Anniversary #36 – Cottage Weekend Away

For weeks I looked for a place to go. I had certain requirements….simple ones, really: I needed a lake so we could kayak, a kitchen so I could cook, INDOOR PLUMBING, and couldn’t cost a fortune!

Have YOU tried to rent a get-away spot lately? In the past, we had amazing luck with airbnb, but this year, holy smokes!!! What would have cost $80 or $90/night a year or so ago, is at least double now, and that’s IF you can find something available!!

I think I’m going to open an airbnb!!!

A-n-y-w-a-y….. I posted on Facebook that I was looking for something somewhat local. That was before we lost my mom, and I didn’t want to be far from home. I had a few responses, but each place I found lacking for one reason or another. You know, it just didn’t feel right.

Then my cousin called and left a message, “Connie, you know we have a cottage and you’re welcome to use it for FREE!” It was only an hour away, right on a lake, and INDOOR PLUMBING! I was SO thankful!!!

We booked it for September 10 weekend; our anniversary is actually September 7.

Then, out of nowhere, my mom got sick. She passed away August 29 (this will be for another blog, should I ever get to the point I can process this sufficiently enough to write about it). We wanted to have a graveside service, and the soonest date that worked for all the family, due to distance and work issues, was September 11. So we went to the cottage a week earlier than we had planned. To be honest, the timing was perfect. I really needed the time to get back on a somewhat even keel and begin to comprehend the loss and life going forward and to prepare for what I knew would be a difficult weekend ahead.

We arrived Friday afternoon, and stayed until Monday.

When we arrived, we were met with a special gift, a bottle of wine from France from my cousins. That was opened immediately and enjoyed with some cheese and olives from The Pickled Pig in Smiths Falls. I can’t recommend this business highly enough!

Dinner that night was salmon done in the air fryer (yes, I brought it, and half my kitchen with me!), Thai beans, fresh from the garden, grilled cinnamon fresh pineapple, and pesto quinoa and kale salad, with basil and kale from my garden. Finally, my basil has grown well enough to actually get a bit of an abundance!

We had gorgeous weather for kayaking! It was a beautiful lake we were on and we took full advantage. The first night, I went out for a little paddle on my own (I couldn’t wait), but then we went out together each day after.

Supper #2 was a braised pork loin with a white wine, rosemary/sage sauce, and roasted baby carrots (again, in the air fryer), and cauliflower mash with fresh chives. I added thinly sliced mushrooms to the sauce, though not called for in the recipe.

Cooking with wine… 🙂

Had to take a break while the pork loin was simmering to perfection…. Yeah, yeah, I know….wine in the sauce, wine while I cook, wine on the dock…. <3

Dinner #3 – Chicken Marsala, roasted potatoes, veggie stir-fry (again, air fryer!! 🙂 )

It was a wonderful, and much needed, weekend away together. Laughter, games, kayaking, and tears….

On our last night, Glenn went to bed early and I stayed up on the screened in porch, wanting to savour every last moment before facing the week ahead….

I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am/was for this precious time.

Thank you for the 36 wonderful, challenging, chaotic years, babe. There is no-one else I would want to weather all the ups and downs with besides you. No-one else would have ever put up with me… <3

It begins…..

Harvest is starting to occur…. Fresh kale, Thai chilies and one habanero, oregano, and rosemary.

We want to get a smoker to do the peppers, but in the meantime we will go ahead and dehydrate the ones that are starting to ripen. We are going to have TONS!!! Still have jalapeños that are starting to really produce!!! Something ate most of the dill (Grrrr….) and we still have thyme, cilantro, and chives coming as well. I should/could have taken some of them off too, but it started to rain.

The tomatoes are ripening like crazy and have produced abundantly!!! The only plants I really struggle with are my lettuces and basil. I’m thinking they might not like full sun. My basil was doing so well too, and then pretty much overnight they looked terrible and haven’t really come back since!!! I’ve pruned, made sure they don’t dry out…. I’ve never had a lot of luck, especially with basil!! :(. Any tips would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

One of my favourite new-to-me finds is cress. So peppery and flavourful!!! Grows really well too, and I am sure it will be one of the ones I will grow inside over the winter.

Lunch today: chicken salad on kale leaves, it’s a ‘wrap’ folks… :).

Ready for first dehydration from our garden…. Kale chips will be tried next!

Tomorrow it’s back to reality, but these memories I will cherish forever….

