October 30, 2009

We will always love you Archie

Nothing can prepare you for the heart wrenching pain of losing a family pet.

My eyes are raw from crying and my heart feels like it has been shattered into a million pieces. Our very special cat Archie was tragically hit by a car yesterday and his injuries were so bad that we had to make the hard decision to have him put to sleep. 
Archie came into our lives in 2003 when we lived in New Zealand he was just a tiny 7 week old kitten that I could hold in one hand.From day one he craved affection and gave an abundance of love in return. Crawling up on to us at any given time for a cuddle, to nestle down, purr and have nap.
There was no question that he would come with us when we decided to leave NZ and head back to England the following year. We had to leave him behind with a friend for 6 months due to the rabies requirements, having microchiped him, had all the necessary vaccinations and filled in endless forms, We chose this option as opposed to the alternative of having him put in quarantine. The 6 months seemed like forever, but when he finally joined us after the long wait and ridiculously long flight, there was no doubt at all that he was pleased to see us again. Nuzzling up to each of us in turn, it was as if we had never been apart. Anyone who says that cat's aren't loyal should have met little Archie. Due to unforeseen financial circumstances our stay in England was short and we were forced to move once again, this time to Nova Scotia, Canada. Luckily because of the paperwork and formalities already completed we were able to bring Archie over just a couple of days after. 
He arrived well in advance of our belongings, which took 4 weeks to get to us! He loved the land around our property and outdoor life we had chosen, exploring the garden, running in the orchards, climbing the trees and enjoying the fresh air and space during the day. He never objected to the routine of being brought indoors at night for his safety and happily watched the nocturnal activities from his vantage point at the window of his own little room every night. Having encountered skunks, raccoons and the feisty cat next door over the years here, with only minor injuries. I hoped he had a few more of his 9 lives left. 
Until yesterday, when my world came tumbling down as I heard him crying outside on the deck. In a state of extreme shock, dragging the crumpled lower half of his body my heart was wrenched with emotion and love for this poor helpless animal. I will never know how on earth he managed to get from the road to the house, but he came home to us for the last time. 
The vet who treated him was nice, but with internal injuries so bad and broken bones the kindest thing to do was to put him out of his pain and suffering sooner rather than later.
I can't ever imagine getting over the loss, I miss him every minute of the day. I keep expecting to see him in his bed, at his window, by my feet, watching me sew or sniffing the cat nip growing in the garden. He has been my companion in the house every single day that we have been here in Canada and part of the family for such a long time.
I hope that somewhere he is enjoying a new kind of freedom, this time with wings and that he will remember the happy life he had here on earth as part of our family.
 Sleep peacefully Archie xx

October 18, 2009

A is for Apple!!

Being that apple harvesting is well underway in our neck of the woods there has been a hive of activity all around us with plenty of pickers scattered amongst the trees, picking all the different varieties of apples. We wake up to the thudding noise as each apple hits the collecting bin before being tipped once full into a wooden crate. These will be the apples for juicing as the eating apples get collected very carefully in special picker bags worn like a baby carrying sling. There are so many varieties again this year;
Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Gravenstein, McIntosh, Jonagold, Cortland, Ida Red, Cox's Orange and Amber's favourite, Honeycrisp. To give you an idea of the size of the Honeycrisp apples we pick, here is a photo of one taken beside what I would consider an average sized Golden delicious.
Crisp, juicy and very sweet. This year it has some fierce competition though in the form of a new variety from the US called SweeTango .
Because there have been so many apples available I have been baking a few batches of apple muffins, which seem to disappear almost as fast as I can bake them! On the topic of food, we went out for a family celebratory lunch last Saturday, which just happened to coincide with Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Jemma heard a couple of days previously that she had been awarded a substantial scholarship. It will help her so much in repaying the student loan she has taken out for her first year at SMU.
We visited a very posh restaurant at the Grand Pre Winery, the food was delicious and the girls both had fancy deserts that we just had to take photos of :)
A little after lunch look around the winery shop to view the various wines for sale, well there's no harm in looking!
Monday brought some more good news, this time for Amber. She has been chosen to play the lead part of Alice in the school production of Alice in Wonderland!
She is so excited and just a bit nervous at the prospect of learning over 300 lines off by heart over the next few weeks!! I expect that once she gets into the swing of reading the script along with her fellow drama students, she will feel more confident.
On the decorating front, after finishing the laundry room we moved into the adjoining mud room, otherwise known as Archie's room. Previously painted a moss green colour. It's the little room he sleeps in at night and watches the nocturnal goings on outside from his vantage point beside the window. No prizes for guessing my chosen colour scheme :) Craig and I worked as a team to finish off this little room last Sunday, I am still working on sewing the curtains.
Ahem! some of us take our painting quite seriously!!
Well, that's an update for this week. I can report that it is getting decidedly chilly outside though. There was even a threat of snow earlier in the week. Shock, horror and it's only mid October!! It wasn't so bad, more of a frost really, but it is coming soon I can tell.
Hazel x

