Wednesday, 20 July 2011

I Stand Corrected

My boys tell me my newt was a salamander.  
To me they all look the same but when I called it "the lizardy thing" was also told it is not a lizard.  

Are my boys smart or what!
Or maybe just smart-a$$es.

I made some black currant vinegar.
I started the process two weeks ago.


3 cups Black Currants - cleaned

2 cups White Vinegar 
1 1/4 cup White Sugar

(you can make this without sugar but this vinegar will keep longer using sugar as it acts as a preservative)

Place berries in a large sterilized jar.

Mix Vinegar and Sugar in pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved and liquid is just below boiling.

Pour the vinegar mix over the berries and place lid on the jar.
Give a small shake. (the jar, not yourself)
Let the mixture sit for two to three weeks in a warm place and shake gently once a day. (the jar, not yourself)

After two or three weeks, strain through a cheesecloth and then strain again through a  paper coffee filter 
(the kind from a drip coffee maker).
Pour into a sterilized bottle that has a tight sealing lid and store in a dark place, like your cupboard!

You will end up with this.

This is great in a vinaigrette for a summer salad, to make a reduction with port and pour over lamb or beef,  in a marinade or in chutneys or confit's.

I will be making raspberry vinegar as well because I am getting buried in those berries!

I love summer.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Crisps, Fruit and Newts

A friend was having an impromptu get together for another friends birthday and given 1 1/2 hours notice to 'bring an appy to share' I made tortilla crisps and jalapeno dip.

This is the recipe for the crisps and they are delicious and easy and a big hit.

1 package Flour Tortillas (whole wheat are good too)
3/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
(I sometimes vary the seasonings using lemon pepper, souvlaki spice,  Zataar spice mix)

Mix well and spread onto tortillas, it will look like too much spread but it isn't.
Cut tortillas into wedges.
Place on a baking tray and bake at 350deg for 12 - 15 minutes until crisp and browned.  Cool on a rack

The dip recipe is in an earlier post about "We're Going Out.."

I have a raspberry patch in my back yard.  This is the second picking and I will pick until late August.  The 8 canes give enough berries that I am able to freeze and make juice all winter as well as smoothies, baked goods, etc. etc. 

This will be freezer jam.  My boys favorite.  I make three batches  or 12 pints.

Freezer jam 15 minutes later.

These are some of the roses I bought earlier this year at the bargain store across the street from where I work.  These were to be red.
The pink climber I planted at the driveway sign are orange with red centers.

Good thing I don't have a color scheme anywhere in my landscaping.

This morning I caught a newt or skink or some kind of lizardy thing that lives with several others in our yard.  We are pesticide/herbicide free so we have lots of things for them to eat.  My friends four year old son didn't believe me when I told him they live under our back step so I told him I would show him one.  This one is about 3 inches long and eeny weeny - I felt bad putting him on a bed of moss, with two slugs, in a plastic ice-cream bucket.  If they are not at our house by 9:30 to pick it up I've asked Adam to release it in the garden.

This is not him but a really close, and much larger, cousin.

I hope it lives.  He has a really cute face.

Monday, 18 July 2011

A week of Rain and Whole Lot of Fun

DVM Camp Pictures

This is what people look like when they have too much fresh air and not enough sleep

Tug of War in togas.

Sunset on the thunder clouds

Home-made Slip N' Slide - a large roll of plastic, dish detergent, a hose and many willing participants.

Rope Swing in the Lake

Paintball Challenge

Turquoise hoodie looks a bit sour - maybe she's not meant to hang with teenagers.

He doesn't play the drums but on music night everyone gets to have a go at singing or try any instrument .
Nice Hat.

Sack races at Toga Night


That's what I was the week they went away - a loon.
See.... I worried for nothing!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Paradise and One More Sleep!

My boys are coming home tomorrow!   I am so excited and can barely stand it.  
I have been worrying all week.
Are they cold, are they tired, are they having fun, are they hungry, are the other campers nice people, do they miss me?

  I don't keep these worries to myself, I share them with my husband, the boys dad.  

