We are ready for Wychwood, Brickworks & Owen Sound

The fish are done and waiting to packed in a couple of hours.
We are going to try to get a couple of zzz's but will be heading out soon.
Some beautiful fresh fish and plenty of smoked.
See you tomorrow.
Brendan Brazier came and spoke at our local Fiddleheads a couple of weeks ago and I unfortunately found out the day after. For those of you not familiar, Brazier is a vegan triathlete, holding titles in Ironman competition. He has been an amazing symbol of the capacity of the vegan diet (and has single-handedly helped limit the common stereotype that vegans are protein-deficient, sickly and at health risk). His book Thrive is a best-seller, discussing a whole foods approach to dieting. Admittedly I haven't read it yet...believe me, I will get there, but my thesis has really been weighing down my reading-for-interest capacity as of late.

He is also the creator of Vega, a vegan nutrition product line, which includes vegan versions of many popular fitness-related food items (i.e. protein shakes). The husband has been working on his fitness quite intensely lately, and has been missing the whey protein shakes of his teen years. On our weekly trip to Fiddleheads, we spent some time looking around the protein supplement section. Now, I have to admit, I am a bit skeptical about the shelves and shelves of vials containing "ancient, natural" ingredients promising relief from every ailment under the sun: acne, obesity, greasy hair, cancer. I'm not sure one single vial can do anything for you, and I also don't believe that just because something is labelled natural it is somehow safe for consumption. There are a lot of big business corporations with their hands in the natural industry and so this is not the same as picking a flower in the wild and then making it medicine. Similarly, there are a lot of things on our planet that do occur naturally and are still not safe for human consumption. I'm not knocking the natural health industry (that would be counter-productive, as I work in it), it all just reminds me of the South Park episode where people rush to the new age store to buy the most random things (i.e. "cherokee hair tampons") because "if they are natural, they must work". All I'm saying is that a little skepticism never hurt anyone.

Anyway. Protein supplement shakes are really no different than the vitamins we all (vegan or not) should probably be taking everyday, because we're not as diligent with monitoring our food intake as we could be. So, Paul picked up a trial pack of Vega meal replacement to see if it could compare to what he remembered of whey shakes.

This review of it is based entirely on Paul's experiences, as the second he mixed it with rice milk and lifted the lid on the blender he announced that it smelled like mushrooms and I ran for the hills. I have this weird aversion to the smell of mushrooms...yes, I'm aware that this makes me a giant baby. I am not big on mushrooms at all, I can take them or leave them, but I take them more often than not to reap their nutritional benefit. I will eat fresh mushrooms, but I cannot handle the smell of canned mushrooms. And I cannot, cannot think about how they smell while I am eating them.

He tasted it and announced that it not only smelled like mushrooms, it tasted like mushrooms. And chocolate. And rice milk. Um, yum?

He downed it and chased it with orange juice, so I think the verdict is that he did not care for it. Not knocking Brendan Brazier here. I can barely contain my excitement over Thrive and incorporating his tips into my diet...it is just this particular product that was a bit of a miss in our household. I believe the word Paul used was "inedible", which is strange, because he pretty much eats anything. Perhaps chocolate wasn't the right flavour, but I think he might be scarred from trying another one.

The one thing he did like was the high amount of protein and the boost it gave his daily run/workout. So, we thought we'd try our hand at making our own protein shake:

Now, we by no means are advocating this as a meal replacement as we have no idea what goes into making a shake like that. This is just a high-protein pre- or post-workout refreshment. It contains orange juice, rice milk, mixed frozen berries, a banana, and for protein, hulled hemp seed and ground flax. Also, a crushed vegan multi-vitamin to amp up its nutritional value.

The verdict...delicious. And no mushroom smell coming from the blender. He is now gone for his run to see how it really measures up, and I am sitting here getting ready to bake cupcakes - cupcakes are so much more fun, no? Even I am not that ridiculous. I am missing today's workout but only because I am baking these cupcakes as a gift (and also because I am lazy).
It's been a busy week but quiet in a way. There hasn't really been much to blog about but lots to be doing. I swear I could dust this house every day, it grows dust overnight :) Really it's all the dust from the large equipment running around our yard all day. Colin and Dad are busy trying to get the corn and soy beans finished. We had so much rain last night. It's going to be a while before they get done. Colin is hoping the tomatoes and pumpkins survived the rain ok. We've actually got spring-like puddles (lakes) around the yard. Hopefully we can get a week of sunshine and high 20's, then I will have a happy hubby.

We had order week at the OVFC and I was concerned. I didn't know how orders would go, since the H1N1 nonsense. Turns out the Ottawa Valley is filled with sensible people who can see through media hype. We had a fabulous month of sales, even the farm gate sales seem to have increased. It's so satisfying, people realize that it's important to know where your food is coming from. We really need to start focusing on renewing our local economies. It's nice to worry about the world, but if your neighbours are going hungry then it's time to change focus!

Of course, here's the real reason we keep on trying!!


We all change. Every day something around us changes, and it influences us. Change can be hard, even scary beyond belief, but it is so very important, and I'm excited to share a bit of my own road of change with you.

A few years ago, I was closed to new ideas. Everything had to just be the way it's always been. All my feelings had to be the same. I even said that things could mature, but not change. But I've discovered that maturing brings with it change, and that perhaps, even, change is vital to true maturity. I feel much different now, than I did a few years ago, and it's not just because I'm 17 now and I was 15 then, it's the fact that I've grown into myself. Time has had an effect on me, through the people it has brought me, and the experiences I've had. It's been amazing thus far. It's also been very, very hard.

