Thursday, May 23, 2013

Things Can Change in an Instant

Shortly after I wrote my post last night, gently poking fun at Larry, I received a call from my sister.    It was one of those calls that made me really want to say 'This is just a joke, right?'  But no-one ever jokes about that.  My sister told me that her husband had just died.  He was 56.
Today has been spent trying to get things planted, seeded, transplanted.  Bringing Larry up to speed  about the garden and what to take the to markets, and where things are and what to do with them.   It is opening day at the White Rock Farmers Market this Sunday.  Meredith offered to help Larry out this weekend.  I'm flying to Ontario tomorrow to stay with my sister for a while.  I still can't believe it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars

A woman and a man set off on a bike ride.  The first part was downhill, and woman was in front.  She kept checking that the man was coming behind her, which he was, but he seemed farther back than usual.  When she got to the really really steep hill, the woman put her brakes on a bit, as she had mental images of losing control and skidding down the hill, bare skin to pavement.  That was too bad, because the next part was a really steep uphill, and she needed as much of a run at that hill as she could get.  The road curved here, and part way up the hill the woman looked back and could not see the man at all.  So she gave up all the impulsion she had, and got off the bike and waited.  Eventually the man came into sight, and when he got to where she was waiting, the woman asked the man why he was so far behind.  The man said he came down the hill slowly, and he looked kind of grumpy.  The woman got back on her bike and made her way to the top of the hill and continued along.  She realized that the man seemed to be going slower than usual, and he still looked grumpy.  A few miles passed, and the man still seemed grumpy.  Finally it was too much grumpiness for the woman, and she stopped and asked the man what was wrong.  The man said he  had a painful earache because the cool air was blowing in his ears.  The woman wondered to herself why the man hadn't said anything sooner, before his ears started to hurt. The woman asked him if he wanted to go back.  He didn't say anything.  She asked him if he wanted to keep going,  he said 'slowly'.  The woman started looking through everything they had brought with them so see if there was any tissue or something that the man could put in his ears.  She found nothing.  Then she had a brain wave.  The woman told the man to take off his socks.  They were white anklet socks.  The woman folded them in half, tucked one end under the edge of the man's helmet, so that the rest of the sock covered the man's ears. She then adjusted the helmet straps to make a small 'vee' right over the ears to hold the socks in place.  The man was happy, the woman was happy because the man was happy and not grumpy, and the bike ride continued on and was much more enjoyable for both.  The woman was sad that her camera batteries died and she had not remembered to bring extras, so that she could not record the ear covering socks for all her blog readers to see.  
The End.

The moral of the story:  Speak now or forever have your ears ache.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thrifty Thursday

By the time you all read this, it will be Friday.  But Thrifty Thursday has a much nicer ring.  I did write this post Thursday evening.  I'm usually sort of a day behind, but that's how I roll.  Since you all know that I'm a fan of thrift stores, I thought I would show you some of the things I picked up recently.   Some are great bargains, some maybe not so much, but I love to look, and it's a rare day that I leave a thrift store without something in my hand.  And with the joys of Google, my second thrill is to come home and find the that the item I paid a few dollars for sells new for $80.

Apres ski boots.  Well that's what the website said.  Since I don't ski, the apres part doesn't apply, but they do make nice slippers, felt lovely on my bare feet. Like new - $3


Cute little fold out sewing box.  Can be used for anything.  I`ve seen them before, but not in as good shape as this one.  I want to paint it and add some little feet and add some graphics to the top.


It's already got cute paper in the bottom of the compartments.  $2.50 (50% off)


Some Josef Seibel sandals. They need a bit of shoe polish.  My mum would say "That's a good make...'  $1.50 (50% off)


Danskin yoga pants.  I'm not really a yoga pant kind of person, but then I'm not a PJ's kind of person either.  These yoga pants are sooo much more comfortable than PJ's, I wore them last night, but not to bed:) They are black, not charcoal.  Like new $4


I've been giving my farmers market stall a make over.  So these things here cost me $10 total.  The big piece ( a cabinet door) will be a sandwich board to stand out in front of my booth.  The egg sign is a picture that I painted over to make into the sign.  The two empty frames will have thin wood painted in chalkboard paint slipped in to them.  One will say 'Brown Free Range Eggs for sale', and since it can be two sided, the other side will say 'Sorry, eggs all sold out'.  There is a heavy stand-up flip photo album, and another little box that will come in handy for something.


