Friday, August 7, 2020

Blog Break

Just a quick note to let you know I'll be away from the blog for a few days.  See you next week.


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Farm Life

Spent the morning out at Sleeping Cougar Acres.  Hope to see you here tomorrow for a slightly delayed Throwback Thursday.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Writers Writing about Writing

There never seems to be enough time in my day for writing, so when I do manage to carve out a few minutes, I'd rather write than read about writing.

Lately, though, thanks to Firefly Creative Writing, I'm writing regularly. Their Morning Coffee Sessions mean I'm up with a pen in my hand three days a week.  I've enjoyed my scribbling so much that I decided to take the plunge and sign up for one of Firefly's beginner workshops.  Now that I'm more confident in my commitment to write, I feel like there might be room to read about writing.

Natalie Goldberg and Anne Lamott are names that come up again and again.  Both have books about writing, so I splurged and placed an order with my local bookshop.  The books arrived last week.  Neither book has opened yet, but I'm already enjoying them.  There should be a word that sums up the delightful anticipation of opening a brand-new book.





Tuesday, August 4, 2020

White Heart

Delicate flowers growing up through a thorny barberry bush to create a heart for passersby.  I'm sure that must be a metaphor for something.


Monday, August 3, 2020

Marvellous Marvin Monday

My sister chose this photo for today's Marvellous Marvin Monday:


She thinks Marvin is saying:

"Hey! Hey, you there! Hey you, up here on MY deck! Who do you think you are? Just who do you think you are sitting there, looking at me, looking at you, looking at me!!! SHOO!!!"

🐱🐾

That sums up Marvin's attitude toward visitors in his yard quite accurately.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Meal Plan - August 2 - 8

It's BC Day Long Weekend.  I don't actually know what we are celebrating, but an extra day off is always appreciated.  

Simple meals again this week.  Lots of salads.  A few mystery meals.  L at Sleeping Cougar Acres has invited me out to "shop" in her garden.  I don't know what I'll be bringing home, so a few meals are up-in-the-air until after my visit.


This week's recipes:

Tuna Melt: This will be the first recipe I try from The Tinned Fish Cookbook.  I pre-ordered it from our local bookstore months ago.  It arrived just in time to go back to work, so I haven't spent a lot of time with it.  Tuna melt seems like a good place to start, though I won't be making the home-made ketchup to go with it.  

Cauliflower Salad: I'm using this recipe, though I will likely substitute green onion for the pickled red onion.  And no, it's not because of the recent salmonella outbreak.  It's because I have green onions that need to be used up.

Pasta with Butternut Squash Pesto: There are still a couple of jars of squash pesto left in my freezer from last fall.  Time to use it up before this year's squash are ready.

Chili Dogs:  I was able to freeze two small jars of chili after last Sunday's meal.  Just enough for chili dogs!  Veggies will depend on what follows me home from Sleeping Cougar Acres.

??:  This meal will also depend on the what's in season out at Sleeping Cougar Acres.  

(Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

Friday, July 31, 2020

Throwback Friday



Throwing back to July 31, 2016, because I don't have anything nearly as spectacular as this sunset to share today.

Have a great weekend all.



Thursday, July 30, 2020

Two Eagles

Today I am throwing back to July 30, 2018.  I love that I managed to capture same eagle twice in one picture.
 


What a beautiful day that was!  Cloudless and still, though there may have been some forest-fire haze.  Today is just as spectacular.  On that note, I'm signing off.   There's a lounge chair, a fountain and a big bowl of cherries waiting for me on the deck.  Yup.  We finally have some summer weather here, and I'm going to enjoy every minute I can.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Fairy Magic

Because some days it's good to be reminded of magic.


And, if you you'd like another Disney-like magical moment, click here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Abstract Heart

Hubby spotted this heart. We had walked by it twice, but I didn't notice it until he pointed it out.

