Tag Archives: garden

Herbivore Havoc, Holy Crap, and Hamlet…NEW POST!

Herbivore Havoc

"We'll just wait here until she goes in the house!" (photo by Anna)

I’m really starting to hate Bambi and his relatives…because of them, I’m not going to have any produce to put in the freezer for the winter this year.  They have feasted on all the plants from my $130 worth of organic seeds, and the seedlings that I bought to replace plants that weren’t doing very well.  The arugula and the leeks are the only things they haven’t eaten.  My total harvest so far has been three or four salads, a few meals of spinach/beet greens (before the deer got in the first time), one zucchini, and three meals of green beans/peas (I put away some 40 bags of green beans last year!).  I have fewer than 10 green tomatoes (of various sizes and varieties) that they have not discovered and devoured.  The root vegetables have virtually no leaves on them…I had hoped my rutabaga, beets, and carrots would be spared…I was wrong!

Leafless, fruitless zucchini...

Leafless pole beans...

Leafless bush beans among the weeds...they're the stick-like green and purple things...

Chewed off tomato plant...

Munched beet greens/Swiss chard...

Holy Crap

About a week-and-a-half ago, one of my Market vendors asked me to put a new product they were carrying on our website: it was billed as “The world’s most amazing breakfast cereal” and was called Holy Crap.  The cereal had been featured on CBC’s Dragon’s Den (a program where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to experts) last fall.  I read the literature, and decided to [gulp] pay the hefty $13 bag price tag (8 oz. or 225 grams) to try some.  The cereal is a mix of three organic grains and seeds: chia, hulled hemp seeds, and buckwheat, and three organic fruits: raisins, dried cranberries and apple.  It is gluten and lactose-free.  Every morning since last Saturday, I have stirred a tablespoon of Holy Crap into a container of yogurt, let it sit for five minutes, and eaten it for a mid-morning snack.  I’ve been bringing half my bag lunch home with me…I haven’t been hungry enough to eat it all.  In the evening, instead of sitting down with a bowl of chips, I’ve been eating more Holy Crap with yogurt.  Here’s the best part: I’ve been watching my considerable “muffin top” get smaller and smaller all week.  My clothes fit better!  The first bag of cereal lasted nine days.  I’m going to keep using it, and try to get Jim on to it when he gets back as well.  If I can lose weight just by eating a certain food, I’m going to keep doing it!

Holy Crap (photo from holycrap.ca)

Hamlet

Last night, Dad and I stayed in town after work to see a performance of Hamlet – one of our friends had a lead role (Claudius).  The play was being performed in a tent behind the Saint John Theatre Company’s new building on Princess Street (billed as “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot”).  We paid our money and took our seats in folding chairs.  As we waited for the performance to start, we noticed music and loud voices coming from a party in the courtyard of the building next door.  Unfortunately, it continued, getting louder and louder throughout the first act of the play.  Shakespeare is hard enough to follow when one isn’t being distracted, but actors trying to perform while competing with beer-swilling yahoos and top hits of the 1970’s was more than either of us could take.  We made our exit, vowing to contact the theatre company to see if we could come back and see the whole show without disturbance (at no cost) next week.  The acting was wonderful, especially the man playing Hamlet – he showed how loopy the Danish prince truly was!

I sent a message on Facebook to the director of the play, and she is graciously providing free tickets for the Tuesday night performance…there’s an 80% chance of rain that night…perhaps that will keep the partiers indoors!  I look forward to seeing Act 1 again, and Act 2 for the first time!

Jim and the kids are back Tuesday from their vacation adventure…looking forward to seeing their pictures!

Have a good week…I hope to read some of your blog posts in my spare time…

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Filed under food, gardening, nature, rants, satire

Fondant Stars, Chicken Hearts, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and Prawn Skips…

I haven’t done a rambling, random post with lots of food in it for a while, so here’s one for you:

1. Anna convinced me to buy her some pre-made fondant at Bulk Barn a couple of weeks ago so she could do some cake decorating…last summer, she and Brianna had made fondant from scratch for a cake for Jim’s birthday, but it was apparently a sticky nightmare to work with.  So Mom forked over $16.00 for 4 lbs. of fondant.  Anna made yellow cake, which looked like this when she finished decorating it:

Anna's Star Cake...she cut out the stars freehand with a knife...

