My transition from cluttered to simple living.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

The last of the handmade gifts are finished....  Presents are wrapped....   The tree is up....  An angel graces our tree for the 22nd year. 

May the angels,  passed and present, bless your home, now and in the years to come.  Merry Christmas to all!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I have so many people to thank for this room.  First and foremost, I want to thank Hubs.  The room was framed by my nephew, but it was hubby who polished it up and put love into the finishing touches.  Hubby is a multi-talented guy!

This weekend my son visited and finished laying the floor with the help of his friend, Jay.

How lucky am I to have a place to paint and sew??  It has already been put to good use.

Below you will see he painting that I used for my Christmas cards this year.  I have also sewn a little and pictures of those projects will follow after Christmas.

So have a look....  Isn't it beautiful?!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I received an early Christmas present this year!  Over 30 years ago, I bought this Christmas Cactus at a church rummage sale.  The lady who had donated it told me that it belonged to her mother who had it for over 20 years.  It is ancient!  This year it shone in all its glory!  It spent the summer outside and was brought in when the nights got chilly this fall.  It has never bloomed before, and I can only guess that the fresh air did wonders for its overall health.  Whatever the reason, every stem had a blossom.

Merry Christmas to me!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Our Little Visitor

This little fellow was found outside our door.  He was lifeless.  I suppose he had hit the window and was stunned.  Those big hands belong to hubby who just happened to be working from home, and found this little fellow on one of his many trips inside to refill his coffee cup.  (He has an office in our garage.)

Within several minutes, aided by the warmth of Hubby's hands, Chickadee recovered.  He was able to join his friends at the feeder...and then he flew off. 

I think Hubby felt pretty good about this rescue.  (Much like our little visitor!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What Excites You?

Every time that I think that it is time to post here, I wonder what I can write about...what exciting thing has happened since I last wrote.  I have come to the conclusion that there is little...precious little...that I would consider exciting.  As I journey to my friend's blogs, I become a little envious.  One blogger parachutes and climbs mountains.  Another cycles everywhere. Some write about their journies in homeschooling.  Many write about their adventures in farming.

I feel as if I am stuck in a rut.  I work.  I craft.  I used to paint.  Once every two years, we travel.  That is it.  Is it that I have lost my ability to imagine something more?

Perhaps it is the day.  Dark clouds are overhead.  Snow looms on the horizon.  The next several months will be spent, for the most part, indoors.  I have much to do inside, but is the inevitable drive in the snow that concerns me.  I worry about my family who have no choice but to drive in it.

Let me ask you?  What excites you?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Worth forwarding... (and Dad... I love you.)

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high
gear to provide Canadians with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods --
merchandise that has been produced at the expense of Canadian labor. This
year will be different. This year Canadians will give the gift of genuine
concern for other Canadians. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift
giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by Canadians hands. Yes
there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in
a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates
from your local Canadian hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, Canadian owned
detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down
the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or
driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift
certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about
a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this
isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town
Canadian with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or
motorcycle, done at a shop run by the Canadian working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a
local cleaning lady for a day or a pedicure, facial or a soothing massage.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is
struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin
their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery
and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave
your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at
your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese
lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of lights, about
fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to
burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining Canadian pockets so that
China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about
us, encouraging Canadian small businesses to keep plugging away to follow
their dreams. And, when we care about other Canadians, we care about our
communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
THIS is the new Canadian  Christmas tradition.

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion
groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in
your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations,
and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other,
and isn't that what Christmas is about?

BUY CANADIAN - BE  CANADIAN - The job you save might be your own

This is the best email in a loooooong time.  That's why I'm forwarding it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thoughts on Bullying...

A teacher in Newfoundand was teaching her class about bullying and gave them the following exercise to perform. She had the children take out a piece of paper and told them to crumple it up, stomp on it and really mess it up but do not rip it. Then she had them unfold the paper, smooth it out and look at how scarred and dirty is was. She then told them to tell it they’re sorry. Now, even though they said they were sorry and tried to fix the paper, she pointed out all the scars they left behind. And that those scars will never go away no matter how hard they tried to fix it. That is what happens when a child bully’s another child, they may say they’re sorry, but the scars are there forever. The looks on the faces of the children in the classroom told her the message hit home.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Passing of Time

As we move into the sleepy time of year, I am reminded of the passing of time.  Wasn't it just yesterday that we welcomed our first grandson into the world?   And wasn't it just yesterday that we welcomed our first granddaughter?  Eight short years have passed since our first blessing arrived, and now our grand-baby blessings number five!  Two more little ones will make their grand entrance in the new year.  How much fun is that?