It's all relative, isn't it? This thing we call time, through which we change, mature, grow, learn, and explore? I mean really, what is time? Is time now? The now that isn't now any more, because by the time you read the word now, it will be the future, and the now that I wrote earlier in the sentence is not now anymore, but the past. And yet, this now, is now. And now it's not. And the next one will be, now. Through each now, this moment for change. Each time a new now is upon us, we've had the opportunity to do something, to explore, to mature, to change. When you think of a Supreme Creator, time becomes even more relative, and change along with it, because if the Creator created us, and created us to change, then time is non-existent to Him, because He sees all the 'nows' from the outside. Now isn't even an applicable term anymore. So, time is really quite a relative concept, and, at the risk of sounding New-Age-y, time is really just an illusion. It may sound bizarre, but if you think about it, it's true.

So, then, isn't change all interwoven? The person that was me 2 or 3 years ago either is another person, or it's also me, but if time is relative, then it's me now. That me is so different from the me at this moment, that it is hard to get my mind around the fact that it has to be all together, but it's true, and it makes each moment mean so much more, because it isn't just something in the past anymore. It's now, forever. So you see, it's rather complicated. Now you see how changes are not exactly changes after all, but simply using this illusion of time to 'grow' into who we really are. Or out of who really are, but that's just scary.

I've been told I'm out of the box, unusual. I've been told I've become more rooted in who I truly am. I'm so glad for friends that tell me these things! I've been told that the more I change, the more I become me. Don't we all need to do that? To grow into ourselves, and to use time to our benefit so that we can grow and explore? How important!!!

I know that sometimes I just seem like a liberal hippie who fights for causes that aren't worth fighting for, and weeps over worthlessness, but you know what? This is me. And the more I grow, learn, and explore, the more I will change into me. I only want to figure out who I am more.

I love my exploratory life!

On an overcast day, Andrew made it to market. He has the canopy just incase the rain does come.
I am working on the smokers for Saturday and still have a couple more tomorrow.
It is pretty quiet on such a dreary day.
See you at Wychwood, Brickworks and Owen Sound this Saturday.

Andrew will be at Dufferin tomorrow

Smokers are done.
Fresh is looking fine.
The coolers are all organized.
The truck is ready.
Andrew is sleeping.
All ready for market tomorrow.
Nite to all.

Teriyaki Quinoa, Pan-Fried Tempeh & Steamed Broccoli

Quinoa and tempeh recipes from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. Broccoli is just steamed and lightly sauced with sweet chili and some of the leftover teriyaki.

I honestly can't say anything bad about Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. You'll notice that I make a lot of things from it, and honestly now it's become a game to me, to try and find something from that book that isn't good. So far I am losing. We did try one of her chili recipes back when I first got the book (and wasn't yet vegan) and weren't too keen on it...but honestly, back then I was pretty incompetent in the kitchen and I probably just messed up the recipe. One of the reasons I don't post recipes is because I don't want to take credit for someone else's hard work, I just like to provide a bit of a running commentary on them, because I know how hard it can be trying to determine whether or not you will like a recipe just by reading the ingredients and not having a picture to drool over. So, enter This is Vegan.

If there are one or two recipes that you would like to try before handing over your hard-earned dollars, that is more than fair, and as always you can contact me. But, if you are looking for a versatile cookbook that combines simplicity (i.e. not having to google what the heck certain ingredients are) with elegance and most importantly, nutrient-packed eats, pick up this cookbook and have no regrets.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WUH) is a staple vegan ingredient because although it is not technically a grain (it is related to spinach, beets and chard) it can be used in place of any grain and is a complete protein (contains all nine essential amino acids, unlike the standard grains which contain some, but not all). While a bowl of brown rice is definitely a healthy option, there is more nutritional value in a bowl of quinoa. It can be used anywhere that rice is used and is good in both warm dishes and cold dishes. While I do still prefer rice, I sub-in quinoa every now and again to reap the benefits of easy-access protein and the more I eat it, the more I like it.

I believe that a lot of the backlash against quinoa results from improper preparation, accounting for the "bitter" taste that some people claim it has. Mother nature protects quinoa with a coating of natural preservatives called "saponins" which ward off insects and fungi outbreaks. These are not harmful to you in the way that synthetic chemical sprays are, they just taste really, really bad. Modern quinoa goes through a cleansing process in the factory, but it's still a good idea to rinse your quinoa in plenty of cold water before cooking it.

And this is where my main annoyance with it comes in. It is kind of a jerk to prepare...partly because I don't have a proper sieve with small enough holes to let out the water while still retaining the quinoa. Instead, I go through a delicate process of running water over the sieve, catching it (and half the quinoa that goes through in another bowl) and repeating over and over again until the quinoa is clean and all in one place. Plus, once it is wet it gets really sticky to the touch, and so when I am transferring it from bowl to bowl and sieve to sieve it gets stuck all over my hands, my sink, my kitchen window....the dog (don't ask).

I should probably just get a better sieve.

Anyway, all this hassle is worth it because quinoa is delicious, nutritious and versatile...

Eat Your Quinoa!
Quinoa has been linked to helping such ailments as migraines and cardiovascular diseases (based on the high magnesium content, which aids in relaxing blood vessels). As a vegan, it is one of the easiest ways to ensure you are getting enough protein (although most vegans are - such a myth that we are all deprived and sickly, when was the last time an omnivore calculated their protein intake? They might be surprised by the result). It is also high in fiber and contributes in the way that whole grains do (preventing heart failure, providing energy and has even been linked to protection against breast cancer). Some studies have even linked having a diet rich in whole grains to decreases in childhood asthma, decreasing incidents of wheezing and attack (see whfoods.com for more details and study sources).
I spent my early adult years being a slave to Atkins and other low-carb diets, steering as far away from grains as humanly possible ("omgz, they will make me so fat!")...while I'm not denying that these diets will make you lose weight (I dropped a solid 10 pounds at the time...but suffered a whole host of other ailments that I didn't link to my food choices), you are depriving your body of much a much needed resource. So eat your grains...and eat your non-grain grain replacement, quinoa!
Andrew left this morning with the fish for Riverdale. There is plenty of fresh fish aboard.
The weather here is cloudy and a cool wind off the water. We quite the strong wind coming across the water so I am glad Andrew doesn't have to fish today. When we first woke up this morning that is what we heard was the waves hitting the shore.
I am working on the smokers for Dufferin and hopefully Andrew can get out fishing tomorrow.

