Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Burying Brown Betty

This past weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving. When I first moved to Canada a very American me had a difficult time adjusting to celebrating Thanksgiving the second Monday of October instead of the fourth Thursday of November. Now, more than thirty years later, I really appreciate having the holiday so much earlier in the year. The weather is often still nice enough to enjoy outdoor activities, and there is little threat of the snowy and icy roads that are common in November.

This year was a relatively quiet Thanksgiving. We had our big family gathering last weekend when Karsten, Diana and Lucy were here. We still had guests - just not the "gathering of the clan" that we have had other years. Yesterday my good friend Ellen, her husband John and their grandson Carter came out for the day. The weather was brilliant, so we spent a good part of the afternoon kayaking/canoeing on the lake. I have to admit, it was miserably cold getting into the kayak since this involved getting my feet wet, but after the initial shock, and once we paddled out into the sunshine, I stopped whining about my frozen toes. If I go again this fall I think I will take a pair of handknit wool socks to put on my feet once I get in the kayak. After all, wool is supposed to keep you warm even if it gets wet, so I figure it's worth a try.

Kellen and Anita came out Saturday and stayed overnight. Late Saturday afternoon, just as the sun was starting to sink lower in the sky, the side of the mountain looked like it was on fire. It was beautiful, and I'm afraid this picture doesn't do it justice.



We had lasagna instead of turkey for dinner, but I still made some of the other more traditional Thanksgiving foods like cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts and a pumpkin dessert. This pumpkin pudding seemed like a good gluten-free alternative to pumpkin pie for two reasons. The first is, it is very hard to make a good gluten-free pie crust, and the second is, I don't really like pumpkin pie. It turns out that pumpkin pudding is basically pumpkin pie without the crust, but it wasn't anything that lots of whipped cream couldn't cure.




Once it got dark Kellen built a fire in the fire pit in our backyard. I wasn't impressed when I looked out the kitchen window and saw him holding a can of gasoline. Sadly, my two oldest boys have inherited fire bug genes from both sides of the family.




Now, about Brown Betty. This is a sad story. It starts with my very favourite tea mug, one I bought when I was in Scotland two years ago. It has featured in many pictures on my blog. Here it is on my back deck in Kamloops last spring.




Last week my beloved mug cracked. It was a sad moment when I had to throw it in the garbage. I had no idea how the crack happened, and decided it was just a random accident of some kind. Then, when Kellen and Anita got here, I made a pot of tea in my Brown Betty teapot. I couldn't believe it when I went to pour the tea and discovered it was also cracked and leaking all over the counter! Kellen's theory is that now that the weather has cooled the granite countertop in the kitchen is cold, and when I put the mug and the teapot on the cold granite and poured the boiling water into them they cracked. I'm sure he is right, and at least I can take measures to prevent any more breakage.

As I walked over to the garbage to throw Brown Betty away I suddenly realized something. I live by Teapot Hill. Brown Betty didn't have to go into a pauper's grave. She could be buried in style. The next morning Anita and I headed out on our mission. Remember, we have the Parks people continually on the lookout for teapots, removing any they happen to find. We searched for a spot that was well hidden, and this is what we came up with. See that log in the distance, right in the middle of the picture?




It has a hole in it that turned out to be just big enough to hold Brown Betty's remains.




It will take a keen eye to spot her from the trail.





The thing is, Brown Betty is easily replaced. I can just order another one from Amazon and it will be here in no time. But to replace my sheep mug I need to go back to Scotland. Which, come to think of it, doesn't sound like a bad idea.



R.I.P. Brown Betty

39 comments:

  1. I love brown betty's burial spot! I know you can buy them locally just in case you want instant gratification though I'm sure Amazon is cheaper. I haven't commented much lately but I loved your Scottish posts and any Lucy updates you provide! The picture of the two of you in your last post was beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! Amazon.com is way cheaper, so I'm going to order one and have it shipped to my mom's. I have two other teapots, so will be able to survive until I get the replacement Brown Betty. :-)

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  2. Oh I love it. Not about the passing of Brown Betty but more about her final resting place and sure she will soon be steaming her way to teapot heaven or anywhere else that departed teapots go to. I'm sure she will be sadly missed. So glad you enjoyed your weekend and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I'm not sure I know the reason why Thanksgiving is six weeks ahead of the American holiday but I'm sure I shall check it out on Google. Enjoy your week.
    Patricia x

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    1. Leaving her on Teapot Hill took away some of the sting of her "passing." Anita and I had fun looking for just the right place to leave her.