It's part symbolic heart, part anatomical heart, but mostly it's, "HEY! Watch out! Don't trip over this stump!" heart.

(Look!  Ventricles!)

Monday, July 27, 2020

Marvellous Marvin Monday

This week's story, as told to my sister by Marvin:

Mom doesn't know this, but Dad and I have worked out a great plan together. Hopefully Mom never finds out, or we'll be in BIG trouble. See, Dad doesn't exactly like all of Mom's cooking, and I'm a feline garbage truck. I will eat anything. Once they sit down to eat, I slither over, hide under Dad's chair, then I stick my head out where Mom can't see me.  I open my mouth...



... and Dad drops food down into my mouth.  Mom doesn't suspect anything, and everyone is happy, happy, happy.

And here I thought Hubby and I had agreed not to give Marvin people-food!

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Meal Plan July 26 - August 1

Eek!  In a week it will be August!  I feel like I've misplaced several months.  At least it feels a bit more like summer here.  The furnace hasn't run at all today.

Our meals are definitely on the summery side this week.  Now let's cross our fingers and hope the weather co-operates.


Chili:  We had homemade hamburgers last night, so tonight we'll use the rest of the ground beef I defrosted and make chili.  No real recipe.  I've been making chili for years, so I generally just wing it.  Ground beef, tomatoes, onion, beans and spices will definitely go in the pot.  We'll see if anything else inspires me.

Potato/tuna salad:  Last time I tried to make this, I discovered my green beans had turned to mush in the fridge.  I substituted broccoli, and it was fine.  I'll hit the farm stand tomorrow and see what looks freshest.  

Greek chicken salad: I will use this recipe, but will substitute store-bought dressing.  I will make my own marinade though.  

Pasta with zucchini and lemon: A very easy recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.  The recipe name pretty much says it all.

Hotdogs:  Because it's summer.  Because it's easy.  Because my usual food restrictions have pretty much gone out the window since the pandemic started.  

Ribs:  Hubby got himself a copy of Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling.  So glad he did.  These ribs will take several hours, but they will be so worth the wait.

(Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)



Friday, July 24, 2020

Story Walk

I spotted a series of signs winding through a park on my way to work the other morning.  From the road they reminded me of vintage billboard sequences, though I didn't think the town would allow Burma-Shave, or their modern equivalent, to advertise in a public space.  

I walked to the park on my lunch break to investigate and was delighted to find a story!  Each board is a page from an alphabet book. 

The pages run along a path from the road to the water, so families can read about adventure and have one at the same time.

Story Walk is a project of our local literacy group, and when I went to their website I discovered that there were Story Walks in other local communities as well.  I might have to go off on my own adventure and see what other stories there are to enjoy.





L is also for Laurie, though you will never find me on a longboard!




Thursday, July 23, 2020

Elephantine Eighties Icon


I wasn't sure my sister wanted to use this photo for today's Throwback Thursday.  

Photo courtesy of Dad

"Didn't we already do one of me in a hot pink blouse, in pretty much the same pose?  We talked about RuPaul and Sashay Shantay.  You know, that song from the 80's?  You hadn't heard of it, so you had to search for it for ages before you finally found it.  Don't you remember that?" 

Yes, I remembered using a similar picture of her in April, though I thought her shirt was more orangey-red than hot pink. And I certainly remembered our texted conversation about RuPaul's song.  She's right.  It took me forever to find it online.  Perhaps because she misspelled Sashay Shantay.  Or maybe because the song was released in the 90's.  Or possibly because the song is actually called "Supermodel".  By the time I was done falling down that internet rabbit-hole, I didn't have the time or the energy to figure out how to fit it into our blog post.

Since she didn't seem to want to use this picture,  I texted and offered to send a different picture, then I told her I was going to bed.  Four minutes later my phone pinged.

"No, no, wait one sec."

...

"This elephant has the same haircut!"  

