A Little More Spring

We’ve been getting some nice weather finally. Yay for above 0 temperatures! Inching into double digits even!

I’ve seen robins hopping around in the yard. A sure sign of spring, right?

Friday & Saturday were busy at the feeders again, I got some good shots of the woodpecker – actually, at one point I saw two, but by the time I grabbed my camera the second one was gone.

Saturday was a beautiful day. Frank spent quite a bit of time sunning himself on the deck. He decided he wanted me to hang out with him, so I enjoyed some sun as well. Then I decided to check out the yard; I haven’t been out there since the snow started falling in December.

It’s pretty wet out there, I was squelching around.

There are signs of life poking up in the garden…not that any of it is lasting very long I imagine. There are definite signs that the deer have been hanging out in our yard as well. Still, it was nice to see signs of life.

I could not get Zappa’s attention – the  birds are just way too interesting.

And, finally, the view of the devastation from the other side…

We have some work ahead of us.

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Maybe Spring?

Anna asked why I haven’t updated my blog lately; I said “Because I spend all my time playing stupid computer games.” So you can blame Cory.  :)

Really, though, there hasn’t been much going on except winter, winter, and more winter..We’ve  had lots of  rain, freezing rain, snow  with high winds, we’ve had a  blizzard, and cold weather. At the beginning of the season, the snow and ice can be pretty scenery; being stormed in can be an enjoyable change…At this point it’s just tedious.

Friday morning we woke up to birds. We haven’t seen many birds all winter – chickadees and crows, a woodpecker once or twice. Friday morning I saw cardinals, sparrows, juncos, and  the woodpecker was back for quite a while.

The cats were fascinated.

At one point, we saw a bird fly through the house. Quickly followed by Frank running up the stairs and into the kitchen. I was sitting in the living room working on my laptop, and Cory was home too for what was supposedly a day off. I asked him to go open the patio door, but by the time he got out there, Frank already had the bird in mouth. Cory chased Frank into the living room where he reluctantly dropped it, poor little chickadee.

Cory grabbed Frank, and I grabbed a pair of gloves. The bird was lying in it’s back, but the legs were moving now and then, so I gently picked it up and it immediately started fluttering in my hands. Cory opened the patio door for me, with Frank struggling all the while. I stepped out on the deck, and as soon as I opened my hands the chickadee flew away, so hopefully no harm done.

The birds must have made a mess at the feeders during the day though, because we had a pack of deer checking out the area Friday night.

Yesterday was supposed to be rainy/icy/snowy again, so I thought all the birds might disappear, but they were back.

And it’s a been a busy morning at the feeders again so far today. It seems like the birds have decided it’s spring. Let’s hope they are right!

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Chop Chop Week: Thursday

Tonight was a favourite spot – Britt’s Pub. It had been a nice day, chilly but clear, and I couldn’t help but admire the blue sky as we arrived.

Britt’s turned out to be my favourite meal so far this week – and that’s with me not even being particularly hungry (eating out every day will do that to me).

Beet and Goats Cheese Salad w/ Walnuts, Infused Olive Oil, Balsamic and Greens

I don’t generally like beets unless they are pickled, but this this was good. Britt’s actually made me enjoy beets. Who knew it was possible? I ate it all.

House Made Ravioli Stuffed with Sausage, Sage, Ricotta and Spinach. Served w/ Tomato Gravy, Parmigiano Reggiano and Fresh Italian Bread

The star of the show, the course I was most looking forward to and it was wonderful. I wanted to lick the sauce off the plate when I was done. Again, I ate it all (well, except the bread, the ravioli was plenty on its own). If this was on the regular menu, I would order it every time.

Deep Fried Ice Cream w/ Shaved Chocolate and Peanut Butter Whipped Cream

Ice cream is not my first choice for dessert, but this was beautiful stuff. I struggled mightily to eat it all. I came close…But eventually had to admit defeat.

I would be happy to call it quits here and eat salad for the rest of the week. Or possibly month. But it’s not over yet…

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Chop Chop Week: Wednesday

Today was a double whammy – lunch and dinner.

