Thursday, December 31, 2015

Flotsam and Jetsam 2015

Well, the glacier receded and spring sprang sometime in May.  It goes without saying that I was a terrible blogger in 2015, and won't make any resolutions to do any better in 2016.

There is no simple way to write a compte-rendu of 2015, so I'm not even going to try.  What we'll have to settle for is an iPad photo dump.

Ah, the modified Comet by Kim Hargreaves, make in Schulana Kid-Paillettes.  An awesome accessory, more like a piece of jewelry than knitting.  Here, unceremoniously thrown on dandelions, a spring feature all over our so-called lawn.
When the lilacs finally start blooming, it's a sure sign that spring has sprung, and the worst is behind us.
Ditto for the crabapple trees.  My favorite blooms.

I was happy with my planters this year, but something kept eating my ipomoea.  I suspect earworms since they're a common feature hanging around the dracaenas.  This year they decided to chow down.  Then again, they spared my lobelia, a plant I try and grow year after year.  This year I finally had success.  I think the weather might have had something to do with their bounty because they bloomed non-stop.
Oh no.  A new cat.  This is Mitaine, french for Mittens.  She's got big paws with a extra claw on each front paw.  Mitaine was pregnant when she arrived on our doorstep, which is my way of gently breaking it to you.  In 2015, I became the dreaded cat-lady.  We now have 6 cats, which is about 3 beyond my comfort zone.  Mitaine is part Siamese and has lovely light blue eyes, and is very, very smart.  (She picked our house, didn't she?)  We haven't adored a cat like we've adored Mitaine.
Capucine isn't too convinced. Here she is, playing camo-cat with an orchid fascinator.  Always the coquette, Capu hasn't exactly taken to Mitaine with as much abandon as we have.
My lovely gazanias (Transvaal daisy).  They bloomed until the end of September.  Again, this plant is hit-or-miss.  2015 was a total score!
Sometime at the end of June, we finally broke down and bought a new patio set.  Made out of ipe wood, this set by Jensen Leisure is built to last.  The chairs are so heavy, you need both hands to move them.  Just what we need with our violent winds.  This set isn't going to take off like the last one.
Tessie enjoying a fine summer day on her new chair.  Thankfully, she's not interested in clawing it either.  Can't say the same thing for the molding around the kitchen door.
I broke down and knit Eric a pair of socks to go with his uniform ("Regulation Black" dontchaknow?)  If you're a knitter, you probably shuddered at this thought.  These were a slog-fest, but I persevered.  Knit with indestructible Regia sock wool, it should be a while before I have to break down and knit another pair.

Sorry about the formatting.  Blogger is giving me cramps tonight.  I'm also stuck into the prosecco and don't really give a crap about parsing HTML anymore.  So...pretty clouds.  We really lucked out with the weather this summer and fall. We even had a dreaded Green Christmas and survived to tell the tale.  A few days after Christmas, we were graced with a 40cm dumping of snow.

And yet another photo of my planters.  It's so nice to see a bit of colour on the horizon.  I'm not sure what 2016 will hold, but 2015 will be hard to beat.  The local fields were being plowed in December, something only the oldtimers remember happening.  We had a bumper crop as well, soya if memory serves correctly.
A glorious sunset.  I never, ever tire from our view.  Sorry about the hydro wire, which you probably didn't even notice until I pointed it out.  Mea culpa.
This is Gee Pee.  We call him Jeep, because he has massive 4x4 action going on with his paws.  On top of having 3 extra claws on his front feet, he has a bonus on each back paw too.  He's absolutely adorable and has joined the Kitten Club of Shim Farm.
Here he is, waving at Tessie.  Lookit those mitts and his cute belly.  He has such nice markings.  When he was tiny, I could always make out Jeep from the rest of the kittens.  He was the one tripping over his paws as he ran.  The little black munchkin looking on is Minky.  She was the runt of the litter, and bonded with Jeep like nobody's business.  We tried to place them as a pair because it would have been a shame to split them up, but we had no takers.  (I admit, we didn't try too hard).  Keeping them was the only option.  Minky is stuck to me like misery to the world, and Eric thinks that Jeep is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Win/win all around.
Yet another sunset.  The iPad app and the blogger dashboard from my dying laptop hate each other.  There is no way to make any of this post cohesive.  Just work with me.  I promise it will even out in the end.  These are many of the random sunset photos I send to Eric when he's flying, just so he can see what he missed.
Another glorious evening.

