Tuesday 25 August 2020

Peach Pie - Be Still My Heart

 This is the perfect time for peaches. Here, we purchase Niagara peaches. I haven't had a bad peach yet, this season. They are juicy and wonderful. You just wait about two days after you buy them and they are exquisite. 

   I was in the school today for part of the day. Don't even get me started. This is going to be a September for the record books. When I got home and had something to eat and checked the chickens and so forth, I thought, I need something indulgent. There were all these luscious peaches socially distancing from each other on a big platter on the counter and I thought, "Peach pie!"

This is my standard, my time tested recipe that I've made for years. Even my home made crust turned out well! The planets must be aligned.

I peeled several peaches and cut them up. Into the pie shell they went.

Do NOT scrimp on the amount of peaches you put in a peach pie. Every bite must be full of peach.

Next was the topping, in this case, the glaze. The recipe is called Glazed Peach Pie, but in fact, the "glaze" is more like a very sloppy sugar cookie.

It  consists of flour, sugar, butter, egg and vanilla. Then you drop big dollops of it all over the peaches and smooth it out as much as possible.

The aroma was heavenly as it was baking. I also roasted some chicken legs (they were on sale) with my favourite "herbs de province" seasoning. That helped with the whole harvest kitchen setting.

It came out perfectly! 

However, we weren't the only ones to benefit from my baking efforts. All of those peach skins and little bits that I cut away went straight to "the girls". This next picture shows how as soon as I step out onto the back porch with something in my hand, they rush the fence in anticipation.

They enjoyed their dessert!

I don't know how to add a printable recipe, but here it is if you are interested:

Glazed Peach Pie

aprx. 8 peaches

1 unbaked pie shell

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1/3 cup butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and slice peaches into unbaked shell. Cream sugar, flour, and butter together. Add egg and vanilla. Mix well and spread over peaches. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 45 minutes. 

Saturday 22 August 2020


 Happy happy, joy joy. I saw Miss Ashley yesterday and she sat me down and repaired my worst hair cut ever. I shall always go to Miss Ashley from now on. She's "young", she's funny, she shares all kinds of details about her life that people might not... and she fixed my hair. 

Hair is a fairly big deal to me. I have "unfortunate" hair, as I've mentioned before. My cousin says we have "Scottish hair". Not sure what that means, but I know she has long, frizzy, slightly naturally wavy hair, now silvery grey. If that's Scottish, then I I guess she has it, and some day when I quit colouring it, I'll have it too. 

It is obvious how big a deal hair is to me by looking at things that I have pinned in Pinterest. Let me share a few with you just for fun, and because I have nothing else to post about:





Have a great day, all.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Anticipation, an-ti-ci-paa-tion

 Do you now have Carly Simon in your head? 

What am I anticipating, you ask?

Oh yes, the tomatoes are coming! With the ridiculous rains we had over the past couple of days, these beauties have toppled over despite having cages and stakes and various methods of tying them up and supporting them. 

I decided to do some pruning, cutting back unnecessary foliage and even taking off some sections with yellow blossoms that won't amount to anything before frost arrives. I am hoping this will help keep things from falling over even more by reducing some weight. As well, the plant can put its energy into ripening versus producing more fruits. Also with this rain I'm starting to see some yellowing and brown leaves, so extra air circulation is probably needed. 

I cut back about three big tubs full of foliage and now I can see even more lovely tomatoes.

Toasted tomato sandwiches... 

Tomatoes with basil and olive oil and those round squishy balls of mozzarella cheese...

Tomatoes turned into orchard fruit chili sauce...

O.K., enough of that. I also have three lovely pumpkins (and one smaller pumpkin) that are starting to turn colour. The one in the picture is about the size of a basketball.

Don't be all that impressed however. I planted three pumpkin plants! And all I have are four lousy pumpkins. It is due to this lovely little creature:


I started out the summer season by hand-squishing as many of these as I could get (they move pretty quickly!) on my zucchini and pumpkin plants. They congregate inside the yellow blossoms, however I also damaged a lot of yellow blossoms by trying to squish them.  As time went on, their numbers increased so much that it was beyond me. 

