Xmas, New Yr & onward

As you can see, it’s been a very long time since I’ve published my blog.  I was really thinking I’d quite it, since it was originally mostly for my Mom when we were away in the US each winter.  Bill has talked me into doing another publication & this time there are even some bird photos – not just about our house & family (though there’s some of that also!).  Hope you like it.

After our busy summer & lots of visitors, the fall slowed down quite a bit & winter even more.  We had a quiet Xmas all on our own – but on Boxing day, Brian drove Mom out for a visit.  We had our first real tree EVER:

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I made some of Mom’s pressed shortbreads:

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I also made some small-sized lefse (for anyone who doesn’t know, this is Norwegian flatbread made w/ potatoes).  Some of you who were there may remember that a few slices of lefse were sold at our silent auction during the family reunion last August for over $70!!  The reason is, not all of the Larson cousins make it, but it is highly prized by those who rarely get it!

 

Our dear investment advisor, Dave, who dropped in & cooked us dinner in Nov, sent us some thank you flowers.  Our dear Nola (the florist in town & supplier of most of our plants outside) made us an arrangement in honour of our purple front door:

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Love it!  Here are the decorations  in the front room – including some stockings made by Mom maaaaany long years ago (except for the cat stocking in the middle).

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The piano w/ cards.

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We used the projection lights for our house, being as we’re a little too old to get up on a ladder & attach lights to the eaves!  Not a very good picture, but…

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Around the door we taped up red lights & found a battery-operated wreath.

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Here are our girls w/ their little elf!

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The weekend before Xmas, Penny & Wilf came over for dinner then took us out to church to listen to a carol program (which was great!).  DO NOT mistake the pained look on Bill’s face for being in church!  He’s just asking me what the heck I’m doing!  Wilf is next to Bill – & Penny is in red in the 2nd row of the choir, left side of the RH photo.

I cooked a small turkey & a pumpkin pie.

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Here we all are around the table

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Relaxing after dinner before we watched the movie “Victoria & Abdul“.  They may not look to happy – & maybe they weren’t!

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On Wednesday, we took Mom out for a drive in the Cypress Hills.  It was a sunny day & lots of snow around.  She really enjoyed it.  It was a winter wonderland with snow-laden firs, a beautiful curious buck (totally unafraid of humans, being protected in the park) & the soft hills as we returned.

One of the Xmas presents I bought myself (or Bill did, whatever…) was a purple stand mixer!

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We received this beautiful photo of Bill’s family in Montana at Xmas:

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Top, L-R: Paul, Mark, Oren, Maren, Edith, Lou-Ann, Greg.  Bottom:  Dog (forget his name) & Hollin holding Adelyn.

We have certainly been enjoying our bird feeders in the back yard this winter.  The most common species is Common Redpoll.

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Pretty little things, smaller than a house sparrow.  Only the males have pink on their breast – females just have the red spot on the head.  The other most common species we have is Eurasian Collared Doves (pretty invasive species, though very pretty).  Here they are lined up in the sun on our clematis fence.

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One of the doves is partial albino – can you spot it here amongst the others?

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I am not a bread baker, so I’ve been working on perfecting cinnamon rolls for Bill – since Mom no longer bakes!  At 98, it’s time for her to have a rest & for me to learn!  This is my 1st batch which had pecans on the bottom & Bill didn’t like them!

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My 2nd batch was w/o pecans & Bill liked them pretty well, though he still wanted more goo!

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Hopefully they’ll continue to improve!

Our birding bud Don sent us a photo of a really cute little mink which I just can’t resist sharing:

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He also sent us a photo of a Black-capped chickadee with a white tail!  This is an unusual anomaly indeed!  (Normally a black tail)

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On Easter weekend, we awoke Good Friday to a bare & dry landscape.  By about 2 PM it looked like this:

In early March I attempted to make my 1st souffle.  it turned out pretty well & I served it with tomato sauce – just like Mom used to make.

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Bill was not impressed – he felt like he ate nothing!  He immediatley had microwave popcorn !!!

I have also perfected sugarless chocolate icebox pie & lemon pie.  Voila the lemon pie

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Obviously I’m trying to improve some of my cooking.  Still have a long way to go!

