maandag 21 maart 2011

The artist in Joyce F. Devlin.

Another artist we've met in her late seventies is Joyce F. Devlin. She's an excellent painter, designed her own house and has a beautiful garden. Her house is amazing, very warm and full of art. She had her latest work in her big studio so we had the chance to see it before it went to the exhibition. She painted a garden on six -six by six feet- panels, pretty impressive if you ask me. Anyway it really brought the summer into the studio! We also saw a bunch of other paintings, mostly landscapes, most of them were very very nice.

Everything in the house, the colour of the walls, the paintings, the furniture and all the other little decorations matched almost perfectly. We immediately felt very comfortable and had a nice afternoon, had a nice lunch and long discussions about 'life after death', 'a united world' and the many different religions. Joyce herself is a Baha'i, a follower of the Baha'i Faith, they basically believe in Unity of God, Unity of Religion and Unity of Mankind. Well it was pretty interesting to hear all the stories and different opinions but after all we decided not to become a Baha'i Member...: )!

This is actually the first house we visited with a big bunch of healthy, good looking houseplants, awesome! After all the talking and too much tea and cookies we were ready to go home but first we had to take a walk in the big garden. It was raining a bit and we're still in a very early stage of spring but we had to see it. The garden is a nice collection of all kind of shrubs and trees in different shape and colour! Joyce decided to join us and gave us some explanation about the way she thought about it and how she did it, nice job! And ofcourse, early spring means a lot of birds in the garden! I'm glad we could write down a couple of new observations in Sibley's almighty birdguide. The Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea) and the American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) were visiting. The Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is back in the country and as you can see in the lay-out of this blog we saw our very first Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis).

And after a few very good and sunny days...Maberly is covered, a few inches of snow turned the fresh Springscene into WinterWonderland again!

White Hugs &
Snow Kisses

Take Care

T&H - AlmostReadyToHitTheRoad.

vrijdag 18 maart 2011

Maple Syrup Season: The Kick Off.

If you say Maple Syrup in this region, you say Gordon Patterson! We went to visit Gordon a few days ago because he was about to start the season. The season usually starts in March and ends in the same month so everything depends on the weather in that period. It's very impressive how Gordon does it. He taps around 1300 trees on his property every year, it took him three days. All the taps are connected with tiny pipelines ending up in bigger pipes. The bigger pipes are connected to a vacuum pump in a shed down in the woods. When Gordon activates the pump, maple sap is running through the pipes ending up in a giant 'bathtub' in the shed.

He pumps the sap in big containers on a tractor trailer and brings it to the 'Sugar Camp'. We got a ride on the trailer and brought back a thousand liters of maple sap. That's a lot of sap but in the end Gordon will end up with only a two hundred and fifty liters of syrup from that batch. Four liters of sap only gives one liter of syrup!!!

The sap gets filtered tree times and ends up in a brand new stainless-steel installation in the 'Sugar Camp'. It's the first season Gordon uses the new machine so it's all new to him this year. So the sap goes into the system to heat up, a big fire is made underneath. To get from the sap to the syrup you have to reach a temperature of 219°F, thats eight degrees above the boiling temperature of water or a 104°C. It can take about five hours to cook the first batch and you constantly have to keep an eye on the machine. It can take a few thousands of liters to get to the first syrup and that day we didn't make it with our batch. 

As the water evaporates, fresh sap keeps on running through the system and cools it down again, that slows the proces down. But you need this circulation to equalize the total heating of the batch in order to get a better control on the proces and the temperature. It's a very thin line between the best syrup and burned syrup. So if you're running out of sap before you reach the right temperature, you have to cool the system down and wait till the next day for a fresh container. Once you got syrup running in your system it all goes much faster! By heating up the sap, the sugar concentration goes from 3 to 67% in perfect conditions.
Well I can assure you that it takes a lot of work and patience to get to the perfect Maple Syrup and Gordon, who is in his late seventies by the way, does an excellent job. His syrup is the best we've tasted so far and we were very happy to see how he makes it! In the old days they used over three thousand buckets to collect the sap, and some people still do. These days in Patterson's woods, there's only one 'OldSkool' tap left to see for tourists like us!

