Monday, January 30, 2012

a beautiful sunset for Stephen

we took these pics of the sunset this evening for our friend Stephen. Stephen is still in the hospital but apparently doing well, and we know this because our friend Duke has been updating us all regularly. we saw this beautiful sunset and thought that we should share it with everyone - it lifted our spirits and i hope it will lift yours, and i hope that Stephen gets to see these pics. and i hope that it will lift his spirits as well. please enjoy these pics of our beautiful sky...and please keep our friend Stephen in your thoughts and prayers, and pray that he will be released from the hospital soon.

these pics were taken over a half-hour period. the sunsets here are amazing! i could take pics of them (and bore you all to death) every day. i hope that these pics find everyone in good spirits.

we are thinking of you Stephen, Sweet Wife and Little Bit! and you, too, Duke!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

our friend, Stephen (edited)

our friend, Stephen, is in the hospital. we don't know much but at least we know that our friend Duke will be keeping us all updated. please keep Stephen in your thoughts and prayers. check in with Duke regularly as i know that Duke will do everything in his power to keep us updated and to make sure that Stephen is okay. please also keep Stephen's Sweet Wife and Little Bit in your prayers.

Stephen has been a friend of ours since we first started this blog...and we probably wouldn't have started a blog without his encouragement. i know that he is strong and a fighter, i know that he is a good man, i know how much he cares for his family - especially his granddaughter, Little Bit - so i am not too worried. i just don't want our friend to suffer uneccessarily.

please, let's all keep him in our prayers. he has helped so many people in his lifetime and it is now time for us to do the same for him.

thank you, Duke, dear friend, for keeping us updated.

EDIT: Duke has left an update for us all. please go here for an update. thank you so much Duke. i am not posting anything new until we know that Stephen is healing and safe at home. please keep him in your prayers.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

for Mystic Mud

my friend, Mystic Mud, left a really sweet comment on our last post in regards to our hottub. here is the comment she left:

"lol....I'd love to see a proper picture of your hot tub:) I was just thinking the other night - what would I wish for if I had three wishes, but I couldn't wish for more wishes....1) a long hot bath with a gin and tonic. 2) a full body massage. 3) a whole night alone with my man. But then I couldn't decide if that was really four wishes? And which one should I dump....I was really tempted to dump the gin and tonic, but I know that the bath would be so much better with it, so then I thought maybe the night with my man because by the time I had a bath and a massage I'd just want to lay down and go into a coma anyway....I don't know, I never did decide....I want it all and I tried to convince myself that the gin and tonic just naturally went with the bath, so it really only counted as one then I felt like a cheater. You wouldn't think I would have this much extra time on my hands to OVER think things, now would you!?"

she and her hubby have 10 beautiful children and live on a mountain in Tennessee and are trying to live a more self-sustaining life together. she tells their incredible story here. go and check her out if you haven't already done so - their story is quite wonderful!

anyway, she asked for pics of the hottub so i went and took some.

here is the baby sitting on the back deck.

cover off. i love the colour of the hottub...the brown, blue and gold. it makes me think of our river and our ocean.

it is a 4person hottub but i like stretching out in it and taking up 2/3 of the room squashing poor jambaloney in a corner.

now here is the nifty thing. it lights up. no really - it really does. i love having it on at night - it is pitch black here at the Manor at night - no light pollution at all. so we go out with a flashlight and turn the lights on the hottub. it's beautiful. have a peak.

it changes colour every few seconds.

i tried to get shots of every colour but only got the ones you see.

it goes from blue, to green, to yellow, to pink, to purple - you get the idea. i could sit out there all night in that thing.

we consider this thing an investment - in our health and well-being. we are both water babies to begin with and our tub in the bathroom is only about 4 inches deep. so we use the hottub to relax sore muscles at the end of the day but we also use it for our mental well-being - there is just something so wonderful about starting and ending each day in the tub. we also plan and dream in that thing. everything seems possible when sitting in the hottub.

Mystic Mud, i hope that you enjoyed the pics. if you ever come to visit, i will make you as many gin and tonics as you want!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

and just like that...

...the snow came back!

it's so pretty eh?

but it is raining today and so all of the snow is getting washed away again. one of my favourite things about living in Framboise Manor is that we have a very temperate micro-climate here. other places in cape breton and especially the mainland get belted with storms that we never get. and our winters are much warmer than back in ontario!

we have 4 distinct seasons here at the Manor and i love that. i like having the different seasons to be able to see the landscape and the differences between each season. i used to hate winter back in the city - but then most winter days were -20C!!! and back in the city we basically had 3 straight months of freezing cold days, snow piled 9ft on the sides of the roads and it was always dirty looking. here at the Manor the snow is always white and pretty.

so far it has been a very nice winter. if we get enough snow, and the right kind, we'll build you all a snowman!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy 11th Anniversary!

