Tuesday 24 August 2021

Don't You Wish You Could Sleep Like This?

 Yes, it's hot these days. When it's hot, Murphy (and Scooter) tend to sleep. Murphy takes sleep to a whole other level. He sleeps hard. He sleeps like it's his job.

And, if the heat is just getting too unbearable, there's always this option:

That's Murphy inside a grocery cooler bag. 

Monday 23 August 2021


 I really haven't been posting much. There's not much of big importance (in my own experience, not world wide) that I feel a deep need to write about, but here's what's been on the forefront. 

Weather / Time of Year: I know lots of people whine and complain about this heat, but I love it. It feels like summer, which is perfect for someone who lives in winter for about six months of the year. August, as I've written about before, has a distinct "feel" to it. It's a crickety, crunchy, hot, winding down, kind of feel. This is, of course, the first year in thirty-one that I am not mentally gearing up to get ready for another school year. We in Ontario begin school right after labour day at the beginning of September. So, August has always meant a wrapping up of freedom and beginning of routine. Not this year, although I intend to continue to do some supply work because after a lot of soul searching I realized that I still want a foot in the game. I still like the job, still like being with the kids, still enjoy the camaraderie with my fellow teachers and ed. assistants. 

Gardens: In bloom now are my tall phlox, some types of hydrangeas, purple cone flowers (echinacea), some remaining although lacey-leaved looking hollyhocks, and of course, seas of black eyed Susan (rudbekia). It's a very yellow and purple world right now. We are enjoying much from the vegetable garden including potatoes, beets, beans, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, and very very soon... tomatoes!! It's also peach season, be still my heart, and I have been enjoying my favourite breakfast (or lunch), oatmeal with cinnamon, sliced fresh peaches, and vanilla yogurt. I've also made one peach pie so far. Perhaps I'll share the recipe. Our peaches come from the Niagara region of Ontario.

Pests: Husband's time and efforts were required this past week to deal with a wasp (I think yellow jackets, specifically) problem at our back porch doorway. We live in an old yellow double bricked house. There was a small hole between the bricks over top of the doorway to our back porch. Great numbers of these winged beasties were coming and going through this hole. I was a bit hesitant to use that door, and I'm not generally scared of bees or wasps. So, after much research and contemplating, husband "suited up" and got ready to deal with the problem. This was one of those near 30 degree days. He put on thick canvas work overalls, topped by a thick canvas cold weather coat. I wrapped a scarf around his neck to protect that area, and then a bug hat (covers entire head) went on over that. He had tall rubber boots and gaunlet-type leather gloves. Duct tape was used to seal in any openings around wrists, legs, and waist. 

This is a picture I took through the back door of him beginning proceedings. 

Another picture taken through the screened window. 

How it looked after the old metal ceiling (soffit) was ripped down. Husband has since replaced the whole thing with new vinyl soffit and installed two new lights, instead of the old one light. He's handy that way. The current nest was found in the insulation that was above the room adjacent to this porch and some old nests were pulled out as well. Copious amounts of wasp spray were used and a wasp catcher is still hanging on the back porch to take care of any lingerers. That day, when he was done dealing with the nest and came back into the mudroom to be "disassembled" and out of his gear, he was sweating profusely and announced happily later that he had lost two pounds! Maybe not the best weight loss method, however. He did not, by the way, get stung even once!

Birthday: This month, husband celebrated a birthday. He is very hard to buy for. We are at the age and stage where if we really want something, we just buy it. So, for his gathering of our immediate family and two close friends, I created "the world's best charcuterie board". Husband's drug of choice is cheese, and we have gone to some vineyards for wine and a charcuterie board in the past, much to his delight (not so much for the wine, but for the cheese and meats). It was pretty impressive and far too big for just the amount of people at the time, so there were many tantalizing leftovers.

