Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Autumn Chores

I'm a little early today but grabbing time when I can. I have an apple crisp in the oven and beets boiling on the stove. I'm making pickled beets this afternoon and preparing for a friend who is coming for dinner. Her husband is away again and when he is, we always have meals of fish or seafood together. Tonight I'm serving mussels and salmon - and apple crisp for dessert. Another friend called to ask me to dinner at his house but because of my plans we are rescheduling for tomorrow night. He is making roast beef. Yum!

I feel energized when I think of a bit of time off. I won't have a lot of off-time as I have some plans in the works, one being my three week trip to Florida. I am really looking forward to that. I'll happily trade early winter here for some Florida sun. I'm already looking at art projects and started some preparation today. I have been working on something for my grandkids too but have to get to a store tomorrow to pick up items to add some finishing touches. I worked on it today too.

If you've been reading here for a while you know my favorite music is the slow ballad in any language. First cd I put on this morning is one of slow Latin ballads but somehow this song, Se Me Van Los Pies by Susana Baca ended up on the disc instead of a on a dance cd. I had to stop what I was doing and dance for the five minutes it played. I felt like grabbing some drums too but resisted and just danced. I'd say that makes this song good for you. The cd ends with the following beauty that I thought was up already. It's Naila by Lila Downs and is so, so gorgeous!

Update: I was uploading the last song and the power went out. Luckily the apple crisp was able to finish cooking with the heat in the oven and the beets are boiling again. So much for an early post.....

Monday, September 29, 2008

Further On Up the Road

I'm on my extended days off and my last shifts at work are coming up at the end of the week. My body will thank me when it's all over. I need a break! Today I had sort of a mental health day and didn't do much of anything. I took care of a couple of time sensitive chores but didn't do any cleaning or much cooking. I have a lovely chicken roasting and will finish up the other preparations for a chicken dinner in a bit.

We had the remnants of Hurricane Kyle overnight but it's sunny now. The wind changed direction in the last hour or so, the sun came out, and the temperature got much cooler. It's 13 degrees now and was 20 this morning, in the rain.

My body needs a break but at the same time, the regular walking and exercise I get from my job will have to be maintained if I want to keep my girlish figure, my excellent level of fitness, and good mental health. I'm glad it's autumn which in itself is an incentive to go walking every day. I was going to go this morning but it started to rain so I didn't. I will make it a daily habit once work is over next week. I have to do 15,000 steps or 24 km a day for maintenance and that will be hard so I'm not sure how to get this level up without joining a gym or dancing every day on top of the walking. Staying fit is time consuming and hard work.

Who likes the blues? One of the best who has influenced the blues players of all time since him is Bobby"Blue" Bland. Here he is from 1957 with the definitive rendition of Further On Up the Road and from 1960 with Two Steps From the Blues. Those titles sound appropriate for today's post don't you think?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Busy is a Beaver?

I've got a very good excuse for not posting during my days off. It is usually when I do have some time to post but not this week. I was extremely busy during my three days off. It's pickling season and I made three batches of pickles with more planned for next week. I made mustard-curry pickles, mustard- ginger, and Lady Ashburn, another mustard type. Next week I'm pickling beets and if I can find some green tomatoes, will make Chow. I also need to have a pie making day. Someone loaned me an apple picker last night which allowed me to get fabulous apples from higher on the trees. It's hard to find time for it all.

I had a lovely dinner party last night and friends for dinner on Tuesday as well. Truly, my hands are wrinkled from all the dishes I've been doing. Three batches of pickles involves enough dishes as it is but two dinner parties added to that.... Whew!

My hours have been cut back further so that I work only a half day today. I will miss the money but like the extra time off. The weather was definitely cooler but today is supposed to be a lovely 20 degrees. I plan to start walking again as the woods are going to be lovelier each week.

Louis Armstrong has some good songs for today. With Velma Middleton, here's You're the Apple of My Eye and with his band here's Walking My Baby Back Home.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Early Autumn Chores

Late getting here on my first day off but it's been a jam packed day or should I say pickle packed day. I slept very late and had three major communications with three different people before my coffee was finished, let alone taken effect. Someone dropped off a ton of cucumbers for me to make pickles with. That was a fabulous gift then someone else offered me all the beets I want. My son and I will be happy this winter. I made mustard pickles today and am about to cut some up which must be soaked overnight. The ones to be soaked are called Lady Ashburns and to me mean a New Brunswick pickle. Today the ones I made contained curry and it's a PEI pickle.

I had lawn mower issues too as my lawnmower guy repaired the seized motor, then the second solenoid switch went. He is replacing that with a heavier one and says that will do the trick. It's too late to change my mind now after sinking all so much money into the machine. My lawnmower fellow had given me a hundred bucks for mine on Friday because it had all new parts but sold it back to me today for that amount plus another seventy five dollars. My son thinks I am crazy and should buy a new one. I say it will come soon enough that I'll have to do that but with the heating season upon us and the oil prices as they are.... My house is not shrinking.....

