Friday, April 29, 2016

Bea’s Great Birthday Party

The day was running up with bright sunshine but rather low temperatures. In fact we started below the freezing mark, but I think we reached 42 or 44. Not very inviting for spending extended time sitting on the porch. So Bea’s birthday party was going to happen indoors.
Coffee was ready and the cakes were just waiting for our guests when everybody showed up at 3pm today.
It was the first time that we had gathered 10 people for coffee and cake around our table in this house. When Bea turned 60 last year we were in our trailer in Alberta and there was no party, so we had to have a bigger party today. And we love having our neighbours come for visits. As soon as everybody was seated around our heavy Norwegian pine table the chat was going on like you wouldn’t believe it. We had a good variety of cakes and cookies and there was coffee and tea.
This is Bea’s cake. It’s a Sponge cake with a pineapple CoolWhip, mandarines  chocolate cream1-DSC_0086

The “False Cheese Cake” decorated with whipping cream and strawberries.

Waiting for the guests to arrive

These social meetings are one of the best things when you live in a small community.
Everybody is seated and the chat is flowing

Bea says this birthday party was the best ever, and what more could we possibly ask for? She received many Birthday wishes via Facebook and Email. Bea’s mother, one of Bea’s cousins and one of the cousin’s daughter all have their birthday on April 29. Talk about having this as a family day.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cold Days And A “False Cheese Cake”

Gone are the 2 warm days we recently enjoyed and after that it got pretty cold again, though “pretty” doesn’t really cut it. I mean it’s more like “lousy”. Night temps are below the freezing mark and today we barely made 40F and helped by a very cold wind it was plainly unpleasant to be outside. Sooooo…..the day was spent in the kitchen department preparing a couple of cakes for tomorrow’s birthday celebrations. My dear loving wife Bea is having her 61th birthday. I can’t believe we are in our 7th decade. Geez…

Anyway, back to my occupation in the kitchen. Bea made one very delicious cake in the morning while my plan was a “False Cheese Cake”. It’s false because it’s made with pudding and yoghurt instead of cream cheese. Trouble is the recipe is a German and that shoulda told me that it wouldn’t be doable. Ok, I made a base with Graham Crumbs and that worked out as planned, because that part is actually AMERICAN. But then came the cream. The recipe spoke of making a vanilla pudding, then beating in 4 eggs (!) and adding 2 pounds (!!) of yoghurt. I had some plain yoghurt which I dutifully added to the mixture. The cream was then to be poured over the Graham Crumb base. I cut up a few strawberries and distributed them across the surface. The whole thing was then to be baked at 350F for 70 (!!!) minutes. Wow, that shoulda really warned me off. But I followed suit and away the cake went into the oven. After 60 minutes I tried with a knife and the blade came up messy. OK, another 10-15 minutes. Another try and it still came up messy. ALRIGHT….I give it another 30 minutes, but it’s still messy after that. HELL….what should I do? Bea pleaded for the cake asking for more time yet. OK- I allow for yet another 30 minutes. Meanwhile I take Molly out for a walk. When I am back the whole cream has risen to the top edge of my cake form. Hm…is that good or bad?  I try the knife again. It is still a little messy when I pull it out, but something is about to happen. The edges are getting some darker colour, so before my power bill goes through the roof, I shut off the oven, but leave the damn cake inside. Hopefully that will make the cream solidify. Otherwise we have a cream soup tomorrow!
1-DSC_0080After staying in the cooling oven for another hour the cream has fallen down again…..but wondrous thing has happened, it has solidified. INCREDIBLE.