Photo courtesy of my sister

OMG.  She's absolutely right.  Not only does the elephant have the same hair, its lipstick and bow are totally vintage 80's.  So very Madonna!  The only thing missing is fingerless lace gloves. 

My sister claims she didn't intend for this elephant to be an 80's style icon.  Perhaps she was  taking an unintentional walk down memory lane when she drew it, or maybe she's subconsciously trying to revive 80's fashion.  It would be like her to reboot a fashion trend. She's always been miles ahead of me when it comes to style.

A note to my sister, RuPaul, Madonna and elephants.  Any comparisons are meant in the best possible way.   You should all be forever complimented on your fantabulous style.  

(Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Beach, Beach, DUCK!

Someone had a large, inflatable duck at the beach on the weekend.  Seeing it paddling around in the distance made a great day even better.


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Hosta Heart

At least I think it's a hosta.  If it's not, it's very hosta-like.  This is the first time I've noticed that hosta leaves are heart-shaped, and hostas grow everywhere here.  I guess I just wasn't looking for hearts. Now that I am, I continuously see them everywhere.


Monday, July 20, 2020

Marvellous Marvin Monday

My sister chose a series of photos for this week's Marvellous Marvin Monday.  She imagines that waking Marvin  is much like waking a teenager.

Her story:

Marvin hears you in the distance saying, "Marvin, honey, it's time to get up",


He  slowly opens his eyes, then he hears,  " Are you up Marvin, we have lots to do". Marvin responds with one of his biggest yawns yet.

 
Marvin hears pots and pans banging in the kitchen, and decides he doesn't want any part of that, so he settles back down and starts to drift back to sleep.


Marvin thinks he hears a soft pad, pad, pad coming closer.  It stops, then there's a soft tap, tap, tap, followed by,  "MARVIN, GET UP! NOW!  Marvin's eyes pop right open. 


 ...no one knows what happens next because the writer has no other photos of this scene.

If I remember correctly, much like a teenager, Marvin went right back to sleep after the last photo was taken.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Meal Plan July 19 - 25

I realized after I photographed this week's meal plan that there are some holes.  I forgot to plan lunch for Friday or supper for Saturday.  Part of me is tempted to rush around and rethink the week's meals.  The larger part of me is OK winging it.  If it means take-out Friday and Saturday, I'll go with it.


This week's recipes:

Quinoa with grilled veggies and sausage:  No real recipe.  Cook quinoa. Grill veggies and sausage.  Chop veggies and sausage.  Mix everything together and top with balsamic vinaigrette.  

Korean Beef Udon Noodles: So much for Meatless Monday.  This recipe will allow me to use up some mushrooms I found in the fridge.  Instead of stir-frying the beef, I'll get Hubby to grill it.

Grilled Chili Lime Chicken Fajita Salad: I tried this recipe a few weeks ago.  This time, I'll be one step closer to the actual recipe.  I remembered to buy an avocado!  I'm subbing chicken breast for chicken thighs again, and there won't be cilantro.  Hubby is on Team Cilantro-Tastes-Like-Soap. I don't mind it, but I'll happily substitute parsley from our garden instead.

Mediterranean Summer Pasta Salad:  Several years ago I was selected to test recipes for Chatelaine Magazine.  This was one of them.  I takes a bit longer than 15 minutes to bring everything together, but not much longer.  Will be substituting chickpeas for Romano beans, as I couldn't find Romano beans at the store.

Zucchini Cakes:  These easy pancakes are making another appearance.  I'm trying to use up the last of the zucchini in my freezer before this year's crop starts to arrive on my doorstep.  My friends regularly gift me with zucchini.  My kind of gift!

(Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)






Saturday, July 18, 2020

House for Sale

This cozy seaside cottage is perfect for the DIY dreamer.  Stunning coastal scenery with uninterrupted views of the ocean and distant mountains.  The quiet location in a park-like setting is perfect for those looking to escape from the city and embrace island life. 



