A ROOM WITH A VIEW

Sometimes, the view from my kitchen window makes doing the dishes a pleasant task.  
I hope it does not bother a certain friend (she'll know who she is) that the sink is not centred under the window.  There is nothing I can do about it. Next year when we redo the kitchen, it will be rectified.  That's Bath & Body Works antibacterial foaming soap on the counter.  It is fairly cheap, smells wonderful, and all my Kiwi friends should be mad jelly that it's not available in NZ.

MOUSE WARS-THE SAGA CONTINUES

There is residing in our home a rather greedy and I am assuming, fat mouse or as a friend so kindly pointed out, a family of mice.  I am assuming this mouse is fat because he seems to have a penchant for chocolate and has moved on from semi sweet chocolate chips  to our stash of fine Belgian chocolate.  Hey wait a minute, maybe he's a she with PMS.  That would explain the craving for chocolate and the fact that a state of the art mousetrap was skillfully set off with nary a tail caught in it.  It would also explain why she moved on to my 100 calorie pack of sun chips.  After feasting quite heavily on chocolate she has now gone on a low fat, low calorie diet. 

Did you notice the little mouse hole at the bottom of the bag?  I didn't until I was reaching for the last chip. ewwwww

Rounds 3 & 4  go to the mouse.   Game on.

MOUSE 2 - ME 0

I was doing a bit of spring cleaning last week and was ambitious enough to tackle reorganizing the pantry/food storage room downstairs.  I picked up a five pound bag of chocolate chips only to discover about two thirds of it gone. Behind the bag was a rather nasty little mound of mouse poop.  I was not happy. 

Round one goes to the mouse. 
 I threw out the bag, cleaned and disinfected the shelf, and set a mouse trap.  A couple of days later I went down to check the trap.  This is what I found.





Round two goes to the mouse.


When I bought the Sarah Kramer Go Vegan 2010 calendar, I thought it would be cool to cook my way through the year by making each of the monthly recipes as I flipped the calendar pages. So I'm feeling a little bit like Julie Powell, except not, because I don't particularly care for her or her ignorant comments regarding veg*ism (although there is a rumour floating around the veg-o-sphere that Jonathan Safran Foer may have gotten through to her, ever so slightly?).

Anyway, this month's recipe is for a spicy peanut and kale pasta. Peanut butter in pasta - say what?!

I had to try this.

In March, I challenged myself to a two month No Peanut Butter Challenge when I realized I was abusing my nutty privileges. (I found myself topping spoonfuls of peanut butter with chocolate chips in an attempt to recreate the Reese's peanut butter cup. On a daily basis. Yikes.)

But whatever, this recipe obviously needed to be tried. For the sake of the calendar!

It came at the perfect time too, because my mom (who loves to buy me unique pastas from specialty stores) gave me a bag of hot pepper penne noodles:



Dried hot peppers are mixed in with the flour - how crazy and awesome!

The noodles are crazy. Putting peanut butter in pasta is crazy. But you know what, you get enough crazy together in one place, you find yourself having a pretty darn good time. Dinner was fabulous - and the added calcium boost via kale ensures you don't have to feel too guilty about eating like, seven servings (ah, you should probably still feel a little guilty).

Does this mean I have to start my No Peanut Butter Challenge over again?

Holes all over the yard + $250 pumping bill = happy Momma!!!

The clog Daddy found seems to have been the majority of the water problem  We had the tank pumped for good measure.  I did 3 loads of laundry and the cellar was no wetter than when I started (more just damp than wet).  It is so cold and windy today I nearly gave in and used the dryer, but I wanted to have a happy clothes line shot for the blog.  So I put on my rubber gloves and a sweater.  It's so windy, I think the sheets were dry before I had the rest of the clothes hung up.

I forgot the title!!!!!!!!!