I have tried something like insecticidal soap sprayed on them and they laugh at it as they gleefully fly away to land on another member of the squash / curcubit family. They would have killed off my cucumbers as well (if they have survived... sigh). These striped cucumber beetles decimate the blossoms and carry some kind of fungal disease to the leaves and vines as well. They are the reason I harvested two, TWO zucchinis this year. Most people would be knee deep in zucchini by now, giving them away to anyone who would have them. I have had two. They are also the reason for four pumpkins from three pumpkin plants instead of what should have been at least twice that much. 

When those pumpkins fully ripen and turn a gorgeous orange colour, I shall give them a place of honour on my porch and makes things look very autumnal.

Remember I said in my last post that something was eating my plants again? (Don't remember, that's o.k., I often don't remember what day it is). Here is some evidence.

What you are looking at used to be a green bean plant. Now it is a small collection of leaves and some stems. 

On a different note, I do have something that is doing very well. I had a plant that was growing in my compost container. I didn't know what it was but suspected some type of squash, likely zucchini. I just let it keep growing. 

There it was, growing robustly out of my compost, big yellow blossoms braving those nasty little beetles. It looked very healthy (compost will do that) and I left it and wondered what it would grow up to become. (By the way, I've noticed that "robust" is now the new buzzword. I've heard politicians and administrators use it. Listen for it. Turn it into a drinking game!)

Here's what it is:

It's an acorn squash! In fact, there are about four fruits developing nicely. I have NO idea how this happened. I did not plant acorn squash in my garden. In fact, I have never planted acorn squash in my garden. I can't even remember buying acorn squash and if I did, it would have been three or four years ago at least. I have emptied out my compost since then, a number of times. So herein lies a mystery. 

I will leave you with one last image. With bindweed and cucumber beetles and huge rains and seering heat and hungry rabbits, there is one plant in my garden that chuckles "heh, heh" in a deep menacing tone, "bring it on!".

If you recall (and you probably won't) at the beginning of planting season, my son was working at the garden centre of a grocery store and wanted me to plant a pepper plant that he brought home because he likes hot sauce and such. It is flourishing and gorgeous. Nothing bothers it. 

There's a reason nothing bothers it!! It is a "super chili" according to the tag. The first one that he picked and was quite excited about was brought in the house whereby we each tried a little bite of it. HOLY MOTHER OF ALL THINGS HOT. According to the Scoville Heat Range (yes, that's a thing), it's 40,000 to 50,000 SHU. That places it 5 to 20 times hotter than a jalapeno pepper, which many people would be able to relate to. By the way, SHU stands for Scoville heat units. I'm guessing Scoville is the brave person who created this scale by trying out all the peppers in the world?? 

Anyway, what the heck do we do with these things? I don't even think I would include them in a salsa recipe. I like to be able to use my mouth for a day after eating salsa! If there is anyone out there who knows how to use them in a recipe but decrease their heat, let me know. Otherwise, these are to remain ornamental. 

I hope your gardening is successful. May your tomatoes ripen and your rabbits run away!

Sunday 16 August 2020

A Soggy Sunday

 I was awoken by thunder, but I managed to sleep a little later because of the lulling steady rain. It is one of those Sundays where just puttering around is comforting. I threw a hooded jacket over my pajamas to go out and open up the chicken coop and add a little more food to their feeder. It was raining so much that even the hardy white ones weren't keen on staying outside. Only one egg so far at that point. Production is down.

I had a big coffee in my hedgehog mug and read blogs and other "newsy" items on the computer. Once husband got up, I was ready to get dressed and start puttering. I swept the wooden floors of the kitchen, den, bathroom, and hallway. It is amazing how much detritus is accumulated when you have two long haired females, one cat, and people who are going from outside to inside, or from the shop to the house. 

I pulled a frozen chicken out of the small chest freezer in the mudroom. I'll make some "cheater" boxed stuffing and everything else will be from the garden: beets, green beans, maybe potatoes. I love a meal that consists of a lot of what you grow yourself. 