For lunch we went to East Coast Bistro. We have had lunch here several times, have never been disappointed, and their lunch menu for Chop Chop Week caught our eye.

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

Harissa Roast Pork Sandwich - Pickled Daikon & Carrot, Cilantro, Lime Aioli on Challah Baguette

This is way more than I would normally eat for lunch, but it was all very tasty. For a few minutes there I even thought I might finish it all…but only for a few minutes. I did put a good dent in it though!

I was not exactly starving when dinner time rolled around, but we had reservations at Italian By Night, so off we went. Our first visit to Italian By Night was during Chop Chop (aka February Fork Off) last winter. It was a stormy night last year, but we went anyway.

We may be establishing a tradition…

This year we actually did go with the Chop Chop menu, which started with a salad.

Insalata di Arance (salad of fennel, radicchio, orange and light lemon vinaigrette)

Cory had been up until 3 am working, so he was fading by this point. We tried to keep him awake by starting a game of Sudoku…

It seemed to help until our entrees arrived; suddenly I had no attention to spare for Sudoku.

Penne con pomodoro pollo e di capra (penne pasta tossed with sauteed chicken, cherry tomatoes, pesto & chevre)

I had the thought that I could eat this every day. And I actually did eat this entire dish of pasta. It was lovely!

Fortunately, dessert was fairly light.

Pere amaretti biscotti ripieni (slow roasted pears stuffed with amaretto flavoured Italian cookies, topped with our house made vanilla ice cream)

Dessert (most like the ice cream) seemed to work a minor miracle and Cory perked right up. Which was good, since we had a snowy drive home to look forward to.

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Chop Chop Week: Tuesday

Off we went to Decimal 81. This is a restaurant that we will often say we should go to, but somehow we don’t get around to doing so. Good thing we have Chop Chop week to motivate us.

To start, we were presented with an Amuse Bouche. The waitress was talking about it as she set it on the table, but of course I didn’t hear a lot of what she said. I think I heard “amuse bouche” and “small appetizer” and “soup”.

After the waitress left, Cory asked if I’d heard what she said; I said no; he then refused to tell me what it was. There was my first clue…

It's a mystery!

It only took one taste to realize that it was a cream of mushroom soup. As a general rule, I hate mushrooms. Cory kept looking at me like he was waiting for my head to explode. Little does he realize that I will eat cream of mushroom soup, as long as there are no big pieces of mushroom. I think the important word is “cream”.

This was creamy, and peppery and did not have a strong mushroom flavour. No, I would not likely order it off a menu, but it was pretty good.

I debated on the appetizer course; it was a choice of Lobster Risotto or a salad. The Lobster Risotto sounded quite interesting, but the odds of my being able to eat an entree after eating Risotto are not good so…

Balsamic dressed greens with caraway tuille, goat cheese, and pine nuts

A very tasty salad. I was munching away, realized I was impolitely bolting my salad, looked up, only to realize that Cory’s salad was almost gone and I was not even half finished mine. A reminder that my eating speed is painfully slow compared to most other people.

Main course was an easy choice; Lamb or Chicken?

Chicken please

Cory had the lamb. I tasted it. It was okay. I’d rather have chicken.

There were julienne vegetables and potatoes under the chicken. The vegetables were carrots and parsnips. Good thing I had salad for my appetizer. Cory ended up eating my vegetables and most of the potatoes.

Because I had to leave room for the most important part…

Apple Cinnamon Creme Brulee - Yes please!

Cory's White Chocolate and Berry Napoleon

I was so very happy eating that dessert. I think that’s really why I want to go to Decimal 81; the dessert.

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Chop Chop Week: Monday

It’s that time of year again…Chop Chop Week, winter 2014 edition.

Time for Uptown SJ restaurants to offer special menus to convince us all to venture out on February evenings.

Last year we visited East Coast Bistro, Decimal 81 and Italian By Night….Possibly another restaurant or two, but those are the ones I remember.

This week, we started with Taro, which is well on it’s way to becoming a favourite of ours.

Appetizer Course

My Tom Kha Soup with Tiger Shrimp Roll. Cory had Mango Salad with Chicken Satay and Hong Kong Style Wonton Soup.

