Mid Winter in our Little Piece of Eden

This sign is a little deceiving. It’s not always an icy welcome. Mostly we are quite friendly.
Unlike the Canadian snowbirds, our little wrens have flown south.
When the squirrels, black, grey and red, began to outnumber the birds, we stopped putting out birdseed. And now the birds are back.
Somewhere in my garden bed, cushioned beneath a foot of snow, garlic will soon begin to grow.
Tiny little Christmas trees grow along side our snowshoe trail.
I love the contrast between these two trees.
Gardens bloom forever. Winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Even our little fairy loves to make the most of winter.


A walk in the forest.

I bent to far
To far, to far, to far.
To far to the right.
To far to the left.
I bent for reasons that would not rest.
I bent, and I bent, and I bent.
The weight.
The weight, the weight, the weight.
Became to heavy.
And I

Words related to Bent – dictionary. Com

Bowed, looped, rounded, arched, crooked, hooked, inclined, stooped, twisted, drooping, limb, round, arched, angled, wilted, contorted, warped, twined, slumped.

A walk in the forest.

New growth
Sway with the wind.
Reach for the sun.
Gain strength.
Grow tall.
Remain rooted.

Inspirational Words

Our deepest fear is not that we are weak. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world….. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I read this quote, this morning in my chiropractor’s office, and was quite taken by it. These words of wisdom were attributed to Nelson Mandela.

Researching these words further when I got back home, I discovered that Nelson Mandela was not the author of this inspirational thought. In reality, it is a passage from Marianne Williamson’s best seller ‘A Return to Love’

Regardless of who the author, I have been pondering these words all afternoon.

And my hope is that you find cause to ponder them as well.

As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

Nelson Mandela

2020 in Review

I think we are all wishing for a healthy society.


January, back when we were out shopping, wherever, whenever, and as often as we wanted.

In January, it was life as usual for most of us. We were contemplating the New Years resolutions we made, and deciding whether or not we would keep them. We were complaining about the weather, while, at the same time, being amazed by the beauty of winter in Canada.

For a select few, the word coronavirus had entered their vocabulary.


Times they are a changing. I’ve handed in my Date of Retirement letter.

We were able to spend two wonderful weeks with out little granddaughter as our children traveled. Life goes on as normal. The world as we know it, is a safe place.


And we are in a global pandemic, lockdown happens and the parking lots are empty.

The World Health Organization has declared the Coronavirus, which surfaced in China, a global pandemic.

Coronavirus quickly becomes a part of everyone’s vocabulary, our world as we know it basically stops. While some of us start working from home, others stop working.

Kids start experiencing school from home, and suddenly get to spend a lot more time with mom and dad.

Playgrounds are roped off, but the forest is not.

A new chapter in our lives is being written. And we are the author. How this chapter is written will be personal for each of us. A personal journey of solitude and isolation. It is a time for deep self-reflection. A time to discover our strengths, and our weaknesses, and our supports. MT


On my bucket list. Read the Bible. The Book of John, perfect when spending Easter in isolation.

Not since the Spanish Flu, in 1918, has the world come to such a stop, parks are closed, the malls are closed, all but essential services are closed. Gas is cheap, but we have nowhere to go.


A smooth, robust bottle of red wine, fine chocolate, and a good book, with jazzy blues playing in the background perfectly describes my first day of retirement.

A Polar Vortex blasts through Ontario with cold winds and streamers of white, wintery snow.

Freshly retired, and with the world closed, I decided to explore the foods the earth provides us. Leek, dandelions, spruce tips, etc., etc. etc.


The colours of Covid19.

June brought racial discrimination and white privilege to the fore front. With the unnecessary death of a black person in the United States, colour has brought out a lot of ugliness in today’s society. It has also stirred up a huge desire for positive change in the hearts of many people.


‘O Canada’

Our usual small town Canada Day celebrations included a BBQ, and fireworks. This year, instead of the normal events, our wonderful volunteer firemen drove through town playing ‘O Canada’. Love small towns.

July also came with a flattening of the Covid19 curve which allowed for a bit of freedom of movement.

One of my favourite outings, the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit with my daughter.


The dragonfly and the butterfly symbolize the people we are and the work we have done.

In August the curve continues to flatten and social/physically distancing numbers allow for some social events. It was nice seeing old co-workers, some friends, and some family.


Garlic cloves under a warm bed of straw.

With a lumber shortage, my intended 8X4 garden bed, became a 5X10 garden bed for the same price Spending so much time at home has kick started my desire to become more self sufficient. Next year, Chickens!


We still took our annual Thanksgiving walk to the river. Only three of us though.

Thanksgiving was a little difficult this year. We usually host my husband’s family for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and walk to the river. Like everyone else’s, our gathering was much smaller this year, but we are still very grateful.


Remembrance Day at Springwater Park

The white crosses bear the names of ‘The Vespra Boy’s who gave their lives in World War 1. Before Covid19 restrictions, local high school students identified each of these brave, young men


December, another difficult month for everyone.

Another difficult month for everyone, made easier for everyone with little events like vitual gingerbread house building.

And researching old Dutch traditions, like the history behind the infamous chocolate letter.

Another tradition, for 2020/2021 anyway, are ZOOM meetings. For Church Services, for Coffeehouses, and for staying in touch with family and friends.

Just nine months after the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic, the first Canadian was injected with the Covid19 vaccine. Ontario is once again in lock-down.

