Tag Archives: rutabagas

Religion, Resolutions, Raccoons, Rutabagas, and Red Tablecloths…

When I last posted, December 21st (sigh), I was deep in the holidaze.  Now that the fog has cleared somewhat (or as much as it ever does for a woman of my advanced years), I decided to post an update with some of the highlights of my last couple of weeks:

Religion:

There’s an Anglican church near Hope’s school that Jim drives by every day when he drops off the kids.  The minister seems to put great thought into the messages he puts on the display board.  This is one of his latest offerings:

Prayers just aren't what they used to be...photo by Jim

I haven’t met the minister, but I think I might like him!

Resolutions:

New Year’s Day has come and gone.  Jim and I hung out at home with the kids on New Year’s Eve…the most exciting thing we did was play Just Dance 3 on the Wii (which I suck at…Jim has a video which he’s keeping if he ever needs to blackmail me!).  I was laughing so hard at my own incompetence, I almost peed my pants (although Jim’s attempt was pretty funny too!).

I don’t do resolutions…I figure there’s no point in deliberately setting oneself up for failure.  Before Christmas, I decided to give up eating chips, and I’m happy to report that I haven’t had any since (I have had cookies, cake, pie, fudge, caramel popcorn, nuts, and candy, though…the weight is falling off at such a speed, you can hardly see it!).

Raccoons:

We’ve had fun the last couple of months watching a local family of raccoons which enjoys helping itself to Jim’s birdseed smorgasbord on the back deck.  The babies love tormenting our dog, Jake, by walking right up to the back door and peering through the glass at him.  Jake goes ballistic, barking frantically, and all three raccoons continue gazing wide-eyed at the crazed canine as if they were touring the Schnoodle exhibit at the museum.

The mother scares me a little.  She’s big, and not nearly as cute as her kids!  Jim and I often fall asleep at night holding hands…one night I dreamed about the mama raccoon.  She was trying to bite me, and I was holding her mouth shut!  Jim woke me up because I was squeezing his hand so hard!

Here’s a picture Anna took of a raccoon last fall:

One of our nightly visitors...photo by Anna Matheson.

Rutabagas:

Last year, I grew rutabagas in my garden…I love them.  Of course this year, the deer chewed the tops of the rutabaga plants…they don’t do well without leaves, so I harvested none.  I was thrilled to see a nice 5 lb. bag of rutabagas at Giant Tiger earlier this week (most stores around here have just turnip, which isn’t the same!).  I bought it immediately.  I had some nice stewing beef in the freezer…I made a gigormous beef stew and told Jim to invite his parents over to help us eat it, because fridge space over the holidays was still at a premium!  If I do say so myself, the stew was delicious, and people seemed to enjoy the homemade rolls and pumpkin pie for dessert too (the pumpkin pie I’d served at Christmas dinner got eaten before I had any)!  I’ve got leftovers for my lunch today…yummy!

Red Tablecloths:

Since my job at the Saint John City Market ended on November 30th, I haven’t been overwhelmed with job offers, so I made a proposal to my dad: I would start setting up at the Market with books full-time.   I would pay the rent, but keep whatever profits I made.  I would finally start taking a salary from the bookstore after almost twelve years of sweat equity!  It would give us more exposure (our location is a little off the beaten path), and allow us to get rid of some excess inventory.  Much to my surprise, Dad agreed with my idea!

I’ve spent this week assembling and packing books to take, and looking for red vinyl tablecloths for my bench…not an easy thing to find right after Christmas (I’m trying to keep with the colour scheme at the Market – benches are painted red)!  Each week, I’m featuring a different theme…next week’s is The Movies.

If you’re in the Market, please stop by and see me.  Even if they don’t buy anything, I’ll be depending on the kindness of friends for my bathroom breaks!

 

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Filed under books, family, food, satire

Still Learning in 2010…

Taking the lead from my blogging friends, Todd Pack, Izzie Darling, and Lady Justine, here’s a list of the things I learned this year…if you want to read the full story on any of these lessons, search a keyword or click the appropriate tag in the sidebar:

1. Our dog thinks porcupine poop is dessert.

2. Hope loves Jake enough to share her toothbrush with him.

3. Homemade rolls don’t have to be “pretty” to taste good.

4. Egg cartons are not good containers to start plants indoors in.

5. Dogs love to destroy egg cartons with seedlings in them.

6. Jim’s parents are our biggest supporters.

7. Bleachers are hard things to sit on for more than a couple of hours.

8. I am really out of shape.

9. Seeing a toy from your childhood 40 years later brings you right back to that time in your life.

10. If the winter is mild enough, spinach from last year can survive.

11. Maple vinaigrette makes spinach salad a beautiful thing!

12. There’s no such thing as “too many bird feeders.”

13. Squirrels can do amazing tricks to get to a bird feeder.

14. Some people keep their toilet paper in the breadbox.

15. Mothers-in-law are often right.

16. More people in Saint John knew when the new Costco was opening than were aware of the city’s 225th birthday this year.

