This is International Day of Forests; and although I've always liked forests, since moving home (where there's more forest than city or town), I have fallen deeply in love with forests. Being surrounded by nature always rejuvenates me. The Japanese call this "Forest Bathing"(shinrin-yoku); the Norwegians call it "Free Air Life" (Friluftsliv); I call it a magical gift from God. So, as promised, today I'll share with you a little more of my "craic" weekend and take you into the forest with me.
On Monday, I went snowshoeing for my first official snowshoe AND my first official winter "boil up".
A hiking group buddy and I headed off into the forest just beside her house. In any other season, you wouldn't be able to venture there because it's mostly bog. But this time of year, there's a great snowmobile trail that's very well used. We treked for almost an hour on the trail, stopping often for breathers and just to enjoy the beauty around us. It wasn't a sunny day, but it was clear and relatively mild -- a perfect day for a hike!
Cindy pointed out the steep uphill and downhill path that some snowmobilers take, following the electrical lines.
Not for these old knees!
We passed over 2 bogs, went round a pond and then crossed our last bog to head into a spot where trees had been cleared a little; a perfect spot for a fire as we had ready made stools in place!
Cindy came prepared with lint-stuffed toilet paper rolls, newspaper and kindling to start the fire. We gathered some deadfall, stomped out a flat surface in the snow, put down a sheet of foil and began our construction. After lighting the starters, we topped the fire with some 'blasty boughs' (blasty - Of the branch(es) of a spruce or fir, dead and dry but with the needles, now red or brown, still adhering; esp in comb blasty bough, blassy: such a branch which, used as kindling, burns with a quick, fierce, crackling flame.)
I got Cindy's camp kettle out of my knapsack, filled it with snow (several times), and we had a royal boil up!
We dined on roast beef sarnies, chocolate chip 'n' mint cookies and had cup after cup of the most delicious tea I can ever remember having. It was so tasty!
After sitting and soaking in the outdoor "hygge" for about an hour, we packed up our stuff, covered the remains of our fire with snow, and put our snowshoes back on, filled with such a feeling of well being and contentment.
No Cindy's were harmed in the making of this picture!
The return trip was easy because the uphills were now all downhills. Alas! Cindy's snowshoe didn't quite make it over this fallen tree. And as the snow is a great insulator, I didn't hear a thud as she hit the ground. I heard her laughing, and when I turned around, this is what I saw.
Now honestly! If she hadn't been laughing, I would have helped her up BEFORE I snapped the picture. Honestly!
It was an amazing adventure and one I hope to do again before the snow melts.
My youngest daughter treated me to a great pub lunch. She then fulfilled one of the requests I've been passing on to all and sundry to check out the new mico-brewery in town, Bootleg Brew Co. I love my beer! And the only thing I love more than my beer is checking out new varieties; never let it be said of me (proud Newfie girl that I am) that I let a nearby beer go untried and untested.
We began by ordering the "board" of brew samples.
Now, at 63, I'm a veteran beer drinker; I have a few pints under my belt! And being an exemplary mother and role model, I made the sacrifice to drink the darker beers and be satisfied with just a taste of the lighter ones. My tipple of choice is a rich, amber ale. And I like a touch of fruity flavor. So, with the breakdown info at hand, Libby tried the East Coast pale ale, the Squiffy Boy IPA and the Winter Ale. I tried the Winter Warmer spiced ale (which was quite lovely), the Fighting Irish red ale, an okay ale, and the Flanker smoked porter.
Fish burps are so ladylike!
Well, I'd never throw out a drink that I'd paid for myself. But trying to drink the smoked porter without making a face was difficult. It smelled very smokey indeed -- not a problem. But past that first taste of smoke is the taste of fish -- not a problem on a hook or in a fry pan; but in a beer? Subsequent tastes did not improve. So, I drank my wee glass down quickly and was rewarded with an unpleasant series of "smoked mackerel" burps!
"Moderately bitter, tropical fruit & mango flavors".
Well, one definitely has to get the taste of smoked fish out of one's mouth, n'est pas?
So, I choose to treat myself to a favorite from Libby's three. I bought myself a pint of 'Squiffy Boy' (Squif·fy - slightly drunk). I mean, who wouldn't want to try something with a name like that! It was quite delicious and satisfying. Yummy!
The happiness you see is not JUST because of the beer! I swear!
