Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dog Days

Are these the dog days of summer?? If so, then that's my excuse for not blogging in almost a week... Has to be something... We are finally have a nice few days of HOT and sunny weather. We've actually turned on the central air at home recently. It's very nice having that and not having to try to sleep in the heat and humidity.

Let's see what else... The carrot cake I made for my nephew's get together was a big hit. (Organic carrots and Mexican vanilla are the keys!) A good time was had by all at the occasion, though we did get rained on once or twice, but we were able to take shelter under one of those massive deck umbrellas. The kids thought the showers were grand and soon were soaking wet from running in the rain and slidding on the grass. 5 and 8 year olds. Gory. And they NEVER stopped. I was reminded of when I was that age and aunts would ask me where I got all my energy. Of course I didn't understand where they were coming from back then, but I sure do now!

Brad and his nephews had a good camping adventure/hike at Kathadin in Maine. Thankfully, they didn't get much rain there at all, and while the weather could have been better, at least they weren't soaking wet all the time.

Other than that, life goes on. Two more weeks to get in after this one before we go on vacation... Ugh... I want to go right now! At least next Monday is a civic holiday here, which will make for a long weekend.

And thank god for Big Brother!! (I know, I know... I can hear your groans from here!). But it's mindless fun and there is a good deal of eye candy this season! Check it out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A productive morning!

Phew! Finally catching my breath! I took the morning off to hit the raspberry U-pick. I arrived there quite early under cloudy skies, but the sun did poke through a couple of times. I picked 5 quart boxes in about an hour or so. Wasn't the best picking conditions as it had rained last night, but that's par for the course this summer. I feel much better now that I have at least a minimal stock in the freezer. Hopefully, I'll get back next week sometime and get a few more quarts before the season is over. Once back home, I put the raspberries into plastic ice cream containers and froze them right away. I kept out enough to make a pie, which I did immediately after getting the rest of the berries in the freezer. While the pie was baking, I mowed the front lawn and part of the back. Grabbed a quick bite and a shower and then off to work... I should take morning off more often! Tonight after work, I have to make a carrot cake to take to my nephew's on Saturday! No rest for the wicked!

Here are a couple of pics of my efforts:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Playing catch-up!

Hey all, been a while... I've been busy doing the regular stuff, I guess. Not much new or exciting to report. Brad's been doing a lot of gardening and I've been cooking and picking raspberries! Yes, it's that time of year again here in eastern Canada! So far, I've gotten about 2 and a half quarts off my patch in the backyard, most of which I have frozen. Last year, I got 6 quarts from the backyard, but I doubt that I will match that this year. I lost quite a few canes when we had our fence replaced last fall. I have many new shoots this summer that should be productive next year - crossing fingers. I will also have to be more vigilant about cutting back the old canes this fall, and doing a bit of tilling and fertilizing work as well.

Brad and 2 of his nephews are heading off to Maine this coming weekend to climb Mount Kathadin in Baxter State Park. Brad's done it quite a few times now - it's almost a yearly event for him. I'll be staying home with the dogs and heading out to a small get together at one of my nephew's place. I've been tasked with dessert duty. I'll probably make a raspberry pie, though I may take either a Boston Cream Pie or a Carrot Cake - a birthday is also being celebrated, so a cake of some sort might be more appropriate.

Still another 3 and a half weeks to work before we go to the cottage for 2 weeks... Sigh.. It's a long time to wait, but I think it will be worth it. Hopefully August will be sunny and HOT!

Here are a few pics from the week that was:

The first 2 pics below are from a garden tour that Brad did on the weekend in St. Andrews

Thai red potato curry with local new potatoes and fresh basil - it's more than a little hot!

Sunday supper on the deck - roasted salmon, new potatoes, cucumbers, & tomato with chopped basil and feta cheese. I also made a garlic-free pesto so Brad could enjoy some, too.

My first little bowl of raspberries from the backyard!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

When you taught me how to dance

On a much more uplifting and gentle note... Brad and I watched the film Miss Potter this past weekend and we both enjoyed it. It's the tale of famous children's book author, Beatrix Potter. Her books were amongst my prize possessions when I was a child. The film is a great story, is well-acted, and showcases magnificant scenery in the England's Lake District and Scotland. This song is from the movie:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No Words...

Jeez... As much as I admire Spain and the Spanish people, it's really time to end the brutality and savagery of the San Fermin running of the bulls and bullfighting in general. It isn't sport, or culture, or tradition. It's just plain sick.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend Wrap-up

Yet another busy weekend on the east coast of Canada! Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were brillant sunny days - finally - after clsoe to a month of dismal grey weather. So we naturaly spent as much time as possible outside. Friday after work, Brad and I met Shaun and Mary for drinks at our fave outside watering hole. And we were able to twist their arms and convince them to join us for an impromptu dinner on our back deck - as opposed to them going home and painting - Shaun, you owe us one, buddy! :)

Saturday, Brad and I both went to the farmers' market and then I came home and mowed the lawns (back and front), after which our neighbours invited us over for a cold brew in their deck. By way of thanks, I took over a small dish of freshly cut up strawberries with a little sugar and dabs of my 12 year-old balsamic vinegar, which I bought last year in Tuscany. Yummy stuff!

