Spring has definitely arrived in Renfrew County. Hopefully it’s here to stay. Facebook has been showing me blizzards from years past. Meanwhile, Colin is talking about starting to plant wheat at the end of the week if it stays dry.

The snow drops and crocuses are finished. The bloomed nice and early. Now we’ve got ‘bluebells’, aka squill. They are really starting to spread nicely. I want the entire yard to be blue in the spring, just like the old houses in Toronto that we pass on the way to church.

So, I did a thing… I let Ella ‘trim’ my hair. Should have been about 3 inches. We started with wrist length hair…

My hair is now waist length! That’s a good 6 inches! Sigh, it feels short! But I will admit my braids look better because they are more or less the same thickness all the way down.

Colin’s been busy with his mobile seed cleaner. Last week he spent 3 days down around Carleton Place cleaning for his big customers. He loves those jobs. They are long days, but it’s large tonnage, good crops, and helpful famers. He’s actually short a few guys down there because their crops weren’t good enough with last year’s drought.

Gotta go and figure out something for supper. I’m still having so much trouble menu planning. Why? I’d really like to know…

Happy Birthday

Look who had a birthday!

Daddy turned 51 on Tuesday. Somehow it ‘snuck up’ on him, but Ella and I remembered. I was going to make stuffed tenderloin, but I couldn’t easily find the tenderloins that I know I have out in the deep freeze. I pulled a pork sirloin roast out instead. Sirloin is a weird cut I’ve never seen before. It didn’t have much marble so I headed off to Pinterest to find a way to cook it. I’m glad I did. Even Ella said it was really good, and she’s gotten really picky about pork lately. Here’s the recipe. My roast was just over 4 lbs so I cooked it for longer. So good! In fact, so good I didn’t get a picture – ha ha!!

Colin and Ella have been having a hard time getting through a whole cake before it gets fuzzy. I’ve been making lots of squares since Christmas and that seems to make them happy. I made brownies for Colin’s birthday. And since it’s his birthday I splurged and put icing on. I don’t think brownies need icing. These brownies are Ella safe and work well if you switch the flour for Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Flour. I think the recipe comes from Elizabeth, but I didn’t write it down so now I’ve forgotten.


1 1/3 cup flour

1 cup white sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 tsp bk. powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil

1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix everything together and pour into a greased 8×8″ pan. Bake 350F for 20 min.

These dinner rolls were made by Colin’s Grandma Fletcher. Now be warned, I think these are weird as a ‘dinner roll’ because at the end they get glazed with sugar! But it’s not a Fletcher family gathering without these rolls. Ella loves them, so I often have a bag full in the freezer. They make good snacking. I’ve cut the recipe down a little bit so that it fits in my bread machine easier. If you do this in the bread machine you MUST babysit it until it’s done mixing. Of course, you can also do this the old fashioned way, with a bowl.

This method I’m going to show you is the way I do most of my bread doughs. It comes from the book Secrets of a Jewish Baker. It’s a bit faster and I think it turns out a little nicer. It’s a sponge method where you let the yeast do it’s thing for a while before adding everything else.

In your bread machine pan, add the following and mix till combined (I just use a spatula).

3 3/4 cup water

3 cups flour

4 1/2 tsp yeast

1 1/2 tsp sugar

Let this sit for 30 min.

Add the rest of your ingredients:

1/2 cup lard, melted and cooled

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

3 3/4 cup flour

Start your ‘dough’ cycle and watch the consistency.

Just about done kneading. Now here’s where this method saves time. You don’t have to let the dough rise. You take the dough and shape it as you wish. If you are using this method to make Grandma’s dinner rolls, cut the dough into 96 little balls (4 dozen rolls) and drop them into greased muffin tins. Let them rise somewhere warm for 30-60 min.

As you can see, this day I got tired of rolling out balls. I made 3 dozen rolls and a pan of sticky buns. Ella loves sticky buns too. If you want to make the sticky buns, just roll out 1/4 of the dough. I make it 12 inches wide by however long it will go. Then all you have to do is spread it with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. That easy, no measurements needed. Then roll up the short end and cut into 12 -fits my 9×9″ pan.

Bake at 350F for 15-20 min, the sticky buns might take a few more minutes. Turn out of the pans as soon as they are done. Of course, the sticky buns need turned out over a plate.

Mix 2 Tbsp milk with 1 Tbsp icing sugar. When the buns are cool, wash the tops with the glaze. They freeze well if you can keep the vultures out of them long enough.

Bread Machine Bread

As you probably know, I make all my bread dough in the bread machine. It’s faster and easier on my wrists. This is a basic bread machine recipe from my King Arthur cook book. It makes just one loaf, which is handy if you need to make some garlic/cinnamon pull apart buns.

Bread machines are so easy. Just add all the wet ingredients first. Then add the dry ingredients, adding the flour and yeast last.

1 1/4 cup water

1/4 cup powdered milk

4 Tbsp butter

1/3 cup potato flakes

3 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

3 cups flour

2 tsp yeast

Start the dough cycle. I always stand by and make sure it mixes correctly. I often need to add more water. You want the dough to be as soft as possible without being too soft and sticky. That’s what keeps your bread nice.

I let the dough rise in the machine since it’s nice and warm. I take it out before it starts the ‘second rise’ cycle. Shape your dough into whatever you are making and put it somewhere warm to rise. Usually about 30 minutes, sometimes more. I use the oven. If I turn on the oven and just wait till the gas lights, then shut it off, it’s the perfect temperature for rising.