In spite of my love of beer, I don't drink a lot of it any longer. So, after the 3 wee glasses and a pint, I could just slightly feel the effects. So, being a responsible adult (and still in my sacrificial role model mode), I decided perhaps a walk was in order. One of the entrances to my usual Glenmill Inn Pond walk was not far away. So, I took an hour and walked round the pond enjoying the 5 pm quiet and solitude.
The remainder of my evening was spent with my ole pal Netflix. Libby, on the other hand, being younger and having more stamina, went out with friends 'on the lash' (On the lash — to go out drinking.). When I called her Sunday, I wasn't all that surprised to hear her 'olagonin'! (Olagonin'— Moaning/Complaining).
I've only been at this job for a year and a half; and after two very busy weeks, imagine my delight at being told this morning that we have Monday off ..... for St Patrick's Day! Who takes a holiday for St Paddy's Day? Well, apparently the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador does; and we follow their lead (in this regard).
Hurray for surprise days off!
One of my daughter's was born on a St Patrick's Day, brought into this world in Halifax NS by an Irish nurse-midwife. How fitting. Unfortunately, we can't be together as she's thousands of miles away. But I insist on grabbing every opportunity to have fun and celebrate, especially as she's one of the greatest joys in my life. So, my youngest daughter and I will help her celebrate from a distance by dressing in green and going for brunch at a new micro-brewery in town.
But no green beer for me! I prefer a nice, rich, amber ale.
I only adorn myself with the best St Paddy's accoutrements a la Canadian Dollar Store!
Sadly, I don't have a disco ball!
In the meantime, I will spend my long weekend walking, dancing (It's Friday Night!) and watching Netflix.
I love a good slice of pie (or 2 ... or 3 even). My Mom made the most wonderful pie crust: crisp and flakey, not too "fatty" -- a perfect crust! "It's easy," she'd say to me. But I could never replicate it.
When I was an at-home Mum in Nova Scotia in the late 80's (the apple capital of the world), we'd buy huge 20 lb bags of apples in the fall for under $10. I would bake pie after pie after pie and gift some to friends; but I'd always have at least half a dozen in the freezer. I've gotten out of the habit and my pie crust isn't as good as it used to be, so I don't bake many pies now a days.
But I still love a good pie; and it hardly matters what flavor (although I will choose cherry a la mode if it's available). My ex's mother used to make the most wonderful squash pie (substitute for pumpkin) -- spicy, deep and rich. And I'm always on the look out for the best coconut cream.
Not my pie but mine is similar and tastes just as good!
Today's lunch is pie! Yesterday I decided to add some cornbread to the top of my chili and VOILA! Instant (cheater) tamale pie, a favorite savory pie in our household!
And oh, couldn't you just swoon at the sight and taste of a good meat-filled hand pie. The Farmer's Market in Lunenburg NS sold the most wonderful hand-pies. The perfect lunch huh: so convenient and comforting and delicious!
I don't know about your area, but I haven't heard of anyone giving out free pie today. Darn!!! But I hope that you do get to eat pie today in whatever form you enjoy.
Valerie at A Mixed Bag wrote a recent blog post 'retiring' her dishwasher and said the transition back to hand washing was an easy one. That got me thinking about how much I enjoy washing dishes. Not ALL the time: Xmas dishes after preparing a dinner for 8-16 people was always something I passed on to those who didn't help prepare!
As the eldest daughter in a family of 7, I was the dishwasher. When we got our first dishwasher in the late 60's, I was pretty excited! Now I only had to do the pots and pans.
When I was married with 3 small children, we were gifted a hand-me-down dishwasher. I was a stay-at-home Mom in those days, and I cooked and baked a lot; so it was really convenient. But our sole water supply was a dug well had to be closely monitored in the summer. So, it didn't last long. This was one of the first chores I passed to my children -- an easy and fun task for most kids (at least until the teen years).
Sometimes when I was out with friends and they'd talk about issues with their dishwashers, I would say that I had 3 dishwashers ..... but neither of them worked particularly well. Hahaha!
In everything that my Mom taught me, she had a particular 'method' -- "There's a right way, Sandra!" she would say over and over again. (As I did with mine.) My Mom's chores were always organized and methodical. And it was important that things look 'nice'. (Did you know there's a right and wrong way to hang clothes? No! Well, just ask me!)
My Mom's dishwashing method was as follows:
Hot, soapy water in the right hand sink; clean hot water in the left for rinsing.
"Start with the least dirty things", she'd say. So, glasses first.