Actually a new theme for my work is just up from the forest floor and I am busy collecting source material for this.
As you know from my previous blog, I don't mean physically collecting .... although my daughter has inherited my desire to 'have' nature for myself in a collection at home... no, I mean I have some photographs to work from.
This is one I particularly like, though it is very angular so it is a bit unusual for me to be so taken with it.
A popular theme is the forest floor.  And this was a wonderful piece of art I saw there.  I really should have picked it up and worked into it at home.  But seeings as it was in the Banff National Park I kept to the legal framework and left it where it was creating its own microenvironment for mini beasts.  I wonder, however, if I might be able to reproduce it.

I think something has mutated on my blog... What is happening?

Slow cloth or normal embroidery?

Forced to be 'in' today (owing to carpet' cleaners' visit) I have had a spell of stitching... Interesting that the word 'spell' is used in conjunction with the act of stitching for I have always imagined myself as a bit of a witch.
I am adding a very electric orange glow to the very edge of this silk worm using tiny couching stitches.
The result is much as I had wished but this side is easy, it is the cut edge that will give me a headache. Only 15 more feet to go.


The Vegan Planet cookbook and I did not get off on the right foot. The recipes just weren't quite jiving with my tastes and I was getting frustrated. So I set the book aside for a little while and just recently have worked it back into rotation.

I'm really glad I did because this very simple recipe for a spring vegetable gratin (found on page 358 of the book) makes for an incredibly delicious April evening meal.

I have been very excitedly watching the produce at my local supplier's store grow in number week by week, as the spring season progresses. It's such a nice reminder that the lazy days of summer are just a stone's throw away, and while I love squash as much as the next guy, we need a little bit of distance right now. He and I will pick up where we left off when the leaves start to change again.

In the meantime, I will enjoy the produce diversity of the coming months and I've promised myself that this year I will make more of an effort to even venture into the unknown when it comes to seasonal produce, even if it looks freaky and I'm not quite sure how to cook it (if that's not what Google is for, I'm not sure what is).

It's still early, though, and the only major change I've noticed to the produce aisle is an abundance of asparagus. It's hard to believe that asparagus was once on the list of foods I hadn't tried (and also wouldn't try). Since then it's become one of my favourite vegetables. As a result of this new found appreciation for this cool guy (get it? aspara-GUY?! Come on...don't you dare roll your eyes at me), I am not taking these first spring crops for granted.

The asparagus, along with some yellow squash, grape tomatoes, scallions, garlic and baby potatoes came together nicely as the base for this gratin. Look how colourful!



I have a thing for bright colours, especially when it comes to food. This recipe gives whole new meaning to the term "eating the rainbow" doesn't it?


I did make one minor change to the recipe to suit our tastes. It calls for fresh dill (another spring staple), but I really don't like dill. I don't know what it is, I just can't learn to like it. So instead of dill I used a bit of Italian spice along with dried chives and a bit of cayenne pepper. Topped it all off with some breadcrumbs and slivered almonds, et voila -



I served it up with some sliced french bread with the tiniest bit of vegan butter, garlic powder and nutritional yeast (warmed in the oven for about 5 minutes, just enough to melt the butter and mingle the flavours). A warm and flavourful meal to enjoy with the windows slightly ajar and the smell of spring rain creeping into the house.

Moving Picture Messages ...


I've been commissioned to create a promotional video for APWQ. I'm in a happy flurry of gathering media for my Younger Son to edit together. I've got permission to use clips from two PBS specials I produced about the fabulous quilt show and contest. I'm working with local arts organizations to get stills and video footage. The idea is to make a short piece that tells some history of the organization, shows footage of past quilt show visitors, and of course to feature past winning quilts that have been in the show. The event is moving from Seattle to Tacoma, WA in August of 2011, so I wanted to give a pinch of flavor of the city where the next show will be presented.

