord of race memory that says Migrate or die—migrate or die."
~Stephen King

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

autumnal scenery

I think I overfilled the instant pot... the big one. I can't seem to make a minestrone soup without putting everything but the kitchen sink into the pot and it ends up way past the 'do not fill past here' mark. I like lots of beans and vegetables in the soup and they all add up. So my fingers are crossed for the next hour that the pot doesn't explode... I think it will be okay cause the cabbage and mushrooms will hopefully shrink at the same rate that the dried beans expand.

I'm going to flit around the calendar for a bit as I've been remiss my daily posts. I'll start with the most notable: a visit from my Aunty Kristine last Wednesday & Thursday. We picked her up from the train station and whisked her back to the chaos in the house (still some stuff from camping not put away, and only a brief whirlwind clean).

We had a wonderful time visiting over supper - the evening flew by and before we knew it the clock was striking past bedtime. It was delightful to see how much we think the same and have the same values. I was surprised that she is even more of a CNN fan than Carm! The stories about my grandmother that I didn't know warmed my heart.

Thursday we gorged on a naughty breakfast and took our time getting ready. We had to get her to my parents before 3pm, but gosh, I didn't want our visit to be over.

Saturday night Jo Ellen and Don joined us for supper. We just had a simple pumpkin with roasted red pepper soup and a tiny bit of toasted pumpernickle bread (not nearly enough of that!). As usual the conversation covered a myriad of topics, including discussion of an 'on the bucket list' river cruise. Not next year but maybe the year after?

Sunday I visited brother Graham while Carm spent some time with his mom.  On our way home we stopped at FreshCo for some groceries and had the pleasure of transiting through my niece Juliette's cash. She was like a speed demon on the register. We did have to deek into the shwarma place first for a sandwich and the best garlic potatoes ever.

The weather has been cold and blustery with a low, grey cloud obsuring the sun. When the sun does peek through we rejoice with lifted spirits, if only for a moment. The time for camping has long passed, instead we huddle with central heating in a well insulated house.

Skiens of geese fly over the house, a melody of honks singing their passage. What are they saying? Are they announcing to the world 'look at us!', or telling the guy next to him to not fly so close? It seems like a lot of energy to burn.

Yes, winter is on its way. So far I'm good and as I go about my day I keep my thoughts on what I have to look forward to. Seventy two days until we leave for our Panama cruise. My suitcase isn't packed, but I've been planning on what I'm going to wear using an app that I downloaded this summer. It's like a puzzle with all my clothes - fun and a good distraction.

I have to lose a few pounds if I'm going to fit into the dresses I bought this summer :-(

Hence, the pot of lentils that I made for lunch yesterday, and the giant pot of soup for the next unforeseeable future. Oh, and I had Carm buy some celery 😜

"Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season, as beautifully as it was taken up. It is the pastime of a full quarter of the year. Dead trees, sere leaves, dried grass and herbs—are not these a good part of our life? And what is that pride of our autumnal scenery but the hectic flush, the sallow and cadaverous countenance of vegetation? its painted throes, with the November air for canvas?"
~Henry David Thoreau, letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

home again... no camping for seven 1/2 months

I'm sitting on the sofa, back home after a few weeks of camping. The house has warmed up to 61F from the frigid 53 that it was when we arrived home. The day is grey and it is actually raining, keeping us from the gargantuan task of unloading for the winter. That's okay, we left camp without breakfast and the necessary 2nd cup of coffee, so chilling out for a bit is okay.

I do wish the rain would stop though - I'd like to get started...

The house seems huge and starkly white after so many weeks in the villetta with its warm wood cabinetry and floors. The cosy space seems warmer, even when it is cold (although to be honest, it never got as cold as this!).

The dogs are huddled up on their various beds and Kabira is still wearing her double outfit. Grace is enjoying the extra space of her giant cage. She may be missing her corner windows though.

Time for a tea.

The rain finally let up around 2pm giving us time to unload the food and appliances. Everything is more or less neatly stored, although there is a pile of stuff on the table. Most of the laundry has been done.

It's not over yet though... all the extranious stuff that we use over the winter has to be unloaded, and more importantly, the trailer has to be winterized.

