November Days

      With the clocks changing last weekend, the last few days have really begun to feel more like Winter than Fall, around here. After all the hustle and bustle of the Coffee House it has been good to regroup this week and get on with some more “standard” Day Camps work, to take a look forward to the whole training process of our Teams and, yes, even to dabble in Menu Planning for the Retreat Week, which will take place, God willing, at the beginning of July!  Actually it is not that far-fetched to be drafting out the Menus since I love to explore new recipes and foods from different cultures and even to link some of the meals to the Day Camp Stories and other Retreat activities. So now that the outline is in place I will be able to keep on tweaking it into shape over the next few months until the advance cooking begins, sometime in May.

 The SYC Bible Study went off well last Sunday evening, with approx. 12 in attendance, a good mix of Staff and Campers. Monday I was so pleased to be able to entertain Arnee to lunch. She is our long-suffering Program Manual typist/editor and does a fabulous job of pulling many mismatched chapters into a seamless document of which we can all be proud. Over lunch I presented her with the canvas and leather bag I had bought for her and the card, which was signed by a whole bunch of Team and Committee Members. Tuesday I was very happy to have Steven Craig over for dinner. He is a member of the ICVF Team working in CEGEPS and Universities in the Montreal area and is in charge of MCF @ McGill. He told me all about the Retreat they had last weekend at which there had been 90 participants!

   Throughout the week the raking and general closing down of the garden has continued apace. The bulbs have been planted and yesterday I emptied the composter and spread fresh compost over several beds. Sadly my wheelbarrow has a flat tire. A friend did make an attempt to inflate it but was unsuccessful, thus requiring that I carry the compost all over the garden in a rather small bucket. A long and laborious process! There are still quite a few leaves on my biggest Maple tree but the others are bare and the ivy has changed colour and
is now dropping leaves all around the house.
It looks as if the brick masons will not turn up this fall. I am concerned at the very real possibility of bricks falling and shall have to commit the situation to prayer over the months ahead. Wednesday I was able to post a little knitted hat to David and Claire, in Warwickshire, UK  (former Team Leaders) who have just had their second son. That afternoon also marked the arrival of my big Winter vegetable box so I biked first to the Post Office and then to the veg. stand, using my bicycle as a workhorse to help transport a lot of heavy root vegetables!!

  Today, some of those vegetables have been transformed into a giant pot of Borscht, as tomorrow is my “Soup Duty” day at church. Now that the weather is cooler I need not worry about squeezing the pot into the fridge, all I need to do is leave it overnight in the front porch. 

As I write, the last of the Christmas cookies are baking in the oven after which I plan to bake a stuffed squash and my Nana’s Apple Pudding, for dinner.
 So I will close off with the Borscht Recipesince I need to put together the squash stuffing.                                           

Classic Borscht    
  • 1 small celeriac, chopped
  • 1 pound beets, peeled and grated
  • ½ pound potatoes, grated
  • ½ a small cabbage, grated
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil  
  • 1 cup tomato purée
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. Tamari
  • 2 Tbsps. lemon juice
In a large pot, over medium heat, sauté the onions in the oil, until translucent. Add the carrots, celeriac and pepper and sauté for another 15minutes. Add the tomato purée and dill and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the potatoes, beets, and cabbage with the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20minutes. Stir n the Tamari and lemon juice. Serve with a spoonful of yoghurt or sour cream, if desired.Serves 8
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