Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!

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I certainly won't be feeling nor looking like this, seeing that we are staying in New Years Eve and I am finishing off a bottle of home-made wine that we received from our new friends Mary and Diane. After a few days of rain/sleet/ice and HIGH winds it is glorious sunshine today, even though it is only about 40 degrees. We are supposed to meet Dixon's mother and her husband, who are vacationing in Victoria, January 1st to spend the better part of the day with them. Of course there are wind warnings posted for tomorrow so we'll see how the weather is. I'm sure we can meet them and I was planning a trip up to Sydney for lunch at a great little waterfront restaurant we've been to a few times. Here is a view from the restaurant that I took a couple of years ago when we were here on vacation - this is the SUNRISE at some ridiculous hour of the morning.

We are looking forward to the new year in our new home. The job hunt will kick into high gear after the holidays so wish us luck! We've been told to be patient but I'm starting to wonder if I'll have to take some part-time job, in the interim. Oh well, if I have to then I suppose I'll have to.

I'm already getting anxious to get the greenhouse up and running. I SO just want to get a small bag of potting soil and plant SOMETHING! I think I get that from my Grandfather on my Mother's side. He and his wife came to the US from Russia in the early 1900's and even though we was a master carpenter in Russia he spent many years farming in the Midwest. I just love the smell of good soil and have no problem getting my hands dirty in the garden. I also have a yen to do some woodworking, again probably from Grandpa, but the gardening bug is stronger and that takes priority. I've had a new compound miter saw in the box for probably more than 3 years (I got it on sale at a REALLY good price!) and just NOW managed to unpack it and start reading the instructions. There is a large workbench in our garage and the end of the bench will be the perfect place to mount the saw but of course I have to get bolts to hold it down! If it ain't one thing it's another, eh? Of course, as another excuse, it's pretty cold in the garage so the saw will have to wait until it warms up a bit.

With the impending visit from Dixon's mother and her husband we have managed to get our butts in gear and get more of the house in order. Now, understand, the house is not a mess, it's just that there are certain things that, due to low priority, have been sitting in boxes and not found a proper home. We have tackled some of those issues, hung numerous pictures/prints on the walls and spruced up the bathrooms. It is really starting to look like home, finally, and I can't wait until we are working and I can start spending some money on this place. The things we brought with only go so far.

Well, Happy New Year to each of you and we wish you a very happy and prosperous 2008!! I know we are certainly looking forward to it!!

Thanks for tuning in...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I just want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2008!

I found this photo at webshots and just had to share. I thought it was terrific and embodies the holiday season.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Golden Compass

The trailers for this movie are intriguing me, and I just found out about this little game on their website. You answer 20 questions to find out what your Daemon is, the animal personality equivalent of your human form. is mine.

It claims I am Solitary, Shy, Spontaneous, Dependable, and Responsible. Yeah, maybe so, but a SPIDER??? I really do not like spiders, but maybe that is the quirky twist to this game. Perhaps subconsciously you really are akin to one of the animals that you fear/dislike the most. Hmmmm......
You can check yours at

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Dec. 17th???

Well, I can't believe that it is almost Christmas!! Maybe the mild climate here is throwing me a little out of sorts, seeing that there are roses and some other things blooming in the garden, or perhaps due to the lack of any snow, but it sure does not feel like Christmas is just a week away. There is so much greenery in the yard, and everywhere else, that it kinda reminds me of the time I was in Hawaii for vacation right before Christmas. Of course they have palm trees and hibiscus and much warmer temperatures but it's kind of the same feeling. When one has spent 46 years in a climate where there is usually snow at holiday time, or at least freezing cold, and then you find yourself somewhere that is warm and green, it just doesn't seem right. Maybe I'll have to start cuddling up by the fireplace with some hot cocoa to put me in the mood. I have been getting some decorations up around the house and that has helped me feel a bit better, but I'll still be missing friends and family over the holidays. Phone calls help a bit but there's nothing like Aunt Loretta's cranberry relish with orange zest, chopped walnuts and cinnamon to make me feel all warm and cozy. But I did find some wonderful cranberry tea at the grocery this weekend, and when I add a bit of cranberry juice to cool it off, oh my how that hits the spot. Back in the States there is a little coffee shop we would eat at two or three times a week and they used to make a Cranberry Herbal iced tea that was to die for! They would brew a wonderful herbal hibiscus tea from a small supplier in rural Minnesota and then add 1/3 white cranberry juice. It sure hit the spot on those warm summer Wisconsin evenings but alas they discontinued it and I was forced to find other sustenance. I did attempt to replicate it at home but it wasn't quite the same. Lately I have been adding a touch of cinnamon to the coffee grounds before I brew, for just a hint of old Vienna to warm me up on a chilly morning.

