Monday, January 4, 2010

Home From the Holidays

Every winter, over Christmas and New Years, Lori and I rent a house with another couple and get away from phones and computers and responsibilities for as long as possible. Its my one real vacation each year. The origins of the trip are ancient and complex, but this is the fourth year that we've rented a house for the Holidays, although there were several seasons of practice before that at Lori's parent's cabin.

This year we stayed at Amber Retreat, a recently renovated salt-box house in Durrell, near Twillingate. (In the photo on the left, its the buff yellow house on the left.) It was a fanastic house - definitely one of our favourites! The nine nights and 10 days we spent there ran together like one long Sunday afternoon. Eating, sleeping, reading and playing games.

For me, the games are always a highlight. Uno was a popular one this year for those times after a nap or late in the evening, when you weren't alert enough for the strategy of this year's big board game. We discovered Agricola - a massive farming board game that takes place in 1670, where your goal is to build your farm and feed your family. According to Board Game its the number one player ranked game in the world. Its just the kind of game I like. Lots of little wooden pieces to collect and spend, cards to change the rules, and every time you play it, its different. There's even a 1 person version so I can stay in tip-top shape for next season!

We popped out of our little time warp to exchange stockings on Christmas morning and drink Champagne and cheer when we saw "Durrell" flash across the screen on NTVs New Year's countdown. But every other moment it was back to our perpetual Sunday afternoon.

I guess I need to get back into work mode now. It seems like a good time to do some cleaning up. Last year, every job rolled right over top of the next from June until December and I really haven't done a good clean up in the shed for months. No one who has seen my office would believe me, but I do really like to clean and reset my workshop between each job.

Photo for Dad:

Finally, here's a farm picture that I omitted last time. I think Dad was concerned that my previous set of photos implied that he hadn't bought any new machinery since the first half of the 20th Century - so here's his Versatile Tractor.

Photo Credits:
Photos 1 & 8, Lori White
Photos 2-7 & 9, Tim Rast

Photo Captions:
First, Driving to Durrell
Second, Amber Retreat (buff yellow house on the left with the grey and black car parked beside it)
ThirdLori's Enchiladas!
Fourth, Agricola after a tight game - a 3-way tie - 35 points each!
Fifth, Scenic Durrell
Sixth, Christmas stocking chaos
Seventh, Lori reading on her landing
Eighth, Tim reading
Ninth, Versatile tractor, Donkey and Horse at Little Profit Ranch, Ensign, Alberta


  1. your holiday sounds perfect. well deserved for both of you. xxx

  2. I miss my little landing nook. What you can't see are the toe separators while I awaited my pedicure to dry! Ahhh.. things that make a holiday just perfect.

  3. Sounds like you had a great time indeed! Happy New Year to you!

    Also, so you know, voting is now open for the NL Bloggers Choice Award on the NL BlogRoll. With your blog being one of the choices in this first ever vote, I figured you'd want to know!

    Good luck!!!

  4. Fun! Happy new year Tim! More food pictures are always welcome.

  5. Thanks for the heads up Stephen -- I'll put a note about the voting on my sidebar.

    Happy New Year to you too, Erika! Lori was camera crazy over the Holidays and I'm sure that she said it was for a series of relax-erific and food-tastic blog posts.

  6. Sounds like you had a great christmas holiday. I keep suggesting to my wife that we do exactly what you have been doing. I keep thinking trinity would make a nice christmas destination and would be lovely covered in snow.

    I have not played Agricola but I have heard some good thinks about it.


  7. Hi Tim
    Thank you for your email. I am so happy that you guys had a great time at Amber Retreat - that is EXACTLY what we love to hear.

    I took the liberty of linking this post to the Amber Retreat Facebook page - good luck with the Blog Awards and all the best for 2010!

  8. Hi Peter,
    We haven't done Trinity yet, but its on the list. I got Agricola at Chapters before Christmas. The sticker price is $79, but it scanned considerably cheaper and with another coupon we got it for about half the price. Its the same sort of quality as Settlers of Catan and Carcasonne and having played games like that in the past will help a lot with the learning curve. One of the things I liked most about Agricola was the variety out of the box. Without any additional expansion packs it customizes itself using reversable game boards and different sets of cards to build itself up and shrink itself down depending on the number of players and their familiarity with the game.

  9. Hi Wilma,

    Thanks for the great Christmas retreat and the link! I didn't make the connection until after we'd booked the house, but you're a big reason I started this blog. I was at a meeting with you last February to talk about the Craft Council's web presence and it convinced me that there were easier ways to manage online content than the static website that I'd been neglecting for years. Thanks for that too!


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