It occurred to me to brush up my own skills with my Apple Final Cut Pro video editing software. I was taught some simple maneuvers a few years ago with that awesome software. I've decided to put together a rough cut of the piece using the images and moving pictures I have in my possession. I had started to write a paper script - but figured my new MO will be to work with the footage, see what it looks like, THEN write the paper script, based on my rough cut! I love a good press kit and written materials, but there are so many new and exciting ways with new media to get the word out!

I'm struck once again how akin to quiltmaking video work is. Here I am, gathering and choosing the right material, cutting it, looking at it, fiddling with how the material is "patched" together. What I'm doing with my rough cut is sort of "Basting" ("Tacking" to UK readers) and Younger Son will use his skills to make a fine finish to the whole shebang! Or like cookery, I'm gathering the right ingredients, getting the right flavors, cooking them and then serving it all up on a video platter.

Uh Oh Updated

Colin seems to have found the clog, it was in the pipes not the tank.  He's just not sure it's the only one.  So we are being careful in our water usage today.  I guess we have to wait until Monday for the tank pumping folks to call.

Uh Oh!

Went out the back door to hang up Daddy's clean barn clothes this morning and what did I find?  I found that stinky brown puddle that folks in the country don't want to find on their lawns -yep we have a blockage in our septic system.  Colin dug out the usual spots and he thinks it's a block in the pipe between the tank and the weeping bed.  Now it's Friday afternoon and we are still waiting to hear back from the septic tank pumping folks.  Guess my laundry is on hold for now.
What a beautiful day but kinda on the cool side. 
Just waiting for Andrew to come off the water with his catch.  It is a little breezy out today but it sounds like stronger winds are headed our way over the weekend. 
Tomorrow we will be down to market.  We will have plenty of smoked and fresh fish. 
We also have received confirmation this week that we will be given a spot at Orangevilles market starting Saturday, May 8.  I think I will be there with one of my boys.  We are looking forward to it....
Andrew has his birthday tomorrow.  I hope to make it memorable and fun for him.  ;-)

Farm Comes to Town

Every year at the Renfrew Armories the local commodity groups put on an event called Farm Comes to Town.  During the day groups of school kids come and "learn".  I think they were grade 5s.  My niece came last year when she was 11 -so what grade is that  :)  .  Back in "the day" when this started (some 18 years ago) Colin says the schools spent a week learning about agriculture and the kids actually came interested and armed with intelligent questions.  Boy, you sure can see the difference in schools these days when at an event like this one.  Most schools seem to just treat this as a field trip/day off for the teacher.  The kids had no questions and most of the time weren't even listening.  I also wish they would break the groups up evenly, not have groups of all girls/boys.  They seem to behave better in mixed groups.  The schools from Arnprior were a joy to speak with.  They came, listened and asked good questions -they actually listened for the answers since they had to fill them in.

It was our turn to supply the pigs on display.  We brought a sow and litter and a market sized hog.  Here are the piglets, they are all piled up trying to keep warm under the heat lamp.  It was very cold in the Armories (for us and especially the little ones).  The piglets like it about 92F.  They are 3 weeks old and about 15 lbs.  They love being all piled up.  The market hog (no picture) is 6 months old and 250 lbs.  He headed out the door on Wednesday on his way to Mapleleaf  :)

In the evenings, the event is free to the public.  We came back (gluttons for punishment I guess).  I was hoping some of my home school/knit night friends would make it out, but no luck.  Grandma came by and brought Ella.  She doesn't like Daddy's pigs very much, they are much too loud for her sensitive ears.  We headed around to see the other producers.

There was a local honey guy.  He brought some empty hives and an old separator.  It looked like an over-sized salad spinner.  Wouldn't want to do too much honey that way!

This is a beef cow and calf.  I'll have to check with Colin, but they look like the type his Dad had before getting out of them (during BSE crisis).  I kind of miss them, it was nice to look out the kitchen window and see the calves running around foolishly.  I don't miss Colin going out at night (in the dark) for the final evening check or him nearly getting killed during calving.  It's also a couple less hazards to Ella (the animals themselves and the electric fence).  It also means that we now have enough land to grow enough corn to feed the pigs for a year (now that acres aren't 'wasted' on pasture).

