Tag Archives: broccoli

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!


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

Of Broccoli, Baby Showers, Book Sales, and Back-To-School Shopping…

1. Broccoli. On Saturday night, I harvested our very first broccoli from the garden.  I made a tasty broccoli/cheese frittata with it for supper, along with a salad made with our lettuce and tomatoes, and cucumbers (from the store).

Fresh Organic Broccoli...

Broccoli/Cheese Frittata...

Saturday's tomato harvest before I cut them up for salad...

Other firsts from the garden this weekend were carrot and rutabaga…we had them tonight.  I love rutabaga – it’s a mild flavour, especially good with butter and salt and pepper…it’s my new favourite vegetable.

Our first Scarlet Nantes carrot...

This Gilfeather rutabaga tasted a lot better than it looks!

2. Baby Shower.  On Sunday, the girls and I went to my oldest daughter’s best friend’s baby shower.  One of the games Kaylee came up with for her friend’s shower was melting chocolate bars in the microwave, and then inserting them into numbered disposable diapers.  The shower guests were then asked to pass them around, examine them, smell them, and even taste them (!) and try to determine which chocolate bar was in each diaper…I don’t think I’ll be eating “Crispy Crunch” again any time soon…

My middle daughter, Anna, won that game, and also two other prizes because she got the “marked” plate and the marked cup!  The macaroni salad she and Hope made got rave reviews too!

3. Book sales.  This morning when I got to the store, I totalled up my haul from the Sussex Flea Market – I spent $53 Canadian, and got just over $575 U.S. worth of books.  I went to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Book Sale at Brunswick Square today, and spent $25 Canadian, and came away with almost $340 U.S. in treasures (and I saw “Witchy-Poo” before she saw me, and escaped!).  I put $100 on one book I bought – if it had the Andy Warhol-designed dustjacket, it would have been worth at least $250! 

The books continue to come into the store faster than we can get to them…four more banana boxes came in while I was at the book sale this morning (these were added to the nine boxes we already had from last week).  I jokingly complained to the guy that brought the four boxes that I’d just stopped having to do hurdles to get to my desk (Dad took the extra books to our new bigger storage space before the Open House).  I also have four boxes of books to photograph for the Internet…coming back from vacation is tough!

4. Back to School Shopping.  This afternoon, Anna and I went to the mall to pick up some school supplies (and a new pair of flats for her).  Hope skipped the trip, preferring to hang out with her friend.  Our bus ride to the mall was not fun: some teenager sat behind us playing his music without headphones, and singing badly along with it (the same song, over and over).  In between, he was on his phone, telling everybody who would listen about getting beaten up last night:  “They cracked my head open, I got a concussion, the inside of my mouth is all messed up, and I’ve got four bruised ribs,” he bragged.  I was ready to add to his injuries by the time I’d heard the story for the third time!

We got to the mall, and Anna found a pair of shoes (not flats) that she liked and that fit within the first half hour (it’s a miracle!).  We also bought Hope a Justin Bieber T-shirt that Anna claimed she would “love” (when Hope opened the bag, she announced it was just like the one she just bought, except for the colour – FAIL!).  We went to Zellers for school supplies…the first thing we saw was lined paper for $2.99 for 400 sheets.  That sounded pretty good to me…I loaded four packs into the cart (one for each kid).  We picked up mechanical pencils, whiteout, highlighters, Sharpies, dividers, and some notebooks, and then continued to another section of the store where signs told us there were more school supplies.  That’s where I spotted the display of lined paper that was $.39 for 150 sheets.  I ditched the other paper (I admit that I just put it with the cheap paper instead of where it was!), and picked up a dozen of the smaller packs (three for each kid).  Anna picked out expensive scissors, impossibly-priced erasers (“But they’re so cute, Mom!”), and a zebra-print pencil case that cost $6!  We found a couple of binders for Hope (Anna still had hers from last year)…they were purple, so I figured she would like them (wrong again! – “Mom, I can’t have hard binders!”).  We managed to tick off almost everything on the list except the 10 duotangs that Hope needed, and the bag that Anna wanted (none of them was the “right size,” which translated means “not expensive enough”).  I also picked up some Charmin toilet paper on sale (I’m usually not a brand-name girl, but Charmin rocks), some red Twizzlers (one of my favourite snacks) and a couple of things for Elise’s first birthday next month…

We went to the checkout, and emptied our cart…I had predicted it would be $150, and Anna said $200…we were both wrong: it was only $119!  The next shopping trip will be with Hope to get her pants and shoes for gym…


Filed under books, cooking, family, food, gardening, rants, shopping

Hammond River Harvest…

I spent most of yesterday in my garden…it seems the work never ends!  I pulled out some of the lettuce greens that had gone to seed, picked beans, blueberries, black raspberries, zucchini, swiss chard, beet greens, and more lettuce for supper.  I also harvested my first yellow cherry tomatoes!

This yellow cherry tomato was about 1 1/4" in diameter, sweet and mild!

This is the first red tomato to begin ripening...it's Scotia Red, I think...

Tonight, I will make chocolate zucchini bread with the zucchini I picked.  All the squash and pumpkins are doing amazingly well.

