View From The Glen

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Birthday Girl

Anna is 9 today, and true to her nature, she is organizing her own birthday party.

There are to be balloons tied to the picnic table.

Cheesy Sausages on the BBQ, the last of the sweet corn and some potatoes from the garden.

Presents, of course.

And chocolate cake with candles.

She has such simple needs.

She made a birthday playlist of music she wants: I think it's amusing that it includes the classical Requiem For A Tower, as well as the well known campfire song Something To Sing About, and music from Taylor Swift. It speaks of the place she is in - all grown up in some ways, a child in other ways, a nd somewhere in the middle the rest of the time.

A perfect place. For a perfect 9 year old. Who deserves a perfect birthday party.

I'm off to blow up balloons!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


What is summer without a relaxing week at the cottage? I blogged about it last year, about the cottage itself, the boating and the campfires, and really, nothing has changed much since then, so I won't repeat what I already wrote - though I could wax poetic about that kind of week forever.

This year, we did all the same things. The kids can leap off the rock into the deep water without life jackets now so that was new. Eagle Island was still there with pools of cray fish, and the two loons that give the cottage lane its name still call mournfully across the still lake.

Morning and evening canoe rides, three-times-a-day swims, constant food, campfires (and marshmallows), and exploring the forest and rocks (and finding a wasp nest that stung Erik 15 times and he was so brave).

On the weekend Andrew came down, and the whole family came Saturday for a surprise birthday party for Anna (which she said was the best part of the week).

My favourite part: that moment you get standing on a warm rock in the sun, gazing into the cool sunlit lake, right before you dive. Knowing that it will feel so cold when you hit the water, and so exhilarating once it is done.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where did they go?

Where did they go, those little children of mine?

Two years ago we went to the Williamstown Fair and hand-in-hand we walked around the grounds. The children went with trepidation on some of the rides, waving every time they caught my eye, and stayed close to my side, their eyes aglow in the sensory overload of music and colour, hustle and bustle.

Last year we were at the Cottage and missed the fair. But we returned this year. And what a difference.

There's Alex, said Erik, racing off after his school friend.

We'll meet you at the ticket booth, called out a nonchalent Anna as she and two friends strolled by.

It's okay. I'm riding with these guys, Grace tells me when I suggest we go and look at the booths, concerned that her brother and sister have abandoned her for their own friends.

And I find myself alone in a crowd, holding cotton candy bags and half finished drinks, extra sweaters and stuffed animals won at the fair.

I watch them run around, happy, confident, at ease in this world that used to be so foreign to them. I watch them ride the Spider  and the Scrambler-rides I loved as a child, and other rides that I wouldn't go on today, but which doesn't seem to bother them at all.

I look around and see I am not, in fact, alone. There are other parents like myself, whose children - 8, 9, 10, on the brink of adolescence - are expressing a new sudden independence in this place that is at once new and exciting and yet familiar to them.

It's wonderful to see. But yet I wonder.

Where did they go? Those small children?

When did they get so big?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The 100 Mile Challenge

As previously mentioned, I am participating this week in the 100 mile challenge. Oh I am no longer living in Creemore where the challenge came from, but saw no reason for that to impede my participation.

Realistically I know the limitations of eating as locally as possible. So for my purposes, I decided that for this week we would focus on eating dinner from ingredients that were sourced as locally as possible. I even scoured the LCBO for two bottles of wine from nearby Prince Edward County, although I know there are wineries closer.

And then I planned my menu for the week.

Saturday: Hamburgers & Potato Thyme Salad - our beef, home made buns, farmer market tomatoes, and  lettuce, baby red potatoes and thyme all from the garden. Glazed Peach Pie - farmer's market peaches, homemade crust.

Sunday: Sausages and mashed potato with Carrots - sausages from local butcher (who buys local meat), potatoes and carrots from the garden. Peach Raspberry Pie - using farmer's market peaches and frozen raspberries we picked ourselves in July.
OOPS - we also had nachos and homemade guac - none of which was local.

Monday: Caesar Salad - all garden fresh ingredients for salad, and local bacon. Can't vouch for where the anchovy paste, parmesan, red wine vinegar and mayo came from for the dressing; Chicken kabobs - from our local butcher.

Tuesday: Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops and wilted spinach salad - home grown lamb, garden herbs, garlic and spinach, farmers market red onion and grocery store Feta.

Wednesday: Beef on a bun - our prime beef, garden onions, homemade (bread machine, anyway) bread; garden cabbage and garden green salad.

Thursday: Quiche - fresh local eggs, local artisanal cheese, bacon from the local butcher, served with a pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, and fresh basil.

Friday: Going to the Williamstown Fair - have no idea what scrumptious local food we will find there.

And thus ends my 100 mile week. It's easy and yet - at the same time - not as easy as it sounds.