Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blackberries for Arnold

Isn’t it fab fun when you see your kids and Grandkids carrying on family traditions?  Walking to the beach and stopping every few feet to scarf down the wild berries along the way has been this family’s way for generations.  Making dedicated trips to search out blueberry barrens and blackberry patches.  Bringing home the treasure—blue/black gold! 

Making pancakes, muffins, pies, jams and more.  Yummy fun every time.

This week, Grand #3 and his Mummy took me to the blackberry patch in Bucks Harbor.  

As I kept a keen eye out for poison ivy, picking my way gingerly thru the tall grasses and brambles, Mummy and Arnold roamed at leisure picking and eating to their hearts’ content. 

In hardly any time at all, we had a soggy bag full.  The hardest part of the whole endeavor was keeping ahead of the taste tester!

Sort, mash, boil, stir in pectin and sugar and

Blackberry Jam

Voila again
Blueberry Jam!

Some people love canning, preserving, jamming and baking.  I just love eating fresh, local produce any way I can.  Now the trick will be hiding it away from Hubby, who would devour it all before Thanksgiving in early October (for Canadians).  Somehow, it will magically appear, one precious jar at a time, until next harvest.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Wedding At Last

Well, I think I have the gist of how this new system works.  I have amassed a gazillion photos of the Big Day and am ready to try not to bore you to death with all of them.  I know in my heart that they are all beautiful to me, that you will smile and be gracious, but that in the end, one set of wedding pics is as good as the next.  

The Bride

Aren't We Pretty?

Ready to Go!

 Drive, Park, Hike

Rehearsing His Homily

The Hike

The Ceremony

The Flower Girls

The Alpenhorn Player

So Far , So Good

The Reception

You will get the general impression of the day from these few and know we had a truly wonderful wedding.  The weather, the people, the ceremony, the food, the dancing and the fun, fun, fun!

Join me in a toast to the Happy Couple:  May they live long together, in love and happiness.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wedding Cake

The tradition of the wedding cake began way, way back in the time of the Romans.  The "cake" was a loaf of bread which the groom broke over the bride's head (did he whack her with it?) to symbolize his dominance in the marriage.  Later, during the 1700's in France, the "cake" became a stack of sweet rolls piled high between the bride and groom who tried to kiss each other over the top without knocking any of them down.  Later still in England, the cake served either after the wedding feast, or for the wedding breakfast, became a dense fruit cake.  By the early 1900's, brides were keeping the top layer of their wedding cakes to celebrate at the birth of their first child.  They say the "cutting of the cake ceremony" where the bride and groom hold the knife together to make the first cut, is symbolic of their first joint task in marriage.

This blogger's family tradition goes back five generations.  It is fruit cake, made by mother, stirred by friends and family, dowsed with rum repeatedly for months before the date of the wedding, decorated with marzipan and royal fondant icing just days before the Big Day, topped with something of the bride's choice and savoured by any lucky enough to get a taste!

To see the post when we made the cake, go here.   

Here are a couple of shots of the cake at the wedding and at the wedding breakfast for your viewing pleasure.  You will just have to take my word for it that it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and that even non-fruit-cake-lovers smacked their lips in delight as they down dainty morsels.

We asked guests to autograph the table cloth instead of writing in a book at the reception.  A keepsake/momento for the bride.

This is the cake at the wedding breakfast...what was left after the reception.  Still beautiful and still delicious.  The top is securely stored away, air tight, for next year's anniversary.

Some people believe that if a "sweet-young-thing" sleeps with a wrapped-up slice of wedding cake under her pillow, she will dream of the man she will marry.  What are your family traditions regarding wedding cakes?

PS.  Just to remind you that if you haven’t signed up for Carol’s on-line launch party at on the 16th September then do so straight away. She’ll be hosting giveaways and prizes all day. There will even be the chance to win a Kindle. It should be a lot of fun with competitions, laughs, extracts from her hilarious novel, guests to check out, new people to meet and I even heard on the grape vine that she will actually be appearing on a video link!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cockles and Mussles, Alive, Alive O

While Grands #1 and #2 inspected the tidal pools at "Sand Beach",  Sami Joe and I picked mussels.  Some of us used sticks and others used our bare hands to lift up curtains of seaweed, uncovering the blue beauties in their hiding spots. 