Friday, July 17, 2020

Friendly Daisies

I took this photo on one of my lunchtime walks.  I love how the daisies lean out over the path.  It's like they are greeting me as I go by.  


The photo above reminded me of this one taken in June of 2016:  


These cheerful flowers are just asking to be photographed.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Everyday Adventures Remembered

Today I am throwing back to July 16, 2017.  I was taking part in Tammy Strobel's Month of Everyday Adventures.  The prompt for that day  was "walking meeting".  My job generally doesn't involve meetings, so Hubby and I planned our own mountain-top walking-meeting.  I even printed out an agenda to make it official.  



I had pretty much forgotten about the Month of Everyday Adventures.  I'm glad I rediscovered these photos. It's good to be reminded of the joys of small, local adventures.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Hitchhiking Heart

Spotted this little heart hitchhiking its way to its true love.  It's small, and it has a long way to go. It has to start now if it wants to arrive in time for Valentine's Day.


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Beware of Moose

I spotted this sign* in the window of a local business. I'd recommend staying more than a moose-length apart if an actual moose is involved.  Møøse bites Kan be pretti nasti, you know.



* Please excuse the poor quality of this photo.  There was a lot of glare.  For a better look at the moose, and for other fun artwork, visit www.fiddlingferns.com.

(Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)


Monday, July 13, 2020

Marvellous Marvin Monday

My sister chose this photo for today's Marvellous Marvin Monday:


Her story:

BANG! BANG! BANG!

Marvin (thinking): Huh? Whaaa?  Is she banging pots and pans over my head?  WHOA!  What's with the bright light?  Why is she YELLING?

Me (yelling): What is that dark stain seeping out from under your box?!?

Marvin blinks his eyes wide open (thinking): Think Marvin.  Think.  What happened last night?  OH NO! I remember.  I had a friend over.  Then I invited a few more friends and all of a sudden it was a party.

Marvin (whining): Nothing happened!  I went to bed early.

Me: Well something happened after I went to bed.  Let's go check the security cameras.

Marvin: Noooo!  I did it.  I had a few friends over.  

Me: Next time, clean up afterwards, and let us know if friends are coming over.  Oh, and here's some carpet cleaner for the stain you are trying to cover with your box.  You need to get up NOW, and wake up any friends still hiding around here.  You can all clean up the house that you trashed last night.

The end

Great story, but Marvin does not tolerate other cats, so the it's unlikely that there's going to be a feline party any time soon.  It does concern me that my sister thinks the pattern peeking out from under Marvin's box is a stain.  Perhaps it's time to replace the area rug with something a bit more stylish.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Meal Plan July 12 - 18


In spite of our October-esque weather, summer produce is at its peak. (Seriously, our furnace is still kicking in most mornings.) That means lots of salads and vegetable-heavy meals this week.



This Week's Recipes:

Stir-fry Chicken and Summer Squash: I'll be using this recipe as a guide, though our version will be lighter on the chicken and much heavier on the zucchini/summer squash.  Don't want to let any of my Sleeping Cougar Acres produce go to waste.  

Quinoa with Grilled Veggies and Pesto:  Tomorrow I'll be making a fresh batch of pesto with the kale and garlic scapes from my Sleeping Cougar Acres haul.  I'll use the recipes below as guidelines.  I found them on the internet years ago, but I can't seem to find them again.  Good thing I jotted them down.  I'll make the biggest batch I can.  Most of it will get tucked into the freezer for future use.  


Sloppy Joes:  Another freezer meal from this recipe.  Almost time to make another batch.

Pasta with Beet Pesto:  This stuff, also rescued from the freezer, is so good.  Pink pasta for the win. I'll definitely make this again.

Potato Salad with Tuna and Green Beans: Something like this, with sliced tomatoes on the side.