We have some special company coming on Wednesday, so our filthy house has to be cleaned and guest bed sheets washed. The patio furniture has to come in before it rains again. We need to dig another garlic bed and get that planted in the next few days. The list of to-do's gets longer with each passing hour. I had my vacation and now it is back to reality.

The next day:

Monday night Trudie & Leo dropped by with our mail. We had a rousing discussion about the 'metoo' movement and what it means for woman. Trudie is one of the few women that were never victimized by men so I don't think she really understands what it is all about. Lucky her.

I read a really good article about the topic not long ago, but I can't find it and don't remember the details enough to use it as a discussion point - very frustrating! I would like to redo the conversation as I have given more thought to the problem and could perhaps articulate better. Society blames the woman: she is too provocative and the men can't control themselves - not their fault. Well, who is to define what is provocative? Some men would be sexual predators no matter what. And whose fault is it that some men can't control themselves? Woman's? And when people aren't victim blaming they don't believe. Where's the proof? Without proof the victim isn't believed. And sometimes the situation is such that the woman can't fight back. A job might be at stake. She believes it is her fault - society tells her it is. Victim shaming... and some women are just as guilty of that as some men.

I'm left feeling sad for some women, but angry at the others who can't seem to put themselves in another's place.

"If telling men "don't rape" instead of telling women "don't get raped", is like telling thieves "don't steal" instead of home owners to "lock your houses", why don't we hear more victims of home invasion being told "you got what you deserved for having such a beautiful house on display for everyone to see" ???” 
― Miya Yamanouchi

Friday, October 12, 2018

a brighter day

It was raining when I got up yesterday. The sky was dark and the day seemed dreary. Around 11 am the day brightened, inside the camper with Jo Ellen and Don visiting us. We were cosy and warm in the villetta with spirited conversation and laughter. I made gnocci with mushroom sauce (easy to make in one pot on my fantastic gas stove).

Their tire tracks were barely cold when the phone rang. It was Trudie and they were heading to the Acapulco for supper. I put our supper back into containers (leftovers from roast beef dinner), threw on some nice clothes, then got into the truck for the rough and muddy road out to the highway.

This morning was grey with the hint of sun off to the west. Cold and a bit windy. This camp really feels the wind as it blows cold off the St. Lawerence. A quick walk, a hot coffee, then into the truck to Cornwall so Carm could get some bloodwork done. We stopped at Cora's for a ridiculous breakfast of pancake, 4 bacon strips, 1 sausage, 1 ham, and 2 eggs. And toast. And potatoes. Oh my... I had to let my belt out a notch :-0

A Value Village was across the road so we dashed in to look for a few things. Miracle of miracles we found both. We wanted a basket to cook eggs in the instant pot, and I wanted a very small black "purse" to carry my phone, passport and boarding pass when travelling, and my camera and sail card on the ship. I found something that pretty much does the trick. I might still look at a pacsafe purse though, if I could fine one tiny enough.

Once 'back to camp' we gathered the pack of dogs and went for a long walk. At group camp A the dogs got a bit of time off their leashes for some running time. The joy on the poodles faces was delightful.

It was quiet for the rest of the afternoon with a few short walks to check out all the trailers coming in - apparently it is a sold out weekend. Lots of dogs to pass (note to self: refresh treats in the walking pouch).

We had time for a quick Moroccan soup for supper (oh yeah for my stash of soups in the freezer), before Caroline and Mike arrived for an evening of discourse. Nice.

And that brings me to now. I'll do all my pleasures in one today as I am almost overwhelmed by how lucky I am. Here I am, with someone I love and who loves me, a nice camper, a cold evening which makes cudddling up in the camper all that more great.

I am blessed.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

delayed thanksgiving dinner

Well... this post starts in yesterdays voice. We ended up being too busy for me to finish, especially as I wanted to add some photos.

Bright sunshine greeted us as the wind tried to fling the door open. Yes, it is still windy, but we walked in short sleeves. The dogs were happy that we took the slightly longer loop, especially as I gave them some time to sniff. Aside from food, smelling the wildlife is the next joyful thing for the dogs. We heard there was a flock of 40 turkeys along the road yesterday, so maybe they could smell thanksgiving.

