Friday, November 14, 2014

Five Things Friday

1.  Joys of a good Fire
 I take extra satisfaction from the blazing fire in my woodstove when I've built it myself from kindling that I split. Paul's always a bit nervous when I wield an axe, and he probably has good reason to be, but I do feel inordinately pleased with myself over the wonder equation of effort with result. Seeing my kindling bin fill up as I work up some body heat from that satisfying exertion of muscle. . . .channelling my homesteading forebears to boot!

And there's nothing like settling in afterward with a cup of tea, by the heat from a blazing woodstove, while outside, the thermometer hovers around 0 -- even my stack of marking seems tolerable. . . .

2. Porter! I ended a long, demanding workday yesterday by having dinner with a colleague at a local Irish-style pub, and while I was waiting for her to arrive, I ordered myself a pint. I'm generally happy with Guinness, but if I can find porter on the menu, I do enjoy its slightlier sweetier, even nuttier taste -- the nourishing solidity of Guinness without the bracing bitter edge. On a cold, cold day, it's just the beer for me.


3. Handknit wool socks -- I never mind that the stripes don't line up, being rather a fan of the random.  What does matter to me is that these babies keep my feet toasty . . . Are you sensing a theme here?

 4. Seven years ago, I blogged about buying these Uggs on sale, inspired by a snowsotrm. No snow today, but conditions are perfect for snugging my bare feet deep into the sheepskin interior of these now-well-worn boots. They're absolutely no good for our wet days (weeks! months!), but this week the weather is sunny, dry, and cold enough to make wooly boots a pleasure. Time to get away from the fireside, leave the marking behind, and get out into the sunshine. . . .
 5. Nothing like a good walk to raise the spirits,  Even better if that walk takes you along picturesque pathways through evocatively forested parkland, fall leaves adding colour and a rich, musty-spicy scent, the sun romantically filtered through clearings between the trees. Bonus points if you can get to that path, on foot, within ten minutes of leaving home.  . .

6. And let me throw in #6 just for good measure: Have you happened to catch Scott and Bailey, a British series set in Manchester featuring two female detectives whose friendship is as important an element of the plots as is the crime-solving?  Well worth watching -- Pater is currently in Vancouver for a few days and I must admit there has been some solo Netflix bingeing here.

 Back to work now, but I will be checking for comments later -- Have/do you you chop(ped) kindling? Do you agree with me that it's a satisfying task or is it too much a chore for you? And how about those stripes? Could you bear to knit up a pair randomly or are you more likely to search out the duplicating point in a skein? Do you even like to wear wool socks or do your toes itch at the very thought? Where d'you stand on the Porter-Guinness spectrum? Or do you prefer lighter beers or a nice glass of white wine? That should get our conversation started, don't you think? I do hope you have lovely weather wherever you are, and that you get out for a walk in it, whether that be on a city street, down a rural road to your mailbox, or through a forested path. The weekend's almost here . . .

35 comments:

  1. Hello Mater, a nice random bunch of thoughts, I'll try to take up the baton. We had a wood fireplace in Budapest, but we ordered the wood in, so no chopping for me, thank goodness. You have mentioned one of my favourite shows ever! I even watch the re-runs - I just love the dialogue, and the actors are sooo good. (Here's some trivia for you - some of the actors have been on Coronation Street, and the writer has also written 'Last Tango in Halifax', HIGHLY recommended). I don't drink beer at all, just don't like the taste. The closest I have come is Malzbier (malt beer), which I used to get in Germany at the supermarket (those were the days when I struggled to put weight ON, and it's supposed to be very nourishing).

    Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. What a good job you've done. Looking back at my questions, I feel a bit embarrassed that I seem to have assigned homework! We order our wood as well, but sadly, kindling needs to be split from the chopped wood. I've heard of Last Tango in Halifax (Lisa at Amid Privilege) -- have to track it down now. Ah, Germany would be worth visiting just for the beer, I'm sure!

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    2. Hi Mater - I've just checked with my husband; of course he had to chop the wood into kindling, just goes to show how little I know of such things!!

      One of my favourite photos of my husband (and he doesn't normally take a good photo, he always looks a bit sheepish) is one I took in Germany. He's holding up his first German beer in a very long time and he's grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat!

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  2. We heated with wood in 1983-91 in our first house located in Maine. I loved chopping and stacking wood. I also loved running the snow blower too. Shoveling and raking are now the jobs which get me out and about when the weather is not so great. Being outside is a great tonic for long chilly days.

    I'm not a fan of either Porter or Guiness--I find them too filling and somewhat heavy. My beer is an accompaniment, not a main meal!

    The varying stripe socks would bug me, I think. Hand knitted socks often seem to give fit problems.

    Netflix has been cancelled at our house, although now that the weather has turned chilly, I fear I will miss it. My husband and I do love many British shows on our PBS and former Netflix account.

    Our weekend will be spent relaxing with our son who just returned from a 3 month work trip to Europe. I have some good meals planned! Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. It's true, Porter & Guinness are full-on meal strength!
      My handknit socks fit really well, and everyone I give them to asks for more, I wonder if the difference is that I use fingering rather than worsted weight so they're a finer fabric. As for Netflix, yikes, I'm absolutely hooked now, and the price is so good . . . Enjoy your weekend and that precious time with the returnee!