2. Kaylee and Scott came over for supper on Sunday…I made gingerbread for dessert (sorry, no photo…it’s gone!).  Lucky Scott found the “bonus hair” in his!  I apologized profusely, but he seemed okay with it (of course, he might have been scared to make a big deal…would you yang at your mother-in-law about her cooking?).  Apparently, Kaylee’s hair is all over their house, and hers is a lot longer than mine!

3. Speaking of hair, I finally got to the hairdresser this week after four months (I normally go every 6-8 weeks).  My grey is gone again (Anna says I look like a “ginger”) and Heather cut about 4″ off the bottom.  I now have a somewhat sexy bob (which unfortunately accentuates my fat cheeks!).  I’m waiting for the last of the snow to melt so I can get out my bike and get rid of the extra inches around my middle!

4. Devin got his learner’s permit last week…Jim is looking forward to passing the torch to Devin as “family chauffeur” once he gets his license!  Anna and I are next!

Elise and Uncle Devin checking out "Dwarf Fortress"...photo by Jim

5. Hope, Dad and I enjoyed a feast of Chinese Chicken Hearts early this week (no one else in the house will eat them, although Kaylee converted Scott and his friend!).  I sauté them, and then add soy sauce, garlic powder, ginger, and brown sugar…yummy!  I made rice pilaf with chicken for the non-heart eaters.

Sautéed Chinese Chicken Hearts...don't they look delicious?

6. I was excited to pick up my seeds for the garden last week!  I can’t wait to start planting the indoor stuff.  I’m going to try leeks, kale, arugula, spaghetti squash, a yellow tomato called “banana legs”, and a black cherry tomato for the first time this year.  I was dismayed to discover that I only have three bags of green beans left in the freezer…will be rationing those from now on!

7. I was supposed to donate blood today, but found out that the clinic was cancelled…I’ve been drinking (water) like crazy all week, to avoid the problem I had last time.  I read somewhere that drinking a couple of glasses of water a half hour before one eats is a good weight loss tool…it makes your stomach think it’s full sooner, so that you don’t eat as much.  I tried that yesterday with my Chinese food at lunch…my stomach told me it was full, but I pretended it was one of the kids and ignored it!  Today I’m paying for that beef and broccoli…the day I stop eating red meat all together is looming!

8.  The Pillsbury Dough Boy is 50 years old today…how ironic that a big-bunned girl like me was born the same year as a guy known for his rolls!

"Wow...you made me a cake?" Photo of Pillsbury Dough Boy from about-recipes.com

9. Jim decided to make banana bread at 10:00 at night on Tuesday night…the two loaves are nearly gone three days later!  Kaylee sent me a recipe for soft pretzels, but it only makes 10, which would disappear in about five minutes at our house!

10. Hope came home from cheerleading with an injury on Wednesday…she had gotten hit in the face while trying to catch their flyer.  Her glasses dug into her nose, and her nose was dented and bruised.  Anna messed up her knee at her cheerleading practice on Thursday.  She used a bag of frozen corn as an ice pack last night.   Competititions start in a couple of weeks…I hope they’re better by then!

11. I got some awesome new cookie sheets last night…ours are getting really decrepit.  The ones I got are heavy Pyrex brand, non-stick ones for only $6 each…I bought two.  They even have the spots for cookies marked on them…how cool is that?