My seven day work stretch couldn’t end quick enough. I worked until 11 p.m. Wednesday night and by 10 a.m. I was on the road, heading to see some of our children and grandchildren!!!

We had a nine or ten hour stretch ahead of us and it was a beauty of a day for driving!!! Sunshine, A/C, and great company for the trip….

We hadn’t gone 45 minutes yet!!!! LOL

Everything went well until we hit construction just north of North Bay….the one drawback of summer travel!!!

Anyway, I’m just going to flood the rest of this post with pics and captions, except to say that I had the most amazing week… I will cherish forever!!!

Fun in the sun….

Waiting for “Chippy…”

And he came…..right up on the deck with all of us sitting right there.

The adults just enjoying the day….

Then a two night (was only supposed to be one) stop over in Huntsville to see some of our other kids….

I found this little guy stowed away in my clothes when I searched my basket… I guess Macy didn’t want grandma to be lonely…. <3

Summer is finally here!!!!!

Anyone else find this winter seemed like it would NEVER end???????

Maybe the whole Covid19 thing made it seem even longer. Life definitely took an unexpected turn and thrust us all into something we didn’t understand, or want – on many levels and for many reasons.

Certainly, having to work in healthcare throughout this crisis has taken a toll, on every one of us. I was so thankful to still have a job, yet it was the last place I wanted to be. There were many fearful, tearful moments and the pressure, risk, demands of the job, absolutely drained me…..and I’m not even a nurse! I can’t imagine doing what they do any day, let alone under these incredibly difficult and emotional circumstances. Nevertheless, it still left me numb and what feelings I did have, I still have been unable to define.

So these hot, sunny, longer days, have been just what the doctor should have ordered……about 3 months earlier!

You’ll notice I didn’t blog much… fact, hardly at all. What do you say? It’s hard to write about something you still haven’t truly processed…….especially because it’s not over. So many conflicting feelings, mixed emotions, and no time, or real knowledge, on how to even begin to unpack it all. It’s messed.

But if it’s taught me anything, it’s taught me to LIVE, and to value and invest in the things and people that make my life rich.

The circle is small……but that’s okay, it’s a great circle. It’s shown who is in my life and my acquaintance circle who can respect opposing opinions and gave me the opportunity to practice respect for the concerns of others, even if I don’t share them. Not gonna lie, my circle may have shrunk. And also not gonna lie, it’s frigging hard to be at opposite poles on issues when it’s someone you truly love and care about.

That may have been the hardest thing of all.

Politics, this virus and the measures implemented, BLM and riots in the streets, issues of faith and how they apply….

Even lifelong friendships have been challenged and tested. But they remain intact because we CHOSE to listen, to respect the fact that we are not the same and we see things differently, and while not ignoring those differences, we CHOSE to focus on the things we have in common, the values we share, and the love that runs deep.

At our staff meeting yesterday, you could see that people are running on empty. There are no reserves right now and my heart goes out to the amazing nurses that serve from depleted emotional and physical resources to keep everything as safe and ‘normal’ as possible for those they care for.

During the staff meeting yesterday, our manager told us that we have all suffered trauma and that it is real. I am so thankful for a manager that actually cares and truly ‘gets it’!!! It is amazing how uplifting it is, and how much renewed “give a *(#%” you feel when you know someone has your back and truly supports and cares about you.

Anyway, back to summer….

Pelican made a few bucks off me this summer. I bought a kayak for my husband and my granddaughter. We got the “sit on” kind…partly because I am terrified of getting in and out of a real one, or getting stuck in it. But most of all, for the stability. My balance sucks because of weakness in my core and my ongoing battle with vertigo. And, as most of you know, Glenn has a trach, so it would be disastrous for him to end up in the water. We wear life jackets…..every single time, but still, the extra stability is a comfort and safety measure.

Anyway, may we all find healing and renewed hope in the sunny days ahead. Just sitting out on the deck is renewing for me, but I plan on spending many hours paddling through the waters, by myself and with others.

Stay well friends….and I don’t just mean Covid. In many ways, the virus itself, was not my biggest threat. Depression, withdrawal, despair, hopelessness, fatigue (both physical and emotional…..mostly emotional), threatened my well-being more than the dreaded virus ever could.

Drink deep from all this season has to offer.

Garden is in and doing well….

Let the paddling begin….

Just hanging out at home…with the people I love!! <3

How I am keeping myself safe….

It’s not easy, or popular, being someone who thinks outside the box and runs the other way from the crowd. Oh that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned or that I’m not taking precautions, but I am not losing my mind and letting fear control me.

