Gratitude Tortiere & Crossroads

Merry Christmas.  I’m writing to you today about gratitude, tortiere & crossroads.

Manfred and I hope you enjoy the holiday season with a joyful combination of friends, family and quiet solitude.

I can’t remember last year’s Christmas Day.  I think we just stayed at home in a blur of dismay.  Curled up in our living room wondering what to do next.

It was Christmas Eve morning last year, that we awoke to find that our farm’s implement shed had burned to the ground unnoticed the night before. Remember the blizzard that stranded people on the road or at home? Well, during that storm as we relaxed inside, a fire was gobbling up 40 years’ worth of repairing, acquiring, scrapping and hoarding farm equipment and tools.

This devastation has led me to reflect on gratitude, tortiere and crossroads.
This is the scene at our barn fire, Christmas Eve Day 2022 

So, being grateful last Christmas was more challenging than most years.

But this year has been filled with a million little moments where people’s generosity, efficiency or kindness has made the act of rebuilding easier.

When tragedy visits your life, people step up.  And, if you are lucky, they share the story of how they felt when the same thing happened to them.  You see that they have carried on.  They have found a way to rebuild.

It is a gift to see and hear this.

So, I would like to send this out to people who may face a heart break this season or next: find strength in the people who reach out to you.  You will be surprised who they are, but accept their generosity and kindness like a sponge.  It doesn’t change anything, but eventually, it will help.

Hoping you have many things to be grateful for this season, whether they are memories or hopes for the future.


P.S. Thank you to the many people who kept the Christmas Spirit alive all year.  I hope you live a life full of gratitude, tortiere & crossroads.

Featured Barn Quilt Pattern

Country Roads
Country Roads aka Country Crossings is a simple traditional quilt block. It is drawn on a 7 Row Grid.

This Barn Quilt block is the first on our Garden Barn Quilt Trail at Crazy 8 Barn & Garden.  It tells the story of our property that was the former site of the Palmyra General Store for over a century.  We are located at the crossroads of Palmyra Road and Talbot Trail.

The colours used in this quilt block represent the greens of the fields, the browns of our country roads and a custom-made orange-red reminds us of the brick buildings that were a big part of the early settlements in this area.

What our online store for upcoming barn quilt events.
What I enjoyed Reading …

Actually, I’ve never read this 1950’s novella by Frederick Forsyth, but I have listened to its reading by the great Alan Maitland on Christmas Eve (or the nearest Friday night to Christmas) for many years on CBC radio.  It’s one of our holiday traditions.

Forsyth wrote the story for his wife who asked for a Ghost Story for Christmas.  That might seem like a tall order, but Forsyth created a classic that is heart-warming and haunting all at the same time.  Follow the story as a young aviator faces death as his aircraft fails on Christmas Eve. The surprise ending will leave you waiting anxiously for next year, when you can hear it all again.

This year, John Travolta and Disney have released a film version of The Shepherd.  I don’t know if I will watch it as I love the magic of listening to Maitland read, but likely will as I can’t get enough of this story.
If you missed the “Christmas Eve” – Dec. 22 this year – here is  Al Maitland reading The Shepherd on CBC

As always, please purchase this book from an independent book shop or borrow from your local library.  This is a great way to support authors and small businesses. 

Crazy 8 Barn & Garden Recipe of the Week
Big Batch Holiday Tortiere
This holiday classic French-Canadian meat pie grew out of several combined family and traditional recipes. We hope you include it in your celebrations.  This recipe is for 5 – 6 Tortiere so you can make-ahead and freeze or share with family and friends. For a make-ahead tip, make filling, cool and place in pastry with dough topping and freeze.  Bake from frozen when needed.

Here’s the recipe.

Last Week’s Scone Recipe

I totally messed up sending and resending incomplete scone recipes last week, so if you want the real thing, here it is.