Wednesday 27 May 2020


Yes, the title of the post is a "Christmas Vacation" movie quote, but it is also the topic today.

I thought I would share with you something strange in our midst.

We have at least two of these squirrels. They are black squirrels, but their tails are blonde.
Somebody thought they'd dye their own fur in our time of Covid because they couldn't get in to see their regular hair dresser?

Run away!!

Monday 18 May 2020

Food and Rain

I am not a fancy chef. I like to vary my dinners because I would get bored of eating the same thing all the time, but I do repeat many of my standard meals. I'm pretty good with dessert. Yesterday, I made pastry for a single pie and grabbed a bag of frozen strawberries out of the freezer and a bag of frozen rhubarb, both grown here, and went about making strawberry rhubarb custard pie (no shortage of eggs).

Here it is before going in the oven. I often have too much filling, so I created a "mini pie" using the cut off bits of pastry and the leftover filling as well.

After an hour in the oven, both came out smelling heavenly.

The topping is essentially the makings of a sugar cookie, crumbled on top. The pie went along with roast chicken legs and thighs, green bean casserole, and mashed sweet potato. Sunday night dinner.

Today's meal was one of my (and my daughter's) favourites. I've written about these ingredients before, I believe, maybe in terms of tossing them in a salad. This time, they were mixed with pasta.

Sauteed in olive oil: peppers, red onion, sundried tomatoes, olives, marinated artichoke hearts.

When the pasta is cooked, mix it in with the vegetables and a good dollop of both of these:

It's just so good!

For all the wonderful warm loveliness of Saturday, today (Monday) has been nonstop rain and wind. The rain started last night. When we were having our meal, the cat came in rather damp from the rain. Our Samson (R.I.P.) was such a smart boy, knowing we would lay a towel down and he would step on it, ready to let us dry him off. Scooter, who is a different sort, needs to be scooped up and then squirms like a larva.

He looked ridiculous because he is enormously fluffy, but his head is rather small compared to the rest of him.

As I'm typing this, I can hear my husband in the room below me talking with his mom who is in a long term care home. Of course, we cannot visit her, but she seems to be in good spirits. There are no cases at her care home, but there were two workers earlier who were positive. Of course, they stopped working there and all residents were tested, all of them being negative. I can also hear the wind and the rain against the window. I managed to get grass seed down in the filled in trench areas (well, almost all of them), so the rain will be a bonus to get that grass seed starting to germinate.
Today was a holiday, so tomorrow I'm back online, posting assignments and activities for my students and waiting for them to respond.

Sunday 17 May 2020

Our Nicest Day So Far

Yesterday was soul reviving. Our temperatures reached 18 degrees C. I spent most of the day outside, still cleaning up perennial beds (not quite done, but much closer now!). We have had a fire ban for a while now, so the old dried up plant stalks, spruce cones, fallen branches have been piling up behind the chicken run, and I added much more yesterday. But now, the fire ban is over, so some burning in the burn barrel will be happening soon.

I have a question for all the gardeners out there: What is the plant that you would banish from your beds, now that you realize what an unruly pain it is? What do you regret planting the most? Mine is lily of the valley. In fact, I don't even think I was the one who planted it. I completely ripped out a bed one time, digging deep to pull every last root or rhizome, or whatever nasty way it spawns, out of the ground. This plant has managed to grow and creep its way under our porch to emerge on the other side. It is now overtaking a different bed and is growing up amongst peonies, phlox, cranesbill, and other flowers. It will take another complete dig-out to get rid of it. I'm not sure I have the energy for that right now.

Oh well, that's the thing with gardening, there's always another project.

I was pretty satisfied with my work, a lot of it involving cleaning up the "rail fence bed".

As well, husband cut the lawn and started the process of filling in the remaining low spots and slices in our back yard from when we trenched for the propane line to be put in. This is our back yard. Every time I come out onto the back porch, the chickens rush to the fence at the front of the chicken run, thinking I'm going to bring them some food.

You can see the line in the ground from the trench. Those two beds in the picture are still to be cleaned up completely. There's a forsythia that's in bloom - a gifted few little roots from a previous co-worker that I've split and put into a different locations. Forsythia is such a harbinger of Spring.