It is life as usual for me, because the precautions, apart from the shut-downs and isolations, are the common-sense precautions we should all be taking every single day.

  • I wash my hands
  • If I feel unwell, I don’t go out, if possible, especially not around my elderly parents, young children, or anywhere that isn’t necessary.
  • If I do have to go out, I minimize contact as much as possible.
  • I use essential oils to boost immunity.
  • I eat fermented foods, some fruits and lots of veggies.
  • I make and drink homemade bone broth, and take probiotics to improve gut health, thereby boosting my immunity.
  • I diffuse air purifying and immune boosting oils daily.

What I do NOT do:

  • Overload my body with toxic chemicals and carcinogens. I use natural, non-toxic environmentally friendly (remember, the environment?) cleaners, hand and face soaps, body washes etc.
  • Eat sugar! Sugar is one of the biggest enemies of a healthy immune system.
  • I drink lots of lemon water to help flush the toxins that are unavoidable or unintentional.

From the things I’ve read, the symptoms of the Corona Virus, are not extraordinary and MOST PEOPLE, experience symptoms that are even less than those of the flu and similar to a cold. Yes, there are those that are at a higher risk, and yes, there are deaths attributed to this virus, just like there are deaths every year from influenza. But businesses didn’t close, schools didn’t shut down, and there weren’t brawls in the department stores!

I have the utmost respect for those that have made a rational choice to isolate themselves or take whatever precautions they have deemed necessary and prudent. I feel sorry for those who sit wringing their hands in fear, compassion for those who are truly immune compromised and therefore at risk, and I despise those that have little to NO concern about their fellow man and are emptying the store shelves of everything they can get their hands on, or even worse, selling at exorbitant prices to those in need.

I fear for those small, and not so small, businesses and corporations that won’t survive this.

As with much of what I see touted as cures for anything, the solutions often cause bigger problems than the issue that they are supposed to fix.

You are free to do as you want, (except post nasty comments trashing my personal opinions…..I will delete/block you in a heartbeat) but be aware. Operate from concern if necessary, but don’t be controlled and consumed by fear. Did you know that stress is another significant enemy against a healthy immune system?

Germs of all kinds are unavoidable, even under the best circumstances. I believe we need to focus, at least as much, if not significantly more, of our effort on building our immune system so that we are strong and healthy, and not vulnerable to every germ and bug, Every day. All year.

Funny, I don’t see many carts filled with, or people fighting over, vitamins and fresh foods.

Here is recipe for an immunity boosting essential oil roller bottle blend:

Immunity Boosting Roller Blend

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  • Good quality essential oils
  • Roller ball
  • Carrier oil


  • 6 drops Rosemary
  • 10 drops Frankincense
  • 6 drops Lemon
  • 2 drops Oregano
  • 10 drops Theives (Young Living), On Guard (Doterra) (or DIY blend)
  • Carrier oil (fractionated coconut, MCT, V6 etc.)


  • Drop your oils in your roller bottle and fill with carrier oil of your choice.
  • Cap the bottle and enjoy. I usually apply 3-4 times per day.
  • I've also used it in a dropper bottle and added to my bath with Epsom salts.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Click this link for the original recipe and the properties of the selected oils.

Here is a video link highlighting Thieves cleaning liquid and it’s proven germ/bacteria killing results tested against other toxic cleaners, including bleach and lysol. The results are amazing, and all without cancer-causing, caustic, toxic fumes or chemicals. It is a little long, but time well spent.

While I am not posting this with the purpose of selling you something, I can get you Thieves if you want to try it. Mostly, I want you to know that I believe we are being sold a bill of goods when these harmful products are brought into our homes and applied to the surfaces at home and on our bodies, or inhaled…., and they don’t adequately kill the germs and bacteria we are trying to eliminate.

Here is another great video on how to use oils. Again, a specific brand is mentioned, but take away the information that you find useful. She gives a list of the top ten oils to have on hand…….a good place to start your collection.

Be well, and be kind… your body, and to your fellow man.

Meet my pet worms…..

No, that’s not a typo…..but it might be a slight exaggeration; they aren’t r-e-a-l-l-y my pets, at least not yet, but they are definitely WORMS!!

I had no idea that there was such a thing as a worm ‘farm’ (it’s actually a Rubbermaid bin 🙂 ) until our daughter, Stephanie, told me she wanted to start one. Not gonna lie, I thought she was joking UNTIL she started talking and sharing the wealth of information that she had been researching.

