Wednesday, January 29, 2014

the most beautiful piece of handcrafted woodwork that you will ever see!

jambaloney, and myself, have seen some fine handcrafted woodworking pieces in our lifetimes. both of us are always amazed when artists can take a beautiful piece of wood and turn it into something even more beautiful.

have you met my friend MDR? you can go to his blog from that back-link. he is also listed in our blogroll on the right side of the page. he's not just an exceptional father with a houseful of daughters, he's a great guy, loves raising animals, loves chili cook-offs, and built his wife the most amazing aviary. he's really good with wood - he is an artist extraordinnaire! be sure to check out his solar bathroom and awesome outdoor kitchen, here, too! just go back through all of his blog posts - you'll be glad that you did as he has much to teach!

this is what we received in the mail the other day....from MDR. we knew that it was going to be beautiful. we knew that it was going to be hand-made. we couldn't wait to get it. have yourselves a gander at this:

i hope that the pic does it justice. it is the most beautiful piece of handcrafted woodwork that either of us have ever seen. now for some back story.

how our mail works: we have a community mailbox at the bottom of our street. as we don't get much regular mail, we check our mailbox about once a week. it's usually just junk mail as we receive all of our bills online. however, if we receive a package, we get a parcel slip and then have to go to Gabarus, which is on the way to our city of Sydney, to pick it up. as we try to limit trips to the city to about every 3 months - if, for some reason, we get a package slip, we give it to our friends c&b and they will pick the package up for us. (c&b go to the city at least once a week - alghgglglgll. bleck!)

so 2 weeks ago, we got a parcel slip. the slip didn't mention where it came from other than the US so we thought it was fishing lures that jambaloney had ordered from ebay. then i get an email from my friend MDR asking if we have received our package??? he said he made something and had sent it to us. we near went crazy!!! that week, we gave the slip to our friends c&b to pick up the following week (which was last week) and they would pick up the package and we would get it from them after chase the ace last friday.

so last friday, we, and a couple of our other friends went to chase the ace and then some of us went over to c&b's. they got out the package and everyone was surprised that we had a package from TEXAS - how amazing! it took a good 20 mins to cut through all of the tape - bahahahahah! but when we opened the package, tears sprung from my eyes...i couldn't believe it. have another gander:


that beautiful, handcrafted piece of art was passed all around the table while everyone oohed and ahhhed. everyone felt all of the letter shapes and the shape of the fish. jambaloney was near crying himself because MDR made the sign out of a fish shape which meant the world to him. none of us could believe the beautiful choice of wood or how perfect each letter was shaped. here's another look:

check out the beautiful detailing of the letters:

it always amazes me when someone has such an eye for detail...MDR is a true artist.

our friends couldn't believe that a friend of ours from Texas would take such time and care to make us such a beautiful sign!!! i could. i know MDR and i know what he will do for a friend.

anyway, this next pic is for MDR's wife, C, she has the cutest Texan drawl!!! C, this is the backwall of our living room. the shelf is a piece of handsawn lumber that a friend of ours made for us. i plan on re-arranging what is currently on the shelf so that i can put our Framboise Manor sign just above the candle stick in the middle. i will move the candle stick so that the sign will hang just above some of our little favourite things. the awesome thing is that when you walk in our front door...that back wall is the first thing you see. everyone who comes through the front door will see that beautiful sign and it will be such a conversation starter!

the grain of the wood that MDR chose is simply breath-taking and beautiful. we will spar varnish the sign so that it will last forever, and as the spar varnish is clear, the beauty and grain of the wood will show through.

MDR - thank you so much for the time and effort that was put into that sign! thank you for choosing such a beautiful piece of wood. thank you for thinking, and caring, about us. that beautiful sign will forever be a part of the Manor's history.

here's one more look: at the Manor we have beautiful skies, a beautiful river, a beautiful ocean, a beautiful forest....and now - we have a little bit of Texas!!! come to think of it, the only thing missing from the Manor was a little bit of Texas!!! thank you soooo much MDR!