And to prove to you that none of this makes sense, here is a photo of Jeep and Minky.  They lie like this all the time, day in, day out.  How could we have parted with them?  I rest my case...

In other undocumented news, 2015 finally saw our overpass reopen to traffic.  We had to make a massive detour for months (let's be honest - it was a year and a half) while our overpass was being rebuilt, and then 2 weeks before completion, it was condemned.  The fact there were groundhogs and raccoons living inside the structure has been a dead giveaway to us locals for years.  (Sometimes I think it's Quebec's way of keeping us pious.  We said a prayer every time we crossed it and many of the other crumbling overpasses in this province.  Chicken wire IS apparently a replacement for rebar, if you're an engineer working at the MTQ).  Summer came and went without any activity, and finally sometime in August, the Ministry of Transport must have gotten the memo, because the reconstruction finally got under way.  Just before Halloween, our overpass was reopened.  We did many happy dances.  I was so happy it was opened, I drove over it, and backed up and drove over it again, just because I could.  Damned infrastructure.

2015 also saw the opening our our very own local Costco.  Those who know me know I swear by my Costco, but having to make the trek to Montreal island proper was always frustrating.  The parking situation is bad at best even if you arrive before opening, to say nothing of the crowds once you get inside the hallowed establishment.  We've been promised a Costco for the past 5 years, and it finally became a reality.  Now I can shop at Costco like it's a grocery store, versus shopping at Costco like it was a Hudson Bay Outpost every quarter.  Urban sprawl, score 1!

We replaced Wilfred, (our trusty wood stove for those who haven't paid attention) this month.  After nearly 15 years service it was time for a new wood stove.  I promise (!) to dedicate an entire post to the new Wilfie, because he's a beaut!

On that note, my venerable BBQ crock pot ribs are calling my name, and Eric is making homemade fries from our own bumper-crop of special potatoes in the kitchen.  We're not going to turn the page on 2015 on a low-calorie note, but that's what January and its resolutions are for.  New Year's Eve is a celebration of the bounty of our past year.  While none of it was particularly noteworthy, we made it through another year with only First World Problems, which is saying something.

So, dear friends, from our nuthouse to yours, all the best in 2016.  May it be filled with health and happiness, may you see the beauty around you and remain thankful for every small victory.

We are blessed in the best ways possible, and hope the same for you and yours.


Miriam said...

Hello dear Ann, and Happy New Year! Your comment did find me (I get a notification) and a lovely surprise it was! I'm so happy to find you well, knitting and cat loving and overpass swearing and prosecco drinking. 6 cats is definitely NOT too many, especially when they are as charming as they are. I had a cat with more than her fair share of toes, and even though she was not with me for long, I have a very soft spot for little kitties with big feet. We are well at Mucky Boots - still here, still gardening and chicken wrangling, and I can tell you that I think of you everytime I wear my Lopi sweater. Big hugs, and all the best to you!

Shim Farm said...

Hi Miriam! I am SO HAPPY to hear from you! Glad that all is well and hope your arthritis has taken a back seat for better health. I hope you're getting a lot of wear out of your Lopi sweater.

Well, you did sum me up quite well! Heh heh heh, we did misbehave a bit over the holidays. I find myself looking forward to getting back to our regular routine come Monday.

The kittens are just fabulous! The vet pegged Mitaine at just 1.5 years when we had her spayed, so she's practically a kitten herself. She's such a little doll, very different from other cats we've had. The 4 kittens are SO MUCH alike, temperament-wise. Luckily, two of our friends each adopted a kitten, so we get to see each on a regular basis.

Again, all the best in health and happiness in 2016! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it and all of your encouragement over the years!

My Little Bungalow said...

How wonderful to read your 2015 recap post, Ann. Happy New Year to you. Your kitties are adorable. How is Odin dealing with them (you do still have Odin, I hope)? Thanks for all your sweet comments on my blog this past year. I always cherish them!

Shim Farm said...