October 08, 2009

The laundry gets a facelift :)

Here is the laundry after a bit of a 'lift' and change of colour.
The bench is an old one rescued from a yard sale, which got a few coats of paint a couple of years ago. During the summer it stays outside on the front veranda, but each Autumn we bring it indoors for the Winter months. A made to measure padded box cushion came from the local fabric store. Covered with 100% cotton red buffalo check fabric from Etsy seller Honeybeehumble. The red and white striped oxford style pillow is a shirting fabric, also from an Etsy seller 'Vintage Urban Girl' . I was still missing some plain co-ordinating red fabric, which I managed to find at a local thrift shop in the form of a torn red wool blazer that was hiding in a box, for just $1! Once I had used the pinking shears to cut up it up I was surprised at the amount of fabric I could use, more than enough to make the little square pillow below. The rest has gone into my fabric stash to be used at a later date. Inspiration for the hand embroidered birdie pillow came from a wonderful book called Sew Pretty Homestyle, mentioned in a previous blog post last year.
It's now a nice cosy place to sit and read with a cup of coffee or glass of wine by the fire.
Of course Archie couldn't resist jumping up and claiming a spot immediately!

Hazel x

October 03, 2009

Beautiful Autumn Colours

October is here, which signals the arrival of Autumn or Fall .
There are pumpkins everywhere, all shapes and sizes and the shops are full of Halloween costumes, face paints, wigs, nails, spider webs etc. Summer is becoming a distant memory, but who can complain when the sky is this blue?
I can never resist taking a few snaps of the trees in their rich colours, before all the leaves sail to the ground leaving the branches looking bare and a little sad, until then we can admire their beauty.
Craig and I took advantage of the warmth of the sun on Saturday morning, taking in the beautiful scenery across the Annapolis valley.
I have been warned once again by the people working on the apple farm not to walk up towards the woods at this time of year. A bit frustrating as I do like being outside in the early morning walking along with my latest i-pod tunes playing. Apparently, there are quite a few bears out and about at the moment, stocking up on food ready for hibernation and I don't want to become a 'tummy filler' thank you very much!!
We are adjusting to life without Jemma around during the week and really look forward her coming home for the weekend. This weekend she decided that it was better to stay at University. With upcoming exams already she needs to study and finds the 8 hours spent in the car to get out to us and packing etc. is quite disruptive and the last thing she wants to do when she comes home is study. So, we keep in touch through facebook, msn and skype. The wonders of technology! It will be extra special having her here for Thanksgiving weekend in a few days time.
I try not to spend too much time on the computer as the hours quickly disappear once I get immersed. I feel terribly guilty and should be concentrating on sewing orders.
Today I finished making these 8 tiny animals for a lady in California. As for my laundry, well I am still awaiting some fabric, so that will have to wait a wee while yet. I keep looking out for the raised red flag on the mailbox, but until it arrives, I shall have to busy myself with other projects.