The dairy guys were doing a real-life milking display, but Ella's favourite was their mechanical milk cow.  The kids are able to come up and try their hand.  I have it on good authority that it is actually a good simulation of what hand milking feels like.  Ella says she wants to be a dairy farmer.  The dairy guys also had some games and treats for the kids.  They have a really good promotion department, but that's because they actually make money with their farms.

The egg/chicken guys were there too, but I wasn't able to get a good picture.  The chickens wouldn't stand till -haha

Here's some of the sheep/lambs.  Ella quite liked them, but wouldn't stand still either  :)




As much as I enjoyed reading "Charlotte's Web" as a child and in school, I wish teachers would explain that it's a historical novel and not a current representation of farming today.  The most frequent question we got all day was "do you kill the runts?".  We don't have runts (except the odd one but the exception proves the rule).  You only get runts when the sow isn't feed a proper diet while pregnant.  If she's missing nutrients from somewhere, you get runts.  The time period that "Charlotte's Web" is set was a time when pigs were outside and ate whatever they could find (shudder) and were fed 'slops' from the table and kitchen.  Today, conventional pork producers feed a carefully formulated ration that meets the pigs dietary needs, depending on their stage of life.

The hardest question to answer was "how old do the pigs live?".  Answer, 'which ones'.   Market animals are about 6 months old when the hit the weight wanted by the packing plants.  Sows are about 4 years, depending on their production.  Colin's Mom made a pet of a pig once and it lived to be 11 years.

Second workshop Kreative Momentum


Yesterday we held the second Kreative Momentum workshop at the Conservatory!!!  Sounds so important doesn't it.  Arlee has created a lovely blog entry about it and I hand you over to her now.  I cannot do better than that.
Below are some of her photos, thanks Arlee.

We were very lucky with the sunshine too  (and why not,  Calgary does get 350 days of sunshine a year - don't quote me on that) ... for working out on the patio and drying the fabrics.  It still is winter here in Calgary though the trees don't think so.

Just to say that the participants each had their own take on the building blocks of dyeing that I gave them and it was a pleasure to see them create in their own way.

If anyone is interested in attending classes with me (Calgary Alberta) please contact me at:  ioftheneedle@me.com for more information.



Does this look kind of rude and kinky to you ?????????  Yes, go on click the question mark....  It is the image that popped up under Small World - Microscopic awards (see right) last time I checked out this blog....  Can you believe that that is the head of a bug?





Hello, Sheila-the-18-year-old here!  Crazy beans, hey? Where did those 18 years go?

I'm taking the day off for 'work day' today, as my tendonitis has flared up a bit due to excessive flute work for youth retreat this weekend.  I don't have much to say, it's almost as though there's too much on my mind to write about it.  I sounds crazy, I know.  Maybe my head's just a little 'clogged'.  :-) 

God's been teaching me a lot, and in all areas of my life, really.  The crazy thing is, though, that Bible School ends in exactly 2 weeks.  WOAH!!!  This weekend, as I already mentioned, we are hosting a youth retreat, so that should be pretty exciting.  We've been busy preparing music and dances and skits and painting cardboard decorations and whatnot.  The theme is 'multicultural', so there's a lot happening!

My room is 'Cameroon' for youth retreat, so I've spent the last hour and a bit researching and reading about the country, and it's an interesting reminder how big this world is.  I knew nothing about Cameroon before this.  Interesting opportunities, I tell you.

Anyway, I really can't think to say a lot, so I'll just opt out. 

Hugs!
Love in Christ,
Sheila

PS.  I have pictures of Temple Tours from last weekend in Vancouver, but I can't get them to load up.  Hopefully soon!  S.