17. Rhubarb runs amok if left to grow unchecked.

18. Orthodontists make more per hour than most of us.

19. Sometimes plants get a lot bigger than the seed package says they will…my five-foot sunflowers ended up being seven or eight feet tall!

20. I like portobello mushroom/swiss veggie burgers.

21. Our dog enjoys eating Popsicle sticks.

22. Cosmopolitan was a literary magazine back in the early 1900’s.

23. There is only one kind of hummingbird which frequents New Brunswick: the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

24. I love Mint Crisp M&M’s.

25. I learned what a “fisher” was, after seeing one cross the road in front of our car.

26. Before you construct a really big birdhouse, figure out where you’re going to put it and how to get it up there!

27. My dad’s a good singer, and I’m not the only one who thinks so!

28. They sell live ladybugs at Home Depot.

29. Right after you purchase twenty tomato plants, the forty you started from seed will rally.

30. Ladybugs aren’t always red with black spots…sometimes they’re brown with cream spots.

31. As long as they’re under warranty, Vogue Optical will replace glasses which have been chewed by a dog!

32. We have a cherry tree, and eight high-bush blueberries I’d never noticed before.

33. “Beaver Tails” are too expensive to buy now.

34. Hope really likes getting muddy.

35. Wallpaper is nearly impossible to find.

36. Hummingbirds are fearless.

37. The Chinese cabbage I planted is not the “head” type.

38. How to make good piecrust…the secret is lard.

39. Some people will ignore a sign that says: “Danger – Do Not Touch.”

40. Deer can be aggressive.

41. Organic broccoli often goes to seed faster than I can harvest it.

42. I love rutabaga!

43. I found out what “purslane” looks like.

44. It’s never a good idea to put a chicken burger into a toaster.

45. I don’t hate all sci-fi…I enjoy “Eureka.”

46. You can purchase a sailboat on the Internet.

47. Ripe canteloupe is not a good lunchbox food.

48. Picking things from the garden in the dark is really difficult.

49. I suck at “Musical Chairs.”

50. The blogging community is full of incredible people…I am so happy to have made their online acquaintances!

I’m looking forward to learning more in 2011!

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Filed under blogging, cooking, family, food, gardening, memories, nature, self-discovery

Introducing Jake…Guest Blogger…

"Writing skills run in my family!"

Mommy’s gone back to the bookstore today after kind of a crazy week…she asked me to tell you about yesterday.

I woke up when Grandad got up…he took me outside on the leash, but I just sniffed around looking for this guy, who was on our porch with his buddy last night, devouring our Halloween pumpkins:

Doesn't he look like fun to play with? (Anna took the picture)

I waited until Grandad went back outside to work on the woodpile before I snuck into the back kitchen and pooped on the floor.

Mommy came downstairs about 9:30, looking like something the cat drug in…oh wait, Mommy had to get rid of the cats when she moved in with Daddy…allergies and stuff!  Hope had hollered upstairs and told her how hungry she was, so of course (sucker that she is) Mommy came running down right away!  I jumped all over her and gave her kisses, so she’d know how much I loved her!  Daddy won’t let me jump on him right now…he’s afraid I’ll bump my head into his sore nose!

Mommy got out all the stuff to make Toad in the Hole for three, but then Hope said she didn’t like that kind of bagel, so she didn’t want any.  Anna was getting in the shower, so she wasn’t ready for hers yet.  Then Anna asked, instead of Toad in the Hole, if she could have French Toast Bagel, with cinnamon.  Mommy was muttering bad words while she made breakfast.  She made Daddy some tea…he was lying in the LazyBoy chair in the living room.  She got him some antibiotics too.

