Sunday, September 23, 2018

MARKET FRESH HARVEST PARTY!

It's the best time to check out the local produce at your local Farmer's market or stand. In Canada, we have such a wide variety of goods available; vegetables, fruit, cider, wines, honey, breads and I could go on. Good time to dig in!

I like to celebrate by hosting a dinner that I call a "Market Fresh Harvest Party." I invited a bevy of folks over to bring a dish consisting of at least some locally fresh ingredients, set the table, light the candles and let the feast begin!


We started with a fresh sweet potato soup that my friend Kelly brought. This was sweet and spicy and rich. There was a slight chill in the air and this was a great way to warm up the tummy.

Onto the main meal! So.Much.Good.Food! Kelly's husband Marcus who I suspect is in the wrong career and should be a chef, brought a breadless stuffing.


There was also local beans, pickles, carrots and I made a mushroom parmentier.

My good friends Kevin and Shari brought this gorgeous beet salad.


And Justin and Cheryl who own a local farm (Providence Family Farm) where they raise fresh nonGMO produce provided for the meatatarians: ham and chicken and their homemade Kambucha! I'm not a big Kambucha fan but I have to admit, it was delish. Besides, it's a really fun word!

Full yet? Hope not cause there's dessert coming!  I made a fresh blueberry/peach crumble pie and picked up local grapes.


There was local honeycomb. Just slice of a chunk of that little miracle and pop it in your mouth!


How about a chocolate chip cookie made from Providence Family Farm butter and lard to go with your coffee?


The kids ran around the back yard and squealed like only kids can. Lulu pilfered as many scraps from willing volunteers that she could and we all enjoyed the abundance.


Thanks to everyone who came and provided such amazing food! 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

JUST YOUR AVERAGE EVERY-DAY IDIOT LOOKING FOR ANSWERS

You Idiot!! I mutter under my breath. You might be quick to say, now Cyndi, you are not an idiot and you should never bad mouth yourself!

But I like to call a spade a spade and sometimes, it's true - I'm just an idiot. 

I put my hand on that hot stove.

I walk towards the smoke cause I know there's fire.

I say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong person. 

I've discovered something though and that's part of the point. I learn something when I screw up. I usually learn a lot. Don't always  remember to avoid that particular faux pas but I will..eventually. 

Some people spend their lives seeking pleasure, or power, or money. I've always been keen on seeking wisdom. 


So what is wisdom? Good question! I'm still learning but this is what I've figured out so far. It's readily available for anyone who wants it, but you have to seek it like a hidden treasure. How you spend that treasure is also wisdom. You have to know how to apply the knowledge - timing can be everything. And not just timing but delivery! As my son-in-law would say "Read the Room!"

Wisdom is insight, sound judgement, plain old good sense. It is no respecter of person or age. Scripturally speaking it is begins with the Fear of the Lord, which in layman's terms means a good healthy respect and understanding that there is a God who happens to have the answers and you are more than welcome to ask Him. 


You can certainly gain wisdom from experiences, from reading, listening, watching. You can be considered wise if you know when to talk. I think you are even wiser if you know when to keep your mouth shut. 

I will continue to seek out wisdom. In my book, it's a treasure that's worth finding. And I'm just your average every-day idiot looking for answers. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

WHEN THEY RETURN TO THE NEST

The goal was to keep it a secret! Adrian and Carolyn were coming from B.C. to meet their brand new nephew and we wanted to surprise Randi and Dan. I'm pleased to say we pulled it off and once they were here I went into full-on celebration mode.



This was a quick trip so we packed it all in, starting with spending the day at the Sand Banks in The County. I love spending time with these two, no matter how short!



A full day at the beach required refreshments! Adrian made us a beautiful cocktail from "Pims" and fresh fruit. My Padawan has learned well!




The next day meant getting as many of the family together for a feast that we could manage on short notice. 


This included both sets of great grand parents, the kids, Carolyn's parents and the star of the show, Soren!



He took to his Uncle Adrian well!



And listened intently to what the Great Grandmothers had to say


We continued to pass him around which he put up with


But had to stifle a sneeze at one point!


Carolyn's parents decided to consider him an honorary grandson


I actually took advantage of having a few other photographers around at finally got a pic with Soren myself.



The years raising children seem long and can be tremendously difficult. But then, they leave and sometimes move far, far away. So when they return to the nest, take time to celebrate, reconnect and love one another!

Monday, September 3, 2018

MUD PUPPY RETREAT


I was at the Ophthalmologist's the other day. I explained to the girl checking my eyeballs out I had just returned from the cottage and had barely had time to make myself respectable before my appointment. "Oh yeah!" she said "I've been a mud puppy most of the summer!" A mud puppy is when you are barely decent - no makeup, lucky to have your underwear on, occasionally washing your face, you get the picture. 

So when I went on a girls only camping trip we coined it a "Mud Puppy Retreat". I went with my friend Kelly (she's always up for adventures - see blog about the time we climbed a snowbank - January 2016) and her daughter Naomi. 

We did a back country trip in Bon Echo at Joeperry Lake. 

Naomi was a kayak-pro!

While Kelly and I canoed over with most of the gear.

As always, we ate well! Salmon with veggies and garlic sticks. We tried our hand at a new option which we deemed "Banadadillas" which is basically like a quesadilla except there was banana and peanut butter in them.