When Ming’s was still around, and I was not feeling well, I would often get their Hot & Sour Soup. I’ve missed being able to do that in the years since Ming’s went away. When I was sick a couple of weeks ago, I had Cory pick up Tom Yum soup from Taro for me, and it was the perfect thing. This Tom Kha Soup was also lovely.

Main Course

Thai Basil Lemongrass Noodles with Tofu; Cory’s Black Bean Vegetables with Beef in the background.

Cory ate all of his, but I brought home leftovers which made for a nice lunch today.

Dessert

We both had the Mango with coconut sticky rice.

So simple, but so very tasty! I ate it all, but I was stuffed.

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January

Started off with so much snow and freezing cold weather.

January 4

January 4

The we had a January thaw; it lasted a week or so. It was warm! It rained! The snow disappeared.

January 17

January 17

January 18

January 18

But of course, that was too good to last for this time of year. Spring is coming; just not quite yet.

January 19

January 19

January 24

We had a couple of warmer days over the weekend. We don’t have much snow left right now. I’m sure that will change, but for now the Fabulous Felines are enjoying it.

February 2

February 2

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Hey Chickadee

I look out my window,

And what do I see?

A chickadee eating his feed!

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NYE 2013

AKA Candace & Cory’s 12th wedding anniversary!

We had a busy day. We had to be up early because the cable guy was coming with a new modem (there were a lot of power outages in NB due to the ice storm; some went for days without power. Our power was off for all of 2 hours, during which we weren’t even home, but that was enough to fry our cable modem),  plus the maids were coming. Then we had to run out to do some last minute errands.

Trees and bushes are still coated in ice, and I’ve been wanting to get out with the camera during a sunny period, but somehow I keep missing  it. When we got home from our shopping, I did go out and tramp up the hill for a look around.

Then we got busy getting things ready. We had rearranged our living room a bit at the start of our vacation – we keep trying to make our tiny room feel less crowded.

We got a mat for  our entry way. As soon as we put it down, Frank had to check it out.

We expanded our dining room table to full size for the first time. We had to move the dishwasher down to the end of the hallway, and it took us a few minutes to figure out how to get the extra pieces out, but once we had that figured it was pretty easy. I took some pictures as we were setting up, before people arrived, because I had a feeling we’d be too busy later…which we were.

Do you like my Tardis lights?

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Frozen

Since the first snow storm of the season, on Sunday, December 15, winter has not let up. We had another storm on the following Wednesday, then freezing rain on the weekend. The weather was decent enough for us to travel on Monday, the 23rd, but I think we’ve had snow almost every day since then.

We headed for Nova Scotia on the 23rd. They have had their share of the snow and ice, and it snowed every day from the 24 – 27, but that didn’t stop us from having a good visit.

Nathan is enjoying all the snow, since it is good snow mobile weather.

And at Cory’s parents’ house, I enjoyed the bird watching, along with the hospitality.

On the 2nd day of our visit, our cat sitter mentioned that the tree out front was bending over a lot from the ice. I was hoping that it would be okay, but when we arrived home on Friday night, we could see that the tree was down.

As a matter of fact, as we were able to the next morning, the tree split in half.

The fence is in pretty rough shape as well, so it looks like we’ll definitely need to replace it this spring (after two years of talking about it).

This put a bit of a damper on our homecoming. We only have 3 trees in our yard, and this was my favourite; the yard will look very bare without  it.

When I went out with my camera, I came out through the garage and left the doors open so the cats could follow me if they wanted. Frank came out right away, and walked with me while I  was checking things out. There is a pretty thick layer of ice under the snow, but I managed not to fall down. That felt like an accomplishment.

When Frank and I were making our way back to the door, we saw that Zappa had come out to join us – though he didn’t come any farther than the front corner of the  fence.

The cats are not impressed with this whole winter thing. Not that I  blame them. They are  not getting out much – and that’s not likely to change, since the fence is now useless – so they get a bit stir crazy. We’re doing our best to keep them entertained.

Also, oops.  Guess I should have taken the bird feeders in before we went away.

It is currently snowing again. And we may get more freezing rain. I’m thinking I should buy some snow shoes.

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