Wednesday 20 August 2014


     The beans in my garden are coming on fast! I need to get out there and pick them more frequently. So, the other day, I picked a big bowlful, and took out the other beans that were waiting for me in the fridge and began the process of washing, cutting off the stem ends, blanching, and bagging them for freezing.
These are my green and purple beans all washed and cut up waiting to be blanched.

I blanch them in boiling water for three minutes. The handy dandy inner pot is a strainer that just lifts out.

Beans are now cooling off in a very cold water to stop the cooking process and preserve all the goodness and colour. Notice how the purple beans are not purple anymore.

The beans are now in medium sized freezer bags and labelled with the year. I probably have last season's beans still in some bags buried at the bottom of my freezer, so it is best to eat those up first! I squeeze as much air out as possible by tightly folding over the top of the bag before zipping it shut.

     I ended up with 9 and a half full-sized bags (medium size zip freezer bags) which would provide a side dish for one of our meals. One way that my kids really like green beans is in a casserole, the one with the mushroom soup and the French-fried onions. I never used to make that until a few years ago when I clipped the recipe from a magazine advertisement. It is usually a Thanksgiving or Christmas thing. Normally I would just boil them up in a pot and put some butter and salt on them.

     So, as a result of weeding, picking, cutting back the jungle which encroaches our property (we have "fallow" land, i.e. weed filled, on two sides of us, and a neglected overgrown neighbouring yard which is hatching baby walnut trees and wild grape vines at a break neck speed on a third) I developed a very itchy blistery rash on my lower arms and legs. It was even disturbing my sleep, so I ended up seeing a doctor about it and he diagnosed contact dermatitis. This means my skin came in contact with something irritating. I got a prescription for a good anti-itch cream and some recommendations for taking antihistamines. The itch is abated somewhat, but the nasty looking red blistery things are still there. Kind of grosses me out, actually.
     Anyone else have sensitive skin which complains about the plants in which you work?

Tuesday 12 August 2014

My Heart is Sad

To me, Robin Williams was Mork. You could even buy those rainbow coloured suspenders when I was in grade school. He made his first appearance as Mork on Happy Days.

His interviews on talk shows. That incredibly quick mind. I adored him.

To my children, perhaps he started out for them as the voice of the Genie in Aladin. My 18 year old daughter was truly sad last night.

Just a theory, but I wonder if many of those comic geniuses don't suffer from a form of bi-polar disorder which allows them to be so full of energy and amazing talent when manic, but then experience the lows privately. I do not know what brought Robin Williams to make that ultimate decision to end his life. He will be tremendously missed.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Follow up on the cat...

     So... Mr. Samson got to the vet yesterday. She was great and gave him a thorough once-over. Then I had a deja vu moment. Samson had an absess on his bottom. He had been bitten by another cat and it became infected and absessed. We didn't even know!
     Now, why was this a deja vu moment? Well, a few years back, we brought our other cat, Nellie, to the same vet location thinking she was on death's door, only to be told she had an absess from a cat bite. Same location.
    Where did Nellie's bite come from? Samson.


     Anyway, he got some subcutaneous fluids for dehydration and a week's worth of liquid antibiotics with a follow-up appointment to make sure he is healing and gaining some weight.
This is Nellie. She is 18 and a half years old. 

     It is highly unlikely that Nellie is the culprit this time. Samson spends most of his time outside, patrolling. Nellie spends most of her time in the house, sleeping. He does NOT enjoy having the liquid antibiotics administered to him, so this morning he received his dose with some salmon in a bowl.

Amount of times Nellie wanted to be let out/in within a half hour span this morning: 5

Monday 4 August 2014


     I love bees. Because I spend a lot of time surrounded by flowers, I end up spending a lot of time around bees. There has been much concern about bee populations dying in our area. Bee keepers are talking about chemicals being sprayed on fields. I also remember news of bee diseases in the past too. If the bees in my gardens are any indication of bee health and vitality, then I am happy to report that all are alive and well here.
The bees have especially been enjoying this hydrangea, "White Dome".
     I also enjoy bumble bees. They make a wonderful sound as they crawl in and around blooms and are slow enough that you can watch them, and see how covered in pollin they become. Bumble bees remind me of a Beatrix Potter story, "The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse". We had videos of Beatrix Potter stories that our kids watched when they were little and in this story, the mouse was a rather anal, O.C.D. creature who was cleaning up her mouse hole and then a toad shows up wanting food. He smells honey, and as it turns out, there is a honeycomb in the mouse's house and the toad ends up with a mouth full of bees. A big mess ensues and the mouse then has to clean up all over again.
     I know many people, children especially, who are afraid of bees. Personally, I have never been stung by a bee. I have even brushed them away while gardening. No problem. I have been stung by a wasp. Wasps are different. Wasps have a bad attitude. 
     Enjoy your day and go out and watch some bees.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Do you suppose he heard us talking?

     So... yesterday our "younger" cat had a vet appointment. He is not himself. About a month ago, something happened to his tail. Some kind of injury caused a bunch of hair loss and a decent wound, but he took care of it, licking it, and it didn't seem infected, so we let it go. However, since then, he just seems morose. He moves carefully, he still complains when you touch his tail, and he is skinnier than his normal "outdoor cat in the summer" skinny.
     So, I made an appointment with our local vet located about an eight minute drive away. I saw the cat earlier in the morning, let him in from his usual sleeping spot on a chair on the back porch. He had a bite to eat and then wanted out. I left for an appointment of my own and then returned in time so I could go with the husband to the vet and find out what kind of money this would run into!
     No cat. We called and called and called. I'm sure the entire village was sick and tired of hearing us call our cat. I rattled the bag of treats as well. Husband drove around and called. (Crazy people!) No cat.
     I had to call the vet and sheepishly explain that we couldn't find him. Thank goodness the gal at the desk laughed and agreed that it sometimes happens with outdoor cats. A new appointment has been made, but of course it is a holiday weekend here in Canada, so he won't be seen for another four days.
This is normally what he is like. Stealthy, full of personality. 

His name is Samson.

 Anyway, he showed up at about 4:00 that afternoon.