Sunday, August 28, 2016


We returned from our family cottage time yesterday. Unlike days or yore, my children left of their own accord due to their own busy life schedules. In a few days, my son and his new bride are taking a long car trip to British Columbia, excited with making new lives there. An adventure for sure - but hard on Mom. I appreciated our precious short cottage time together and let's not talk about it. 

Cottage life means close quarters! For Lulu, it means one-on-one 24 hours a day. 

I'm trying to enjoy my morning coffee here but Lulu insisted on a belly rub so she got right up in my chair to make her point clear. 

It means lots of time to catch up on naps. Here is Lulu again to demonstrate:

My Fitbit tsk-tsked me on the minimal number of steps I was putting in but I was making up with lots of sleep. The cottage life is the only time my alarm is not set for 5:30 am. 

It means we play lots of games! My son in law, Dan, LOVES games and brought a cartload with him.

Just look at that face! Whose the Happy Boy!!

It means lots of good food, and sunshine.


It means lots of time to read. 

I finished one book, completely read another and got halfway through the third. My usual reading time involves a few minutes on my lunch break at work and about 10 before I completely conk out at bed.

But Cottage Life means so much more to me. 

It means I listen to the sounds of water slapping the rocks and of birds like the Peewee in the forest or the startling croak of a Blue Heron. 

It means my time is measured by the sky: how long before the sun peeks out from behind a cloud as I watch it slowly light up the trees around the lake until I bask in its warmth. 

It means swimming, swimming swimming.

It means I can spend as much time as I want with my morning coffee, meditating and praying. If I know you, I've probably prayed for you this week!

The Cottage Life for me is slow down, relax, read, eat, sleep, connect. 

One week a year, 7 days out of 365 (give or take) I'm fortunate to enjoy cottage life. 

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program!

Monday, August 22, 2016


The last two days have been contrasting ones for me! This is our week at the cottage but I, unfortunately, did not get the full week off. 

That means I left my husband, my kids, their spouses and my dog at the cottage while I did the 2 1/2 hour trip back to Belleville so I could work the next couple days. It is like living in two totally different worlds.

Sheldon and I arrived at the cottage on Saturday and first on my list was a swim. Afterwards, I did not brush my hair, just ran my fingers through it to dry.  To add to the new hairdo, Sunday dawned grey, wet and damp. The outcome was a total frizzy mess. 

Yesterday, I watched the grey waves jump up to meet the grey sky. I drank my coffee laced with Baileys like some sort of hippie: with wild frizzy hair and bra-less. I walked Lulu along the dirt cottage road looking at nothing but layers of green, brown and grey. I listened to the sound of the wind in the woods and on the water and the loons crying. I hung out in a tiny cramped cottage surrounded by my family.

Today I got up and washed, blow dried and straightened my hair into submission. I put on make up, heels, a skirt and my bra. I looked at a parking lot full of glinting metal and monitor screens. I now am alone, save for my couple of cats, in a house that seems large and empty. Talk about yin and yang!

After work tomorrow I will make the 2 1/2 hour trip back to the cottage and enjoy the rest of the week with my family at the cottage. I'm going back to that other world of water and wood and leaving the car infested, pavement thick one behind. 

I'll tell you all about it when I get back!

Saturday, August 13, 2016


I opened a new restaurant in my back yard last night. Actually Sheldon and I prepared it last night for the grand opening this morning. 

It is a flashy affair with an elegant hook to swing from and a shiny copper roof and perches but initially it did not cause much of a stir in the neighbourhood.

My old birdhouse came with the house, where we have now lived  for 12 years. After that length of time it was starting to malfunction. The other morning I got up to see a raccoon shuffling about underneath it. As I stepped outside (careful to keep Lulu in!) it rambled off. But what did I see sitting right inside the bird feeder mowing down on the birdseed?

It was not a bird, I can tell you that! Pretty dang adorable but I am not buying birdseed for him. 

Eventually my new restaurant started to draw some attention. 

You can always count on the curious chickadee to be the first one at the table. 

Soon I had more customers. 

A sparrow and white breasted nuthatch!

I love the art of cooking and feeding, the whole process of it and the joy and sustenance it provides. 

We have been going to the market each weekend. Everything is so fresh right now I want to take advantage of the amazing flavours at my fingertips. 

Tonight, not to be outdone by the new restaurant in my backyard, I created a dish of roasted vegetables with salmon.

Here is the recipe, should you want to give it a try!

I made a marinade of salt, pepper, garlic powder and whatever seasoning I had on hand with some olive oil. I mixed that up and put in red pepper, sweet potato, and mushroom. Once they were well oiled I roasted the pepper and potatoes at 380 degrees for about half hour on a parchment lined pan (I added the mushrooms near the end). 

The fresh market corn was husked and boiled and I just used a knife to scrape off the kernels. 

The salmon was marinaded in a maple syrup glaze and pan fried in lemon infused olive oil. NEVER overcook salmon!! 

Then I put the veggies and salmon on a bed of spring greens and sprinkled the corn on top.  I used a beautiful balsamic vinegar for a dressing but you don't really need one.

Top that off with some fresh Ciabatta and local County Cider and the birds and raccoons will be quite envious. 

Bon appetite!!

Sunday, August 7, 2016


I mentioned a couple blogs back how very hot and dry this summer has been. Our city has put us all on red alert to decrease our water use by 50%! My sweaters are beginning to wonder if we are still friends anymore; they are neglected and listless, hanging on chairs and hooks. 

In the midst of hot hazy days and endless blue skies, there are perks to enjoy, and I'm about to show them to you, so scroll on.

Outside summer concerts and definitely a summer perk.

This one took place in Port Milford way out in Prince Edward County at a summer music camp, held each year. These kids blew my mind with their talent!

The market, regardless of the lack of rain, is showing off it's bounty. I rode my bike down to check out the goods!

Who could resist these sunny faces? I did, only because I could not stuff them in my back pack.

But the vegetables and fruits could be carried so I loaded up on them.

Fresh fruit is soooooo much better than when it arrives in the dead of winter. 

The strawberry season has passed but we now have a new ever bearing type to enjoy. 

And let's not forget the vegetables to be had!

Corn on the cob anyone??

I whipped up a batch of vege chilli to enjoy

Yesterday as hubby and I were perusing the market we discovered Sheldon's bike had a flat tire. Never fear, just around the corner is a handy Bike repair shop called "The Brake Room".

This is not your average Bike Repair shop. It's hip and trendy with cool vibe music playing. 

And you can buy a snack and have a bevy while you wait!

I enjoyed this cold coffee (yes, it's coffee) while the young, hip and cool dudes fixed up Sheldon's bike. 

Enjoy the perks of summer - outdoor concerts, fresh fruit and veggies, eating al fresco, cold coffee bevies and so much more. 

And don't worry sweaters, I have not forgot you. We will soon be inseparable again.