So, we have a bit of a dilemma. We have a visitor. Well, not a visitor, really, more of a resident.

That is one of two holes that leads under our shed (which is more garage sized). I know it belongs to a ground hog because we've seen the ground hog. It is very healthy and robust. I just don't want it to become more robust on my vegetable garden when the time comes. We have a humane trap that we could use, but I'm concerned that this might be a mama ground hog. We haven't seen any young, but that doesn't mean they aren't there, somewhere under our shed. Anybody know when baby groundhog season is? Likely now, I would think.

Last night, with outdoor fires being allowed again, we set up our metal campfire "thing" (four sided, screen-in unit with a hinged side to put the wood in, and roast marshmallows from). The four of us had a nice time sitting around and talking and laughing and enjoying the exchange between our two fairly different children. It is the "long weekend" in Canada (Victoria Day) and there were a few fireworks set off in the distance that we could hear and sometimes see.

Today is supposed to be rainy, it's already a bit overcast as of 7:24 a.m. Maybe that's a good thing, as it will deter me from more yard work - I'm feeling muscles that I haven't felt in a while! I might bake a pie today, and with tomorrow being a holiday, I'm not feeling rushed to put together lessons for this coming week online. Happy May Two-Four to all my fellow Canadians. It's a different one!

Saturday 9 May 2020

Boots on May 9th

One should not have to wear boots to go out and feed the chickens on the morning of May 9th. One did.

Both photos are accurate. Sometimes it was a little sunny, and then sometimes it snowed.
The tulips haven't even opened yet, but there are some very sad daffodils underneath that snow. It did mostly melt by later in the afternoon, but the wind was cold and I've had enough, thank you very much.

Life continues in pandemic world. I'm still putting out learning activities for kids to access in a virtual learning environment. Daughter has been fortunate (but her personality and skills and past work history obviously helped) to land a job again with the county in their communications department for the summer. This is a position that she can do from home and was given a work computer on which to do her thing. Sometimes she's having virtual meetings while I'm having virtual meetings in another room. Son was hoping to get a landscaping job this summer. It's good money and full time and no weekend work. That was before all of "this" happened. But then the Ontario government said that landscaping was one of the sectors that could start up again with the re-opening of the economy. He put in his resume (online) but has not heard back yet. In the meantime, his previous place of employment asked if he could come in and help with the garden centre, so he has picked up some hours in the last couple of days. I am happy that he is in open air and things are very controlled there.

Made a ham today. That's exciting.

Daughter turned 24 last week. We just had "us" to celebrate, but she wanted and got the required homemade chocolate layer cake, and some steak and shrimp. Balloons were hung from the light fixture and the Happy Birthday banner was hung - a must.

Here is what I have learned about myself in these past eight or nine weeks:
- I get bored easily, but not so bored as to be motivated to do a thorough cleaning/ revamping / reorganizing, etc. that other people speak of in these times.
-I actually like my job - the process of leaving my home, going to work, being with the kids and my coworkers and having something different to do every day. I miss it. Retirement is not going to be easy and I definitely need a game plan.
-I can "get in my head" too much and that's not always a good thing.
-I can still learn how to do new things.
-I do not like online grocery shopping and much prefer choosing things depending on what looks good, what's on sale, and what I might put together for meals for the week.

Last night when husband and daughter were watching a movie that I wasn't interested in, I watched something on Netflix called The Pharmacist. It was three episodes, I think, and it was so very good. It was a documentary about a pharmacist who made it his mission to do something about the prescription opioid crisis. I highly recommend it, if you think that might be something you are interested in.

Tomorrow is of course, Mother's Day here in Canada. My own mother hasn't been around for many years now. My husband's mother is in a very nice Long Term Care home. Nobody is allowed to visit, but we will call her. She is healthy and they are being extremely careful over there. For myself, it's a different time right now, so my request was I don't want to make food. I'm asking for take out pizza from a small pizza place in a little town close to us, and a Dairy Queen smarties blizzard from a different small town close to us. I'm good with that. Oh, and no snow, please.