Friday, January 31, 2014

Half a century on...

Guess what happened to me yesterday?

Oh yes! I am now half a century old. It is not entirely clear to me how that happened.

Birthday smoothie! Love that wrinkle-erasing computer camera.

My friends, who know me well, posted some interesting things on my Facebook timeline yesterday...

Well, that's good to know!!

Couldn't agree more!

Gordon had a big birthday surprise cooked up for me. After breakfast, we took off for points north.

I had no clue where we were off to!

That's my clueless look!

Gordon was dropping no hints. He told me to bring warm clothes!

By the time we got to Hawkesbury, I knew we were going to head over the bridge to Quebec.

But I still didn't know our final destination. I did eventually discover that we were going to have lunch at ChocoMotive in Montebello.

I had a great cup of chocolat chaud, aka hot chocolate! Chocomotive is a chocolaterie and a bistro. We had a super lunch there, then I loaded up on some handmade chocolates to take with me! It is my right to buy lots of chocolate on my birthday.

This is the main street in Montebello.

Here's Chocomotive, which is housed in the old train station. Beautiful!

Then Gordon wanted me to get a move on, because we had somewhere to be at 1 pm!

But where?

Well, this was my first hint!

We went dogsledding at La Meute Tanwen


We had the option of driving the sleds or not. We both wanted to! But I started out as a passenger.

Which was just a HUGE amount of fun!


And such a beautiful day! After more than a week of bitter cold and wind, yesterday turned out to be perfect. Sunny, no wind, and a high of about -4C, which was plenty warm for us!

Soon enough, I got to drive the dogs myself. My four were very zippy. I had to keep touching the brakes on the sled to make sure we didn't run into the team ahead of us.

We were having a little break here! Most of the dogs were crossbreeds of Husky, Malamute, Greyhound and I forget what else. I know from all the Iditarod and Yukon Quest books I've read that a team of Huskies looks nice but is damn slow. 

The view of the Laurentians around Ripon was magnifique!

And there's Gordon, already breaking the rule of always keeping two hands on the sled! If not, you are supposed to loop your arm through the handle while you do whatever it is you need to do with your free hand.

I wiped out once yesterday, but I held onto my sled and waited for help to get it upright. Gordon wiped out twice. He was completely thrown off, and his team ended up pretty much right up my behind. :) It was hilarious. He is not good at holding on tight in a crisis.

Here is a much more experience musher. He was leading the way. We stopped here to look at the gorgeous view!

After two hours, it was over, sigh!! 

That little blond fellow in the middle is an adorable pup.

And I was very fond of this odd-eyed cutie.

Lovely, healthy, happy dogs. Éric takes good care of them.

I could have gone for another two hours. But man, my triceps are killing me today!

After our hard day of mushing, we had a lovely birthday supper at Le café du bistrot in Saint-André Avelin. While we were there, a couple and their young child arrived via snowmobile...

... don't you love the little trailer? Everybody was properly attired in snowsuits and helmets! If I were a kid, I'd love zipping around in that thing.

And my friend Ronna sent a pic of me preparing to attack our birthday cake last weekend...

Gordon looking perfectly oblivious to the madness beside him, as always!

My BEST birthday EVER!! Thank you dear Gordon!

And here's a video, so you can feel like you were there. Sorry about my finger. It was tough to keep a grip on the iPhone!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cactus cake, giant drifts and cats galore

Check out the AMAZING birthday cake our friend Ronna made for me and Gordon this year...

That's a beautiful rendition of our leopard gecko Kartini sitting next to an exquisite cactus. Ronna made all those prickles from piped royal icing. It took her two hours just to do the prickles!!

As you can see, we were thrilled! Gordon seems to be overwhelmed by it all. :)

Under the buttercream icing was delicious red velvet cake!

Gordon made vanilla ice cream to go with it. It always pains me to cut into Ronna's masterpieces, but she doesn't seem to mind.

And Naomi (like all my cats!) LOOOOOOVES Auntie Ronna.

Speaking of cats, here's trouble...

"Hello Mummy!"

"I am jungle cat!"

"Go away now or I will eat you for supper like the lion I am!"

