Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Old San Juan

Our first morning in Old San Juan was most delightful.
I'm an early riser most days so waking up Atlantic time suited me just fine.
I tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.  ..
and saw the warmth before even feeling it.
The patio door was opened and the rush of damp warmth met me and I remembered again why we love tropical vacations.

While walking the narrow streets we were met head on with a parade in progress.
It was rather impromtu with singing and dancing and police escorts on their bikes.
When they passed us, they handed us tracks in a language we could not read . .
and then mentioned Jesus . ..
and then their smiles spoke volumes and we understood the reason for their joy.

We had breakfast in a bakery cafe that we knew would be tasty judging from the line up  for a table.
I'm just saying right up front that going on holiday and avoiding and resisting pastries that are offered up takes an enormous amount of will power.

Old San Juan has cobble stone streets built on a hillside surrounded on three sides by water.
We spent the days just walking though the quaint streets with each building attached to the next with each it's own flavour.

(in the bungalow. . .I am beginning to put up Christmas decorations. . .enjoying dinner with friends. . and generally regaining  the sense of Pacific Time .. )

all for now . .

Monday, November 29, 2010

to the airport

How does a girl dress to go from chilly to tropical?
It was harder to figure that out than packing the rest of the case. . .though I did spend a good deal of time making enquiries from those who have travelled the sea before me.
Since this was our first cruise and an experiment to boot ..
it seemed that covering my bases was only prudent.
I had been told by my beloved that cruising would not be in my future since driving around town on a drizzly day gives my tummy certain upset.

One damp day in spring my brother Ken came to the door with a brochure of the Caribbean with pictures of palm trees and aqua blue waters and a cruise ship that promised to deliver nothing but smooth sailing.
It's all about timing.
I whipped up a big bowl of homemade noodles and casually mentioned that every marriage needs to take time away from farming and daily life in bungalows.
He agreed.
I called my brother Ken and told him to line us up.
He did.

On November 12, after a night at the Fairmont at the YVR in Vancouver,
we boarded our plane and headed south for 3 hours and 55 minutes to Dallas, Texas.
We adjusted my watch by 2 hours. .
boarded another plane and headed southeast for 4 hours and 40 minutes to San Juan, Peurto Rico.

We adjusted my watch yet another 2 hours to Atlantic time.
We hailed a taxi and drove 20 minutes to the Sheraton in Old San Juan.
arriving at out hotel near midnight. . .
I was not sleepy.
Old San Juan was.

(confessions from the bungalow. . .I'm posting this from home. . .I had the last two weeks scheduled . . .
the vacation is over. . .the laundry is done and the suitcases are going up to the attic and the Christmas decorations are coming down. . . .
let's just all pretend I am still away . . . I plan to relive it all this week)
all for now. . . .

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Empress of Japan

I found this postcard featuring the Empress of Japan which was  a passenger ship from years ago.
I wonder what they served back then on cruise ships.
this ship was the the second of two ships that was owned by the Canadian Pacific Steamships.  It's route was the Pacific between our west coast and the Far East.
She was the fastest ocean liner on the Pacific at that time. . carrying the Royal Mail and passengers.
It was refitted for wartime service and was renamed the Empress of Scotland following the Japanese attacks on the Empire.

My selection of old postcards included this photos of ships being tossed back and forth in what appears to be a stormy ocean.

Ah .. .there . .that is better. .
I'm hoping that my cruise experience will be calm. .
and the waves will be nothing more than a gentle rocking to sleep at night.

All for now. .

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

preparing to be refreshed

This advertisement was a full page in the Life magazine from February 1959.
I quite enjoyed looking at the refreshing scene.
The tray of sandwiches . .the clothes .. even the wording made me smile.

At times we are all in need of refreshment ..
 Friday . . I'll share my plan for refreshment with you.

All for now . .

Monday, November 22, 2010

cleaning up leaves in the country


It is likely that some of you folks are prohibited from using a blower on your bit of property.
If that day ever comes to the farm. .
sadness will soon follow.

I remember when I started blogging the fall of 2006. .
I took pictures of my beloved with his blower as he cleaned up leaves.
He was a bit taken back that I would wish to post such common tasks.


Since then. .
he is quite accustomed to the camera showing up where he might be.
He's a good guy. . ..I was smart back in grade nine when I picked him.


Oh ..yes. . I was talking about how to clean up leaves in the country.
First. .
blow them all out of the flower beds and off the driveway.

A few remaining leaves are good.
The birds use them in spring for their nests.

My hydrangea looks still quite lovely in it's darker autumn hue. .
I will leave the flowers on for the birds.
Every spring they busy themselves plucking the dry petals.

After the leaves are blown onto the lawn. .
He comes by again with the mower and uses a bag instead of normal mulching.
The lawn has stopped growing. .
but our lawnmower continues to buzz over the lawn until every last leaf has dropped.

That is how we do it in the country.
All for now. .

Friday, November 19, 2010

the zoo and all the extra space within

Once a year I like to bring something home for our grands to play with in the bungalow.
The new kids get a bit of the short end of the stick as they continue to play with what was brought home for the older siblings.  Eventually it will be their turn to play with the new toys. .
which will be old news by then.

This big 244 piece set looked rather exciting with promises for hours of fun for both boys and girl.s
The box was big. .
always a good sign but it did have a good shake to it which did leave me wondering about how much available room was still inside the box which comes well sealed.