So basically it's easy, you cook a certain amount of lifesap from the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) till you reach a certain temperature and you end up with a quarter amount of very addictive syrup. The Sugar Maple (Suikeresdoorn) is a native species in North-America from the westcoast of Nova Scotia to southern Ontario and in a few states of the USA. The province of Quebec is the biggest Maple Syrup producer.

What an exciting day! Mmmmm you should try it in your coffee...

Well...we live, we learn...
Sweet kisses


woensdag 16 maart 2011


Tis al een tijdje stil maar geen nood, verrekijker en camera zijn nooit veraf! Iedereen die een beetje in de natuur is geinteresseerd had het hier reeds over een reuzenspecht die de bossen onveilig maakt met diep tromgeroffel. Dus we wisten van haar bestaan maar hadden de 'Pileated Woodpecker' (Dryocopus pileatus) nog niet gezien. Gisteren hadden we geluk...dit vrouwelijk exemplaar liet 'Tiraislin Fold' zien waar haar territorium was. Deze vogel is qua grootte te vergelijken met een kraai en is familie van onze Zwarte Specht (Dryocopus martius).

Rode eekhoorns, gestreepte eekhoorns (chipmunks), grijze eekhoorns...zwarte eekhoorns? De zwarte eekhoorn is eigenlijk gewoon een melanische  (albinisme - melanisme) vorm van de grijze eekhoorn (Sciurus carolinensis). Deze soort is inheems in Noord-Amerika en een streling voor het oog. Als we 's morgens vanuit de slaapkamer de oude eik zien ontwaken vliegen ze langs alle kanten het bos in...heerlijk!

Mmm, ik moet toegeven...het beestje lijkt eerder donkerbruin maar er zijn ook gitzwarte acrobaten. De temperaturen worden zachter, de sneeuw smelt voor de zon en de natuur komt terug tot leven. We zagen vandaag een koppel stinkdieren en laatst nog een stekelvarken hoog in de boom, dat smaakt naar meer, oh jawel...binnenkort worden de beren wakker!
Een leuk vogeltje om mee af te sluiten is de 'White-breasted Nuthatch' (Sitta carolinensis)...deze boomklever met de allures van een specht is duidelijk niet vies van een portie vers vlees.

Een Gevederde Groet
Nu Bedtijd

dinsdag 15 maart 2011

CandleRock Farm.

What to do on a lousy Sundayafternoon! Rosemary had a meeting in Perth so she decided to drop us off at Greg and Karen's place: CandleRock Farm. They live in the middle of the woods and have their own little candle factory. All the buildings on the property are built by the Wilson family! Greg's father -Collin- lives in a big loghouse, he built it together with his brother.The walls are made of full logs and that's see the logs on the outside of the house as well as on the inside. The thickness of the wood is a perfect insulation.

The Candle factory is built by Collin and Greg, this time they used another method, the stacked wall. The walls are built by stacking wood on a stone wall between big posts, the holes are filled up with a cementmixture. The end result is a pretty nice looking building. All the other materials they used (windows, doors, machines) are second hand which is a nice way to recycle old stuff into a new building.

The candles are handmade out of pure beeswax. This intensive proces -from the beeswax to the candle- is very interesting and we might do it ourselves one day. In another little storage building Greg recently built, he recycled an old piano by just putting it into the wooden wall...the result is amazing, you can still play the old piano like a guitar, beautiful, just like the Odd Eyed Dog, Bella!

After our guided tour and a tour through the woods on the Ski Doo, we just sat down, drank some beers and had a lot of fun telling all kinds of stories. We went home with some very nice candles and a big pile of garlic from Greg's famous vegtablegarden (he uses good shit!).

And everywhere we come we have to tell the sory of My Love's -WorldFamous- HotCrossBuns, deze keer was ik er op tijd bij met mijn camera en ze zijn allemaal voor jou Myriam! Speciaal gemaakt voor een gezond (hum hum) reuze Post-Birthday Ontbijt...geniet ervan and once more...A Happy Happy Birthday!!!

Zo de mama's zijn weer een jaartje ouder!
Wij enkele ervaringen rijker...

vrijdag 11 maart 2011

Life Goes On...

