Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dreaming of the Country Life

What a beautiful weekend we had. The weather reached 20C. We got a lot of yard work done, mostly moving snow, which is now gone. Yay! We even had our first "beer on the deck", or wine as the case may be. It was glorious. Paul got a little sunburn on his head and has now resigned to the fact he must wear a hat. We say the reason he is losing his hair is because he has so much testosterone!

We took an afternoon drive back out to the house to see if the bathrooms were done, and they were. The doors and closet doors were all hung too. Now we are just waiting on the hardwood and then it is complete!

As much as I love the house I live in now, I am looking forward to having a new house that doesn't have leaky taps and foggy windows. More than that, I am looking forward to living in the country. My heart lies there and it has for as long as I remember. (Remember if there is such a thing as re-incarnation, I KNOW I was a farm wife in a past life.) 
Just being out of town, seeing nothing but landscape, fills me up like nothing else.

"Soon enough" I keep telling myself. "Soon enough."
PS I found out there aren't any ticks in the Battleford area. I do hope it is true.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Food, Glorious Food.

Spring has arrived, at last. The weather has been beautiful. Today, not so much, but it promises to warm up just in time for the weekend! We got out the patio furniture and grilled some steaks on Saturday night. Athena wanted to eat outside but the table hadn't been washed down yet.
The time is coming quickly where we will be eating lighter fare. Lots of salads and grilled veg. But there is still just enough chill in the air to make heartier food appetizing. Breakfast, for instance. Eggs is the way to go. On the weekend we throw in bacon! I love bacon. But this is what a typical breakfast looks like for me. One egg, a piece of homemade bread and some tomatoes drizzled with evoo, sea salt and ground pepper.

I have been playing around with this recipe for Creamy Lemon Pasta. This weekend I added some fresh spinach and a blackened chicken breast. Oh my, it was so good. Other times I have added asparagus and spicy grilled shrimp. Really, you must try this recipe at least once. The possibilities are endless.

On Saturday I made corn chowder. I know you all know that I LOVE soup. This was a new Jamie Oliver recipe and of course,  as with all of his recipes, it was great. As is my habit, I send two bowls across the street for our elderly neighbors and is her habit she sends back the bowls with something tasty inside. This time it was homemade cream puffs. Scarfed that down right away. She told me I make such good soup and with a little tear in her eye she said she would miss us so much. Aw.

One of the highlights of the week was finding that Costco had a 2lb clam shell of ORGANIC strawberries for $4.49. I have been getting a 1lb from Safeway for more than that price so naturally I bought several.
I got a Cuisinart ice cream maker from Kijiji and so Athena and I used some to make strawberry ice cream.

And here I was, thinking that all you had to do was dump the ingredients in the machine and turn it on. Turns out it was a two day affair. Now I have the bowl in the freezer so it will be much quicker next time. So few ingredients. Cream, milk, berries and sugar. The result was really good. I can't wait to try more, especially my beloved vanilla.

Today is rainy and cool and so we will eat the second last Hutterite chicken for dinner. I am trying to use up as much as I have since the moving van will arrive on June 24th and I am hoping to have the freezers emptied by then. I don't want to have to fiddle with moving frozen food so who knows what our meals will end up like in the coming weeks.

Friday, April 26, 2013

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo many photos- no  a few words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Doing some math at her new (to her) desk in the morning. We have since watered her neglected Peace Lily. :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Weekend Doings

The days and weeks are seeming to melt into each other and pass quickly. At least something is melting. The days are full of phone calls, estimates, emails, decisions, planning, timing and just plain figuring out stuff. I am so very thankful to have a husband who seems to know what to do at every turn. There are a lot of turns. It makes me wonder how other people do this. There are a crazy number of hoops to jump through and a permit must be submitted and paid for for each hoop! I am not complaining about the nature of the hoops though. It is good to have regulations for the safetey of our groundwater! (This is coming from the wife of a ground water guy.)
I knew that our dream of living on a little homestead would not be without its share of work. I know it will all be a distant memory when we are all settled in. I can't wait. It is just the living in between that is hard, you know? One foot in one place, one foot in another. Paul is trying so hard to be that one guy who gets in his house earlier, rather than much later, than expected. He may just pull it off. As it stands now, the people who bought our home take possession on July 1st. Paul thinks that we could be in our new house by the third week of June. Wouldn't that be grand? I was thinking we would have to rent a furnished place for the whole summer. I may come back to eat these words but I am really noping not to have to.

We went out to see our house last weekend. It "lives" about 20 minutes down the road from here. We were excited to see the progress since the last time we saw it there was little but the shell completed. We were thinking how funny it was that we liked the house so much when there was nothing really "in" it to like. It is a nice quite drive out there. Our heart rates seem to slow down each time we head into the country. It is a good thing.

The kitchen cabinets were in and the sink Paul picked out was in too. Not all finished up but mostly done. They are waiting on the hardwood to go in before they do the finishing touches. All of the light fixtures were in too. My goodness there are a lot of them. The living room has a ceiling fan, pot lights AND wall sconces.