Vessel-making the felting way

Last weekend I joined a friend at a workshop here in Calgary to make vessels using a felting technique.
The workshop was held at the Waldorf School in Calgary hosted by Tracey Kuffner.
Up above you can see the initial stages of a participant's vessel and below and intriguing shot of a packed pair of tights - I had to buy "panty hose" for the first time in my life!


Here is my friend (I don't know if she wants me to put her name on the web.... one never knows what type of personalities are lurking...) who seems to be enjoying the bubbly stage.
Ah the magic of time-lapse photography... or is it one she prepared earlier?
I really don't want you to miss The Eyeball that our friend below created... and the wonderful output of the group of ladies... where are the male felters of the world?
It is a shame that it is considered bad etiquette to discuss in detail the How To of creativity. Anyway if you want to link with the tutor please click the link. and I am sure you will be able to chat with her directly.

For me this course was interesting as I have never lived in a place where I could attend weekend workshops to boost my skills.  I hope I get to go to more of them.

Students do inventive things....
I hope that tutors everywhere give credit when credit is due to those who demonstrate and share their creativity whilst attending a class.  It was a pleasure for me to be with such students at this class.
A class is a perfect setting for Give and Take... As a tutor I always aim to acknowledge what I have learnt from my students. Respect!

Here are some felted warty protrusions that I created along the flappy edges of a rather organic vesses....
It probably isn't a new technique to experienced felters,  but it is nice to think it might be!!


See blog later for my Shibori Felted Vessel (named the Hermit Crab by my daughter) which I hope will lead on to Shibori felted worms.....


Here in Canada we essentially have two seasons: Winter and Not-Winter. They are approximately the same length of time, except not-winter can be further divided into spring, summer and fall.

Okay, so maybe the Not-Winter months technically take up more of the calendar year than actual Winter, but it never feels that way. Plus, it's not entirely unheard of for snow to fall in May around these parts. Or October, for that matter, meaning that Mother Nature typically has her own plans, and they don't necessarily coincide with the chronological seasons.

That being said, when you get a nice day here in Ontario you better do something productive with it. If you're lucky, you just get out there and enjoy it in some way. But for those of us that are home owners, the first Not-Winter days are used to start yearly outdoor projects. It's best to get a jump on these tedious monstrosities because before you know it that damn snow starts falling again.

We are currently in this "work on the house" stage and are eagerly awaiting the "enjoy it" phase of Not-Winter. Meaning that over the past couple of weeks, after-work but still-daylight hours have been reserved for working in the yard.

This has also meant that in order to avoid 11pm dinner times I have needed to have some quick and easy meals on hand for when the sun finally did go down.

Vegan Express has been my armor against the temptations of fast food restaurants on these particularly busy spring evenings. At 30 minutes per recipe, these meals take just about the same amount of time as hopping in the car and hitting the drive thru and thus this cookbok has taken away my only excuse for consuming highly questionable deep-fried items.

These quesadillas were my particular favourite from last week. Salsa, black beans, portobello mushrooms, broccoli and some spices (a lot of spices, in our case). I also had an avocado that was quickly approaching its twilight so I smeared it on each tortilla before filling them according to the recipe.



Look at that. So simple that I'm kind of embarrassed that I didn't think of it myself. And these quesadillas pass the "leftovers" test, as they warmed up quite nicely in the microwave at lunchtime the following day.

The good news is that we are making substantial progress on our backyard project, so there will be a return to my regularly scheduled kitchen adventures soon.

OOPS I DID IT AGAIN

The Frank Spencer in me has struck again.

Today I was sitting in Sunday School class with my legs crossed, mindlessly swinging my leg back and forth and rubbing the top of my foot  underneath  the bottom of the folding chair in front of me (no one was sitting in it).  About half way through the class a rather large man came in and occupied the chair.  I barely noticed him while I tried to find, then read, a passage of scripture pertaining to the lesson.  I continued to gently rub my foot back and forth on the chair in front of me vaguely noticing that something was touching my shin.  I saw the gentleman shift uncomfortably in his seat and it was only then that I realized that  I was rubbing his protruding butt ever so gently with my shin.

