Thursday, December 29, 2011

almost Happy New Year - 2012!

Our blog has a New Year's resolution, we'd like more followers...if you read it, please become a follower!  We'd like to thank Emily for the faithful comments....and other people commenting would be very welcome as well.  On the tinfoil tiaras blog you will see Emily (daughter) looking lovely in front of our barn and with Marmalade on the bench by the side of the house. 

We had a great Christmas Eve, enjoying tortiere (a wonderful French Canadian  meat pie) and wonderfully decorated surroundings at our dear neighbours' home across the street.  Snow had steadily fallen all day, so the walk over was magical, indeed.  We shovelled the car out and enjoyed a beautiful candlelit service at our St. Luke's in Annapolis Royal.  Brian was one of the readers and did a fine job, I love singing the carols at this joyous time of year.  We came home and watched the Black Adder documentary before falling into bed.  Brian awoke me wondering if I'd heard the shouting in the night. No, I'd slept soundly.  He then wondered if I'd heard the scraping noises on the roof.  Good heavens, I thought, are the shingles blowing off...will we need a new roof on top of everything else!!!???  Well, he then surmised that I must not have heard a voice yelling "Damm it...the chimney's hot and there's a lid on it!"  A stunned moment later I cracked up...he always can tease me!

I have to admit to snuggling under the covers again, while Brian made some phone calls to England.  We finally opened lovely presents before arriving in Granville Ferry to enjoy my friend Kim's fantastic eggs benedict, a new treat for us, and the fun of checking out their daughters' new toys and goodies.  Next stop was Aunt Marg's, where there was more present opening, a fantastic turkey dinner with the best gravy I've ever had, a domino game where I got the worst score I've ever had, and all in was a marvellous Christmas!

Boxing day included a hike in the sunny snow covered woods, and a pot-luck gathering at Aunt Thelma's where her adorable great-grandbabies got cuddled and 19 family members opened even more presents! 

We were delighted to host a surprise birthday party for cousin Marcia (of de-construction fame this spring) and she was very surprised indeed.  We attended a great party, where Brian learnt the uniquely Canadian game of crokinole.

Tomorrow is chores day...there's been far too much frivolity and chocolate..time to get some work done!  I need some shelves in the kitchen for my cookbooks, the beam in the basement needs adjusting, the drip from the shower needs sorting, and there is a towering pile of paperwork to be dealt with.  New Year's plans?  None yet...but vague intentions (I find "resolutions" far too vehement and terrifying) include the annual 1. get in shape  2. produce even more art than last year  3. get this house finished so I can start up my British cream teas (yummy) business, and have a WARM studio...Brian's resolution is that he doesn't make resolutions.  A PROSPEROUS, HAPPY and HEALTHY 2012 TO YOU ALL!

Pictures follow, and remember....become a follower of our blog, puleeeeese!
I enjoyed making a mini-cupcake tree!
The river starting to freeze.

A prickly fringe of icicles.
Brian NOT impressed with a Thomas toy!

The house in the snow.

The snowy mountain.

A flock of starlings highlighted against the snow.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

One Christmas Day to go!

Ho...ho...ho....It's -6c outside, toasty inside the bed here with the thermal fleece sheets (compliments of Aunt Marg and Uncle Bill...many thanks!) and an orange and white hairy hot water bottle by the name of Marmsie.  It's snowing, and Brian is grumbling about the "bloody snowplow" as he gets ready to go shovel.  The plough roars along the road outside the house, depositing a small mountain of snow along the width of the driveways as well as clipping any mailboxes that lean into it's path.  It's just shot by and we can see the ridge of the snow left in it's wake above the fallen snow.