And speaking of lions...

Julius does not make it easy to work at my computer.

And here's a tree of birds outside my kitchen window this morning...

Not the greatest pic, but there's a male Cardinal, a Downy woodpecker, a Hairy woodpecker, and several fluffed-up Blue Jays.

We got quite a lot of snow in the last 24 hours, and then the winds whipped up today!

It left a few huge drifts!

That's not a buried Mazda. It's solid snow.

The winds finally died down a bit towards sunset, but the windchill tomorrow is supposed to be -38C.

I love this 100+ year-old white spruce. And another impressive drift!

Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Birthday boy!

Last Sunday was Gordon's B I R T H D A Y, so I had to be nice to him ALL DAY. It was very difficult, I must tell you.

First I made him these chocolate chip waffles with a side of strawberries. He proceeded to drown them in maple syrup.

 Later we went off cross-country skiing. It was a bit slippery, still quite icy under the inch or two of fresh snow. I fell on my butt three times but Gordon managed to stay upright. We took a selfie in the woodlot.

The dogs had a blast. Sophie is always on some mission...

And here comes the B I R T H D A Y  B O Y !!

We really love cross-country skiing and we should do it more often.

Sophie was distracted!

And look who came along! I was a bit worried it would be too much for old Tristan, but he was quite energetic and seemed very happy. 

Sweet old boy. I'm glad his various meds minimize his arthritis woes enough to allow him to plod along with us. He has developed a bunch of new lumps that we had biopsied this week. His hemangiosarcoma (spleen and tumour were removed in August) are always in the back of my mind, but he is still doing well and enjoying life.

Sophie has not slowed down one iota and is as energetic at age 11 as the day we got her.

It has been a bitterly cold week, with temps down to -35C/-31F (although my wildlife cam registered -40C/-40F one night). Being as fascinated by weather as I am, I don't mind experiencing these extremes for a little while each winter. I do feel sorry for the ducks and chickens, because I don't let them out of their coops into the barn in this cold, for fear of frostbite. So they are a little cooped up, so to speak! It warmed up a little this afternoon so I let them out for a few hours to run around the lower barn.

I took this photo of the shadow of our chimney yesterday...

In this weather, the furnace goes through logs like they're toothpicks! It's amazing how much wood we burn at these temperatures. We do have an oil/wood furnace and can use either fuel, but I prefer using wood. I always feel warmer, and I hate paying for oil!

Louise keeps warm another way...

She looooves her daddy!

When I got up the other morning, this is what the thermometer looked like:

An hour or two later, it hadn't budged. The funny thing was, the night before I forgot to turn on the clothes dryer. The next morning, I found my clothes frozen solid in a lump in the bottom of the dryer (which vents outside.) THat is a first!


Louise kept warm next to the slow cooker!
The last 48 hours have been quite eventful. First off, I wiped out on the two wooden steps leading to our family room and landed so hard on my back that I had the wind knocked out of me (and bruised my back and arms and dropped my laptop, which thank goodness didn't break!) I've never had that happen but I now completely understand where the expression comes from. I thought I was going to suffocate but Gordon, a veteran of many childhood wind-knocking-out incidents, talked me through it.

Then yesterday morning, Gordon gave me a nice-looking cuppa tea that tasted liked bad cheese. The brand-new carton of milk he'd used was sour. Gaaaaaah!!

Then when I was feeding the cats supper yesterday, Emily leapt from the kitchen table to the "kitty credenza" (where we feed the cats) just as I was walking by with Louise's supper. I was covered head to toe with raw-meat cat food. The newest fashion for 2014!

And this morning, to top it all off,  I LAUNDERED MY PASSPORT! Aaaarrrghhh!! Yes, I have to replace it now. I got it out this morning to take to the Service Ontario office because my driver's licence and health care were expiring. I (stupidly) laid it on top of the laundry hamper I was carrying to the basement, which was full of dark clothes that blended perfectly with my blue passport cover. 

Then I threw the whole lot in. And remembered the passport about ten minutes later!

I'm hoping that's all the excitement for now. I turn 50 next week, which is more than enough for me to deal with at present. :)

Have a great weekend!