MDR - i could send you a bottle of kimchi but i don't think you would touch it - bahahahah! i could send you some of my stick to your ribs chili, but you are a chili master and you don't think my chili is real chili - bahahahahah!

so instead, i will give you a true and proper MDR/Texas/cape breton sunset.

much love buddy. you don't know how much that beautiful sign means to us! xoxox to you and yours!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

some random this, that and some other stuff!

another beautiful blue-sky day here at the Manor...tho it be windy, it's actually quite warm!


 the cat paths that jambaloney shoveled are melted down to the dirt so the cats don't have to walk on the snow. the back deck is all cleared off for them, which they love! and the driveway is melting almost down to bare ground again - woohoo!

here are the tomatoe tires and cages out back...they almost look like artwork. i think that they are are the snow covered trees!

here's some yummy steak that jambaloney bbq'd even though it was freezing out. we had a hankering for steak. with some steamed broccoli, garlic and butter, with sauerkraut and black olives - yummeh!

ginger/carrot coleslaw makes a nice mid-afternoon snack!

delicious everything in the fridge kind of salad.

yummy veg-only stirfry with almond rice and orange slices.

check out this awesome little gift:

  my friend E brought it over the other night when they visisted. it says " Friends are how God gives hugs" - and when it sits in the sun the little butterfly flower dances back and forth and the leaves move up and down. i love it - but Frankie Blue Eyes loves it more. he's in the corner of the pic cleaning his little face and watching the dancing flower - bahahahah! he's a hoot he is!

here's another little gift that i made for myself:

kimchi baby! i am cracking that sucker open this evening for our supper of bulgogi - yummeh!

as you may have noticed in the dancing flower picture - the cats have the rule of the house. they get on tables, lick food from your plates and drink water from your water glass! some people might be grossed out or offended by that but these cats are spoiled rotten!!!

this one here, Mobi-Moe, is the size of a small bear. here he is sleeping on the dining room table on a laptop case.

why do you have a laptop case full of cat hair on your dining room table, kymber? i'll be glad to answer that. i won't point any fingers, but somebody (pointing at jambaloney) put a laptop case on the table when he was working on his laptop. out of nowhere 3 cats all come running from 3 different directions and are on it in minutes. this was sometime last year. there is not an hour of any day that there isn't a cat laying on that laptop case - arghghghghgh!

last up is Nudie-Noo, our grumpy little man. when we first arrived here, the cats jumped up into this shelf in our ONE closet and stayed up there for a few days. they finally came down but little Nudie-Noo still goes up there during the day and night.

i know what you are all thinking..."nice, unfinished, piece of crap closet you got there". ya, i know. but we can't get in to this closet shelf to fix it and we certainly can't use the extra storage space in our ONE closet. cats. jeesh.

here's the Manor's very sophisticated way of drying clothes in the winter.

this set up actually serves 2 purposes - one - we can dry our clothes inside when it's too cold outside. and two - because we use apple cider vinegar in our rinse cycle, the clothes dry and add humidity to the house as well as the fresh cent of apple cider vinegar. we love it.\

here are a bunch of our pepper plants that we are over-wintering.

we have herbs and whatnot in the greenhouse that can handle the fact that the greenhouse isn't heated but these peppers could have never survived. they are still producing flowers and peppers if you can believe that! these babies will be put in much larger pots in april and brought out to the greenhouse for a real quick start to producing a glut of peppers this year. ohhhh - i just can't wait!

in other news - jambaloney is over at our neighbour's working on the atv. he's got the new carburator in and is now working on the shift thingy. i hope he gets it finished today but our neighbours will be storing it for the rest of the winter for us. such good neighbours!

speaking of good neighbours/friends - we went to our fourchu friends' house early last friday before the chase the ace game. they invited us over for home-made donairs - woohoo! our friend b makes delicious donair meat and he stuffed jambaloney's donair so full of stuff that jambaloney could only eat one of them!!! he can usually eat 3 of them!!! we also had some delicious turkey soup that my friend c made. of course, after chase the ace, we went back to their house, sat around and chatted a bit and then left with a bag of food!!! yum. i am not known to have ever turned down food - bahahah!