Living here in our little home on the Talbot River, it is not difficult to witness the passing of time.  We welcome the arrival of water into our inlet in May.  Fish, frogs, dragonflies and insects soon follow.  Geese bring their mates, and soon after their little ones, to the safety of our waterfront.  Our birch trees bud...and then blossom into beautiful foliage.  Long forgotten flowers make their appearance as a reminder that life is constantly renewing, and revisiting.

Too soon, the summer passes.  Leaves turn to yellows, reds, and browns, and fall from the trees in great numbers.  Flowers wither, and nutrients move into their roots and bulbs.  Geese gather in flocks and formation.  Ducks visit one last time, as the water recedes from our inlet. 

The Trent System is now closed to boaters, and the water level is dropped to accommodate the rainfall that is inevitable at this time of year....and the snow which will soon follow.

Everything is focused on preparation for the cold, sleepy days of winter, which are as inevitable as the spring that will follow.

What are you doing to prepare for the changing of the seasons? 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thank you, Ms Adventuress!

A friend recommended a book...several actually.  I had mentioned my concerns about my husband's diet which was based on a high protein/ high fat intake.  He had been on and of this diet for months, and at one point in time, I decided to support him by trying it too.  As before, it makes me deathly ill.  In spite of including salads, I was tremendously constipated and my breath was foul!

The book that MsA recommended was "The China Study."  I actually had this book on a shelf.  I had picked it up when my dad and I attended a vegetarian cooking seminar which was offered by the Seventh Day Adventists in our area.  I did open it but it seemed that it might become a dull read, as it was based on facts....

I have difficulty getting into a book unless it "grabs" me at the start.  Part of this is due to the time I choose to read...which is usually before bed.  This time, I opened the book, and it grabbed me!  The author, T Campbell, presents years of study on diet and nutrition, and the relationship between protein and cancer, in an informative, knowledgeable manner.  The reader is not boggled down by the facts.  His research and  documentation is certainly eye-opening.

I am only 1/3 of the way through this book, and cannot wait to pick it up again.

So, thank you, MsA for recommending this book.  I will recommend it it to my friends and loved ones, too.

Big hugs!

Monday, October 24, 2011

It Must be The Day

I was born in the 50's, but I believe I was present long before that.  Somewhere, somehow I have cell memories of a time before.   These feelings come to realization when I listen to music that was birthed during the war years....and I like to think...when they touch my innermost being....that I travelled with my father, and my mother, and grandparents as they journeyed through those troublesome times.

This morning I entertained my pup with music from "Stardust" as sung by Rod Stewart.   Tinker is deathly afraid of the rain, and storms, and music calms her when nothing else will.  This morning Rod sang "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square."  This is a song that was made famous by Vera Lynn, and  when I play it, I am transported back to visions of departures....but there is more.  This girl who, unfortunately, did not inherit her mom's abilities on dance floor, can suddenly "feel" the music as Mom must have.

It must be the day...or the approaching day of Remembrance.

If you have never heard of Vera Lynn, check out the link below.  She was...and is...quite the lady

Thank you, Vera, for all you did to support the Troops...and thanks for the memories.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just One of Those Days....

...for hanging inside...and warming your dogs!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Gender Reveal Party

When my daughter went for her last Ultrasound, she asked the technician NOT to tell her the sex of the baby, but to write it down and seal it in an envelope.  That sealed envelope traveled to their local bakery, was opened without revealing the contents to the parents, and a cake was made which was frosted with the colour appropriate icing.  On Sunday, we all arrived at Jamie and Mandi's home to celebrate the outcome of the gender reveal.  Most couples were divided in their guess... but the girl guesses outnumbered the boy guesses.  

The cake was cut.....  We will have another little girl joining the family shortly after her cousin's birth in the new year!  Owen and daddy did not agree on boy or girl, but Owen clapped his hands when it was announced that a little girl would join his family.

Congratulations Mandi and Jamie!  What a wonderful way to celebrate this second birth! 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thanksgiving Thoughts.

We have had some sad family events in the past few days.  While they do not effect this house directly, we grieve with my son and his wife. for a life ended tragically, and prematurely. in piece, and know that your children are in good hands.  Their grandparents, auntie and dad will look after them.

This recent event has made me realize that there are no certainties in life.  Your whole world can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye.  I have often heard the expressions..."We are blessed...We are fortunate...You deserve such and such."  I can't agree....  I really believe that a good day is just a lucky day.   After all..why should it be assumed that I am more deserving...more fortunate...more blessed..than the next guy.  It is only luck...a hand that you are dealt at that small moment in time.