Cutlery goes into the water to 'soak' while you wash the next category of dirty dishes -- cups and mugs.
Plates and bowls next.
And then your pots and pans and larger, dirtiest utensils such as spatulas, soup ladles, etc.
And when it came to putting the dishes into the dish drainer, things had to be lined up according to size. Larger plates always went to the back, salad plates next and dessert plates or saucers next. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Cutlery had to be stacked so that the surfaces that touched your mouth were up top; that way, the water and any residual soap drains to the handles.
I've been washing dishes for 50+ years. And in the past couple of years, I've noticed how much I enjoy the mindless act of dishwashing. I find there's a kind-of peace that comes from it. I'll turn on Stingray Music to the spa channel. Prep my dish pan of hot soapy water (only one sink in my kitchen) and let the fun begin!
I use all my senses. Someone gave me scent-free dish soap and I added a little Tea Tree oil: I like that scent and it doesn't irritate my scent allergy. I like the feel of the hot sudsy water on my hands, especially if they're aching that day. I like lining up my dishes --- 'the right way' so my Mom would be proud.💖 And I like the 'construction' challenge of trying to fit everything on my dish drainer so that it all fits, drains adequately and the air can get to it all. I LOVE that air drying is safer than dish towel drying! (Angelic choirs singing!) And I myself sometimes sing while washing up.
I love that I can stop to dance round the kitchen if I feel so inclined (and I usually do). I like that pots and such can soak while I wipe down surfaces. I love that nothing cleans your fingernails like a good dishwashing session! (Ewwww!) And I love putting on my hemp hand cream afterwards -- how thick and luxurious it is and how it feels like my thirsty hands are sucking up every bit of moisturization. And voila! Look at what I've accomplished! A lovely clean kitchen with a beautiful, organized rack (or tower) of dishes. Ahhhh! Time for more dancing!
See, I'm not a complicated woman! It doesn't take that much to make me happy: just come visit, eat, drink ..... and let me wash up afterwards.
Yes, it's only March 6th; and here in western Newfoundland, signs of spring are not easy to find. We did have a lovely weekend with warmer cold temperatures than usual. And joy of joy, nothing has been falling from the sky for almost 5 days. If I hadn't lived her before, I'd be certain that spring was on it's way. But alas, we have many more snowfalls in our near future, I'm sure.
Still, I had Friday off work so spring cleaning began in my house first with a thorough clean of the spare room as well as a cleaning and organization of my 3 bookshelves and my jelly cupboard (good dishes cupboard). Then on Saturday when I visited my Dad, his bi-weekly clean from me turned into a spring clean of the open-plan living/dining/kitchen.
Doesn't it feel wonderful to have those big jobs out of the way. I love sitting back on my couch surveying the neat, clean space I currently inhabit. Ahhhhh!
My dad had previously given me a bottle of his homemade wine. Upon opening it, I realized that he was right -- this batch was not a good one and the wine was very, very tart! But I'm a frugal gal and not one to discard something just like that. So, I poured it into a glass jug, added 1/2 cup of sugar, an ounce of brandy, the juice of a lemon, lime and 3 oranges and then tossed in the cut up fruit. SANGRIA -- Nectar of the Gods! I took some up to my dad's house and he was most suitably impressed. (It was a good Sangria!)
At 63, I now realize that I cannot deep clean for 2 days in a row. Kneeling on floors to wash them and getting up and down on chairs and ladders to reach the high places! ..... I might have gotten away with one day but not two. My legs and tootsies were aching so much Sunday morning. As I was preparing breakfast and every time I went to the bathroom I kept hearing my lower extremities cry out "NOOOO! Get off me!" So, a day of Netflix 'n' Chill with just a short walk in the sunshine was the sum total of my plan (which I executed well, I might add!). I began Season 2 of "Broadchurch" (even better than Season 1) and 2 other new shows called "The OA" and "Glitch", both sci-fi type programs.
BONUS: If you hold your phone above your head and click ... you look ever so much slimmer!
I'm also trying to spring clean my life with good food, extra care on my body and positive imaging of my mind. It's much harder to do than any living room, but hopefully the effects are more lasting!
Gotta keep the positive vibes flowing, so I'd better be sure to "clean" all the pipes and pistons!
Hope your week is full of sunshine, even if it's only in your imagination! Caio, bellas!
Aside from my Monday to Friday workmates, I have had little to no luck enticing my family or few friends to do anything outside the home. My week nights and weekends are lonely and monotonous. (After a year and a half, I've come to the conclusion that I made a mistake moving back home.) So, each weekend finds me looking for engaging and entertaining ways to spice up my life.