Tiraislin Fold will never be the same without Viktor and Chicka but time will heal and life goes on...We keep on going back and forth from the house to the barn to see if everything is OK, to make sure nobody is hungry and to check for newborns but I think the last ewe has given birth yesterday.

Zoals je kan zien doen we deze dagelijkse wandelingen nog steeds in de sneeuw en ja we beginnen als maar harder uit te kijken naar de lente...Ik herinner me nog ons eerste weekend in Montréal, net gearriveerd enkele maanden terug, en al onmiddellijk werden we getrakteerd op een dikke laag verse sneeuw in Parc Mont Royal.Wel ik kan jullie ondertussen melden dat we sinds die dag, op enkele weken na, van een volwaardig sneeuwlandschap hebben kunnen genieten. Winter in al z'n charme maar het is nu stillekes aan welletjes geweest. Nu ja, we hebben al enkele verrassend warme lentedagen gekend de laatste weken dus er is hoop! Vandaag kregen we een mix van sneeuw en regen over ons heen dus werd er vanalles op gevonden om ons binnen bezig te houden! In de keuken werd de lunch gekookt en er werd brood gebakken, heerlijk!

Next to the Muffins and the excellent Peanutbutter Cookies, Hannah made Whole Wheat-Honey Bread and on top of that the greatest Hot Cross Buns I ever tasted. The buns were gone so fast that I didn't even have the time to get the camera and take some pictures, something to be proud of, crazy!
Rosemary was working on a publicity sign for an Optical Shop so we finished that project today and we'll bring the sign to the new owner tomorrow or the day after. Another project we were thinking about is realised. One of the dogs loves catfood and kept on steeling it! Well I'm sorry Ben but we're feeding the cats on the top of the fridge now, we made a hole in the stairs so they can reach it, : )! Chi has already found the way to the new feedingplace.

Wel na al dat lekkers van m'n liefje besloot ik dat het tijd werd om ook eens een poging te wagen een degelijk gebak te produceren, Strawberry Pie it would be...hum hum. Na enkele uurtjes worstelen in de keuken, een gezonde dosis stress en een heel klein beetje assistentie ben ik toch een beetje trots op het resultaat...Nu ja de korst was een beetje aangebrand maar het ziet er allemaal eetbaar uit. Mooi geserveerd maar nog niet geproefd...We zijn benieuwd!
Tjah Mama, helaas kan je niet meegenieten van deze prachtige verjaardagstaart...toch een Gelukkige Verjaardag - Happy Birthday Mama, je bent toch niet al te zot van gebak hé, ; )! Enjoy...

Whatever doesn't kill us makes us strong!
We live - we learn.

T&H -

maandag 7 maart 2011

NachtMerrie, Dag Hengst...Vaarwel.

Viktor was oud, Viktor is dood. Viktor was old, Viktor is dead.
Z'n laatste ontbijt. His last breakfast.
Verstoord? Disturbed?
Onderuit op het Ijs. Down on the Ice.
Om nooit meer op te staan. To never get up again.
We vochten. We fought.
Hij had de kracht niet meer. He did not have the strength anymore.
We verloren. We lost.
Arme Viktor... Poor Viktor...
Gered door kogels. Saved by bullets.
Ik had het anders kunnen doen. I could have done things differently.
Ik had beter moeten weten. I should have known better.
Tranen. Tears.
Sorry. I'm Sorry.

NachtMerrie, Dag Hengst...Vaarwel. NightMare, Bye Stallion...So Long.

T&H. Broken Hearts.

vrijdag 4 maart 2011

Facts Of Life - In Beeld.

Mousehiking in Clarence, January 26th 2011 - Bridgetown, NS.

Dead Cattle On Empty Hayloft, February 17th 2011 - Maberly, ON.

Candles For People, February 9th 2011- Baupré, QC.

RoosterWisdom Close Up, March 3th 2011 - Maberly, ON.

Suk-Hyo's Statue, February 7th 2011, Québec, QB.

Farmers Feed Cities, February 28th 2011 - Maberly, ON.

When Juanita Smiles, March 3th 2011- Maberly, ON.

Hummingbird, February 12th 2011 - Montréal Biodome, QC.

Frozen Tibetan Yak, February 28th 2011 - Maberly, ON.

Dogfood, February 21th 2011- Maberly, ON.