Pyrex cookie sheet...see the markings for those of us who have trouble making straight rows? Photo from productreview.com.au

12. Elise is getting some experience tasting international foods.  Kaylee has a cyber-friend in Ireland named Clodagh (they’ve been friends about ten years), who sent her a book recently.  Knowing Kaylee’s penchant for UK foods, Clo thoughtfully included some Prawn Cocktail Skips (shrimp-flavoured chips), Jaffa Cakes (chocolate covered cookies with jelly in the middle), and Barratt Nougat (chewy candy) in the package.  Here’s a video of Elise trying the Prawn Skips (Scott is not a fan!): 

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Tiptoeing Through Tuesday…

Tuesday has never been my favourite day, but it’s nearly 11 a.m., and it’s actually been not bad (so far…touching wooden desk as I speak!).

Here are some random things from my last few days:

1. Snow/Whirlwind Shopping Trip/Music on Saturday.  We woke up to snow on the ground on Saturday…not much by New Brunswick standards.  In what was probably record time for shopping with the girls, we managed to pick up winter boots for Hope on Saturday at Old Navy for $19…WIN!  We were rushing to drop off Anna and Brianna at the new Harry Potter movie, and then dropped Hope off at her dad’s to watch the Santa Claus Parade in (uptown) Saint John.  Her dad is one of the judges, so the kids get to watch the parade from the comfort of a Saint John City Transit bus.  This year, the head judge brought them pizza and pop.  Jim and I stopped for groceries (sans kids) on the way home…we hadn’t done a major food run since Jim’s surgery!  We spent $165…nobody had better look in the cupboard and complain “There’s nothing to eat!”  There will be two more parades next weekend: the Lancaster Santa Claus Parade (West Saint John), which Anna’s cheerleading team is in, and the Kennebecasis Valley Santa Claus Parade (Quispamsis), which Hope’s cheerleading team is in.  I finally had the chance to listen to a Richard Shindell album I’d ordered (Courier), thanks to my friend Hippie Cahier.  It was so amazing, I listened to it twice in a row!

2. Laundry/Migraine on Sunday.  Four loads of laundry…first migraine for a while!  Family ate pot pies/fries for supper instead of planned lasagna.  I ate Multi-Grain Cheerios and Saltines (neither of which stayed down).  Opted to PVR Amazing Race instead of watch it (you know I’m sick when that happens!).

3. Jim’s Sense of Smell Came Back.  Since his sinus surgery almost two weeks ago, Jim hasn’t been able to smell much.  Anna was scrambling eggs Sunday morning, and he actually caught a whiff of them!  He’s also happy to be able to blow his nose again!

4. Relaxing Monday.  Worried that the migraine might come back, I stayed home from the bookstore on Monday.  Played on the computer and made lasagna (with homemade spaghetti sauce from our garden tomatoes) while Jim slept through old Newhart and M*A*S*H episodes in the La-Z-Boy.  Dad and Anna got home late – they had seen a car hit a deer (one of a group of three), but the deer got up and ran off after doing a little cartwheel.  The man’s car was slightly damaged.  We watched Amazing Race after supper, and were happy to see Chad and Stephanie go…I give their marriage a year…tops!  Two and a Half Men came on at ten…I’ve been underwhelmed with the show this season…the writing was a lot funnier when the dirty jokes were subtle.  I used to let the kids watch it, knowing they probably wouldn’t pick up on the raunchy parts, but now, it’s just “in-your-face” crass!

5. Weird Dreams.  I dreamed of running again last night (for somebody who doesn’t run, I dream about it a lot!).  I also dreamed that I was in town with no purse, no wallet and no phone.  Then I ran into another running man who was “having a low” (Jim is Type 1 Diabetic – he has “low” sugars a lot in the night), so I followed this poor guy into the men’s room to try to help him.  Realizing I’d wandered into forbidden territory, I came out and informed the staff in the snack bar that there was a man “having a low” in the men’s room, and that they should get him some juice.  Then I used some Chinese girl’s (I think she was a stripper) Hello Kitty cell phone to call home to ask Jim to come and get me…but not before we went to my old apartment in Moncton to deliver a blanket(?) to a bad mother who was letting her two toddlers run around outside by themselves.  While we were there, my brother wandered in (having made the 1000-mile drive from Ontario)…my aunt from Florida was already there!  If I’m going to have weird dreams, I do it right (I think it might have been the hot dogs we ate for lunch)!