I'm beginning to see some patterns in my meal planning now that I'm back at work.  Pasta on Wednesdays.  Meatless Mondays.  Lots of salads and veggies. Simple, mostly-made-from-scratch meals to keep us well-fed even on the stressful days.

(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)



Saturday, July 11, 2020

Friday, July 10, 2020

Sharing Summer's Bounty

When I got home from work the other day I discovered that Hubby had harvested some of our potatoes.  It was our second attempt at growing potatoes.  Our first try failed quite miserably.  We were quite excited that this time we got...potatoes!


Our two small containers yielded just over three pounds of Austrian Crescents.  Not a lot, but enough to share, so I took a few over to my friends at Sleeping Cougar Acres.  I was going there anyway, and I knew that they weren't growing their own potatoes.  It felt good to have something to bring them for a change.

After an appropriately distanced visit, L and I toured the garden.  So much has changed since last year!  This is partly due to L's big plans, and partly due to the fact the K has retired, so L has an accomplice to help carry out those plans.  The garden is amazing!   As we strolled through the raised beds, we filled a shopping bag with veggies.  A few green onions, a couple  zucchini, as several summer squash, some kale, some garlic scapes.  Soon I was heading home with a mountain of produce.


A more than fair trade for 3/4 pounds of potatoes!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Brain Freeze

Brain freeze.  That's the only thing that explains the look on my face.  It may also explain why my mom, my sister and I have trouble remembering details from the day this picture was taken.

Photo courtesy of Dad

Dad's caption for the photo is "Cedar Point 1975".  

My sister, after she pointed out that her shorts were once again shorter than mine, wondered if we were on a class trip.  She thought that might explain our matching school shirts.  I don't remember a school trip to Cedar Point, and I doubt we would have hung out together on a school trip even if Mom was a chaperone.  

So, back to Dad to confirm that it was a family trip to Cedar Point.  We spent a day there as part of a longer trip that also included Geauga Lake and Sea World.  

Mystery solved.  Until I talked to Mom.  She seemed to think that the picture might have been taken in Florida in 1976.  She has a picture of my sister and I at Busch Gardens wearing the same shorts.  She didn't think we'd be able to fit into the same shorts two summers in a row.  Even my sister would have found her shorts too short a year later.

Photo courtesy of Dad

Dad later sent me the Busch Gardens photo Mom was talking about.  Mom was right, the same shorts are in the picture, but my sister was wearing my hand-me-down shorts from the snow-cone picture. That seemed like evidence that the pictures were taken in consecutive years. 

(I would like to point out that this may be the only photo in existence where my shorts are shorter than my sister's.  My sister would like to point out that my fly is open.)

My sister wasn't convinced.  She wanted more proof that the snow-cone picture was taken at Cedar Point.  She also wanted to know how to pronounce "Geauga Lake".

I couldn't help her with the pronunciation, but I was able to enlarge the image of her snow-cone enough to get a better look at the logo. 


It's blurry, but that looks a lot like Cedar Point logo to me.

Cedar Point Amusement Land logo | Retro graphics, Brand book ...

My sister still wasn't convinced.  Our conversations became much like an Abbott and Costello routine, particularly after I decided to skip a week last week.

Sister:  What photo are we doing this week?

Me: We're not doing a photo this week.  I'm writing about the Cedar Point photo for next week.

Sister:  What Cedar Point photo?

Me:  The one with the snow cones.

Sister:  I thought that was Busch Gardens.

Eventually, we decided to talk about our trip to King's Island.  Those were memories we could agree on, but they will have to wait for another day.

We never did figure out why we were wearing matching shirts.  Maybe Mom had us wear our brightest tees so she wouldn't lose us in the park.  A good plan, until you realize the park benches are pretty much the same colour as our shirts.  We're practically camouflaged. Only in the 70's could bright, mustard yellow t-shirts blend into the background. 

(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)



Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Low Tide

Another day, another beach walk.  This time the tide was quite low, so there were tide pools to explore.