On another note we finally met up with Mary and Diane for brunch on Sunday. I found them online through their blog and we have corresponded back and forth a bit. They moved to the area here from Las Vegas so we were anxious to make a connection and see how they are managing life in Canada. They have indicated that the job hunt may take a bit longer than we would expect but they said to hang in there and be patient. If only we could tell the bank account the same! HA! They are great gals and I do believe we have made our first friends here! They may even talk me into making my own wine, which seems to be a very popular thing to do here, even though there are wineries all over the place that you KNOW I will end up checking out. They indicated that summer farmer markets on the island are incredible, with a lot of organically grown produce, so I am kind of anxious for summer to get here.

The weather lately has actually been really good, with very little to report as far as storms go, so I am crossing my fingers that it stays that way. Dixon's mother and her husband are arriving Jan. 3rd for a week long visit and we are looking forward to that. We have to get the house a bit more organized as far as accommodations go but company coming is always a great motivating factor to get the house in order.

Another bit of news is that we finally found a couple of things that are cheaper here than back in the States: electricity and water. We received a bill for each last week and were pleasantly surprised when we opened them up. Two months of electric was less that one month of electric and gas at the old house (no gas here) and water came out at less than $10 per month!! And that is city water! If we were on the well water, with questionable quality, it would be $0. We'll leave the well water for the yard and greenhouse though and stick to city water for the household needs. Oh, also, Sydney is doing just fine on her new medication, which is a relief. She really is a tough little gal and seems to be very adaptable. Now if we could just get her to stop pulling on her leash when we walk to get the mail....

As always, thanks for tuning in....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


If you find yourself in a new place, and are a bit apprehensive to set out and explore, I say go for it! Excitement and the wonder of discovery will soon displace those fears. Our new home is on 1.89 acres and most of it is fenced and secure and landscaped and friendly. On three of four sides of the property our land actually extends beyond the fence line but I have been leery of exploring due to wildlife, or the possibility of, in the area. I'm not talking bunnies and squirrels here, I mean bears and cougars! So I have stayed inside the fenced area and felt just fine, thank you very much. Yesterday Dixon decided we should explore our yard (!) so I hesitantly went along with his scheme. We started out at the bottom of the lot, down the hill from the house, and I ventured outside the fence for the first time. This area is rather open and somewhat flat down to the neighbor's house so I felt pretty good about being outside my usual comfort zone. As I proceeded to the west to find the corner of our lot the terrain turned rather rocky with large boulders that I had to navigate over. As I approached the area where we thought the corner would be I could hear the neighbor's large dog start barking. I figured he must have seen me from their yard so I proceeded cautiously. The further I went the more the dog barked and at the point that the bark turned into growls, and I could hear rustling in the undergrowth, I told Dixon I had gone as far as I was going to and that if he wanted to find the corner of our lot he would have to come out here and do it himself. Well, he did just that! We traded places and he proceeded quite a bit farther than I had gone, not afraid of any dog. As it turned out he found the corner of our lot, right about where he thought it would be, the dog posed no threat and he returned to the fenced yard safe and sound.

As our house sits about in the middle of the lot we then decided we would attempt to venture UP the hill to see where the two upper corners of the lot are. Now, for comparison, this area is much larger than the lower portion outside the fence and is heavily wooded with a lot of undergrowth. Again I was leery so he charged up the rock and boulder strewn hill that borders our land, determined to find out how far 'up' our land went, and I stayed in the comfort of the yard. As I watched and he disappeared from sight we kept in voice contact, me staying inside the fenced yard-my safety zone. In a few minutes I heard someone greet him and figured it was the neighbor farther up the hill whose home we can see from our front yard. They spent quite a few minutes talking and it turns out the neighbor is actually the developer who built the eight homes that we are a part of. He showed Dixon where the lot line is and supplied some additional info on the area. We now have it figured that this guy can be a font of information, if needed. Anyway, this all transpired on Tuesday and Dixon talked me into exploring on Wednesday, to see where the upper lot line is.