It's all about the harvest these days off and next ones too with the donated beets and my huge glut of apples. Anyone want wonderful apples? I do a ritual pie making spree at this time of year too. Patty Griffin does a song for that and The Garden Song by David Mallett which I'd known for a long time but didn't know the author of till Kat posted it a while back. For those who'd like this sort of thing (like me) here's September Song by Django Reinhart.

I have friends coming for dinner Wednesday and another friend or two tomorrow so am busy as an autumn beaver. I love this time of year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gorgeous Days

Though I'd reminded him, my son let my ride-on lawnmower run out of oil, seizing the engine. The machine is toast. He has his father's gardener mowing for me right now. The grass is so long! I was enjoying the deck on my last day off but had to come in. I was making pom poms from yarn for a Halloween outfit for my grandkids. It's a clown suit from the past and in wonderful shape except for the pom poms and the elastic for tying the hat. Both are easily attended to. Sitting in the sun making them was wonderful and what I needed. I've had a full day of housework today after being out and about yesterday and cooking and entertaining on Monday. I'm liking this three days off per week schedule.

I've got the most beautiful bouquets. I've got mixtures of sprigs of golden rusty fall mums, Jeruselem artichokes, wild aster, cultivated aster, tons of sweet peas, bachelors buttons, a yellow perennial I bought that I don't know the name of, and the same with a deep hot pink flower. The beautiful Stargazer and Razzle Dazzle lilies I have as ikebanas displays with wire frogs. They are stunning. I love flower displays throughout the season. With my great selection of vases and flowers it's easy to have them.

Today's music is from Amos Lee. Sweet Pea for the lovely flowers and Sympathize, a song with a similar name to yesterday's song (though in a different language) are worth your time. So are the songs he has on his website. Click the link to listen to some of his latest album. I love his sound.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pink Flowers and Martinis

Again, I've had a great day off and am excited to think there is one more!! I brought a lovely Stargazer lily flower to a woman who inspired me to buy some by bringing me bouquets of lovely lilies over the summer. I bought three different lilies last week and two are beautifully in full bloom. This friend also explained how to do a crafting item I was trying to make and struggling with.

I visited another friend who has a sprained ankle. She had a whole bunch of stories for me. She rents her main house to tourists and moves into a cottage in full view of the house. It's too close as she sees everything that's going on and it's turned out to be too much for her to witness.

I went walking on the beach and also went hunting for chanterelles. Even with all the rain it's getting late in the season for chanterelles so I didn't get many. The big haul I got a few weeks ago was lovely and with what is left of those and the few I got today, there is enough for a taste tonight.

Pink Martini is bringing the music today. Lilly, for the Stargazer lily I was talking about, is from the album Hang On Little Tomato. Sympathique, from the first album, is for my friend with the sprained ankle. Pink Martini has such diverse stylings and writes and sings in several languages. I like this band a lot.

Gosh! A friend dropped by after that last paragraph so I'm getting back late. I started this at my natural late afternoon time. It's now evening. I haven't even started supper. There are lots of left overs from last night . I have to upload two songs. Oops! Maybe one now, start supper and go that way. Two part like last night. Here's one... Ok, two...

Monday, September 15, 2008

An Aaahhhhhsome Day

Today I start my new work schedule with an additional day off - Mondays!!!! Those exclamation points can hopefully express my excitement. I'm so in need of an extra day off and I'm enjoying it fully. I have friends coming for dinner and have all the salads made, the lemon meringue pie in the fridge, the ribs slow cooking in the oven and the floor swept. I've been very busy but I'm not going to work. Yeah!!!! I don't like being indoors for the dishwasher cycle so took that time out for a visit with two friends so I feel happy all around. An extra day off will do that, much like a long weekend usually does.

I have resident crows. The same ones hang around and keep watch knowing I will often feed them. They are checking it out constantly. There are three in this first photo - one is in the shade to the left of the tree. I like having them around. I've always admired their shiny black feathers, their intelligence and fierce tenacity. They are a bit shy even though they should know after all these years that I'm no harm.

I've been blindly clicking different playlists on the mp3 player every time I sit at the computer. That there is so much great music always amazes me. There is more than any of us could listen to in a lifetime if we played music from this moment on. Like books, where couldn't ever read them all - even a speed reader. Here are two good songs I listened to today that are no longer on the music pages. Baby Please Don't Go is done here by Greg Brown and Bill Morrissey. Here are a couple of other versions too. One from the late, great Dutchie Mason and one by our Harry Manx. I won't play Van's version as was requested a while back by the Net Sheriff.

Oh oh, Dutchie's is no longer here. If I knew how to make the horizontal line through it I would. I'll put it back some other time. Mississippi Fred McDowell's is gone too.

The other choice today is the traditional blues song, Trouble in Mind, by Snooks Eaglin and here's a bonus. It's the song that's playing at the moment. Speed of the Sound of Loneliness by Nancy Griffith and John Prine. This song always reminds me of a friend who sings and does a fine job with both these artists.

My friends are here. I will add music later.