Cheeses that were featured were: Stilton blue (husband's absolute favourite), Brie, Smoked Cheddar, Swiss, Two-year old Cheddar (Balderson), and Jalepeno Monterey Jack. 

Hair: We all know about Covid hair. Nobody could make a hair appointment and we all looked hideous. Now that we can make appointments, I had called up a good hair dresser and I am waiting patiently for my September 7th appointment. Yes, she was booked up about a month and a half ahead of time. I've been dying my own hair for quite some time now because it is just a heck of a lot cheaper. Not saying I do a better job, because frankly, I don't. I'd much prefer getting someone to apply highlights and lowlights in just the right places and make me look good, but less than $20.00 is better than over a $100.00 every few weeks. If you want a glamour shot of the "roots" part of the process, here I am in all my glory, sitting at the computer playing Solitaire, waiting for the 20 minutes to be done.

Just spoils the magic, doesn't it?

Cat: Murphy the kitten is growing. He is still a pain in that everything continues to be a toy: rake, vacuum cleaner cord, feet, broom, little felt pads on the bottoms of chair legs, pillows... He is however, adorable when he is sleepy. Here he is today, helping me with this blog post.

He still torments Scooter to no end, but Scooter is now fighting back, which is good because he's always been a lover, not a fighter, but Murphy needs to understand pecking order.

And that, my friends, is it for now. Enjoy your day!

Monday 16 August 2021

Mundane Monday - Corn on the Cob - August 16, 2021

 We had our first corn on the cob the other day. It was delicious! I bought it from a local stand, just down the road. They were selling 15 for $5.00, but I didn't want 15, so I bought 7 for $2.50. It was paid for using the honour system, an affixed box with a slot in it. 

Corn on the cob is a definite childhood memory. My mother used to fill freezer bags of the stuff, cut off with a sharp knife after the cobs had been boiled in a big pot on the stove. As a child, I used to watch this happen, and would eat the sections of corn that stayed together in a rectangular piece, thinking they tasted better that way. 

I always knew that there were two types of corn. The corn that my uncle grew in his fields to feed his dairy herd, and sweet corn, that was grown under the hydro tower farther into the field in the hopes that the raccoons wouldn't find it. I was shocked to find out that "city" people didn't know the difference and once knew of someone who questioned why corn (as in, the ears of corn you would buy at the side of the road or at the grocery store at this time of year)  was so expensive when there was so much of it growing in the fields. 

We discovered, during supper, that we all ate our corn in different ways. We then joked that it could be one of those ridiculous "news" articles: "How you eat your corn could determine your success in life", or some such headline. 

Here were our methods:

#1. Start at one end and eat a width of several kernels, all the way around the cob, then move down and repeat, eating another width all the way around the cob...  Note, the use of two corn holders.

#2. Start at one end and eat a row of kernels all the way down the length of the cob. Then start back at the end and move onto another row of kernels, eating lengthwise down the cob (Note, it isn't just one kernel wide, but could be two or three). As well, only one corn holder at the large end.

#3. Similar to the second method, eating down the length of the cob, but far less precise, with random kernels left here and there and some also on the chin / face of the consumer. No corn holders used. Chickens enjoy this type of eater the best, as they benefit from the leftover bits. 

#4. The cutting off method is the fourth method. This type of consumer uses a good sharp knife and slices the kernels off, then eats the pile of corn from his or her plate. No corn holders required. 

As well, I know there are all sorts of methods for cooking corn on the cob. Mine is the old fashioned, standard one: husk corn and put husk and as much "silk" as you can get off in the compost pile. Have large pot of boiling water ready (no sugar added to the water), boil vigorously for about five minutes or so, take out of pot using tongs and eat immediately with butter or margarine and salt.

Please chime in. Do you use one of the eating methods above? Do you enjoy corn on the cob? Did you not know there are different varieties of corn, used for different purposes? Do you cook your corn a different way? Do you offer up toothpicks after the meal so everyone can get rid of all the corn stuck between their teeth? Ha ha.  