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  3. Axes scare me...I only drink Corona in the summer on a really hot day...I like cashmere sox and have never knit sox (yet)...I like order and mismatched stripes would bug me...I love a good walk and your trail would suit me to a T.
    Enjoy your weekend binge watching Netflix.
    We are out to vote in the municipal election tomorrow and I hope to settle in front of the fire with a mug of hot tea and my current novel Under The Wide and Starry Skiy by Nancy Horan. She wrote Loving Frank and I like her writing style.

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    1. I'm heading off to vote in a while as well, having just spent an hour studying the candidates' platforms. Wearing my mismatched stripes to stay cozy! I've knit cashmere ones only for a daughter who spent a winter in Montreal -- I do think I deserve a pair for myself soon! ;-)

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  4. I enjoy local beer wherever I travel. I do like toasty feet. Since I have been away, I miss Netflix. British detective shows are my favourite. Have you watched Shetland on Knowledge Network? You might enjoy a whimsical book that I have found in the ship's library "Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading" by Maureen Corrigan who reviews for NPR. I love to explore the library on the cruise ship. I'm not an axe person!

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    1. Are you finding any good beer in your ports-of-call this trip? I haven't watched Shetland, but will see if I can find it. And that book sounds right up my alley. Too funny of you to say you're "not an axe person"! That sounds like a good thing, doesn't it?! You won't scare Hostess, in that case (see above!) ;-)

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  5. It all looks so cozy and wonderful, but I'm especially envious of that forest walk...I've been known to enjoy a porter now and then (and would plead the 5th on perhaps having enjoyed a room temperature mug with breakfast during my Renaissance Faire days..."oatmeal in a cup" we used to call it...)

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    1. Yes! Precisely: oatmeal in a cup! My dad claimed to remember ads on the sides of English buses during the war, ads recommending that pregnant moms drink Guinness for its nourishing qualities.

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  6. I love your writing! I found this blog through Amid Privilege. The socks look wonderful and I would have loved to have had them last night. I returned from a trip late to find that the furnace had stopped working. My feet were cold all night. It was fixed early this morning.

    I've never tried Porter or Guiness. My favorite drink these days is Dieu du Ciel Rosee D'Hibiscus. Nectar of the gods. It's hard to find, just as well as it's expensive. It's more of a summer drink, though.

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    1. Hi Marie! So nice to see you here. And Mater is a wonderful writer, I agree!

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    2. Thanks so much Marie, and welcome! -- love having Lisa chime in and make this a really cosy conversation. That drink sounds beautiful, in name alone. I'll ask my sommelier daughter-in-law if it's available anywhere here -- I see it's a "soft spoken wheaten beer" made in Montreal -- and who doesn't love a beer that keeps to a whisper! ;-)

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    3. Hi, Lisa and Mater! You are both beautiful writers, and I love reading. I'm not a writer myself, except for journal articles and grant proposals. The hibiscus beer is fruity, but not overly sweet like the peach and cherry beers. I love the name, too, and the label.

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  7. Those wool socks look so comfy! I guess the theme is ocean? It reminds me of waves :)

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    1. Never thought of that in the socks, but you're right -- ocean waves!

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  8. Guess what? I watched Scott an Bailey last night. They are on televison over here every Friday night and I am a regular viewer.

    I am not a great beer drinker, but if I drink beer it is the darker types like Guinness. It reminds me of Ireland, the place where I discovered that there where actually types of beer that I could enjoy.
    For years I have wanted a pair of UGGs. They look so warm and comfy. I actually saw them in a store the other day, so maybe I will get a pair.
    Enjoy your weekend.

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    1. Similar tastes, then, for the TV viewing at least and the darker beer and the comfort of UGGs (although honestly, I find the classic UGG style a bit clunky/homely for out-and-about plus they'd be no good in our constant rain. But heavenly comfort!

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  9. I only really drink beer when I am on holiday abroad. I don't drink wine and you just can't spend all your time drinking gin...but I like light cold beers under a hot sun. However, I do like an English beer in winter. Seems to go well with our weather and we are enjoying a resurgance in British brewing which means that there are lots to try. I am fine with mismatched sock stripes, like the cosiness of fires and crackling wood and wish I could say our weather was lovely at present. but no. Rain. Fog. Cold. Still some leaves clinging to the trees. How to cure? Cup of tea in bed with good book. Hibernate.

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    1. Oh dear -- it can't be all gin all the time? Our climate here on Canada's southwest coast is quite similar to England's, so those beers work well here. There's a similar resurgence in artisan beer-brewing.
      Hibernation, yes, socks, matched or not, crackling fires, book, tea, blanket. I'm off now . . . enjoy! ;-)

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  10. I have chopped kindling and would again if I had a wood stove or fireplace.

    Love knitting (and wearing!) wool socks. I'm a 'line up the stripes' knitter, but I wouldn't refuse to wear random if that's what was offered.

