Gnomes? Elves?

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First, I would like to share something with you. The llamas in this photo are not mine. But I saw something the other day with my llama Bandit that I have never seen before. It was beautiful and I tried to capture it on video but, as luck would have it, the moment ended before I had the chance to record it.

The other morning, I caught Bandit giving Nemo (the ram) a hug. Nemo was standing still and Bandit was resting his neck on Nemo’s neck. Then Bandit went to nibble or whisper something in Nemo’s ear which made Nemo paw the ground in front of him so Bandit returned to rest the side of his face on Nemo’s neck. These two have been friends and paddock-mates for nearly five years.  So sweet!

Here is the second thing I’d like to share. Another story. An older one. One that still makes me giggle. I was reminded of it when I saw my gnomes together on our Christmas tree. They were gifts from two friends, part of our Friend’s Fibre and Mini-Skein Advent Calendar Exchanges. Seeing these two makes me want to knit all the GNOMES! 

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About 22 years or so ago, a friend and her husband had invited my husband, Stéphane, and I over to their house for dinner during the Christmas Holiday Season. They didn’t want us to bring anything so we brought some really good red wine. 

We were warmly greeted, the wine offering was taken from us, and we pulled up to the dinner table for a fantastic and filling meal, replete with more wine provided by our hosts. We ate, we laughed, we drank. It was a whole lot of fun. After dinner was done, my friends suggested we play Scrabble. Sure! I had played a bit and Stéphane had never played but the rules were simple enough to explain. So, we sat around a living room coffee table and the game began. 

We each took our turns and it was smooth in the beginning. It then became evident that Stéphane seemed to have difficulty processing the fact that when he lays down squares to makes a word, if his squares butt up to an already existing letter, the whole line of squares need to make a word. He was reminded of this by our host when he returned with an opened bottle of wine. 

And reminded again, as our host sucked back more wine and showed obvious agitation.

The next reminder came rather loudly while our host was standing up, red faced and, as he shunned all social etiquette, drank straight from a newly opened bottle of wine. 

“Okay. Okay, I’ve got it”. Stéphane spoke placatingly, apologetically. The air was fraught with tension. It was really uncomfortable but nobody wanted to draw attention to it. Reassuring everyone that he understood, Stéphane carefully, almost hesitatingly, placed his next letters on the board. E,    L,    F. 

Only they were up against the letter H. 

The room exploded. The host leapt to his feet, brandishing the now empty wine bottle, his facial and neck veins pulsating as he shrieked, Helf!!! HELF?!!! Helf is a WORD???!!!

Stéphane, all confused as to how he had made a mistake, meekly said, “Helf. You know, Santa and his helfs?” 

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For those of you who haven’t heard heavily accented French Canadians speak English, this story may be lost on you. My husband says “helf” to mean elf. And because he says it that way, he thinks it’s spelled that way. For illustration purposes only, here is a slightly exaggerated sentence my husband might say: “Ow har you? Wat? I av a haccent? I speak Henglish perfectly! I av been speaking Henglish since I was 20!” (The stress on these words is on the last syllable).

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My mother-in-law makes what I think is the best Sugar Pie. I have no idea where the recipe comes from or how old it is but I have been in love with this pie for over two decades. I was a bit fearful before my first bite (it’s all in the name: SUGAR Pie??). I prefer savoury over sweet. I shun chocolate for potato chips or salted peanuts. But a slice of this pie with a cup of tea is a little glimpse of Heaven. 


  • 1 cup of white sugar                                                                       
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of water 
  • 1 3/4 cup of whipping cream (35%)
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 flour
  • 3 pie shells (maybe 4?), unbaked

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix the first three ingredients together and boil them on the stove over medium heat for seven to eight minutes. 

Warm up the whipping cream. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter and flour. Add the warm cream to this bowl and mix together. Add the cream mixture in this bowl to the sugar mixture on the stove and boil for another seven to eight minutes.

Carefully pour into unbaked pie shells and bake at 350F for about 50 minutes or until it looks firm around the edges and a bit softer in the middle. 

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                  I wish you peace and joy during this holiday season. 

4 thoughts on “Gnomes? Elves?”

  1. Oh my – sounds like my maman when she spoke English “dis, dat and dose tings” lol. My godmother always made me a sugar pie for my mid-December birthday. I miss all my old french-canadian traditions.

    1. 😁 You need to make your own traditions, then! Carry on your French-Canadian ones. The food is certainly delicious and worth making! Have a wonderful holiday and take care, Diane!

  2. Thanks for the recipe – I always wanted to try it. I had a French Canadian grandmother who married my English/Irish (off the boat) grandfather. She learned English when she married and always wrote letters to me with “h’s” in front of of “is” and other places too. I was in love with her “Maid of Honour” tarts that she made without measuring and just using her hand. They were the best! Best wishes for a healthy, happy and safe 2022!

    1. You’re welcome! You have a nice family story. I hope the pie works out for you. It’s been a few years since I’ve made it and the recipe was given to me rather cryptically and in French. All the best wishes to you, too, Sheila!

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