Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cook, clean, write or knit. The nightly debates

The title of this blog is the theme of our nights right now. I can choose only one of these things every night before it starts to eat into precious precious sleep time. I've been writing this post over the past week. Slowly gathering pictures and my thoughts.

Over a week without a post is something I've been trying hard to miss but since we closed the cottage life has been running us a merry chase.

This little bun turned five last week.
It's hard to believe this little baby
has turned into this big girl in what feels like a blink of my eye. It's been a fun and crazy ride.
She asked for a repeat of last years cupcake extravaganza.  We tried a new pumpkin spice recipe this year and they were delicious after a rainy day treasure hunt in the local ravine.

The day after Fenner's birthday we gathered in The Rail Garden to put our gardens, community and personal, to bed. We had already postponed the event and were getting worried about the weather never cooperating so we pushed it on Sunday.
In the rain, we moved the last of the mulch. Cozied the strawberries, planted bulbs and covered what we could with straw. It was a cold wet day.

I brought our fire bowl and firewood up to the garden and got a big bonfire going. I can't lie - I was pretty proud of getting the fire going in the rain. Makes me feel like we'd do ok in the zombie apocalypse.

Now we have the final community dinner of the year.  The Harvest Dance. Our house is a frenzy of nighttime baking, donation accumulation and planning.  Each of the four committee members has committed to baking pies for dessert, cooking the mains and contributing to the decorations.

This shit is real people. We sold out this event in less than two weeks. 170 people, live blue grass music - Meat and Vegan main courses, salad selection, cheese/fruit platters and sides.  There are only four women on this committee and we all have a priority commitment to making the experience of these dinners a beautiful, fun and delicious one. Thank god for volunteers helping us wash the dishes!
Last week I started preparing my contributions to the dinner. I don't have time to do it all in the last few days so everyday J and I make a list and do a little bit every night. Baking the desserts at night and freezing them. We've had a surplus of seasonal food from our Good Food Box so we've been using the surplus to literally, feed our neighbourhood which I love in about a million ways.

These are just a couple of the pies ready to be warmed in the oven and served hot on Saturday night.
We are collecting Fall related decorations on our walks and rides to and from school/work and the final to do lists are getting finalized. I've picked up the meat from Kyle and Lorraine our local butchers. Kyle is  smoking ham hocks for me to pick up on Thursday night me to make my all day baked beans to complement the veg baked beans.

I am just so proud to be part of the team that puts these events on. I'll be more excited on Saturday night when the prep is done but you should stay tuned for pictures. This is what our first dinner looked like and we didn't know what we were doing back then.

Cool eh?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Goodnight Cottage

Goodnight summer
Goodnight lake.

 Goodnight rock.
Goodnight trees.
Goodnight mushrooms and moss
Goodnight lichen
Goodnight little cottage in the woods
Goodnight canadian shield
and goodnight canoe.
Goodnight water pressure
and goodnight water.
Goodnight dock
and goodnight dock spider.
Goodnight leaves
and goodnight paths.

Goodnight firewood
and goodnight sky.
Thank you Grandparents
and thank you Family.
Hello Babies
and another year is done.

Friday, October 19, 2012

New Phases

A few pictures from a recent trip to the Science Centre.  Marlowe is in love with other babies now and she gives delightful smooches.

She is collecting words and tonalities every day. Thank you, bye bye, and lots of monosyllabic tones.
Fenner is exploring a bigger world. Daring to climb a little higher and to challenge herself in different ways.
We finally discovered how to play with the outdoor pipes. Those of you from Toronto will recognize them and I always thought that the wind blew the tonalities through them...

but no, they are even cooler. We can play them ourselves!

It's a bit of a random post but I am working on ways to make this space a little bit more focussed.  Please bear with me while I sort out how I can own this a little better.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Giving Thanks

Guys! Where did last week go?

We spent a cold and amazing Thanksgiving weekend walking in the woods, cooking, eating and being together. Years ago my Mom started using this weekend to do a family community kitchen where many hands make light(er) work. We had a great time chopping and prepping vegetables for a million jars of anti pasto.

This year my sisters and I decided to do a run at soups. Mom supplied the kitchen and the pressure canner. Eight hours later we had Lentil Soup, Italian Wedding Soup, Roasted Vegetables and Gingered Carrot Stew.

My sister Charlotte channels every matriarch of a large clan whenever she cooks. It is a running family joke that Charlotte's minimum cooking quantity is for a family of six - 4 of whom are teenagers so when it was decided that we would triple the recipes we were all a little concerned.

She's an amazing cook and does well with her propensity for mass food production. Most of the time she has a place for it to go when she's lost control (like my pantry!)

It was the perfect fall day for hot food cooking. Cold and rainy. The sun came out after the last of the jars came out of the canner.
We got to go for a sunny fall walk through the woods and along the lake.  The leaves are about to peak and the lichen was in full performance after the day of rain.
What a spectacular weekend to be out of the city.

Jason baked pumpkin muffins.
My sisters and I did dinner this year.  It was a full team effort - Mom and Dad hosted a glorious family party. They have been doing a lot of hard work recently so the gauntlet of preparing dinner fell to the next generation. We split the work load and so were able to get some good play in while dinner cooked.



Fall on Echo Rock!
By the time we came back the bird was done and Jessica was ready to put her amazing gravy together. It is one of my favourite things about Thanksgiving Dinner. I don't know what she does to it and I almost don't want to know.

Mom made an amazing fresh cranberry compote.
Liz ensured a beautiful table.
For a brief time anyway....
We had so much to be thankful for this year.
Health, happiness and family all in one cozy room while the wind blew and the leaves fell outside.
So lucky.