Update: When I look back on this post after a few drinks and a great dinner and visit with dear friends, I see a strange mixture of music from me. It's not related other than the songs were all on playlists I'm listening to and they grabbed my attention. So much more than just these songs has enthralled me. I listened to a live cut from The Waifs live album on one of the playlists and have enjoyed it so much in the mix.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Avid Walker and Dental Patient

There are fresh vases of flowers in the house, the cat hair is at bay and I have clean sheets. All is well for my second day off. I am normally off on Tuesday and Wednesday but switched to Wednesday and Thursday for this week. I had a Thursday evening appointment that I needed to keep. You won't believe this but yesterday I showed up at my dental appointment an hour early - just like I did last month. They must think I really like going to the dentist. I just think I'm becoming senile and we'll leave it at that.

I spent the extra hour in Victoria Park wondering around with my camera. They did a beautiful job decorating the light standards in the park by planting large planters around them and including Heavenly Blue morning glories. With the sunshine and fluffy clouds, it was a wonderful morning for a stroll.

I finally got the mp3 player that I bought two years ago up and running. I didn't like the earbuds with it but I needed an adapter in order to fit it with new ones. I bought it for walking in the winter but since I didn't do much walking this past winter, I put it off till now. In one month I'll be laid off from my seasonal job and will be walking in the autumn woods as much as last year so thought I'd prepare early in case I want the mp3 for any of the autumn walks. I only need it for windy days to protect my ears from the wind. The music is an added bonus though I like the sounds of nature on the walks just as much.

I'll be back later to add music. I have a friend coming minutes from now so I'll be back when I can.

Update: The specialist I had the appointment with was two hours late arriving at the hospital so I am adding music quit a bit later than I had hoped. Peru's wonderful Susana Baca is bringing the music today. Here's Bartola from her album,Vestida de Vida and Zamba Malato from her album, Susana Baca. That's the album that made me fall in love with her music. I still play it a lot after many years.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away

My goodness, I have a hard time keeping up here. I have an hour this morning and that is more than enough time for jot something down.

We are having a moment of dry in the midst of tropical storm Hannah. It rained most of the night and most of the morning so far and is to continue. I just had a look at Environment Canada's radar and more rain is definitely in our future. Talk yesterday was for heavy wind but we're not getting that. It would be awful if we did as we would lose a lot of trees I think. The ground is so saturated with a month of rain that trees would be toppling as the roots are in a kind of soupy soil.

The photo was taken at another time but it could have been taken today as the pond is quite muddy. Since it is not raining at the moment my son just left to go fishing. I showed him the radar but he just looked at the fact that it's not raining now. I don't think he's gotten a km. down the road and we're in the midst of a downpour.

Our farmers are in a very bad situation. With all the rainfall, there has been no harvesting taking place. Potato crops are rotting in the ground. Some fields are like lakes. It's very disheartening!

Here's a song from The Waterboys for young son - Fisherman's Blues. Ben Taylor from The Ben Taylor Band is bringing an appropriate song, Rain. Doesn't he sound like his dad, James Taylor? Dancers in the Rain by Emilie Simon song of a different mood. Music for all tastes.

Sorry this post is a little disjointed. I've been on the phone with my grandchildren - so much fun!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Bay

I didn't go to the beach for sunset last night but plan to tonight. The sky was cloudless yesterday but we should have skies like the above for tonight. Thats what the clouds look like now, in daylight. More dramatic actually. There is an higher, unmoving layer and the bottom layer is swiftly drifting past. Really fabulous! There are still thunderheads to the north. We had a thunder storm already and possibly they aren't over yet.

I'm so glad I chose the sun yesterday. Cleaning and groceries came soon enough today. I didn't relish the idea of being in Charlottetown on the last day of shopping before school opens in the morning so opted for the small town grocery store. It was beautiful weather and I had a few errand stops on the way so it was nice to be out with the thunderstorm brewing.

Bring Me a Boat
by Kate Rusby is a cry for help. The statistics I mentioned yesterday did not include the first three days of September, in which we've had heavy rains for two of the three days. Bring Me a Boat! Katie Melua is right next to Kate Rusby in my music files so here is If You Were a Sailboat. Have to think about that one....

There hasn't been much sunshine outside since I've been in this chair and it's getting quite dark with clouds so showers may be imminent. I hope I get to go down to the bay. Darn, I hear thunder.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Sun Day

A day off in the sunshine again means that I'm a happy woman but my house certainly needs cleaning. I can't help it. I spent most of the day outdoors rather than vacuuming. We had record breaking rain this weekend and smashed rainfall records for the month of August. The sources say that we normally get 80 ml of rain in August and this year we got 230. It all adds up to very little sun.

I enjoyed taking hundreds of photos today but at least a hundred turned out to be rubbish as I inadvertently put the camera's dial on a slow shutter speed when changing the batteries. I didn't notice the error for quite some time.

I am supposed to be on the beach for a sunset walk and had better move it. Here are a couple of quick songs. The day got away on me. Up All Night from the album of the same name by The Waifs is for my sleep patterns lately. I've been having very altered sleep patterns, weird dreams, and am waking up tired. I hope to return to normal soon. Three Down kind of fits too when thinking things to look forward to, like days off and the end of a busy tourist season. How much do I love The Waifs?