The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Squeeze My Lemons, It’s Easter

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Finally, at last, Nat and I had a chance to see human beings, which we’ve not done for several weeks now. Only looking through the living room windows and perhaps a small errand into Fort Erie have we had a chance to remind ourselves what others look like. I exaggerate, naturally, but it sure feels like that. This winter was soooo long and soooo white, Nat and I feel like we’ve been hibernating in our little cottage since Christmas. The first warm sunny day I grabbed my summer clothing from downstairs and switched everything over.  I’ve been wearing capris sooner than expected, but my body was aching for cooler clothes and flip flops!!

We’ve also had a chance to talk to our landscaper regarding the sinking corner of the patio walkway. It’s been pretty much confirmed that he’s going to have to uplift a good portion of the walkway in order to fix the problem, along with the eaves troughs, and then he’ll also begin work on the backyard walkway. He’ll be dropping by shortly after the Easter holidays – hurray!!!!!!

Being invited to Claudia’s for Easter dinner this past Sunday was a real treat. Nat and I would bring the mashed potatoes, making her life easier by contributing a dish along with everyone else. Nat and I figured that this time we would make the potatoes and make the 35 minute drive closer to eating time. Every other year we’re always the first to arrive so this time we thought we would be in step with everyone else, but we got fooled. We were the last to arrive and this time they were waiting on us!!

As always, Claudia’s turkey was wonderful, as was her dressing and everyone else’s contributions. Her buffet set-up was extremely well organized with her new collection of hot plates lining the table and everyone was able to help themselves without any fuss. As we all sat downstairs at her beautifully decorated table it was our chance to get caught up with everyone else and have a lot of laughs. Nat and I couldn’t help ourselves, we just had to go back for seconds, her turkey was that a good!! Her desserts were also absolutely fabulous!

Reality about aging is now settling in amongst we “Rouse” gals. I’m now 65, with two sisters older and 3 sisters younger. (Dear little brother is somewhere in the middle but not forgotten.) Gail began to get us caught up on Bonnie’s struggles after she left the party early (not feeling well). That seems to be the norm with us gals – discuss any sister not doing so well after she leaves. Very justified this time, however, as It’s now become a worry about her memory. She seems to be forgetting more and more and after hearing Gail’s stories, it’s become a worry now for all of us. It’s not normal little things Bonnie is now forgetting, it tends to be more identifiable things such as an object or specific event. Living on her own is a great cause for concern for all of us, too, but Bonnie has an extremely similar personality to our “Nanny” (stubborn, a bit bitter about her life and worries where every penny comes and goes). It would be of great benefit if we could find somewhere convenient for Bonnie to live where her worries about household chores, and expenses, etc. would be erased, but knowing what we know that’s going to be one difficult task and besides, who gets to tell her and how forceful can any of us be. We’ve all now come to “that” stage in life, where we  may start making decisions for others that don’t have anyone else to rely on, like a hubby or a grown child.

Time is not necessarily on our side anymore, either. With each passing day the world keeps turning and it takes a bit longer for some of us older sisters to keep up, including me. If it weren’t for Nat, I’m not even sure where I’d be, living alone and taking care of myself with all of my medical ups and downs. This is where I get down on my knees and give thanks to anyone “up there” who will listen – I’ve got it pretty much made.

Getting back to earth!! Before going to Claudia’s for dinner, I thought I would try a new recipe – Lemon Squares. Nat got the recipe from Sobey’s one weekend and it certainly looked easy enough. Making the crust was easy enough, even though I wasn’t too sure how cool it was suppose to be before adding the Lemon filling. And speaking of Lemon filling, that, too, seemed to go okay until I realized I may have been beating the mixture too much as little bubbles began to form all over the lemon curd. I let the filling settle down a bit before pouring the mixture into the somewhat still quite warm crust, popped the pan back into the oven and waited. Once removed from the oven, the mixture cooled down to room temp and, as instructed, popped the pan into the fridge for the four hour waiting time. Even taking the pan out of the oven something didn’t quite look right, but I proceeded anyway. The first time at this recipe and I wasn’t too sure what to expect. The four hours soon passed and I pulled the pan from the fridge despite the bubbly looking filling. I still hesitated before I removed the squares from the pan. The crust was looking a bit soggy, the squares were tearing apart as I tried to cut them and the filling looked like left-over scrambled eggs!! Poor Nat, I didn’t even give him a look see – the whole batch went into the bin. I’ll try again but with another recipe I’ve found that looks somewhat better. The freezer is empty and I’ve got to get back to baking again. I even took a dozen Empire Biscuits to Claudia’s and they were snatched up, so it was a good thing I at least left a few behind for dear hubby!!

Now that Nat and I are back into our routine, he’s now trying to get things spruced up in the garage. He’s been slowly working away at bring out the patio chairs and table and washing things off. Naturally putting away the snow blower isn’t one of his favourite jobs, but he’s got it done, along with spring cleaning the lawn mower. We’ll try and get the patio awning up this next week, as we’re both very anxious to get back to our barbecuing and sitting outside and watching Mother Nature’s little creations. I’m not sure how long it’s going to last, but Nat has not refilled the bird feeders in order to keep the chipmunks away this summer. I’m sure he’s going to miss the little finch but I told him the cardinals won’t hurt during the summer months. It’s the winter months they need to be taken care of. I feel bad for Nat, as he loves watching the birds, but our research indicates this is the only way to keep chipmunks away from your yard, unless you’re willing to “catch and relocate” which we’ve already done!! That was one job Nat doesn’t want to repeat especially after we discovered he didn’t relocate the little buggers far enough away!! Only time will tell.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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