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.

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