    I don't drink alcohol at all any more, haven't had a drink for over twenty years now. No opinion about Guinness versus Porter; in my drinking days I preferred a light lager.

    Your forested path looks so beautiful, you are fortunate to have nature so close to home. I'm going to take the dog out soon, but the trees on our walk will be trying to survive in a city sidewalk.

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    1. I admire the discipline in not drinking alcohol at all and the flexibility in being willing to wear random stripes when ordered are preferred! ;-)
      City sidewalks have their charms as well, I'd say -- hope you and the dog had a good walk! If that's your pup in the pic there, s/he's got a lovable face.

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  11. On a cold afternoon... I love a fire and a nice cup of tea and my book. Especially after a cross-country ski (or a walk in the woods). Love Guinness, although I'm a recent convert. Love Scott and Bailey. Partly for the clothes, I must admit, although I love the gritty setting and everything about it that makes it the antithesis of similar American shows. Can't abide wool socks, but yours look cozy. Hope that marking pile melts away easily this weekend.

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    1. I think part of what I like about a darker, heavier beer is that I'm more likely to take my time with it -- thus avoiding the bloat and the trips to the bathroom!
      Mind you, Scott and Bailey would be good with Scotch or Bailey's as well, no?

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  12. Well now, I've never wielded an axe but I can see the satisfaction. I do indeed knit stripy socks (is that Noro yarn?) but I am anal enough to try to start them both at the same point in the colour cycle. I get 3 socks out of one ball so that every now and then I have enough for a gloriously random pair.... Porter is not my drink but ever since I heard someone comment re the colder the weather, the darker the drink, I have had a fancy for red rather than white wine in the winter - can anyone come up the reason for why this seems to work? As to walking - yes, hope to get out this weekend for a bit of fresh air. I had a lovely walk - only 5 miles so more of a stroll - with friends last week. Beautiful surroundings, a sunny day,a nice place to stop for a cup of tea and excellent company - sometimes the simplest things are so good. I am getting increasingly convinced about the unsung benefits of a good walk

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    1. The yarn is something I picked up in Bordeaux last year when I "needed" a new knitting project -- if there's a regular repeat, I haven't been able to spot it. I sometimes try to match up the Noros, but I love the idea of the gloriously random 3rd socks. . . It's true about the colder and the darker drinks. 5 miles is a pretty decent distance -- you only consider that a stroll? I, too, am thinking I want to get more walking in, perhaps substitute for some of my running -- especially in my not-too-far-distant retirement.

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  13. I'm reading this with what I believe is a slight fever:). Here's to warmth.

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    1. I hope you're feeling better soon! Also hope you found a good movie to make the virus pass more quickly. . .

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  14. I do love a good fire on a cold winter day! Unfortunately, I gave that up when I moved to my husband's house. The house is 70 some years old, the chimney needs to be rebuilt and the firebox tiles repaired. Every winter we talk about making repairs, one summer we will finally get around to doing it! I also love a good porter but alas, I have given that up too. I am not so much a fan of wool socks as wool makes me itch but both of my sisters are avid knitters and have given me numerous pairs over the years. I wholeheartedly agree that the best medicine for one's mood is a good walk or run. Whether in the neighborhood or in the woods, getting outdoors can be very uplifting.

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    1. We've had a fire in our last three houses, spanning 34 years, but I know our woodstove days are numbered. When we do eventually move full-time to a city condo, we might be lucky enough to have a gas fire, but that would be it. So what do you do with the socks your sisters gave you? Or do they make them out of a synthetic so you can tolerate them?

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  15. I've done my share of chopping kindling and lighting fires. We have two lovely stacks of wood in the back yard which will soon go to our son's place since we put gas in. I prefer wood fires, but our fireplace sucked all the heat out of the house. So far, we've not had to turn on the electric heat at all with the new gas fireplace.
    Not a fan of beer, but a glass of white wine will do. I'm making limoncello with the organic lemons we grew last summer (steeping is done and I'm letting the simple syrup cool before combining the mixture).
    I took a moderately long walk to the library this afternoon, not so pretty as your views, but so lovely to be out on these bright cold days.

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    1. Yes, you strike me as someone who could chop kindling and light a fire quite handily. Our woodstove is remarkably efficient (one of those new ones, but as I replied to Beverly (smithposts.com) above, I suspect we will eventually have a gas fireplace in our lives,
      Limoncello!! From your own lemons! How marvelous really . . . I got quite spoiled being brought a complementary glass after every restaurant meal in Puglia this past summer. Mmmmmmm.

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  16. Wonderful list! I favor a saison or a pale ale myself. On another subject, do you know if Pondside is ever going to blog again?

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    1. You've just inspired me to look up "saison" beer, and now I'm going to have to find one for myself, perhaps when it's warmer weather again. . . .As for Pondside, I don't know her personally (missed a chance to meet her at a bloggers' meet-up last year), so have no particular insight. I suspect she must be really busy right now, though, with her move, her job, and her family. I hope she comes back to the blog -- and I believe she probably will, knowing how a blog gets its hooks into one!

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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