I just got in from picking peas and beans in the now slowed down rain. I fought off the mosquitoes and was disturbed to see that many of my green beans and a lot of red lettuce had been eaten down to the point of "will it come back?" I don't think this is just a rabbit. I wonder if the groundhog is back? I don't mind sharing a bit, but someone was rather greedy! My poor waterlogged huge tomato plants are leaning again. I think I may be out of good wooden stakes. Perhaps husband can create a few more for me from some scraps. They need to be at least 4 feet high and good and pointy at one end. I use a small sledge hammer to drive them in.

I sat on the porch listening to the rain and played mindless games on my phone. Scooter-the-cat-with-no-tail came out from under the chair I was sitting on and drank rainwater that was accumulating on the deck. It's funny how you can provide clean water in a proper container and animals would rather drink from mucky puddles or some other source of water. He also enjoys rain buckets under the downspouts.

I've managed to book an appointment with "Miss Ashley" to get my hair fixed in about a week's time. I'm looking forward to that. Husband has been busy finishing the body work on daughter's new-to-her car. It is now certified and she just has to pay taxes, pay for licensing, and pay for insurance. No such thing as a cheap car! Son is embarking on the same thing, selling his used Mustang to help pay for his new-to-him truck, which needs to be certified as well. I'm so much happier that he has a good 4x4 truck for winter driving as he drives back and forth to college. It's about a three hour drive one way and I feel much better knowing he is in something safe and capable of dealing with the snow that comes off of Lake Huron.

I haven't been in the school yet. We have permission to go in as of the final week of August to try and get things ready. I'm curious to know how many families are opting for online school versus in class. I won't find out for a while still - which of course, makes getting ready even more difficult. But thinking of all of that just causes worry and stress, so I shall stop writing about that and move onto another topic.

I watched a series on Netflix called "The Stranger", adapted from a Harlan Corben book. I've never read any of his books, so didn't know what this would be like, but I really enjoyed it and tried to solve it throughout the different episodes. I got some of the clues and figured out a few things, but not others. I would recommend it for anyone needing a new series to watch. It is only one season.

That's all I have for now. Just a soggy Sunday, good for taking it easy.


Tuesday 11 August 2020


 Today I sat in the vehicle, parked out on the street, waiting for my cell phone to ring to say I can enter the building. I went in, masked up, and had my hair cut by not my regular hair dresser but someone she has working for her with lots of years of experience. In fact, this hair dresser has come out of retirement. 

I showed her some pictures on my phone and explained what I wanted. I did not have my hair all styled when I went in because I wanted her to see the natural texture of my hair so she knew what she was working with. 

Normally I walk out of salons with my hair still damp and do not pay for a blow dry and extra poofing and fussing. I'm just going home anyway, and when you have long hair, it costs a lot to have someone cut it or colour it.

Oh my. This might be the worst cut I've ever had. I feel like someone could have pulled my hair into a pony tail and then taken a big pair of scissors and just cut straight across the pony tail. It is quite frankly awful and I don't know how I didn't know how bad it was while it was being cut. I was distracted by the bloody mask that kept riding down on my face every time I talked. I even tipped her because it is always so awkward when you go to pay and there is the tip option and they're standing right there.

I'm feeling a bit like this!    Source

So... now I need to find someone else who will fix this for me. No, I won't be going back to this woman. I don't want her to try to fix it because if she didn't do it right the first time, I'm thinking it could be even more of a disaster the second time around. I'm just hoping someone can fit me in before September.

I've written before about my hair dressing issues. It is so hard to find someone good who doesn't talk your ear off and tell you their life story. Trust me when I say that if I reveal that I'm a teacher (and WHY don't I just stop telling people?) I get to hear about every person they've ever known who has had a bad experience in school, or who has been bullied. I wonder if nurses have to sit and hear about their hair dresser's illnesses, or if mechanics have to listen to their hairdressers tell them about every car problem they've ever had? Going to a hair salon is so difficult for me, especially if I'm there for colour, because I am a captive audience for well over an hour. I have course, frizzy, thick hair which is currently triangular in shape and now I must seek out a new person to entrust to fix this grade three class picture hair cut all the while abiding by the covid rules. And I waited six months for this. Sigh.