Adventures in Quiltland continue...

I spent two happy days last week working with Joyce R. Becker, landscape quilt artist, author and teacher as she taped some episodes for an upcoming series of international quilting workshops to be presented via the internet.  Due to illness, the producer of this series was unable to travel from Israel for the shoot, so the talented young Israeli videographer, Einav Giat (pictured here with her video camera) arrived without her.  I was there for Joyce as moral support and for suggesting dialog as she ad libbed her way through three workshops!  Having produced a few videos about quilts and quiltmakers, I was thrilled to be able to help out.  Actually, Joyce's was the first DVD I produced for C & T Publishing.   That quilt behind Joyce in the photo is one of her fabulous landscape quilts.  She has been teaching all over the world with her techniques and also on some cruises.  She makes landscape quilting a joyous and fun experience!

Next week I'm going to Lorraine Torrence's Quilt Design Retreat for four days.  I've been struggling with the class assignment - but have no pix to share as yet of that task.  There will be fun and laughter and camaraderie and... no cooking!  The retreat is held at a conference center set in beautiful peaceful grounds just northeast of Monroe, WA. 

Sadly my right hand was not happy with the Welsh quilting, so I've had to give that a rest.  Once I get back from the retreat and all my PBS commitments are done with during June Pledge month, I will go see the hand specialist to see what's to be done..  maybe a big cortisone shot would bring relief for the time being, but I'm chicken.  I hate those shots in my hand.  

The weather has been glorious and I've been gently working on my tan.  I feel so much healthier with a big ole dose of Vitamin D!
It was a cool market but it was successful. Both Wychwood and Brickworks were completed and we were able to make it home in good time.
Today Andrew was able to go fishing and it was a good lift. Some beautiful trout. We also got the smoker ready to do for Riverdale this week.
Tomorrow we will be smoking some fish and Andrew will be fishing to have fresh for Riverdale.
Our fish bus was busy today with the beautiful weather. It was strange to see that amount of vehicles out front our place but I am glad they enjoyed their meals.
Now we are just getting our boys ready for school and the countdown has started till the last day of classes.

Avocado Black Bean Burgers w/ Pasta Salad

Avocado Burger patties recipe from Cupcake Punk and Pasta Salad recipe from Vegan Planet.

Veggie burgers are found somewhere on the lesson plan for Veg*ism 101. Boxes of frozen soy patties are usually the go-to item for new veg*ns as they are easy, versatile and sometimes are even easily confused with their meaty counterparts. They are an excellent item for those transitioning into a veg lifestyle, and compared to the alternative, I would say that many on the market are a health-conscious choice for open-minded omnivores (note: some...there are some seriously unhealthy veggie burgers on the market and also tons that are vegetarian, but not vegan, so read your labels).

But, in typical Mary fashion, I do have a problem with them, as I seem to have a problem with everything. I am viciously anti-supermarket freezer aisle because for me, veganism is about health and natural living, and preservatives (although some may be vegan) do not fall in that category for me. I am also very paranoid when it comes to what is put in my food, and for me, frozen meals that require little more than being tossed in the oven is the same as dining in a restaurant - you kind of know what is on your plate but you can't guarantee that adheres to your standards of what is appropriate for your body. Ten years ago it was much more difficult to consume unhealthy and unnatural things as a vegan because they simply weren't available, but the corporations have realized that they have something to gain from our lifestyle and have poured millions of dollars into the mass production of such a variety of frozen and prepackaged vegan foods that Chef Boyardee himself might be shocked.

Some of these items, while vegan, are laden with preservatives, sodium, MSG and other chemical items to maintain their flavour after months in the freezer. Further, the vast majority use soy protein isolate to mimic non-vegan flavours (meat, cheese, cream, etc.). Isolated soy protein is a highly processed food, and it's worth in veganism is currently under hot debate. On one hand, it ensures that veganism is more accessible to the mainstream (even hot dog stands have a veggie option now), but on the other, it is contributing to the fast food culture which many of us are disenchanted with. Don't get me wrong, these "meat analogs" are actually quite delicious and are still so much better than the mystery meat that's in a regular hot dog. But all the same, they should be considered a convenience and a treat...a vegan answer to Michelina's on a particularly busy evening. I'd be lying if I denied my love for ground round taco night at our place. However, I've reduced the use of soy protein isolate to once every few weeks, at the most (usually at the request of the husband, but I'll own up to that second helping of chili I had last night).

One of my new year's resolutions involved taking extra steps to eat things as close to their natural state as possible (yes, I am going to try my hand at raw too!) and really, our use of analogs has waned since my first months as a vegetarian (now well over two years ago). But, the weather has turned after a frigid Canadian winter and that means it is barbeque season. While I don't miss the hormone-infused burger patties of my omnivorous youth, I do crave the connection between summer and the grill...and while grilling veggies is delicious, it is just not the same as a burger when friends gather to celebrate summer. As a result, I have been experimenting with various homemade, soy-free burger patties, looking for something to take me through the summer, the above being the most delicious.

The problem is it doesn't hold together. At all. It's not suitable for a bbq grill, not even when using foil or a grill buddy. Avocado is sticky and no ridiculous amount of breadcrumbs seems to hold these crazy things together (believe me, I tripled the amount of bread just to see if it would work). The problem is that they are insanely delicious...and so I am saving the recipe to do them on the stove and serve them in pitas falafel-style, where it doesn't matter if they fall apart and turn to mush. If you have tried this recipe and can get it to hold together, by all means teach me a lesson. I just can't do it.

So, the search continues for a grill friendly patty for the summer of '09. For now I'll continue with grilled eggplant and portobello...and the occassional boxed veggie burger.

