Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Easy Appetizers

On our last trip home from Oliver, we had stopped at a fruit stand.  I was looking for something specific, although I can't remember what, but I do remember that whatever that thing was, it was too expensive at that particular stand.  But I was the only customer there, and felt sort of weird just walking away without buying something, anything.   There was a bin of these little gourds, 3/$1.00, which was a good deal I thought, so we spent a little while picking through the bin, looking for the weirdest six we could find.  When I got home I tried to make a little Fall display on a fancy plate, but it didn't look right.  I came across this plate, which I had won, along with some other things, in a raffle prize at an agility trial.  Didn't really have a use for it, but stuck it in the china cabinet, along with all the other things that I'm not ready to get rid of, but don't really have a use for either.

It really was the perfect plate for my idea.



It also turned out to be the perfect plate for some appetizers I was asked to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner.  And these had to be the easiest appetizers ever.


Take an english cucumber, peel some strips off the sides, and cut it into 3/4 inch lengths.  Take your handy dandy melon baller (if you don't have one of those, you can probably pick one up at a garage sale or a thrift store for $.25) and scoop out the top half of the cucumber slice.  Fill the hole up with hummous, garnish with a couple of snips of chives or parsley, and voila!  (My chives and parsley didn't happen, but they tasted good irregardless).  The scooped out by the melon baller bits looked kinda cool, so used those along with some grapes to fill in the plate.


They all got eaten.
Was this worthy of a blog post?
Probably not, but I wanted to post something, and this was an easy out:)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Hodge Podge

Don't really have a blog post ready, so am just going to let you know a few things that have been happening around here.

Monday morning while walking the dogs in the morning through our back bush, I was caught red handed left footed by a maple root buried under all the Fall leaves.  I went down like a ton of bricks, landing on my left side, with my left leg landing on said root.  I felt my neck whiplash sideways,  no doubt cancelling out the chiropractic adjustment on back and neck that I had last Thursday.  I said a four letter word that started with 'F' and it wasn't Fall or fall.  Larry ran up to help and I said I was just going to lay there for a bit.  So I did, and stared up at the trunks and branches of the maple tree for a few minutes.  Then I staggered to my feet and felt mostly okay.  Larry said that he was worried that he might have to carry me back.  I said if I was bad enough that you would have to carry me, just call the ambulance.  So then we had a discussion about whether the ambulance would be able to drive all the way back there.   Anyway, I felt mostly okay yesterday, but am stiff and sore in various parts today.

Last night was our dog agility club practice.  We set two or three small courses up in the ring.  In the course that I was working Jake, there was a 20' straight tunnel.  Agility tunnels are a flexible heavy duty ducting, 2' in diameter.  The tunnel was set up close to the next course where another border collie was working.  As Jake is entering the tunnel at full speed at one end, out of the corner of my eye I see the other border collie go off course, and enter our tunnel at full speed at the other end.  I was waiting for a crash or a squabble or something to go terribly wrong in the middle.  Thank Dog nothing did.  Both dogs continued on through the tunnel, and exited at the other end.  Neither dog had a mark on it. Those two dogs passing each other in the middle at full speed in a two foot diameter circle must have been a sight to behold.  Thank Dog it was straight tunnel, not one that had been shaped into a curve.  The next time we ran that course, Jake entered the tunnel just fine, but was very slow going through it.  He was being prepared, just in case......

We have been living in a fog, literally,  for the past few days.  Kind of depressing, but early this afternoon the sun broke through, and it was beautiful.  I went out to the garden and spent two and a half hours weeding.  It warm enough for just a t-shirt and capris.  I've pulled out all the zucchini and cucumber plants, they were finished.  The dahlias are still blooming.  The Fall raspberries are still producing.  I picked about 10 cups on Sunday.  We've been picking them for two months.  The best season ever.  There's even the odd strawberry still ripening, if I can get to them before the slugs do.