Hubby spotted the hermit crab in its spiral shell, but neither of us saw the little fish until we saw the picture on my computer.  Do you see it there to the left of the calm shell?


There are starfish sheltered on the undersides of the rocks below.  It was so nice to see them.  For many years, starfish have been scarce.


This was the only starfish out in the open.  Such a beautiful colour.



Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Overlooked Heart

My sister is an extrovert, so she is finding pandemic life rather boring.  In attempt to keep her amused, and in an attempt to preserve the mental health of those around her, I've been encouraging her to doodle.  Every few days she sends me a new creation.  I quite enjoy having her colourful designs pop into my inbox. 

The masterpiece below demonstrates original, creative and beautiful use of Sharpie*.  I was so overwhelmed I missed the one thing you'd think I'd spot.


There's a heart in the middle of doodle!  I didn't even notice.  Neither did my sister until someone else pointed it out to her.  I guess creators of extraordinary feats of artistic talent** can get so caught up in their work that they overlook the obvious too. 


* I may have had some "help" with the wording here.
** Same with the wording here.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Marvellous Marvin Monday

My sister chose this picture for Marvellous Marvin Monday:  



She thinks Marvin is upset because I interrupted his bath.  She imagines the scenario went something like this:

"HEY", Marvin shouts. "GET OUT OF HERE! Never have I ever done that to you! You have no respect for me!  Get out!  I'm having a bath!" 

You're dumbfounded and turn to give him the privacy he demanded.  Then you realize what he's saying and stop in your tracks.

"First thing,"  you say, "don't ever talk to me like that. Remember who feeds you!  Second, you have definitely come in while I'm taking a bath. You aren't shy about it.  You play with the bubbles and push the cold, wet, shower curtain against me. And that's in spite of the closed door. It's going to be closed and locked from now on. No more pulling my fluffy, white towel off the rack,  rolling on it and getting black cat hair all over it. 

You, my dear cat, if you deserved the privacy you don't give to others, wouldn't get it anyway.    YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FAMILY ROOM,  IN THE MIDDLE OF THE COUCH, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY, IN YOUR BIRTHDAY SUIT, HAVING A BATH! IF YOU WANT PRIVACY, YOU GET OUT OF HERE!"

The reality wasn't nearly so dramatic.  Marvin just glanced at me then continued licking his butt. 


If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Meal Plan - July 5 - 11

So far I'm liking the two-board system I started last week.  I had most meals for the upcoming week planned by Friday morning. Yesterday, I did a quick fridge/freezer inventory and was able to fill in the blanks for the rest of the week.  It meant that there wasn't a huge meal planning session, so I saved some time, and I was able to ensure everything in the fridge will get used up.


This Week's Recipes:

Quinoa with grilled veggies and sausage:  No real recipe there.  It's exactly what it says it is.  Cook quinoa. Grill, then chop veggies and Italian sausage.  Add to quinoa.  Top with dressing of choice.  This week I'm using Maison Orphee's Olive and Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Yup.  I've started buying salad dressing again.  

Chickpea and broccoli salad: Another recipe from Stephanie Kay's 5-Ingredient cookbook.  I know I won't make it exactly as written, but it's a good starting point.

Pasta with butternut pesto:  I'll be using this recipe that I got from Heather at Good Earth Farms years ago.  I almost always have a jar of this in the freezer.

Zucchini cakes:  I'll use a recipe from a Harrowsmith cookbook I've had for years.  It's similar to this recipe from Ina Garten.  When I checked my freezer yesterday I found some grated zucchini I should probably use up.  When zucchini is abundant, I grate and freeze it in one cup portions for this recipe. 

I'll also be making my own "refried" beans for this week's quesadillas.  I use a recipe from "The Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook".  

Cooking my own beans instead of using canned beans...

I don't want to jinx anything, but perhaps I am getting used to this back to work thing.


(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)