Finally, as I'm sure my blogging is already getting tedious for the handful of followers I actually have here (thanks for reading guys!), in honour of the four avocados that go into a batch of 12 of these (waiting patiently in my freezer, since we only do up 3 at a time)....

Eat Your Avocado!
Avocado gets a ridiculously bad rap from fad diets because it is high in calories and fat (but so is cheese, and I always find that in diet books with little apology). So, it's probably not best to eat avocado every meal for the rest of your life (but oh my god, what a glorious world that would be - avocado is by far my most favourite of all of mother nature's treats!) but it is important to note that fat is not always the enemy, and avocado is an example of what is referred to as "good fat" in that it is an unsaturated fat. It contains essential fatty acids that promote heart health (and have been proven to aid in lowering cholesterol), and have been linked to fighting cancer, particularly in the case of prostate and breast. Further, it helps absorb vitamins from the other foods you do it (see whfoods.com for more details). If you're vegan, you're already doing so well with limiting your consumption of fat that reaping the benefits of avocado by sacrificing a couple extra calories every now and again is more than allowed!

Headed to the City tomorrow

The fish are all done and we are getting ready to do separate and do 3 markets. We will have our fish at the Brickworks, Wychwood and also Owen Sound. There seems like plenty of fish so hopefully every one can get a piece of something.
I best head to bed. Three will be here shortly. See you at market!

I just found this. I love it.

We are not alone,

we live in God's world.

We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God's presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.

We are not alone.

Thanks be to God.

Pet Care: Replace Raw Hide Bones with Carrots!

I have to admit, I love Martha Stewart. There's something about her show that calms me. While the world is closing in on itself in its own infinite madness, there is Martha, weaving a wicker basket in her pastel kitchen. It's stability in an unstable world.

Today she had a segment on natural human food suitable for dogs. Foodstuffs that help with various ailments, and I have to admit I was intrigued. Before I begin, let it be known that I support the view that dogs, like humans, can thrive on a vegan diet. Dogs are omnivorous (like people), so their digestive system is easily adapted to a vegan diet (I'm happy to provide sources for anyone interested in this further). Now, my Dora is admittedly not a vegan, but a pescetarian (pescetarian = no land-based meat or birds, but still seafood). She has severe food allergies and an incredibly sensitive stomach, and so the organic sweet potato and herring combo available from California Naturals is the only meal plan that doesn't result in puke all over my hardwood floor. Let it be known, though, I have not given up on a veg diet for my girl (vegan dogs defy odds!). It will just take a little bit of time and a little bit of experimentation, but I have faith that I will get there.

Martha had a guest on her show today to talk about human foods suitable for pups (I was working away on my thesis at the time and so I didn't catch his name), and one trick that particularly stuck out during the segment involved replacing the raw hide bones, the ones we all grew up giving dogs to help clean plaque and tartar off their teeth, with a raw carrot. Like a raw hide bone, pups will gnaw away on the hard carrot (make sure you don't cook it!), dislodging the gunk that may be caught between their teeth. While raw hide breaks apart and has been known to cause splinters in the dog's digestive system, carrots are full of vitamins A and C and are just as beneficial to our canine friends as they are to us.

I decided to give it a go..the only issue was that all of the carrots I had on hand happened to be huge. So when I gave it to Dora she didn't know what to do with it, just kind of licked it and nudged it across the floor. Paul picked it up and held it for her and eventually she grabbed it and took it to her bed to work on - just like she used to do on the bones we bought her back in pre-veg days. Success! Dora doesn't like having her teeth cleaned...so any help we can get in that department is welcome. As if carrots weren't awesome enough already!

There hasn't been a lot of new stuff coming off the presses at my house. However I have been steaming individuals for my landscape pieces. It has been really uplifting (excuse the geological pun) to listen to what words people use as they view my work in progress 'landscape', 'hoodoo', 'organic' and other words that I have used myself to conceptualise my work.

I have also been thinking about the way some artists need to get a deep and meaningful (and often disturbing) message across with their work. That is the point of their work. I guess I am a more spiritual, peaceful person and I am happy to express in my work, my own experiences of the natural world and perhaps draw others to see the wonderful contours, shapes and colours that we have around us. That's all. I could turn the piece darker and indicate that the destruction of all these environments in imminent. But why labour the point it is getting plenty of press as it is... let's also give time to enjoying what we do still have.

I have, once again, been studying Shibori (reading Wada's book) and was stimulated to try a new (to me) binding method. From this I have produced a few pieces that are just sweet. They have the suggestion of sea lilies and hydroids about them, which is great, as they are very closely related to corals and anemones... it all ties together. Or as Richard Box has said - I have learnt my lines... (as in color, tone, line, shape and texture). I intend stitching these with fine fuse wire to imitate the skeletal structure of the organisms, this will also assist assembly of the landscape they will grow into.

In researching hydroids I found myself back at Nudibranchs.. I love them.... so stimulating in an artistic way and so bizarre that they allow me to go very abstract. They are exciting don't you think?

I have got to do something with the shadows that these organisms create... whether it is via the lighting of the landscape I intend building, or by printing up the shadows or using photosensitive paper, I am not sure yet. A shadow (such as the one below at top right) could prove to be a wonderful backdrop.

Wow... is it ever warm. Almost swimming weather.

Andrew made it off in good time this morning.

Daniel and I were left to tend to the smokers and hopefully get them all packaged before tomorrow.

Took a few pictures of the water and our king crab tree in full bloom.

We are preparing for Saturday. And it looks like the weather will be beautiful.

Ready for Dufferin Market

The fish are all done. The lake trout looks wonderful. A bit on the large size but a lovely orange colour. We also will have a couple of whole lake trout. Perfect to barbecue and the weather sounds perfect for that. The whitefish are medium to large in size too. Nice and firm meat.
The smoked also is ready.
Andrew made it out fishing and it was a hard lift in the wind. But atleast the really strong wind held off till he hit shore.
But we are calling it a night and get some rest before travelling to Dufferin market tomorrow morning. See you then.