We are still working on the interior of the house & have recently put up some wallpaper -1 wall in the bedroom:

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…and 1 wall in the dining room:

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Jay & Kelly put it up for us (our construction guys) & did a great job!  Now we’re waiting for another carpet to put under the bed – which won’t come until mid-April.

It has been such a long & snowy winter – but at last we’ve been out birding.  Bill has been having some trouble with his camera, so here are a couple of photos taken by others.  First our birding bud, Don from Broadview, took this of Eastern & Mountain Bluebirds:

Aren’t they gorgeous.  Then our friend Lorne, who is visiting family on the west coast, sent us this beauty – Rufous Humingbird:

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Wow – eh?  That throat is iridescent!

On Apr. 10-13 I headed to Calgary on my own to see Mom.  Little did we know the horrible weather which awaited!  Here is the view out her window on Thursday before we went out to the hearing aid place:

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I also picked up my ring while in Calgary this time.  I have never had a good diamond ring & Bill bought this lovely one for me (designed by me & the goldsmith):

After I returned home, we heard Calgary received another huge dump of snow!  It wreaked havoc on city streets (& everywhere else too).  What the heck is going on?!  Meanwhile, it’s finally been getting nicer here in Maple Creek & we’ve been out birding a couple of times.  It is however, too snowy up in Cypress Hills to get out to our bluebird houses & clean them out.  We need to raise 3 of them up higher, so cattle can’t scratch up against them & destroy them.  We have our kit in the SUV to do so, but will need to wait another week or so.  Hopefully this warm weather will continue!

Apr. 22nd is Bill’s BD.  Our investment analyst (who came to stay & cooked us dinner last fall) sent cookies!

And didn’t Billy look nice!

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In mid-May my lilacs were in full bloom.  It makes the house smell SO GOOD!

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We attended a joint BD dinner with family in Calgary the next week (Brian’s being only 2 days away from Bill’s).  Here we are at Caesar’s (Lois, Zach, Brian, Bill, Omanthi, Ben, Mom, Katherine, David).

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Since it was Mother’s Day while in Calgary, a Mother & her 3 children got together!

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On 1 of our outings in the early spring we saw this long-tailed weasel standing on a fence.  He (she) didn’t move & Bill got this lovely photo.

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There were  lots of widflowers blooming up at Wilf’s place (prairie crocus, shooting star & I don’t know what the white one is!)

On May 3rd, my long-time friend, Rosemary Gauthier passed away.  She had a challenging life to say the least & I know she is now at peace.  I was lucky to have a visit with her 2 weeks before she died & took the selfie on the left.  Her sister, Barbara took the other with purple hair!

We did get out to raise our bluebird boxes eventually. L-R, Bill getting ready to attach pole after removing box; bluebird egg (unhatched from last year we assume); the inside of a tree swallow nest; the raised box.

 

On May 2nd our birding bud, Don from Broadview, came for a visit.  We had a great time with him & found a few wonderful things (including a N. Mockingbird at Tompkins – but we didn’t get a photo of it).  Here are a few highlights.  Don with us out at Kevin & Rhonda’s ranch.

 

Our dear cousins, Steven & Fran Usher are moving from Ontario to Galiano Island, BC.  they stopped overnight to stay with us & have a cousin get-together.  I had to take a separate photo of Wilf, since he took the 1st one: Karen, Steven, Fran, Penny, me & Bill

Frannie also brought us the sculpture she created & that we purchased.  It is now in a place of honour in our living room!

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Atl the beginning of June, Ben’s girlfriend Omanthi graduated from U of C.  Here is her photo w/ both families: Ben, Omanthi’s Mom & Dad, Omanthi, David & Inga!

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Our friend Don came back to visit the 2nd week of June & swe had another interesting time birding with him.  Unusual to find Common Nighthawks flying around during the day, but we think it may have been because it rained most of the morning & there may have been an insect hatch.  This is the Eastend area.

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Also an Osprey.

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Common Yellowthroat (a bird of the marshes)

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Baltimore Oriole

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How we’ve enjoyed birding on the prairies this spring – it’s been a very long time since we’ve done a lot of prairie birding & little did we know the wonderful deep coulies & different types of habitat are in this area – along with Cypress HIlls!

Time to publish this blog – more again (but not such a long wait next time I hope!).

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