I know for a certainty that I will hold my loved ones a little longer...forgive their little imperfections...and spread as much kindness as I can this weekend...and tomorrow,..and all the tomorrows that I have.

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone...  Have a good day....


Monday, October 3, 2011

What's It All about, Alfie?

What is it all about..this journey of ours?  Is it all about relationships...or is it all about things?  Is it a purposeful journey we are on...or did we just happen here?

What's it all about, Alfie?

I know I don't have any answers.  I seem to bluff my way through life feeling most of the time that I am heading nowhere....paddling a vessel upstream, against a strong current.

At times, I get a glimpse of what seems to be the "right " path.  It feels good.  It does good.  Then there are times when I feel like a ship without a captain....guided by the demands and actions of others that seem to have no better idea of where they are going than I.

What I am sure of, is that my possessions do not make me happy.  (Right now they are making me very unhappy.)  My relationships with others can make me happy...or profoundly sad as...sometimes the ones that should be the closest, end up being the ones that cause the most grief.

So...  I guess there are no "one size fits all" answers.  Each of us will find our own way...our own path.  Along the way we will be touched by many who will play a part in our lives in some way, shape or form.  We will endure the changes and surprises that life has to offer because...we have no other choice.

I guess that the only one thing I can feel pretty sure of is...  just when I think I have IT figured out, I will be proven wrong.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our little room nears completion, and I drool at the thought of evenings spent at my sewing machine, or daylight hours spent at my easel.  I am so happy to have a corner to call my own!

It has been again, many weeks since I last posted.  I have been busy with work.  I have also started a portrait painting course.  I had a visit with my DIL and granddaughters, and another with my daughter, her husband and my littlest grandson.  Time moves so quickly that at times it is frightening.

Fall is my very favourite time of the year.  Our leaves are changing colour and dropping in great number.  I think that Eliot says it best...

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."  ~George Eliot

I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving.  It is a celebration where there are no gifts...other than the gift of good food, friendship and family.  I sometimes wish that Christmas was celebrated in the same manner.  Perhaps one day it shall be.

This picture was taken in the fall of last year.  The leaves are just turning as you can tell by the reflection in the water.  How I love it here!

I must go.  Evening calls.  My house needs to be put to shut and bed turned down. 

Goodnight!  Sweet dreams!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Work continues on our little homestead...  A new roof including a four season room is almost complete.  I can imagine many days spent at my sewing machine, surrounded by light and nature, this fall and winter!  I am so content! 

We removed the window in our living room, opening it to light and breeze.  What a wonderful difference it makes!  Our roof is now leak-proof...and pretty!

Have we finished down-sizing?  Not yet...however...we have made progress.  We know that what has accumulated over a lifetime, takes time to sort and dispose of.   Soon! 

What I love about living small is that everything that we need is visible, or it does not exist.  This is our goal.  Soon!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I can! You can!!

Today I spent the day in my kitchen.  Because of its size (small!) I encountered one or two challenges- lessons learned for next time around...but all in all, it was a fun and productive day!  I have 12 jars of peaches and 8 jars of Concord Grape jelly to show for my labours.

Some might question why I bother...  After all, I could buy that product (that took me most of the day to produce) at the local grocery store.  I have bought at the grocery store, but I have difficulty accepting that produce that is grown in Canada is being packaged in China.    How nourishing can that product be after its long trip to and from that country?  I love the satisfaction that I get when I prepare my own food.  I love knowing what is in the food that I have prepared.  I love having the taste of summer in my home, in the dead of winter.  I love that I am reusing my jars and that I am not sending recycling to the curb.  I love how pretty the jars look on my shelf...  Wouldn't you agree?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Time Passes Quickly!

Hard to believe that three weeks have passed since I last posted!  We have been so busy around here!  On the 21st of August, we celebrated this young fellow's birthday.  (I am NOT allowed to say which birthday it was... but we are looking forward to the next big milestone which will be his 100th birthday!  Sixty friends and family members attended the celebration, and a Piper graced us all with the wail of the bagpipes.  How fitting that was, as dad began his life journey in 1921!

We have had some renovations done on our little home.  A leak which was supposed to have been repaired as a condition of sale wasn't...and we were concerned about further damage.  First we repaired piers under the cottage...many of which had toppled over or collapsed.  Once that was done, we had our roof line adjusted, as the pitch had caused the water to pool on the old roof.  A brand new royal blue metal roof has been installed, and the screen room we once had has become a four season room where I can paint, and sew, and where we will have a spare bed for company.  It amazes me what escapes the eye of the building inspector, but what amazes me more is how people can be dishonest in not disclosing deficiencies in a property.  Oh well...  Now we have a home that is truly ours, and one which will be stronger and safer.