He is a patient man but I can feel his patience wearing thin..... 

They are to be picked up tomorrow after dinner but I think I might drive up there tonight, sleep in the car and be ready to pick them up at the crack of dawn.

They will hate me if I do that.

Kalamlaka Lake at night


Kalamalka Lake during the day.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Art in the Dark

Last night I was home by myself.   Just me and Archie, The Dog.

He's a really nice dog - not always a good dog - but we love him at lot and he makes us smile.

My plan was to walk The Dog and then glaze some pottery pieces.  

After the walk and tiding up of the house, readying my brain for glazing and two cups of tea to stall for a bit, the rain came pouring from the skies.

Thunder pounded, lightning lit up the sky and the power went out.  
Common place for a summer storm but two hours later I realized I might be in the dark for a while.  

What to do? What to do?

No lights.
Too dark to be in my pottery room.
No television.
No computer,
Reading nearly impossible by camping headlamp.
Too rainy to take The Dog for another walk.
Too wet to garden.
Too big to fit under the bed to hide with The Trembling Dog.
Too awake after my two caffinated cups of tea to sleep.
And, no one to talk to.

Curiosity made me wonder if I could do a watercolor painting the semi-dark.
Lit by LED flashlight and a crappy candle  I gave it a try.

Watercolor paints gave way to watercolor pencils as I couldn't see the color washes clearly enough to see what I was putting on the paper.

LED light, by the way, is the worst lighting ever.

Water color wash on, sort of.
Watercolor pencils highlighted areas I couldn't see and then blended in.  The entire thing looked like a muddy mess of color.
Staedler fine liner out to try and add some detail.  Squinting, painting, scribbling, wondering if the wine had gotten to warm to drink (it hadn't) and then taking pictures with  the flash so that I could review to see what was being created on the paper.

Not pretty but a good time-filler.

And then this morning...

Cherries are ready.

Raspberries are almost ready.

Lillies are ready.

Tonight is forecast for another 10mm rain with thunder and lightning.  
Maybe I'll try hand building something out of clay if the power goes out tonight.

Hope the boys survived the storm.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

While the Cat's Away....

With the boys away at camp and no interruptions or questions or, can I ... or, will you ..... ,   I thought it would be a perfect evening to go into my pottery room and make something. 

I have a store that sells my pottery on consignment and she is always requesting replacement pieces and I have had lots of good reviews on my Christmas gifts to family and friends.  They are asking for more so that they can gift them to their family and friends. 

After a delicious dinner that husband  made I went to the basement and into 'the no-room of clay'.

 It is covered in clay because it is so small.

It's called the no-room of clay as it has no room.

Smaller than a walk-in closet.
 If I stand in the middle of the room and stretch out my arms, my fingers will touch opposite walls. 

Maybe it's covered in clay because I am just messy.

I could have spent the evening cleaning it or I could make something. I chose the latter. 

But first I unloaded the bisque kiln.

There are five more shelves of this stuff to be glazed but I think you've seen enough.

I made about 30 of these soon to be snowflake Christmas tree decorations.

I made about 75 of these - they were the popular ones last Christmas.

This is a reject and the hanger was not finished but this is the general idea.

And I always make a bowl or mugs  on the wheel and those are curing under plastic.  Pictures of
clay-covered plastic bags are not attractive so  I'm not posting a picture of that.
 I'll show you this instead ....

.... these fuschia have nothing at all to do with pottery

Tonight husband has fire practice (he's a volunteer fire fighter for our community)  so he will be out and Archie, the dog, and I will have the house to ourselves.  After his walk I think I will start glazing.  I hate glazing!  I am so bad at it.  I could use a lesson or several but will carry on regardless as I don't often get uninterrupted time

Time that is ticking by slowly - it's only Tuesday.

I'm counting the sleeps.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Berries and Camp - Must Be Summer!

It's summer in the Okanagan and strawberries are ripe and ready for picking.

First , rinse and hull - two for the tray, one for me, two for the tray, one for me...... repeat.

This is the first tray, but only one more to do.