Around the same time, I had been listening to podcasts discussing microbiome importance, healthy gut and the role bacteria play, and I also was listening to the book by Dr. Josh Axe, Eat Dirt.

I’ve long felt that we have gone way overboard in our quest to eliminate germs. We have antibacterial laundry soap, hand wash, dish soap, cleaning liquids, hand sanitizer… can barely buy anything that doesn’t claim to have some protection against germs!!

But I began to wonder:

  • “What if we put as much effort into strengthening our immune system as we do trying to avoid germs?”
  • What affect does all this antibacterial stuff have on our systems?
  • Are we now becoming more susceptible to the very things we are trying to avoid?
  • Are we destroying the natural protection and immunity we were designed with by ingesting and absorbing all these antibacterial products?

I also want to increase the amount of food we produce ourselves. I’ve always been a skeptic when it comes to the modern food industry, but now I’m just plain paranoid!!! It used to be you m-a-y need to be concerned about meat and how it was handled or the animal having a disease, but now I’m afraid to even eat a salad!!!!!

So I bought worms!!!

I had NO clue what I was doing and relied heavily on Stephanie’s knowledge and assistance. Every time she visits, she teaches me something new about how to take care of them properly, and thanks to her, they are really starting to thrive!!! In fact, when she was here over the holidays, she sifted through my bin and I now have my first container of worm castings!!! In the world of gardening and growing, this is like powdered gold, nutrient-wise!!!

It doesn’t cost me anything to feed them, they simply consume much of the organic waste from my kitchen. They love fruit, with the exception of citrus like lemon, limes, oranges, grapefruit etc. The other exceptions from the scrap bucket are: potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. They love coffee grounds (we have lots of those!!), tea leaves, and crushed up eggshells that have been boiled or cooked. Since I make over a dozen hard-boiled eggs at a time in my Instant Pot, it’s a win-win for us both!!!

Next time I will grind the eggshells first….

The only other thing I add is bedding. I shred junk mail in the paper shredder, tear up newspaper, old egg cartons, and paper bags, and in it goes to my bin!!! Again, more waste that would have just been disposed of.

Gut health and………………..worms?????

So what do worms have to do with gut health and microbiome? Well, an important component to gut health is probiotics. When we talk about probiotics, there are numerous and varied sources from which they are derived. One that we haven’t heard much about, until recently, are SBO’s – soil-based organisms.

Dr. Axe states….

Soil‐based organisms (SBOs) support gut health and immune response. Why, exactly? In the plant world, SBOs help plants grow. Without their protection, otherwise healthy plants become malnourished and are susceptible to disease or contamination by fungi, yeasts, molds and candida. Just as plants grow best in healthy soil teeming with highly active microorganisms, you, too, need these organisms to live a long, healthy life.

We now know that SBOs nourish cells in the colon and liver and actually create new compounds, such as B vitamins, vitamin K2, antioxidants and enzymes. SBOs can destroy or crowd out harmful pathogens, such as candida, fungi and parasites. They also kill off bad bacteria that can bind to or puncture the gut wall. They’ve been shown to bind to toxins and extract them from the body.

SBOs also help regulate the immune system and naturally reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the entire body.

In generations past, you would not have had to put any intentional effort into ‘eating dirt’. Most families lived on a farm, or at least grew a garden. The gardens and farmland were fertilized organically using animal waste and composted kitchen scraps vs chemical fertilizers and pesticides that would destroy the naturally occurring microbes in the soil. Once harvested, vegetables were stored in earth cellars and only water rinsed before consumption…..not with all the chemical-based, germ-killing vegetable washes we use now.

Kids played outside from dawn til dark running through forests, rolling down hills, digging in the sandbox. We were barefoot more often than not!! Summer days were spent on beaches playing in the sand and swimming in the river!!! There was no chlorinated pool!!

Dirt was a natural part of every day life, in some form or another……and no one was horrified by it!!! Now we have sanitized everything to death!

Digging in the worm bin, using the castings in my garden, eating food I’ve grown myself (not nearly to the scale I want……..yet), these are all part of my quest to live and eat more whole and chemical free.

It’s not easy! You don’t realize how many foods, cleaners, ‘health’ care and beauty products contain ingredients I now want to avoid. You have to work HARD to replace these products that have become entrenched in our homes and our daily lives!!!


  • #thebattlerages
  • #Iamdetermined
  • #Itwillbeaprocess.

This little guy just might change my world….