Saturday, 31 December 2011

White Christmas

The snow that started on 23rd December continued throughout Christmas Eve, so we awoke to a white Christmas.  We decided to get warmly dressed and go for a walk in the woods behind our house.

The branches of the trees were heavily laden with snow, which bent many of them to the ground.  There were no human footprints along the trail, though we did see some animal prints, possibly deer.   

The woods were silent and it was easy to imagine how people can wander off and get lost.  Although we were following a cleared trail in the daylight,  much of this part of Nova Scotia is wilderness where there are no roads or trails.

We found some deep untouched snow and I made my first snow angel!!!  I've never done a snow angel before in my entire life.....better late than never!  The walk was exhilerating, mainly due to the fact that the outward part was all uphill, but it was lovely to return to the warmth of home and put our feet up.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Maritime Christmas

Christmas 2011 ~ our first Christmas in the Maritimes and also our first country Christmas.  The tree was much larger than anticipated after I ordered one around 5-6 feet.  The one that was delivered actually measured 8 feet, so we had to shorten it to get it in our living room ~ we had branches and sawdust everywhere!

I bought some new Christmas ornaments to adorn our tree during a visit to Halifax: Santa and Rudolph adorning a lighthouse with lights and Santa in a rowing boat full of gifts (sorry that the photo is a bit dark).

This country Christmas bauble is another new addition.

And how could I resist this adorable snowman and his gingerbread companion?  Let It Snow is one saying that we didn't need this year ~ we had lots of it and I will share some photos next time.

I finally started my Christmas Memories book, which I've been saving for far too long.  I've always intended to save memories from our Christmases, but never seemed to find the time.  After unintentionally wiping the hard drive of our computer this summer, I realise the importance of saving digital photographs.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve

It started with light snowfall yesterday morning and continued throughout the day.  By late afternoon, there was a blanket of white and people were hurrying home.  This was the view from our window as night fell.

The snow continued overnight and Christmas Eve morning dawned a dull grey.  The garden had been transformed overnight and there was a hushed stillness to the landscape; what sounds there were being muffled by the winter blanket.

This is the view of our house from the end of the driveway.  Fortunately, we were able to get out without waiting for the plough to come and clear it.

The trees are heavily laden with snow now and we are planning a walk this afternoon.  We are certainly having a white Christmas this year.

All that remains is to wish each one of my readers a very Merry Christmas. 
May this season be filled with peace and joy.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

NaBloPoMo 2011

Once again this year, I set myself the NaBloPoMo Challenge to blog every day for a whole month.   At this time of the year, I often find myself wondering why I blog and what to write about, so this challenge gives my blog new impetus. 

I blog because I like to write and my blog is a visual journal which I can look back on from time to time and remind myself of some of my achievements.

To those of you who shared this journey, thank you for being there and for making it all worthwhile.    

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A Little Celebration

Need I say more?  Yes, I passed the exam that I went all that way to Vancouver to write last month.  I got my results yesterday along with this card from my husband, a beautiful red rose and a chocolate cake! 

Monday, 28 November 2011

Thought For The Day

'If home is the magnetic north of the heart, then all journeys eventually become a circle.'

Will Ferguson (1964 -)

(Photo: Malhamdale, North Yorkshire in Winter, courtesy of my little sister.)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Advent ~ 1

A single light shines in the darkness.  The first candle stands for hope.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Anyone For Tea?

Afternoon tea is one tradition that I would like to revive if I had the time to sit down in the afternoon and enjoy it.  Even as an occasional treat, I believe that there is little better than freshly baked scones.

On a foray into Halifax a month or so ago, my husband discovered clotted cream.  In all the years that I've lived in Canada, I had never seen real English Clotted Cream. 

In combination with his favourite Bonne Maman Strawberry Jam, these didn't last long! 

Friday, 25 November 2011

Falling Snow

See the pretty snowflakes
Falling from the sky;
On the wall and housetops
Soft and thick they lie.

On the window ledges,
On the branches bare;
Now how fast they gather,
Filling all the air.

Look into the garden,
Where the grass was green;
Covered by the snowflakes,
Not a blade is seen.

Now the bare black bushes,
All look soft and white,
Every twig is laden,
What a pretty sight!