Here I am! I was gone from Thursday through Monday, and life has been very very busy! Where was I? I was in the British Columbia Youth Choir! It was a couple days of 7 hours of choral rehearsal, and it was exhausting, but it was wonderful! There were hard moments, just like anything, but it was really amazing. 39 of us between the ages of 17 and 24 from all around the province singing together for 3 days. Wow! There were several of us from my choir, and we had a lot of fun together, meeting new people, and getting to know others even better.

We drove a ways and took a ferry to where the event was held this year, and got there in the evening, welcomed by an absolutely stunning sunset. The hotel was modest, and the rooms small, but it didn't matter. It seemed that everyone piled into our room that evening, and we all sat around playing with make-up, taking pictures, singing songs, making jokes, laughing, and just spending time getting to know one another.

In the morning, we got up early and ate breakfast at the diner downstairs (the strawberries were weird and tangy... odd?) and then headed up the very steep hill to the church where we were rehearsing. Rehearsed all day. My back hurt. Then we ate pizza, and sat around getting to know each other better. People are amazing! Seriously, this province is teeming with amazing musical kids! Afterward, several of us went up to Dairy Queen and shared blizzards and such, which was fun. We even got them free, as I found a $10 bill on the ground! Then down for a walk along the beach in the dark, singing ABBA on the playground swings. Good times!

Rehearsals continued to be long, grueling, intense, and so very worth it! I love to sing! On Saturday evening was the formal banquet, for which we all dressed up and ate tasty food, and sold rubber duckies (and turtles, and dogs, and pigs...) for a fundraiser. So fun. Even though I was in an odd mood that evening. Sunday morning we sang for the service of the church we were rehearsing at, at lunch, rehearsed more, and then headed down for our dress rehearsal and finally, our performance. It was incredible. This was ChorFest 2009, and I loved every minute. Seriously, performing with 38 other people, most of whom I hadn't met just days before, and all enjoying the music and becoming a tight-knit community is absolutely amazing!

Then more food. And then more laughs. And then the ferry home. And so many more memories than I can ever share here.


Ella is so full of beans today :) Guess she doesn't know that it's a dull and grey day -ha ha. Ella got a hold of the sheets I was going to fold. Then I look to see what she's doing and she has the bottom sheet all laid out for her "sleeping bag". Now she's hopping in a pillowcase. Good thing the carpet was vacuumed recently or else I'd have to rewash everything. She's having so much fun I hate to take them away. It's always amazing how the simplest things can entertain children so easily.

Sad news this afternoon. Our beloved Emma had to be put down. She's not been well for a while and Mom finally gave in to inevitable. Luckily, my wonderful husband found a nice place to bury Emma. It's the first we've ever been able to bury at pet. We got her in 1995, after I finished university. She was such a loving dog, she'll be missed. I'm not sure how Ella's going to take this, I know Grandma has been trying to prepare her, but how much can a three year old understand?

Andrew made it to Riverdale Market

What a mixed day for weather. Windy, showers and now sun.
Andrew made it down to Riverdale around 1:00 pm. Slightly early but it gave him a chance to find something to eat before market.
I did the smokers for Dufferin Market. They look good and I think I will be doing one more tomorrow morning.
The weather or wind doesn't sound promising to go fishing tomorrow. A strong wind warning in effect right now. The wind is suppose to increase to 15 knots from the southwest then increasing to southwest 20 knots by the afternoon. That's pretty fast moving water. Hopefully it will allow Andrew to go out fishing before picking up but we will need to wait till morning to find out.
All seems quiet right now. By the end of the week I am sure it will be a different story.
See you at Dufferin.

Last Day of the Long Weekend

Andrew made it out fishing today. It was hard lift. The wind yesterday had made the nets pick up zebra mussels and small rocks from the bottom. The nets were heavy and had to be cleaned. I was beginning to worry for he was out 2.5 hours longer than what I would have thought. But Andrew said he was able to clean the nets and get them back into the water. Tomorrow (Tuesday) Environment Canada is calling for high winds again. Andrew will be headed to Toronto but he will be thinking about his nets out in the Bay.

I spent the day doing housework then getting the fresh ready for market tomorrow. Riverdale we will be headed to first thing tomorrow.

My sons found some morels today in our yard. My oldest is showing the one massive one that he found in our backyard. We thought the seaon for those were done but I guess not.

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Eat Your...Cupcake?
Okay, I can't even pretend like these are remotely healthy. But you know what, life is short, and taking the time to indulge every once in a little while may not be good for the body, but I firmly believe that it can be good for the soul. Celebrating life's triumphs (and defeats) with a little treat now and again can rejuvenate your spirit. It won't kill you, just limit it to one (and don't eat the leftover frosting for breakfast, like I did .. :\).
We had a nice dinner anniversary party for the in-laws yesterday. Colin used his wood BBQ to cook a couple pork roasts. They taste nearly as good as a full BBQ pig, but without all the fuss and mess (and way too many leftovers). We had to keep right on schedule to make sure the pork and scalloped potatoes were ready for noon. My SIL Elizabeth made a couple salads and brought buns. I made rhubarb crisp and steamed chocolate pudding, as well as a tray of squares. My kitchen is just big enough for the ten of us. We usually stay in the kitchen after the meal because we don't actually have enough seats in the living room :)

Niece Brittany was in a play last week. Ella and I went to an afternoon dress rehearsal at the school. There was only one other "mommy" in the audience. Ella's only 3 but she behaved better than most of the "well socialized" grade 6 boys in the audience. I was amazed to see that Ella was not much smaller than some of the kindergarten kids (5-6)! Wow, I knew she was tall, but wow! I also forgot about the school being a giant germ factory. So today Ella is fighting off the sniffles. I sure hope that's all it is, we've been sick enough this winter. It's good timing though, Ella has a check up scheduled for Thursday -she'll either be sick or healthy by then and can get help if needed.