Monday 2 August 2021

Monday, August 2, 2021 - Not quite so mundane, but join in on a "Cutting Topic"

 O.K., here's the back story. I alluded to good news about my daughter a while back and now it's a done deal and has been shared, so she and her long-time boyfriend have bought a house together and are excited about embarking on a new life together (and getting the heck out of their parents' houses - Covid brought us all closer together, but enough is enough). 

Daughter was going through a closet in the mudroom looking for things to pack up or get rid of, like coats, old running shoes, etc. Whilst embarking on this quest, she noticed piles of birdseed and other evidence of rodent activity. So... she proceeded in pulling everything out into the hallway and dealing with this. I really wasn't intending to take on a big clean out, but it needed doing, so I helped her that evening (yes, the mouse was found, alive and well and yes the nest inside the skate was emptied out and yes things were thrown away) and then the next day, as she had to work, I continued and gave everything a thorough disinfecting. We have four big closets in our mudroom that are used to store seasonal coats/ boots / luggage / food items (in the pantry closet) and big awkward kitchen things like bread makers and canning pots, and cleaning items and supplies as well as hundreds of other things. 

I dealt with that closet and checked in the closet right beside it. I didn't find any evidence of mice there, but it was a good excuse to go through things and purge some items which felt great! Life went on and then a day ago when I was getting something from the pantry closet I noticed an "eu de mouse". Oh dear. So another few hours were spent pulling things out, cleaning, purging, wondering why I keep buying tomato paste when I already have five cans, and then making a pile of "does daughter want this, or is it being donated" items (e.g. fondue pot, crockpot - I don't need three of them anymore- old blender). I did not find a mouse but I sense maybe someone has crawled behind a wall to die. Joy. 

Daughter and boyfriend are here today and I showed them the items up for grabs. They said yes to the set of mixing bowls, the fondue pot (still in the box, never been used), and... the mandoline set. For those who do not know what a mandoline is, apart from being a stringed instrument, it is also a slicing device where you can slide a vegetable, for example, over it and get lovely even slices. Daughter's boyfriend told me he had once done some damage to one of his fingers on a mandoline. Ick, I thought, as I have kind of a blade issue - makes me go a bit weak in the knees. (Could barely watch "Edward Scissorhands").

Like the considerate mother that I am, I washed the bowls, and a mug, and the mandoline set in hot soapy water with some bleach thrown in, because there was a likelihood that the vermin had walked over these items. I knew to be careful when washing the mandoline. Then I thought, rather than letting things dry in the sink, I'll just dry them and pack them up and it's one more thing done, easy for them to take when the time comes. And yes people, yes, you knew this was coming, I managed to slice my finger while I was drying it. Honestly!!! Ewwwww - that feeling when you know you've done something nasty and you're waiting for the pain to hit. I shoved my finger in my mouth and raced to the bathroom while swearing (kind of muffled due to finger in mouth), grabbed  the new box of "good" bandaids, tossed it to daughter and said, "Open this and get me a big one!" I put two on for good measure. Don't even want to look at it yet. At least it's my non-dominant hand, but I have to tell you, it has taken twice as long to type this post. I actually do type in the "proper" way - took typing in high school on big old manual type writers- and place my fingers in the right spots. Not today however. That left index finger is taking  typing vacation.

My family jokes that I could cut myself on anything. Here is a short, honest list of things I have managed to cut myself on: paper, cardboard, the edge of an ice cream container, my own fingernail, the edge of a peanut butter jar, a bowling ball. I have likely forgotten many other examples, but I should explain the bowling ball. It was one of the bigger ones that have finger holes in them. I managed to cut my thumb on the sharp edge of the hole. Strangely enough, I very, very rarely cut myself using a knife.

So join in. Do you have a mandoline? Does it scare the living crap out of you? What's the strangest thing you've cut yourself on? Do you realize how squeamish and icky your possible comments might make me feel?