this is a crazy/busy week for us. it might be normal for most people but if we leave the Manor once a week - that's crazy busy! this week jambaloney has to go in to our town to do some contract work, wednesday we are invited to our friends' daughter's birthday dinner out in town, thursday we have to go in to the city for an appointment, and then friday is chase the ace again - we'll be bushwhacked by saturday!!!

we like the peace and quiet of the Manor and we can go weeks without leaving the Manor. we are only going out every week since chase the ace started and it is held every friday.

oh and one last thing - being snowed in all christmas/holiday season and not getting out for a few weeks was no prob for us - we've got our backups to backups and our pantry is super well-stocked. i know. i just spent the morning going through all of our food storage and preps and i was mighty pleased. the absolute only thing that we are lacking on is maple syrup. we buy maple syrup from quebec and use it regularly - the SUPER GOOD STUFF that we get from jambaloney's step-dad, we only use that on special occasions. we can stretch the super good stuff a long time by supplementing with the ok stuff that we buy. so, Ted, if yer reading this..................bahahahahahahaha!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

got rid of all of that snow....and then got dumped on again!

we had several enjoyable days of watching all of the snow melt....and looking at this:

and then we got dumped on - AGAIN!!!!

 it is pretty to look at - look at all of the beautiful grosebeaks on the apple tree branches and in the sky. they are soooo pretty to watch when they are flying - they always travel in large groups and they swoop and sway and fly together as if they were dancing. we love to watch them first thing in the morning. when they are all out in the tree, and down on the ground, they look like little yellow flowers, especially with the snow as background. here's another pic of them:

i could sit and watch them for hours!

anyway, an update on the past 2 weekends - what a blast! the monday before last we had our friends E & D come over for some supper and a visit. these are our next-door-neighbours whose boys come over regularly to help work around the Manor. anyway, they are also the people that are letting us keep our atv in their big barn, firstly, to keep it out of all of this snowy weather, and secondly, so that jambaloney can go over there this weekend to try and fix it. he's got a new carb and stuff for it and should have it running lickedy-split. poor jam has been back out shoveling the driveway by hand - but man, is he getting good at it - poor guy!

back to our friends! they arrived bearing gifts!!! woohoo! E is such a sweetie and i don't know how she remembered that our 13th anniversary together was on the 19th, but she remembered!!! (we of course forgot, her gift reminded us, and then we forgot again!!! we celebrated on the 20th when we remembered. we celebrated by pretty much doing what we do everyday - spend time together, work on projects together, many hottub dips, good food and lots of hugs and kisses. it's our anniversary pretty much everyday!!!)

E gave us our new dining room table centrepiece - 3 ornate-looking candle stands with stones in the glass tumblers. and she put small candles in small dishes inside of the tumblers to catch the wax so it didn't drip on the stones. the card she chose was very thoughtful and the sentiments expressed were from the heart!

oh and one thing that i forgot to showcase on the blog was D's beautiful wreath that he made for us - isn't it gorgeous! it has been hanging in the plastic porch at our front door since Christmas. i am not taking it down until it completely falls apart - i love it sooo much!!! if it stays alive and together until august, then i will have a beautiful wreath on my porch all summer long!

so we spent a fantastic evening with our friends laughing and chatting about just about everything. we love E & D and love having them as our friends and our neighbours! the only downer of the night was i made an apple pie out of our friend D's apples for dessert and of course, used a new recipe that seemed good, but the filling didn't cook enough. i used large chunks of apple because i wanted the apples to be the stars of the pie but the dang filling wasn't quite cooked enough. oh well. win some and lose some eh? my friend D and jam still ate 2 pieces each - they didn't seem to care too much!

we had a hoot, a holler and much laughter was shared by all - we can't wait to have them over again!