yesterday was our 11 year anniversary - can you believe it? we sure can't as we still run around like goofy kids together, acting like we are 11yr old best friends! we have often talked about how much fun we would have had together if we knew each other as kids. as kids, we both like doing similar things - climbing trees, swimming, fishing, collecting rocks, exploring - that kind of stuff. but we are very grateful to be able to have had the last 11 yrs together and the rest of our lives ahead of us!

we started the day in the hottub, of course. then we decided to make a big, grandiose meal for our anniversary dinner/supper. i know that most of you are thinking duck a l'orange, or venison medallions like 45er recently made, or chicken cordon bleu, or lobster tails in a white wine reduction. nope, not this time. this time we made one of our old favourites and one that we haven't had in a while. yep, you guessed it - Shepherd's Pie!!!! yummeh - we love shepherd's pie. we made a big casserole dish of it and ate it all day, all evening and all night.

after we put the pie in the oven, it was back to the hottub. we stayed out frolicking until the pie was ready. came in, stuffed our faces and back to the hottub. after another 30 mins or so, we came in and read our books sitting on the couch for a while. then more pie. then more hottub. by that time it was early evening and so we put on one of our favourite movies - entitled "The Other Guys" starring Will Farrel and Mark Wahlberg. we love that movie and have watched it at least 50 times. it's still as funny as ever. we have a few comedies that get both of us screeching and we have watched most of them about 50 times. we have a similar sense of humour and really enjoy laughing together. we also take key lines out of movies and use them in certain situations and no one ever gets our inside jokes. our own little special way of talking.

anyway, after the movie we went back out to the hottub. that was at midnight. the sky was a deep midnight blue and we lay in the tub looking at all of the stars. the sky is so clear here that you can see millions of stars. we stayed out for 2 hours yakking and talking and planning and dreaming - it was a wonderful end to our anniversary day!

today it was a balmy -2C (about 25F) so we decided to walk down to the river. i took some pics so that you all could be there with us - it was a gorgeous walk!

here's where we start, standing on the back deck looking into the backyard. notice that most of the snow is gone?

well, except for this little piece - teehee.

so let's head down the road:

around the turn in the road and almost halfway there:

there's the river up ahead:

and here's the river covered with a thin layer of ice. no skating on it yet!

and for all of you who think we aren't fashion-conscious here at the Manor, i give you jambaloney dressed like a hobo (with hair that has gone from Brit-pop, to hippy, to just plain waaaay too long, and he hasn't shaved in a week and a half):

he's still just drop-dead gorgeous though!

and here is me, wearing a ski-doo suit that my best friend Tobi gave me 20yrs ago - can you believe that thing?

oh those early 90's neon colours eh? make sure to notice my pink boots AND the fact that i cracked the ice - bahahahaha!

well that's about it for now. stay tuned as there are upcoming posts about our 2 throw-together-with-whatever-junk-is-on-hand sheds and we finally painted and tiled the horrible stairs between the kitchen and living room.

and jambaloney's got an upcoming post about the basement. ick. that basement sucks!

Monday, January 16, 2012

the last of the potatoes!

our harvest this year was dismal. not a complete failure but pretty dismal. we started building raised beds in march, april was all about getting the seeds started indoors and june and july were filled with rainy, gray, overcast days. during august we were harvesting daily fruit and veg from the garden but there was no great harvest of produce to be canned or frozen. we have learned much for this coming spring/summer and we are hopeful that this year will be bountiful.

the one star this year was our potatoes. we have been growing potatoes in tires for 4 years now and they have always been our stars! the year before last, back in the city, we grew about 160lbs of 3 different kinds of potatoes - we eat a lot of potatoes around here! we planted them early and started harvesting baby potatoes in july. the potatoes lasted us right until the following april-may. growing your own potatoes can save you a lot of money!

this year, we planted 18 tires, 3 tires high, with 3 different kinds of potatoes. our harvest this year was about 120lbs of potatoes - not too bad for a horrible growing season! and today, jambaloney harvested the last of the potatoes as we are expecting a few days of well below freezing (that's the good thing about tires - you can harvest as needed until you start to get freezing temps that stay!). we have been eating our own potatoes since this past july and this last harvest yielded about 30lbs - those potatoes should last until the end of march. between april and july we will wait for potatoes as we try to eat as seasonally as possible. and when we run out of potatoes - we run out of them and will substitute turnip and/or cabbage in its place.

here is a pic of the tire gardens when we first planted the potatoes:

it looks pretty messy as we had not had a chance to properly clear the land at this point! and here is a pic taken about 3 weeks later, after we had hilled the potatoes, and then added another tire:

and here is a pic of the empty tires, all harvested now, and they will be stacked nicely to await use again this april. as you can see, we haven't stacked them nicely yet! but as you can see, we have finished clearing all of this side of the land.