By the time Mommy sat down at the computer to check her e-mail and eat her breakfast, Anna was out of the shower.  She and Hope started their usual Sunday morning bickering.  It took Mommy half an hour to drink her tea…she got up so many times to referee the stuff going on in the family room!  I got to lick her plate though!  Finally, Mommy went upstairs to have a shower.

When Mommy came back down, she was in a little better mood…weird thing about humans…they don’t like being dirty like we do!  She started folding the eight loads of laundry, while Hope and Anna played on their computers, and listened to crappy music (my excuse for not helping is that I don’t have opposable thumbs – I barked at the squirrels on the deck, and begged to be let out every half hour, just so Mommy wouldn’t be bored).  Daddy was watching something on TV (but his eyes were closed).

About lunch time, Mommy went outside to the garden…I watched out the window while she pulled up rutabagas and carrots (rutabagas suck, but carrots are awesome and crunchy!).  Her nose kept running whenever she leaned over.  When Mommy came in, she had mud on her face from blowing her nose with muddy fingers (I think she had tissues in her pocket).

Mommy told Daddy that Kaylee and Scott were coming over for supper.  I love them, but I hope they don’t bring that thing!

Isn't it scary?

Mommy started making meatballs for supper…mmm!  She hasn’t made those in a long time!  She used Daddy’s ice cream scoop with the release on it, so she wouldn’t have to touch the raw meat with her fingers.  Grandad peeled and sliced the carrots…it took him forever (but not as long as it took Anna to peel and slice the potatoes for the Spinach and Potatoes Alfredo – oh, my Marmaduke – that kid is slower than Mommy!).  I hoped Mommy would forget the rutabagas, but she put them in the oven to bake.

Kaylee and Scott came about 4:30, and my worst fears were realized…it must have snuck into their car when they weren’t looking!  I barked, but it didn’t go away!  Mommy ran around the living room, picking up clean clothes off the couches and chairs, firing empty meal replacement shake bottles into the recycling, and pushing the LazyBoy back where it belonged against the wall.

Daddy settled himself back into the LazyBoy, and Mommy came in to visit with our guests while supper was cooking.  They let the thing walk and crawl around on the floor…it was picking up all the good stuff that I like to eat!  I watched from the safety of Grandad’s lap.  I never saw such a squirmy thing!  Kaylee had made chocolate chip cookies…they didn’t share those with me (a little chocolate never hurt anybody…oh, yeah…now I remember Hope’s birthday party last year and the Smore incident!).

Oh, no!  Daddy picked it up…”Watch out, Daddy!  It‘s going to whack you in the nose!”  I barked, but Mommy yelled at me.

Soon, it was time for supper…I staked out the couch in the dining room, waiting in case anyone dropped something on the floor…no luck!  “What do you keep giving that thing perfectly good carrots for…I could take those off your hands!”  Daddy slipped me some meatball when he thought Mommy wasn’t looking.  They were having pumpkin pie for dessert…I’m not a fan!

After the dishes got carried to the kitchen, Mommy put down the meatball pan and the potato dish for me to lick…amazing stuff…I love that woman!

Kaylee and Scott left with the thing right after supper…they said something about it‘s missing its afternoon nap…I was glad it was gone, so I could have my Mommy and Daddy to myself again!  The nerve of them bringing that to my house!

I jumped up on Mommy just as soon as she sat down on the couch to watch TV…I think they should do a new version of the Amazing Race with Mommies and their dogs!  I’m smarter than Nick, for sure!

Nick...I've eaten Milk-Bones smarter than he is!

After the show was over, Mommy went upstairs to bed…Daddy stayed in the LazyBoy (she wasn’t mad at him…I saw her kiss him good night!).  I wasn’t lonely last night…maybe if I’m lucky, Daddy will sleep down here every night…

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Of Pumpkins, Presidents, Pooches, and Puddin’ Pop…

Here’s a wrapup of the last few days in Hammond River:

1. Regular readers of this blog know that I had a really big garden this year…we had frost last week (the rest of the tomatoes are ripening in the basement under newspaper), so it’s time to start bringing stuff in before the snow starts to fly.  I spent Sunday harvesting the remaining pumpkins and squash, and stored them in the basement…the kids each want to carve a pumpkin for Halloween (Hope’s already decided on Mickey Mouse for hers).  I also brought in about eight rutabagas, and cooked them in the oven.  Loads of rutabagas, carrots, and beets still in the ground…they’ll be okay for a while.

Here's a less-scary photo of Puddin' Pop than the last one I posted...