6. Stats.  Opening up a friend’s blog post this morning, she was complaining that she had gotten some 1500 hits this past WEEK by searchers using the search term “turkey” or variations thereof…I think I’m going to tag all my posts “turkey” this week!

7. Airline Security.  A friend on Facebook posted a link to a note written by someone else about the recent airline security “personal” searches, and how ridiculous they were.  It was quite well-written – the poster declared that he would choose the “patdown” search when he flew home for Thanksgiving.  I got a chuckle from a commenter who suggested that he “Wear a quilt [my italics].  Go commando.”  Yeah…that will make it better…

8. Perfect Stranger Chills in PA.  Another friend on Facebook lives in Pennsylvania, and celebrated her 40th birthday this past weekend.  She was at the ice cream machine at the Old Country Buffet in Scranton at the same time as Bronson Pinchot (Balki on Perfect Strangers).  I wonder if she did the “dance of joy”? 

9. More Shopping With Teenagers Tonight.  Jim is bringing Hope and Brianna with him tonight when he comes to pick up Anna and I…Hope needs a new winter coat (she’s grown out of last year’s), and both Bri and Anna need new boots (Anna’s $90 ones from last year are totalled!).  I’m hoping that my MasterCard escapes with cuts and bruises rather than a skull fracture…

10. Holiday Decorating.  I have friends who have already decorated their homes for Christmas…I personally think they’re deranged!  I saw a couple of Target ads for Black Friday last night…nuts! 

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Filed under blogging, cooking, dreams, family, food, satire, shopping

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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Tuesday Trifles…

Here are some highlights of my last few days:

Shopping with Teenagers

After my rant on Friday about What the Cool Kids are Wearing, I took my two younger daughters shopping on Saturday.  We had two goals in mind: give the kids some “alone time” with their biological parent (Jim took his kids out too), and find me some new jeans, since crotchless denims aren’t really in style in New Brunswick…

Our first stop was Value Village.  I love Value Village mainly because it’s NOT the Mall!  I tried on four pairs of pants, and bought one for $6.99 (another one would have worked, but I discovered it didn’t have a top button when I got into the changing room).  While I was trying to squeeze into too-tight pants, I overheard a conversation between two guys in the next two cubicles who were trying on Halloween costumes: “Wow, these shorts are really short!  They look good though!”  “Do you have a headband?”  “Yeah, I’ve got a Nike one I can just wear inside out!”  I wish I could have seen them!

I debated getting a nice hardcover copy of “Charlotte’s Web” for Elise, but it was heavy, and I didn’t particularly want to carry it around for the next two hours…should have gotten it…it was only $3.99.  Hope found a wig and a shirt for her Halloween costume, and another top.  Anna got a vintage computer game she remembered from childhood and a DVD of some movie…I put the $50 or so on my debit card, and we headed across the street to the mall.

I was feeling a bit faint when we got there…time for an emergency frosted cinnamon roll…lucky I had my handy Tim Horton’s card with me!

Saved by my Tim's card!

“Is it time to go yet?”  I don’t know how many times I asked that over the next hour-and-a-half, as the kids dragged me into one store after another: Ardene’s for jewellery (for the Halloween costume – ended up being jewellery, headbands, track pants, and a hoodie!); Aeropostale for a hoodie (make that TWO hoodies – they were half-price, after all!); and La Senza for bras for Anna.  My fingers were cramping from typing in my pin number on the debit machine!  I did get a FREE bra though!  Standing at the checkout at La Senza, I was rooting through my wallet for my “bra card” (there it was, right next to my coffee card, my sub card, and my card card [no, I’m not stuttering – Hallmark]).  The perky clerk informed me that we had reached the magic number to receive a free bra (and I’d only spent $798!…I might be exaggerating, a little).  “You can pick the most expensive one in the store if you want!” she reported excitedly.  I share my friend Jane’s enthusiasm for bra shopping.  We’d already spent way longer than I had wanted to in my least favourite place.  I was like a deer in the headlights.  Handing the kids my bags, I looked anxiously around and grabbed a couple of bras, pretty much at random (avoiding the neon colours and the zebra stripes).  Into the changeroom I went.  Success!  One fit: the girls didn’t look too bad (and my daughters looked fine too!).

