Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A different dog

When I first realized that we finally got the dog park built in town I couldn't wait to get my pooch out playing with the other dogs. Those first days in February though she was not quite so keen on my vision. My mom has seen some bad dog fights in her day I guess, and doesn't really understand the beasts all that well. Two dogs will snarl at one another and she'll call it a fight. Naw. They're just talking. Anyways, having a fearful "mummy" has made Taffy... well... fearful. And more so since I moved away a couple times. She would hide by my side, between my legs if I let her, with her tail tucked right under to her belly. She would snarl if anybody came to close, or try to jump up into my arms. I persevered. It was tough with her being so miserable and snarling at everybody around us... hard for me to make us some friends when she's growling and running from their dogs. But look at her today! This is my carefree little Taffy trotting across the lush fields with her tail held high.  Good girl!!
Tricky to see taff here, she's sniffing under the picnic table. Look how far from me she is!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Attack of the Evil Mutant Gigantic Spiders!!

Ok so the logical side of my brain requires me to tell you that they're actually teeny tiny baby garden variety spiders. And they didn't actually attack, but I'm sure given the chance they would have. That big clump of matter to the left of the chair leg in the picture isn't garden debris at all but a dense thick, squirming, writhing mass of baby spiders. Must be over a million there. Or at least a couple thousand. Which is a couple thousand too many. Pathetic? Absolutely. Nonsensical? Yup. Harmless? I'm sure they are but some primitive fear center in my brain disagrees.
I have faced down a nosy coyote with just a stick and loud voice. I've gone tromping after a raccoon in just my pj's and rubber boots, demanding it unhand the food it took from my larder. I even made friends of dozens of feral dogs in both Mexico and Greece with absolutely no fear. Wanna send me scampering? Spiders are it. So I'm hiding out in my bedroom with my laptop on this blessing of a sunny wonderful day while my daddy finds a can of raid. Real brave huh?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Garden Roster This Spring

As of today, this is what we've got going on the property:

5 tomato plants
3 blueberry bushes
3 hills of cucumbers
3 basil plants
2 raspberry plants
2 planters of strawberries
2 apple trees
2 giant rhubarb plants
2 hills of pumpkins
2 rows of pod peas
2 rows of snow peas
2 rows of green beans
2 rows of carrots
2 parsley plants
2 echinacea plants
1 hill of butternut squash
1 hill of zucchini
1 bell pepper plant
1 row of radishes
1 giant sage plant
1 huge peppermint plant
1 patch of spearmint
1 chive patch
1 lavender bush
1 wayward onion

...and a partridge in a pear tree!!


Have you ever gotten to the point where it's SOO warm and you've drank SOO much water that you're still thirsty but cant stand the taste of another sip of water? Juice leaves you thirstier, it's so sweet. Sometimes I like to add a light squeeze of lemon juice to the water. That can make all the difference. Also, I like to add mint to the water such as in the picture. I roll the mint sprigs in my hands to bruise the leaves and release the flavour, and then if I'm using peppermint like in the picture I put it in the glass tips first so you can see the dramatic purple undersides. I'm thinking this would make an awful pretty mojito, might have to try that this summer. Wishing you cool and hydrated days from the shade at Cathartica Farm.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Westfield Update

One of my friends and fellow re-enactors sent me these photos today and I had to share them! Deb takes fantastic photos, she is the unofficial photographer of our unit.
Me and a friend's daughter petting a sweet little lamb named Willow. This was the day before it was open to the public, so note that I'm only half in and half out of costume (no hat or kerchief). 
And this my friends is my favourite part of any event. We gather 'round the fire with choice beverages, good company and often a song or two, while the lanterns twinkle in front of each to guide us back home. This is a large part of why I do this, and the respite I look towards on those 30+ degree celsius days clad in heavy dresses.

Getting Busy!

Things are getting busier at work for me! I had 5 clients yesterday, and then gave my services at the Martini's and more event to raise money for breast cancer. I was giving 15 minute chair massages for donations. Today I have three clients. I'm loving the busier pace, but also loving that I worked my way up slowly. It gave me a chance to slowly build up my endurance and confidence. Now I'm reliably able to cover my bills (which didn't happen the first couple of months...) and might just have a lil something left over at the end of the month this time around. Hot Dog!!
I may just treat myself to a little something this summer... It involves fiddles, but I won't say any more until I find out for sure if it's happening.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Westfield Heritage Village

