Sunny Yellow Days

On of my online buddies has been posting a series of nostalgic toys from the seventies on a countdown to Christmas. Yesterday, Jim posted the Fisher Price play castle.

When I was a kid I was pretty well loved and had just enough of the cool toys to be slightly spoiled. My castle was kept at Little Nanny & Grampy’s house, in the sunroom with the built-in storage benches along three walls. The left-side bin on the middle bench was the spot for My Toys. The dog slept on the middle one, occasionally jumping up next to me to investigate the lid being open.

At some point, the castle and all the pieces came to live at my house, when I was a grown-up and had two children to enjoy it and the grandparents were downsizing. They figured I could be responsible enough to keep it at that point.

Somehow the pieces did survive my children, thsoe two and the next two (although one of the horses has a broken leg) but the biggest part – the castle itself – got lost in our move around Miramichi. I am still convinced, Mom, that it is over in Michelle’s upstairs bedroom closet in the back somewhere. You may have to show her a picture to see if she recognizes it, because she may think it belongs to one of her kids (or a sibling, maybe it got moved to Dave’s old house, who knows?).

The dragon I swear I saw recently, Emma had a huge story about him and I have this urge to tear apart the house to look for him. I have an overwhelming urge to take his picture.


The other news from the weekend may seem unrelated. Meaghan is almost done the first coat of painting the kitchen. She got antsy this week over the fact I took most of the wallpaper down and left the rest, papery bits too high to reach without some serious equipment. Oh, the curse of ten foot ceilings.

At any rate, by the time she fell into bed last night, all but the most stubborn bits of paper were gone from the walls, some trim removed and some cleaning happening. We’ve cursed the guy who lived here before yet again over stupid stuff we found. Re-cutting doorways and no header, for example. It’s hard resisting the urge to rip apart most of it to re-do it, and just let the girl simply PAINT the room, darn it. It desperately needs it and a fresh look will keep both Ron and I from dismantling the whole thing for at least a year or two.

Previously, it has country-check blue and white wallpaper with a rosy 80’s beige on the ceiling and bulkheads over the white cabinets. (seen here) This in a room with no natural light until at least mid-afternoon in summer. It’s a cave on winter mornings.

Not this winter though. We have almost a whole can of paint from when we did the kitchen in the last house. The color? Yellow. A bright golden yellow we love that makes us smile.

Meaghan is painting the kitchen

We like the sauce

Tomato sauce, that is. And a good thing, too as our neighbours with the u-pick overplanted tomatoes. We ran over there last night because of the frost warning and picked three cloth grocery bags full of tomatoes in various stages of ripe, but mostly green.

It was 43 and a half pounds.

we also picked up a fifty pound bag of butternut squash. Or buttercup? I mix them up, it’s the green ones that look like UFOs. Yes, that is a lot of pie, but the thing maybe a lot of people don’t realize is as long as the squash is kept cool and dry they will keep for most of the winter. Easily through to January.

(and my mom will steal some)

Anyway, the cost of this bounty? $25.

Yeah, you read that right. Twenty five dollars.

And if the frost didn’t kill off too many, I will probably go back and get more because I hate to see them all go to waste. Besides, sauce making is really easy. 🙂

making tomato sauce


And then there’s the other side of the family

Over the weekend, the slog through the mountain of work was interrupted by a quick visit from my mom’s parents and my uncle, their chauffer for the day.

It was quick, maybe 30 minutes tops. They had to get on the road, see. Long drive. I met them at the back door, out the carport, in my sock feet, as I usually do when visitors are milling in the driveway wondering what door to approach first.

My grandmother asks lots of questions – what’s the dirt for, why do the neighbors have a pile of pumpkins on their front lawn, what are those satellite dishes for, do we get free cable, what happened to this flower garden anyway. I explain a few things as best I can, explain the new septic field that’s going in and why. Behind us neighbors complained even though it’s not our fault the lawn is wet.

My uncle Todd – large, rough & burly, day-old whiskers on his chin – looked around back. “Well no wonder the *** lawn is ***** wet, the ****** lake is higher, *****!”

Yep, that’s Todd. He hugged me too, which was surprising until I realized he was whispering “HELP ME!” in my ear.

Anyway, after a few more storytelling bits about the septic and my grandmother tsk tsking, shaking her head and declaring it an awful shame, we went in.

I did get her toured around the house without too much incident, Emma helping. It reminded her of other houses in other times.

“My, my, look at these railings. Why I haven’t seen these since…”

“Well, would ya look at that..”

“My God, what a shame they let some of this happen.”

“Can you imagine? Just imagine how nice this house was”

“Oh my land, I had wallpaper like this back in..”

Ron had kept Papa busy while I shuffled Nanny carefully up and down the stairs. “Back stairs, too? Oh my land..”

And “My goodness, this will be a lot of work. Just think, you finished that other house – it was so nice – and then had to move, what a shame.”

Papa soon declared “Well Mert – time to go,” and off he went, slower now. They’re both very grey. I was struck by how much they’ve aged, how much slower they move.

Back to the car and goodbyes. My grandmother looked over the backyard one more time.

“Them’s a buncha assholes.”

Yep, they still got it.

This blog is not dead

I just ran out of words for a bit.

– we still haven’t made it back to the other library to get Emma’s finished movie.
– Emma found a cheque from her grandmother and purchased a small Wall-E from Toy ‘r Us. While she finds it fun, it just isn’t quite the same as the cardboard one she made. (It comes apart tho.)

Fix & repair Wall-e

– my bathroom is still waiting for a sink and the septic field still isn’t finished
– i did, however, sort of fix the downstairs shower which was handy for that whole two weeks of heat we had at the first of the month.

Shower fail, but I "fixed" it.

– Sarah is moving a few blocks away from where she spent the summer and will be rooming with a family friend. She’s a mom of 4 grown children with family values like ours (hippie, slightly crunchy, leaning towards British, and odd in a good way). Food is included. They should get on famously.
– Sarah also begins her first day of real school next week. At 18. I was supposed to set her up a blog, but that was tied to the moving around of this site, whcih hasn’t happened yet.

– Meaghan made a hammock.

Hammock chair

– then she made two more cloth ones.
– the baking has continued. Today’s snack plate has caramel shortbread cookies.

– we partook of a community art festival, and joined in a large painting

this is what we did

It was in the local paper too.

– work tanked for a bit. We slogged through finishing up (or trying to) long overdue projects and a few of our own.
– when we started to make actual progress, a whole pile of new clients came flooding through

– I’m continuing to get veggies from our neighbours, on credit for the work I did picking berries and beans. Not together. Last night, they left a large bag of corn on our back step so someone could eat it before it went bad.

– we also discovered that the roof join over one end of my craft room was leaking. right into the wall. We’ll be closing this room off completely for the winter, and I moved my sewing table to someplace we could use it better. my sewing has stagnated.

craft room wall

There’s more going on in the background. 🙂 Just waiting for the best time and all.

baked goods

Recently we have made:
– raspberry strudel muffins
– donuts
– cream cheese brownies
– lemon squares
– bread
– skor cheesecake

And most of those in the last week.

And the Apron winner is…


her comment was “Nothing says summer like cherries. Count me in for this cute one!”

That’s right. 🙂 I’ve emailed her already, but hopefully she’ll see this too.

Man, that was fun.