Two Red Kuri squash, about 7" in diameter...

Uncle David's Dakota Dessert Squash, about 6" diameter - should be ready to harvest in a few days...

There are at least three pumpkins the size of a basketball already...

This little pumpkin is growing on the fence, about two feet off the ground...not sure how long it will stay up there!

The Autumn Beauty sunflowers have surpassed the height given on the package by several feet…it said they were 5′ high, and many of mine are 8′.  This is with no fertilizer whatsoever…I wonder how big they’d be if I’d put manure in the soil?

My "Wall of Sunflowers"...

I’m really excited that my first broccoli head is nearly ready to harvest…I’m trying to hold off until it’s a little bigger.

My first broccoli head...

Also imminent is the harvest of the first rutabaga.

This is Gilfeather rutabaga, named for John Gilfeather, a bachelor farmer from Vermont...it's about 4" in diameter...

I still have a little while to wait on the cauliflower and the purple Brussels sprouts.

You can see a head forming in the center of this cauliflower...

This Purple Brussels Sprout plant is about two feet high, but still no signs of sprouts!

My shell beans are coming along well too.

These are Italian Borlotti beans...

These are called Orca or Yin Yang beans...the seeds are black and white...

I will harvest these later in the fall when they have dried, and then use them for chili and other soups.

I’m off to make tonight’s supper – corn on the cob (from the store), and chicken thighs, with green beans from the garden.


Filed under food, gardening

Random, Rants, Roughage, and Rodents…

This is going to be a very random post, as we are heavily into planning for our upcoming 10th Anniversary Open House at the bookstore this weekend (http://bit.ly/aZc2SH ), and I’ve been busy trying to get the stacks of books under some sort of control…

1. Ridiculous customer: We have a really BIG Bible: about 6 inches thick, and at least 10 lbs.  On this Bible, there is a small plastic tag that reads in BIG RED LETTERS: “DANGER – Do Not Touch.”  On Friday, I watched a woman move the tag off the top of the Bible, set it on the shelf, and proceed to haul the big honkin’ Bible off the shelf and down on to the FLOOR, so she could look through it!  Apparently, she could read the word “Revelations,” but could not comprehend the shorter ones: “Do Not Touch.”

2. Reluctant body fluids: I am an occasional blood donor – I had an appointment to make a donation on Friday.  I made my way through the incredibly detailed questionnaire designed to safeguard our blood system (no, I’ve never visited Africa, been in prison, or worked with monkeys or their bodily fluids).  Unfortunately, I hadn’t had much water to drink (“I drank tea,” I reported hopefully, but that was no good), so they had a terrible time even finding my small “rolly” veins.  Apparently, it helps to be hydrated…they did finally find a vein, and got the process started.  As usual, my blood flowed as slowly as molasses…after about ten minutes of me squeezing a small rubber ball, the flow stopped completely.  I felt like an utter failure: “Sorry about that,” I mumbled dejectedly.  “I’ll try to drink more water next time.”  The nurse told me not to worry about it.  As I nibbled a cookie, I chatted with an acquaintance of mine, who has over 600 donations under his sleeve, and volunteers at the clinics when he’s between donations!

Canadian Blood Services logo...

3. Rampant greed: I made my first visit to our new Costco on Saturday (Jim had already been there a couple of times with the kids – one trip yielded the biggest jar of olives I’ve ever seen – I don’t even like olives!).  I was amazed when the cashier informed us that she had to take some money out of her till, because earlier she’d had a customer pay for a $2400 order in CASH!  We bought a few useful things, including giant boxes of cereal, rechargeable batteries, 300 ZipLoc freezer bags in two different sizes, and a 36-double roll pack of toilet paper (that should last a couple of weeks!).

The toilet paper we got...I'm sure that embossing will make all the difference...

4. Rodents: Anna informed me when I got up Sunday morning that she had seen a BIG raccoon on our back deck during the night…he was apparently enjoying the eggshells that I have in a bucket out there for the garden.  Jim’s bird seed is also attracting other critters: in the morning, Anna saw a big RAT!  She snapped a picture of it, but deleted it before I told her I wanted it for my blog! 

5. Roughage: I spent Sunday in the garden, harvesting various vegetables and greens.  We had company on Sunday night, and I served salad which was a combination of stuff from my garden, and purchased ingredients.  We also had Swiss chard/beet greens, mixed snap beans, and my first Red Kuri squash, which I picked even before it had a chance to turn red!  I was also thrilled to discover at least one baby pumpkin, a couple of Dakota Dessert squash, and three decent-sized zucchini.  The best news was finding out that my broccoli is finally forming tiny heads!   I also picked more blueberries and a handful of blackberries.

Red Kuri squash before it got red...

Baby pumpkin...

This zucchini is destined to become chocolate zucchini bread...

Uncle David's Dakota Dessert squash...

Baby broccoli head...this is only about 3 inches across...

6. Recognition: My blueberry pie was a big hit with our company https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/i-owe-it-all-to-pig-fat/:  Jim’s parents complimented me on how tasty the pastry was, and Jim asked for seconds after they were gone!


Filed under books, food, gardening, nature, rants, self-discovery