Calli went to the vet today.  She's had a few bladder infections lately.  I don't think the last one got cleared up, but this time she is on a different drug.  The urine showed no sign of bacteria or white blood cells on the check today, five days into the antibiotic.  The small lumps she had on her chest did not concern the vet.  I have put her on a cranberry supplement.  Feeling relieved:)

Somebody came and raked the leaves on the driveway into big piles:) 

So I just went looking through some old blog posts to see if I could borrow some pictures for this post.  And of course I got sidetracked and started reading a whole wack of posts from 2011.  Boy, I sure had a lot more to say back then.  Oh well, no pictures with this post, sorry.  I promise to do better next time:)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Monday was Thanksgiving Day here in Canada.  I'm glad that it's early in the Fall and we can celebrate the harvest and leaves and Fall colours.......and could someone please rake our driveway?


We took the dogs for a nice walk along the Fraser River.  The Fraser River is the longest river in B.C. and the tenth longest in Canada.  This is part of the Matsqui Trail Regional Park. 


The Mission bridge in the background.  I didn't realize until later that I had a big smudge of dirty water on my lens


We got some swimming time in.



And saw the mother of all trees high and dry on the bank.  You can see Larry and Luna down near the roots.


Now Larry's right at the other end, and Luna is running down the trunk towards me by the two branches sticking out on the right.


It was unbelievably impressive, and would have been a monster when alive.  The top was broken off, but what was there was plenty long enough.  I kicked myself after for not pacing out it's length.  I'd love to know it's story, where did it originate, was it a landslide that caused it to end up in the river?  Did it pass through the narrow rapids at Hell's Gate?  Imagine the navigational hazard it would have been as it floated downstream.  How it it manage to end up so perfectly parked, parallel to the river?  It must have arrived late Spring/early Summer when the river is at it's highest.  If tree trunks could only talk....  Fascinating!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

More Calli, More Grapes

We've just come back from another trip to Oliver.  I think we've averaged about one trip a month this year, so not bad use of our vacation cottage/potential retirement town.  Since the farmers markets are still happening, we leave on Monday and come back home on Friday.  Monday is one hectic day.  I'm usually trying to get a few batches of jam made before we leave, and then there are a few other things that I figure 'must' be done before we leave.  Things like peeling and freezing that box of ripe pears sitting in the fridge in the garage.  Or doing something with some of the ten ice cream pails of plums sitting in there also.   Which seems to end up meaning that we never quite leave at the time we planned, which now means with the shorter days that we end up doing the last part of the four hour drive in the dark.

On the Wednesday of last week, it was cloudy and a bit rainy, but only a bit rainy, unlike the downpours that happened back at home.  We took the dogs down the dyke south of town.  Calli was in her cart.  It just brings a big smile to my face to see her go.  This is a 13 1/2 year old dog that has been using her front legs to do most of the work for the last seven years.   Support that back end that has been slowing her down, and she is off and running. Or trotting fast at least.  A lot of the enthusiasm is because this is a place that she has only been a few times.  Here she is setting off at the start of the walk.  Larry got a workout.

I got a workout trying to catch up to them.
I love the scenery along this stretch.  Fall colours have started.


Right above where the dogs are, on the other side of the dyke, is a bunch of unattended grape vines gone wild.  I'm always on the lookout for something like that, Queen of the Freebies that I am.


I carried some back in my hat, but I wanted to get more.


There is lots of vegetation that we aren't used to.


We stopped to let Calli have a drink in a pool where the creek ran into the river.  She was looking for a rock:)


And Jake found a couple of apples that I'm guessing coyotes carried out from the orchard.

We were walking for a good hour or more, and Calli still was trotting out ahead of us all the way back to the car.

So I was determined to go back and pick more grapes.  Maybe ride the bikes down there and get some.  That just didn't seem to work out, so I had it all figured out that we'd walk the dogs there again on our way back home to Abbotsford.  We were hoping to find an access to the dyke that would land us closer to the grapes, so wasted a lot of time driving down dead end roads but weren't in luck.  We headed to the grapes from the other direction this time though, and it was shorter.  I had a backpack to carry them back.