Last night we slept with the fan on above the bed instead of the 2 electric heaters that had been running previous nights. It was an easy 10F warmer in here than a few nights ago.

A funny story: the road down to this campground is 2+ miles of rough gravel road - everything gets rattled and bounced around; we wondered what the state of the inside would be. Well, when we got here, I opened the door, and there, sitting on the counter was a bottle of water and our super expensive dish soap container. Yup. Sitting on the counter almost exactly where I left them. I breathed a sigh of relief and made a mental note not to forget again.

Last night Christina and Hans biked by our site so we were keen to drive down to where they are camped to meet up with them again. As luck would have it, we caught them just as they were leaving so they dropped their bikes and we all went for a rather slow and hot walk. The dogs were dragging their feet in the heat... oh, they looked so old.

After our walk we drove to Ingleside for some groceries then came back to camp for a relaxing afternoon. Plans of Prime Rib supper swirled in my head. I did the planning and got to work. Prime rib, yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts was heaped onto plates and carried to our little table. An effervescent of bubbles washed everything down. Oh yeah!

The kitchen is small but functional. It does require some gymnastics to get everything cooked. The extra pots from the oven were stashed on the bed to get them out of the way. I cooked the brussels sprouts in the actifry which takes up a whole counter. If I didn't already have the table set I could have used it for the giant appliance. The little table that I gave back to Mom would have been handy as an extra surface. I wouldn't have thought of using it though.

After supper Christina and Hans dropped by for an hour.

This morning it is raining. Jo Ellen and Don are due at 11 - I guess we'll be huddled inside.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


Yesterday was moving day and to be honest, we almost moved back home. But we have several more days booked at the bird sanctuary so we'll give it a try. The days have been dreary, occasionally rainy, and cold. It hasn't been the glorious fall that we've had in the past.

Friday Carm played bridge (I think I already talked about that), and by the time he was back to camp I was ready for a diversion.  Too many romantic comedies had rotted my brain. Oh, and a marathon of 'Flight of the Concords'. He got home safe and sound so I was glad.

Sunday we had a late brunch at the Basket Case and then poked around the flea market for a bit. Actually, we didn't poke, we flew through those buildings with our eagle eyes straining to see a wire basket that would fit in the instant pot. No luck, but I did see a really pretty pendant that I have to sleep on as it is a bit pricy. It had lovely blue stones and we all know how much I love blue things.

We didn't do a traditional thanksgiving dinner as I had forgotten to pack the meat thermometer and didn't want to risk ruining the prime rib by winging it. Carm is bringing it down today. Instead we had ravioli with a fresh tomato sauce using the last of the tomatoes from Trudie's garden. We are spoiled with fresh.

Yesterday we dilly dallied around camp until it seemed that the dump station would be clear. Then we said our good-byes to Riverside for another year. This was the 11th year that we'd closed out the park - every year except the first year camping. We love this park, especially our fav campsite. It is easy to walk the dogs without passing many campsites, and actually this time of year they are usually all empty so we feel we have that end of the park all to ourselves.

Today Carm played golf, leaving me to my own devices for much of the day. I walked the dogs first thing, then we all crawled back to bed for a few hours. Spike woke us up at 9:15, which is a fine time to get up. I had my coffee then tried to take a short walk, but was sent back to the trailer before we got too far as it started to rain, and I had left the door open.

Breakfast, then the sun was out luring us into a long walk. The wind was up (big surprise), and it was warm. Far too warm for the longsleeves and vest that I was wearing. Kabira wasn't too sure about the walk, perhaps she remembers from last year how far we can go. Bella and Spike were keen mentally, but their bodies couldn't hold out the enthusiasm. All three lagged for much of the walk.

It might be time to start scaling back the walks... my heart breaks looking at them trying to keep up... Kabira has been looking so old... there is a fading in her eyes that is new this fall. She's 12 1/2 which is old for a Rhodesian. She can still move pretty well, but doesn't have the spark to keep going.

Maybe we'll load the dogs into the truck so we can start our walks further down the road.

Saturday, October 6, 2018


Surely one of these days the weather is going to switch into glorious October days that are slightly reminicent of a September day...