This weekend one of our re-enactor guys set us up an event at Westfield Heritage Village, where he often volunteers. Because it was the first time they've ever hosted and 1812 event at that location, there were a couple of organizational hiccups that are only to be expected but nothing major, the venue was beautiful, and we had a great time. The buildings in the village are set up to be about 1860's era, but it was still interesting to see!
On notes of personal interest, I really liked seeing the ladies who bring their assorted livestock to the village from their nearby farm. They had a dexter cow (a personal favourite of mine, if I have cattle they'll be dexters.) and some Jacob's cross sheep so docile and used to people that you can scoop a lamb up into your lap and sit in the shade snuggling and petting the lamb, while mama nibbles your hair. They had silkie chickens, and assorted young chicks, and another white laying breed that I don't recall the name of at the moment. They had two docile leghorn crosses that you could tuck under your arm and walk around the park with. I decided then and there that when we have some chooks of our own, I'll spend a lot of time handling a couple of the girls and groom them to come out to events with us in a little chicken tractor. Camp followers in 1812 would likely have had assorted odds and ends of livestock straggling along with the company. I think it'll be great, and a big draw for the kids. The ladies also had a rabbit and some turkey poults and ducklings there. I remember just thinking that I wanted their life. I spent a lot of time at the barn this weekend.
The weather was just fabulous!! Hot! When you're dressed from head to toe in wool clothing you end up being up less than thrilled when the temperatures breech 30 degrees Celsius. It was nice in the shade though, and it's always a great weekend when we go home with dry canvas!!

boutonnieres settled!

On the way to Westfield this weekend the lady (Cindy) who makes the lovely feather pins that I fell in love with called me back. We chatted about colours and materials and timeframes, and when I couldn't adequately describe what I was looking for, I emailed her the picture of the one I was liking. I knew I took that picture for a reason!!
So, she's gathering materials and looking over the feathers she's got in stock. She'll be making four just like the one I showed you but with the silver celtic knot in the center, and one slightly different, or bigger for Andrew.

Boutonnieres: check. Now if only we knew some of the important details like, you know, venue. That would probably be good huh?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sun Tea

I tried making sun tea today, but I can't say I'm crazy about the results. Sun tea is a type of iced tea that uses heat from the sun to steep the tea bags, so it never truly gets hot. It's supposed to have a different sort of taste from pouring boiling water over the tea bags and then letting it cool. Less tannins are supposed to leech out, making it less bitter.
When I tried making my sun tea today I added lemon juice and honey to my cold water and tea bags before putting it out in the sun. I found the tea weak tasting, and perhaps it just needed longer steeping, but I had to head out to pathfinders, so it had to come in. It also tasted... I don't know... funny.
I'm going to try again some time, but perhaps only add lemon and sweeten after all the steeping is done and the tea comes back inside.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Boutonniere Possibilities

Isn't that just beautiful? Last weekend at the 1812 event at long woods one of the vendors had these wonderful feather brooches for sale, that a friend of his hand makes. Since I'm thinking of using sunflowers for the ladies' bouquets and that's just too large a flower to turn into a boutonniere, these might be just the ticket!!  Terry (the vendor) is going to put me in touch with the lady who makes them and we'll parley about a set of four custom made brooches. I really like the one pictured and the colours are just about right, but then andrew spotted a different one with a silver celtic knot at the center instead of a shell, and we both agreed that is more us!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Totally Hooked

On this series!! I can't get enough of it! I watched a boxed set of the first season while house sitting for a friend, and since have read the first two books and am diving into the third headlong. I'm tempted to start watching the second season, but I think I'd just be frustrated until I can sit down and watch the whole set in one go.


I'd never made a Quiche before, and today I thought it was past time I tried! I used the farm fresh, free range eggs from the farmer's market, as well as the shittake mushrooms and asparagus, and added some onion and spinach. It was FABULOUS!! Why have I never made quiche before?

The recipe made two, so I've even got one to tuck away in the freezer for a rainy day!

All Fired Up!

I went to the farmer's market today, and had such a lovely time!! It was so heartening that some of the people that I get my food from remembered me from last year. I'm making connections in this little ecosystem of mine. I had a long chat today with the folks over at plowshare farm, it turns out that with over 7 acres of market garden, they don't own a tractor. Nope. It's all horse power. Isn't that fantastic? They have two draft horses, one of whom is a Belgian and the other a Suffolk Punch. They grow over 62 varieties of plants, I betcha that's more than most grocery stores can boast!

It's really gotten me thinking about our garden and what I want to do with it this year, but mom still thinks we should wait at least another week to put anything in the ground. To that I say bah humbug. I saved some pumpkin seeds from last year, I think they might just go into the garden this afternoon, at least I'll feel like I'm getting something done! We've learned from last year, all viny plants are going in a separate garden!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Um... Start over?

Andrew's grandma has been in hospital so I've been with him since Saturday night. I figured that the sourdough starter could survive without feeding in the mean time, but I forgot that without constant stirring and disruption of the surface, mold starts to grow. Oh crap.
What I'm not sure of is, like cheese can I cut/skim the mold of the top, transfer to a clean bowl and keep on my merry way or must I start fresh?