Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our Night Has Been Made

It turned out to be a fairly warm night,compared to previous years so we have the front door open so we can here the kids coming up the steps before they get to the motion detecting screeching cat. It is lots of fun to hear the kids scream and giggle, especially when one or more of the group get startled when the cat screams.

Well, while waiting for the next set of visitors we hear a voice coming from across the street "I love that house, I love that house." A few minutes later we here thud, thud as a 10yr old boy bounces - obviously way to much candy already- up the steps laughing like a nut. When PeterC answers the doorbell the kid screeches "I remember you guys from last year. I love this house. I love this house." Meanwhile the older brother is looking totally unimpressed and somewhat embarrassed at the whole situation.

I love Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Halloween

Hallow's Eve Games
It was a cold and windy day.
The spooks and goblins came out to play.
Preparing for that special day,
When every one gets dressed up.
Porch lights will glow in the dark
Doorbells will ring, and children will shriek

We love halloween. We enjoy decorating the porch and hedge not only with spooks and spectres, but also with the signs of the late harvest season. The children get candy; their joy infectious, able to make us smile with their shrieks, giggles, and timid little voices.

When the day is over the corn goes to the squirrels if they haven't already stolen it from the porch, and the rest go into the compost bin to feed next years garden. The decorations will go back into storage until next year when we once again decorate the porch and hedge.

Happy Halloween

Thursday, October 25, 2007

New Blog Link - Country Family

Sometimes I find a blog that is interesting that I figure I will share with readers. Melissa, from Homesteading Today, has just started her blog but has been homesteading for several years. I look forward to learning from her adventures. I encourage you to visit some of the other blogs on my list.

Edited to Add: After following her blog for a few weeks I have taken her link from my blogs list in the side bar. However, I want to make sure anyone interested can still find her blog so here is the link for Country Family.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Perfect Fall Weekend

This has been the perfect fall weekend, here at Sparrow Haven. The temperature was neither to hot, nor to cold. The skies were clear and a nice breeze was blowing. The trees have all changed colour, seemingly overnight and the wind has been blowing clouds of orange, yellow, and red all over the yard today.

The sparrows took advantage of the weather and took turns bathing in the bird bath. A half dozen at a time flying in to flutter and sputter in the water, only to be replaced by a different half dozen a few minutes later. They exhibited such unfettered joy that we couldn't help but laugh at their antics. They seemed unconcerned with our peeping and only ended the bathing when the neighbours cat came to see what all the fuss was about.

We did a majority of the fall yard and garage cleanup today. Yard items were stored away for the winter, with a few exceptions that will need to be stored later this month. The garage was cleaned and organized to make room for the lawn chairs and BBQ. We threw out some items we had been holding onto "just in case", and were happy when one or two of them found new homes almost immediately.

We even found time to plant some bulbs we ordered through the mail and received a couple of weeks ago. Miniature Daffodils, Glory of the Snow, Snow Crocus, and Narcisis blooms will dot the yard and bring some much needed relief to the spring blues. The crocus will be especially pretty when they bloom very early in the new year, while the snow is still covering the ground. The miniature daffodils and the Glory of the Snow will only bloom later in the Spring, adding patches of yellow and blue to the brown winter killed grass.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Chimney Repair

When we first bought this house we made a list of things that had to be repaired or replaced. One of the things to get repaired was the chimney. This old house has a brick chimney that some one had parged rather than repoint the bricks. Over the last few years the parging has starting coming off, bringing a distressing amount of brick with it. Finally, we found someone who could and would do the repair work.

The crew showed up on Tuesday only to get rained out after they had removed the old bricks to just below the roof line. We were at work so all we could do was hope they had covered it well enough that no rain could blow in. We got home and found that they had a done a great job of covering the hole. A phone call promised they would be here Sunday afternoon to finish the work.

This morning around 11am the chimney repair crew showed up to complete the work, even though it was cloudy and cold. The contractor chose a lighter colour brick than we had, under the parging. They rebuilt the chimney, giving it a slightly fancier lip than expected, and capped it to keep rain, snow, and squirrels out. It isn't a functioning chimney, and hasn't been for years, but the house looked naked with it. Now she looks whole and complete once more.

So now I can mark "Repair Chimney" off my seemingly endless list of things to get done. But, that is one of the joys and heartaches of owning an old house. The heartache of finding someone who can do the job and do it right, or learning the skills to do it yourself. The joy is seeing the house slowly but surely returning to its original beauty and knowing that she will stand for another hundred years, through rain and shine.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Broccoli - Carrot Cheese Soup

It's cold and damp here today. This morning at sunrise it was 15ºC but as the sun rose, the storms moved in, and the temperature began to fall. It's lunchtime now and we are looking at 11ºC with rain and wind. Needless to say, it is the perfect day for a rich homemade soup. Rummaging around in the refrigerator I found carrots, broccoli, and hot peppers in need of being used. I thought I would share my recipe for Broccoli - Carrot Cheese Soup.

Sparrow Haven's Broccoli - Carrot Cheese Soup
6 cps chicken broth
1 medium carrot - shredded
1 bunch broccoli - the stems peeled and chopped and the florets cut into bite size pieces
1 medium hot pepper - diced finely
1 medium onion diced
2 Tbsp butter
3-4 Tbs flour
2 cps milk or cream
3/4 cps shredded sharp cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Combine broth, carrot, salt, and broccoli stems in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are very soft. Blend until smooth.

In a separate pan melt the butter and saute onions until they start to brown. Add the flour to make a rue. Blend in milk to make a cream sauce.

Add the cream sauce, broccoli florets, and pepper to the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook stirring constantly until thickened. Taste to see if there is enough salt. If not add more to taste.

Once soup is thickened, remove from heat, and stir in shredded cheese. Serve hot with a garnish of shredded cheese and a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper. Tastes great with light rye toast on the side instead of traditional soda crackers.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Heron & Crane Window Brace

Title: Window Brace #4
Wood Species: Scrap Pine
Starting Size: 3 x 15 x 1/2 " Stepped Window Brace
Technique: Geometric and Freestyle Chip Carving
Finishing: Light gel stain and 2 heavy coats of Urethane.

The most recent in the series of decorative window braces used to prop open the old sash windows in the house. It was the blank sides of the original window brace that prompted me to try and fall in love with the looks of chip carving. I am not a master and will most likely never be a master, but the carvings fit our lifestyle and the age of our home.

The birds are taken from two different pattern books and adapted to suit the overall picture I wanted to create. The pine tree, fish, water, and dragonflies are my own patterns based on my limited artistic skills.