As it is, both heaters are going and I have a light on overhead because the sky is so grey. Not even a hint of sun graces the horizon. We've had rain a few times so far, just light sprinkles, but enough to keep me from a nice walk.

Carm is at his annual bridge tournament for the day, so I am left here to eat all the pancakes and bacon by myself.

I've just come from the freezing cold showers. A trickle of hot water dribbles out of the shower head and there doesn't seem to be any heat in the building. Brrrr. Bracing. Isn't this one of the things that is supposed to put hair on your chest?

Yesterday was nicer, or at least sunny, though cold. We ended up driving around hell's half acre, going home to pick up some stuff, to Costco for a few things, Liquidation for kicks, Giant Tiger, and finally the car wash. Whew! What a marathon. It was too long for the dogs though... when they heard us come to the door they started howling and carrying on. They are usually quiet as a mouse so they must have been desperate to get outside.

We took them for a long walk then had a bit of time for supper before we headed to Caroline & Mike's for a campfire. There was some rousing conversation. Carm is like a dog on a bone sometimes...

Oh! Grace laid an egg the night before last. It was huge and only fell between the grate at the bottom of her cage because it broke from the fall. This is such a weird time of year for this - spring is when we might expect an egg, but not fall camping where the nights often drop to the low 60s inside.

I bought a great puffer coat at Costco a few months ago - I thought it would be great for travelling as it can stuff into its own pocket. As it turns out, it's great for camping, especially with the cold we've been having. It wraps me in a warm embrace.

"And myriad leaves, on which the Summer wrote
Her blushing farewell, at my feet were strown."
~Albert Laighton 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

another rainy and windy day

The rain was pouring down this morning when Spike woke me out with his demand to go outside. Usually if it is raining he holds off, but I guess if you gotta go, you gotta go. The three dogs and I dashed out and managed to get most of the peeing done under the canopy of the big trees. It wasn't that bad, although to Spike's joy, I did get the towel out for a good rubdown when we got back inside.

I climbed back into bed and as soon as they had their breakfast the dogs were up in the bedroom as well. The patter (more than a patter really, more like a pelt) of rain lulled us into a relaxed state.

Later in the morning the rain did let up for a time so that I could get the dogs out for a quick business. They were not thrilled with being out in the gusty wind even though it wasn't raining.

It's now past 3:30. The rain has stopped and the sun has come out. There is a fierce wind drying the earth. Coats and vests were shed, Kabira's outfit put away. Grace is outside. We'll enjoy the nice weather while we can as the forecast calls for 0C overnight.

We had a nice visit with Caroline and Mike this afternoon and have made plans to get together here after supper.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

blankets and heaters

Spike is cuddled against my legs and I've spread out a blanket to cover him and my lap. The fireplace is flickering and the little space heater fan is roaring. It is cold and drizzly outside, and I'd like to say it is toasty in here, but I'd be lying. Carm is out playing golf; I wonder if it is his last round unless the weather changes. If it doesn't we'll likely pack up and cut our camp short.

Monday afternoon Mom came for our annual mother/daughter night. Carm went home, leaving Mom and I to hours of conversation. Laughter and tears. Needless to say, we had a great time and can hardly wait for next year.

Carm went home not only to give Mom and I our time, but also to be there when the electric company and electrician came to install the generator. Hurrah! According to Carm, it seems to work well but glitches when the heat pump starts up. I guess it calls for so much electricity that the water pump fails. It is a simple case of repriming the water tank, but it isn't as seamless as we had hoped.

My toothache is much better but not 100% by any stretch. I'm taking asprin at 4 hour intervals and that seems to work. Last night I switched over to ibuprofin which might be better. I'm gaining weight from all the eating I'm doing to keep my stomach from aching. I guess I have a good excuse, but jeesh.

The straps to replace my broken fitbit strap arrived in the mail so I am counting my steps again. It's about 1200 steps to do the figure 8 loop that I do first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The mid afternoon walk is a bit longer, although not for the last few rainy days. Even Spike, who is always keen to go outside, is lagging at the door (and letting all the cold air in!). There are good things to having older dogs - they aren't driving us crazy with the inactivity.