Homemade Veggie-Full Tomato Sauce



I am a hypochondriac. It's no secret at all. I get a headache and I'm convinced it's a brain tumor. I forget where I put my keys and I announce that I must have early-onset Alzheimer's (reading Still Alice really did not help this paranoia, I might add). WebMD is pretty much the worst thing that ever happened to me, because now I can self-diagnose to all my psychotic delight.

I am an ethical vegan, meaning I would still be vegan even if I didn't believe that it wasn't the healthiest diet option out there. However, the fact that it is so great for the body ensures that I am easily motivated to continue on this path. I feel like it's part of my armour against disease and so it helps this particular hypochondriac sleep at night. Less aches and pains and all around ickiness means I have less symptoms related to fewer obscure diseases to google on a weekly basis.

All the same, my latest panic surrounds diseases and dysfunctions related to "gender benders" (estrogen mimicking compounds), particularly those related to plastic. Public Enemy #1: Bisphenol A (BPA). Plastic in general makes me a bit crazy. When Paul wants to get under my skin he will act like he is going to microwave a plastic container, sending me into a panic because I'm not so keen on microwaves either and microwaving plastic, well, that is just asking for trouble.

Here in Canada, they have banned BPA in baby products and a lot of companies that use plastic packaging are following suit. For the most part, though, it is difficult to determine the origins of plastic packaging, nevermind the fact that we need to stop this love affair with plastic altogether, thinking of (and supporting companies that use) alternative means of packaging for their products.

Plastic seriously, seriously makes my heart hurt. It's on and in absolutely everything, including our bodies and we just sit around and let it happen. I'm as guilty as the next person, so don't take this as me calling anyone out.

Seriously though, why do cardboard pasta boxes have to be coated in plastic? Can someone explain the point of that to me, because I can't think of anything other than the fact that "prettier" things are easier to market.

Anyway.

I avoid plastic where I can, particularly plastic containing BPA. And while actual plastic packaging is difficult enough for determining origin, the most sneaky culprits of BPA content are canned items (not to mention they are often made of aluminum, which research has connected to Alzheimer's - see, you really don't want in my head). Most companies don't disclose whether their cans use BPA and so even the most well-intentioned buyer of organic canned items may still be ingesting BPA.

Annoying. Very annoying.

Obviously it's quite difficult to avoid all canned items, all the time. Life is busy and canned beans are cheap. We've all been there, and we will be there again. However, I am trying to be a bit more proactive and ambitious with regard to avoiding cans. My first experiment involved making a big batch of homemade spaghetti sauce and freezing it in meal-sized portions for future use, in lieu of the canned variety that we have been known to buy.

It's a very simple recipe, loosely based on the one found in How it All Vegan and involves a ton of different vegetables (mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, onion, lots of garlic and of course, tomatoes seasoned with black pepper, cayenne, oregano and fresh parsley). It is really a standard issue tomato sauce, but it freezes really well and even from-frozen it tastes better than the canned variety. Other than chopping the vegetables there is very little labour involved in cooking up a big batch of this stuff. It tasted particularly awesome with spinach spaghetti and lentilballs:



I've also ventured into the world of cooking/freezing dried beans. Admittedly, I'd always found them a bit intimidating - the soaking overnight, the cooking for a couple hours. $1 cans of kidney beans just seemed more practical. But I set aside an afternoon and cooked up several bags of dried beans just like I did the pasta sauce, freezing them in their own juices, in serving-size portions.



Soaking overnight



Into the freezer they go. BPA-free plastic bags, of course, but still plastic nonetheless. Boo.



I think I'm going to ask for a deep freezer for my birthday this year.

Improvisational Quiltplay continued ...