2. Anna slept most of the day on Sunday…her cheerleading team had a “Wakeathon” fundraiser on Saturday night.  Luckily, my dad went to town to pick her up at 7:30 in the morning…Jim is not a morning person!  She was one tired teenager when she got home…they had fun though!

The girls at the Wakeathon...Anna is the tall one in the back with the "Aeropostale" shirt on...

3. Hope was in a baking mood when she got up on Sunday…she wanted to make muffins, so she found a recipe for Cinnamon Muffins and we made them.  They were yummy…tasted like those little cinnamon donuts we used to have when we were kids!  We used wooden skewers to spear the muffins and roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mix…way less messy that way.

4. We’ve had an issue with rodents in the house again this fall…Dad has set traps all over the basement, and a few baits as well.  He’s caught four star-nosed voles in the traps, which he then puts into the compost bin outside…he reported this morning that that latest one he’d caught had been partially eaten!  Can’t wait to see that one in the bin – NOT!  Dad really wants to catch the critter that’s running through the walls of his bedroom and keeping him awake at night…he thinks it’s one of our squirrels or chipmunks.

5. Dad has a couple of good friends who usually stop by on Saturday mornings at the bookstore for a chat…he mentioned that they hadn’t been around for a while, because they were away on a trip to Washington, D.C.  Dad said that he’d encouraged them to stop in at the White House to see if the President had received the Abraham Lincoln bookends he’d sent him.  What??? 

“When did you do that, Dad?” 

“Three or four months ago,” he answered. 

“I’m surprised they haven’t sent you a Thank You note by now,” I said. 

“Oh, there was a box to tick if you wanted an acknowledgement, but I didn’t check it off.”  That’s my Dad…he’d read somewhere that Abe Lincoln had been a hero of Obama’s (as he is for my dad), and decided to send him his bookends, which he’d had for many years.

My Grandad T. had the same birthday as Abe Lincoln...

6. I smelled a skunk just before I was about to let Jake out into the back yard the other night (I decided to take him out on the leash out front instead!)…we saw one dead in the road near our driveway yesterday…reminds me of a song!

7. We took the Toyota to Canadian Tire yesterday to have new snow tires put on…while we were waiting, we visited Jim’s parents.  The guy at the service counter told us it would be an hour-and-a-half, and they were true to their word.  Jim is quite excited about the new tires…we were “testing” them on the highway on the way home…he took his hands off the steering wheel momentarily: “Look…no more wobbling!” he said.  I was disappointed when we got home to find that Jake hadn’t folded the two big piles of laundry in the family room…we may have to look into trading him for a more industrious canine!  He can undo zippers on lunchbags…why couldn’t he fold laundry?

8. Last night, we had Puddin’ Pop (Elise) and her mom and dad over for supper…it was Scott’s 27th birthday.  Scott had grown a beard in honour of his birthday.  I had roasted a couple of small chickens, made mashed potatoes, corn, and a Whipped Rutabaga Puff with the rutabaga from the garden.  It was amazing and easy: just threw some eggs and bread crumbs in with the cooked rutabaga, and used the mixer to whip it.  We had two cakes: Black Forest, and a Cinnamon Coffee Cake for the non-chocolate lovers (Devin and Hope).  Jim and the girls got the cakes ready in the kitchen, lit the candles and carried them in.  I brought up the rear, and started counting 1-2-3, and burst into the Happy Birthday song…all by myself!  They’d gone ahead without me, and had already sung it.  Everybody (except me) got a good laugh out of it!

Scott sharing his popsicle with Elise...

After supper, I played with Elise a bit…she had a great time grabbing my glasses off my face and trying to get hold of my dangly earrings.  I’ve missed her since I last saw her two weeks ago.  We’re looking after her on Saturday while Kaylee and Scott go to a wedding.  I told Kaylee she’d better have instructions for me:  have never put on a cloth diaper in my life!  I’ll have to remember not to throw them away!  Hope will help me with that, though…

9. Thanks to the Internet, I finally have an idea for Halloween costumes for Jim and I for his sister’s party Friday night…big secret…will post photos later.

10. My friends have been having some good fortune this week:  my buddy, Guy, was elected to his municipal council in Lavigne, Ontario; my buddy, Jamie, was in a BMW Mini TV commercial (click on his name to see it – he’s the bald guy trying to break the egg); and my blogging friend, Lin, got to meet David Sedaris who talked to her while autographing two books (click on her name to read all about it)!