Now to go snuggle with my girl. Have a great Monday.

Hope you are enjoying the long weekend

We have been busy. We did manage to get to Wychwood and the rain gave us a break till the market was done. We made it home and went to bed pretty quick.
Owen Sound's market I was told was busy and kept Val, our help, active.
The bus I ran today but got off to a late start. But once it was openned it was okay. Fresh cut fries are a treat for so many. (so is the deep fried whitefish)
The water today was horrible. It was rough and moving very quick. It had a really dark colour to it and made the shores all muddy looking. There was not even a consideration of going fishing.
Tomorrow looks like it will allow Andrew to get out on the water. We will be preparing the fish to head to Riverdale on Tuesday. It sounds like the weather will be nice in the city on Tuesday too. Riverdale market was the first market we ever did in Toronto and it was a lovely introduction to the city for us three years ago.
This week we are also preparing to head to the first market this year for the Brickworks. Andrew will be doing the Wychwood market and I will be attending the Brickworks. And the weather sounds like it will be nice for this weekend. Hopefully I haven't spoken to soon.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend. We just came in from setting off some fireworks with another family. Now we need to defrost but it was fun for all involved.

Smoking Fish and Dufferin Market today

Glad Andrew was off to market today. The wind was wild and made the water look scary. But I just took these pictures of the shore and what a nice change. Andrew should be able to make it out fishing tomorrow after all. What's that saying about red skies in morning, sailors take warning. Red skies at night, sailors delight. Something like that anyways.

We smoked fish here today and did some chores. It was pretty quiet here. But tomorrow will be a different story.

The bus is openning for the weekend so that will keep us hopping. We have decided to open the bus only Friday to Sunday for now till summer is here for sure. We have flurries in our forecast for Sunday. I really hope not though.

We will be at Wychwood market in Toronto on Saturday and our fish will be at Owen Sound's market. Both places are suppose to get rain again but I guess it is good for the gardens.

I just realized I forgot to share a picture of our little flower girl. This is Brittany, Colin's niece. She was 5 at our wedding, where does the time go? She surprised me and did a great job -I worried she'd get too shy to walk down the aisle.

The pattern is Martha Pullen's Heirloom Party Dress -the best pattern investment, every size you could need and so many ideas.

I'll give a few more details about my dress. I used a period pattern for the skirt, it's from "Patterns of Fashion" by Janet Arnold. It was easy to adjust to size. I didn't feel like tackling sizing the bodice, so I turned to Drea Leed's fabulous site. I made the kirtle as a corset/underskirt. And then made a pattern for the bodice of the dress to go over top of the kirtle. I've used her site before for my medieval garb and it always turns out so nice. I made the kirtle out of very heavy cotton (with full Edwardian petticoat underneath to make enough pouf). My dress itself was of very fine cotton batiste. I made the dress for less that $300.

My veil was proper veiling material, not tuile. A great source for hard to find material is Farthingale's It was cut to a 94 inch circle (keep in mind I'm only 5ft) -yep that's 295 inches of crocheted lace that I couldn't start making until the size was determined. My dress and veil were chapel length. Not really a train, more like the bit of drag common in Victorian times. We were only getting married in a little country church, I didn't need full cathedral length. That and it would have looked a little over done for someone my height :) The veil came down over my face and hung down about elbow length. I really recommend a circle, it made it hang so nice and looked great in pictures.

I loved making my wedding dress. I'm one of those girls who have always known what her wedding would look like -just needed to fill in the groom -haha. The hardest thing was not showing Colin as each piece was finished. I love to sew beautiful things.

Look at what Andrew found

This came up in the nets. Any guesses on the age of it? But it destroyed the nets when it came up and the weather didn't help.

It was rough on the water. Blowing from the southeast and almost coming over the bow.

But Andrew did get the fish and he did make back to shore safely.

We did an extra smoker for Dufferin this week. That made an interesting change in our normal schedule. It made things a bit more lively than last week but it all was completed and looking good.

We also found some new help for us with the fish. He just started but he is enjoying the challenge. His name is Jason and he is from the reserve. Hopefully he stays on for the season for it would help us greatly. Hopefully no more 2 am nights.

We are in for a thunderstorm tonight and we are just making sure everything is covered or brought in if we don't want it soaked. Boys sneakers had to come in from the porch and window had to be rolled up. Normal stuff.

Andrew will see you at Dufferin tomorrow.

I know our anniversary isn't until August, but I was looking through Mom's album from our wedding (still need to work on ours) and thought I'd share a few photos.

We were married August 2003. You might remember that was the year of the huge blackout in Canada and the States. That was the week before the wedding. I was sewing on my dress when the power went out. Luckily, we are on the same hydro line as Base Petawawa so our power went down but not out. Also, I was done all the machine work on my dress and had not much left to do.

It was so hot leading up to the wedding. Really hot, even for August in Ontario. It was so hot that Colin took off his shirt while cutting out my veil. Colin didn't see my dress as I was making it, but I never could have cut out a proper circle of veiling material without my ingenious Sweetie. I forget what the tubing was usually used for, but it worked perfectly for making a circle.

We were lucky, the Thursday before the wedding we had such a bad thunderstorm. It washed all the heat and humidity out of the air and made Saturday such a beautiful day. Mom said she was cool, which meant the temperature was perfect :)

Here's my sister and me at the hairdresser's. It's one of the few pictures I have of my sister blonde. She's always changing the colour of her hair, so I requested blonde for the wedding. I think she looks better that way. You see that smile plastered on my face? It was there all day long, I had a sore face at the end of the day :) :) :)

Pictures aren't allowed during the service, so this one was taken during the lighting of the Unity candle. We were given a very beautiful one as an engagement gift. It has a lovely verse too. This picture makes it look like we had a large wedding. Really we only invited about 90 people and about 75 showed up. We only invited family out to aunts and uncles or else the numbers would have gotten out of hand.