The sound of that space heater fan is driving me crazy. But there is something nice and cosy about being curled up on the sofa with some music, and the bright windows behind and beside me. Inside, but a little bit outside. If we were home I don't think I'd be doing anything different, and at least being here wipes out the guilt about not painting the basement.

What can I say? Life is good.

My pleasures over the last few days (let's see if I can think of any over the ache of my jaw): salty lox from Trudie; sharing stories with Mom; being outside in the drizzly cold and then stepping into the cosy warmth of the villetta; some of the leaves are starting to change; peacefulness of having the park almost to ourselves; soft warmth of my black merino wool blend top and leggings; talking to Kirsten on my cellphone - yes! from the trailer.

"The time of the falling leaves has come again. Once more in our morning walk we tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze, woven by the winds or the rains out of these delicate textures while we slept.
      How beautifully the leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their last days! There are exceptions, of course. The leaves of most of the fruit-trees fade and wither and fall ingloriously. They bequeath their heritage of color to their fruit. Upon it they lavish the hues which other trees lavish upon their leaves....
      But in October what a feast to the eye our woods and groves present! The whole body of the air seems enriched by their calm, slow radiance. They are giving back the light they have been absorbing from the sun all summer."
~John Burroughs,

Monday, October 1, 2018

not the tooth fairy

I'm sitting here in slightly less pain than I've been in for the last few days. The toothache started Wednesday night, barely there and not worth taking note of. Thursday, when we were coming to Riverside there was slightly more discomfort. Friday...OMG... it was brutal. I called the dentist and got an appointment for 11:40 Saturday morning. Whew. Only one small problem: we'd be 6 for lunch at our place.

Anyway, the dentist poked around, testing cold & hot & air & tapping - nothing. Oh brother. His conclusion is that I was grinding my teeth (which I know I do), and inflamed all the nerves on one side of my mouth. It kinda made sense as the pain was not localized to a particular tooth. So what to do? Take asprin & tylanol 3 for a few days, then get fitted with a mouthguard to wear to bed. Oh bother.

So yesterday I suffered in not so silence, the tylanol sending me to bed for much of the day. This morning, after keeping up an asprin regime I'm somewhat okay, or at least not in agony.

I think I left off on my last post Friday afternoon after Jacques visit. Our socializing didn't end there - we had the people across the road from us (Caroline & Mike) over after supper for a lovely visit.

Then Saturday was the mad dash to the dentist which was a hurry up and wait situation. While I was there, Carm went home and got some (more) stuff. Stuff that we'll just have to remove at the end of this trip... although some of it was food, which we'll probably eat.

We finally arrived back at Camp around 1:45 and had just a few minutes to walk the dogs before Mom & Dad arrived. Ed and Lynne showed up not long after that so we all sat around and had a nice visit. I dashed inside to get lunch ready - Italian beef (which luckily I had cooked a few days before), rice in the instant pot, and green beans in the actifry. It was a nice day but cool, and with clouds racing across the sky obscuring the warming sun, I decided we'd eat inside.

Six people for a sit down meal in the trailer requires a bit of organization. Carm moved the dog beds from behind the table and dug out our extra chairs. The little round table came inside and voila! Room for six. We crammed in and had a good time with lots of interesting conversation.

After a rather late lunch we piled into cars to drive over to the Harkness house which is for sale. This pretty stone home is where my great grandmother was born. It was fun to walk around the property and imagine her growing up. The property is beautiful, but I couldn't help but notice how much work needed to be done, aside from the grounds care.

Mom and Dad left straight from there, while Ed and Lynne came back to camp where we gabbed till almost 11pm!

Sunday morning (too bright and early for me as I'd been up for most of the night in agony), we went with Ed & Lynne to the Basket case for a hot breakfast. My omlette hit the spot where a giant lead weight was banging away. I felt strange from the codine in the tylonal 3s. I was miserable and didn't even want to go to the flea market, instead crashing on the bed as soon as we got 'home'. I spent most of the rest of the day dozing with Spike cuddled up against me.

All that sleep seems to have done some good. I cut out the tylonal instead taking asprin. I ate like crazy with each dose and not longer get a gut ache. My mouth almost feels back to normal, but I am being very careful to not bite down (soft food only for me!).