I am somewhat obsessed at the moment with this improvisational piecing business. I've been doing some reading about the subject, and find that many people who do this sort of thing are talking about intuitiveness when it comes to working like this. The book by Jean Wells (published by C & T Publishing) that is pictured here has been most helpful to go through. For one thing, it's packed with the most gorgeous photographs, mostly of the natural world, to illustrate the dreaded Color Theory bits! I do find it fascinating that after I have selected some colors of fabric - with the help of my color wheel gizmo - there is a little zing thing that goes off in my head that says "Yes, that's cool!" or "Uh-oh - that's not working." I think that must be my Intuition speaking. I suppose the Improvisation part is the actual physical putting together of the various parts to get a harmonious "song." Quiltsongs, anyone?

Apart from Ms. Wells' book, I've read a bit about color theory; I've taken some classes, yet still feel my brain has a hard time grasping some of those theoretical facts. There's a phrase that goes something like: "Color gets the glory, but Value does the work." I'm still trying to grasp that whole Value concept. I'm trying to keep it as simple as whether or not the combinations of colors I pick work for me and give me that nice smug feeling of having done something that works just fine. I still haven't quite figured out how to make this work bigger. The little piece on the top left is about the size of a picture postcard. It feels done to me. Just as well that I feel that way since that statement has given me permission to move on to another try, this time with bigger bits of fabric. I am tempted to throw some of my batik fabric stash in with the hand dyed to see how that looks. Might be quite sparkly. But I need to stop making quilts in my head and head for the fabric stash!

My trusty color wheel, with it's top bit torn off, has become a constant companion as I go on this intuitive improvisational quilting journey.


It's called a fisher and it doesn't look like much but this thing is about the only animal that can take down a porcupine.  Many a domestic cat has used up its ninth and final life thanks to this tenacious creature.  
A few years ago, we discovered one under the bushes beneath our kitchen window. I had never seen one before and the fact that it just stayed there and watched me instead of high tailing it out of my sight led me to believe that it was either sick or had rabies.  
I spent the next couple of hours calling the Ministry of Natural Resources and our local animal control office to see who was responsible for removing it.  It was finally arranged that someone would come to capture it that afternoon.  I went out and placed a bowl of water and some bits of banana near the bush (what can I say?, I have a soft spot for animals).  Just before noon, the thing ate the banana, drank some water, and sauntered off.  Problem solved. 
Ian came home from work and I told him all about the excitement. He was not impressed that I had fed it telling me that I was only inviting trouble. I rolled my eyes and told him I was pretty sure it would not come back.  Wrong.  I came home that night after being gone for a few hours only to be told in a rather cool manner that "my friend" was back most likely because I had fed it.  It was then that I tried to convince the two kids left at home to come out and see it with me.  Brittany would have none of it (she said it was too cold) but Nathan was a willing participant.  He grabbed a flashlight and I grabbed a banana and out we went.   We snuck quietly around the house, me in front and Nathan just behind lighting the way with the flashlight.  I didn't want to get too close because of the whole rabies fear so I chucked a bit of the banana at it.  The thing just stood there and looked at us so we stepped a little closer and I threw another piece of banana.  I don't think it was too impressed because it arched its back, opened its mouth wide to show us its very long, sharp teeth, hissed at us, and then started to come toward us. I screamed, and Nathan in his rush to get away, pushed me in the direction of the fisher and took off with the flashlight leaving me in total darkness with a ticked off fisher. With the adrenaline rush that followed,  I made it back into the house almost before Nathan did. We slammed the door shut and collapsed into a fit of giggles. 
I could hear Ian calling from the bedroom asking what the heck was going on so I went up to tell him that we had just got a little fright when we went to look at the fisher, Nathan in the meanwhile  had gone into the kitchen to turn on the outside light to check to see if the fisher was still there. As I was standing there listening to the second lecture Ian was giving me on how I should never have fed the fisher that morning we heard Nathan call from the kitchen.  "Hey Mom, it's eating the banana".   Thanks Nathan.