This week we traveled to our daughter's home which is east of Sudbury.  She and her husband have done a lot of work on their home which was only purchased in the early spring.  A huge piece of land has been cleared for a garden, blueberry bushes and raspberry canes have been transplanted, and bunnies and chickens have been added to the menagerie.  This young couple is well on their way to a self-sufficient lifestyle.  In January their family will be growing, and one more little farmer will join their household!

My garden did poorly this year in spite of my best efforts to keep it watered.  The weeds took over and I was only able to harvest a few tomatoes, green peppers and strawberries.  This was not unexpected as the garden was in poor shape, and roto-tilling only spread the weeds.  Next year we will have a few raised garden beds, and the soil will be healthier.  I am hoping that the wild blueberry bushes that we transplanted from my daughter's property will survive and thrive.

Hopefully, I will be able to post more often now that our summer is nearing an end.  I have read your blogs, and have enjoyed your posts.  Thank you for inspiring me in all that you do!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It just goes to show you....

This young fellow came to hang out while his dad was working.  Seems that his favourite thing to do...besides fishing.  He was not out of the car long before he threw in his line and pulled out this beauty...FROM OUR DOCK!!!!!  We have never experienced such excitement!

Lucas lives in the country and doesn't have many friends that live near by.  I asked if he owned a hand-held game...DS or the like....and he said no.  Seems that he watches some TV, and plays on his own.  He likes baseball and hockey.  He is beginning to get into golf.

I wouldn't say that there is any deprivation here, would you?  Proof positive that you don't have to own the latest toy or gadget to be happy!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Talking about Buckets...

Perhaps it isn't so much about "buckets" that I want to talk about.  It is more about "what's in my bucket."

I've never had a "bucket list" as such.  Throughout the years, I would have filled a bucket if I had delegated one to the task of holding my wants and wishes.  I wanted to  become a nurse. I wanted to marry and have children. I wanted to paint.  I wanted to see Canada...own Royal on a farm....learn to kayak....write a book....  Some of these things I have accomplished, and as I satisfied one want, there was always another want to take its place.

Later in life, my wants differed.  I no longer had use for the Royal Doulton figurines that I had been gifted as a young adult.  I became a nurse, and raised a family, and did not have time to even entertain the thoughts of writing a book.  I learned to paint, and it pleases me still, and often I can etch out enough time for a jaunt in my kayak.  I have seen parts of Canada but have discovered that...there is no place like home.

So what would you discover is in my bucket..or on my bucket list if I had one?  Precious little in the way of "want".  I could not be happier than I am right now.  My cup runneth over.  I have a family that loves me and treats me with respect and who fill my "bucket" every day..  I have grandchildren to cuddle and a husband who tolerates my imperfections and loves me in spite of them.  I have good friends.  I have a roof over my head.  I have "enough."

Have you a "bucket list?"  Has it changed over the years?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A great Way to Spend a Rainy Afternoon!

Plans to go north to the Farmer's Market were changed today due to the rain.  I am not disappointed, though.  Sometimes, a day spent indoors is a really good thing!

I bought local strawberries at the local market and I am in the process of making up another batch of freezer jam.  After that, I have cukes to pickle.  

I am afraid that my garden is a bust this year.  I have gotten a few green peppers and the Indian Corn looks promising.  The weeds have gone wild in spite of my best efforts.  Next year I plan on having raised beds with really good soil, and for now, I will rely on the local farmers for my produce.

I have been watching the news with growing trepidation.  The US of A is in a real "Pickle" when it comes to their finances, and what effects our neighbours, is bound to effect us.  At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, I think it wise to have a little "extra" on hand...  My pantry is growing slowly.  I preach the idea of buying or making a little extra to my children, and I think they have got it.  My friend Diane and I have been of this mindset for years.

Whether or not you buy the idea of "peak oil" or not, you cannot argue that oil prices are climbing.  What do you think that this will do to the cost of the transport of groceries?   I am sure that this will effect the transport of goods produced within our country...and our continent, but think for a moment about foods that are processed overseas.  Can "we" continue to afford to send goods to China to be processed? 

I believe that things are not as bleak as they might appear.  We just have to get used to doing things in a different manner.  Locally grown and locally processed is so much more nutritious, and less expensive.  It also produces less waste and when you make it, you know what you are feeding your family.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I LOVE Sun Tea!

Thanks to Amber at "Unstuffed" I have discovered, and am LOVING Sun Tea.  Yesterday I made a batch using black tea and Pomegranate and Raspberry herbal tea.  I don't like hot herbal tea...  To me it is like sipping medicine.  I DO however like it cold!!  Yay!  I know that it is sooo good for you.