Take a couple of cups of berries, mash them up add some sugar and pectin and......

Freeze to enjoy in the winter.   

DVM Camp

Today is the day I officially start to make up things that could go wrong at camp and imagine any and all  potential dangers that my boys could face.   Son number one decided that he couldn't stay home and so he signed on to go to camp too.  Son number two let out a very audible sigh of relief.  He counts on his brother for a lot  -  and moral support is right up there among the most important.

When Sean (son number one) was born he was awake and alert, head up and looking around the first day of his life.  Here he is helping get the beds ready for the campers.

When Adam, son number two, was born he slept the entire first day.  Flicking the soles of his feet couldn't wake him.  He was resting!  
Here he is now, not helping get camp ready, but enjoying kicking around the soccer ball.  I hope he is a high wage earner so that he can hire people to do the necessary things for him.

Here is the cabin our boys are staying in, Sean in the loft and Adam below.

They are so excited to be there.  I hope they have a wonderful time.

I am really hoping that I don't spend the next week getting grey hair and a big worry frown.

When we got home from dropping them off my husband made me a very large cocktail. 

It almost helped.

This is the camp donkey - isn't he cute!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Black Bra

 Here's what was blooming today

Once again, these are not my words, this was sent to me in an email ......

 The Black Bra (as told by a woman)

I had lunch with 2 of my unmarried friends.
One is engaged, one is a mistress, and I have been married for 20+ years.

We were chatting about our relationships and decided to amaze our men by greeting them at the door wearing a black bra, stiletto heels and a mask over our eyes. We agreed to meet in a few days to exchange notes..

Here's how it all went.

My engaged friend:
The other night when my boyfriend came over he found me with a black leather bodice, tall stilettos and a mask.
He saw me and said, 'You are the woman of my dreams.
I love you.' Then we made passionate love all night long.

The mistress: 
Me too! The other night I met my lover at his office and I was wearing a raincoat, under it only the black bra, heels and mask over my eyes. 
When I opened the raincoat he didn't say a word, but he started to tremble and we had wild sex all night. 

Then I had to share my story:
When my husband came home I was wearing the black bra, black stockings, stilettos and a mask 
over my eyes.
When he came in the door and saw me he said,  


"What's for dinner, Zorro?"

Friday, 8 July 2011

This one's for you Mark - Pre 1989

I posted that while looking through old photos we came upon some that were hilariously embarrassing.

 Mark wanted to see them.

Not being one to shy away from public humiliation, here are some winners.

I think the same person who cut the horse's mane and tail also cut my hair - perhaps with the same scissors.
That's my brother with me.  He passed away 17 years ago.  Drugs.

Being farm kids, chickens were among our pet collection .
It took a long time to realize that normal people don't eat their pets.

There was always a first day back to school picture while my mom was alive.
Once again, someone was over-zealous with the scissors.

I loved horses and riding.  I bought horses from the race track and trained them for the jumping circuit.  This is not one from the track but she was a great horse.

Here I am at my first wedding, (not that I've had several I'm only on number two).   Nice hat.

I did some part-time modelling - Can you pick me out of the crowd?  My husband at the time told me I was fat which started my downhill slide into weight under 100 pounds.  He was a big jerk.
When my kids saw this picture their comment?  "freaky"

Here I am on my way to 105 - still more to go - it was not pretty and, yes, that's sugar I'm putting in my coffee.  That was my diet - coffee and cigarettes.
Did I say that my first husband was a big jerk?

I am too short to be a model (5'6") so I did only cosmetics and lingerie.  At the time, people thought the lingerie ads were very risque - I'm not posting a picture as most of them are my 112 frame in a girdle.
Anyone remember girdles?

Some people said I looked like Linda Evans .....
(nice shoulder pads and chest bones)

......... others said I looked like Sally Struthers.

Not sure if you can see that my glasses cover nearly half of my face.  Someone told me they made me look smart so I wore them all the time.

So there you go Mark,  warts and all.
 Sadly I see that my look has not changed much from high school.
Talk about getting in a rut!

Post 1989 will follow at a later time.