We celebrated with fruit smoothies ($10 and change for two smoothies for Anna and Hope – I don’t do any liquid thicker than water!).

Jim and his kids picked us up out front, and we headed home.  They had gotten some cool stuff too…

So, my girls spent the afternoon with me, I got new (used) jeans and a free bra, and it only cost me $200 (what’s wrong with this picture?)!

Disturbing Dreams

I had two rather disconcerting dreams on Saturday night (I blame the cinnamon roll!):

1. I dreamed that I was making out with a tattooed man.  I didn’t make this guy up…he’s a guy who lives in Saint John – not bad-looking if you can overlook the tattoos on his face, and multiple piercings!  I feel a bit sorry for him, though, because he’ll probably never be able to work a regular job.  He is quite a talented photographer, and occasionally sells photos/plays bongos on the sidewalk for money.  Anyway, it turns out that Tattoo Guy is a very good kisser (at least in my dream!).  I was disturbed by two aspects of the dream: that it didn’t seem to bother me that I was engaged to Jim and kissing another man, and that I really am not attracted to tattoos, especially on someone’s face!  I told Jim about the dream, to which he replied that he’d dreamed about chasing a radioactive alligator around his parents’ yard (he works in a nuclear power plant). 

2. The second dream must have been a residual from Open Farm Day.  I dreamed that I was on a farm where animals were kept on shelves.  On one shelf, there would be three piglets, and on another shelf, there would be three calves lying down.  There was only about a foot between shelves – no room for the animals to stand up!  The shelves were covered with manure…it was gross, but I didn’t think anything of it!

Gardening Apathy

The “new car smell” is starting to wear off of gardening for me…is it wrong that I’m wishing for frost so that I can be done with it for the year?

Sunday I went out and pulled out my sunflower stalks (or in some case, broke them off at soil level – those things are tough as small trees!).  They were getting in the way of picking tomatoes…the piles and piles of tomatoes!  I am freezing the big ones, and packing the little ones in lunches…there are not enough tomato-eaters in my household to eat all that I planted!  The increasing number of fruit flies buzzing around the bowls are telling me that something’s rotten in the pile…

I cooked two more squash and put them in the freezer…there are many, many more to cook…

I harvested my two “dry” bean varieties yesterday: romano beans, and orca beans.  I shelled the romanos, but still have to shell the orcas.  The yield is quite small, compared to what I got from the green beens.

These are the orca beans...aren't they pretty?

The root vegetables: carrots, beets, and rutabagas are next…is it winter yet?

Doing Our Civic Duty

Yesterday was the New Brunswick provincial election.  Jim and I made a point of getting out to vote, knowing full well that our candidate would not win, but that we did the important thing and exercised our right to vote!  People that don’t bother to do so really piss me off!  I told one young (educated) friend of mine to write somebody ridiculous in (I suggested Elvis or Lady Gaga) if he didn’t like the candidates, but to vote anyway!

The Conservatives won by a landslide, but only because of the rush to vote for anybody who didn’t represent the current party in power!  Voter turnout was only 68%…I wonder whether the outcome would have been the same if everyone had made it to the polls?  I don’t want to hear any bitching from non-voters when the Conservatives muck it up worse than their predecessors…maybe if you’d gotten off your ass, they might not have made it in!

And on that note, I’m going to have my lunch…

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Tuesday Tidbits…

Here are some random things from this week:

1. Picking tomatoes in the dark is really hard (note to self: get someone else to make dinner on nights I get home late so that I can get out to the garden before the light is gone!).  I don’t see well even when it’s light out…I have two green tomatoes sitting on the counter that I mistook for ripe ones.  I also came in with my hair full of sunflower bits (they’re beside the tomatoes, and are seriously in my way!).