      I wish I could answer your question about why American Thanksgiving is so much later than the Canadian one, but I have no idea. I need to do some Googling myself!

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  3. RIP! A lovely resting place, if I say so. Also, YES, USE THIS EXCUSE TO GO BACK TO SCOTLAND.

    I'm an American in Canada, and also had trouble with the Thanksgiving change. But then I realized that because my birthday is always around American Thanksgiving, my move to Canada would mean that the weekend could be wholly devoted to ME!! ;) Downside of early Thanksgiving though... in the US there is a concept that you aren't allowed to have any Xmas music/decoration before the end of Novermber. But in Canada there is no such convenient boundary... you start hearing Xmas music right after Halloween... ugh!

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    1. Ha! I don't need much of an excuse to go back to Scotland/Shetland. I love it there! This just adds one more reason to go back to an already very long list.

      I'm glad the Canadian Thanksgiving date is working to your advantage as far as your birthday goes. If you stay up here long enough you might find the November date actually starts to feel like the odd one. That's what happened to me. :-)

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  4. My favorite tea mug is the exact same shape as yours! It's a Christmas one but that doesn't stop me from using it year round. I bought it at Dollarama. Do you have that in BC?
    What's that you're knitting with the green and white yarn? It looks like slippers my gran used to make for us! (Except she used that horrible phentex stuff)

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    1. Aren't those style of tea mugs the best? For one thing, they hold lots of tea. Plus they are quite stable and don't tend to tip over. Thanks for the Dollarama suggestion. I have purchased two similar shaped mugs at London Drugs, but they just aren't the same as the sheep mug I bought in Edinburgh.

      The green and white yarn was the dress for the knitted doll I made out of the Arne and Carlos book. Here's the link to my post about it if you are interested. http://journeynorthof49.blogspot.ca/2013/04/come-meet-hannah.html

      And I agree. Phentex is pretty awful.

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  5. I forgot to mention that the pumpkin pie filling is my favorite! I don't care for the pastry bit at all. Bake it in a bowl and pour on the whipped cream,,,,,,,,YUM!

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    1. That's interesting that you like it better without the crust. I did find it better that way too, which is odd since I usually like pie crust. But maybe there is something about the way a pumpkin pie crust gets kind of soggy that makes it unpalatable. The pudding was tolerable. Barely. It would have been better if I had skipped it and just had the whipped cream though. :-)

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  6. I'm glad you had a good Thanksgiving. I actually didn't know you were American! I don't know how I missed that. How did you end up in Canada? I'm always fascinated to know how and why people move around. I love what you did with Brown Betty, that's awesome. I am so intrigued by Teapot Hill, I wish we had something like this here. I can see Kellen's theory; I have always been warned never to put anything cold into a hot Pyrex pan or my crockpot liner if it's empty and hot.

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    1. I guess I haven't talked about my American side on my blog for quite awhile. The short story is I met my husband at the University of Idaho. He is a Canadian, and was there working on his master's degree in fisheries. After we finished school the job opportunities were better in Canada, so we settled here. I have dual citizenship, as do all five of my kids.

      That warning about Pyrex is one to heed. Many years ago we were at a homeschool get together and the mom put a Pyrex pan on top of her oven. It shattered, well, really I would almost say it exploded. If someone had been standing right beside it they would have been seriously injured. This would not be the kind of experiment you would want to do at a birthday party! :-)

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  7. A fitting burial.....and a trip to plan for!

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    1. The really nice thing is now every time I do that hike I can pay my respects. :-)

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  8. Condolences on both Brown Betty and your mug. Obviously another trip must be planned ... the gods have spoken.

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    1. I know. It seems like the universe is trying to tell me something. Now the universe just needs to drop some trip funds into my bank account. Ha!

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  9. Brown Betty's secret resting place is safe with me, ... sorry you lost two old faves. Happy thanksgiving, and love the pumpkin pudding - without pie crust, think of all the calories saved. Win, win. The golden mountain is beautiful, and I can just imagine how fantastic it looked in reality. Great post, Kirstie. xx

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    1. Thanks Patricia, I knew I could trust my readers not to give away the Brown Betty secret burial info. :-)

      As far as saving calories by leaving out the pie crust, if you had seen the mound of whipped cream I put on that pudding you would retract your statement.