And Kelly's husband Marcus freeze dried us enough stew to feed nearly every camper on the lake! 

I love back country camping - you can't beat the scenery!

Beauty sunsets....

And waking up to beautiful mornings. 

We had a crazy thunderstorm where there was so much rain the bottom of my tent was akin to a water bed. But we mud puppies managed to keep that campfire burning!


Of course, there's always something left behind and in this case, it was the stove which I was supposed to bring. So a quick canoe back across the lake and a drive in to a store solved that problem. 

It was a great trip and we are hoping to make it an annual event. If you don't mind thunderstorms when you are in a tent, water snakes and being a Mud Puppy, maybe you can join us!




Sunday, August 26, 2018

LIFE AFTER A ROOT CANAL

Now here's a question some of you may have pondered. The dreaded root canal...a tortuous procedure that makes the toughest cringe at the thought. 

Well I'm about to answer that for you, cause I had my first one this week! But first a little background...

A Big cavity is discovered in my back molar. Seems the little sneak had been gleefully growing under an old filling. The dentist looks doubtful but we try to fill it an hope for the best. No go....root canal or pull the whole thing. I'm going for pulling, but at the ninth hour, when I'm literally about to get the freezing, there is a change of heart and I decide to give this old molar one last chance. 

So off I go to a specialist and let the root canal begin. Ok....not as bad as I thought...I'm well frozen and it seems to me the endodontist is getting a pretty good upper body workout but after about 40-45 minutes the deed is done. 

What remains though is a pretty tender mouth and I've been living off of soft foods for most of the week: oatmeal, yogurt, stuff like that. Since I'm eating this way, might as well make the best of it.

How about a nice risotto with fresh local peas and mushrooms!

Risotto, like a root canal, takes a little time. You start with waking up the rice in a bath of olive oil and white wine:


Now here comes the part that takes a while, you have to add broth (chicken, vegetable) a little at a time and just keep stirring between each and watch the rice get fatter and fatter.


So, just hang out at the stove, pour a little of the wine for yourself and keep stirring. I'm reminded of the scene with Billy Crystal in Princess Bride as he brings Wesley back to life: "Hey! Hello in der?!! What's so important? Whatcha got that's worth livin' for!?" Risotto...I've got Risotto. No need to hurry, I'll just keep stirring and sipping.

Eventually after about 20-25 minutes, you have big, fat, happy rice with mushrooms and peas tucked in, all soft and easy to eat.


Life after a root canal does exist. You may have to change your diet a bit for a while but like Twooo Wove, it's worth livin' for!



Saturday, August 18, 2018

A LAKE ROMANCE

Have you ever noticed, some of the best moments, seem timeless? We wrap them up and tuck them away. They are warm and welcoming every time we take them out. 

Cottage time is like that for me. It is a timeless place, warm and welcoming. 

And there's the lake

I love the lake. I love it in the morning with the mist kissing the surface. I sip my coffee wrapped in a blanket and watch it slowly say goodbye as the sun rises.


The clouds start marching by reflecting in the still water

We have lunch down on the dock: all good things with cheeses and bread and fresh fruit and dips


With discretion, my daughter, her long time friend Alyssa and myself slip into the silky water sans bathing suits. I love "vimming"  when I get the chance. We are a funny trio of water naiads indeed. Alyssa a tall statuesque blond, myself with my 50+ body and then there's my daughter. Randi is naturally curvy but having only given birth 3 weeks earlier she is downright voluptuous! She looks like a  grecian goddess come to life; a living renaissance painting. 


I spend most of the day at the lake, enjoying our romance in the short time we have together. I read there, pray there, muse there. I swim. 

I watch my grandson with my daughter, his first visit to this special place.

Like any good romance, my life is changed. My very defined routine is set aside, the demands and timelines are taken from my hands and the lake woos me to slow down and listen.


The sun sets, Cottage time comes to an end.


But don't worry. My romance with the Lake is tucked away, timeless, warm and inviting.

Monday, August 6, 2018

IN THE SUMMERTIME

"Ch..chch uh..ch..chch uh, in the summertime when the weather is fine!" I realize about half of you will recognize that. The other half...not so much! So for you not so much ones or for your nostalgic ones:Mungo Jerry - In The Summertime - YouTube

It's Summertime! And the living is easy! Ella Fitzgerald - Summertime (1968) - YouTube (another classic!)

It's no secret I thrive in summer. Heat? Humidity? bah  - bring it on.  Who needs Central air? I want to feel the thick, sleepy summer breathe on me. I want my windows open and listen to the sound of the wind. I want the fan whining slowly over my head while I doze in an afternoon nap. 

Summer means big brash flowers

Bike rides and canoe trips

It means being at the cottage where coffee time can last up to an hour and a half instead of a quick 15-20 minutes

Walks on the beach 

And watching the Sun set

My wine choice switches up from reds to crisp whites (don't forget to throw in some fresh berries)

And eating Al Fresco, outside every night, be it a light summer meal,

Or a full on hearty barbecued steak!

Winter's are long, cold and damp here in Ontario. Let me put on my short, shorts and hop in my bike or dive into a cool Canadian lake and dry off basking in the sun. Ch..Chch uh... Ch..chch uh....