Posts Tagged ‘trees’

The icicles twinkled as the morning light shone across the deck. It had been a rough night. An ice storm had ripped across Ontario and left a path of destruction. We were reminded once more of the power of nature. The beauty of the ice crystals masked the scars of ripped branches that were strewn across the back garden. I opened the back door to examine the debris of trees and twigs and gasped as the cold wind rushed in. Ice crystals cracked and popped in the branches as the trees swayed to and fro…..a phenomenon I had never observed before. It was like the distant sound of rattling gunfire!

The iced leaves on our emerald cedar hedge.

The iced leaves on our emerald cedar hedge.

My morning kettle purred on the stove as I awaited that first sip of satisfying sustenance. All is well with the world when there is a cup of steaming tea! Suddenly everything electrical stopped…..the internal fan, the furnace and my beloved kettle. The world was silent. The next 24 hours were reminiscent of our regular power outages in South Africa. The only difference was that I was unprepared for this debacle and it was minus 10 outside! My first thought was that we needed to think of a way to stay warm. The reports were that ice storm had wreaked havoc with the local power lines. There goes my cup of tea!

The telephone broke the silence. “Are we still on for tonight?” The reality hit me!  I had been so taken by the force of nature in my back garden that I forgotten I had 30 people arriving on my doorstep in a few hours for some ‘Christmas Cheer.’

I asked myself the question: Do I go ahead with this? I have always been partial to a social gathering and allowed myself a 30 second rethink of the situation.

The cupboards were raided for supplies of candles. Thank goodness this household loves this waxy standby……festive reds, icy whites and angelic creams! So out they came and were strategically placed on every surface around the house. A pyromaniac’s delight! Some smart thinking had also resulted in a couple of long life torches. What a win! I felt pleased with the result. The Christmas decorations twinkled in this soft lighting and it looked festive and ready to receive our guests.. We had light and ambiance. Great! We were almost there. What was next on the agenda? I suppose we needed some FOOD!  

This proved to be more of a challenge as we could not deliver any ‘hot food.’ All the dainty phyllo pastry morsels would have to take a back seat.  Fortunately the larder was bursting with an array of snacks …it was Christmas after all! I was grateful for my passion for exotic cheeses as this would have to satisfy the more discerning pallet. So that was the menu sorted! Of course the fridges had loads of liquid ‘Christmas Cheer!’  There was also a pot of aromatic Gluwein which I managed to heat on an emergency hot plate. The aroma of the cloves and cinnamon wafted through the air and soothed my jarred nerves.  It was going to be just fine…..there were even a few bottles of bubbly firmly planted in ice buckets filled with the snow. As they say in the classics…..’n boer maak ‘n plan.


As I walk around and switch on my lights, turn up my music and sit by my flickering fireplace, I am grateful to have the power back on.  In the brief 24 hour period that we were off the grid, we certainly went into survival mode.  We were reminded of our essentials……we needed to eat and keep warm. Somewhere in between all of that we also managed to throw in a party! Ingenuity and the underrated little ol’ battery saved the day.


                                       Let us celebrate and roar…..it is a new year!












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The first signs of autumn are beginning to show as a squirrel darts about in his pursuit of the plumpest acorn. He is one of the residents that frequent the woodland at the bottom of the garden along with the skunk and family of raccoons. As the squirrel scuttles about preparing for the eminent cold he often taunts Josh with a sideways glance which drives him wild but he confidently carries on with his business mindful of the canine warrior above him on the deck.The odd leaf flutters down from the forest of elms and maples which display their first hint of bronze. It is certainly a reminder from nature that we are about to experience our first Fall.

There have been so many firsts for us, as with any big change into another culture, some have been easy to adapt to and others quite frightening. Driving on the wrong side of the road has been one of my daunting experiences and now that I have reprogrammed the brain I have to pass the drivers license!Thirty years of driving has ensconced a few bad habits which have to be eradicated before I can pass yet again. When that day comes I am going to enjoy my independence as I have had to resort to flying down the road on my bicycle for the proverbial pint of milk and loaf of bread.

The nights are getting colder and we lit our first fire last night and even though it is a pseudo one with play- play logs and a gas flame, it was a heartening experience. It will certainly give off a warm glow when the big freeze hits us. Another bit of warmth was created outside on the patio over the weekend as we had our first braai in our new home. We stocked up with some boerewors from the local South African butcher and a bottle or two of Roodeberg and were joined by our new Canadian friends. We do not want to fall into the trap of being ‘when we s’ but man does a braai en ‘n glasie rooiwyn taste good!

So while the weather still holds we will be lighting up that fire and savouring the flavours and remembering our South African friends and family and trying to keep a smile on our faces as we endure the life of a newbie in Oakville, Canada.

The newcommers to the block



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