Virgin Muffins, March 3th 2011- Maberly, ON.

Izmir - Essence Of An Old Akbash, March 3th 2011 - Maberly, ON.

Arabian Horsepower, March 3th 2011 - Maberly, ON.

Ice Cold Hands, February 28th 2011 - Maberly, ON.

Kind Regards To You and Yours
Eén Liefde
T&H feat. Canon 60D.

woensdag 2 maart 2011


Zo af en toe lezen we de krant online. Om op de hoogte te blijven, weet je wel. En we lezen net dat Didier Reynders is ontslaan van zijn opdracht en dat de toekomst nu terug onduidelijk is (Is het ooit duidelijk geweest?). Maar naar tschijnt is de wil er wel. HA! En dan moesten we er weer aan denken.. Vorige week werden we gefeliciteerd... Omdat België het eerste land is dat zo lang zonder een regering voortploetert. Fabulous! Who needs a fucking government?! Dat zeggen ze dan tegen ons. België haalt wel degelijk het Canadese nieuws, we did hear it ourselves on CBC news... Just to let you know! :)

H&T proud to be Belgians.

dinsdag 1 maart 2011


A: What, they are on a holiday for a year?
B: Jup.
A: Don't they work?
B: Well I guess not...

T&H: Ofcourse WE WORK...what are you all thinking, that this is a holiday??? : )

Every day we are taking care of the livestock! We have to bottlefeed some lambs three times a day. Black Victoria is abandoned by her mother and the spotted one is part of a twin, we give them some extra milk because the mother has wounds on her udder. Thereafter we leave the sheep out and give them hay and fresh water. And ofcourse stalls need to be cleaned and fences need to be repaired. Then every morning we make a big batch of food for Viktor! Viktor is a Big Old Belgian Horse, he needs extra food during the hard winter because he lost a lot of weight, he's in his late twenties. So we mix some Alfalfa cubes (compressed hay cubes with a high consistancy) with grain. Before putting the ingredients together we soke the cubes in hot water. When we leave the house with his bucket full of fresh food he's already waiting at the gate going crazy...isn't he beautiful!

In the evening the sheep have to go back inside and ofcourse it's dinnertime, fresh hay and water, mjamie! Several times a day we control the herd to see if there are any newborns or any troubles with mothers and babies! Most of the sheep have given birth already so it's getting quiet in the nursery.
Next to all this we asked Rosemary if there were any other specific things she wanted us to do while we were at her farm and she said: oh not really...but maybe I want a gate on the barn on this side of the guess what: WE BUILD ONE, a perfect fit and it looks pretty neat, what do you think? T&H Carpentry Service. You ask - We deliver!


So on a farm there are billions of jobs and it never ends so I can assure you that we are busy all the time!
I guess now it's time to tell you the story of Thurber and Juanita. Thurber is an abandoned basset. Rosemary took him in the house last week because his owners did not want him anymore. He's odd eyed (one brown - one blue) and his frontlegs are deformed. As far as I'm concerned the whole basset breed is deformed but who am I. Anyway he's enjoying the farmlife so far but he has to learn how to behave among the animals and the other dogs. 

A few days later we were visiting a farmer called Juan. He had a five days old baby-ewe in his house...she didn't eat and wasn't doing very well. Juan had his hands full bottlefeeding a dozen of lambs, he barely had time to do anything else so guess what...we took the poor little baby home and called her Juanita. Her ears were all swollen because they had been frozen. She couln't move them so they were just hanging next to her little head. She looked very sad and she was breathing very heavily while making an awfull noise. A kickstart and some antibiotics helped her through the first days and she slowly started to drink. The fact that she was still alive was good, all the other thing were bad. Above all this, the confused basset attacked Juanita twice. Her condition was terrible but man she is a fighter.
Today's the first day that I really think there's a slight chance she's gonna make it. She moves her ears again, she begs for bottles and her breathing has improved. The only thing that still worries us is the condition of her backleg which has some dammage probably caused by the basset, we now call DisThurber. But I believe there is hope...for both.

So the life on the Tiraislin farm is pretty exciting and it's a fulltime job keeping everybody happy and alive! We learn, we built, we win, we lose, we laugh and sometimes...we cry!