Hi Claudia! Thanks for stopping by! There is so much I left out in 2015 my head spins...

Yes, we do have Odin, but we're trying to re-home him because he's a very (VERY) challenging dog. He's pure hound with an insane prey drive, not the greatest thing on a farm. He's a bolter and when he gets loose, he invariably heads for the chickens across the street. It drives me nuts. We have nearly 30 acres and he knows it - but the chickens are much more fascinating. It's very trying. I've done and continue to do obedience training with him, but he really pushes our buttons. I could never give him up to a shelter, but we've decided to take a more active approach in finding him a more suitable home this year. He'll be three this year and while he's a good SMART dog, he needs to be in a cat-free home with access to a fenced-in back yard. It really breaks my heart, because I've put an enormous amount of energy into training him and looking after him. You know how much we get attached to our animals?! Unfortunately, hound dog rescues are completely unheard of in our parts, but we'll keep our feelers out. He's a great dog and would do well in a more suitable environment.

On that note, I'm going to take the little cuddle-bug up to bed. His favorite spot is curled up right beside me.

Again, thanks for your kind comment. Your blog is always so inspiring. Looking forward to more in 2016!

Stephen Andrew said...

Ann! I'm so glad to find this post, even if I'm very late. Your view is spectacular and I love the feline shots. I'm sorry that it's not working out with Odin. I'm sure this downright excruciating for you. Such a shame. But I'm sure his prey drive is a dangerous situation with (so many! Haha I would have done the same) cats in the house.
There is a Costco five minutes from my house and one minute down the street from my salon. I haven't been there since 2011! It's always so damn busy. And why don't they open until 10?! I do my grocery shopping around 8. I need to just brave the crowds and incorporate Costco to my routine.
Happy new year!

Stephen Andrew said...

Also, I must take note of those Transvaal daisies! They are gorgeous! And they bloomed the whole season?!

Shim Farm said...

Hi Stephen, so happy you stopped by! I lovelovelove my Costco! In fact, I was thinking of you as I loaded pounds of frozen ground beef and chicken breasts and pork ribs and shrimp into my BBQ outside, which I use as a make-shift freezer in winter months. I know how much you like to use the great out-of-doors to keep food cold and/or frozen. How many times do we throw bubbly in a snow bank to chill, ya think?

All that to say that yes, I'd like you to incorporate more Costco into your life. Just stay away from the Creuset and All-Clad and Porsche-design knives and you'll be OK, I promise. Our new Costco is like a dream come true for me. They fixed all the bugs from the old one, and the parking is sublime, plus the Witches of Westpark don't venture out "this" way (don't ask...). The town even needed to revamp the road going to it, so it's like 6 lanes, and OMG can you just feel me gushing at how amazing it all is??? My cashmere sweaters and Calvin Klein jeans??? I'd be starkers if it weren't for Costco.

Odie is the picture of goodness right now, sleeping on his bed. I think 6 cats with cabin-fever tuckered him out today. I don't want to know how much cat poop he ate while I was at work (Kitty McNuggets, I've dubbed it). I started my day off yelling at him to get his snout out of the box this AM before I had a chance to scoop the litter. Drives me mental. The trainer said the cure is easy...just put the litter boxes in an out of reach area. Hahaha...not. Anyhow, he's as SHARP as a tack, but ideally needs a very large Frost-fenced area, and a house with no cats. I'll keep you posted on any developments on the Odie front.

So, you been stuck in the snow yet this year? I'm up to three so far, and we've only had snow for 3 weeks. There are snow banks in front of our house so big I could weep. I'm thinking of buying a big-ass truck with a shovel on the front, or get a skidoo...that's a thought! Our snow removal kid must hate me because I call him all the time.

Oh, yes, the gazanias! Promise me you'll get some? Full sun...they come in lots of colours too, I just happened to pick orange. They out-bloomed everything, truly remarkable. I just googled Transvaal daisy and I get only gerbera pictures...I might have to do some sleuthing because both gerberas and gazanias are commonly called African any rate, for sure mine are gazanias. We have an incredible local garden centre with a massive selection of really nice blooms. Always a pleasure to check it out come summer.

Anyhow, hope you're doing well and hopefully this winter won't be too hard on either of us! Take care, and thanks for your visit!

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