I strapped on my hiking boots, bundled up against the late fall temps, and trudged up the rock and boulder hill right behind him! When we got to the top of our lot I snapped the pictures in this post. The view from there was incredible, even more so than from the house, and I was so glad that I sucked it up and ventured outside my comfort zone. We then climbed and ambled through the brush and forest, in search of the fourth corner of our lot, but that area is way too overgrown and dense and we gave up. We saw a lot of evidence of rabbits, which I have seen in the yard already, and deer, which we have not been sure were in our area. Apparently they are but the fence keeps them out of what is now OUR garden. It's hard to see the elevation change in the pictures but we figure from the top of our property to the bottom there must be a change in elevation of at least 100 feet, maybe more, which to a city boy like me used to flat surfaces is pretty incredible.

After all this, my point is - don't be too afraid of exploring, in the end it is usually very much worth venturing outside your comfort zone, even if for just a little while!

Thanks for tuning in....

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Potato Salad!

Quite literally!! I was stumped as to what to write today so I decided to post my mother's recipe for warm German Potato Salad. It is a bit time consuming and it gets somewhat messy when peeling the potatoes, but when you are done, and you take the first bite of this salad when it is still warm.....Oh My GOSH! It is SO yummy!!! I figured with the holiday just around the corner one could always use another recipe.

What you will need:
2 pounds Potatoes, cooked-peeled and sliced - set aside
2 hard boiled Eggs, cooled and minced
2T Onion, minced
1/2 pound Bacon
3T Sugar
1T Flour
1 1/2 t Salt
1/4t Pepper
1/2 cup Water
1/3 cup Vinegar

Cut bacon into 1 inch pieces and fry in pan until crisp. Drain on paper towel BUT save 2T of the drippings. Combine sugar, onion, flour, salt and pepper. Stir into the drippings you saved in the pan. Gradually add the water and vinegar and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Add potatoes, bacon and eggs. Turn down heat and cook on low for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are heated through. Serve warm. Serves approximately 6.

Now, when I make this I use a large electric skillet and I double the recipe, which makes quite enough for a larger dinner party or family picnic. I come from a large German family so there are never any problems with leftovers. I used to make this for special occasions at work also and everyone absolutely loved it.

I realize this is not about some new custom I discovered in Canada, it's more about me taking some of my history and life along on a journey to a new land. As time goes by I'll uncover exciting new things to share with you but it's a slow process and sometimes you'll have to be content with some of my life traditions. I hope you have a chance to try this recipe and, if you do, certainly let me know what you think of it.

Thanks for tuning in......

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Well, I don't believe it was supposed to do this here, but it has! Nothing like a snowfall to put one in the holiday mood, eh? It started snowing on Saturday, continued through the night and changed over to rain Sunday afternoon. We have received 1-2 inches of the heavy wet stuff but areas north of Victoria have much more. We've been hunkered down at the homestead, fearing any vehicular travel would result in sliding off the road because we are not sure of the locals' expertise and swiftness at removing the snow from the roadways. We were supposed to meet two gals today for coffee, comparing notes on our relocation to Canada, but we postponed due to the weather. We'll give it another shot next weekend. It seems there might be quite a few folks in the area that have moved from the US and I am anxious to find out!

We did have one casualty from the weather - a cute little Japanese Maple in the front garden. It was still full of leaves and apparently the weight of the snow was too much and it split three ways, almost down to the ground. It was Dixon's favorite in the garden but with a 2-3 foot split right down the trunk I really don't think we'll be able to repair damage to that extent. He has already said it has to be replaced and it is probably a $100 tree! Otherwise everything else looks fine. I'm praying that the snow melts off the greenhouse so it does not sustain any damage from the weight. I don't think it will, due to the heavy aluminum frame and double pane glass, but one never knows. At least it is covered by insurance.

On another note, I found the following online a while ago and Dixon and I just laughed out loud. How much more hypocritical can the US government BE??!!

"MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin won a big endorsement in a parliamentary election on Sunday but the United States urged Moscow to investigate opposition charges of widespread fraud."

Well, that's it for now. I am now off to gather the Christmas decor boxes from the garage to take inventory of what actually made it here from the old house. 'Tis the season....

Thanks for tuning in, and Happy Holidays!