Tag Archives: Rose Cousins

Joys of the Season…

On Christmas Eve Eve (no, I’m not stuttering), I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people who take time out of their busy days to read Herding Cats in Hammond River!  I have appreciated all your comments, and hope to see you all back here next week (I’ll have the tea on!).  In the meantime, here is a beautiful Christmas song by three talented Maritime women: Jill Barber, Rose Cousins, and Meaghan Smith:  http://r3.ca/02JZ

“This Christmas” is just one song from a fundraising album called A New Kind of Light that the ladies did in support of Feed Nova Scotia.  CDs are just $20 each, and can be ordered by clicking the Feed Nova Scotia link.

I wish you all peace, joy and love this holiday season and throughout the coming year!

Wendy (aka writerwoman61)

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Chimney Sweeps, CDs, Cinnamon Buns, and Curios…

On Monday night, I got a call from the company I’d called about cleaning the chimney last week…was very pleased because I’d expected to be waiting a lot longer than three days to get an appointment!  Here’s the history:  The first year we moved into the house (Nov. 29, 2008), we had a guy come and clean the chimney…he came just after Christmas (about a month after I called him…he was “backed up”).  I called the same guy in September of 2009.  He was still “backed up,” and also having some sort of surgery soon.  He said he’d put me “on the list.”  He never showed up!  I took him off my list this year…I called another guy (I’m a big believer in “getting a guy” to do things we can’t do, despite my dad offering to do it…I love him, but he doesn’t know anything about chimney cleaning!).  Even though he was listed in the Yellow Pages under “chimney cleaning” the guy told me he’d given it up: “too much liability” and “people don’t want to pay enough.”  He suggested the third company I called last Friday.  The man I talked to on Monday told me they would be in my area on Tuesday afternoon, so I stayed home from the bookstore to let him in.  It was a nice bonus…the house to myself for most of the day…yay!  I would use the time to listen to my music, make cinnamon buns, and play on the computer.

I got up on Tuesday morning, and got Jim and the kids out the door before having a shower…I debated getting dressed, but thought I should have clothes on for the chimney guys (as opposed to pyjamas)!  I skipped makeup, though, and never touched my hair again after brushing it when I got out of the shower.

I put on the first CD while I made myself tea and Toad in the Hole (with a bagel) for breakfast: Richard Shindell‘s Courier.  Wonderful!

I ate my breakfast, started the dishwasher, and started making the cinnamon bun dough:

Dough after mixing, before first rise...

An hour later, it looked like this:

Dough after first rise...

I punched it down, and covered it to rise again.  I put Meg Hutchinson‘s The Living Side on.  Her favourite of mine is Come Up Full.  I played on my computer some more.  Here’s the dough after the second rise:

Dough after second rise...

In the meantime, the guys arrived to clean the chimney…I put the baby gate up in the family room to keep Jake from terrorizing them.  On his way down the basement stairs, I mentioned to the head guy that the stovepipe might need to be replaced.  “You didn’t tell me that last night,” he muttered.  “I don’t have parts with me!”  He took his vacuum cleaner down to do the cleaning.  I took my dough in the dining room, and rolled it out, spread it with butter, sprinkled it with brown sugar and cinnamon, and then rolled it up.  Then I sliced the roll for the cinnamon buns:

Cinnamon buns before third rise...

While they rose, I ate lunch and listened to Rose CousinsThe Send Off…here’s what the buns looked like before I put them in the oven:

Cinnamon buns after third rise - ready to go in the oven...

The chimney guys finished their work within an hour…poor Jake spent the time running from one end of the house to the other, not sure which direction to bark at: Were the bad guys outside, in the basement, or by the back door?  I wrote them a check for $96 and change…the head guy told me they had used foil tape to patch the stovepipe (the same thing the other guy had done two years ago…foil tape must be chimney guys’ duct tape!).  After the workers left, I put the cinnamon buns in the oven…keeping with the “cinnamon” theme, I played a tribute album to Neil Young called Cinnamon Girl.   About 35 minutes later, the buns were ready to take out.  Hope came home from school, and we’d eaten three of them before I realized I’d forgotten to take a picture of the finished product…Hope took this one:

Finished cinnamon buns...yummy!

One of the hard parts about being a working mom is that I rarely get time with my kids “one-on-one.”  I took advantage of the hour-and-a-half Hope and I had to ourselves before Jim and Anna would be home for supper.  I took the opportunity to show Hope the dollhouse furniture my mom and her sisters used to play with in the late 1940’s…I had loved it as a child, and she had never seen it.  Hope is the only one of my kids who was really into dolls!  She had a great time arranging the furniture and tiny dolls:

The Bedroom (twin beds, of course!)

 

The Kitchen...

 

The Bathroom...please avert your eyes while the baby finishes up...

 

The Living Room, complete with piano and hi-fi...