... I play music and dance round my house.
... I cook special meals for myself, sometimes with a glass of wine, and I use the good stemware and dishes! (Cause I'm worth it!)
... I call friends in Nova Scotia and catch up on the news.
... And there are my wonderful weekend walks round Glenmill Pond. (Usually followed by a latte treat!)
But the biggest monotony-breaker for me has been Netflix, a recent gift from my daughter.
There's so much variety. I've watched The Crown, Stranger Things and Outlander as well as a movie or two. But what I'm enjoying right now are the detective stories from the United Kingdom; they are so different from most detective shows in North America. I loved Hinterland which is set in Wales; the scenery and the melodious Welsh language was wonderful. And now I'm working my way through Shetland set, of course, in the Shetland Islands.
And when shows become too dark or morose, I simply have to switch gears slightly and watch Grace and Frankie. What a fantastic show that is for those of us "of a certain age"; the one where they both put their back out at the same time and end up on the floor is akin to Lucy and Ethel!
Do you watch Netflix? If so, please pass along your suggestions and help me pass the lonely nights until winter melts into spring and I can frolic and gambol in the fields.
Tonight is the start of our 47th annual winter carnival and a first for me. Monday is a day off in Newfoundland as well -- a "floater" that seems to be Family Day throughout most of Canada. I received a schedule of events in my mailbox the other day and thought I'd have a look through to see if there is anything I really want to attend.
Tonight there's a Torch Light Parade with the Mayor from City Hall to Margaret Bowater Park with fireworks, music and snacks provided. I thought I'd get my weekly hike in that way.
A lot of events are things that take place at most any winter carnival. But Newfoundland does have a few events that you won't find anywhere else. Rugged Edge Snowmobile Group is planning a ride to the Shiver Shack where they'll have a "mug up" -- a meal of tea and bread and molasses or jam -- as well as live traditional NL music.
Top of Marble Mtn
[Similar to the mug up is a "boil up" (pronounced 'bile up'); this meal is usually more substantial (tea, bread, baloney, beans, bacon, eggs, etc) cooked on an outdoor open fire anywhere in NL. And I mean ANYWHERE - the woods, a beach or even a stop at a gravel pit along the side of the road.
Some good "scoff", my son!
And I couldn't help but smile at some of the many, many luncheons and dinners taking place next week featuring names that you'd probably never hear of anywhere else but NL:
*For those of you who perhaps feel that the seal industry is cruel and unnecessary, I'd implore you to really look at the seal industry in northern Canada as it happens today and not just take the word of those against the seal hunt. Newfoundlanders are not only very proud of their heritage and traditions, but we also work very hard to keep those traditions alive. We hunt humanely and utilize every part of the animal. The cost of living here is one of the highest in Canada, and jobs and industry are few; hunting and recreational fishing are part of how people here feed their family. It truly is a way of life here.
I haven't made up my mind how much of carnival I'll partake of. But the Fish and Brewis Dinner as well as the Jiggs Dinner are both calling my name.
Fish and Brewis w/ Scrunchins'
The Carnival Committee certainly don't have to worry about snow: we've plenty of that! But some sunshine sure would be nice, Lord!
Being alone on Valentine's Day has never been an issue for me; and the only complaint I have about it is the over-commercialization of the day. Oh yeah! One more complaint: you can't get a table at a restaurant!
Things I love about Valentine's Day:
A perfect excuse to wear pink or red anything and everything. I'm a big fan of monochrome, but it's usually blues. Today, I'm wearing a tunic in grey 'n' white with red accents, black leggings, my red beaded chandelier earrings, bright red lipstick and red patent leather shoes.
Red food! I think it's kind of fun that on this particular day, I get to jazz up my meals by seeing how many redish foods I can incorporate. Tonight is salmon with white rice, tomato salad and a red velvet cupcake for dessert.
Phone calls from loved ones living far ..... and near. Extra love in my voice and an extra "I love you" thrown in.
Self-love is an important part of my lifestyle. It keeps me healthy, cheerful, optimistic and sane. This evening, I shall love myself with some gentle yoga, an epsom salts bath and some Netflix. (Further self love will be shown this weekend after #5 below!)
Tomorrow! EVERYONE loves February 15th because that's the day all the Valentine's chocolate goes on sale! Yummy!
Happy Valentine's Day everybody.
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