then last saturday we had our friends C & B over - they are from our sister community of Fourchu and we love them to death! B always teases the crap out of jambaloney but it's always in good fun! we were having pizza night so after they arrived and we chatted a bit, i made a combination pizza for us all to share. then the plan was to make our own little individual pizzas but everyone was too full from the first pizza and snacks. so B made his own particular pizza - he was driving me nuts - bahahah! i had all of the ingredients prepped but he had to cut up the onions more and cut the bacon slices in half. he was mostly putting on a show because i was acting OCD about how he was making his pizza. he was driving me nuts though, putting pepperoni in some places, ham in others, chorizo on other places - then he had to cut up the green peppers - bahahahahahah! next time he's over I am making that pizza!!! he did make himself a nice little pizza that he took home. my friend C just took some dough and all of the ingredients to make herself a pizza the next day.

we had a hoot and a holler with them, too! C brought this incredible dessert - it's called banana split squares - it was soooo deelishous - and tasted just like a banana split!!! she makes the best desserts around here and i am not a "sweets" person but i always have some of her desserts! we spent the evening laughing together and jam making C some fancy kahlua and cream drinks. she, of course, brought me a bottle of wine that i had opened at her house last week - she knows that the wine only keeps for about a week and didn't want me to waste it. we had a bottle of her favourite shooter, baja rose, and i always have one with her but i can't usually do more than one. bleck - i hate that stuff. so jambaloney always has to do the shooters with her at dances and whatnot.

at this point it probably sounds like all of us are a bunch of lushes - bahahahahah! but we don't see each other too regularly so when we get together we like to celebrate! now that we have the chase the ace game every friday night, we get to see most of our friends weekly. and it is very nice to be able to socialize together weekly.

so, we had 2 really nice evenings with 2 sets of our friends and we plan to have them, and others, over more regularly. we finally feel that we have the Manor done well-enough to not scare people off - bahahaha! i can't wait for this summer as we will be able to have several of our friends over at a time, hanging out in the backyard and bbq'ing! it's gonna be awesome!

plans for the next few days are draining and refilling the hottub, then jam has some contract IT work to do and i plan on cooking up some lasagna, a meat pie and some bulgogi. until then, here's some teriyaki pork and stir-fried veggies:

i am not a big fan of pork but i love it with this recipe for the teriyaki sauce - it's even better on chicken - yummeh!

and here's some yummy all-veg quinoa salad - make sure to add crumbled feta cheese - it's to die for!

lastly, sorry for the sporadic posting lately - we have been getting dumped on with the snow, and snowed in regularly which is fine for us. but i find when we are snowed in and whatnot - i just enjoy doing little jobs around the house, curling up on the couch and reading or watching movies and whatnot. i don't know why but i just don't make it to the computer very often when we are having so many flumping days in a row  - strange, eh? anyway, i'll be popping in to your blogs and catching up on posts that i have missed and leaving comments.  it's only 1pm and we have put in a full day already - made a bunch of hummus, prepped veg to go with it and made the quinoa salad. played several hands of cards, many hottub dips, folded laundry and ran the dishwasher (you don't think running the dishwasher is a big job??? that's because your dishwasher is probably in your kitchen and not down in the basement. and you probably don't collect your dirty dishes in 3 big bins on your plastic-wrapped porch until you have enough dishes to run the dishwasher!!! and then getting those bins through the snow and down to the basement without killing yourself. told ya - it's a job!!!).

oh one last thing. jamie just made a beautiful shelf for our little cat, nudie-noo. he's getting up in years and can't jump as well as he used to. his little hidey-hole is the top shelf of our one closet! but he loves it up there and i just can't take it away from him, even though i have lost ALLLLLLL of that storage space!!! he has his blankets and one of my nightgowns and one of jambaloney's t-shirts up there and that's where he goes to sleep during the day. long story short, he jumps on a nighttable, then to a dresser and from the dresser, he jumps up to the shelf in the closet. a few days ago he was having a hard time just jumping up to the couch or table without slipping and we think he hurt himself as he was favouring one leg. he seems ok now, but jambaloney built him a little step out of the closet so that he doesn't have so far to jump from the dresser. jambaloney is always good for coming up with things like that.