2. I need to get out and pick some squash…they’re everywhere now (note to self #2: send pumpkins to Omawarisan at Blurt, because he loves them so much!).  I also need to process the last of the green beans, and the tomatoes and zucchini I’ve already picked.  Maybe the Freezer Fairy will come and clean out my freezer so that I’ll have some room to put stuff in it!

3. We had our first beets from the garden this week…yummy!  They were a bit warty-looking, but they tasted good!

4. There’s nothing sexier than a man holding a baby.

Jim with Elise on Open Farm Day...

5. Cows experience their milk “letting down” at inappropriate times, just like nursing mothers…my children were amused (and a little horrified) to see streams of milk coming from several cows’ teats just before milking time at Open Farm Day.

This poor girl was in need of some heavy-duty nursing pads...

6.  We may have to invest in some knee pads for Anna…she comes home from cheerleading practice with her knees all bruised up.  She’s also bummed out because they can’t do any stunting or tumbling while the union representing Teacher’s Assistants and School Librarians is on a “job action.”  Their team’s faculty advisor is the librarian at the school.  With the New Brunswick provincial election coming up this weekend, it may be a while before they get things sorted out.  Come on, you guys!  There are a lot of families with children with learning disabilities who depend on TA’s!

7. Some schools believe in overkill…Hope was late to her first class yesterday because her inconsiderate locker neighbour was in her way.  The school left identical messages on the home phone, cell phone, and the bookstore phone to let me know my kid was late!  Thanks for telling me…I’ll get on with my life now…

8. I learned yesterday that, according to Root Beer World, there have been more than 2500 kinds of root beer produced (assuming that many of the brands are now defunct).  Root beer is pretty much the only kind of pop I drink, and I don’t have it very often.  Root beer floats are awesome!

My Granddad always had a case of Dad's Root Beer at his house when we visited...

9. The producers of Big Bang Theory have sadly disappointed me with their new sitcom, Mike and Molly.  Jim and I watched the premiere episode last night.  It was predictable, mean-spirited, and unfunny.  I will not watch it again.  On a related note, the new season of Two and a Half Men started last night as well…it is back to its pre-Chelsea standards (I’m glad she’s gone!)…I laughed out loud several times!  Ryan Stiles rocks, and Jon Cryer was his usual deadpan self.

10. Since I gave out the Bloody Brilliant Blogger’s Award  a little while ago, I have enjoyed watching my blogging buddies discover each other.  I love the fact that I was instrumental in turning somebody else on to someone whose writing I enjoy.  I am, however, missing more than a few “homework assignments”…am watching for the awardees to post their own lists of “Bloody Brilliant Bloggers” so that the Award gets passed on.  Looking forward to it!

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Today’s Post is Brought to You by the Letter P…

Since the letter P seems to have popped up a lot around our place in the last week, I decided it would be pleasurable to post about it:

1. Last Saturday, Jim, Anna and I went blackberry picking at my private patch on the West Side (Hope preferred to purchase packages at McAllister Place instead).  Jim ploughed purposefully through the prickles, blazing new paths.  We picked a full plastic peanut pail of blackberries in about an hour-and-a-half.  Anna was perfectly fine until she was pursuing a particularly perfect bunch of berries, lost her balance, and pitched into the prickly purgatory.  She suffered painful scratches which we later applied Polysporin to.  I pointed out that I had perspiration pouring down my posterior – Anna said that was a piece of information she’d prefer not to have been privy to.  After picking up Hope, we stopped at Jim’s parents’ to pick up a ladder.  Jim wanted to put up the new ceiling fan we’d purchased at the yard sale in St. Martins.

2. This week, I took my persnickety pupils to finish up shopping for school supplies.  Hope got purple wedge heels (Anna bought them for her), which later caused her to fall and tear a hole in her pants.  It’s a pity that it is no longer prevalent to patch jeans!  Hope also got purple sneakers (she protested when I prevailed on her to purchase size 10 – said she didn’t want to have “clown feet!”).  Jim got Hope a purple plaid bookbag, and purple plaid sneakers for Brianna at Payless.