Anyone else out there have difficulty with hair? Can I get an amen sister?

Monday 3 August 2020

It's August and My Sister's Venture

I'm almost positive I've posted something similar (probably many times), but once again, it feels like August. It is an odd combination of spent flowers and stillness, a chorus of crickets, and harvest anticipation. Things had been a little dry, but using the soaker hoses was wise. However, yesterday and today have been steady rain - not pummeling rain, but a good thorough soak. Once again, my ridiculously tall tomato plants took a tumble sideways, weighed down with the rain and their bulk. I re-staked them, and added two more new stakes. 

I am happy that there is still one month of my own personal summer holidays. I am doing pretty well allowing myself to not own the decisions that must be made in terms of returning to school in September. I am not fretting over the protocols, the preparations, the choices... I am completely fine with allowing the well-paid Board Office officials to interpret and apply the directives put out by our provincial premier and his minister of education. If I start fretting and wondering, I will become overwhelmed with how much is going to go into putting bodies back in classrooms. I have to let it all go, so I can enjoy a few weeks more of freedom, because come September, it's going to be a whole different world...again.

To move on to a completely different topic, I don't write much of my immediate family because their worlds are their worlds and I don't want to infringe on their privacy. As well, we are all spread quite far apart in age, my siblings and I, and to me it feels like we exist in different generations. Both of my parents have been gone for many years now, but, pandemic aside, the four siblings and their spouses / partners / children try to get together a couple of times a year. There is a bit of geographical distance between some of us. 

The sibling closest in age to me is my sister. She is five years older than me, and I am the youngest. When I was little, I thought everyone could draw. I never knew that there are people out there who say, "I can't draw." My father sketched out and designed things to build or modify. My mother painted a bit in her youth and was quite capable of quickly drawing something if needed. I think nothing of drawing examples of anything I'm talking about in class. I'm pretty sure at least two of my three siblings had drafting tables in their bedrooms. They took art classes through high school and drew all the time. Sketch books and giant art porfolios were part of the "stuff" in our home. As a very small child, I distinctly remember the card table being set up in the middle of the living room and the odour of turpentine being prevalent. My sister, at quite a young age, had discovered Paint by Number and churned out several paintings in a short time. My father, who could do anything, created picture frames from wooden trim and those paintings adorned the walls of our shared bedroom for years. 

Of course, my sister went far beyond the prescribed and limited "paint by number"  art. But it was her art of my childhood that I think of when I think of her as an artist. The stories she was draw for me, series of pictures in a "scribbler" that she would narrate for me, tales of little animals and their adventures. It was the Barbie doll multi-roomed homes that she created out of scrap wood (there was always scrap wood) with floors, back walls, and dividing walls, beans bag chairs hand-sewn, refrigerator and stove painted white and features outlined in black, again from scraps of wood, a couch from leftover fabric and foam... She was always involved in some sort of artistic, creative endeavour, be it sewing her own clothes, creating corn husk dolls, making an entire family of spiders from styrofoam balls and colourful yarn, or making intricate macrame plant hangers (it was the 70's after all).

Now, my sister, Jade, has embarked on a business which combines her love of animals and her ability to capture their personality with paints. She used my own felines, present and past as subjects to practise with .

She sent these to us, framed and ready to be displayed a few months back, as she was working out the intricacies of creating her business and website. The two end paintings include little "snippets" of words and phrases which describe Scooter and Samson that I provided. The collection of three cats in the middle are without words, just each cat's name included inobtrusively in the painting. I love how they all turned out. I think it's lovely to have paintings of our former pets. It's only Scooter now, and she definitely captured his personality, as odd as it is. And to think she was able to do it just from photos that I emailed to her!  If you are interested, her website is called Abstractpet.ca and you can click on the link and explore. I'm very impressed with the website, with all of it's detail and some background on her. When she told me of her idea, my first thought was that it would be a wonderful gift for someone who had lost a pet, because as we know, they become members of our families and the loss of a pet can be comparable to the loss of any loved one. Anyway, I wish her well, and I'm sure she will have tons of interest and business coming her way, and with the ability to communicate with a client via email, the restrictions of a pandemic won't hold her back.