 I start picking the grapes, and Larry backtracks a bit to a spot that had a decent river access, so that Calli can get a drink.  She is in her cart again.  I get a big bag of grapes picked, climb back onto the dyke were Jake and Luna have been waiting, and I tell them to go find Larry.  They disappear around the curve, and when Larry comes into sight, I notice that he is standing on the dyke in bare feet, and his pants are wet to mid thigh.  Calli is all wet too, including her head.  So then I got the story.

Larry let Calli go down the bank in her cart to the river.  There was a relatively shallow spot where the rocks from the bank and been pushed into the river by people going up and down right there.  All was well until Calli went just a little too far and stepped off the shallow spot and was no longer standing on the bottom.  The air filled tires made the cart float.  Calli tends to put more pressure on the right side, so suddenly the cart flipped on it's side.  A figure 8 shaped saddle supports Calli's pelvis, with her legs fitting through the circles.  So when it flipped it flipped her as well.  So now she is on her side in the water, and her head goes right under.  The leash is still attached to her collar, and Larry is pulling her in.  I think she rights herself, and then flips again, and then he pulls the collar right over her head.  He had already started to take his boots and socks off, just in case, and then had to get in the water in a hurry as she was starting to be carried downstream by the current. lesson learned.  If she goes in the water with the cart, make darn sure she stays in wading depth.  Oh, and maybe tighten her collar up a notch too:(
Didn't scare her at all though, she was all set to go straight back into the river.
I ended up with enough grapes to make 8 cups of juice, which makes about 12 cups of jelly.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Three Strikes....

.....and we were getting fed up of wet and yucky farmers markets.  We had three in a row.  Two weeks ago on Sunday, the market in White Rock had to shut down about 11 am.  It was raining with strong winds, and the winds were just making it too dangerous.  Tents were blowing around, things were crashing over.  The next Saturday was another bad one.  This time we were in Abbotsford, or at least Larry was.  I was home in my rubber rain gear, picking flowers and raspberries.  The flowers were for Sunday's market, and the raspberries were for jam.  Our Fall raspberries have done really really well this year.  The long arching canes have been loaded with big berries.  The only thing about picking those in the rain is that when you had to reach up, the water ran down your arm towards your elbow.  There was enough water on the outside without adding any to the inside.

A little bit before 1 pm I went to the market to help Larry pack up.  The rain was still pouring down.  The street the market on is a bit of a slope, with catch basins right out in the roadway.  There was a creek running down the road.  Our tents are rather old, and the tops have been folded up many many times.  The back tent, over the trailer with all the extra jam in it was leaking badly.  Larry had to put a tarp over the trailer.  The front tent was better, but was still dripping here and there.  Everything was wet.  Instead of packing it into the trailer, we had to put a lot of the wet stuff into the truck and then take it out when we got home and get it dried before the market the next morning.  That market also turned out to be another wet and windy one.  Half the vendors remembered what it had been like the week before, and cancelled.  The manager told us we could do what ever we needed to do.  We moved down the row to a spot that was more protected and parked the truck behind us as a wind break.  It was only the hardy customers that turned out, but all in all we had a decent day, sales wise.  Larry was determined to be dressed for the weather this time.


Our booth looked a little bare, because we hadn't put any of the fabric stuff out. Thankfully this past weekend cooperated, and we are back to our usual method of business.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Calli's Cart

Seven and a half years ago when Calli was first hurt, we ordered a cart for her.  She never used it, as by the time the cart arrived, she had recovered enough to walk on her own.  Now that she is 13  1/2, her back end just doesn't work like it used to.  So now we have started using the cart.  If she is walking somewhere different, she is full of enthusiasm and really takes advantage of the freedom the cart gives her.   This was three weeks ago on a visit to Oliver.  We were heading across the park and down the dyke for a walk.

On the way back, just before entering back into the park, I saw this sign on the fence.


You know me, anything free....So I filled up a bag, yelled thanks to the guy out working in his yard, and then went back again the next day and got more.  The lady was out this time, and she told me to come in through the gate and take everything.  So two grocery bags full and the vine was empty.

Here's Calli at the end of the walk.  We had stopped to let the dogs swim in the river, and let her walk back on her own.  She is doing well here, but I wanted to show you the size of the rock she was carrying back.