And these sandals, well I've been keeping my eyes peeled for quite a while looking for something like this.  It was just a fluke, I happened to check the men's shoes at the same store I got that tin box yesterday.  I wore them lots when we had our warm weather last week.  I washed them and they looked like new before I started wearing them.  $6


And I did get some information on that box in yesterdays post. $2.99 minus 20% seniors discount.  If you are going to ask me if I get the seniors discount, I am going to take it.



A wonderful Reference Librarian friend of my sister found some information in this book.
SMITHS FALLS - A Social History of Men and Women in a Rideau Canal Community - 1794-1994, by Glenn J Lockwood.  Falls Manufacturing started in 1946 and in 1953 was bought out by a British firm.  I think it's safe to say the file box is at least 60 years old.  It has aged well.

And for supper tonight, we had home grown greens to add our radishes to. Three kinds of lettuce, arugula, kale, chard and spinach, picked and eaten within half an hour:)
Can't beat that!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Research Project for you Cathy

Yesterday I had some errands to do.  Drop off library books, return a ruptured, gel wheelchair seat cushion, stop at the butchers for some dog food.  Some trivia here....did you know that a low end seat cushion for a wheel chair, with a gel pack in it, costs $360? (that was with a 10% discount because my mum is in a care home.  Why does that make any difference?) That price just blows me away.  The gel pack in my mother's cushion had ruptured, less than 6 months after it was purchased.  Thank goodness there is a two year warranty.  So after doing things I'd actually gone out to do, I then stopped at the nursery and bought some plants, the produce place to get some fruit off the reduced table for fruit salad, and the grocery store.  Well it just so happens that there is a thrift store right across the road from the grocery store.  And I figure that I deserve a little 'reward' for doing all that other stuff.  Logical, right?  Not my favourite thrift store, I find their clothes a little expensive, but I always manage to find something to bring home.

I see this  vintagey  looking old metal file box.  Did I have a use for


But the price was right.


And when I opened it up, this was the clincher.


My sister lives there.  It's a small town in Ontario.  
So off to Google I go to see what I can find out.  An hour wasted and I found absolutely nothing.  So Cathy and the other one or two readers I have in Smiths Falls, I'm sending this little research project to you:)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mmmmmm.....Mother's Day

Take some souvenirs from Hawaii....


That had just come back on the red eye with Meredith Sunday morning....


Add some strawberry sauce....(raspberries were too expensive, and I have none left in the freezer)


And some eggs....


Lots of love and chocolate....


And you end up with this.  Chocolate Stuffed French Toast.
Was it good....mmmm....:)
Thanks David and Meredith!


We had it for supper.  I'm not a breakfast in bed person, and I was out for lunch with my mother.

This recipe for stuffed French toast — perfect for breakfast in bed for Mom on Mother’s Day — is a little healthier than the original. We start with whole-wheat bread, replace some of the whole eggs with egg whites, and swap in raspberry sauce for maple syrup. Complement the finished French toast with some freshly squeezed orange juice and a pot of freshly brewed coffee, and you’re off to the races.

Chocolate-stuffed French Toast with Raspberry Sauce
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Servings: 4

1 pint (2 cups or 500 mL) fresh raspberries, plus extra to garnish
1/4 cup (60 mL) sugar, divided
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 cup (250 mL) 1-per-cent milk
1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) vanilla extract
Pinch of table salt
8 slices whole-wheat bread, lightly toasted
3 oz (86 g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Heat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
In a blender or food processor, combine the raspberries with 2 1/2 tbsp (37.5 mL) of the sugar. Puree, then pour through a mesh strainer. Discard the seeds and set aside the sauce.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg whites. Add the milk, vanilla, salt and remaining 1 1/2 tbsp (22.5 mL) of sugar. Whisk until well combined.
Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium. Dip 2 slices of the bread in the egg mixture until well soaked. Place the soaked slices in the skillet and sprinkle each with a quarter of the chocolate. Dip another 2 slices of bread in the egg mixture, then set them on top of the chocolate, pressing gently but firmly so the pieces adhere.
Cook for 3 minutes, then carefully flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bread and chocolate, coating the pan with additional cooking spray. When all of the stuffed French toast has been cooked in the skillet and transferred to the baking sheet, bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
Cut each portion in half on the diagonal, drizzle with some of the raspberry sauce and garnish with additional raspberries.