I swear by all cake gods that I will never again follow a German recipe in Canada.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Trip To The Other Side

Crossing international borders, probably is the same for us as for you having breakfast every morning. Over the past three days I have been “on the other side” three times. Mostly these trips are connected to some errands, like getting gas (no gas station on Campobello) or getting some other supplies. So usually we have a real reason to go there. Today, it wasn’t much different, except that when returning from the gas station I kinda hunkered after driving down to West Quoddy State Park.
It’s a beautiful drive hugging the water’s edge. I also enjoy seeing the small houses strewn along the road, all of them blessed with a Million-Dollar-View. And if these houses would have been on the west coast, they would truly be Millions of Dollars worth. Out here, most houses sell for under $200,000. Their large lots are often reaching down to the beach.
The West Quoddy Lighthouse is still closed, which is nothing out of the ordinary this time of the year.
1-DSC_0060Campobello Island with Liberty Point and Sugar Loaf Rock

With Campobello Island to the North and the island of Grand Manan on the horizon, the views are magnificent. Today we have a strong Nor-Wester blowing down the Gulf of Maine, and very strong currents are swirling around the rocks.
Sail-Rock with Grand Manan in the background
Sail-Rock is one of the easiest to recognize as it seems to stretch its rocky sail to catch most of the wind. Farther out lies Ship-Wreck-Rock, lurking only inches under water and waiting for the unexperienced sailor to run his ship aground on the sharp-edged rocky surface.
1-DSC_0063From the lighthouse I walk along a quiet trail on top of the shoreline. Again I am taken by the grand views along this wild and untamed coast.
A wooden staircase gets me down to the beach, if such a term is really describing this shore. The stairs are ending on solid rock and one has to balance across it to really reach the rough gravel shore. A mother with her daughter comes down the stairs while I am figuring out how to configure my next shot up the coast. “What a beautiful day” she says and I am nodding “….but the wind is cold today”.
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A “knoll-tree”
Sauntering back to my van I take another shot at the lighthouse. Soon it will be open for sightseeing again.
Looks like spring has finally sprung. After 2 days with temps reaching 70F and one day with much needed rain, we are down to cooler temps today.

1-DSC_0072None-the-less Daisies are blooming in protected spots and Forsythia is about ready to show off its bright yellow colour.
Also our lilac is developing thick green buds.
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Our ceramic ducks are again guarding our deck.

Have a great Sunday and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Summer, Sun And Fun

1-DSC_00471-DSC_0048First BOONDOCKER arrived in style with a Shasta from the 60s. And the lady who owns this adorable camper, which she has named “CAMPIE” is from St.Andrews,NB. Simone Ritter is the artist behind the many lovable water-color pictures, some of which I have shown to the readers earlier. Under her visit here, she has been painting local lighthouses, like the Mulholland Light and the Head Harbour Light Station. These paintings are part of a series of lighthouse pictures from all Maritime Provinces and some from Maine.
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Seeing the fresh colors on her Shasta I could not resist to park our LTD in front of it. They sure made for a great pair.
And I am so happy to let you know that Thursday April 21. was our first day of summer weather. Temps were reaching 68F (20C) which brought out a lot of people, some of which were engaged in carpentry, others in garden work.
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Bea is babying hundreds of tiny seedlings in the greenhouse. They require a lot of attention with monitoring of water, temperature and light.

I had taken on a little project of my own repairing some damage on a neighbour’s house. Wall shingles were rotted out along the bottom and needed replacement.
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It was getting pretty hot for me in the sun, but I managed to finish the job before noon. Wow…time for a break.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Lazy Sunday

As long as I can remember Sundays have always been the laziest days of the week. When growing up we were not supposed to have any “projects” on Sundays. No, Sundays were family days. In the winter that meant reading, listening to music and for the kids some peaceful playing in our room. During Summer the adults went on small leisure hikes, they met with neighbours or other family members or they simply relaxed in the sun. Throughout the year, Sundays always meant having some especially good food for supper. That’s the way my brother and I grew up, and that’s the way we still live through most Sundays. So, with today’s beautiful weather I did not commence any big projects, nor did I continue working with any. I took Molly out for a couple of walks, vacuumed all three vehicles and for the rest I hung out in the bright sun.
Bea was caring for all her little veggi-plants and flowers. They all need to be babied if we want to have a vegetable harvest later in the year. Tiny tomato plants are stretching towards daylight and it is important to keep them from getting too cold and too dark. And last night we had frost again, the lawn was glittering with ice crystals. But day highs were above 50F and much warmer in the sun.
I even managed to stay away from chopping firewood today.