Andrew was able to slip out before the wind picks up.  It is just now beginning to get a bit breezy but hopefully he is on his last net and headed back to shore shortly. 
We hope to stop somewhere coming home from market to celebrate our youngest boy's eleventh birthday.  His birthday isn't till Monday but it I am sure he won't mind.  Now for us to figure out what an eleven year would like or even where to eat. 
Next Saturday will be Andrew's birthday.  Oops did I say that?  It has been a few years since he had his birthday and market fall on the same day.  I hope to make it fun.  Any suggestions?
Well I hope to get some pictures today if I can remember and if not we will see everyone at market tomorrow.  I also will be making the smoked fish pate I made last week again.  So I best run and get some of these things started. 

A few beautiful pictures Andrew took yesterday on the boat

Lots of Fresh

We have plenty of fresh fish for market tomorrow.  We will be at Dufferin Grove and should be ready to go at 2:30pm.  We also will have a couple of smaller whole lake trout which may be perfect for the barbecue.
We also are in the midst of preparing for Saturday's Market at Wychwood but still have to wait and hope the weather allows Andrew to go and check his nets. 
Today on the water Andrew told me it was beautiful at first but then got a bit choppy out where his nets were.  But the catch was favourable. 

Coconut-Macademia Carrot Cake



I'm involved in an all-consuming love affair.

With carrot cake.

I have been for years and years. There is just something about it that trumps all other cakes. And it doesn't even matter what kind of carrot cake - what kind of ingredients you add, what kind of icing you use. Equally.

The tried and true way to my heart is through carrot cake. When we were 16 years old Paul showed up on my front porch with homemade carrot cake and I knew then and there that I would marry him someday. I'm so low maintenance...just keep a steady flow of sugar in my veins and I'm all good.

I am not allowed to make carrot cake without purpose. This was a rule that was developed in our home, out of necessity. Without it, it would be me and a fork and really high blood sugar several times a week.

We had some friends over for dinner and board games on Friday night and so I finally had my acceptable excuse to try the recipe for this particular carrot cake, found in Vegan with a Vengeance.

So it was obviously good, because I have never had a bad carrot cake in my life. Moist, flavourful, and the surprise macademia nuts strewn about the batter were by far the best part.

The icing was a bit problematic. In my infinite excitement over the prospect of getting to eat carrot cake for dessert, I misread the recipe for the icing and thus had no coconut milk on hand. I had no choice but to use rice milk, which obviously made it runny. So I combined it with extra Earth Balance to up the fat factor that was sorely lacking without coconut milk. It kind of worked, but the icing was still quite runny and thus I get zero points for presentation.



Bottom line is that while we do taste with our eyes, I can get past a hot mess of a cake if it tastes delicious. Which this did. So sloppy presentation aside, this cake is a win and I think you should all make it. I will definitely make it again and when that time comes I will not try and play scientist; I will get out of my pajamas and go buy a can of coconut milk and then it will look as lovely as it tastes.

Sunday

We were 'voluntold' to be at church this Sunday.  We've never done anything like this.  In case you can't tell from this blog, I am rather shy and Grandma is even worse.  Also, it required us to be at church for 10:30, we usually aim for more like 10:50 since Ella gets a bit wound up if we are too early.  It actually went well.  Ella was very eager to wish everyone 'good morning', shake hands and hand out the pew leaflet.  This is Ella and Grandma.  Ella even got to ring the bell at 11 for church to start.  We also did the collection.  Ella did one side and I did the other.  Ella did a great job.

It was a cool, but bright and sunny Sunday morning.  We had a bit of rain in the afternoon.  We needed some rain.  We also got a beautiful reward for the rain.  I have never seen a rainbow actually touching the ground.  Also, (if I had a wide angle camera) you could see the whole rainbow -another first for me.  It started in one end of the field and ended behind our barn. 

The one over the barn was double.
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