Nutrition information per serving: 380 calories; 130 calories from fat (34 per cent of total calories); 14 g fat (6 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 95 mg cholesterol; 54 g carbohydrate; 9 g fibre; 26 g sugar; 17 g protein; 400 mg sodium.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fresh out of the Garden

IMG_5615 by agilitee

Picked this morning. Six weeks from seeding.
If I planted some this morning, they'd probably be ready in three weeks.  The soil is warm and wet with the two inches of rain we've had the last couple of days.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lovely While it Lasted

We've had Summer for the past week and a half.  Lovely summer. Just one hottish sort of day, and the rest were warm and sunny.  Well it's back to reality now, we've been reminded it isn't even the middle of May yet, and this morning it's cool and raining.  But in a way I'm glad about that too.  I have a lot of transplants that need a good watering, and more transplants and seeding to do, and rainy weather is best for that, for me at least, as I hate having to water.

Look at the peas go! In 2 1/2 weeks they've grown about a foot and a half.  My idea of hanging the fabric over them to make them lean in to the wire didn't quite work as planned.  Also, I felt they needed to get out in the real sunlight.  So I changed it a bit and pegged the fabric to the wire lower down to hold them in, and it has worked like a charm.


The weeds are growing like mad too, unfortunately.  There's not enough hours in a day.....or enough energy....or maybe it's willpower....or more likely it's all three.  Add age into that mix too.

We have a few more flowers blooming.  The forget-me-nots are just about done, as well as the grape hyacinths, and some other little blue bulby flower.  Now it's bluey purple irises.  No picture of those.  I took a few pictures last evening as it was getting dim, and the irises are under a tree and it was really too dark for them.  This columbine is very pretty though.



Even the cornflower is.  I had ripped this plant out at one point, a few years ago.  It looked such a mess, sprawling all over the place.  Somehow it magically reappeared, and now I'm just 'managing it.  Keeping it controlled and contained, and welcoming its touch of blue.



And the big double peonies are just starting to open.  If only they'd opened at the beginning of the dry spell.  They just load themselves up with rain and flop over.  No, I don't have them fastened up at this point, but I will try to get that done.  I got these peonies from Larry's mum's garden, a lot of years ago.


The pansies that were in a little mixed planter that I bought last Fall are blooming their little...well I was going to say happy, but to me they always look grumpy....faces off.


And here's my latest thrift store find, or one of them anyway.  A piece of garden art, or junk.  Probably a Chinese 'artifact' made to look rusty and old.  Now it needs some sort of plinth (that's my new word) to sit on.  The plastic bird bath doesn't quite cut it.  Cost me $4.  That was full price.  I usually try to hit the thrift stores on sale days, but this time I was just passing by, and the car just seemed to turn into the parking lot....Fellow thrifters know how that just seems to happen.


Here's something else I got a few weeks ago.  Why?  Well not sure.  It was half price day.  It cost me $2.  It's about 5'x3'.   It is all hand quilted.  It made me feel sad to think that the hours that someone had put into that, doing all that quilting with a needle and thread,  had been reduced to $2.    I felt the need to rescue it.  So it's sitting folded, hanging over the stair railing.  Who knows how long it will sit there, because really I don't have a place for it.  
That's how it goes.


Did I hear someone say hoarder?

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gardening with Luna

I like to kid myself and pretend that Luna comes out with me to the garden because she just can't bear for us to be parted.  Yeah right.  She comes with me because she can't bear to miss me using the rototiller.


From the potatoes we'd grown last year, we had kept a bin for our own use.  Over the winter the biggest ones got used up, and what were left were kind of getting old and a bit shrivelled, so I just didn't use them any more.  Well Spring rolls around (actually, it feels like summer right now) and all those old spuds are desperately sending out shoots and roots in an effort to reproduce.  It was a tangled mess.


Even the tiniest potatoes got in on the act.  You look at them and have to wonder where all that shoot came from.  I planted those too, just put a few all in together.


Eventually all the potatoes got planted.  The red ones were Norlands and the white ones, which didn't have very long shoots at all, are Kennebecs.   I had raked trenches, laid the potatoes in there with the shoots stretched out along the trench, and then just pulled soil back over them.  I'll rake it up into a mound as the shoots pop out of the soil.