While Hope played with the dollhouse stuff, I put on a pork roast and rice for supper.  By the time Jim and Anna got home, we had picked everything up…

It was a good day at home…

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Macho Deer, Calzones, Aggressive Squirrels, and Fallen Trees…

Here, for your Wednesday reading pleasure, are some random happenings from my weekend:

1. My landlord and I had a fun discussion about our gardens on Friday when he came to collect the rent.  He told me that he had paid $1500 to install a solar-powered electric fence to keep the deer out of his, but that the bucks had recently started breaching security.  “I don’t know if they’re proving their manhood…they twitch a little when they go through, but do it anyway!”  It made me giggle to see his impression of the bucks as they passed through the current.  He said they had taken a bite out of every one of his beloved squash (he told me he was boiling them anyway)…I invited him to come and help himself to some of our “unused” squash!

2. A new bird has joined the flock which comes to feast at Jim’s Bird Feeder Smorgasbord: it’s quite shy, and just flits onto the deck and picks up the seeds the greedy goldfinches spill.  It’s a white-breasted nuthatch.

White-breasted nuthatch...

The Smorgasbord has been closed for the last couple of days as it had been raining most of last week, and the water had gotten into the feeders, causing the bird seed to sprout.  Not wanting to hurt our fine feathered friends, Jim has been washing the feeders out with bleach and soapy water, and will refill them shortly (he buys so much nyger seed at Bulk Barn, I think we should own stock there by now!).

3. It was a gorgeous day on Saturday…who would have thought I’d be sitting on our deck shelling orca beans in a T-shirt and bare feet on October 2nd (in case you’re wondering, I was also wearing jeans!)?

4. I’m liking this “give Mom a break” thing we started with cooking.  On Saturday, Jim made an amazing pot roast with potatoes, onions, carrots, turnip, rutabaga (from our garden), peas, corn, and homemade gravy.  Last night, Anna and Hope made Chinese food…it was awesome!  The kids are cooking again Friday night…can’t wait to see what they have planned!

5. Anna was taking pictures of one of our resident grey squirrels through a window the other day…when it saw her, it started launching itself towards the window!  It did it at least twice…

6. Saturday night, Jim and I went to see the new movie, “The Social Network.”  In case you haven’t heard, it’s about how Facebook got started.  It was quite an interesting social study…Jim liked that the technical parts were accurate!  The writing is very good, but it’s definitely not an “easy” movie…the teenagers talking behind us made it somewhat difficult to follow sometimes!  The way Mark Zuckerburg’s character talked was sometimes reminiscent of “Rain Man.”  Jim had to go for a pit stop in the middle of the movie…while moving my knees out of his way, I managed to dump half my box of Raisinets on the floor (glad I bought them at the Dollar Store and not the theatre – that would have been an expensive accident!).

7.  Sunday morning, I started boiling down tomatoes from the garden for pizza sauce.  Jim wanted me to make calzones similar to what we’d had last week at a local restaurant.  There were quite a few tomatoes, and it took them several hours to get thick enough for sauce.  I added minced onion and garlic, chili powder, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and sugar.  It was delicious!  Then I made the calzones, which while easy, take time to shape and fill (I used pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese, along with the sauce).  We ate late that night, but they were good!  I had a whole bag of pizza sauce left, which I put in the freezer for another time.

Two of the finished calzones...yes, that's a dinner-sized plate! Yummy!

8. In the afternoon, we went over to Jim’s parents to pick up some firewood.  While they were away visiting relatives last week, a big maple tree in their back yard had fallen down during a windstorm, narrowly missing their carport!  They offered us the wood.  We filled up the back of the van…we went back to get the rest last night.  It should be close to a cord…that will save us some money next year!

9. Sunday night, Jim and I went to the Blue Olive to see Rose Cousins, one of our favourite folk singers.  She was her usual, funny, charming self, although she was fighting a cold…she joked that a Canada Goose had gotten into her nose.  Rose introduced us to a couple of other singers who are just starting out: Heather Green and Ria Mae.  We liked them both, and especially enjoyed the end where everyone sang together!   There had been a mixup with our tickets, and our seats had been given to someone else…to compensate, the hostess paid our tab for the night (which would have been higher had we not been drinking pop – Jim did get a nice Greek salad, though).  We sat with our friend, Stephen Webb, from CBC.  Jim grew up with him.

Rose Cousins...

10. I was out picking tomatoes Monday night, and got into a mild disagreement with a doe.  There was a whole group of deer out there, quite close to the fence, and I waved my arms and yelled at them to make them move away (Dad is terrified that they’ll get into the garden some day!).  They did move, but one stubborn female stayed closer than the others…she stomped her foot and snorted at me.  I waved my arms and told her to “Git!”  She stared at me like my kids do when I’ve told them to do something they have no intention of doing…she snorted and stomped again.  We repeated this exchange for about five minutes before she and her posse hightailed it into the woods.  I win!

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