speaking of jambaloney - he's outside right now making all kinds of racket and banging around. i have no idea what he is doing. time for me to go check on him!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

the U G L I E S T thing i have done to the manor yet!!!

jambaloney here!

yes i have a surprise for you all!!

 but first i take you allll the way back to december 09 and the winter prep post when i took the fornt porch off and made some barriers with windows...

 i added cloches of water in garbage bags....

here they are all sealed, with cloches and snowed in!!!

they did a great job of keeping kitchen floor warm.... i wanted to do the other half of the front, but it got cold and snowed and snowed and snowed.........

so any such nonsense stopped!!! HOWEVER  - there is a big difference when you get a week above zero and rain!!!!

a couple of days into warmer weather - you can see the melt  (and kymber getting ready to go to fourchu ;-)

and today!!!

yep almost alllllll....


so back to work... a month ago i prepped for this by filling in the trench 2 feet out from the house - i wanted to use rocks so i had to make a barrier..

here is a better view...

it is made up of these - discarded lobster trap sections that i got outta, you guessed it, someone else's garbage!

here is the filled in stuff - the dirt covers the part under the overhang, the upper part of the house protrudes over the foundation by about 1 1/2 feet... and about f feet above the basement wall - lots of air get in this overhang -  pretty ugly eh... oh no, wait, there is more..

you all know i have tons of old windows - i wanted to build a window "wall" to capture heat and provide an additional wind barrier against the worst and coldest wind which is at the front of the house - yesterday was awesome so i did and MAN is it hideous!!!!

here it is in all it's glory, next to the barrier at the lower front of the house!!!

side view after plastic was added to fill the gap - this is temporary so i didn't even cut the last stud!!! it isn't ever straight, but you can see the condensation on the inside already!!

in case you missed it..... ;-)) !!!!

special added bonus - atv went to our neighbor's garage today for dry storage. it is an awesome feeling to have neighbours who are always willing to help out - thanks so much E & D!!! i have a new carb and oil filter and spark plug - i will fix it up over the next month and have it running tip-top!!

sorry i didn't answer comments on my last post - i will this post and visit your blogs!!

cheers all!

(kymber adds: IT is ugly! but there isn't much at the Manor that isn't ugly....except for my jambaloney! after he added the windows at the lower level of the house, we noticed a remarkable improvement in heat retention in the kitchen floor and we were able to keep the thermostat at a lower temperature!!! THAT is always good news! and with the new window overhang covering up the basement, the basement will also retain more heat and that, kids, is a definite score! that man is brilliant! his designs are sometimes not the prettiest - but they work! i am very proud!)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

january update

here's a pretty pic of the Manor at dusk...we have had some beautiful days and evenings since getting snowed in.

we had it  pretty easy here on the island in comparison to most - a lot of my blogger friends got a complete deep freeze. we had colder temps than normal and a whole whack load of snow, but we managed to escape unscathed.

i am sorry for my radio silence for the past some of you know from reading my previous posts, and emails, i got knackered with a 4-straight-day migraine. it was a real doozy. i had a day of pain and soreness leading up to it, 4 days of horrendous pain and then a 3-day recovery. migraines suck and i know that some of my blogger friends suffer from them as well.

we missed 2 Christmas dinners with our families and we also missed playing chase the ace at our community centre 2 times. Christmas was cancelled because of my migraine...and the chase the aces were cancelled because we were snowed in.

i know some people don't like being snowed in...but we take it as a vacation. we have enough food to keep us eating well and lots of inside-the-house jobs to attend to. then there is lots of hottubbing, reading, learning new skills, refining old ones, napping and kissing cats. and when you are snowed in there is lots of good food!