I am very much looking forward to seeing what our new normal brings.

The Spoon

The Spoon – by Maria Tuttle

The persistent knocking would not stop. So she slowly pulled herself from the comfort of the warm polyester blanket, and the lumpy bed, and went to open the door.

It was 2am for crying out loud. What could possibly be this important at 2am on a Wednesday morning.

A disheveled, angry, young man, probably his late teens, early twenties stood in front of her. She immediately regretted waking up and going to the door.

‘Give me a spoon!’ He demanded.

‘Right now, give me a goddamn spoon!’

His eyes flickered and he yelled again.

‘May I please have a spoon!’

‘Okay, okay.’ She said. ‘Wait one minute while I go and see what I can find. She closed the door in his face, hoping that when she returned to the door he would be gone.

Searching through a box marked kitchen items, she found an old spoon, probably from the Dollar Store or a bin from the flea market.

When she reopened the door, there he stood, staring aimlessly. He grabbed the cheap utensil and quickly headed up the stairs to the top floor of the cheap motel that the local Sally Ann had housed them in.

The next afternoon, lights from police cars and an ambulance lit up the parking lot. A stretcher, with a blanket covering a body, was situated between them.

Housekeeping had discovered him. Following up with a 911 call.

The police found the young man with his arm still tied off. The needle had fallen onto the floor.

An unopened Naloxone kit was on the table, beside a lighter and a spoon.

Photos from the Back Deck

From a green Christmas Eve to knee deep in snow on Boxing Day, you need to love winter in Southern Ontario.

I’m thinking that God made the snow so beautiful so that we will automatically give thanks for the beauty that surrounds us as we shovel and plow our decks and drives to travel roads that are mostly white.

Giving thanks for the beauty of our wonderful world of wintertime.

Photos taken from the back deck.

Gingerbread Houses

With a little bit of pine from the forest, and a chubby, little snow man!

I learnt how to make icing today. Before, I would make icing by mixing icing sugar with some water and a bit of vanilla, and giving it a stir. This liquidy mass would then be poured over a cake, with the creamy white mixture flowing over the cake and gently dripping down its sides.

Today, with recipe in hand; it came with the gingerbread house kit, I found that by whipping the icing sugar, water and vanilla for about ten minutes, I could create a mixture that would form soft peaks and hold together walls of gingerbread.

Perfect for building houses. Perfect for creating icicles. Perfect for constructing snowmen and attaching candy to walls. Candy walls, the likes of such not seen since the building of the cabin Hansel and Gretel stumbled upon on that fateful day they journeyed together into the forest.

Way, way, too much candy!

My daughters’ tradition of building gingerbread houses, together every Christmas, started years ago. While getting together virtually is not quite like everyone being in a same room, today was a whole lot of fun.

Coming in from three province, beautiful houses were created. My husband and son were the site supervisors and consultants. Our beautiful, little granddaughter was the chief sprinkle distributor.

While Hansel and Gretel’s encounter with that candy coated little cabin was not a pleasant ordeal, our gingerbread houses were a delight to build, and decorate, and with be even more fun to take apart!!!!!

Gingerbread houses, and the tradition continues!!!!!

Walking with a Camera

Spotting the tiny Downy Woodpecker

The benefits of walking with a camera are the endless pictures just waiting to be taken.

The draw back is that it’s much harder to get a good walk in.

Organic, homegrown bird food!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree. How lovely are thy branches!
Casting shadows…..
Winter gardens
This is when you know the coyotes are dining elsewhere.

The wood was full of rabbit holes; and in the neatest, sandiest hole of all lived Benjamin’s aunt and his cousins Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter – This is the family’s winter getaway.

The benefits of looking up!

Chocolate Letters, a Dutch Tradition

Chocolate Letters!

I remember when, as a child, Sinterklaas would drop by every year on December 5th. In the weeks prior to this date, we would excitedly watch the windows for Peek-a-boo. Peek-a-poo, the mysterious little elf who spied on us children, deciding who was naughty and who was nice. I’m thinking that maybe our little Peek-a-boo was the precursor to today’s Elf on the Shelf.

Somewhere along the line, our December 5th tradition ended and Santa Claus began showing up at our home on Christmas Day.

Earlier this fall, my daughter found an article about another Dutch tradition; the Chocolate Letter. The Chocolate Letter, available in dark, milk, and white chocolate.

I remember Sinterklaas leaving unwrapped gifts. A small pile for each child, topped with a bowl of candies containing the name of the child. Later, the slip of paper was replaced with a Chocolate Letter.

Still Life with Letter Pastries –¬† Peter Binoit.

According to history, receiving letters at Christmas dates back centuries with the original letters being made of pastry. Before gift wrap, parents would cover the gifts with a sheet marking each child’s spot with a pastry in the shape of their initial.

In the beginning of the 20th century, the Dutch chocolate industry began to make letters in chocolate.

During World War 11, supply shortages meant no chocolate and for a period of time the letters were made of gingerbread.

My first attempt at making Almond Pastry Letters.
Gingerbread Letters.

I’m thinking it’s time to reintroduce some of these Dutch traditions back into ours lives. While the Chocolate Letter has always been a part of our Christmas tradition, I think that next year, on December 5th, I’ll be delivering¬† Almond Pastry Letters to some special people.

Chocolate Letters, in dark, milk and white chocolate.