The new municipal councillor - Guy...

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Two Thanksgivings, A Quarantine, A Helicopter Attack, and A Giant Pumpkin…

So, this was our Thanksgiving weekend…it was a busy one.  On Sunday night, we went to Jim’s parents for a combination Thanksgiving/birthday dinner for Jim’s son, Devin.  He turned 17 on October 4th.

The Birthday Boy...

We had a lovely meal: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, gravy, cucumber/tomato slices, and a delicious turnip puff that Jim’s sister, Kim, made.  I had two helpings!

Unfortunately, Jim’s dad only joined us for a few minutes, sitting way over in the corner by himself…he was suffering from a bad cold, and didn’t want to give it to anyone.  He had spent the past few days in the basement.  Kim’s husband, Chris, pointed out that Gordon couldn’t have been suffering too much…he had the big screen TV, computer, and a fridge nearby.  Gordon came up to watch Devin open his presents: he got some clothes, lots of money, and a remote control helicopter that Jim bought for him.  It was fun watching it fly around, although it didn’t fly very high on the first night…it wasn’t fully charged.

Dessert was yummy…my blueberry pie, Jim’s mom’s pumpkin cheesecake, and purchased carrot cake for the birthday boy, who doesn’t like chocolate.   Jim’s sister, Tracy, had to wait for a minute to bring Devin’s cake out…Jim wasn’t ready with his camera…

Kim invited us to her Halloween party: “Everybody has to wear a costume!”  I have no idea what I’m going to be.  Halloween isn’t my favourite holiday…Jim the smartass suggested I go as a “party pooper.”

We got home just in time for Amazing Race.  I was so happy it turned out to be a non-elimination leg…I like Kevin and his dad!

I woke up Monday morning feeling like a dump truck had driven over me several times…my cold was back!  Jim didn’t feel much better.  I dragged my butt out of bed, made a bagel and tea for breakfast, and started getting the stuffing made for the turkey.  Kaylee, Scott and Elise were coming over for Thanksgiving dinner.

I got the turkey into the oven by noon…then I went out to the garden to harvest some vegetables for dinner.  I got a couple of Red Kuri squash, some beets, three rutabagas, and some mutant-looking carrots (average 4″ long, but fat little things).

Carrots, Rutabagas, Squash, Beets from the Garden...

I took a little break and sat down at my computer to check e-mail and Facebook.  Jim and the kids were playing with Devin’s birthday present again.  It went really high – almost up to the ceiling!  I was sitting there minding my own business when I felt a breeze over my head…a couple of seconds later, there was a helicopter entangled in my hair!

The Killer Helicopter...

Jim swears it was an accident: “It just lost power!”   I think he was secretly getting revenge for the times I injured him earlier in the week…an elbow to the nose (“It hurt for two days!”), and a whack to the temple with a snow brush handle (we were cleaning out the car, and he asked me to hand it to him so he could put it in the trunk).   I apologized profusely, both times, but warned Jim that there probably would be a third time…these things always happen in threes!

It took a few minutes to free my hair from the vehicle nesting in it.  It was at that point I decided it would be a good idea to have a shower.

Devin and Brianna went to their mom’s house for their second Thanksgiving dinner of the weekend.

Kaylee and family arrived about 4.  Elise is now taking a few steps on her own, and asking what everything is.  I didn’t have much time to spend with her though, because I was busy cooking (and also didn’t want to reinfect her with another cold). 

Kaylee wanted some pictures of Elise with a pumpkin, so everybody trooped outside, leaving me in the kitchen with the food.  Jim took the photos below:

Elise and the Pumpkin...

"Let's see how it tastes..."

"Yummy!"

Apparently, Elise couldn’t wait for supper.  She also sampled some fall leaves…I let her take the pumpkin home, since she’d already licked it!

Our Thanksgiving dinner was also delicious, if I do say so myself!  In addition to the turkey, stuffing, and vegetables from the garden, we had whipped potatoes, broccoli, and corn.  Jim made his Grammy’s dressing (which Hope loves), gravy, and a sauce for the beets.

Elise was falling asleep, so Kaylee and Scott left before dessert…I sent them home with a blueberry pie.  The rest of us ate pumpkin pie…it was yummy!  Devin and Brianna made it home just in time!

Jim and I packed the leftover food into lunch containers…Jim is planning a turkey stew for his night to cook…looking forward to it!

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