I had them change this built in glass shelved and doored china cabinet to a book shelf for my cookbooks. I am not the fancy glass china cabinet type of girl, nor do I have fancy china to go into it. :)

The ceiling is vaulted throughout so we have these wide open spaces above the walls for plants or maybe nothing. I am thinking plants because that front window is south facing. It will be good to clean the air from all those new building materials. Although we are going as "green" as possible with what we can, I am sure it will have its share of VOCs.

Paul went to the farm, as we like to call it, on Saturday to meet with the surveyor and the basement guy. They measured out and placed the house in just the right spot, or so Paul hopes I think it is just the right spot. He also had to figure out where the well will go, where the septic tank will go, where the mound system will go and where the power box will go. We are getting 200amp farm service so there is no need to have the box mounted on the house. Again, I am so thankful that he knows what he is doing. In fact, he always seems to know exactly what to do, except which buttons to press on the stove to turn which burner on. He has yet to master that.

We also had Athena's dance recital. She worked hard all year and was excited to show us. She had a tap dance and a ballet dance. The costumes cost a stupid amount but she thought they were lovely, of course. There was no makeup required, which is the thing I like about small town dance studios.


I leave you with her tap dance. And as you watch it, I'll be making more phone calls, packing up some boxes, emailing about 100 people and trying to fit some homeschooling in on the sidelines. Phew!
(Well I guess that didn't work. I'll try to fix it later. Have a nice day!)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sold... for five dollars

And now for something completely different... we went to an auction on Sunday and what fun it was. We have been to these auctions before but this one was different. We went on purpose. Not for the purpose of buying something in particular but for the purpose of a family outing. I know, we are kind of weird that way.


 (she wore these old glasses of mine, with the lenses removed, all day)

We walked through the tables and tables of items and Paul had us write down which items we were interested in and how much we were willing to pay for them. He registered as a bidder, saved some chairs and away we went.

Athena spied an Indian Head dress right away. She wanted to bid on that. I found a lovely rocking chair for our new front deck with ample space in case my width broadens in my old age. I found some Medalta bowls but I knew from past experience that they go for much more money that I was willing to pay. I thought I wouldn't mind having a bean pot either. There was a huge hutch that I loved but I already have what I need, and it is so lovely.

(my chair)
As soon as the auctioneer began he told us that ALL of this stuff came from one person. I couldn't beleive it. I told Paul that is what would happen to him if I weren't here to control his collections. The whole atmosphere of the place was kind of neat. Mostly the people there were antique dealers. The couple behind me was from Edmonton and we soon found out people were there from all over the place. There was a man who looked like he hadn't bathed in weeks bidding on expensive stuff. I HAD to take his picture so you could see what I mean.

The auctioneers' calling is something to hear. If you haven't heard someone call an auction you would be so surprised how fast they speak. Two men tag teamed it. One man had the habit of saying "What? You don't like it anymore?" and the other said "Ooohhh, looky here folks". The rest of the staff moved items to the front, held things up and controlled the bidding by yelling out "Yup!, Yeah! of Yes!" The auctioneers were good at reading people too. When Paul was bidding on my rocking chair the bid was at $150 and I told him that was high enough. He bid again unti $165 and then I shook my head to him and the auctioneer shouted "She told him to stop and he is listening." Another time the bid was between Paul and someone else and the auctioneer told Paul that I said to bid higher. I don't think I did but anyway...

Then, to my amazement, Paul starte bidding on two boxes of "hippie beads". Two giant boxes of wood beads. He won them for $15. When I asked him what the heck? He said, "They are biodegradable. Athena can use them for her slingshot on the farm." Of course! Good eye. We just bought her a pack of 75 from Peavy Mart for $3 so this was a great deal.

Lunch was horrible as food at these kind of things tend to be. Hotdogs, beef on a bun, pulled pork and chili. I had a hotdog but not before inquiring as to the brand. Costco all beef.
Athena had a bowl of the most bland chicken noodle soup that ever was made. Paul said it tasted like Hutterite soup. After sitting there with us for 4 hours and being just as good as could be, the head dress came up. Dad gave her the number and as soon as they announced it she stood on her chair and yelled out "Five dollars". Then someone bid against her (how dare they!) for $10 and the guy on the floor who "had the money" came right over to her and said "Fifteen?" and she said "YES!". That is when I not so subtly pulled her back down to sitting. Chuckles from the crowd followed. She won and the man came over and shook her hand to congratulate her. Fun stuff. Paul said she was so good sitting there that he would have let her bid until she won no matter what the cost. And, she actually got two of them plus a 1950's electric morse code toy which could be neat.


(a box of old comics from the 50s were thrown in, which Athena loved)
Athena and I left after that and Paul stayed on until 5, and they were not finished by then. You can imagine how much stuff there was to auction off. Paul came home with some more things he had won. Our total was $157 and we got some good stuff, and some not so good stuff sold as a lot. But oh, how fun it was. I just love the auction. Way better than going to a movie. Try it once, just for fun and you'll see what I mean.

(Paul came home with no less than 3 bean pots and these bread bowls.
He also got a toy holster with a Ponyboy colt revolver cap gun.
I have a thing for bowls so I appreciated that a lot.
PS Anyone in need of a bean pot?)