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  10. Love this story Kristie! I hope the burial site remains a secret. Now why can't I be as sensible as you about discarding a broken favourite mug? I've had a favourite mug for over 20 years and it cracked a few years ago but is still sits in the cupboard even though it is totally useless! :-)

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    1. I was so tempted to do what you have done - leave the mug in my cupboard so I could still enjoy looking at it. The only reason I didn't was because I was afraid someone would use it, not knowing it was cracked.

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  11. I hope Betty enjoys her burial plot, especially if she gets to see those amazing sunsets. I guess you just need to make another trip to Scotland for the mug

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    1. Yes, another to Scotland is needed. After all, my cupboard seems quite bare without my sheep mug. It needs to be replaced, and I know the exact shop I bought it in when I was in Edinburgh.

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  12. is this your mug? http://www.brodiecountryfare.com/item/Brand_DunoonSillySheepMug_256_0_3076_1.html

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    1. Oh, that is so very close to the mug I had! I'm sure it must be made by the same company.
      Thanks for the link!

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  13. What a wonderful idea to leave her on Teapot Hill! Sounds like you had a lovely relaxed Thanksgiving!

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    1. It was a good idea, but one I almost didn't have. It really was only as I was walking over to throw it in the garbage that I suddenly realized we could leave it on Teapot Hill.

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  14. I hope Brown Betty gets to rest peacefully! I'd suggest a Herdy mug to replace your broken mug...they are adorable and come in wonderful colours.

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    1. Ha! Great minds think alike. I have the US Herdy site bookmarked, and am planning to order a couple mugs and have them sent to my mom's to pick up next time I go down. I'm torn between the peeping sheep and the regular ones. :-)

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  15. Ruth in Ontario, CanadaOctober 16, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    In the Ken Burns documentary about the (American) Civil War, something is mentioned about President Lincoln decreeing a day of Thanksgiving after some Union victory or other (don't ask me which one). So apparently it has nothing to do with the harvest and all that. I suppose ours is based more on the English "harvest home" thing which is a celebration of harvest time, but I don't know the details of that either. Just a guess. Kristie, do you mean to tell me that you haven't started planning a kitchen reno to make room for an Aga??? Really, a 3-oven wouldn't take up too much more room than an ordinary stove...Also could you let me know when you are planning to go back to Scotland and I will send along my shopping list. Ha! So sad to hear about Betty; we have an 8-cupper which we love except that the eccentric spout drips terribly.

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    1. I am making mental plans for that Aga, but I fear they are imaginary plans rather than real ones. Plus my family all think I'm crazy. It's too bad the 3-oven one won't fit into a regular North American sized spot for an oven.

      I will definitely give you lots of advance notice about the next trip to Scotland. :-)

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    2. Ruth in Ontario, CanadaOctober 17, 2013 at 6:14 AM

      They wouldn't think you were crazy once they tasted the food coming out of an Aga! Oh well, imaginary plans are fun, too.

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  16. I'm glad to know that Betty is resting on Teapot Hill. Now stock up on cork hotpads and coasters before you replace her and the sheep mug; then you'll be set for many happy cups of tea.
    -- stashdragon

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    1. I have cork hot pads and coasters, and they are now being used religiously every time I make tea. Hopefully that will take care of the problem. I will just have to train our visitors to use the coasters when they are here.

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  17. Yep, accidental genius, Kristie. I'm sorry the laws of physics have lost you your favourite mug and teapot, but at least Brown Betty in her last resting-place is cocking a snook at over-regulation by the park rangers. :-)

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    1. I had to Google "cocking a snook." Thanks for the new expression :-)

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  18. In this house, cracked and chipped mugs get put around the place to hold pens and pencils.

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    1. That's a great way to recycle them! To be honest, I hadn't even thought of that when I threw my mug away. I wish I would haveI

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  19. Beautiful picture of the sunset reflecting on the mountains. It looks as if Brown Betty has found a fitting new home on Teapot hill.
    Sarah x

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    1. Yes, may she rest in peace. The poor thing had an untimely demise thanks to our cold countertops. :-)

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