Sunday, 30 January 2011

A Walk In The Woods

This morning dawned bright and sunny, so we decided to take a walk in the woods of the Niagara Escarpment.  The snow was crisp beneath our feet and there was a hushed silence surrounding us.

Fortunately, there was no wind, as it was cold enough without it and I was glad of a warm coat and a scarf.  We admired the beauty of the surroundings and the light and shade, as well as the colour of the remaining leaves.

Our path lay clear before us and the blue sky was a welcome sight.

At the end of the path there is a view-point and we gazed out across Lake Ontario and towards Niagara-on-the-Lake, which we recently visited.  As much as I enjoyed the fresh air and exercise, it was lovely to retreat to the warmth of the car and the journey home.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Flying The Flag

We received an unexpected gift when we visited our friends at New Year, as they had a housewarming present for us.  Imagine our surprise when we opened the box and discovered this teapot (and the teabags were included!)  It now has pride of place in our kitchen and it puts a smile on my face every morning.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Amish Cook At Home

One of my enduring memories of 2010 is the time that I spent working with the Amish and Mennonite communities, so on a recent visit to the library, The Amish Cook At Home seemed to call to me.

As co-author Kevin Williams says of Lovina Eicher: "I live in a world of BlackBerry PDAs, iPods, text messaging and e-mail. Lovina lives in a world of blackberries and raspberries, home canning, quilting, child rearing and the slow cadence of a buggy ride."

The book is a combination of recipes interspersed with glimpses of Amish life. It portrays a world where family is all important: a life apart from the hectic modern-day existence that is the norm for the majority.

Even Amish culture is not completely untouched by progress, but the changes which are allowed are governed by the Church in terms of what is deemed acceptable. Some Amish communities are not even permitted enclosed buggies for transportation, which makes travelling in winter difficult; whilst others are permitted to use enclosed buggies and even have portable heaters; permitting greater comfort as well as the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of their surroundings in winter.

One of my personal memories of the Amish is the sense of calm in their presence. They accept their circumstances and their strong faith sustains them. Their families are large and they work together to get through the chores: children as young as three years of age copying their older siblings. To see them all gathered together and to be invited to join one family for lunch was truly an honour.

The recipes are homely and designed to feed large families, so they may not be best suited to smaller gatherings, but the book is worth reading for the glimpse it offers of another way of life.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


I had a delightful surprise on Saturday when I received a dozen red roses.  The sight of them fills me with joy each time that I walk into the kitchen, as they look more beautiful every day.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Winter In Niagara-on-the-Lake

I had some time off this past weekend and we took the opportunity to go out in the sunshine.  We went to one of our favourite destinations, Niagara-on-the-Lake.  It was cold and there was still a fair amount of snow on the ground, so it was a fairly short visit.

We walked around to the Prince of Wales Hotel where there are often horse-drawn carriage rides available.

Then along to Just Christmas, which is one of the stores that I really enjoy visiting.  It is a bit like Santa's grotto, though in January, the shelves are somewhat deleted.  It looks like Santa needs to do a bit of restocking!

And further down the street to The Scottish Loft, where I was able to buy some of my favourite British sweets before a warming cup of tea at the Irish tea-room.

Saturday, 15 January 2011


This was the sight that greeted us on Wednesday morning.  All of this snowfall happened overnight and it took two hours to dig our way out of the driveway.  This was the first significant snowfall this winter, but certainly not the last: it started snowing again overnight and we have had to dig out twice today.  The snow looks pretty, but it loses its appeal once the digging begins!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Twinkle Tree

New Year's Eve was approaching and we were in the supermarket buying some flowers when this was pointed out to me.  I had been vaguely aware of the glittery foliage in the background, but hadn't paid much attention.  Anyway, we came out with more than we bargained for but it was reduced 50% so how was a girl to resist?

Now that Twelfth Night has passed and the Christmas tree has been removed, it has pride of place near the window.  I just love my twinkle tree!  It is a winter theme, so I have the perfect excuse to keep it out for a few months.

This week has been crazy as I started my new job on Monday.  I really like the other midwives in the practice, which is a good start.  My appearances here may be sporadic over the coming months as I am now back on call.  I know that my readers will understand if I go missing.....

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.  May 2011 be filled with peace, love and joy.