This is quite a contrast to last week when we trudged up the Longley Mountain Road with Uncle Nels to cut down our Christmas tree.  Very green and mushy underfoot then.  The tree is sweet, decorated with ornaments from my grandmother, mother, my childhood, some from England and some made by Em and Steph,

I picked up Em, Steph and Maher from Wolfville on Friday the 16th, where Steph had just finished her last exam.  They wedged in between groceries just purchased and a lot of suitcases.  We descended upon the warm house, where Brian and a roaring fire in the woodstove awaited us.  The open house the next day saw fifty people dropping in, and although we forgot to take pictures, a good time was had by all. 

Sunday included a church service and pot luck lunch in the church hall followed by decorating the church.  Emily, Steph and I then walked up the street to the Art Gallery where we enjoyed a closing reception for the Member's show.  Emily bought a decorated tree and purchased a photo by Lisa Proulx, a talented local photographer.  Brian and Maher skipped the reception and gleefully trotted down the street to the pub where they flirted with the waitresses, drank and ate fried cheese sticks and chicken wings.  We dragged them home and had a Zumba practice in the living room, as Emily was wanting to rehearse for the class she was giving invited friends at the Tupperville Village Hall. 

On Monday, the three ladies went shopping, leaving the men ensconsed in the warm living room with computers.  That evening we had great fun at Emily's Zumba class...she is a talented, enthusiastic instructor with great moves and music. 

Tuesday was our first Christmas.  We slept in a bit, Brian got some emergency groceries, and we opened presents.  Dinner preparations then took place, with Brian master-minding the timetable and basting.  We enjoyed a great feast, with the vegetarians having mock chicken fajitas, and the veg from the turkey meal.  A super day ending with laughter as we watched "An Idiot Abroad" that Maher had downloaded. 

Wednesday we dropped the kids off in Wolfville to go onto their father's for the rest of the holiday.  It was great to have spent time with them.  Brian and I then went to see "Sherlock Holmes 2", and went home to a quiet house!  I was impressed with Maher's delicious lentil soup, Steph's cupcake tree, and Emily's shepherd pie and dish washing skills. 

We are looking forward to more festivities today, Christmas Eve and tomorrow, Christmas Day with church services, and visits with family and friends.  We hope you have a joyous holiday.

To ensure our guest's comfort level in un-insulated bedrooms, Brian moved the basement heater to the long bedroom that Emily and Maher shared.  This involved some re-wiring, but it worked well.  Steph relied on an electric blanket. 

All the old, original windows in the house now have a layer of thick, clear plastic sheeting called vapour barrier on them to help insulate.  When there is a high wind, they suck gently in and out...showing how much draft they trap! 

Brian was on the roof of the summer porch last week, hammering and caulking in place the metal L-shaped strip that will prevent the rain/snow/bats from coming in the crack between the main house and the porch.  When the house was lifted, the builders were unable to get the summer porch to settle back properly against the main house.  Some work has been done to fill the gap, but extensive work on the roof and house sides will have to be done next year. 

We will be starting work on the house again in March 2012, with the removal of ceilings on the second floor.  This may be hazardous, as the ceiling cavities are full of mice, racoon and bat poo, not to mention the overall sad state of the ceiling!  When Brian and the electrician were in the attic, checking on wiring, Brian wondered about the large amounts of old corn husks under the floorboards.  Another wacky type of insulation?  No, the electrician explained, racoons must have wintered in the attic over the years, and the corn was their food.  I hate corn, so am grateful for truffles.  Note to self:  start fitness program on Jan. 2

Nels and Brian on the Longley Mountain Road in search of the tree.

Interesting patterns on the freezing puddles.

The men with the appointed tree.

On the way home with our prize!

A little Zumba rehearsal in the living room.

Lovely Steph making delicous salmon spread.

Sisters chatting.

Em looking lovely as Brian does her fashion photos outside in front of the barn.

I recently hosted an ArtyParty in the studio...we painted Maude Lewis cats!

My favourite Christmas treats...homemade truffles!

Marmalade on the snowy step.

Brian took this shot from the warmth of the gallery overlooking the rink where he curls.

View from the back step.

A beautiful winter sunset.