In the meantime, Luna had settled down in the shade.  She had made a few trips back down to the house when she heard Jake barking at something, but she always came back and flopped back on the soil.  She looks like she's kind of dozing off.


But if you look at the bigger picture....


You can see that she's in the perfect spot to keep her eyes, or ears, on the rototiller.  Everytime I walked that way her eyes popped open and her ears perked up.
I moved to the plot on the other side of the greenery behind her.  Larry had dumped some piles of rotted horse manure and shavings and I needed to spread it out so that it could be tilled in.  I think she finally decided that no, I really wasn't going to start up the rototiller.  So since a herding dog needs something to herd, and the rototiller wasn't cooperating, she went down to the house and pushed her ball all the way up to the garden. 

Kick that thing for me she said.


I did.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Flowers on the Mountain

This last trip to Oliver was short and busy.  We only spent three nights there.  Not much time for sitting around reading and drinking wine.  I think the only reading I did was after dark, and before long I had fallen asleep sprawled across the furniture.

The first morning there I was determined to go out for a run.  So probably went about 5K, since it took me 31 minutes to do the route I had picked. I took Jake and Luna with me.  Larry and I had arranged (we thought) that he would come down to the river to meet me and start walking in from the bridge where I planned to finish.  At times we almost seem we have ESP, I can be thinking of something and suddenly he will start talking about that very same thing.  At other times we just don't seem to communicate properly at all.  Yeah well, you guessed it, this was one of those non-communicating times.  After me hanging around at my bridge for 10 minutes or so, and wondering where the h@#% he was, I headed home.  After he hung around at his bridge for a long time, wonder where the h@#% I was, he headed home too.  I had got home first, and thought I would go back and try to find him, and figuring that Calli would be tired out.  So I got a bike and the bike trailer out of the shed, got it hooked up, then found out I didn't have room to get it past the car in the carport, so had to move the car, and by this time I was all hot and sweating again as I was rushing.  So as I'm just about to hop on the bike, Larry and Calli appear.  We were both mad at each other, but in the end we agreed on a naming system for the different bridges that cross the river.  There are only a couple of road bridges, and one main pedestrian bridge but quite a few narrow crossings at the weirs.

After we got over that, I made some jam, and then in the afternoon we went on a 13km bike ride to a part of Oliver that we hadn't been to before.

The next morning we hiked up the mountain to the radio tower.  Jake and Luna did not seem impressed at all with that decision.  The first section is really REALLY steep, and loose and slidey.  I'm sure Jake is looking at Larry and wondering WHY he is heading up there.


Arrow-leaved balsamroot  Balsamorhiza sagittata  They were everywhere.



Some of the flowers were massive, easily 5" across.


At the other end of the scale was the  Long-leaved phlox Phlox longifolia

And Jake was still wondering if we were SURE we wanted to go up this mountain.  He mostly stuck to the trail, which kept him out of trouble.  Luna, not so much.  I pulled cactus out of her feet a few times.  I don't know if it was fresh growth, but this time they were incredibly difficult to pull out. I almost thought she might bite me one time, it was very painful trying to get them off.  They are vicious things.  I had some stuck in the rubber sole of my runner and really struggled to get rid of them.  After that I made a point of keeping her on the trail, and relatively close.  I was wondering if there were any rattlesnakes out and about.  The air was pretty cool when we started off, so thought we would be okay, but as it got warmer I was on the alert.

There was some of this, as of yet unidentified.


The fresh greenery and the view was gorgeous though


The trail was quite steep in parts (which never seems to show up well in a photo) and it was getting hot, or we were getting hot, and the shade was nice to take a breather in.


And then onward again.


Still lots of the balsamroot


Almost reached our goal


We hung out at the top for a while, since we had brought binoculars on this trip.  We had also remembered the dog water bottle, so the dogs kept well hydrated.  Luna suddenly started barking, and down below us on a knoll was a guy with a backpack kind of hanging around a tree.  Maybe he was waiting for us to leave?  First time we've seen anyone else up there, although the trail is obviously well used.

We took a different route part of the way down


And then we spent some time trying to find a trail that went a bit more to the north and connected into the little road that wound up to the water tower, which would bring us out closer to home than where we started.  I think some of what we followed were game trails, but we did manage to find a way.  We put the dogs back on leash at this point, as the trails wasn't very distinct and we wanted to keep them out of the prickly pear cactus.

Almost at the end.


And then back home to more reading and wine cutting up lemons for marmalade.