Hope's precarious purple sandals...

Hope's purple sneakers...Size 10!

 

Hope's purple plaid bookbag...

3. Jake, our poodle/schnauzer got a haircut this week.  The job was somewhat patchy, as the guard kept falling off the trimmer.  He made me laugh yesterday when I caught our pooch perched on the arm of the chair perusing the kids who were playing outside on the trampoline.  His back legs were sticking straight out…I tried to photograph him, but he defeated my purpose by turning around to look at me!

Look at Jake's side just in front of his back leg...that's where the guard fell off...

4. We’ve been snacking on foods that start with the letter P this week.  Jim and I both like peanuts (Jim eats barbecue, I prefer honey-roasted).  Jim got a big bag of mixed chips – he doesn’t like pretzels, so he leaves them for the Pretzel Princess (that would be me).  I also love glasses of pineapple juice over ice.

Jim's bag of barbecued peanuts and my jar of honey roasted...

Jim's rejected pretzels...

 

5. Wednesday afternoon, I stopped at the post office to pick up postage stamps.  I had to pass the Big Brothers/Big Sisters book sale, so I purchased another pile of books.  We have a customer named Phil who likes all things outdoors…several of the books made me think of him.  As I passed through the City Market, I actually ran into Phil, and told him I bought books for him.  He put aside several as he was waiting for a payment to pass at the bank.  He plans to order a pricey publication on fishing when his check clears.  

6. On Wednesday, I pissed off a passionate patriotic person with something I posted.  I pouted for a couple of days…my proclivity to post was temporarily paralyzed.  I am partial to the person I perturbed, so we both apologized profusely for provoking each other and the precarious predicament has passed.  Everything is peachy! 

7. On Friday, we called the plumber because we had a leaking pipe in the kids’ bathroom.  When I talked to him on the phone, he proposed that sometimes pinholes in the pipe cause leaks.  I proclaimed that the problem was probably bigger than a pinhole, as Jim had seen quite a puddle of water in our basement.  The plumber made a big hole in the wall, and replaced the tap.  He didn’t have the right part to make it possible to have a shower.

Plumber's handiwork so far...

8. On Friday evening, I was in the garden when I perceived a couple of pink poppies peeking out amongst the profusion of plants:  these were the third and fourth ones I have seen (the first one was in Dad’s pea patch).  I did not plant poppies this year (although I purchased seeds for them).  I had been pulling perplexing weeds that I couldn’t identify in any listing of pervasive plants prevalent in our province (after poring over some publications on plant identification, I became privy to the name of another pretty weed we have: purslane).  Upon examining the leaves of these poppies, I realized they were my mystery weed!

Pink poppy in the pumpkin patch...

The plentiful purslane...

 

9. Remember the pumpkin that was growing on the fence?  Well, it’s even more portly now!  The biggest ones are starting to turn orange.  Our beans continue to be prolific, particularly the Blue Jay, Mennonite Purple Stripe, and Royal Burgundy beans, which all have purple on them.  It’s doubtful whether our peppers will ever produce.  We’re still waiting for the purple Brussels sprouts too.

Pumpkin on the fence...

Big pumpkin...

Purple blossoms on the Blue Jay beans...my most prolific producer...

A Mennonite Purple Stripe bean run amok...this one's about 7" long...

This Royal Burgundy bean is more purple than burgundy (turns green when cooked)...

Still waiting for the peppers to blossom...

Still no signs of sprouts on the Purple Brussels Sprouts...

10. We’re having people over for supper tonight, my little Puddin’ Pop, Elise, and her parents.  I’m looking forward to seeing her…it’s been at least three weeks!  I had planned to have pork in the Crock Pot, and mashed potatoes, but got a beef roast out of the freezer instead…I must have been preoccupied! 

Me and my Puddin' Pop, the last time I saw her on August 5th...

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