We wrestled them free from their tenacious moorings and carted them home.

One never knows for sure if these things are truly safe to eat and so I called the wife of the fisherman down the road.
-Marie, is there Red Tide here this year?  Is it safe to eat the mussels we picked today at Sand Beach?

-Go ahead, Dear.  You'll be fine.  No Red Tide here!

Scrubbed under running water, spiced up with sliced onions and garlic, they were semi-submerged in plain water and set to steam til cooked.

Next came the melted butter and white wine bath......and to the table.

Are you drooling yet?
You will remember from previous posts that Hubby is less than adventurous at meal time.  Likewise our grown son.  Grand #1 takes on enough adventure for all concerned and gallantly downed a plateful of yummy.

 I am LOVING the fresh-from-the-ocean meals we are having here---too delicious!  How about you like seafood, or are you a surf and turf type?  Maybe, like my daughter, you tend towards the vegetarian diet and avoid fishie dishes at all costs.  This post is making me hungry.  Is it almost dinner time?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Randomly Itchy In All the Wrong Places

Well, here I am at The Ends of the Earth (read: Down East Maine), without internet access, learning the intricacies of a brand new laptop (Mac, not Del), and just dying to post pictures of the wedding (they're sooooo good)!  We'll just have to wait on that one until help arrives.  I can't figure out how to down-size the photos in this new operating system.

Random Complaints:
*  Poison Ivy--it's spreading, it's itchy and it's driving me mad!
*  Bumps and bruises from falling completely on my face in the middle of the night--ouch.
*  Hot blueberry juice that squished out of my pancake hit me ifn the face--at least it missed my eye.
*  Allergy to my new sunscreen--more red, itchy ugliness.
*  Grandchildren falling down stairs, getting stomach aches and dying of boredom with the wet weather--how many videos do we have and can we get more in a hurry?

Random Projects On The Go:
* The guys are getting long distance coaching from the marine mechanic, trying to repair the outboard engine for our little boat.
*  I am ripping out inches and inches of knitted sweater pattern that refuses to cooperate with me, re-knitting and re-ripping with willy-nilly randomness.
*  Grand#1is on a mission to find Fairy nests, Edible crab apples and Pirate treasure.
*  Grand#2 is hot on the heels of the men, making them dodge around his smallness.  He is working his way into the Guiness Book of World Records for longest-in-pajamas every day and eating the most blueberries.

Read a good book, finish the jigsaw puzzle, look for beach glass, go fishing, have fun.  What are your fav things to do on vacation?  Ah...the joys of summer!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Rehersal

One thinks these things can get carried away on a flood of sentimental traditionalism, but really, doing the walk-thru truly helps iron out the details.  A crowd of one hundred people can take on a life of its own without direction.  Someone has to be in charge.  Someone, or a team, has to give leadership to the flock.  And so it was on Saturday, 18 of us did the hike, re-arranged seating plans, talked through the order of service, ironed out the details of the reception and generally built anticipation for the day ahead.

There are several paths to the chosen meadow.  We had to decide which one would be most conducive to easy access for porters, strollers and hikers of various abilities.  We stopped often to admire the beauty all around us...a wedding cathedral to beat Will and Kate's!

To see photos of this site last January, when it was buried in snow, click here and here

Twelve wonderful volunteers assumed roles as Wedding-site Co-coordinators, Porters, Hike Leaders, Water-bottle Distributor, First aide Administrator and yes, Bear Wrestler. 

Okay, keep together.  No stragglers allowed.  Fresh bear and cougar tracks had us keenly aware of our surroundings.  (enlarge this photo and you will gasp at what you see!)

Nelson Dog had to stay on-leash for the whole trip, even though he begged to be allowed to run free through the glorious meadow wild flowers. Other than tracks, we saw no signs of big game. It was the swarms of Mosquitoes that attacked us viciously. We made note to have lots of bug spray and sunscreen available to share the next day.

The Mother of the Groom hosted about 40 people for supper later that afternoon.

 Food, glorious food!

Fun and hi jinx.

The party began when family and friends started arriving Thursday afternoon and it just kept getting better and better all weekend, culminating in the finale Wedding Breakfast on Monday.  Don't you just LOVE weddings?