This is one of my favourite pictures from the album. We didn't have a wild and crazy reception. In fact it was dry, as neither family drinks and I hate being around people who are drunk (gee I wonder why). My friend Tom was our DJ and once he figured out to play mostly old country a few people danced. This was our first dance -Honeydrippers "Sea of Love". It was such a wild and crazy reception that we were cleaned up and heading to the hotel by 11.

Then we headed off for Haliburton for a wonderful week-long honeymoon. It was Colin's first real vacation in years. It was so good to get away from the farm and have nothing to worry about. We had such a wonderful time.

My Life These Days

It seems most of my posts lately have just been thoughtful ponderings, which is nice, but I thought I'd just write a bit about my life these days. It is very full. And very, very wonderful.

Last Friday, I took my music history exam, which means I'm done all my history for Grade 10 RCM! Just one more (HUGE) music history course left! This coming Thursday I'm going to be going to the mainland to be in the British Columbia Youth Choir, which I'm quite excited about! I just need to work on the music a bit more. Next month I have my Grade 7 RCM voice exam, so that will be good. And choir! Oh goodness, choir! You know, my life is very exciting! We're preparing for our 70s concert at the end of the month, along with my voice teacher's choir, and we're having a blast! The music is just so much fun, and you know what? The people are even more awesome than the music, if you can believe it! We share so many laughs, so much happiness, so much joy.

I cleaned out the bathroom cupboards and drawers yesterday. I've been threatening to do that job for weeks, and I finally did. It's funny how much you can learn about yourself by cleaning out the junk under the sink. They say you can learn a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse, but I'm thinking the bathroom cupboard is a pretty close second! So many memories, little hairclips, flowery hairbands, a book of secret places that were coded, paintings, containers of concoctions from my concocting years (have they really ended? Not so sure...) sparkly green and purple lip balm, everything shiny and sparkly and so 13-year-old. Scary, yet wonderful. It's such a time trip.

As I reorganize, I see my future through like through mist, obscured, and yet, I can see the colours, I can see the possibilities. I don't understand it all yet, but it's exciting. Though it seems vague, all I can say is that love is an amazing and very frightening thing. I am so in love, and I feel so tiny, and yet so vast beyond belief at the same time. It's a journey, that's for sure.

As far as work goes, my childminding days are numbered. In fact, I only have one day left! This morning I actually got up at 4:45 AM to go to work for my opening shift training. Muchly fun. I think I'm honestly going to love this job; lifeguarding, teaching swimming, cleaning, and all that. I actually enjoyed scrubbing algae this morning! I've got my pool keys and my happy little lifeguard uniform, and a locker and an in/out box and all that fun stuff. It makes me very happy.

I'm still teaching, of course, and I'm actually teaching for 2 hours this afternoon! Woo! Two flute kids and two piano kids, and actually, one is new! My other flute girl is taking a break until the summer. It's fun. Tiring and brain-taxing, but fun.

So all in all, my life is full full full, and tremendously fabulous! Everything just flies by at breakneck speed!

Enjoy your life, every minute of it.

Busy day yesterday. I went on the water yesterday with Andrew and I remember why I miss it when the winds are calm. It was beautiful, still and quiet... So quiet out there before all the tourists join us this weekend. We will return to quiet on the water again after Thanksgiving. I have some pictures of what we saw yesterday but really the pictures don't even come close.

In the evening Andrews Uncle and Aunt from Sarnia Reserve paid us a surprise visit and it was nice to see them. They were on their way to Manitoulin Island and will be swing by again on their way home.

Yesterday we caught 200 lbs approximately of whitefish and trout. The catch was good and some of the trout were huge. They are on the smoker right now getting ready for Thursday. The whitefish also were a nice size. We also caught a creature that wasn't so nice. A lamprey eel.

Today we are not fishing. We are giving our truck a little bit of TLC. Also the smoker is going and we are trying to plan for the long weekend.

Enjoy the pictures.

Thai Stir & Steam

From myvegancookbook.com.

This recipe gets bonus points for two reason 1) it is ridiculously easy and takes all of twenty minutes and 2) it involves steaming veggies as opposed to stir frying them (meaning you're getting more nutrients per bite!). The only minor issue I had with it was that I found the sauce to be a bit too sour for my taste (I much prefer a sweeter peanut sauce), so the next time I make it I think I will tone down the red wine vinegar a bit to suit my demanding palate.

Eat Your Broccoli!
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains the phytonutrients sulforaphane and the indoles, which have significant anti-cancer effects. Research on indole-3-carbinol shows this compound helps deactivate a potent estrogen metabolite (4-hydroxyestrone) that promotes tumor growth, especially in estrogen-sensitive breast cells, while at the same time increasing the level of 2-hydroxyestrone, a form of estrogen that can be cancer-protective. Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to suppress not only breast tumor cell growth, but also cancer cell metastasis (the movement of cancerous cells to other parts of the body). Scientists have found that sulforaphane boosts the body's detoxification enzymes, potentially by altering gene expression, thus helping to clear potentially carcinogenic substances more quickly (World's Healthiest Foods, 2009).

Broccoli has also been connected with the prevention and treatment of stomach ailments such as ulcers, as well as cardiovascular diseases like heart disease. It has ridiculously high amounts of not only calcium but vitamin C, which means it is believed to be an even better source of calcium for the growth and maintenance of strong and healthy bones than dairy products (which contain no vitamin C). So if mainstream media has brainwashed you into thinking vegans have brittle bones, rest assured that you don't need a cruelty-filled glass of hormone (aka cow's milk) to stay strong.