Today, it was cloudy and rainy until just a half hour ago, when the sun made an appearance through the clouds. I did some banking for mom this morning as well and had her passbook updated. Having grown up during the Great Depression, she is always concerned about how much money she has in the bank... I then made my GI (glycemic index) muffins to have as snacks throughout the week, and will shortly do downstairs to make pasta puttanesca for dinner - that and mussles! Mmm, mmm!

Hope everyone had a great weekend and that you have a splendid week ahead!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fantasy Real Estate!

Been a while since I've done one of these. This is a real room with a view! Just steps away from the Duomo and Baptistry (1st pic below) in Florence, Italy, this beautiful apartment is on the market for $1,288,000 US. If I had that kind of money laying around somewhere, I'd snatch this place up in an instant. Florence is a nice city. I'm not sure I'd like to live there on a permanent basis, but a pied-a-terre there would be great! Just minutes away from the rolling countryside of Tuscany and the vineyards of Chianti!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sunday Catch-up...

Another very busy weekend on the east coast of Canada! It started Friday after work when Brad and I met the usual suspects for drinks and then Brad and I grabbed a quick bite at our fave Greek place before heading out a friend's 56th Birthday Day party. And wow. She really doesn't look a day over 40! Honestly. She's aging very well! There were some interesting people there that we met for the first time, including a very cute Lebanese guy (ethnic Lebanese that is, he was born here in the city), and... ahem... his wife, who was, of course, a nice gal too. There was also a gal there who was originally from Jamaica. Seveal people remarked that they would LOVE to go to Jamaica. I bit my tongue... I wouldn't go to Jamaica for love nor money, and I always try to talk my friends out of going there as well. Jamaica is an extremely homophobic country. Many gays have been murdered there and many more chased down the streets in broad daylight and beated to a pulp. It's a backward, crime-ridden, homophobic cesspool that shouldn't get a penny of Western money until it cleans up its act big time. "So let's get together and go someplace else!"

In any case, Saturday, we both got up early and went to the farmer's market. Brad bought 6 quarts of strawberries and is making jam as I type this. I bought my usual fresh basil (this time, for a change, I'm going to make a red Thai potato curry with most of the basil), some beet greens and a head of organic red lettuce. We then went to the bakers and got our weekly bread (a cob each of rustic rye and sourdough). Yesterday afternoon, I went down to visit mom with my friend Jessica, whose mother is also at the same special care home. While we were there, the sun actually came out for an hour or so, and I was able to talk mom into sitting out on the deck with me for a half hour or so. She realy enjoyed it. It was in the shade and it wasn't too breezy for her. And the views there are spectacular - of the manicured lawns and the beautiful lake, with all kinds of birds flitting about. "I had no idea it was so lovely out here," she said! Not that one can blame her - with the weather we've had basically since she moved in there, there hasn't been much cause to sit outside!

Jessica and I drove home and stopped to pick up some more strawberries (I have a strawberry/rhubarb pie in the oven as I write this) and we both got a cone of ice cream as well, mine a chocolate chip cookie dough, and Jessica a maple walnut. It was a very New Brunswick day - sitting on the rocking chairs provide licking our cones, people coming and going vegetable purchases in hand. As we continued on our way, we ran into a thunder storm with a torrential downpour of rain. Unbelievable. There has not been a day in recent memory when it did not rain at some point!

Brad and I went out to dinner at a local restaurant with a couple of friends we don't see enough of (Petie and Mo). They are a gay couple whose social calendar is even busier than ours. We had a great evening with them and got caught up, and we invited them down for an overnight at the cottage we're renting in August. After we got home, we had time to watch 2 more episodes of True Blood. What a great show! I'm really liking it a lot! A few more episodes, as we'll have Season I under our belts.

It was yet another dull and overcast day when we woke this morning. I walked Kaiser and Brad walked Jasper. I got my biking in today, which I missed yesterday, then I mowed part of the back yard, showered, and made the strawberry rhubarb pie from scratch. (I just took it out of the oven). Brad's off to his dad's for supper tonight, after which we're heading up to Georges and Barb's for a quick visit with them and with George's mom, who is visiting from Saskatoon.

Have a good week all. Here are a few pics, again to make up for the last a Skinny Saturday yesterday... I'll try not to miss that feaure again next weekend!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Canada 142!

That's right! Canada turns 142 years old today!! And we get a day off in the middle of the week! Yay!

Stayed in bed till 9:00 this morning and then biked my 21 km in the basement and later went for a 45-minute walk with a friend, so I've gotten my exercise in for the day. Still another crappy, muggy, overcast day here. This weather is really unbelievable. I honestly cannot remember the last sunny day we had! My raspberries need some sun! And so do I!!

Brad's out trying to find the first season of True Blood. We downloaded the first show of season I and watched it last night. We both liked it a lot. Brad is not so sure that he wants to watch it while we're on vacation though - out in the wilds of rural New Brunswick! ;)

Gotta run and rustle up some supper... Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canucks!