Saturday I finished the new compost bin. The thing is built in 2x6” and clad with chicken wire inside. I put little branches in the bottom and Bea moved the content from our old rickety compost bin over to it’s new home.
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Since I had cleaned up the cars I took a little test drive with the LTD. Rolled down the roof as well and ah…it was a good feeling gliding along quiet island roads again.
My morning walk with Molly was in the Roosevelt Park. We went down the stairs at Con. Robinson Point, followed the beach to Raccoon Beach and walked back.
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Noticed a lot of new erosion along the beach.  Huge trees have fallen off the cliff. The power of storm and water have done a lot of changes.1-DSC_0018
Above: Raccoon Beach
At Con. Robinson Point

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Happy Days Are Here Again…

Oh what pleasure was waiting us today. No more boring sit-on-the-couch. I was bound to have a busy day. And the weather was more than gorgeous. A deep blue sky, and only the slightest breeze was moving the water on the bay. First off I hitched on the trailer and did a round to pick up --- you guessed it --- MORE firewood. It was all ready to be loaded and cut to 5ft. length.  I just finished that before 9:30am and went straight on to see a nabour in need of help with their garden. Pruning of trees and bushes and extensive raking of their lawn was on the agenda. We had lunch together and had a great time chatting.
It was almost 3:30pm before we had finished the outdoor work.
Home and having a relaxing coffee with a couple of home-baked cookies out on the deck. Temps in the 60s today made for a marvelous time. And again it appeared to me how darn lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place. The view across the bay is simply… peaceful and relaxing.
Took a trip to the grocer to get another 2pound can of my favorite coffee, and while being on the road I dropped by the motel and had a chat with the owners. Were laughing about stupid Trump and talked about a movie that had compared him with a “resurrected” Adolf Hitler.

All in all a great day and there are more to come.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Our Wood Stove Took A Break

I noticed it right away when stepping outside this morning. Something WAS different. The clear sky, a bright sunshine and birds were singing, made all the difference from bygone dull days. There wasn’t even any wind, which is really remarkable out here at the ocean.
Finally, the crocuses would show up

Why would we keep up a fire in our wood stove if outside temps reached the mid-fifties Red rose?  And just why is a flower symbol popping up when I put  an “F” for Fahrenheit into parentheses?  The promising morning progressed into what felt like the first real spring day.
Coffee and lunch was happening outside.
And of course, me and my restless self, was feeling like doing a lot of things. And I did putter around most of the day, took off a front wheel of the Buick to check out whether we had a suspension problem. Conclusion of that was somewhat indifferent as it could simply be an adjustment of the wheel alignment. Some uneven wear and tear on the front tires seem to point into that direction. 

And then there was this firewood. Weeks ago I had announced that enough was enough, but it kept coming.
Wood from the cemetery, wood from nabours---- it is piling up and I don’t know where to make the next stacks. Guess it’s a luxury problem so I’ll come up with something. I usually do.

Even now at 5:30pm I feel like I would like to do some camping, but of course nighttime temps are gonna stay just barely above freezing.
DSC_0930_2Had some trouble with Molly the other day. All-of-a-sudden she started drinking water like crazy. Then she wetting her doggy-bed. And that she has never ever done before. Of course, it was evening and no vet could be reached. She did not show any other signs of any disease or medical problem, so we decided to wait it out and see how the next day would be. Amazingly, next day she drank normal amounts of water but she still left a few wet spots on her bed. Bea called the vet and the earliest appointment was next Tuesday. Well, this was not any life-threatening emergency so we accepted that. The third day ran up with Molly being her old usual self again. No more wet spots on her bed and she showed her normal drinking and eating behaviour. We are guessing that she must have eaten something really salty or even poisonous which she might have found while roaming around, and that her body tried to get rid of it by drinking copious amounts of water. However it gave us a scare and also reminded us that Molly has entered an age (13+) where things can go the wrong way and where she will need our help more than ever.