(note: if you look closely to the right of the pic, you get a sneak peek at throw-together-shed-number-2. future upcoming posts on the tale of two sheds.)

and here is the last of the potatoe harvest 2011/2012. these are organic brown russets and organic red chieftains. we ate all of the goldrush potatoes already.

not too shabby! and these can get us through to the end of march and we will enjoy every delicious one of them!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

the conclusion of the porch saga

what can i say except that isn't she a real beauty?!?!?!

here it is in all of it's infinite glory! the porch wrapped in plastic! can anything be better? i think not!

the boots and shoes and mitts and gloves and work-clothes have now been moved from my tiny kitchen and that, in itself, is a glorious wonder!

one thing that we have learned since moving to Framboise Manor is that you gotta learn to make do. and that is what we are doing! the porch needs to be replaced and we will build an enclosed porch next fall. until then - this will just have to do. and i must say that i love it!

here is the side view (and my fingers!):

and the back:

it sure isn't much to look at and has become the talk of the town but hey - i will live with anything to get the coats and boots out of the kitchen!

not only does the porch take care of getting coats and boots out of the kitchen - it also holds our seeding tray! our seeding tray is a monster that jambaloney's stepdad built and gave to us. we have used it to start our seeds for several years now - last year using it sucked as it really is a monster and we had it in the tiny kitchen! but not this year - it now lives on the porch - woohoo!

i will post some inside pics of the porch as soon as it is tidied up - right now it looks like a bomb hit it as everything that has been laying around and getting underfoot is out there! we just need to sort, organize and then give everything a home - on the porch!

i told you that it would make MDR blush!

Friday, January 6, 2012

comments, doves and plastic

hey guys and gals - i am sorry that i haven't responded to your comments on our last 2 posts! so sorry about that! we really appreciate it when you all leave comments - and they are always positive and funny and we just want you to know how much we appreciate your taking the time out of your busy days to stop in and visit with us!

i have tried to ensure that i made a stop by all of your blogs to wish you the very best in 2012. if i missed anyone - i am terribly sorry.

anyway - this is just a quick post as we are heading to our friends' C and B's for cabbage rolls - yummeh!

but have a peek at our gaggle of doves. they arrive several times a day to eat as do bluejays, goldfinches, junkos and chickadees. for any bird people out there - i read an interesting tidbit a few years ago that i have never forgotten. apparently birds have a harder time finding drinking and bathing water than they do trying to find food in the winter. so we always make sure that the birds have sufficient clean water for drinking and bathing. yes, our bird feeder is a falling-apart old coffee table!

and here's a sneak peek at the upcoming porch saga...yep - wrapped in plastic and tire inserts from our tire gardens used to make it less noisy. works like a charm!

i will go in and post responses to your comments on the last 2 posts later tonight (depending on how late we are out) or tomorrow! have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

oh what a night!

we rang in the New Year and had such an awesome time with our friends! i had 4 glasses of wine in the fancy new glass that the bar bought for me - woohoo! no more bringing my own wine glass down to the hall!

oh where to start? during the day, jambaloney was out weather-proofing the porch (pics coming soon - i promise!). out of nowhere, M (22) and N (15), our neighbour E's sons, show up un-announced (they cut through the woods between our houses) with a delicious turkey meat pie! i was up to my eyeballs making bread to bring with the chili, jambaloney was dangling off of the roof and neither one of us had eaten yet. i took the meatpie and put it in the oven pronto and in 25 minutes we were eating like kings - how thoughtful!

after we finished eating, i called E to say thank you. she was very gracious as usual, we talked about meeting up at the dance that night...and then she invited us to her family get-together the next day - can you believe it? and that night, at the dance, all of her family knew that we were invited to the get-together - all of them! and they were excited that we were coming! it was such an awesome feeling!

we got down to the dance and hooked up with our favourite friends at the head table as usual...and then made the rounds around the hall. it took an hour to stop by and greet and hug and kiss everyone! when we were finally able to sit down with our usual crew, too many good songs were playing and so we had to dance with everyone. jambaloney looked incredibly delicious and all of the ladies enjoyed dancing with him. he makes my heart swell, he does.

we had such a great time with all of our friends. we danced all night. we didn't leave until 3am! the last hour was spent holding my friend S and E's hands as we talked about all of the things that we will do in 2012!

we have fallen so in love with these people here...and it seems that they have fallen in love with us - we really can't believe it!

the next day, i will admit, we were dragging our butts a bit. but we headed over to E's and a house full of her family. oh it was such fun! and she put on such a nice spread! and we spent time with all of her crazy family. and her Mother, V, who is the Matriarch of our community, made such a big deal about jambaloney's oatmeal cookies - but what can i say? his cookies really were to die for!!!

we have really become a real part of this community and in such a short time. we can't believe our good fortune?!?!?! we feel like the luckiest people on earth!

we rang in 2012 with a bang that night and a bang the next day. we have been flumping around for the past 2 days - we are really wore out!

and loving every minute of it!

we hope 2012 is going to be wonderful for all of you. it is only 3 days in to 2012 and yet we feel like we are living a dream - how lovely eh? we are so happy right now. we are so grateful and thankful. there is much to be done this year. and we are sooo up for the task!