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Digging Out

The snow started yesterday lunchtime and by late afternoon, it was beginning to change the appearance of the landscape.  It was already getting dark by 4 p.m.  After the storm warnings began yesterday morning, most people were heading home early.

By evening, the blanket of snow was getting deeper.  The forecast was for up to 35 cm by morning.  I headed for bed and laid awake listening to the storm battering the windows.

No sun this morning, just a bleak winter dawn.  The photographs have a monochrome appearance due to the poor light.  Everywhere we looked, we saw snow ~ far more than would normally be expected at this time of the year.

The digging out began.  The first job was to actually get out of the door, which was easier said than done.  The problem with screen doors is that they open outwards, which is difficult when snow is piled up against them.  We resorted to using the normally unused door at the front and managed to force our way out through a crack.

I wanted to give my photographs some perspective, so I took this one of my foot and leg in the snow on the garden.  As you can imagine, walking in this is very difficult.  Also, it proved impossible to stay dry, as snow found its way inside my waterproof trousers and boots....

I found the other door and then it was a matter of digging a hole to access it.  We had a lot of digging to do.

All the way along past our two cars and still the driveway is a long way from reach.

Yes, that's the driveway and no, we didn't shovel our way down it.  At present, we are snowed in awaiting a plough.  I'm not sure that we will even be able to get out by tomorrow.

At least we can now access our door and get in and out without wading through a snowdrift.  If we get any more snow, I'm not sure where we are going to put it.

It may not officially be winter, but try telling that to those of us living on the east coast!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Three Bears

Spotted outside the Christmas shop at the weekend.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lemon Curd

I bought some beautiful Meyer lemons when I went grocery shopping and I decided to turn them into lemon curd.  As a child, I adored lemon curd and although I don't eat it often these days, I do still enjoy it. 

Don't the lemons have the most wonderful colour?  Their scent as I grated and squeezed them was sweet and full of citrusy promise to come.

Beat the eggs in a pan and add butter cut into small chunks.  The recipe said to use a balloon whisk to combine, which I did, but it is a tiring process.  I learnt from past experience that an electric whisk does not work.

The end result looked a little foamy and I was trying to flatten the bubbles with the back of a spoon, but eventually I left it like this.

I added the lids and heated the jars again to create a vacuum; not that they will be sealed for long! I couldn't resist trying it on my toast this morning and it was delicious!  I have plans to make a more seasonal curd before Christmas, but I'll keep the details until later.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Christmas Open House

Saturday afternoon was bright and sunny after the snow overnight, so we decided to go out for a drive and headed up to Cape Breton.  We went on a road which is unfamiliar to me and came upon a delightful Christmas shop where I made a couple of small purchases, which I will share with you in a later post.  It turned out that the owner of the shop opens her home for charity and she was having a Christmas Open House.  Not only is the house itself beautiful, but the way it was decorated was stunning.
There was a Christmas tree in each of the main rooms in addition to Christmas china on the dining table and lots of Christmas ornaments.  the bedrooms were cosy and inviting, with cosy quilts.
Who wouldn't adore a sleigh bed like this one? 
And next to the bed was yet another Christmas tree.  The attention to detail was staggering.  It takes the owner three weeks to set up for this event and she has opened her house for the past 17 years to raise money for charity. 
This is the last year that she intends to do this and I count myself fortunate to have seen this beautiful home.  What a magical start to the Christmas season!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Stir-Up Sunday

I've never attempted a Christmas pudding before.  I've always made excuses about not having enough time and thinking that it was too time-consuming, when in actual fact, the mixing process is quite quick and that just leaves the steaming.

Today is Stir-Up Sunday: the Sunday before the first Sunday in Advent when traditionally, plum puddings are mixed and steamed in preparation for Christmas.

I had to adapt the recipe slightly, as I had no wholemeal breadcrumbs, so the pudding may be a little lighter in colour than usual.  Also, in the absence of muscovado sugar (or any treacle to make my own), I had to use dark brown sugar.  I doubt that it will detract from the taste however, as the mixture had the most wonderful Christmassy aroma.

It is now steaming away gently in the kitchen.  All I have to do is remember to keep topping up the water.