For the pull buns or just a loaf of bread I bake this at 350F for 30 min, or until done. If you are using an angel cake pan for the pull buns, do yourself a favour and make sure you have something under the pan or else the butter/butter and sugar is going to get messy. And nothing sets off the smoke detector faster than burnt sugar.

Winter in the Valley

Well, it’s definitely winter now! We’ve had a few -25C (-13F) mornings, including today. We’ve also had more snow. We got a couple of inches yesterday even though the radar map didn’t show any?? What’s really weird this year is how light and fluffy all our snows have been (except for one). Usually our snow is heavy and wet and dangerous for roofs. Not that I’m complaining, I’m glad Colin hasn’t had to climb many roofs this winter.

This old house always looks good in the winter. I’m trying some different filters. The pictures never look like what my eyes see. This filter is called ‘antique’.

Too bad you can’t feel how crisp the air is and how different it sounds.

Last night after the snow stopped the fog rolled it. It’s really weird to get fog in February. But with the crazy cold this morning, it covered everything in frost. So beautiful.

No complaints about snow now. We got about 5 inches of absolute fluff Saturday night. Colin spent most of Sunday morning moving it everywhere. At least it has finally warmed up. A number of days last week were -25°C! That’s a bit chilly, glad Colin doesn’t have to work in that anymore. We’re supposed to get more snow tonight/tomorrow.

What’s on the menu?

Monday: fish and chips in the air fryer

Tuesday: tv dinners

Wednesday: boeuf Bourguignon from the freezer

Thursday: ribs – I used my BBQ recipe but in the oven, it worked well

Friday: leftover ribs

Saturday: bacon and eggs

Sunday: chicken cordon bleu – nothing fancy, just the President’s Choice frozen stuffed chicken, but it is great in the air fryer

More ideas at I’m An Organizing Junkie


I am NOT loving the new changes at WordPress. For some reason I can’t put pictures in my post from my phone. This is all I get:


Very frustrating because I want to use the data on my phone and save the wifi for Ella’s new math program. Sigh, the trials of living in rural Ontario without unlimited internet. ..

I’ve had a bit of startitis since Christmas. I started with the beautiful yarn from Mom. The shawl is called “Familiars” and is based on 18th century embroidery patterns.

My second lot of Christmas yarn was from Colin and Ella. It’s yarn for a new afghan/bedspread for us. My old crocheted one feels summery. I wanted one for the winter. It’s called Persian Dreams, though I’m using sport sized yarn not worsted.

These hexagons are rather addictive. The designer made a set of extra hexagons too. I’m glad I bought those because I think they are nicer than the original ones. I’ve also got yarn to make Mom a sweater for her birthday. It’s sport sized too, so it will be a lighter sweater. I don’t have a pattern picked out for the yoke yet. I’ve actually ordered some more yarn for the pattern part. I’ll show you when they arrive.

January 2021

Wow, it’s been some start to 2021! I’m so worried for all you guys living in the States. Please stay safe and I pray this is all over soon and the United States can get back to itself.

Early January we had to take Colin’s Dad down to one of the hospitals in Ottawa to get a ‘thing’ removed from his eyelid. Ontario went into lockdown again on Boxing Day so we were worried about food and bathroom breaks. Luckily McDonalds and Tim Hortons are still allowing people inside (to order not eat) so it wasn’t a problem. We have to take him down again in February. My Mom had a health scare over the holidays but thank God that turned out to be nothing. As per usual though, the doctor didn’t call and tell her she was OK. Mom had to call the office and talk with the good nurse to get the information.

I just realized I didn’t share the elf mischief this year.

I made some new mice for Belinda’s cats -she only has 2 but these mice are addictive and I couldn’t stop. One morning we discovered Faith and Merry and Sheldon (looking festive this year) playing with the mice.

Christmas Eve morning we caught them with the phones. I’ll have to watch on my bill for any long distance calls!!

Auntie Belinda and Uncle Stefan came up on the 27th. It’s literally been a year since we saw them. Ella has missed them so much. Belinda is only going into the office (downtown Toronto) one day a week and Stefan is working from home. They wore masks and gloves and only stayed long enough to open presents. It was a good, safe visit but weird with no hugs.

Last weekend Colin and I went out to the usual B&B. It was one of my Christmas presents. They were allowed to be open under the rules at the time. I trust Carol had the place spotless. It was great. We didn’t see anyone the entire weekend and didn’t have to wear a mask any where.

As usual it was absolutely gorgeous up there. We should have booked our Christmas there, it would have been nice and white.

Since I started this post, we’ve received about 6 inches of snow. So now we look like a winter wonderland too.

Something happened in December for the first time in 32 years. Any guesses??

Colin went to the eye doctor -yep, first time in 32 years! Surprisingly his distance vision hasn’t changed much. But guess who needs glasses for reading now.

Some excitement for Ella, Colin taught Ella how to drive the snowmobile all by herself.

2020 Knitting

Not much knitting this year. It’s been very hard for me and my knitting has suffered. Hopefully 2021 will see a much longer list.

Ella’s Legend of Zelda hat

Grandma’s fair isle sweater

Lillian sweater for me

crochet produce bag

pillow lace

Ella’s birthday socks 


Totoro Hat for Ella

Felted mice for Belinda’s cats

Dagi sweater for me

fair isle shawl for me

crocheted edging for slips