Do you seriously need more reasons? Okay, how about the prevention of birth defects and cataracts, healthy weight maintanence? And if you have sunburn, try applying broccoli extract to the source and perhaps even reduce the carcinogenic damage?

I'm no scientist so I can't prove these effects...but seriously, what do you have to lose? The calcium alone makes it worthwhile. Eat your freaking broccoli!

Chocolates, macadamia nuts, perfume, cards, phone calls and a beautiful hanging basket.  What more could a mom want on her special day?  I was also treated to no meal preparation or cleaning up as well!  It should be Mothers Day every day of the year.
Man, I forgot just how exhausting it is to be around my father for more than a few hours. We had a good weekend. Dad brought up a bunch of old family papers, he calls them "junk" but I think they will be fascinating to read and may give lots of information. I'll have to get some of it translated as my German isn't that good anymore. But BIL showed me a Yahoo program that will help. Dad even gave me an old pocket watch that belonged to my Great Grandfather, as well as a scroll-work veil box (made by same person for his wife) and my Grandmother's rosary. I love family things.

Had a nice Mother's day. The house was a little over crowded :) I don't have a Mother's day picture to share. Ella was playing with Grandma Linda and slipped and fell, bouncing her face off the corner of Daddy's desk chair. By picture time Ella had a nice black eye starting. It's really purple today.

As much as my Dad complains, I actually think he was fairly pleased with the weekend. High praise indeed. He really like the supper I made yesterday. Here's some recipes.


5lb smoked ham -bake in oven, covered at 325F for 18-25min/lb

before last 45 min, make a paste of the following:
1 cup br. sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp dry mustard
trim off any rind and excess fat, spread glaze and let finish coming up to 135F

Scalloped Potatoes

Peel and slice potatoes into a greased baking dish. Layer with sliced onions, salt, pepper, and if you wish a sprinkle of garlic powder and a bit of cheese. Pour this sauce over potatoes:

Melt 1/4c butter 1/4 cup flour or cornstarch
1 tsp dry mustard 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

stir and cook for 10-15 seconds
pour in 2 1/2 -3 cups milk. Stir constantly until thickened.

Bake 325F for about 2 hours until potatoes are tender.

Steamed Chocolate Pudding
1 Tbsp margarine 1/2 cup wt. sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa 1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla 1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp bk powder 2 tsp salt

Cream margarine, sugar and cocoa. Add milk and vanilla. Beat well. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 4cup bowl. Cover bowl with greased foil and tie sides down with string. Place on a wire trivet in a 5-6 qt slow cooker. Set bowl on top. Pour boiling water into slow cooker to reach halfway up the side of the bowl. Cover and cook on High for 2 1/2 hours. Serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Sauce
1/2 cup cocoa 1 cup wt. sugar
1 cup corn syrup 1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp margarine 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Put everything but vanilla into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring all the time. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. It will keep in the fridge for a long time, if you hide it from the family :) It will thicken in the fridge but can be thinned by placing it in a pan of hot water.

Ella loves this pudding so much she has asked for it for this Sunday's anniversary party for Colin's folks. Should have seen her jumping up and down when I said ok :)

Where is my life taking me?

Please tell me where my life is taking me. When I lie there, so small, shivering, afraid, so vulnerable. Where is my Creator taking me? When I wake up to a sunrise of amazing grandeur, and spend the day with my toes in the dirt. Where will my life go? When his arms are wrapped around me, and I feel so safe. Where am I going? When the questions come at me with such speed, and I feel so unsure. Not confidant. So afraid. So small. Please tell me where my life is taking me.

Oh, God, you amaze me! When I look into the sky, and know the only light is from your hand, your creation, not streetlights, but the glory of the moon. Oh, fine Creator, you delight me! When I stand on the grassy midden, looking out over the most magnificent beach I've ever seen. The fine ocean spray, the bright green of the islands, the vivid blue sky reflected in the sparkling water, the unending horizon, the glassy bays, the rolling, white surf, all pouring forth praise to the Supreme One.

Please tell me, where is my life taking me? When I suddenly realize how fast everything has changed. When I suddenly realize how fast my life will change! I am so excited, and I am so scared. I feel so tiny, and yet, I'm not alone. I'll never be alone. My God is with me. And now, I am not alone in this world either. So where, where is my life taking me?

What a mystery to be solved, and it only shall be by living this life that has been given me. I'm setting forth on this journey, this exploratory life, always exploring. Always learning. Always praising. Always loving. Always serving. Always living!

All my hugs in ten-thousand sparkling bubbles,

Andrew didn't go fishing today for some chores around the house needs our attention.

It is such a gorgeous day it is perfect to get some work done outside.

We made it to Wychwood's market and it was interesting with the thunderstorm. But over all it was a good day and really if a fisherman was concerned about a bit of water he wouldn't be much of a fisherman.

We went for dinner with a friend and his family last night on the way home. We also picked up a new display counter and vacuum packer. We hope to start using that at the markets but we have to find a trailer that will carry it for us. Our baby trailer worked last year but I guess it is the next size we will need. It is a beautiful counter and the fish will be happy in its new home once we figure out the trailer issue.

The bus is open today and if it is anything like last year it will keep us hopping. We have prepared it as best we could be but it always interesting. I was told I was not to work it for it is Mother's Day. That is nice and a big thanks goes to Daniel for doing that job.

Owen Sound's market was a bit slow yesterday because of the rain but our customers were happy to see the fish again. It was nice to have the fish return to the market for we started at Owen Sound soon to be seven years ago. I can't believe seven years have passed but time is flying since we started with the fish. I can't imagine not doing the fish now.

I should go out and play some basketball with my boys and maybe consider taking them to the ball diamond to hit the baseball around for a bit. They enjoy when mom is pitcher so they can watch me dive into the dirt. This is why mom is a bit hesitant but maybe I will get a bit braver as the afternoon goes on.

Happy Mothers Day again and hope everyone is able to get out and enjoy this beautiful day.