that right there is a plate of "cheater's" poutine. if you have never had poutine - go and get yourself some right now! it's deelish! the proper way to make poutine is with home-made french fries, home-made gravy and curds. but we were out of curds (i can't wait to start making my own cheeses!), so instead of curds we used mozzarella. with our home-made potatoes and home-made gravy - it was to die for! yummeh!

our friends S &D gave us a really nice set of fancy coffee mugs as you can see above. i made some kick-you-in-the-head coffee the other morning so that jambaloney was full of vigour when he went out to shovel. you put 2 teabags in a cup of water and bring it to a boil. remove the teabags and add 2 very strong cups of freshly brewed coffee. bring it back to a boil and then add a whole can of sweetened condensed milk. and get ready for it! it will kick you right in the head!

that there is some shrimp and vegetable tempura - yummeh! also some cabbage salad with ginger/carrot dressing and some vinegared cucumbers. good food for your soul!

and of course some shrimp/vermicelli salad with the ginger/ carrot dressing for lunch the next day. it's fun to be able to eat out of your food stores! as well as from the greenhouse!

jambaloney was craving pizza after all of the days shoveling. no problem - we got the pizza and we make it from scratch.

here's a lebanese style pizza with home-made tomatoe sauce with a ton of oregano, turmeric, cayenne and cumin. load that baby up with herbed hamburger, a ton of parsley and a ton of cheese!

here's 2 nice slices of a home-made combination pizza. jambaloney looooooves his pizza!

i also made a loaded meditteranean pizza which i didn't get a pic of - oh well.

and some loaded nachos...we love nachos and love to snack on them together watching movies!

and a very interesting thing happened recently. when we started our blog we didn't think that any of our friends here would be interested...why would they care about our daily doings when we meet up with them quite regularly and fill them in on all of the details of what we are doing. not many of them seem too interested in building greenhouses and growing your own food so we never thought to tell them about our blog. we've never heard any of them say they even follow or read blogs.

a few months ago, our friend A who lives on the mainland but visits as much as he can - he's a great guy - well anyway, he told me at one of our get-togethers that he loved our blog! i couldn't believe! he said he loved reading about all of our antics and what we get up to up here on our hill. i was really happy that he said he read all of the blog and checks for updates all of the time - wow eh?

and then, about 2 weeks ago he mentioned our blog to our friend S. so then S went and read it from beginning to end - teehee! she said that she enjoyed our blog too - woohoo! and then she showed it to our friend E and our friend C. my friend E said that she just loved looking at all of the pictures - she loves the pictures. i am so happy about that because i love taking the pictures and putting them on the blog. i don't care if people think i am a fluff blogger - i blog about what interests and captivates me - not my political views. and according to S, when when my friend C was going through the blog and saw "the Framboise Manor" bed - she screeched and said that she wants one just like it - bahahahaah!

i am glad that some of our friends here are enjoying our blog - but the majority of our friends are simply not interested and that is fine. when we started the blog, it was for friends and family in other provinces and states to keep up with us. it was also a way to re-establish connections with our internet friends and make new internet friends. it's ok if some of our friends here aren't blown away by our blog - heck they have lives to live too - bahahahahah!

anyway - the winner of the dingbat award for january is ------ ME!!!!

i made some popcorn the other night and not thinking, set the pot on our table which has been painted and spar-varnished.

i swear i only set the pot down for a few seconds - dear me - what a mess!!! so i will have to scrape it, re-paint it and re-varnish it - no biggee. jambaloney says to leave it there - bahahahah! i might just do that.

in other news, we are having our friends E & D over for supper tomorrow night. oh what am i saying? they are our brother and sister! anyway, we need D's advice on several things and we just want to finally start having friends over to this crappy little cottage. we've got it to the point where it is semi-presentable to entertain in...and we know our friends don't care if we've gotten to the point where our baseboards are painted or our stairs are even. i think we will have a bit of a "time" - this is gonna be a hoot!

i'll hit up all your blogs and respond to emails later this evening. i hope that you have all had a good couple of weeks.