When I opened the box. .
I smiled at the zoo inside.  It was a bit of a mess. .
so I appropriately sorted it for your viewing pleasure.
Lately it seems that you can not make a purchase at a store without them asking if you would like to spend the extra few cents for a sack to carry it home in.

This box. . .leaves plenty of room for this purchase and several other purchases along the way.
Someone in the company has not yet concluded that cardboard costs money too.

Regardless. . .
it seems it will be a zoo around here. .
off and on.

All for now. .

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

kanneloni macaroni on her way

When the grands come to visit. .
they arrive dressed. .
and they generally leave bathed and ready for bed.

Kanneloni Macaroni found her task of caring for her baby quite comfortable.
I often find myself thinking about pajamas when I see their evening comfort.

Her handbag completes her ensemble. .
and I smile as I see her pause to reposition it to the other arm.

In her own little world . .
she is learning the basic skills of being a little lady. ..

All for now. .

Monday, November 15, 2010

the last of the apples and oh sweet caramel

Our two little apple trees have made me happy.
We've eaten them barely ripe. .
not being able to wait until they are fully ready to pick.
We've eaten our fill of pies and crisps and marvelled each time on how good a fresh apple is from the orchard.

We called Gerry and Heidi to come pick what was left and they carted off a large tote and several reusable bags.  They will make the last of them into juice.

The next day. .
I went and picked the little guys that no one wanted.

You really should give it a whirl.

I ran out of popsicle sticks. .
so I've been using skewers to dip them.
We cut one up and split it for dessert after lunch instead of our usual cookie.

It takes under 30 minutes to boil up the bubbling caramel. .
and the dipping is under 5.
Apples are relatively inexpensive so the most expensive items would be the sweetened condensed milk and the butter.

One of my favorite parts of the Caramel Apple experience is when the sun shines in the windows ..
and the leaves are blowing off the tree while I put them together.
It makes the bungalow feel absolutley homey and happy.

Well. .my pot has had a soak. .
I'll go clean it up and see how the apples are cooling.

All for now. .

Friday, November 12, 2010

mowing the field

Living on the coast this time of year leaves us always wondering when the last opportunity will be to mow the field.
Last week we had a lovely stretch of weather and he buzzed over the field for perhaps the last time this year.
Once finished. .
he parked the tractor beside the shop for it's last cleanup of the season before it gets parked inside until the snow blows.

Grandgirlie looked at the tractor sitting all nice and clean and thought it was fitting that she take one ride around the field herself.
Sitting very still and firmly planted on Grandpa's lap ..
she rode like a little farm girl in a parade . .
waving at the horses next door and Grammie on the far side of the field.

We are both pretty happy to be the farmer's girl.

All for now.  .

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Canadian Pacific Railway

I opened up my album with the original postcards that belonged to my grandmother.
One hundred and twenty five years ago on November 7th 1885. . .
the Canadian Pacific Railway was finished.
The last spike was set in a place most of us have never heard of. . Craigellachie. .a few kilometers west of Eagle Pass between Revelstoke and Sicamous, BC.  The line that was started in the east. .finally was connected to the line that started in the west.

Apparently it was a bone chilling day.
The dignitaries came out of their private rail cars just in time to take the honour of hammering in the last spike.
It is said. .that Donal A Smith the eldest of the directors for CPR was given the honour.
He bent the first spike. .was given a second one which he successfully nailed in but then promptly replaced it by a third to prevent souvenir hunters from grabbing the spike.

Once the line was complete luxury hotels were built by CPR and they also created a steamship line to bring people to the country.  I suppose that is when tourism in Canada had it's beginnings.

Though the scenery along the Canadian Pacific Railway is something to behold the entire width of the country. .I haven't seen it further than Ontario.
It is British Columbia that I am most familiar with . .particularly the Fraser Canyon.

Monday, November 8, 2010

spectacular days of autumn

I've decided for sure now ..
autumn is one of my favorite seasons.

When I hear the wind blowing the drying leaves outside and the temperatures are warm enough to coax me outside without a jacket . . .
I like to pretend these lovely days will be with us for another month at least.

Autumn seems really late this year.
We remarked 2 weeks ago that the tulip tree in the backyard hadn't changed color at all ..
and the oak tree hadn't lost a leaf.

Thursday of last week ..
the master painter turned the oak tree rust.

All that is left now is one good wind and we'll be out there raking and blowing them all to the field where they can winter as they please.

Since I took these pictures. .
the trees have begun to serioulsy shed.
I love crunching through leaves ..
always have. .and always will.

All for now. .

Friday, November 5, 2010

Applesauce making 2010

Yesterday afternoon I watched lil' farm hand and Kanneloni Macaroni during nap time.
The little one nearly fell into bed and I never heard a peep out of her.
The other one declined the offer to rest.

It seemed a waste of all that excess energy to play with toys. .
so we picked a big bag of apples from the way back and brought them in to make him some applesauce to take home.

We washed them. . .
and then he ran the apple peeler while I quartered and put them in the pot.
It took him a minute to two to figure out which way to turn the crank. .
but once he had the hang of it. .
he proved to be a very useful applesauce sous chef.
His aim at the garbage can was remarkable and all most of  the peels went in the garbage. .
and we had a huge pot of apples cooking within an hour.

Once he finished peeling a large sink full of apples. . .
he opted to go outside while I stirred and cooked.
At the end of the day. .
he went home with his applesauce. .
and I was happy to have done something with those apples that my beloved has been reminding me daily. .
"we better do something with those apples soon".

All for now. .