We arrive to the nest at 11pm to find a dozen hens clucking about today’s news and yesterday’s stories.

From intestines and binding stories to salt cod suppers and liquor store jelly, to doe and stag Christmas moments and early morning ‘hat lamp’ lit strolls.

Tales were told and stories were spun around a kitchen table filled with food, drink, laughter and friends.

Then the morning comes early and I smile when I hear the rain fall.¬†Maybe it’ll rain a little longer and we’ll start our day a little later.

The rains lets up a bit and we rise early, careful not to drag our feet as we make our way to the table for a bowl of oatmeal.

Plans are made and dreams are shared of a place for friends and family to gather round.

I am reminded of the value of hard work – the value that was instilled in me early in my childhood when my family gave their all to provide us with a warm home.

They clean up well!

Hard work is my Father coming home from a day at work, only to head up to the field and spilt wood.

Hard work is my Mother caring for her father during a most trying time.

Hard work is my Father making the last piece of wood to be shifted feel like fun for a child by asking, “Is this the one you were looking for?”

Hard work is my Mother staying up late to make lunches and rising early to make breakfast before a long day of clearing land.

Hard work is my Father changing his daughter’s car tires after a long day of back bending chainsaw work.

Hard work is my Mother making breakfast for her kids before they leave and sending them off smelling like a bakery with a reminder of how precious family is.

Going through the mountains.

Heading East.

Snowshoeing in Saskatoon!

Clear skies in the prairies.

There is a reason they called it a Fit.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Beach walk at Green Bay.

Polish & Gaelic

Babunia's Bookshelf 2008

I’m working on my Polish again, which is something I have been doing for the last 4 years or so. It’s proving to be a tricky language to learn, but what I do know is that if I look angry and speak in a fairly stern voice, I can sometimes pronounce the words correctly – even the most heartfelt words sound proper that way! My inspiration to try and pick it up again has come from my dad, who lives in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He recently decided to sign up for Gaelic lessons. He grew up in a home where Gaelic was spoken often, if not always (his mom, my grandmother, grew up in a home where it was the only language spoken!).

The teaching style for these lessons totally suit his learning style. It’s called TIG (Total Immersion Gaelic) and from what I understand it is conversational Gaelic and their classroom is anything but traditional! About 10 local community members all meet once a week at one of the student’s homes, where that student hosts the class for the day. Everyone arrives around 10am and is welcomed into the home with a hot cup of tea and a plate of biscuits. The instructor then begins the lesson, which lasts all morning until the host student makes lunch for the group at noon and they finish up the conversation around 3pm.

My dad told me over the weekend that he just got his recorder, which will allow him to tape the lesson so he can study throughout the week. He also uses the tapes to teach my mom what he’s learned and has been teaching me key phrases and words when we chat over the phone. It turns out that one Gaelic phrase that most East Coasters know, ‘Puck-Ma-Hon’ which translates into ‘Kiss My Arse’, actually sounds more like ‘Scraep-Ma-Hon’.

Like I said, he’s been teaching me key phrases!

Dad mixing up hot drinks at our family's Annual Boxing Day Brunch.

Who inspires you?

Bob loves pomegranates. The only thing he loves more is when his big sister asks him to peel them first thing in the morning!

winter walk

well, isn't he his father's son...

new hiking poles!

2nd generation carries on the life of my old cabin

serious concentration & teamwork here

a rose between two thorns

jam session

a teachable moment with Great Uncle Warren...

...another teachable moment with Aunt Sandra!

Cindy & Sandra sneaking a sip and sharing a laugh

NYE jam session

Kajtek & Warren likely playing a John Prine tune

the countdown!

(photo taken by me in 2006)

Today felt a bit like summer; the sun was out and stayed out for my bike ride home from work, flowers are blooming (and littering the streets with their fragrance and feel), buskers are performing everywhere, people are working in their gardens and in their backyards and the cafes are filled with coffee sipping folks enjoying their treats on the patio. What did today feel like to you?

Sundays in the Kitchen

We’ve spent the last few Sundays in the kitchen baking and cooking for the next week. What’s your most recent creation?

The Baha Baked Black Beans recipe…we always have to boil and bake them for much longer than they do at Rebar.

6 Strand Braided Challah…we’ve made these loaves the last few weekends and have enough bread for toast and sandwiches all week!

(photo via Straight from the Farm)

I’ve also been making lots of pumpkin soups lately (Curry Apple Pumpkin & Pumpkin Pear being my top 2 favorites) with the giant pumpkin that I picked from our wee patch out front!